If you believe what you read and hear about South Africa, youll think the country is in horrible shape, with 42 percent unemployment, runaway crime, and 5 million people dying of AIDS. After nearly a decade of democracy, sub-Saharan Africas crown jewel is, many pessimists warn, even more damaged than it was under the apartheid system.
But if you believe your eyes more than the press, and conversations with individual South Africans more than misleading statistics, a different picture emerges. Having spent time in South Africa in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, I was anxious to return and see for myself just how much truth there was to these disturbing and depressing reports.
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