Report from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

World Cup cricket sets a tone

THE INTERNATIONAL TEAM LEADER of the evangelical organization African Enterprise, Michael Cassidy, one of whose sons-in-law plays cricket for South Africa, says, "If you know of a continent more exciting, maddening, exhilarating, exhausting, delightful, demanding, infuriating, inspiring than Africa, then I want to know about it. It makes you weep, laugh, despair, celebrate all at once, and casts you on both the mountaintop and into the valleys all in one day."

But for the moment, as I take up my watch among the rolling green hills of Natal, once described by novelist Alan Paton as "lovely beyond any singing of it," most South Africans are enjoying mountaintop thinking. The rand recently recovered about 35 percent of its value against the dollar in a month. Violent crime is declining, albeit slowly. And the greatest sports event to be staged in Africa in several years is now getting under way (February 8-March 23).

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