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The Cafe de Move-on Blues

Longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize,2019

In White Boy Running, Christopher Hope explored how it felt and looked to grow up in a country gripped by an ‘absurd, racist insanity’. On a road trip thirty years later, Hope goes in search of today’s South Africa; post the evils of apartheid, but also post the dashed hopes and dreams of Mandela, of a future when race and colour would not count. He finds a country still in the grip of a ruling party intent only on caring for itself, to the exclusion of all others; a country where racial divides are deeper than ever. As the old imperial idols of Cecil Rhodes and Paul Kruger are literally pulled from their pedestals in a mass yearning to destroy the past, Hope ponders the question: what next? Framed as a travelogue, this is a darkly comic, powerful and moving portrait of South Africa – an elegy to a living nation, which is still mad and absurd.

White Boy Running

In the run up to the 1987 election Christopher Hope returned to his native South Africa after a twelve-year absence. The nature of that year’s whites-only election and the bitter defeat of the liberals led him to write this satirical, evocative portrait of what it looked and felt like growing up in a country gripped by an absurd, racist insanity.

Full of exquisite and despairing descriptions, Hope weaves together journalistic commentary and his own personal story as he encounters the bloody battles that have divided his homeland. This is a mordantly witty account of escape, displacement and disillusionment, and a modern classic of journalistic memoir.