The author of My Traitor's Heart, South African journalist Rian Malan here gives us a remarkable chronicle of his country's halting steps and missteps after apartheid, as blacks and whites try to re-build a nation together. The 23 pieces—some previously published in South Africa in the book Resident Alien—include the title story about the provenance of the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," which Malan traces back to a Zulu singer named Solomon Linda who recorded a song called "Mbube" in the 1930s. Malan also follows the trial of Winnie Mandela and plunges into the controversy over President Mbeki's AIDS policies of the 1990s, while his sardonic interstitial commentary forms a brilliant portrait of contemporary South Africa.
"Malan is a great storyteller and sometime polemicist ... a consistently vivid, energetic writer. It's hard not to keep reading The Lion Sleeps Tonight once you've started, and even when you're done you're likely to page back through the book in case there's something you missed."—Mail and Guardian (South Africa)