This is the first history of epidemics in South Africa, lethal episodes that significantly shaped this society over three centuries. Focusing on five devastating diseases between 1713 and today-smallpox, bubonic plague, \u201cSpanish influenza,\u201d polio, and HIV/AIDS-the book probes their origins, their catastrophic courses, and their consequences in both the short and long terms. The impacts of these epidemics ranged from the demographic-the \u201cSpanish flu,\u201d for instance, claimed the lives of 6 percent of the country's population in six weeks-to the political, the social, the economic, the spiritual, the psychological, and the cultural. Moreover, as each of these epidemics occurred at crucial moments in the country's history-such as during the South African War and World War I-the book also examines how these processes affected and were affected by the five epidemics. To those who read this book, history will not look the same again.