ENDORSEMENTS for Another Country

Grand in its vision, bold in its conception, refreshingly candid and pragmatic in its execution, Sharlene Swartz’s Another Country is a book Black and White South Africans must read together. Swartz has answered Steve Biko’s call for a new consciousness among Whites and Blacks alike. Read this and let’s have a conversation, our future depends on it. A major achievement!

– Professor Xolela Mangcu, University of Cape Town, author of The Colour of our Future

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What a breath of sorely needed fresh air – a nuanced, consultative, accessible, honest, passionate reflection by a fellow White South African on ‘social restitution’. I strongly support Swartz’s timely call to everyday, no-strings-attached restitution. Within spaces of White privilege it is indeed not easy to hear this call to cultivate open-eyed, past-in-the-present awareness, across generations. Another Country powerfully reminds us why this cultivation is critical: everyone’s humanity is at stake. And the how question is seriously addressed: as a beneficiary (and former ‘implementer’) my daily restitutional actions and attitudes need to be guided by sustained, humble conversations with those dishonoured by Apartheid. …A big thank you for writing this book, and bringing together all those voices and wisdom of ‘ordinary’ South Africans! My head and heart are full of thoughts… lots to talk about. I do wish its publication will indeed encourage 10-10-10 restitutional journeys!

– Dr Wilhelm Verwoerd, Director Beyond Walls Ltd.

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Long neglected, the question of reparations and restitution for egregious past atrocities with ongoing legacies of social injustice and suffering is finally attracting serious attention. From the United States and Europe, to Africa, Latin America and Asia, activists and scholars alike are advancing powerful cases for the urgency of radical redress for the horrors of an earlier age. Another Country: Everyday social restitution is a compelling and original addition to this canon. With impressive clarity and forceful logic, Swartz, a brilliant young South African sociologist, argues in favor of  ‘social restitution’, a holistic and inclusive process of ‘making things good’ for the injustices of the past, reaching beyond purely financial or legal remedies, and beyond the restrictive cast of perpetrator or victim. This thoughtful and  well researched book is relevant to a wide audience looking for feasible strategies for moving forward better.

– Jacqueline Bhabha, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Harvard University

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Fanon … suggested … we should establish ‘relations of comradeship, of solidarity, of love, relations which prefigure the sort of society we struggle for.’ When last did we hear anybody talk about a just society, a better life for everybody, suggesting that enough was a feast… it is especially in this light that Swartz’s book makes sense. As requested by Steve Biko, Swartz’s issue is with Whites, and those Whites who do not feel guilty or responsible for an unjust past – she hammers them with interviews, statistics and facts. But the real value in the book is probably the attempt to describe how purposefully to create relationships across race and cultural barriers. She suggests personal dialogue with those who differ from you and within this engagement it would be possible for people to articulate a sense of responsibility, guilt and restitution as well as assist one another to achieve that. One of the most insightful suggestions is that inheritance should be more widely shared.

– Antjie Krog, author of Country of my Skull

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This is a profound book dealing with race in a new way. It questions conventional notions of restorative justice and critically examines some of the current claims of Black Consciousness.

– Professor Ben Turok, former South African member of Parliament, author of With My Head Above the Parapet

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The dormant volcano built upon South Africa’s twenty-two years of ‘supposed democracy’, fraught with entrenched racism and socio-economic inequalities, has finally erupted. Another Country comes at a time when South Africans are at impasse, with multiple crossroads. Swartz offers a timely, robust, uncomfortable, yet necessary dialogue for White South Africans to partake in fixing our country. Read this book if you are tired of being tired. Grab a copy if you are interested in moving the country forward, for the benefit of all. Poignant, inconvenient and damning, with individually-based and nation-wide resolutions. No reconciliation without restitution is the leitmotif.

– Paballo Chauke, Commonwealth Scholar, University of Oxford

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In what can be described as a sobering exposition of the views of ordinary South African regarding restitution, Another Country is a much needed contribution to the discourse around how South Africa begins to change its socio-political positioning. This book explores the central idea of how restitution is an act of ‘making good’ for the past injustices of the past and a necessary exercise needed for the rehumanising of South Africa. By dovetailing the experiences and beliefs of South Africans with her own personal journey towards achieving social restitution, Swartz has provided an in depth look into how we as a nation should be constantly engaged with restitution on a daily basis. This book is much needed! 

– Kgotsi Chikane, Kgotsi South Africa-Washington International Programme alumnus , and a University of Oxford Chevening scholar.

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Within Another Country is a vision for a socially transformed South Africa. This vision can be realised through critical self-reflection, dialogue and action. The book provides a helpful vocabulary for readers to locate themselves in the past, present and future as they make sense of the complexity of racial injustice in South Africa. This vocabulary can also facilitate dialogue, by giving expression to possibilities and experiences that have remained unexplored. Finally, it strongly asserts that we have a moral obligation to repair harm done to our personhood. Building on this, it consolidates the outcomes of critical consciousness and dialogue with concrete suggestions of everyday actions that rehabilitate and restore our humanity. Read, reflect, dialogue, and do!

– Anye Nyamnjoh, Graduate student, University of Cape Town

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Our failure to achieve our post-apartheid dreams haunts us. We have attained neither reconciliation (personal or political) nor socio-economic justice. In this honest and profoundly thoughtful study Sharlene Swartz offers a concept of social restitution as a tool accessible to all of us. We can learn through engagement across all our divisions to find ways of restoring dignity, providing practical and financial mechanisms of redress, and addressing the burdens of memory and pain. Practical ideas are provided for everyday actions by individuals and groups. She reminds us ‘The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the next-best time is today’. Another Country is excellent: clear, honest, full of fine concepts and practical ideas.

– Dr Mary Burton, Black Sash, TRC Commissioner

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Swartz’s brilliant qualitative research serves well her purpose of exploring the possibilities of restitution (restorative justice) for a new or ‘another country’. An amazing array of in depth interviews from a wide spectrum of South Africans is interwoven with two simple parables, and brilliant analyses—producing convincing possibilities for new beginnings—with dignity for all. Yet, the obstacles and resistance are well demonstrated. Still, if there is a will in South Africa, and in the United States, to admit complicity and privilege, Another Country, with its concluding practical applications, can be a profound means of restitution and racial reconciliation.

– Professor Dean Borgman, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, USA

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Can South Africa right the wrongs of the past? Can a divided society find common ground? Another Country marshals social scientific insights in the noble quest for a more peaceful, prosperous, and inclusive South Africa. It provides an optimistic, but realistic, starting point for a fresh conversation about where the country has been and where it might go. By listening to South Africans, from every persuasion, Sharlene Swartz is able to make a credible argument for ‘everyday restitution’. Impressive!

– Professor Evan S. Lieberman, Total Professor of Political Science and Contemporary Africa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Race can be a divisive and emotional issue. Especially in South Africa with its recent history of Apartheid where it is easy for Whites who benefitted to feel defensive. Sharlene Swartz has addressed these issues with insight and humanity and calls for personal commitment to contribute to redress and social justice. This beautiful piece of work, made me think, question myself and made me believe that maybe we can find a way out. This is a book of hope with a plan of action. We all have a part to play.

 – Professor Robert Morrell, author of Changing men in southern Africa

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 South Africa is a country plagued by denialism. Swartz’s Another Country contributes meaningfully to clearing the fog that often gets in the way of honest engagement with our past. This book serves as a strong antidote for our paralysis created in part by our denialism. Read this book as a practical and conceptual guide for taking the steps towards building a more just country. 

– Marlyn Faure, Graduate student, University of Cape Town

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In a world where silence and apathy are no longer options, Another Country is a book to live and learn by. By going beyond re-interpreting and re-stating the problem, there is a vital deepening of our understanding that takes place through each interview and discussion. We are shown how privilege, discrimination and inequality shape the daily lives of South Africans in insidious and devastating ways. In connecting our past with our present Another Country enlightens a future that must be achieved if we believe in a better and truly equal South Africa.

– Parusha Naidoo, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

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The last twenty years in South Africa have squeezed the life out of the term reconciliation such that it doesn’t have much to offer South Africa anymore. New thinking is a critical need and Swartz’s book Another Country on restitution offers new possibilities for a more sustained South African miracle that deals with the spirit of Apartheid that still infects our country.  Swartz writes from a deeply informed theoretical understanding of her topic along with a life where she applies her own advice. We must all read, think and discuss, but most importantly do, what is in this book.

– Craig Stewart, CEO The Warehouse

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Another Country is a heartfelt cry for action, and a valuable and timely contribution to current debates around race and redress in South Africa. It places the burden of action on each and every one of us, to not only think about but to do something, and gives us ideas about how. Swartz’s conceptions of restitution as messy and provocative, the weaving of multiple perspectives into a reflexive examination of how we got here, and what it means, and her development of the various positionalities we can occupy are all innovative and important.

– Emma Arogundade, Graduate student, University of Cape Town

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Sharlene Swartz has dug deep into the minds of a cross section of South Africans. She has uncovered their thoughts about our Apartheid past, and about where we are now. She reports clearly in simple language their highest hopes and aspirations and also their deepest anger and resentment about both our Apartheid past and current abuses of power. She discusses in detail the need for White South Africans in particular to show their willingness to make individual and collective restitution to overcome the tragic legacy of Apartheid. Restitution, she says, has to ‘make things better’ for those most damaged by Apartheid. The book should be read also by politicians especially those holding elected office.

– Denis Goldberg, author of A Life For Freedom, Rivonia trialist

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The poignant legacy of Apartheid remains in inequality, racism, and uncertainty about how to heal South Africa. Through vivid interviews, Swartz brilliantly explores anxieties and hopes and offers richly insightful proposals for what ‘restitution’ could mean for all South Africa’s citizens.

– Professor Helen Haste, Visiting Professor of Education , Harvard University

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 Genuine original thinking is combined here with comprehensive knowledge and research, as well as Swartz’s special brand of humanity. This is a call to action wherever injustice has occurred.

– Dr Sarah Pickard, Senior Lecturer Contemporary British Studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

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Another Country speaks directly into our current moment, a moment of immense privilege and gross injustice. The student movement of the past year has placed a mirror in front of White South Africans and forced them to confront their privilege in ways they never needed to before. What comes next? After that reckoning with oneself what do White South Africans actually do with our privilege? Very few have adequately tackled this question the way Swartz does, the practical lens in which she looks at racial injustice in SA is both refreshing and necessary. I am lucky enough to have been taught by Swartz and just like her lectures, this book is full of valuable lessons that need to be embraced by White South Africans. Restitution cannot be ignored and Swartz’s book has endless relevance.

– Jessica Breakey, graduate student Wits University

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This elegantly written, commendably personalised and thoughtfully substantiated book echoes the urgent need, yet again, for vital, frank and open conversations around power, privilege and the production and reproduction of racialized inequalities, deprivation and a culture of chronic poverty of humility in fearful, yet hopeful present day South Africa. It is a bold and courageous statement on the unfinished, and in some regards largely ignored imperative of ‘social restitution’ and a truly inclusive citizenship.

– Professor Francis B. Nyamnjoh, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town.

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Another Country is an invitation to all South Africans to engage in courageous conversations about the difficult and much-avoided subject of social restitution. The notion of a ‘rainbow nation’ has led us to laziness and complacency, hoping that God would extend his ‘miracle’ to solve all our problems and challenges. As we stand naked and exposed, facing our failures, Swartz offers us a way of dealing with difficult dialogues while still holding on to a seemingly impossible dream. But this time around, working with commitment and perseverance in building another country for our children. This needs you and me, it needs us!

– Dr Llewellyn MacMaster, Stellenbosch University, and minister of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa

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