FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FUUO's What To Read- South Africa Edition or The Rabbit-hole Edition

As I seek to learn as much as I can about the countries in the continent in which I will be working for the rest of my naval career, I am always eager to learn what the people in the different African nations are reading.  No doubt, this is due to my roots as an English major and also my granite belief that an appreciation for the poetry and literature of a nation are essential to understanding it. 

So I was pleased to come across this link to the “short list” for South Africa’s annual Alan Paton Award (best non-fiction).  Alan Paton is the author of Cry, Beloved Country, a book that I haven’t read yet but one that I am adding to my Amazon.com wishlist.

One of the authors on the ‘shortlist’ is Jay Naidoo who wrote: Fighting for Justice
He wrote a short article in South Africa’s Times Live (that I’ve provided below) entitled:

What I'm Reading: Jay Naidoo

Jay Naidoo is chairperson of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and founder of the social development arm of J&JGroup. He has recently published his autobiography Fighting for Justice and publishes a blog at www.thejustcause.org.

I'm re-reading Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom - an excellent reminder of the values that we fought for, fearlessly inspired by the dream of a nonracial, nonsexist and democratic South Africa. Today we struggle to live up to the values espoused by our founding leaders - ethics such as selfless service, humility, integrity, honesty and social solidarity.
I recently finished Birth by Peter Harris, a gripping account of the turbulent days preceding the first democratic elections in 1994. What a knife edge we were on, and how wise was the leadership that was able to unify a vision of the future and draw discordant parties into the democratic process that prevented the unleashing of civil war in the country.
It's Our Turn to Eat by Michaela Wrong recounts the story of John Githongo, who as part of the anti-corruption agency of the Kenyan government, uncovered widespread corruption. This is a must-read for South Africans.
The company recently bought me an iPad as one way to reduce my carbon footprint. Now I look forward to having the books of the world at my fingertips.


1 comment:

  1. "dream of a nonracial, nonsexist and democratic South Africa"

    Sad that South Africa today is none of these things. To the ANC "nonracial" means black Bantu only, nonsexist means enforced quotas favored over competence and democratic means "do as we say" or we label you racists.

    17 years, Petrolgate, armsgate, one corrupt MP after another convicted, crime rampant everywhere, schools dumbed down rather than built up and improved and now the ANC moving towards Mugabe-like theft of land that will finish of the cow that provides milk.

    ANC, Labor, Tories, Democrats, Republicans, SPD, CDU -- it hardly seems to matter. Given the chance most just try to entrench themselves and reward their sycophants.

    It's a shame that the ANC turned out to be just like any other party that once it gets in power, does everything to undermine democracy and consolidate it's power into perpetuity at the expense of the governed.

    That said, it is a severe disappointment. If only the DA wrests some additional municipalities (the existence of which was another ANC power play) and manage them like they have Cape Town, then, maybe then it can moves beyond the label of a "party for whites and coloureds."

    Let's hope for the best. Such a wonderful land full of wonderful people, trapped by socialists notions.