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Guestspeaker- Bill Johnson
Bill Johnson
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Category:
Speaker
Location:
Cape Town South Africa
Preferred Language:
English
Tags:
Author,Political Analyst,Politics,Professional Speaker,South Africa,Writer
Profile:
Sought after Guest Speaker Bill Johnson's first book on SA came out in 1977; to date he has written six books, all about SA history and (especially) politics. In addition he became the most experienced of all the international commentators/correspondents on SA, writing in all manner of British, American, German and other publications. He is now, by some margin, considered to be the most experienced and best known analyst of SA affairs. 

Bill penned his first article in 1967. His path since 1967 has not been a straight one. He was an academic – at the Universities of East Anglia, Oxford and the Sorbonne – for 28 years, but found, more or less accidentally, that he also had a sideline in journalism. As a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, Bill found myself thrown into major responsibilities of financial administration for some years. The College had fallen on hard times and it was important to turn things around. He loves Magdalen – it has been a wonderful institution in his life – and he was happy to play his part, though keen to get back to teaching and research as soon as he could. The fact that a large number of the students Bill taught went into journalism - they almost entirely populated The Economist – made some imagine that he was good at imparting journalistic skills. To Bill it always felt more like an accident. In fact far more of his energy went into writing books.
 
Although born in the UK Bill had come out to South Africa at the age of 13, been to school and university here and got embroiled in anti-apartheid politics before arriving back in the UK as a Rhodes Scholar. But South Africa had aroused his passions and was the subject of his first book. Thereafter he turned himself into an expert on French politics and wrote quite widely on other subjects too.
 
However, in 1978 Bill returned to South Africa and found himself caught up in the drama of the country’s change. In the end he spent more time in South Africa than in Oxford, which necessitated a permanent move back here, to where his heart was. Hence his move to become Director of the Helen Suzman Foundation in Johannesburg in 1995, for Bill had decided that the most important task in the new South Africa was to fight for the preservation of the key liberal freedoms, the rule of law and civil rights. He was the only South African Rhodes Scholar to return to the country in that epoch, let alone the only Oxford don to do so. South Africa is a hard and sometimes uncouth country, but Bill is still pleased that he made that move. His main task has been to try to understand the new South Africa, to analyse it and to write about it – it seemed both an important and useful task. Much of Bill's writing reflects this. 
 
Being a writer on contemporary affairs brings it's full share of plaudits and brickbats, particularly in South Africa where all manner of ideological illusions are painfully collapsing and the role of pointing out that the king no longer has any clothes is not a popular one. Thus it seemed to Bill sensible to put a selection of his articles on his website so that anyone who is interested can make up their own mind about them.

How Long Will South Africa Survive? The Looming Crisis (2015) which was by some distance the biggest selling non-fiction book of 2015 and is still selling. In SA a book with sales of 1500-2000 is no mean feat. Thus far this latest book has sold 27,500 in print and electronic versions here and quite a few more thousand in the UK. Only now are sales beginning to slow down.
 
One result of this is that Bill has been inundated with invitations and requests to speak at events that have attracted record audiences. In addition, he writes quite frequently on PoliticsWeb and his articles there draw a very large response and are frequently 
copied elsewhere. 
 
Bill intends to keep writing on these matters and to share his knowledge, expertise and respected opinions at events/debates/panels etc. at this time when South Africans like nothing more than talking about the future of their country. 

Some titles by R.W.Johnson:- 
HOW LONG WILL SOUTH AFRICA SURVIVE?
SOUTH AFRICA - THE FIRST MAN, THE LAST NATION
HEROES AND VILLAINS
IRONIC VICTORY - LIBERALISM IN POST-LIBERATION SOUTH AFRICA
THE LONG MARCH OF THE FRENCH LEFT
Sought after Guest Speaker Bill Johnson's first book on SA came out in 1977; to date he has written six books, all about SA history and (especially) politics. In addition he became the most experienced of all the international commentators/correspondents on SA, writing in all manner of British, American, German and other publications. He is now, by some margin, considered to be the most experienced and best known analyst of SA affairs. 

Bill penned his first art
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