50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa

Alexander Parker
South African non-fiction
November 2012 - updated in 2015


Part history, part social commentary, 50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa is an engrossing and edifying read that delves into South African politics, war, sport and culture, and answers the question, who are the greatest villains, the direst leaders, the foulest corrupters and the most offensive personalities to have spread their regrettable influence through our fine and glorious land? 

From Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 to Jacob Zuma in 2016 – via Basson, Botha, Shaka and Shaik – it is filled with the nastiest names to have besmirched our past. These are men of infamy (and three women) who have steered the good ship South Africa firmly in the wrong direction by virtue of their ruinous megalomania (Mbeki, Rhodes), foul convictions (Verwoerd, Terre’Blanche) or general idiocy (Malema, Erwin). But the obvious political gangsters and historical heavy-hitters are just the half of it: there’s also the colonial warmonger (Lord Milner), the national embarrassment (Rudolf Straeuli), the societal delinquent (The minibus taxi driver), the unexpected sports villain (Richie Benaud!), the Euro-chancer (Mark Thatcher), the traitor (Kevin Pietersen) and the twat (Kevin Pietersen).


Alexander Parker is a journalist whose work appears regularly in a wide variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He is the author of the follow-up to this title, 50 Flippen Brilliant South Africans, and 25 Cars To Drive Before You Die.


Zapiro is South Africa’s premier political cartoonist. He has won multiple local and international accolades and has released numerous bestselling collections of his work. Click here to see Zapiro’s homepage.


"A well-researched, considered look at those who have had an influence on South Africa's progress; or rather, have hindered it." - City Press

"They're all here, neatly skewered and steeped in scorn. Brilliant." - Andrew Donaldson

"Parker manages to balance cynicism and optimism, and his blend of sardonic humour and scathing social commentary make for a surprisingly relaxed read." - The Big Issue

"Witty and well-written." - Independent Newspapers

"Alex Parker is an equal-opportunity offender. From Jan van Riebeeck to Julius Malema... [you'll] find little argument here with his pick of those we hate." - The Times

"With his usual wit and command of language Alex Parker fingers 50 of South Africa’s greatest oxygen thieves… A thoroughly enjoyable read… Very funny." – David Bullard, NewsTime 

"Entertaining and enlightening … well-researched descriptions that contain some very clever humour but also some very harsh criticism… leads to many belly laughs and it comes highly recommended." – Business Day

"Engrossing and edifying, filled with bile and bite and humour as sharp as an assegai just off the whetstone." – Jenny Crwys-Williams, 702

"Despite its subject matter, 50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa is just as much fun to read as it must have been to write – largely because of Parker´s pithy and often humorous style." – The Daily Maverick

"Although the concept of 50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa is an inherently depressing one, Parker´s lightness of touch means one ends up laughing more often than crying at the cast of characters that people his book. This is, of course, greatly added to by the cartoon portraits that accompany the majority of entries – by none other than Jonathan Shapiro." – The Daily Maverick

"Die boek is skerp geskryf en die veld wat gedek word is indrukwekkend… 50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa sorg vir lekker morele swaardgevegte en die spotprente maak dit reeds die moeite werd om te lees." – Rapport

"Thank you so much for leaving me off the list!" – Michael Mol, Expresso

The hit South African bestseller, now fully revised and updated

Shortlisted for The Neilsen Bookseller’s Choice Award 2011

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