Liberty Book Landing Page

Until We Have Won Our Liberty

South Africa After Apartheid

This book is scheduled to be released on June 14, 2022. Information about the book, additional data, interview guides and other materials will be available here. Stay tuned!

Until

Available from: Princeton University Press and Amazon

Summary

At a time when many democracies are under strain around the world, Until We Have Won Our Liberty shines new light on the signal achievements of one of the contemporary era’s most closely watched transitions away from minority rule. South Africa’s democratic development has been messy, fiercely contested, and sometimes violent. But as Evan Lieberman argues, it has also offered a voice to the voiceless, unprecedented levels of government accountability, and tangible improvements in quality of life.

Lieberman opens with a first-hand account of the hard-fought 2019 national election, and how it played out in Mogale City, a post-Apartheid municipality created from Black African townships and White Afrikaner suburbs. From this launching point, he examines the complexities of South Africa’s multiracial society and the unprecedented democratic experiment that began with the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994. While acknowledging the enormous challenges many South Africans continue to face—including unemployment, inequality, and discrimination—Lieberman draws on the country’s history and the experience of comparable countries to demonstrate that elected Black-led governments have, without resorting to political extremism, improved the lives of millions. In the context of open and competitive politics, citizens have gained access to housing, basic services, and dignified treatment to a greater extent than during any prior period.

Countering much of the conventional wisdom about contemporary South Africa, Until We Have Won Our Liberty offers hope for the enduring impact of democratic ideals.

Reviews

Until We Have Won Our Liberty brings meaning and context to the notion that democracy has intrinsic value, encapsulating this virtue in the concept of dignified development. This book is a must-read for those interested in democracy and development, and a satisfying read for those interested in the travails and triumphs of post-Apartheid South Africa.

— John Gerring, University of Texas at Austin

Through admirable research and discussion, Until We Have Won Our Liberty shows that the legacy of Apartheid has not disabled South Africans from embracing democracy and valuing universal franchise. I warmly recommend this book to anyone interested in South Africa and the role of democracy after freedom from oppression.

— Richard J. Goldstone, former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

With the mind and heart of a loving critic, Evan Lieberman confronts whether democracy has delivered in South Africa. From moving vignettes of Mogale City to an analysis of global trends, Lieberman brilliantly focuses on what is really happening on the ground and reminds us that the momentum of hope remains. Until We Have Won Our Liberty offers sorely needed wisdom for us all, in these times of democratic cynicism.

— Anthony Marx, president and CEO of the New York Public Library

Until We Have Won Our Liberty asks a crucial question: Can a divided society succeed in establishing a multiracial, democratic government? Evan Lieberman shows how South Africa’s remarkable gains in dignified development and social justice are an outcome of extraordinary significance. This excellent book tells us how the country built a new system out of new principles and inspires hope of a more just future.

— Rachel Beatty Riedl, Cornell University

If you want to know why democracy deserves to be defended, read this book. Evan Lieberman elegantly weaves together evocative personal narrative and judicious empirical analysis. We come away not only with a new appreciation for the momentous accomplishments of post-Apartheid South Africa, but also with a moving and powerful defense of democracy’s enduring value—an account that should be read by all.

— Daniel Ziblatt, coauthor of How Democracies Die