Randolph on Raatma, 'South Africa'

Lucia Raatma
Brenda F. Randolph

Lucia Raatma. South Africa. Minneapolis: Compass Point Books, 2002. 48 pp. $16.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-7565-0131-0.

Reviewed by Brenda F. Randolph (Africa Access) Published on H-AfrTeach (November, 2003)

Raatma's South Africa, a First Reports Series book for a younger audience, is plagued by historical omissions and additionally has a number of errors. The author confuses the San hunting and gathering people with South Africa's Khoikhoi pastoralists. "Long ago, South Africans hunted animals and gathered food to eat. These people were called the Khoikhoi" (p. 19). The accompanying photograph shows a San man and the caption reads, "A Khoikhoi tribesman drinks from an ostrich egg used as a bottle." On the next page, one reads, "the Bantu forced out many of the Khoikhoi" (p. 20). Here again the author is confusing the San with the Khoikhoi. The author is also a little confused about the linguistic heritage of the Xhosa people. The Xhosa, who are a Bantu-speaking people, are described as "related to the Bantu-speaking people" (p. 24). Omissions occur throughout the historical discussion. For example, the author writes that during the Boer War "[m]any Afrikaners died in prison" (p. 26)--no mention is made of the large numbers of black South Africans who also died. The short discussion of contemporary history is generally accurate and probably provides the right amount of information for young primary school students. The color photographs are crisp, warm, and inviting.

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Citation: Brenda F. Randolph. Review of Raatma, Lucia, South Africa. H-AfrTeach, H-Net Reviews. November, 2003. URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=8425

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