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Power Lines: Two Years in South Africa's Borders
Synopses & Reviews
Insightful and sincere, Power Lines chronicles Jason Carter's experiences in South Africa: a country divided into two cultures by barriers he was determined to transverse. A land of tension and segregation, relatively unchanged since Nelson Mandela's release from prison nearly a decade ago, South Africa is a country fraught with deep racial divides. While white citizens enjoy lifestyles similar to Westerners, black citizens inhabit a world of poverty and deprivation. Despite Mandela's regime-shattering election as President, there has been little improvement in the ability of the two sides to communicate, limited both by race and language. In Power Lines, Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, offers a portrait of South Africa that few outsiders see. During his Peace Corps training, Carter learned Zulu and Siswati, and these tools helped to break down racial barriers. Befriended by blacks delighted to find a white person who spoke their tongue, Carter was embraced by the community, participating in rituals and everyday life. Carter's moving accounts of his experiences reveal a willingness of people to reach out to each other--even in a society as divided as South Africa. Compassionate and astute, Carter brilliantly depicts the strength and humanity of South Africans and their challenge to forge a vital bond.
The grandson of the great humanitarian and former president Jimmy Carter, Jason Carter writes of a South Africa few people ever see in this eye-opening work of cultural inquiry and investigation. As a Peace Corps volunteer, Carter spent two years with a rural family in a former black homeland near the Swaziland border. South Africa, in the aftermath of Nelson Mandelas regime-shattering election as president, is revealed in Power Lines to be a country still struggling to recover from deep racial divides. The whites live under conditions comparable to those in First-World Western countries. But black people, Carter discovered, live in another South Africa: a world of punishing poverty and unemployment, where alienation and powerlessness still prevail.
Power Lines is Carters story of a communitys quest to dissolve barriers. Armed with a knowledge of Zulu and Siswati he traveled the countryside, immersing himself in the lives of blacks and whites alike. In the process, he found many on both sides who are eager to reach out to each other and heal wounds. Shaping his unique experiences into a powerful and timely volume, Carter demonstrates that even in a society as fragmented as South Africa, peoples desire to come together can still triumph.
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