Inspiring oral history of the impact of cultural and educational exchange between South Africa and the United States during apartheid.
For almost forty years, under the watchful eye of the apartheid regime, some three thousand South Africans participated in cultural and educational exchange with the United States. Exposure to American democracy brought hope during a time when social and political change seemed unlikely. In the end the process silently triumphed over the resistance of authorities, and many of the individuals who participated in the program later participated in South Africa's first democratic elections, in 1994, and now occupy key positions in academia, the media, parliament, and the judiciary. In Outsmarting Apartheid, Daniel Whitman, former Program Development Officer at the US Embassy in Pretoria, interviews the South Africans and Americans who administered, advanced, and benefited from government-funded exchange. The result is a detailed account of the workings and effectiveness of the US Information Agency and a demonstration of the value of "soft power" in easing democratic transition in a troubled area.
Daniel Whitman is Assistant Professor of Foreign Policy at the Washington Semester Program at American University. He is the author of A Haiti Chronicle: The Undoing of a Latent Democracy, 1999–2001. Kari Jaksa is Foreign Service Officer for the US Department of State, currently posted in Shanghai, China.
"Outsmarting Apartheid is a major contribution to the study of 'soft diplomacy. ' It is a wonderful picture of how the public diplomacy section of an embassy works and the positive impact it can have on advancing US interests. The detail of daily life under apartheid for South Africans of all races is fascinating and will become more important as memories of that period recede. " — John Campbell, author of Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink, Updated Edition
"This book fills an important void in the literature—it provides great insight, from the point of view of actual participants, in the dismantling of apartheid and the construction of a postapartheid democratic system in South Africa. " — John Mukum Mbaku, author of Corruption in Africa: Causes, Consequences, and Cleanups