July 12, 1999
South Africa's second post-apartheid general election, held several weeks ago, turned into quite an intriguing affair, although you would hardly know it from the American press. The media focused on Nelson Mandela's retirement and his replacement by faithful lieutenant Thabo Mbeki--a story line that fits the fairy-tale narrative into which post-apartheid South Africa is so often shoehorned. But, on the ground, real politics were taking place. In particular, the National Party, the party of F.W. de Klerk and of 50 years of apartheid, collapsed.