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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

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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How I became South Africa’s first African clinical psychologist: Excerpt from N Chabani Manganyi’s new memoir

Apartheid and the Making of a Black PsychologistRead an excerpt from Apartheid and the Making of a Black Psychologist: A Memoir, the new book by N Chabani Manganyi, published by Wits Press.

About the book

This intriguing memoir details in a quiet and restrained manner what it meant to be a committed black intellectual activist during the apartheid years and beyond. Few autobiographies exploring the “life of the mind” and the “history of ideas” have come out of South Africa, and N Chabani Manganyi’s reflections on a life engaged with ideas, the psychological and philosophical workings of the mind and the act of writing are a refreshing addition to the genre of life writing.

Starting with his rural upbringing in Mavambe in Limpopo province in the 1940s, Manganyi’s life story unfolds at a gentle pace, tracing the twists and turns of his journey from humble beginnings to Yale University in the USA. The author details his work as a clinical practitioner and researcher, as a biographer, as an expert witness in defence of opponents of the apartheid regime and, finally, as a leading educationist in Mandela’s Cabinet and in the South African academy.

Apartheid and the Making of a Black Psychologist is a book about relationships and the fruits of intellectual and creative labour. In it, Manganyi describes how he used his skills as a clinical psychologist to explore lives – both those of the subjects of his biographies and those of the accused for whom he testified in mitigation; his aim always to find a higher purpose and a higher self.

Prof Manganyi’s thoughtful and meticulous account of what it has meant to become South Africa’s first black psychologist is particularly relevant for our times. Sadly, the issues of violence, injustice and trauma are still with us. Manganyi’s work offers the possibility that a different legacy could prevail – that of a commitment to truth, and a clear vision of what it means to value the humanity of others, as well as of oneself.

- Shayleen Peekes, psychologist

Chabani Manganyi is that rare thing in South Africa – a genuine and independent intellectual.

- Tim Couzens, author

Wits Press has shared an excerpt from the book:

Prelims for Apartheid and the Making of a black psychologist by WitsPress on Scribd

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Don’t miss the launch of Apartheid and the Making of a Black Psychologist: A Memoir by N Chabani Manganyi

Invitation to the launch of Apartheid and the Making of a Black Psychologist

 
Apartheid and the Making of a Black Psychologist: A MemoirYou are invited to join Wits University Press at the CIRCA Gallery, Rosebank, Johannesburg for the launch of Apartheid and the Making of a Black Psychologist: A Memoir by N Chabani Manganyi.

The event will take place tomorrow (Saturday, 25 June). The author and book will be introduced by Grahame Hayes, founding editor of the journal PINS (Psychology in Society) and retired academic.

Don’t miss it!

Prof Manganyi’s thoughtful and meticulous account of what it has meant to become South Africa’s first black psychologist is particularly relevant for our times. Sadly, the issues of violence, injustice and trauma are still with us. Manganyi’s work offers the possibility that a different legacy could prevail – that of a commitment to truth, and a clear vision of what it means to value the humanity of others, as well as of oneself.

- Shayleen Peekes, psychologist

Chabani Manganyi is that rare thing in South Africa – a genuine and independent intellectual.

- Tim Couzens, author

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Preserving South Africa’s priceless ancient culture: Dorothea Bleek: A Life of Scholarship by Jill Weintroub

Dorothea BleekThe Weekend Argus recently featured the new book by Jill Weintroub: Dorothea Bleek: A Life of Scholarship.

Dorothea Bleek (1873 to 1948) devoted her life to completing the “bushman researches” her father and aunt had begun in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. Weintroub examines Bleek’s life story and family legacy, her rock art research and her fieldwork in southern Africa, and, in light of these, evaluates her scholarship and contribution to the history of ideas in South Africa.

It is a compelling and surprising narrative, which reveals an intellectual inheritance intertwined with the story of a woman’s life, and argues that Dorothea’s life work – her study of the bushmen – was also a sometimes surprising emotional quest.

 
Read the feature:

Bleek’s scholarly life far from bleak – Weekend Argus April 30, 2016 by Books LIVE

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Don’t miss the launch of Dorothea Bleek: A Life of Scholarship by Jill Weintroub at Kalk Bay Books

Dorothea Bleek: A Life of ScholarshipWits University Press and Kalk Bay Books invite you to the launch of Jill Weintroub’s new book Dorothea Bleek: A Life of Scholarship.

Dorothea Bleek was an adventurer and researcher travelling across southern Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Driven by intellectual curiosity she was a rock art researcher of note who continued and affirmed the legacy of her father and aunt’s research, known as the Bleek and Lloyd Collection, on the ǀXam bushmen.

When she started her research, biographer Jill Weintroub found a great silence around Dorothea. Why had so little been said or written about her? Why was she the one labelled as “racist” while Lucy Lloyd and Wilhelm Bleek were celebrated as liberal thinkers ahead of their time? Was there nothing more that could be said about Dorothea’s life?

Join Weintroub and Michael Wessels, author of Bushman Letters and Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of the Western Cape, at Kalk Bay Books where they will discuss how researchers navigate the complex legacies of their subjects.

Miss Bleek has been engaged for some time in compiling a dictionary in five languages, all Khoi-San dialects. When she speaks in these tongues it sounds like high-powered knitting needles on low throttle, just clicking over.

- Dorothea Bleek being introduced in a column in the Cape Times, 26, April 1946, announcing a talk on rock art reproductions she was to present

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A fascinating new insight into the Bleek and Lloyd archive in Dorothea Bleek: A Life of Scholarship

Dorothea BleekWits Press is proud to present Jill Weintroub’s investigative biography of an important South African researcher and scholar, Dorothea Bleek: A Life of Scholarship:

Dorothea Bleek (1873 to 1948) devoted her life to completing the ‘bushman researches’ that her father and aunt had begun in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. This research was partly a labour of familial loyalty to Wilhelm, the acclaimed linguist and language scholar of nineteenth-century Germany and later of the Cape Colony, and to Lucy Lloyd, a self-taught linguist and scholar of bushman languages and folklore; but it was also an expression of Dorothea’s commitment to a particular kind of scholarship and an intellectual milieu that saw her spending her entire adult life in the study of the people she called ‘bushmen’.

How has history treated Dorothea Bleek? Has she been recognised as a scholar in her own right, or as someone who merely followed in the footsteps of her famous father and aunt? Was she an adventurer, a woman who travelled across southern Africa driven by intellectual curiosity to learn all she could about the bushmen? Or was she conservative, a researcher who belittled the people she studied and
dismissed them as lazy and improvident? These are some of the questions with which Jill Weintroub starts her thoughtful biography of Dorothea Bleek.

The book examines Dorothea Bleek’s life story and family legacy, her rock art research and her fieldwork in southern Africa, and, in light of these, evaluates her scholarship and contribution to the history of ideas in South Africa. The compelling and surprising narrative reveals an intellectual inheritance intertwined with the story of a woman’s life, and argues that Dorothea’s life work – her study of the bushmen – was also a sometimes surprising emotional quest.

The book makes for fascinating reading. It eschews academic jargon, reads well and will be of interest to a general educated readership. – Michael Wessels, author of Bushman Letters: Interpreting /Xam Narratives (2010)

A magnificent contribution to the broader understanding of the Bleek and Lloyd archive, both in so far as Dorothea’s own work is a part of it, and as she shepherded her father and her aunt’s work into the future in which it has become so valued. – Pippa Skotnes, artist, curator and author of Claim to the Country: The archive of Lucy Lloyd and Wilhelm Bleek (2007)

About the author

Dr Jill Weintroub has spent the past decade focusing on the biography and scholarship of Dorothea Bleek. She is Research Fellow at the Rock Art Research Institute at Wits University.

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Catapulted into the Study of Fossil Man: Phillip Tobias Shares the Story of His Career (Podcast)

Into the PastTobias in ConversationJenny Crwys-Williams recently shared an old interview with Phillip Vallentine Tobias, who sadly has since passed away, on her CapeTalk/ Talk Radio 702 book show. The paleoanthropologist speaks about his memoir Into the Past.

In the interview, Crwys-Williams asks Tobias to share how he made the jump from his interest in genes to paleoanthropology. In response, he says most people who study fossils pay little attention to the genetic aspect, which he regards as very unfortunate because “genes are in fact basic to what we are. He explains that “what we see when we dig up bones is just the by-product of the genes”.

Tobias describes the series of experiences that “catapulted” him into the study of fossil man, when he had been “dead set for working on the living peoples of Africa through genetic insights”. Along the way, he speaks about the significant skulls, like “Dear Boy” and “Mrs Ples”, he has worked on during the course of his career.

Listen to the podcast:

 

Book details

  • Tobias in Conversation: Genes, Fossils and Anthropology by Phillip Tobias and Goran Strkajl, edited by Jane Dugard
    EAN: 9781868144778
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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Xolela Mangcu Identifies 2 Main Differences Between Fees Must Fall and the 1980s Student Protests

The Colour of Our FutureThe Arrogance of PowerBiko

 
Xolela Mangcu has written a piece looking at the similarities and differences between Fees Must Fall and the student protests of the the 1980s – specifically in the role assumed by business – “by way of personal reflection”.

Mangcu recalls when he and his fellow students closed down Wits University in 1985, and the motto “student-worker solidarity” was coined.

He also confesses to “some jealousy as the students ‘usurped’ a role I had thought belonged only to the memories of my generation”.

Mangcu, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Cape Town, says he sees two main differences between then and now, the vital difference being “the absence of the big-hearted liberalism”.

Read the article:

A few months ago, I was invited to a conversation with a delegation from Yale University to share my views on the “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign at the University of Cape Town.

I told the delegation I could see only two differences between the current generation of activists and our generation.

The first difference is that the policy issues the students are dealing with now — decolonising the curriculum, changing the composition of the professoriate and finding money for free higher education — are far more complex than bringing down an oppressive regime.

The second difference is the absence of the big-hearted liberalism of those three men who interviewed me and allowed me to define my own way with their money.
The absence of enlightened liberalism cuts across the business community and the university sector in SA.

What we have instead are business leaders who are penny-pinchers and university vice-chancellors who are more adept at disciplinary measures against students than in understanding where they are coming from and where they might want to go.

Where are those visionary leaders now?

 
Related stories:

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Read John Aldridge’s Paper: A Publisher’s View of a Highly Illustrated Historical Biography, Luka Jantjie

Luka JantjieLuka Jantjie: Resistance Hero of the South African Frontier by Kevin Shillington is an account of the remarkable history of an African ruler and his struggle to maintain his people’s land and freedom in the time of British colonialism.

In a essay for Botswana Notes and Records, publisher John Aldridge wrote about the process of publishing the book, and of finding illustrations for it.

Aldridge discusses the opportunities as well as the issues involved in illustrating such a book. To examine this, he first outlines the story in Luka Jantjie as it presented itself for illustration, and then discusses the development of the work as an illustrated biography.

Read the essay:

Luka Jantjie: A Publisher’s View of a Highly Illustrated Historical Biography

 

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National Museum of African Art Releases Statement on “Recent Revelations About Bill Cosby’s Behaviour”

Gerard SekotoThe Smithsonian National Museum of African Art has released a statement concerning the “recent revelations about Bill Cosby’s behavior” with reference to a current exhibition of his African art collection.

The private collection of Bill and Camille Cosby – containing 62 works and including a painting by Gerard Sekoto – is being shown at the National Museum of African Art, entitled “Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialog”.

Last week legal transcripts from 2005 were released that shed new light on the ongoing scandal involving rape allegations against the comedian. The transcripts show that Cosby admitted to obtaining quaaludes with the intention of giving them to women.

The museum distances itself from the scandal, saying that the artworks in the exhibition stand apart from the personal life of their owner.

Read the statement:

The National Museum of African Art is aware of the recent revelations about Bill Cosby’s behavior. The museum in no way condones this behavior. Our current “Conversations” exhibition, which includes works of African art from our permanent collection and African American art from the collection of Camille and Bill Cosby, is fundamentally about the artworks and the artists who created them, not the owners of the collections.

The artworks from the Cosbys’ collection are being seen by the public for the first time. The exhibition brings the public’s attention to African American artists whose works have long been omitted from the study and appreciation of American art.

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