About the Book
This is the first history of epidemics in South Africa – lethal episodes that significantly shaped this society over three centuries. Focusing on five devastating diseases between the 1700s and today – smallpox, bubonic plague, Spanish flu, polio and HIV/AIDS – the book probes their catastrophic course and their consequences in both the short and long term.
As each of these epidemics occurred at crucial moments in the country’s history – early in European colonisation, in the midst of the mineral revolution, during the South African War and World War 1, as industrialisation got under way, within the eras of apartheid and post-apartheid – the author also examines how these processes affected and were affected by the five epidemics. South African history should not look the same to readers after they have finished this book.
About the Author
Howard Phillips is a professor in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town, where he pioneered research in and the teaching of the social history of medicine and disease.