Cover image for January sun : one day, three lives, a South African town
January sun : one day, three lives, a South African town
Stengel, Richard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon and Schuster, [1990]

Physical Description:
202 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DT2405.B75 S74 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order


Author Notes

Richard Stengel is an American editor. He is Time magazine's 16th managing editor.

Stengel is a native of New York. He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1977. After college, he was a Rhodes Scholar and studied English and history at Christ Church, Oxford. He also authored several books including January Sun: One Day, Three Lives, A South African Town and You're too Kind: A Brief History of Flattery. In 1993 he collaborated with Nelson Mandela on Mandela's bestselling autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.

He became a senior advisor and chief speechwriter for Bill Bradley, who ran for the Democratic nomination for the 2000 presidential election. He is married to Mary Pfaff, who is originally from South Africa. They have two sons. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The mass confrontations of apartheid aren't Stengel's subject: he writes about daily life in Brits, a small town in the eastern Transvaal, far from Johannesburg's power and Soweto's militancy and sorrow. And yet not that far. By focusing on three Brits men whose lives never touch--a prosperous Afrikaans farmer-veterinarian; a black driver, caught up in his community's resistance to their forced removal; and an Indian businessman, once detained without trial--Stengel (a New York contributing editor for Time) shows with subtlety and depth how the political system affects ordinary people and their view of themselves. Like Crapanzano in Waiting [BKL Mr 15 85], Stengel combines his commentary, which includes history and political analysis, with his subjects' own words. The pace may be slow for readers wanting more sensationalized coverage, and the organization of the vignettes over a single day seems somewhat arbitrary. However, the style is direct and vivid, and in their candid talk the three men emerge both as complex individuals and as representatives of their country's struggle. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Time contributing editor Stengel offers a cross-section of South African society by tracing a typical day in the lives of three people: a white Afrikaner, a black activist and an Indian shopkeeper. Ronald de la Rey, a veterinarian and cattle eugenicist who applies racialist theories to humans, seems the embodiment of a system that rationalizes its evil. Marshall Cornelius, aka ``Life,'' drives a cab and campaigns for reforms in the segregated squatters' camp, or ``township,' where he lives, adjacent to de la Rey's town, some 30 miles west of Pretoria. (In an afterword, we learn that Cornelius was fatally stabbed last May.) In Indian merchant Jaiprakash Bhula, the reader sees how South Africa's significant Asian minority suffers discrimination and economic and political restrictions. In his flat, careful recording of what he sees and hears, Stengel presents a powerful picture of South Africa as a prison camp, run by and for the benefit of the whites. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The idea of portraying individuals' entire existence by tracing their activities through a single day is not original but can be effective if done right, which it is here. Stengel spotlights three South Africans: an Indian merchant, an Afrikaner veterinarian, and a black political activist, all of whom live and work with their families in the same small Transvaal town. Each remains within his own community, keenly aware of the distant proximity of other differing racial groups. Apartheid dominates daily existence, and Stengel shows how the struggle to come to terms with Pretoria's race laws is impossible in this seemingly indestructible, yet vulnerable country. An intriguing perspective that is recommended for African studies collections.-- Ian Wallace, Food Research & Development Centre Lib., St. Hyacinthe, Quebec (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.