Are the issues in the novel, such as education and corruption, dated, or are they still relevant today?
So much of literature has relevancy to today's world, no matter what time period it was written in. In the case of this novel, the issue of corruption is timeless. The idea here is that power corrupts, and the power in the novel is wrapped up in the idea of Capitalism and wealth. Because Capitalism gives greedy characters an opportunity to earn at the expense of others, these characters (Kimeria, Chui, and Mzigo) exploit others for their cause. The same thing happens today. Sweatshops still exist, and the Enron scandal is just one example of corporate corruption.
In terms of education, the author portrays the conflicts and paradoxes that are currently plaguing the education system. The conflict here revolves around content - should students be taught facts, or taught how to think? What is the right balance between them? How much should culture influence what is being taught? Multi-cultural education and changes to standardized tests are reactions to these questions.