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The most significant nonfiction writings of Zoë Wicomb, one of South Africa’s leading authors and intellectuals, are collected here for the first time in a single volume.
This compilation features critical essays on the works of such prominent South African writers as Bessie Head, Nadine Gordimer, Njabulo Ndebele, and J.M. Coetzee, as well as writings on gender politics, race, identity, visual art, sexuality and a wide range of other cultural and political topics. Also included are a reflection on Nelson Mandela and a revealing interview with Wicomb.
In these essays, written between 1990 and 2013, Wicomb offers insight on her nation’s history, policies, and people. In a world in which nationalist rhetoric is on the rise and diversity and pluralism are the declared enemies of right-wing populist movements, her essays speak powerfully to a wide range of international issues.
Can racism and intimacy co-exist? Can love and friendship form and flourish across South Africa’s imposed colour lines?
Who better to engage on the subject of hazardous liaisons than the students with whom Jonathan Jansen served over seven years as Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State. The context is the University campus in Bloemfontein, the City of Roses, the Mississippi of South Africa. Rural, agricultural, insular, religious and conservative, this is not a place for breaking out. But over the years, Jansen observed shifts in campus life and noticed more and more openly interracial friendships and couples, and he began having conversations with these students with burning questions in mind.
Ten interracial couples tell their stories of love and friendship in their own words, with no social theories imposed on their meanings, but instead a focus on how these students experience the world of interracial relationships, and how flawed, outdated laws and customs set limits on human relationships, and the long shadow they cast on learning, living and loving on university campuses to this day.
The End Of Whiteness aims to reveal the pathological, paranoid and bizarre consequences that the looming end of apartheid had on white culture in South Africa, and overall to show that whiteness is a deeply problematic category that needs to be deconstructed and thoughtfully considered.
This book uses contemporary media material to investigate two symptoms of this late apartheid cultural hysteria that appeared throughout the contemporary media and in popular literature during the 1980s and 1990s, showing their relation to white anxieties about social change, the potential loss of privilege and the destabilisation of the country that were imagined to be an inevitable consequence of majority rule.
The ‘Satanic panic’ revolved around the apparent threat posed by a cult of white Satanists that was never proven to exist but was nonetheless repeatedly accused of conspiracy, murder, rape, drug-dealing, cannibalism and bestiality, and blamed for the imminent destruction of white Christian civilisation in South Africa.
During the same period an unusually high number of domestic murder-suicides occurred, with parents killing themselves and their children or other family members by gunshot, fire, poison, gas, even crossbows and drownings. This so-called epidemic of family murder was treated by police, press and social scientists as a plague that specifically affected white Afrikaans families. These double monsters, both fantastic and real, helped to disembowel the clarities of whiteness even as they were born out of threats to it. Deep within its self-regarding modernity and renegotiation of identity, contemporary white South Africa still wears those scars of cultural pathology.
Too much of South Africa’s history has been lost and suppressed, leaving a void for many South Africans. Sylvia Vollenhoven brings together her life and that of a long-ago ancestor, Kabbo, a respected Khoisan storyteller.
She writes of her experience as being “too black” for her coloured schoolmates, working as one of the early female journalists in the misogynistic environment of the 70s, and of the constant impact on her life of her background – including her ancestors.
Becoming Men is the story of 32 boys from Alexandra, one of Johannesburg's largest townships, over a period of twelve seminal years in which they negotiate manhood and masculinity. Psychologist and academic Malose Langa documents in close detail what it means to be a young black man in contemporary South Africa.
The boys discuss a range of topics including the impact of absent fathers, relationships with mothers, siblings and girls, school violence, academic performance, homophobia, gangsterism, unemployment and, in one case, prison life. Deep ambivalence, self-doubt and hesitation emerge in their approach to alternative masculinities premised on non-violent, non-sexist and non-risk-taking behaviour. Many of the boys appear simultaneously to comply with and oppose the prevalent norms, thereby exposing the difficulties of negotiating the multiple voices of masculinity.
Providing a rich interpretation of how emotional processes affect black adolescent males, Langa suggests interventions and services to support and assist them, especially in reducing high-risk behaviours generally associated with hegemonic masculinity. This is essential reading for students, researchers and scholars of gender studies who wish to understand manhood and masculinity in South Africa. Psychologists, youth workers, lay counsellors and teachers who work with adolescent boys will also find it invaluable.
George Bizos is one of a distinguished group of human rights lawyers who in the dark days of apartheid sought to uncover the state's role in eliminating its opponents.
Some, like Biko, Timol and Aggett, were arrested and died in detention, while others, like Matthew Goniwe, were abducted and killed. As counsel for the families of the deceased, George Bizos was centrally involved in many of the inquests following these high-profile deaths.
He is thus well placed to tell the story of the great courtroom dramas in which, with devastating skill, he and his colleagues pared away the tissue of lies protecting the security forces and the state functionaries—only to be rewarded with the invariable finding that there was 'no one to blame'.
I Write What I Like features the writing of the famous activist and Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko. Before his untimely death in detention at age 30, he was instrumental in uniting Black Africans in the struggle against the apartheid government in South Africa.
This 40th anniversary edition includes a foreword by Njabulo S. Ndebele, personal reflections on Steve Biko and Black Consciousness, as well as Biko’s first known published piece of writing. In addition, it features all the material of the original Picador Africa edition: a collection of Biko’s columns entitled I Write What I Like published in the journal of the South Africa Student Organisation under the pseudonym of ‘Frank Talk’; other journal articles, interviews and letters written by Steve Biko at the time; an Introduction by Nkosinathi Biko; a preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and a moving memoir by Father Aelred Stubbs, which pays tribute to the courage and power of this young leader, who was to become one of Africa’s heroes.
Despite the fact that the ‘rise of the black middle class’ is one of the most visible aspects of post-apartheid society and a major actor in the reshaping of South African society, analysis of it has been lacking. Rather, the image presented by the media has been of ‘black diamonds’, that is, above all, as consumers of the products of advanced industrial society, and of corrupt ‘tenderpreneurs’ who use their political connections to obtain contracts which they would otherwise be denied. At the same time, the restrictions upon black professional and entrepreneurial activity in the apartheid era stunted the development of black capitalism and the black middle class, while the growth of a substantial black working class which became the class vanguard of the political liberation of South Africa, pushed the role of the middle class into the shadows.
This book presents a new way of looking at the Black middle class which seeks to complicate that picture, an analysis that reveals its impactful role in the recent history of South Africa. It provides a careful account of its historical development in colonial society prior to 1994 before examining the size, shape and structure of the middle class in contemporary South Africa, class formation under the ANC, education and black upward social mobility, the black middle class at work, the social life of the black middle class, and its political role in the shaping of a democratic society in the post-apartheid era. The trajectory of the black middle class in South Africa is related to that of its counterparts in the global south.
While the book offers the most comprehensive account of the black middle class since Leo Kuper wrote on the subject in the early 1960s, it also seeks to make a major contribution to the burgeoning debate about the middle class globally.
As a young boy growing up in Port Elizabeth in the 1960s and 1970s, Steven Robins was haunted by an old postcard-size photograph of three unknown women on a table in the dining room. Only later did he learn that the women were his father’s mother and sisters, photographed in Berlin in 1937, before they were killed in the Holocaust. Steven’s father, who had fled Nazi Germany before it was too late, never spoke about the fate of his family who remained there. Steven became obsessed with finding out what happened to the women, but had little to go on. In time he stumbled on bare facts in museums in Washington DC and Berlin, and later he discovered over a hundred letters sent to his father and uncle from the family in Berlin between 1936 and 1943. The women who before had been unnamed faces in a photograph could now tell their story to future generations.
Letters of Stone tracks Steven’s journey of discovery about the lives and fates of the Robinski family. It is also a book about geographical journeys: to the Karoo town of Williston, where his father’s uncle settled in the late nineteenth century and became mayor; to Berlin, where Steven laid ‘stumbling stones’ (Stolpersteine) in commemoration of his family and other Jewish victims of the Holocaust; to Auschwitz, where his father’s siblings perished.
Most of all, this book is a poignant reconstruction of a family trapped in an increasingly terrifying and deadly Nazi state, and of the immense pressure on Steven’s father in faraway South Africa, which forced him to retreat into silence.
Ferial Haffajee is highly respected as one of South Africa's thought leaders and commentators. She effectively uses her media platform to raise and discuss issues pertinent to the state of the nation. In What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?, Haffajee examines our history and our present in the light of a provocative question that yields some thought-provoking analysis for the country.
From roundtable discussions with influential as well as ordinary South Africans, to research, personal thoughts and powerful anecdotes, Haffajee takes the reader through the rocky terrain of race relations in our country and grapples towards a possible way forward in terms of what it means to be South African in 2015.
The 1930s and 40s were tumultuous decades in South Africa’s history. The economy declined sharply in the wake of the Wall Street crash, giving rise to a huge number of poor whites and the growth of a militant and aggressive Afrikaner nationalism that often took its lead from the Nazis in Germany.
A Perfect Storm reveals how the right-wing’s malevolent message moved from the margins to the centre of political life; how antisemitism seeped into mainstream political life with real and lasting consequences. Milton Shain, South Africa’s leading scholar of modern Jewish history, brings into sharp relief the ‘Jewish Problem’, detailing the rise of influential organisations such as the Grey Shirts and the New Order, which fanned the flames of antisemitism. He devotes considerable attention to the Ossewa-Brandwag, which, by 1941, constituted the largest yet mobilisation of Afrikaners.
The National Party itself contributed to the climate of hostility to Jews. It was instrumental in ensuring that only few of the Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and elsewhere were permitted as immigrants. The National Party contributed to the prevailing climate of Jew-baiting. Indeed, some of its worst offenders were accorded high office after 1948 when the National Party came to power.
How are we to explain the resurgence of customary chiefs in contemporary Africa? Rather than disappearing with the tide of modernity, as many expected, indigenous sovereigns are instead a rising force, often wielding substantial power and legitimacy despite major changes in the workings of the global political economy in the post–Cold War era—changes in which they are themselves deeply implicated.
This pathbreaking volume, edited by anthropologists John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, explores the reasons behind the increasingly assertive politics of custom in many corners of Africa. Chiefs come in countless guises—from university professors through cosmopolitan businessmen to subsistence farmers–but, whatever else they do, they are a critical key to understanding the tenacious hold that “traditional” authority enjoys in the late modern world.
Together the contributors explore this counterintuitive chapter in Africa’s history and, in so doing, place it within the broader world-making processes of the twenty-first century.
How do Muslims fit into South Africa’s well-known narrative of colonialism, apartheid and postapartheid?
South Africa is infamous for apartheid, but the country’s foundation was laid by 176 years of slavery from 1658 to 1834, which formed a crucible of war, genocide and systemic sexual violence that continues to haunt the country today. Enslaved people from East Africa, India and South East Asia, many of whom were Muslim, would eventually constitute the majority of the population of the Cape Colony, the first of the colonial territories that would eventually form South Africa.
Drawing on an extensive popular and official archive, Regarding Muslims analyses the role of Muslims from South Africa’s founding moments to the contemporary period and points to the resonance of these discussions beyond South Africa. It argues that the 350-year archive of images documenting the presence of Muslims in South Africa is central to understanding the formation of concepts of race, sexuality and belonging.
In contrast to the themes of extremism and alienation that dominate Western portrayals of Muslims, Regarding Muslims explores an extensive repertoire of picturesque Muslim figures in South African popular culture, which oscillates with more disquieting images that occasionally burst into prominence during moments of crisis. This pattern is illustrated through analyses of etymology, popular culture, visual art, jokes, bodily practices, oral narratives and literature. The book ends with the complex vision of Islam conveyed in the postapartheid period.
These `interventions' are spurred by what in South Africa today is a buzz-phrase: social cohesion. The term, or concept, is bandied about with little reflection by leaders or spokespeople in politics, business, labour, education, sport, entertainment and the media. Yet, who would not wish to live in a socially cohesive society? How, then, do we apply the ideal in the daily round when diversity of language, religion, culture, race and the economy too often supersedes our commitment to a common citizenry? How do we live together rather than live apart? Such questions provoke the purpose of these interventions. The interventions - essays, which are short, incisive, at times provocative - tackle issues that are pertinent to both living together and living apart: equality/inequality, public pronouncement, xenophobia, safety, chieftaincy in modernity, gender-based abuse, healing, the law, education, identity, sport, new `national' projects, the role of the arts, South Africa in the world. In focusing on such issues, the essays point towards the making of a future, in which a critical citizenry is key to a healthy society. Contributors include leading academics and public figures in South Africa today: Christopher Ballantine, Ahmed Bawa, Michael Chapman, Jacob Dlamini, Jackie Dugard, Kira Erwin, Nicole Fritz, Michael Gardiner, Gerhard Mare, Monique Marks, Rajend Mesthrie, Bonita Meyersfeld, Leigh-Ann Naidoo, Njabulo S. Ndebele, Kathryn Pillay, Faye Reagon, Brenda Schmahmann, Himla Soodyall, David Spurrett and Thuto Thipe.
What does friendship have to do with racial difference, settler colonialism and post-apartheid South Africa? While histories of apartheid and colonialism in South Africa have often focused on the ideologies of segregation and white supremacy, Ties that Bind explores how the intimacies of friendship create vital spaces for practices of power and resistance. Combining interviews, history, poetry, visual arts, memoir and academic essay, the collection keeps alive the promise of friendship and its possibilities while investigating how affective relations are essential to the social reproduction of power. From the intimacy of personal relationships to the organising ideology of liberal colonial governance, the contributors explore the intersection of race and friendship from a kaleidoscope of viewpoints and scales. Insisting on a timeline that originates in settler colonialism, Ties that Bind uncovers the implication of anti-blackness within nonracialism, and powerfully challenges a simple reading of the Mandela moment and the rainbow nation. In the wake of countrywide student protests calling for decolonisation of the university, and reignited debates around racial inequality, this timely volume insists that the history of South African politics has always already been about friendship. Written in an accessible and engaging style, Ties that Bind will interest a wide audience of scholars, students and activists, as well as general readers curious about contemporary South African debates around race and intimacy.
The African Lion, Dr Chika Onyeani, is back and roaring. The author of the phenomenally successful Capitalist N*gger, which has sold more than 100 000 copies in South Africa alone, offers a new collection of his speeches, articles and other writings over the last fifteen years.
In Roar Of The African Lion, Dr Onyeani’s unblinking gaze and plain speaking are directed at many of the burning issues of the day. He outlines his revolutionary Spider Web Doctrine – aimed at financial self-reliance and the upliftment of black communities – and attacks the parasitic leaders whose greed has robbed the people of Africa of opportunities for advancement and development since their liberation. He is equally scornful of the failures of the African elite to influence the direction of their countries, and has trenchant comments to make about racism, xenophobia and hypocrisy in Africa, America and elsewhere.
Dr Onyeani also tackles the persistence of slavery on the continent, the West’s ambivalent attitude to aid and debt relief, rampant corruption and the ‘whiteness’ of Barack Obama. Looking to the future, he cautions Africa to be wary of China’s embrace and to pursue its own solutions to African problems.
The life story of Coretta Scott King―wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist―as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds.
Born in 1927 to daringly enterprising parents in the Deep South, Coretta Scott had always felt called to a special purpose. While enrolled as one of the first black scholarship students recruited to Antioch College, she became politically and socially active and committed to the peace movement. As a graduate student at the New England Conservatory of Music, determined to pursue her own career as a concert singer, she met Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister insistent that his wife stay home with the children. But in love and devoted to shared Christian beliefs as well as shared racial and economic justice goals, she married Dr. King, and events promptly thrust her into a maelstrom of history throughout which she was a strategic partner, a standard bearer, and so much more.
As a widow and single mother of four, she worked tirelessly to found and develop The King Center as a citadel for world peace, lobbied for fifteen years for the US national holiday in honor of her husband, championed for women's, workers’ and gay rights and was a powerful international voice for nonviolence, freedom and human dignity.
Coretta’s is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who, in the face of terrorism and violent hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life.
In 2015 and 2016 waves of student protest swept across South African campuses under the banner of FeesMustFall. This book offers a historical perspective, analysing regional influences on the ideologies that have underpinned South African student politics from the 1960s to the present. The author considers the history of student organisations in the Northern Transvaal (today Limpopo Province) and the ways in which students and youth influenced political change on a national scale, over generations.
The University of the North at Turfloop played an integral role in building the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) in the late 1960s and propagating Black Consciousness in the 1970s; in the 1980s it became an ideological battleground where Black Consciousness advocates and ANC-affiliates competed for influence. Limpopo has remained a hotbed of political activism in the country. Generations of nationally prominent student and youth activists became politically conscientised here – among them Julius Malema, Onkgopotse Tiro, Cyril Ramaphosa, Frank Chikane and Peter Mokaba.
Turfloop (University of Limpopo) has remained politically significant in the post-apartheid era: it was here in 2007 that Julius Malema supported Jacob Zuma’s ascension to the South African presidency during the ANC’s pivotal party conference that resulted in the ousting of Thabo Mbeki.
There is a current revival of Black Consciousness in South Africa, as political and student movements – as well as academics and campaigners working in decolonisation – reconfigure the continued struggle for socio-economic revolution with this ideology at the forefront. Black Consciousness is also increasingly finding solidarity with similar movements around the world, in particular #BlackLivesMatter in the United States and the black power campaign gaining momentum around the memory of the Mangrove Nine in the United Kingdom. Yet there is still not enough known about the history of Black Consciousness in South Africa, nor its particular solidarity in other parts of the world.
Finding itself at the centre of decolonisation debates and renewed struggles for socio-economic power in the year of the 40th anniversary of Biko’s murder, The Black Consciousness Reader is an essential collection of history, interviews and opinions about the philosophy being revived to finally bring revolution to South Africa. This would be not so much a violent overthrow as a deep change to a nation’s thinking to properly acknowledge its Blackness, and through that its entire past, a broader sweep of its heroes and a wider understanding of its intellectual and political influences. Although Biko would be the most influential personality throughout this history, the book intends to trace the history of Black Consciousness in South Africa also through its other primary personalities and events in politics – predominantly black and woman power – as well as art and music.
Steve Biko, Onkgopotse Tiro, Deborah Matshoba, Don Mattera, Neville Alexander, Florence Ribeiro, the Black Power solidarity movement, Rick Turner, Strini Moodley, the lyrical work of Lefifi Tladi and Dashiki are among the many subjects included in this important work.
Mteto Nyati knew as a schoolboy in Mthatha, working at his mother’s store, that he wanted to fix and build things. After completing his studies at Natal University, he turned down a Rhodes scholarship and headed for Jo'burg to take up a position at Afrox. He was the only black engineer and the advice he received was ‘don’t mess up’.
He didn’t and today is one of South Africa’s top CEOs. This is his inspirational story.
Piet Matipa is jonk, swart, gay en Afrikaans. Sy rubrieke in Beeld is baie gewild omdat dit aan ’n sonderlinge lewensuitkyk uitdrukking gee. Hy praat vanuit ’n perspektief wat jy nie sommer in Suid-Afrika kry nie. Sy siening van die wêreld is gevorm deur interessante bestemmings waar sy lewenspad aangedoen het. As skolier aan Hoërskool Waterkloof en student aan die Pukke het Piet uitgeblink. Sy skryftande is geslyp as joernalis in Beeld se misdaadkantoor en as sepieskrywer vir 7de Laan , waar hy steeds werksaam is. Nie sleg vir iemand wat in ’n kinderhuis grootgeword het nie!
Afrikaans het sy lê op ’n unieke manier in Piet se mond gekry. En vir één ding deins hy nie terug nie: dit is om sy mond verby te praat. In Dwarsklap laat Piet hom uit oor aangeleenthede wat alle Suid-Afrikaners raak. Misdaad en taxi-bestuurders is groot klippe in die skoen. Wenke oor gewigsverlies word gegee, en ook hoe om ’n ontkleedanser by ’n henneparty te kry. En oor liefdesavonture kan jy vir Piet min vertel, veral wanneer sosiale media betrokke is.
’n Hoogs vermaaklike boek wat die donkerte van die lewe in ligte skakerings laat glim.
In Rock | Water | Life, Lesley Green examines the interwoven realities of inequality, racism, colonialism, and environmental destruction in South Africa, calling for environmental research and governance to transition to an ecopolitical approach that could address South Africa's history of racial oppression and environmental exploitation.
Green analyses conflicting accounts of nature in environmental sciences that claim neutrality amid ongoing struggles for land restitution and environmental justice.
Offering in-depth studies of environmental conflict in contemporary South Africa, Green addresses the history of contested water access in Cape Town; struggles over natural gas fracking in the Karoo; debates about decolonising science; the potential for a politics of soil in the call for land restitution; urban baboon management, and the consequences of sending sewage to urban oceans.
Ayanda is a South African actress, public figure and artivist best known for playing the title role in the SABC1 sitcom Nomzamo, since 2007. It is her however her current role as Phumemele on Isibaya that has cemented her presence in the acting industry. A role which saw her twice nominated for the Royalty Soapie Awards.
In this personal memoir, Ayanda tracks her journey back to self in a bid to return to her true self and to redefine her worth. Ayanda shares intimate details of her most profound experiences as a young girl in the township in a toxic relationship with a high flying gangster. As young woman falling pregnant out of wedlock and the ostracism she encountered. As a young black woman in a white male dominated corporate environment. As an artist who didn’t quite fit into mainstream popularity and her battle to maintain her authenticity in an industry that recognizes fake over real. As a loyal friend betrayed by someone she loved and trusted. As a mother overwhelmed by the expectations of being a supermom. As a young wife fighting not to lose herself in marriage. As well as finding God by going against the stereotypes that define God for us.
In this memoir Ayanda zooms into and challenges the social expectations, cultural conditioning and people perceptions that sets the narrative that dictates the “self worth” for girls and women. By unlearning and reflecting on the untrue narratives girls and women are told and taught about themselves and learning a different truth, girls and women can begin the ‘Unbecoming To Become’ journey of restoring their identity, reclaiming their power and redefining their self worth.
An urgent primer on race and racism, from the host of the viral hit video series “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man”.
“You cannot fix a problem you do not know you have.” So begins Emmanuel Acho in his essential guide to the truths Americans need to know to address the systemic racism that has recently electrified protests in all fifty states. “There is a fix,” Acho says. “But in order to access it, we’re going to have to have some uncomfortable conversations.”
In Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, Acho takes on all the questions, large and small, insensitive and taboo, many white Americans are afraid to ask―yet which all Americans need the answers to, now more than ever. With the same open-hearted generosity that has made his video series a phenomenon, Acho explains the vital core of such fraught concepts as white privilege, cultural appropriation, and “reverse racism.” In his own words, he provides a space of compassion and understanding in a discussion that can lack both. He asks only for the reader’s curiosity―but along the way, he will galvanize all of us to join the antiracist fight.
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