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Indigenous societies that are steeped in patriarchy have various channels through which they deal with abusive characteristics of relations in some of these communities. One such route is through songs, which sanction women to voice that which, bound by societal expectations, they would not normally be able to say. This book focuses on the nature of women’s contemporary songs in the rural community of Zwelibomvu, near Pinetown in KwaZulu-Natal. It aims to answer the question ‘Bahlabelelelani – Why do they sing?’, drawing on a variety of discourses of gender and power to examine the content and purposes of the songs.
Restricted by the custom of hlonipha, women resort to allusive language, such as is found in ukushoza, a song genre that includes poetic elements and solo dance songs. Other contexts include women’s social events, such as ilima, which refers to the collective activity that takes place when a group of women come together to assist another woman to complete a task that is typically carried out by women. During umgcagco (traditional weddings) and umemulo (girls’ coming-of-age ceremonies), songs befitting the occasion are performed. And neighbouring communities come together at amacece to perform according to izigodi (districts), where local maskandi women groups may be found performing for a goat or cow stake.
The songs, when read in conjunction with the interviews and focus group discussions, present a complex picture of women’s lives in contemporary rural KwaZulu-Natal, and they offer their own commentary on what it means to be a woman in this society.
Cognisant of the globalising context in which we find ourselves, as intellectuals we ought to ensure relevance in what we teach. This orientation, that prizes pedagogic relevance, has been raised as an objection to the decolonial call, being – at times – used to resist democratic change in the South African University. The contributions in this volume highlight the implications of the global relevance discourse through revealing the impact of decontextualised curricula.
Similarly, institutional democratisation and decolonisation ought not to be a turn to fundamentalist positions that recreate the essentialisms resisted through calls for decolonisation. As a critical response to such resistance to democratisation, this book showcases how decolonisation protects the constitutionally enshrined ideal of academic freedom and the freedom of scientific research. We argue that this framing of decoloniality should not be used to protect interests that seek to undermine the transformation of higher education. Concurrently, however, it is critical of decolonial positions that are essentialist and narrow in their manifestation and articulation.
Decolonisation as Democratisation suggests what is intended by a curriculum revisionist agenda that prizes decolonisation through bringing together academics working in South Africa and the global academy. This collaborative approach aims to facilitate critical reflexivity in our curriculum reform strategies while developing pragmatic solutions to current calls for decolonisation.
What do African feminist traditions that exist outside the canon look and feel like? What complex cultural logics are at work outside the centres of power? How do spirituality and feminism influence each other? What are the histories and experiences of queer Africans? What imaginative forms can feminist activism take?
Surfacing: On Being Black and Feminist in South Africa is the first collection of essays dedicated to contemporary Black South African feminist perspectives. Leading feminist theorist, Desiree Lewis, and poet and feminist scholar, Gabeba Baderoon, have curated contributions by some of the finest writers and thought leaders. Radical polemic sits side by side with personal essays, and critical theory coexists with rich and stirring life histories. By including writings by Patricia McFadden, Panashe Chigumadzi, Sisonke Msimang, Zukiswa Wanner, Yewande Omotoso, Zoë Wicomb and Pumla Dineo Gqola alongside emerging thinkers, activists and creative practitioners, the collection demonstrates a dazzling range of feminist voices.
The writers in these pages use creative expression, photography and poetry in eclectic, interdisciplinary ways to unearth and interrogate representations of Blackness, sexuality, girlhood, history, divinity, and other themes. Surfacing is indispensable to anyone interested in feminism from Africa, which its contributors show in vivid and challenging conversation with the rest of the world. It will appeal to a diverse audience of students, activists, critical thinkers, academics and artists.
Across the face of southern Africa are more than 460 remarkable stone palaces, once the abodes of kings. Some are small, others ramble, but many are absolutely astonishing: all are the legacy of kingdoms past.
Palaces of Stone brings to life the story of these early African societies, from AD 900 to approximately 1850. Some, such as Great Zimbabwe and Khami in Zimbabwe and Mapungubwe in South Africa, are famous world heritage sites, but the majority are unknown to the general public, unsung and unappreciated. Yet, the stone ruins that have survived tell a common story of innovative architecture and intricate stonework; flourishing local economies; long-distance travel; global trade; and emerging forms of political organisation.
By exploring a selection of known and unknown sites, Palaces of Stone reimagines the apparently empty spaces bequeathed to us by history, an Africa of places that once hummed with life. All that remains now are the ruins – a bedrock from which to unravel the past and understand the present.
Making the radical argument that the nation-state was born of colonialism, this book calls us to rethink political violence and reimagine political community beyond majorities and minorities.
In this genealogy of political modernity, Mahmood Mamdani argues that the nation-state and the colonial state created each other. In case after case around the globe—from the New World to South Africa, Israel to Germany to Sudan—the colonial state and the nation-state have been mutually constructed through the politicization of a religious or ethnic majority at the expense of an equally manufactured minority.
The model emerged in North America, where genocide and internment on reservations created both a permanent native underclass and the physical and ideological spaces in which new immigrant identities crystallized as a settler nation. In Europe, this template would be used by the Nazis to address the Jewish Question, and after the fall of the Third Reich, by the Allies to redraw the boundaries of Eastern Europe’s nation-states, cleansing them of their minorities. After Nuremberg the template was used to preserve the idea of the Jews as a separate nation. By establishing Israel through the minoritization of Palestinian Arabs, Zionist settlers followed the North American example. The result has been another cycle of violence. Neither Settler nor Native offers a vision for arresting this historical process.
Mamdani rejects the “criminal” solution attempted at Nuremberg, which held individual perpetrators responsible without questioning Nazism as a political project and thus the violence of the nation-state itself. Instead, political violence demands political solutions: not criminal justice for perpetrators but a rethinking of the political community for all survivors—victims, perpetrators, bystanders, beneficiaries—based on common residence and the commitment to build a common future without the permanent political identities of settler and native. Mamdani points to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa as an unfinished project, seeking a state without a nation.
Hermann Giliomee, pre-eminent South African historian, dissects the forces that shaped the Afrikaners into an unusual ‘maverick African’ nation.
He analyses long-term forces like the powerful legal position of Afrikaner women, the expanding frontier, and the struggles about race inside the church, along with more recent political history.
Africa Reimagined is a passionately argued appeal for a rediscovery of our African identity. Going beyond the problems of a single country, Hlumelo Biko calls for a reorientation of values, on a continental scale, to suit the needs and priorities of Africans. Building on the premise that slavery, colonialism, imperialism and apartheid fundamentally unbalanced the values and indeed the very self-concept of Africans, he offers realistic steps to return to a more balanced Afro-centric identity.
Historically, African values were shaped by a sense of abundance, in material and mental terms, and by strong ties of community. The intrusion of religious, economic and legal systems imposed by conquerors, traders and missionaries upset this balance, and the African identity was subsumed by the values of the newcomers. Biko shows how a reimagining of Africa can restore the sense of abundance and possibility, and what a rebirth of the continent on Pan-African lines might look like. This is not about the churn of the news cycle or party politics – although he identifies the political party as one of the most pernicious legacies of colonialism. Instead, drawing on latest research, he offers a practical, pragmatic vision anchored in the here and now.
By looking beyond identities and values imposed from outside, and transcending the divisions and frontiers imposed under colonialism, it should be possible for Africans to develop fully their skills, values and ingenuity, to build institutions that reflect African values, and to create wealth for the benefit of the continent as a whole.
This extraordinary account of imprisonment shows with exacting clarity the awful injustices of the system. Sylvia Neame, activist against apartheid and racism and by profession a historian (see the three-volume, The Congress Movement, HSRC Press, 2015), has not written a classical historical memoir. Rather, this book is a highly personal account, written in an original style. At the same time, it casts a particularly sharp light on the unfolding of a policedominated apartheid system in the 1960s.
The author incorporates some of her experiences in prisons and police stations around the country, including the fabricated trial she faced while imprisoned in Port Elizabeth, one of the many such trials which took place in the Eastern Cape. But her focus is on Barberton Prison. Here she was imprisoned together with a small number of other white women political prisoners, most of whom had stood trial and been sentenced in Johannesburg in 1964–5 for membership to an illegal organisation, the Communist Party. It is a little known story. Not even the progressive party MP Helen Suzman found her way here.
Barberton Prison, a maximum security prison, part of a farm jail complex in the eastern part of what was then known as the Transvaal province, was far from any urban centre. The women were kept in a small space at one end of the prison in extreme isolation under a regime of what can only be called psychological warfare, carried out on the instructions of the ever more powerful (and corrupt) security apparatus. A key concern for the author was the mental and psychological symptoms which emerged in herself and her fellow prisoners and the steps they took to maintain their sanity. It is a narrative partly based on diary entries, written in a minute hand on tissue paper, which escaped the eye of the authorities. Moreover, following her release in April 1967 – she had been altogether incarcerated for some three years – she produced a full script in the space of two or three months. The result is immediacy, spontaneity, authenticity; a story full of searing detail. It is also full of a fighting spirit, pervaded by a sharp intellect, a capacity for fine observation and a sense of humour typical of the women political prisoners at Barberton.
A crucial theme in Sylvia Neame’s account is the question of whether something positive emerged out of her experience and, if so, what exactly it was.
Forgiveness Redefined is Candice Mama’s honest and healing story. It tells how she found ways to deal with the death of her father, Glenack Masilo Mama, and to forgive the notorious apartheid assassin Eugene de Kock, the man responsible for his brutal murder. We follow Candice’s journey of discovering how her father died, how this affected her and how she battled the demons of depression before the age of sixteen. But most importantly, we follow her journey towards beating the odds and rising above her heartbreaks.
Candice Mama is today still under the age of 30, but has been named as one of Vogue Paris’ most inspiring women alongside glittering names such as Michelle Obama. She has taken backstage selfies with music crooner Seal and travels all over the world to talk about her journey. This bubbly, inspiring young author tells how she shed some of the worst layers of grief and became an inspiration for others. We learn about her perplexing, unconventional childhood, her search for identity, and the beautiful bond she formed, posthumously, with a father she never had the opportunity to get to know in person. She also tells, in her own words, about the life-changing encounter between her family and her father’s killer.
Candice tenderly opens up about the result of the trauma of her father’s death on her entire family, and meeting her mother for the first time at the age of four. She tells about the confusing, yet fascinating, dynamics that later unfolded as she discovered pieces of herself, rediscovered relationships with her own family and came to forgiveness and understanding.
This book serves as inspiration for other young – and older – people to look at their own stories through different lenses. Candice’s experiences are not unique, and she offers healing thoughts to others who suffered similar trauma by sharing the details of her own story. Forgiveness Redefined is a touching, personal story by a young woman who learned too early about pain, loss and rejection – but who also learned how to overcome those burdens and live joyfully.
Bronwyn Davids’ great-grandpa Joe built their family home in Lansdowne, Cape Town, during the 1920s. She recreates their lives in the pages of this book and takes us on a journey with her family against the backdrop of apartheid South Africa.
A charming family story, but also of gut-wrenching loss that is physical, mental, and spiritual.
Over the past few years, it has become clear that the path of transformation in schools since 1994 has not led South Africa’s education system to where we had hoped it could be. Through tweets, posts and recent protests in schools, it has become apparent that in former Model-C and private schools, children of colour and those who are ‘different’ don’t feel they belong.
Following the astonishing success of How To Fix South Africa’s Schools, the authors sat down with young people who attended former Model-C and private schools, as well as principals and teachers, to reflect on transformation and belonging in South African schools. These filmed reflections, included on DVD in this book, are honest and insightful.
Drawing on the authors’ experiences in supporting schools over the last twenty years, and the insight of those interviewed, A School Where I Belong outlines six areas where true transformation in South African classrooms and schools can begin.
Khamr: The Makings Of A Waterslams is a true story that maps the author’s experience of living with an alcoholic father and the direct conflict of having to perform a Muslim life that taught him that nearly everything he called home was forbidden.
A detailed account from his childhood to early adulthood, Jamil F. Khan lays bare the experience of living in a so-called middle-class Coloured home in a neighbourhood called Bernadino Heights in Kraaifontein, a suburb to the north of Cape Town. His memories are overwhelmed by the constant discord that was created by the chaos and dysfunction of his alcoholic home and a co-dependent relationship with his mother, while trying to manage the daily routine of his parents keeping up appearances and him maintaining scholastic excellence.
Khan’s memories are clear and detailed, which in turn is complemented by his scholarly thinking and analysis of those memories. He interrogates the intersections of Islam, Colouredness and the hypocrisy of respectability as well as the effect perceived class status has on these social realities in simple yet incisive language, giving the reader more than just a memoir of pain and suffering.
Khan says about his debut book: "This is not a story for the romanticisation of pain and perseverance, although it tells of overcoming many difficulties. It is a critique of secret violence in faith communities and families, and the hypocrisy that has damaged so many people still looking for a place and way to voice their trauma. This is a critique of the value placed on ritual and culture at the expense of human life and well-being, and the far-reaching consequences of systems of oppression dressed up as tradition."
When the Cradock Four's Fort Calata was murdered by agents of the apartheid state in 1985, his son Lukhanyo was only three years old. Thirty-one years later Lukhanyo, now a journalist, becomes one of the SABC Eight when he defies Hlaudi Motsoeneng's reign of censorship at the public broadcaster by writing an open letter that declares: "my father didn't die for this".
Now, with his wife Abigail, Lukhanyo brings to life the father he never knew and investigates the mystery that surrounds his death despite two high-profile inquests.
Join them in a poignant and inspiring journey into the history of a remarkable family that traces the struggle against apartheid beginning with Fort's grandfather, Rivonia trialist and ANC Secretary-General Rev James Calata.
In this riveting new book, John Laband, pre-eminent historian of the Zulu Kingdom, tackles some of the questions that swirl around the assassination in 1828 of King Shaka, the celebrated founder of the Zulu Kingdom and war leader of legendary brilliance: Why did prominent members of the royal house conspire to kill him? Just how significant a part did the white hunter-traders settled at Port Natal play in their royal patron's downfall? Why were Shaka's relations with the British Cape Colony key to his survival? And why did the powerful army he had created acquiesce so tamely in the usurpation of the throne by Dingane, his half-brother and assassin?
In his search for answers Laband turns to the Zulu voice heard through recorded oral testimony and praise-poems, and to the written accounts and reminiscences of the Port Natal trader-hunters and the despatches of Cape officials. In the course of probing and assessing this evidence the author vividly brings the early Zulu kingdom and its inhabitants to life. He throws light on this elusive character of and his own unpredictable intentions, while illuminating the fears and ambitions of those attempting to prosper and survive in his hazardous kingdom: a kingdom that nevertheless endured in all its essential characteristics, particularly militarily, until its destruction fifty one years later in 1879 by the British; and whose fate, legend has it, Shaka predicted with his dying breath.
South Africa’s pre-eminent historian explains the spectacular rise – and probable demise – of the numerical minority that dominated 20th-century South Africa.
The Afrikaners are unique in the world in that they successfully mobilised ethnic entrepreneurship without state assistance, controlled the entire country, and then yielded power without military defeat. Award-winning author Hermann Giliomee takes a hard analytical look at this group’s dramatic ascent and possible disappearance as a nation in a series of well-argued thematic chapters. Topics range from ethnic entrepreneurship, the ‘coloured vote’ and ‘Bantu’ education to Nelson Mandela’s relationship with the last Afrikaner leaders.
It ends with a final chapter on the most likely future for this sometimes admired, often reviled group, which undoubtedly left the largest imprint on South African history in the 20th century.
Born Karoline King in 1980 in Johannesburg South Africa, Sara-Jayne (as she will later be called by her adoptive parents) is the result of an affair, illegal under apartheid’s Immorality Act, between a white British woman and her black South African employee. Her story reveals the shocking lie created to cover up the forbidden relationship, and the hurried overseas adoption of the illegitimate baby, born during one of history’s most inhumane and destructive regimes.
Killing Karoline follows the journey of the baby girl (categorised as ‘white’ under South Africa’s race classification system) who is raised in a leafy, middle-class corner of the South of England by a white couple. It takes the reader through the formative years, a difficult adolescence and into adulthood, as Sara-Jayne (Karoline) seeks to discover who she is and where she came from. Plagued by questions surrounding her own identity and unable to ‘fit in’ Sara-Jayne (Karoline) begins to turn on herself, before eventually coming full circle and returning to South Africa after 26 years to face her demons. There she is forced to face issues of identity, race, rejection and belonging beyond that which she could ever have imagined.
She must also face her birth family, who in turn must confront what happens when the baby you kill off at a mere six weeks old, returns from the dead.
In the shattered fantasy of rainbow-nation South Africa, there are many uncomfortable truths. Among these are family secrets - the legacies of traumas in the homes and bones of ordinary South African families.
In this debut collection, feminist and Khoi San activist Kelly-Eve Koopman grapples with the complex beauty and brutality of the everyday as she struggles with her family legacy. She tries unsuccessfully to forget her father - a not-so-prominent journalist and anti-apartheid activist, desperately mentally ill and expertly emotionally abusive - who has recently disappeared, leaving behind a wake of difficult memories. Mesmerisingly, Koopman wades through the flotsam and jetsam of generations, among shipwrecks and sunken treasures, in an attempt at familial and collective healing.
Sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious, she faces up to herself as a brown, newly privileged "elder millennial", caught between middle-class aspirations and social justice ideals. An artist, a daughter, a queer woman in love, she is in pursuit of healing, while trying to lose those last 5 kilograms, to the great disappointment of her feminist self.
Charles Abrahams is a world-class lawyer who sued multinationals for colluding with the apartheid government, but at twelve he was determined to become a world-famous heartsurgeon. Then a school inspector shattered his dream: coloured children from the Cape Flats 'should not aim too high'. Class Action is the story of how Charles aimed high anyway, despite a childhood that included forced removal, dire poverty and the deep sense of shame of being neither white nor a 'white coloured'. As one of eleven children in a poor family, he experienced constant hardship and family strife.
Violence was ubiquitous: his street was notorious for its gang fights, his father abused his mother at home, and schoolteachers beat darker-skinned children like him. Charles wanted a larger life, and he found it through student politics, anti-apartheid activism and reading. He studied relentlessly, finding not only formidable political weapons, but a means to delve into the damage apartheid had done to his personal identity, selfesteem, sexuality and morality. He went on to qualify as a lawyer and, after defending local gangsters, he sought to do good through human-rights and class-action law. He has since spearheaded some of South Africa’s most historic, groundbreaking lawsuits, pursuing justice for ordinary citizens whose lives were ruined by powers too profit-driven to ever think about them.
Class Action depicts a remarkable journey of resistance and healing in reaction to institutionalised greed and racism and the harm it has done to our identities, our relationships and the people of our country.
The Love Diary of a Zulu Boy is a fable of lust, love, sex, obsession, loss, friendship, betrayal and fantasy. By turns erotic, romantic, tragic and comic, it is inspired by the real-life drama of a romantic relationship between a Zulu boy and an Englishwoman.
A series of diary entries takes us on a whirlwind tour of a relationship that has not only survived, but thrived for 17 years. As the author reflects on love across the colour line, it triggers memories of failed affairs and bizarre experiences: love spells, wet dreams, infidelity, sexually transmitted diseases, a phantom pregnancy, sexless relationships, threesomes and prostitution.
A unique book for the South African market, The Love Diary of a Zulu Boy is written with an honesty rarely encountered in autobiographical writing.
Between 2013 and 2017, a team of researchers from the Human Sciences Research Council undertook a longitudinal qualitative study that tracked eighty students from eight diverse universities in South Africa and documented their experiences at these higher education institutions. Midway through the study, the student protests erupted and focused national attention on many of the stories we had already heard. In the subsequent years of the study, we also heard from students who were actively involved in these transformation struggles as well as those who sat on the side-lines.
Studying While Black is an intimate portrait of the many ways in which students in South Africa experience university, and the centrality of race and geography in their quest for education and ultimately emancipation. Students voices can be heard directly in a 45 minute documentary that accompanied this study entitled Ready or Not!: Black students’ experiences of South African universities – freely available on social media.
This book provides an overdue critical re-engagement with the analytical approach exemplified by the work of Harold Wolpe, who was a key theorist within the liberation movement. It probes the following broad questions: how do we understand the trajectory of the post-apartheid period, how did the current situation come about
in the transformation, how does the current situation relate to how a post-apartheid society was conceived in anticipation, and what are the implications of what have been failed ambitions for progressives?
Steve Biko was not only considered a `brilliant political theorist', but is also considered `a formidable and articulate philosopher'. However, Biko is not simply and merely a philosopher in the manner in which Immanuel Kant was a philosopher, but a philosopher of a special kind, an important Africana existential philosopher. In Biko: Philosophy, Identity & Liberation the author adds another commonly ignored perspective on Biko, namely the philosophical dimensions of Biko's thought.
From Biko's writings, speeches and interviews it is easy to notice that in his view, philosophy is not a disembodied system of ideas nor is it a mechanical reflection about the world; rather, it is a way of existing and acting. To be a philosopher, especially an Africana existential philosopher, is not just to hold certain views, it is a way of perceiving and a way of being in the world, what Biko himself describes as `a way of life'.
This important perspective on Biko would be of value to many Africana philosophers of existence, African philosophers, political and social thinkers, social scientists, psychologists, cultural critics, political activists, students, critical race theorists and anyone interested in the ideas that Biko presents.
‘Miskien issit omdat poverty my define en nie die racial politics vannie land ie.’
Wit issie ’n colour nie is ’n versameling verhale oor grootword en die lewe in die buitewyke van die Kaapse Vlakte. Dit dek identiteit, rassepolitiek, sosio- ekonomiese kwessies en bruin kultuur, en bevraagteken die Suid-Afrika waarin ons ons bevind. Dit is gevul met galgehumor, rou eerlikheid en hartverskeurende vertellings van pogings om die lewe op die Vlakte te navigeer. Hierdie versameling is diep persoonlik en ’n ontstellend waar weergawe van die lewe aan die ander kant van die spoor, geskryf in Kaapse Afrikaans.
It started with a question about the blues: what makes the music of the downtrodden black man so alluring to white middle-class ears? And that’s where it gets interesting. Because blues is more than a musical genre: it’s a cultural phenomenon that spans several centuries on both sides of the Atlantic, from slavery to Black Lives Matter, from Jan van Riebeeck to Fees Must Fall, from Robert Johnson to Abdullah Ibrahim.
In Blues for the White Man, Fred de Vries looks for answers in America’s Deep South, drawing historical parallels with South Africa’s experience of colonialism, slavery, racism, civil war, segregation and protest. Travelling to Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta, De Vries speaks to musicians, Black Lives Matter activists and Trump supporters. He continues the conversation in South Africa, interviewing student protesters, white farmers and political thought-leaders to develop an understanding of white supremacy and black anger, white fear and black pain.
A fascinating, insightful journey through time and space, Blues for the White Man is a celebration of multiculturalism and a plea for white people to do some ‘second line dancing’ for a change.
How is ‘race’ determined? Is it your DNA? The community that you were raised in? The way others see you or the way you see yourself? In Race Otherwise: Forging A New Humanism For South Africa, Zimitri Erasmus questions the notion that one can know ‘race’ with one’s eyes, or through racial categories and or genetic ancestry tests. She moves between the intimate probing of racial identities as we experience them individually, and analysis of the global historical forces that have created these identities and woven them into our thinking about what it means to be ‘human’.
Starting from her own family’s journeys through regions of the world and ascribed racial identities, she develops her argument about how it is possible to recognise the pervasiveness of race thinking without submitting to its power. Drawing on the theoretical work of Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter and others, Erasmus argues for a new way of ‘coming to know otherwise’, of seeing the boundaries between racial identities as thresholds to be crossed, through politically charged acts of imagination and love.
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