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Jonathan Ball

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Orania and the fringe of Afrikaner identity: Into The Laager by Kajsa Norman

A first-hand account of life in Orania: Into The Laager by Kajsa Norman


Thick-skinned and fearless, Norman searches for the only thing worth seeking: that, which in the clearest and most unambiguous way describes a society in transition.

- Henning Mankell

Into The LaagerJonathan Ball Publishers is proud to present Into The Laager: Afrikaners Living on the Edge by Kajsa Norman:

Nelson Mandela is dead and in South Africa his dream of a rainbow nation is fading. More than two decades after the fall of apartheid, groups of white Afrikaners have cut themselves off from this unpredictable country, fearing that their language, culture, and eventually their entire people, may soon become extinct.

Living on edge in an ever-changing nation, some have retreated to the breakaway republic of Orania, where they work to construct a utopia for white Africans. Within the safety of their laager – a homeland with its own flag and currency – they can, once again, dictate the rules.

Weaving between past and present, Into the Laager traces the war for control of South Africa, its people and its history, through a series of December 16ths, beginning with the Battle of Blood River in 1838. In so doing, it takes us back to the origin of these fears: the years of nationalism and social engineering behind this modern struggle for identity and relevance.

Along the way, Norman asks the difficult questions – those that are as relevant in today’s South Africa as they were in 1838: How do people react when they believe their cultural identity is under threat? How far are we prepared to go to survive as a people?

About the author

Kajsa Norman is a London-based investigative journalist focused on dictatorships and conflict zones. A Stanford University Innovation Journalism fellow, she has worked extensively across Latin America and Africa. She has also served as a press and information officer for the Swedish Armed Forces in Afghanistan and Mali. Norman’s other works of non-fiction include books on Cuba, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela, most notably Give Me Cholera: Forging a Future for Zimbabwe. Into the Laager was originally published in Swedish in 2015 as Bron över Blood River (Bridge over Blood River).

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