Now for the first time in English, this international bestseller – telling the tragic and heroic story South Africa – is published as the Rainbow Nation hits the headlines once again. April 6, 1652. A boatload of Dutch gardeners disembarks at the southernmost tip of Africa. Their mission: to grow vegetables that would prevent the sailors of the powerful Dutch East India Company from succumbing to the scurvy that threatened to decimate their fleet. Dispatched to fulfill a strict mission, these men were instructed to turn their backs to the continent, and have no ambitions of colonial conquest. Yet the settlers, and the immigrants who would join them later, soon defied not only the will of their patrons in Amsterdam, but the land itself – inhabited by savage animals, disease-carrying insects, and of course, native people – to penetrate to the heart of the continent. They would write the first chapter in the history of a nation that did not yet exist – South Africa. Convinced by their strict Calvinist faith that they were among the ‘Elect’, chosen by God to rule over the world, these first colonists would, over time, take on the black tribes, fortune-hunters in search of diamonds and gold, and the scarlet-clad regiments of Queen Victoria. Their saga, bloody, ferocious, and fervent, would culminate three centuries later in one of the greatest tragedies in history – the establishment of apartheid, the racist regime in which a white minority would subjugate and victimize millions of blacks, which only ended with the liberation from prison of one of the moral giants of our time, Nelson Mandela. Lapierre spent three years researching in order to write the chronicle of these men and women – famous and obscure, white and black, European and African – who have, with their blood and tears, brought to life the South Africa that is today known as the ‘Rainbow Nation’.