From initiation ceremonies in the Eastern Cape to Helen Zille's Twitter account, South Africa is a land ripe with contradiction. It is a place where first world aspirations often clash with third world realities. Acclaimed commentator Gareth van Onselen takes a fresh and fearless look at some of these faultlines, from the rise and fall of Nelson Mandela's Christmas party to the contested meaning of words like 'respect' and 'excellence'. In the South African Twilight Zone, liberal democracy and modernity live side-by-side with tradition and culture. Van Onselen also asks why we have seemingly become a nation that bends over backward to accommodate mediocrity, settling for that which is only good enough.