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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Voices of Resilience provides a rich history of Durban’s Kenneth Gardens through the oral stories of its residents

Kenneth Gardens is Durban’s largest low-income municipal housing estate.

Initially built for ‘poor whites’, Kenneth Gardens today is arguably one of the most socially diverse living spaces in the city. While the estate is significant in terms of its size, history and social make-up, very little has been written about it. This book provides a history of Kenneth Gardens through the oral history stories of its residents.

It is a rich tapestry of narratives as told by people who resided in Kenneth Gardens during apartheid, those that moved into the estate when the Group Areas Act began to be defunct, as well as stories from residents who have more recently moved into the estate.

Although this book is about Kenneth Gardens itself, it is also about the history of social housing, identity formation and change, urban planning, and state regulation. Many of the story tellers reveal intimate moments of struggle in their lives. But what emerges more strongly than vulnerability and hardship is embedded resilience and adaptability.

Through the narratives we come to understand how a subsidised rental apartment becomes home, and how relative strangers can form a neighbourhood based on shared circumstances, proximity and an urban planning design that fosters familiarity and belonging. The narratives are accompanied by a unique photo essay created by acclaimed photographer Cedric Nunn.

The authors invite readers to dwell in the everyday lives and memories of the people of Kenneth Gardens, and in so doing unravel the complexities of social housing, local government, regulation, urban identity politics and human agency.

Monique Marks is head of the newly established Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology. She has published widely in the areas of youth social movements, ethnographic research methods, police labour relations, police organisational change and street-level drug use.

Kira Erwin is a sociologist and senior researcher at the Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology. She is currently leading a number of research projects that address issues of migration and inclusion, high school children’s ideas of race and the future in Durban, and how recipients of state delivered housing construct narratives of home and belonging.

Tamlynn Fleetwood is an independent research and evaluation specialist across a wide range of areas in the social sciences, namely education, urban and environmental issues, housing, and the informal economy.

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  • Voices of Resilience: A Living History of the Kenneth Gardens Municipal Housing Estate in Durban by Monique Marks, Kira Erwin, Tamlynn Fleetwood
    EAN: 9781869143985
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Launch – Hostels in South Africa: Spaces of Perplexity by Nomkhosi Xulu Gama (16 May)

This book is about the transformation of KwaMashu Hostel in Durban in the twenty-first century – from a single-sex men’s hostel to family accommodation in community residential units.

It presents the continuities and discontinuities that take place as hostel-dwellers grapple with everyday livelihood struggles.

The broader South African labour market does not make it easy for rural-urban migrants, who continue to make the same journeys their grandfathers, fathers and uncles, and later their grandmothers, mothers and aunts took, in search of employment opportunities, although the context for these journeys has changed immeasurably.

Hostels in South Africa engages with challenges and triumphs of hostel-dwellers, as they both resist and embrace the process of transformation, the clashes between men and women and across generations, and feelings of nostalgia for the past.

Because the author spent time living at KwaMashu Hostel during the two years of her fieldwork, this book presents an intimate view of hostels from the inside.

Nomkhosi Xulu Gama is a researcher at the Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology and a senior lecturer in General Education. Her main interests are in formerly single-sex workers’ hostels, rural-urban connections, and gender and livelihoods. She is a Fulbright Scholar and is currently the deputy chairperson for the South African Sociological Association.
 
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Black Consciousness and Progressive Movements under Apartheid presents an intellectual history of Black Consciousness in SA in the comparative perspective that Biko originally called for

Accounts of Black Consciousness have tended to place the discourse in a continuum of resistance to white minority rule and to assess its significance in bringing about the downfall of apartheid.

While these are valid historical narratives, they have occluded some of the wider resonances and significance of both the movement and the body of ideas.

This book takes its cue from Steve Biko’s own injunction to see the evolution of Black Consciousness alongside other political doctrines and movements of resistance in South Africa. It identifies progressive thought and movements, such as radical Christianity and ecumenism, student radicalism, feminism and trade unionism, as valuable interlocutors that nonetheless also competed for the mantle of liberation, espousing different visions of freedom.

These progressive movements were open to what Ian Macqueen characterises as the ‘shockwaves’ that Black Consciousness created. It is only with such a focus that we can fully appreciate the significance of Black Consciousness, both as a movement and as an ideology emanating from South Africa in the late 1960s and 1970s. Black Consciousness and Progressive Movements under Apartheid thus presents an intellectual history of Black Consciousness in South Africa in the comparative perspective that Biko originally called for.

Ian M. Macqueen is a lecturer in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies at the University of Pretoria. He is also a research associate of the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand.

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Goolam Vahed’s biography of Chota Motala examines Motala’s intellectual project and activism from his childhood years through to his role as an ambassador in the new South Africa

Chota Motala, medical doctor, family man, and political activist, lived out over eight decades of his life in communities that preceded, and ultimately succeeded, the hegemony of formal apartheid in South Africa.

For most of this time, Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal, was home to Motala, who helped to shape the politics of the Midlands and whose legacy is vibrantly woven into the city.

Pietermaritzburg spawned strong alliances between trade unions, political organisations and communities that cut across race, class and religious lines.

This book examines Motala’s intellectual project and activism from his childhood years through to his role as an ambassador in the new South Africa, and throws light on poorly documented episodes in Pietermaritzburg’s history.
 
 
 

Goolam Vahed is a professor of History at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His previous works, published with UKZN Press include Chatsworth: The Making of a South African Township (co-edited with Ashwin Desai) 2012 and Schooling Muslims in Natal Identity, State and the Orient Islamic Educational Institute (co-written with Thembisa Waetjen) 2015.

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Listen: Christi van der Westhuizen discusses Sitting Pretty with Eusebius McKaiser

Sitting PrettyAt the opening of South Africa’s first democratic parliament in 1994, newly elected president Nelson Mandela issued a clarion call to an unlikely group: white Afrikaans women, who during apartheid straddled the ambivalent position of being simultaneously oppressor and oppressed.

He conjured the memory of poet Ingrid Jonker as ‘both an Afrikaner and an African’ who ‘instructs that our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child’. More than two decades later, the question is: how have white Afrikaans women responded to the liberating possibilities of constitutional democracy?

With Afrikaner nationalism in disrepair, and official apartheid in demise, have they re-imagined themselves in opposition to colonial ideas of race, gender, sexuality and class?
 

This book explores this postapartheid identity through the concepts of ordentlikheid, as an ethnic form of respectability, and the volksmoeder, or mother of the nation, as enduring icon.

Christi van der Westhuizen is associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pretoria.

Christi recently discussed deconstructing and dismantling Afrikaner female identity, trying to make sense of identities imposed upon her, the impact Ingrid Jonker’s poetry had on apartheid-era South Africa (and Nelson Mandela), and how whiteness and language was entrenched into South Africa with Eusebius McKaiser on 702. Listen here:

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Claire Scott’s At the Fault Line explores whiteness and white identity through the lens of literary journalism

Social identities within post-apartheid South Africa remain highly contested with issues of race and racism often dominating the national discourse.

In order to find their place within the national narrative, white South Africans need to re-think their stories, re-define their positions in society and re-imagine their own narratives of identity and belonging.

By exploring whiteness and white identity through the lens of literary journalism, this book reflects on ways in which writers use the uncertainties and contradictions inherent in this genre to reveal the complexities of white identity formation and negotiation within contemporary society.

Authors such as Rian Malan (My Traitor’s Heart), Antjie Krog (Country of My Skull and Begging to Be Black), Jonny Steinberg (Midlands) and Kevin Bloom (Ways of Staying) are writing at times of political and social flux. By working at the fault line of literature and journalism, these literary journalists not only mirror the volatility of their social setting but also endeavour to find new narrative forms, revealing the inherent anxiety and possibility of whiteness in contemporary South Africa.

Claire Scott holds a PhD in English Studies from the University of the Western Cape and currently lectures in the department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has a keen interest in South African literary journalism, as well as representations of South African identities within popular culture.

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Yves Vanderhaeghen’s Afrikaner Identity looks at the role that media plays in the construction and demarcation of boundaries and culture

What have we done?’ is a plea heard amid the wreckage of Afrikanerdom.

‘Afrikaner’ in South African public discourse is more often than not a swear word.

This close media study considers how, squeezed in the moral vice of past and present, Afrikaners look in a mirror that reflects only a beautiful people.

It is an image of upstanding, hard-working citizens.

To hold on to that image requires blinkers, sleights of hand and contortion.

Above all, it requires an inversion of the liberation narrative in which the wretched of South Africa are the historical oppressors, besieged in their language, their homes, their jobs.

They are the new ‘grievables’, an identity that requires intricate moral manoeuvres, and elision as much of the past as of transformation.
 
Yves Vanderhaeghen is a journalist who grew up in Pretoria, took time out from newspapers to write his PhD on Afrikaner ‘self-othering’ in Beeld newspaper, and is now editor of the Witness in Pietermaritzburg.

‘Central to the book’s original contribution is the notion of “self-othering”, namely the discursive switch present in Afrikaans media that turns perpetrators into victims in an attempt to dislodge the historical burden of collective guilt and assume a new identity of marginalisation – thereby activating a discourse of minority rights and the need for cultural protection. This is a significant, authentic insight that the author goes on to support through empirical analysis of newspaper reports.’ — Herman Wasserman, professor of Media Studies and director of the Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town

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‘Leonhard Praeg’s Imitation will grab you by the mind and spirit and not let go, even after you’ve finished reading it,’ writes Robyn Sassen

Imitation happened when an unsuspecting philosopher one day found himself equally outraged by South African president Jacob Zuma’s Big Man building project in Nkandla; awed, all over again, by Milan Kundera’s Immortality; and numbed by the monument to hubris generally known as ‘the highest basilica in all of Christendom’, Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire.

Leonhard Praeg is head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pretoria. He has published a number of books on African philosophy, violence in the post-colony and African humanism. Imitation is his first novel.

Robyn Sassen recently wrote a rave review of Praeg’s lauded novel:

Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) did it.

Italian philosopher Umberto Eco (1932-2016) did it.

And now, there’s South African philosopher Leonhard Praeg with his debut novel weaving together a tale of self-reflection and intrigue; philosophy, politics and coincidence, to say nothing of love and tragedy in a way that will grab you by the mind and spirit and not let go, even after you’ve finished reading it.

Imitation is an extremely lucid narrative which doffs a hat to Czech writer Milan Kundera (b. 1929) as it plays intelligently and curiously with all the possibilities of what storytelling can be.

Granted, it doesn’t have the gravitas of Eco’s Name of the Rose, which engages the meaning of laughter in the world through a medieval cipher, but it sits comfortably on the same shelf.

Cast between a farm in the Karoo, an apartment in Paris and a building site on the Ivory Coast, among other places; it’s contemporary and sexy without being overworked or irrelevant and once you start reading it, you will not be able to remove yourself from its confines until the very last page.

The novel weaves together first person narrative with the back story of fictional characters developed through the pen of Kundera and truths that play with the notion of hubris in our world.

What Praeg is doing here is penetrating deeply into Kundera’s 1990 novel Immortality, and exploring the what ifs of that tale. In doing so, he finds other characters of his own, including a young man who is safe in the confines of his own silence and has survived 17 suicide attempts.

Continue reading Sassen’s review here.

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’n Uiters tydige huldeblyk aan Milan Kundera – Joan Hambidge resenseer Leonhard Praeg se Imitation

Imitation is a strikingly original work of great subtlety, complexity, imagination, originality, and a clear homage to Milan Kundera’s Immortality. I have never read a novel quite like this.’ – JASON M. WIRTH, Commiserating with Devastated Things: Milan Kundera and the Entitlements of Thinking

‘Imitation is challenging, ambitious and intelligent. It is a fascinating and adventurous parallel to Immortality that is intriguingly and playfully managed; an impressive and carefully considered novel that takes some of Milan Kundera’s most enigmatic thoughts and modernises them.’ – ANDREW BROWN, 2006 recipient of the Sunday Times Fiction Prize for Coldsleep Lullaby

‘With stylistic virtuosity, Praeg successfully enacts the tempestuous relationship between philosophy and fiction while elegantly and eloquently exploring the relationship between coloniser and colonised subjects. It is a brilliant, sparkling novel that heralds a very thoughtful, new voice on the South African literary scene.’ – SAM NAIDU, Associate Professor of Literary Theory, World Literatures, and English Literature, Rhodes University

Imitation

 
Imitation happened when an unsuspecting philosopher one day found himself equally outraged by South African president Jacob Zuma’s Big Man building project in Nkandla; awed, all over again, by Milan Kundera’s Immortality; and numbed by the monument to hubris generally known as ‘the highest basilica in all of Christendom’, Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire.

Leonhard Praeg is head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pretoria. He has published a number of books on African philosophy, violence in the post-colony and African humanism. Imitation is his first novel.

Joan Hambidge het onlangs Praeg se roman gerenseer; hiér deel sy haar opinies:

Leonhard Praeg se roman Imitation beslaan 300 bladsye. Dit is ‘n roman wat gepubliseer is deur ‘n akademiese uitgewershuis en die skrywer is ‘n professor in filosofie. Boonop tree dit in gesprek met Milan Kundera se beroemde roman Immortality (1990), en word ook betekenisvol opgedra aan Kundera as ‘n geskenk.

Immortality vorm deel van ‘n trilogie, te wete The Book of Laugher and Forgetting en The Unbeararable Lightness of Being.

Soos Kundera se roman hou dit nie by die gewone plot-konvensies nie. Dit is veral ‘n roman van allusies en intertekste. Die leser word ‘n toehoorder en onderrig in die betekenis van lees. Wat is lewe? Wat is dood? In Kundera se roman is daar ‘n vriendskap tussen Goethe en Hemingway in die ander oord.

Praeg erken dat hy karakters en dialoog oorgeneem het – soos Professor Avenarius.

Hierdie roman begin traag, maar wanneer dit jou beetpak en jy die sleutel waarin dit geskryf is, snap, word dit ‘n besonderse leeservaring. Dit bevat selfs sketse van die St Peters basilika (p. 100 -103). Hier word daar kommentaar gelewer op Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, ‘n nabootsing van die oorspronklike, maar groter as die eerste.

Lees Hambidge se volledige resensie hier.

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Zimbabwe’s Predatory State slices incisively into the intricately meshed networks of Zimbabwe’s ruling party and military apparatuses, writes David Moore

By the dawn of independence in 1980, Zimbabwe had one of the most structurally developed economies and state systems in Africa and was classified as a middle-income country.

In 1980, Zimbabwe’s GDP per capita was almost equal to that of China. More than 30 years later, Zimbabwe had regressed to a low-income country with a GDP per capita among the lowest in the world. With these dark economic conditions, discussions concerning structural problems of a country once cited as Africa’s best potential are reignited.

Shumba interrogates the ruling elite political reproduction, modes of accumulation across key economic sectors and implications for development outcomes.

The book raises some pressing questions in search of answers.

If Zimbabwe was the golden darling after independence, why did this happen? Was it inevitable? What were the crucial choices made that led to it? Did the ruling elite know that their choices would lead to Zimbabwe’s developmental decline?
 
 
Jabusile Shumba is a development and public policy graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand. He co-edited Zimbabwe: Mired in Transition (2012). He works with civil society, governments and international organisations in the fields of public policy analysis, governance and human rights, and he lectures part-time for Africa University, College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance.

David Moore recently wrote an op-ed piece for the Daily Maverick, discussing the future of a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe, with reference to Zimbabwe’s Predatory State:

The story of the Zimbabwean coup (which was of course a con) is now well-known. Power-crazed First Lady and her ersatz and erstwhile Generation-40 gang persuade her husband to fire vice-president. He rallies the troops while hiding away and travelling somewhere/everywhere (how: by email and WhatsApp?).

His army comrades – led by a man with an Italianised name and an Ethics Phd from a Pietermaritzburg college – take a few days to persuade/force the long dithering and quickly deteriorating 93-year-old head of party-state to give up. Thousands are in the streets urging the military on. “The Crocodile” – born-again, of course – swims home across the river praising the “father” just deposed to protect him from his disgraceful enemies. On his neatly prepared inaugural, President Emmerson Mnangagwa promises to revive the economy in a Paul Kagame-Deng Xiaoping sort of way, if everyone works hard.

Meanwhile, all the new and faded superpowers are co-operating to help a revitalised finance minister revive an economy that would have died (and still might) by the New Year. They are hurriedly blending all the lessons learnt from decades of floundering Washington, Beijing, Kigali and Fast-Track Land Reform/Command Economy consensuses. Promises of compensation for the white farmers who lost their land flow like milk and honey. Elections? Sure thing: we have them sewn up anyway.

So it will all be fine soon, right? Corruption will be a distant memory. The diaspora will fly or bus back, perhaps encouraged by a UNDP fund for once-exiled technocrats. The currency will peg to regional norms. Zimbabwe will recover its “second most industrialised in Africa” status, raising socio-economic and civil rights to their status at the morrow of freedom. The brutal years of Gukurahundi will be forgiven albeit never forgotten. “Western” donors’ dilemmas over whether to support liberal democrats or desperate dictators will have been solved by this soupçon coup while their hard-nosed investors will flock to the diamonds, gold, platinum, and tobacco and maize in Zimbabwe’s hinterlands. This could be the “democratic developmental state” over which consultants and World Bankers have been drooling for decades. 1

If you read Jabusile Shumba’s Zimbabwe’s Predatory State: Party, Military and Business, out next month from the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, you will be convinced otherwise.

Continue reading Moore’s piece here.

 
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