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UKZN Press

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UKZN Press introduces ‘Off-Centre’ – a book series focused on the social, political & cultural life of SA and southern Africa

OFF-CENTRE is a book series focused on the social, political and cultural life of South Africa and the southern African region. The series offers new perspectives on issues of public interest and concern. Written in a deliberately accessible style, each book presents an engaging and informative read for specialist and lay-person alike, utilising the best of academic scholarship to challenge and correct conventional wisdoms. So far, two volumes have been published. The third volume will be published in 2018.

Volume 1: Water in Southern Africa by Larry A. Swatuk
Volume 2: Jan Smuts and the Indian Question

Water in Southern AfricaWater in Southern Africa
Larry Swatuk

When it comes to water, we are fed a daily diet of doom and gloom, of a looming crisis: wars of the future will be over water; nearly one-billion people lack access to clean water; river basins are closed so there is no more water to be allocated despite ever-growing demand; aquifers are overdrawn to such an extent that a global food crisis is just around the corner and major cities, such as Bangkok and Mexico, are sinking. And let us not forget about pollution or vector-borne diseases.

The challenges for sustainable water management are massive. Yet, as shown in this book, there are many positives to be drawn from the southern African experience. Despite abiding conditions of economic underdevelopment and social inequality, people rise to the challenge, oftentimes out of necessity and through self-help, but sometimes through creative coalitions operating at different scales – from the local to the global – and across issue areas – from transboundary governance to urban water supply. This first volume in the Off-Centre series argues that we must learn to see water and the region differently if we are to meet present challenges and better prepare for an uncertain, climate-changing future.

Larry A. Swatuk is Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo, Canada; Extraordinary Professor at the Institute for Water Studies, University of Western Cape, South Africa; and Research Associate, Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC). Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, he was Associate Professor of Natural Resources Governance at the Okavango Research Institute, Maun, Botswana.

Jan Smuts and the Indian QuestionJan Smuts and the Indian Question
Vineet Thakur

As the only surviving statesman of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Jan Smuts arrived for the first session of the United Nations in New York in 1946 to celebratory chants. His departure, a month and a half later, was terrifyingly dissimilar. The ‘counsellor of nations’ left a dejected man, with his honour, power and glory severely dented.

The tragedy that befell Smuts’ international swansong was an Indian delegation, which, as Smuts bemoaned, used his own words against himself and showed him to be a hypocrite. This was eerily similar to a diplomatic onslaught Smuts had faced between 1917 and 1923 at the hands of another set of little-known Indian diplomats. Through these episodic histories, this book chronicles the ambivalent cosmopolitanism of Jan Smuts.
Vineet Thakur is an assistant professor of International Relations at Leiden University, the Netherlands. He holds a doctorate from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, and has taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and Ambedkar University Delhi. He was also previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, University of Johannesburg.

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