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Archive for the ‘Academic’ Category

Lauding a “superhuman effort”: Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present launched at Wits

Lauding Sol Plaatje “superhuman effort”: Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present launched at Wits

 
Sol Plaatje's Native Life in South AfricaSol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present, a new book looking at Sol Plaatje’s most famous work, was recently launched at Wits University.

Authored by various South African academics and edited by Janet Remmington, Brian Willan and Bhekizizwe Peterson, the book is a selection of essays. Khwezi Mkhize and Peter Limb are among the contributors.

Plaatje was a journalist and founding Secretary General of the African National Congress, then the South African Native National Congress.

Lauding Sol Plaatje “superhuman effort”: Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present launched at Wits

 

Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa was published during World War I, at a time when the country was under British rule, said Willan, editor and contributor to the current book. Native Life had been written in response to the Natives Land Act passed in 1913, Willan said. In the ensuing years, Plaatje would write the book during a state of emergency and time of duress.

Lauding Sol Plaatje “superhuman effort”: Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present launched at Wits

 
Plaatje had published the book despite many obstacles stacked against him, Willan said. Little money, travelling on horseback to record the impact of the Natives Land Act on black people, and facing critics who didn’t want the book published were just some of the challenges in Plaatje’s way.

Willan called Plaatje’s determination a “superhuman effort”.

“We should think of the story behind the book,” Willan said. “It’s amazing, what Plaatje had to do to publish a book. It could easily not have happened.”

Lauding Sol Plaatje “superhuman effort”: Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present launched at Wits

 

Mkhize said he had at first been disappointed in reading Native Life, finding the book “longwinded” and “weird”. But after getting over the initial disappointment, Mkhize said he believes Native Life could be useful “to figure what other kind of thoughts and imaginaries” are possible.

And while Plaatje’s efforts to convince the British government to repeal the Act failed, Mkhize said they inspired him regardless.

Mkhize’s essay in the book is titled “African Intellectual History, Black Cosmopolitanism and Native Life in South Africa”.

2016 marks Native Life’s first centennial.

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Don’t miss a celebration of the life and work of Solomon T Plaatje with the launch of a new book at Wits

Invitation to the launch of Sol Plaatje's Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present

 
Sol Plaatje's Native Life in South Africa: Past and PresentWits University Press and WiSER invite you to a celebration of the life and work of Solomon T Plaatje with the launch of a new book, Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present edited by Janet Remmington, Brian Willan and Bhekizizwe Peterson.

Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa was written by one of the South Africa’s most talented early 20th-century black intellectuals and journalists. Plaatje’s pioneering book arose out of an early African National Congress campaign to protest against the discriminatory 1913 Natives Land Act.

Join us for a discussion on how and why Native Life came into being at a critical historical juncture, and how it can be read in relation to South Africa’s heightened challenges today.

Brian Willan, Keith Breckenridge, Khwezi Mkhize and Khumisho Moguerane will speak at the event, which which be chaired by Catherine Burns.

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 16 November 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: WiSER Seminar Room
    6th Floor Richard Ward Building
    East Campus
    Wits University | Map
  • Chair: Catherine Burns
  • Refreshments: Drinks and snacks will be served.
  • RSVP: info.witspress@wits.ac.za

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Don’t miss the launch of Fees Must Fall: Student Revolt, Decolonisation and Governance in South Africa

Invitation to the launch of Fees Must Fall: Student Revolt, Decolonisation and Governance in South Africa

 
Fees Must Fall: Student Revolt, Decolonisation and Governance in South AfricaCity Press and Wits University Press have the pleasure of inviting you to the launch of a new book, Fees Must Fall: Student Revolt, Decolonisation and Governance in South Africa, edited by Susan Booysen.

#FeesMustFall, the student revolt that began in October 2015, was an uprising against lack of access to, and financial exclusion from, higher education in South Africa. More broadly, it radically questioned the sociopolitical dispensation resulting from the 1994 social pact between big business, the ruling elite and the liberation movement.

Join us for a discussion with Booysen and some of the contributors to the book, Darlene Miller, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, Vishwas Satgar and Refiloe Lepere.

City Press lifestyle editor and columnist Gugulethu Mhlungu will be moderating the discussion.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 15 November 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Wits School of Governance
    2 St David’s Place,
    Donald Gordon Auditorium,
    Parktown
    Joburg | Map
  • Moderator: Gugulethu Mhlungu
  • RSVP: info.witspress@wits.ac.za

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Don’t miss the launch of Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present at Clarke’s Bookshop

Invitation to the launch of Sol Plaatje's Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present

 
Sol Plaatje's Native Life in South Africa: Past and PresentWits University Press and Clarke’s Bookshop invite you to the launch of Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present, edited by Janet Remmington, Brian Willan and Bhekizizwe Peterson, this evening.

What were the local and global intellectual and cultural influences on Plaatje when he wrote Native Life? Sean O’Toole, contributor to the book will be in conversation with Bheki Peterson (co-editor), and contributors Khwezi Mkhize and André Odendaal reflecting on how Plaatje’s Native Life came into being and how it can be read in relation to South Africa’s heightened challenges today.

Not to be missed!

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Don’t miss the launch of Leon de Kock’s Losing the Plot: Crime, Reality and Fiction in Postapartheid Writing at Love Books

Invitation to the launch of Losing the Plot: Crime, Reality and Fiction in Postapartheid Writing by Leon de Kock

 
Losing the Plot: Crime, Reality and Fiction in Postapartheid WritingWits University Press and Love Books have the pleasure of inviting you to the launch of Leon de Kock’s new book, Losing the Plot: Crime, Reality and Fiction in Postapartheid Writing.

What does South African writing look like in the “post-postapartheid” era, the period in which the high expectations of 1994 and the golden era of the Mandela presidency turned sour? What is a “Postapartheid Writer”?

Poet, novelist and literary critic Leon de Kock will be in conversation with Simon van Schalkwyk, literature scholar and lecturer at Wits University.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 13 October 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Melville
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Interviewer: Simon van Schalkwyk
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Corina van der Spoel, Corina.vanderspoel@wits.ac.za

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2016 Mail & Guardian Literary Festival celebrates the life and work of Sol Plaatje

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Lover of His PeopleSol Plaatje's Native Life in South AfricaSol PlaatjeThree PlaysThe Spirit of Marikana

 
The seventh annual Mail & Guardian Literary Festival will take place on 8 and 9 October in Newtown, Johannesburg at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre.

The festival will mark the 140th anniversary of the birth of Sol Plaatje, novelist, poet, translator, chronicler and founder member of what is now the African National Congress (9 October, 1876).

Find the full programme and all info about the venue and tickets below.

Event Details

Have a look at the programme:

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A lively and wide-ranging analysis of postapartheid South African writing: Losing the Plot by Leon de Kock

De Kock has a strong story to tell about writing in the postapartheid era and, more especially, the ‘post-postapartheid’ era, the period in which the high expectations of 1994 and the golden era of the Mandela presidency turned sour. It is detailed, lively, and full of sharp observation.

– Derek Attrridge, professor of English, University of York and co-editor of the Cambridge History of South African Literature

De Kock is concerned both with drawing lines of continuity and mapping trajectories of difference between apartheid and postapartheid fiction … the intervention Losing the Plot makes in the field of South African literary and cultural studies is substantial.

– Harry Garuba, author, poet and Associate Professor at the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town

Losing the PlotIn Losing the Plot: Crime, Reality and Fiction in Postapartheid Writing, well-known scholar and writer Leon de Kock offers a lively and wide-ranging analysis of postapartheid South African writing which, he contends, has morphed into a far more flexible and multifaceted entity than its predecessor:

If postapartheid literature’s founding moment was the “transition” to democracy, writing over the ensuing years has viewed the Mandelan project with increasing doubt. Instead, authors from all quarters are seen to be reporting, in different ways and from divergent points of view, on what is perceived to be a pathological public sphere in which the plot – the mapping and making of social betterment – appears to have been lost.

The compulsion to forensically detect the actual causes of such loss of direction has resulted in the prominence of creative nonfiction. A significant adjunct in the rise of this is the new media, which sets up a “wounded” space within which a “cult of commiseration” compulsively and repeatedly plays out the facts of the day on people’s screens; this, De Kock argues, is reproduced in much postapartheid writing. And, although fictional forms persist in genres such as crime fiction, with their tendency to overplot, more serious fiction underplots, yielding to the imprint of real conditions to determine the narrative construction.

About the author

Leon de Kock is senior research associate in the Department of English at the University of Johannesburg. He is a poet, translator, essayist and occasional writer of fiction. His writing includes the novel Bad Sex (2011); three volumes of poetry: Bloodsong (1997), gone to the edges (2006) and Bodyhood (2010); several works of literary translation; and academic books.

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Don’t miss Thiven Reddy discussing nationalism and the geography of power after apartheid at WiSER

Invitation to the launch of South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy

 
South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal DemocracyWiSER and Wits University Press invite you to a book launch and discussion of nationalism and the geography of power after apartheid.

In 2000, Thiven Reddy published Hegemony and Resistance: Contesting Identities in South Africa. His new book, South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy, deepens his earlier critique of conventional approaches to democratisation. In particular, he reinterprets South African political dynamics in reference to two “publics” – the formal constitutional arena of modernist institutions, regular elections, political parties and social rights; and the domains of what he terms “the extraordinary”, that is, the infatuation with threats and actual use of violence, the re-racialisation of identities and the proliferation of various forms of protest.

To debate his hypothesis and to assess the pertinence of his findings in the context of the ongoing shifts and realignment within the South African polity, the author will be in conversation with Achille Mbembe, Research Professor in History and Politics (WiSER), and Zimitri Erasmus, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand. Chaired by Shireen Ally, Associate Professor, Wits Department of Sociology.

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Thiven Reddy examines post-apartheid politics in South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy

South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal DemocracyWits University Press is proud to present South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy by Thiven Reddy:

In South Africa, two unmistakable features describe post-apartheid politics. The first is the formal framework of liberal democracy, including regular elections, multiple political parties and a range of progressive social rights. The second is the politics of the “extraordinary”, which includes a political discourse that relies on threats and the use of violence, the crude re-racialisation of numerous conflicts, and protests over various popular grievances.

In this highly original work, Thiven Reddy shows how conventional approaches to understanding democratisation have failed to capture the complexities of South Africa’s post-apartheid transition. Rather, as a product of imperial expansion, the South African state, capitalism and citizen identities have been uniquely shaped by a particular mode of domination, namely settler colonialism.

South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy is an important work that sheds light on the nature of modernity, democracy and the complex politics of contemporary South Africa.

Offers a radical, dissenting and original analysis of contemporary South Africa.

- Colin Bundy, Oxford University (Emeritus)

With impressive theoretical sophistication, Reddy draws upon ideas from a range of theorists and scholars to create a conceptual toolkit for an empirically grounded analysis of contemporary South African politics. This is a book that South African political studies has been waiting for.”

- Harry Garuba, University of Cape Town

Reddy’s book is an important attempt to provide us with a framework for understanding present-day South African politics. Working critically and productively against conventional political science paradigms, this work comes at a crucial junction in the afterlife of apartheid.”

- Anthony Bogues, Brown University

About the author

Thiven Reddy is a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town. His previous publications include Hegemony and Resistance: Contesting Identities in South Africa.

Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1. Modernity: Civil Society, Political Society and the Vulnerable
Chapter 2. The Limits of the Conventional Paradigm, Modernity and South African Democracy
Chapter 3. The Fanonian Paradigm, Settler Colonialism and South African Democracy
Chapter 4. The Colonial State and Settler-Colonial Modernism
Chapter 5. Nationalism, ANC and Domination Without Hegemony
Chapter 6. Elites, Masses and Democratic Change
Chapter 7. Crisis of the National Modern: Democracy, the State and ANC Dominance

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An excerpt from Students Must Rise – “The plan was simple, the march disciplined”

Students Must Rise2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the 1976 uprisings. It’s also a year in which we’ve seen a surge in student activism, from the #FeesMustFall movement that ignited last year to the more recent #RUReferenceList protest against rape culture on campus and in society as a whole.

Students Must Rise: Youth Struggle in South Africa Before and Beyond Soweto ’76 edited by Anne Heffernan and Noor Nieftagodien rethinks the conventional narrative of youth and student activism in South Africa by placing that most famous of moments – the 1976 students’ uprising in Soweto – in a deeper historical and geographic context.

Leading up to Youth Day, 16 June, Bhekizizwe Peterson wrote an essay for Mail & Guardian about the role artists played and continue to play in reshaping our country.

Peterson, Professor and Head of African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, writes: “It is a truism that major social upheavals and changes are often preceded by a flourishing of the arts. This is also true about South Africa and the years before June 1976.”

In the article, Peterson reflects on the role art magazines like S’ketsh and Staffrider played in reinvigorating arts, culture and politics. In conclusion, he shares an extract from Chapter 6 of Students Must Rise, written by Sibongile Mkhabela.

Read the excerpt from “Action and fire in Soweto, June 1976”:

The plan was simple, the march disciplined

The events of the cold morning of June 16 1976 are written in blood, ash and tears.

I met other student leaders to review plans before the march was scheduled to begin at 6.30am.

The direction the march was to follow was clear. Those coming from the west would meet other students at central, designated points. The Naledi group would proceed northwards via Zola, Emdeni, Jabulani, Zondi, Mofolo North, Mofolo Central, Dube and Orlando West townships, and finally all schoolchildren would meet at the Orlando stadium where the student representatives would lead discussions about Afrikaans, and draw up a petition for the department of education. After this act of solidarity, the students would disperse.

Related stories:

 

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