All Shades of Truth: Reviewing the Road to Democracy in South Africa


56 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-921877-20-X
DDC 968.06'3




Reviewed by Gildas Roberts

Gildas Roberts is a university professor of English at the Memorial
University of Newfoundland.


Anderson, we are told in this book’s preface, “worked as a research
officer in the Library of Parliament, as Policy Advisor to the Secretary
of State for External Affairs and was the Research Director for the
National Liberal Caucus. In 1987 she visited South Africa while working
on a report for the Canadian Labour Congress.” The works she refers to
in her 94 meticulous footnotes and in the 46 additional books and other
references listed are overwhelmingly as politically correct as they
come. However, this book’s 64 pages of text will give no glee to the
sanctimonious specialists in righteous anger who abound in the media,
academe, and the churches; nor, for that matter, will it provide any
comfort to the conservatives. It is a breathtakingly evenhanded critical
survey of the situation in South Africa, and apportions blame and praise
with a fine impartiality. It is, in sum, the most penetrating and
accurate brief analysis of South African politics I have ever
encountered, and should be compulsory reading for all who wish to claim
to know anything about South Africa.

The last section (“What Next?”) is unsparingly bleak. Anderson
believes that the far-right Konserwatiewe Party will probably take power
in the next white election; factionalism is, if anything, increasing
among the blacks; and “the South African Communist Party flag seems to
be rivalling that of the African National Congress at rallies.” All of
this makes one wonder at the book’s upbeat subtitle: “Reviewing the
Road to Democracy in South Africa.” Surely the contents only too
forcibly persuade one that this will be “democracy” in the Stalinist
or National Socialist sense of the word—or a Lebanon-like unending


Anderson, Catherine., “All Shades of Truth: Reviewing the Road to Democracy in South Africa,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024,