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The gap between the hope for improved social conditions in post-apartheid South Africa and the grim reality of black life there is especially striking for South African children who face serious threats to their health and development as a consequence of poverty, racism, violence and social inequality. Mandela's Children presents the contrasting conditions of 'hope and peril' that characterize life in South African families, schools and communities. Using empirical data and qualitative case studies, the authors analyze and discuss research on children's behavioural, emotional, and academic development and how they are influenced by community violence, household poverty and family functioning. This discussion is balanced by one that considers the competence, health and resilience of South African children.