Tomorrow Is Another Country By Allister Sparks
London: Heineman, 1994. 250pp. Local price 65 NIS.
Allister Sparks, a fifth-generation South African, has had a
distinguished journalistic career over the past two decades and has
won several presti¬gious awards for his writing on South
African developments. His book, Tomorrow Is Another Country, which
has recently been made into a tele¬vision film - Death of
Apartheid - is timely and totally engrossing.
This revealing work reviews the largely unanticipated progress of
mainly secret negotiations between leaders of the
Afrikaner-dominated white racist regime and leaders of the
overwhelmingly non-white African National Congress (ANC).
To everybody's surprise, these talks were to lead to the
establishment of a new democratic South Africa, where blacks and
whites decided to build a new life together on the basis of full
In 1985, during a period of increasing international isolation and
an ongoing economic crisis, initial highly secret contacts were
established between the then-South African president, P.W. Botha,
and the jailed ANC leader, Nelson Mandela - despite skepticism on
both sides. What had pre¬ceded this willingness for talks on
the part of the ruling Afrikaners was the major change taking place
on the leadership level, as they looked for a way out of their
dead-end crisis. Sparks documents this intense reassessment within
the Afrikaner inner sanctum, including even the extremist Afrikaner
Broederbond, which led to the rejection of Apartheid as an
This productive, but limited, phase lasted until 1989 when F.W. De
Klerk assumed the leadership of the National Party and the
presidency. A conservative, he became increasingly pragmatic, and
during the five years of his presidency, Nelson Mandela and other
ANC leaders were released and negotiations successfully concluded.
By the end of 1994, extremist racist forces were crushed,
democratic elections held and a new power sharing government
established for a five-year period.
While Tomorrow does not relate directly to the Middle East,
restricted as it is to South Africa, it can serve as an inspiration
for both Israelis and Palestinians. Yet despite the parallelism
between the South African and the Israeli-Palestinian situation,
what emerges at this stage are some contrasts.
For example, although intermittent secret talks had been going on
for a long time on the Israeli-Palestinian front, the "negotiators"
on both sides did not, for the most part, represent either the
Israeli government or the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
until after Israel's general elec¬tions - with its Labor-led
And though Oslo I (1993) and Oslo II (1995) have been signed, for
many in the area, the future is still uncertain. Final status talks
are scheduled to begin only in 1996, shortly before Israel's next
general election, where again the results are far from assured.
Therefore, despite limited progress on the regional peace front,
the implementation of the two-state [Israel and Palestine]
solution, advocated by most peace-oriented forces in the area,
faces indubitable complications.
Nevertheless, it is hoped that in the Israeli-Palestinian context,
final sta¬tus talks will not last longer than the five years
[1989-1994] it took the last phase of the South African talks to be
completed. And as was the case in South Africa, there will
ultimately be a peaceful resolution to the
Israeli¬-Palestinian conflict, resulting in full cooperation
between both former adversaries. Tomorrow Is Another Country is, therefore, highly
recommended reading for all those in the region interested in
studying how long-term talks may lead to lasting friendships, and
to peaceful resolutions of intricate conflicts.