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Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category

Wits University Press Presents Penny Siopis: Time and Again, Edited by Gerrit Olivier

Penny SiopisForthcoming in December, Penny Siopis: Time and Again, edited by Gerrit Olivier:

Hers is restless imagination played out in a daunting, experimental productivity and a willingness to surprise even herself. As we look back, the patterns of her creative acts become more legible, allowing us to see more easily the internal coherence of her body of work and the idiosyncratic logic of its unfolding. — Colin Richards, 2005

With her earliest work, Penny Siopis established herself as one of the most prominent and challenging visual artists in and beyond South Africa.

Penny Siopis traces Siopis’ development from her famous early cake paintings to the history paintings, the installations, video work and her exuberant experiments with ink and glue. Edited by Olivier, this collection of essays and interviews contextualises Siopis’ major contribution to the visual arts by considering her work through various prisms.

In an extensive interview with Olivier, Siopis comments on how her abiding engagement with social concerns has always been combined with an interest in form and process.

Penny Siopis will be an invaluable source to those interested in the trajectory and development of Siopis’ artistic career. With contributions from leading art and cultural commentators, the book provides invaluable insight as to her position as one of the leading South African artists of the 21st century. It climaxes with a riveting a conversation between William Kentridge and Siopis on the trajectory of their own work and South African art over the past 30 years.

The publication of Penny Siopis coincides with a retrospective exhibition of her work at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town in December 2014 and the Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg in 2015.

Contributors:

TJ Demos, William Kentridge, Achille Mbembe, Njabulo Ndebele, Sarah Nuttall, Griselda Pollock and Colin Richards.

Book details


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Join Alex Schoeman, Peter Delius and Tim Maggs for a Film Screening at the Launch of Forgotten World at Wits

Forgotten World Book Launch

 
Forgotten World: The Stone Walled Settlements of the Mpumalanga EscarpmentWits University Press and the Origins Centre would like to invite you to the launch of Forgotten World: The Stone Walled Settlements of the Mpumalanga Escarpment by Alex Schoeman, Peter Delius and Tim Maggs.

The authors will be in conversation with Thabang Makwetla, Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, and Sekibakiba Lekgoathu, Associate Professor in History at the University of the Witwatersrand.

A short film by Quizzical Pictures, Forgotten World, will be screened.

The launch will be at the Origins Centre at Wits on Wednesday, 26 November, at 6 for 6:30 PM.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 26 November 2014
  • Time: 6 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Origins Centre
    Corner Yale Road and Enoch Sontonga Road
    Wits University
    Braamfontein | Map
  • Guest Speakers: Thabang Makwetla and Sekibakiba Lekgoathu
  • RSVP: Corina, corina.vanderspoel@wits.ac.za

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Join Kylie Thomas for the Launch of Impossible Mourning at Kalk Bay Books

Impossible Mourning: HIV/AIDS and Visuality after ApartheidWits University Press and Kalk Bay Books would like to invite you to the launch of Impossible Mourning: HIV/AIDS and Visuality after Apartheid by Kylie Thomas.

The author will be in conversation with Ingrid de Kok and Keguro Macharia about her research, which is derived from her work in art and narrative support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS in Khayelitsha.

The event will take place on Monday, 24 November, at Kalk Bay Books at 6 for 6:30 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Monday, 24 November 2014
  • Time: 6:00 for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Kalk Bay Books
    124 Main Road
    Kalk Bay
    Cape Town | Map
  • Interviewers: Ingrid de Kok and Keguro Macharia
  • RSVP: events@kalkbaybooks.co.za, 021 788 2266

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Mandisi Majavu: White Privilege Protected Oscar Pistorius

Visual Century“Notwithstanding the violent and aggressive behaviour he exhibited in his personal life, the product of a historically heavily subsidised racial group in South Africa, Oscar Pistorius’ life demonstrates how white privilege protected his masculinity from being constructed as uncivil, criminal, threatening and dangerous,” Mandisi Majavu, co-editor of Visual Century: South African Art in Context 1907-2007, writes on The South African Civil Society Information Service (SACSIS).

Majavu goes on to explain what he means, referring to the treatment Caster Semenya received when faced with adversity, and offers examples from the recent Pistorius trial to substantiate his argument: “Even after Pistorius was charged with murder, his defence relied on the construction of a white male figure who is ‘embattled and fearful’ in a postcolonial nation plagued by violence.”

Read Majavu’s article:

The credibility of Oscar Pistorius’ legal defence relied on white angst about crime in post-apartheid South Africa, which interestingly enough became a source of unbearable discomfort for many whites after the demise of a white supremacist regime that whites had suckled from for almost five decades. However, when it comes to Oscar Pistorius we are encouraged to forget this history and instead focus on his sporting achievements. Scholars of colour argue that one of the biggest lies that sport perpetuates is the notion that somehow sports can take us “out of our ethnicities”. It is from this perspective that I read the comment made by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula that Pistorius would have been the perfect ambassador for the Unite 4 Mandela campaign. Mbalula is quoted as saying that “one of the ambassadors of such a campaign would have been Pistorius to unite us as a nation… a white Afrikaner boy who triumphed over adversity.”

Book details

  • Visual Century: South African Art in Context 1907-2007 edited by Gavin Jantjes, Jillian Carman, Lize van Robbroeck, Mandisi Majavu, Mario Pissarra and Thembinkosi Goniwe
    Book homepage
    EAN: 9781868145478
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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William Beinart to Deliver Seminar on African Local Knowledge and Livestock Health in Edinburgh

African Local Knowledge and Livestock Health: Diseases and Treatments in South AfricaThe Centre for African Studies at the University of Edinburgh would like to invite you to a seminar by William Beinart.

Beinart will be speaking about his book African Local Knowledge and Livestock Health: Diseases and Treatments in South Africa.

The event will take place in Chrystal Macmillan Building on Wednesday, 19 November, from 4 to 6 PM.

Catch it if you can!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 19 November 2014
  • Time: 4 PM to 6 PM
  • Venue: Chrystal Macmillan Building
    Seminar rooms 1 & 2
    The University of Edinburgh
    15a George Square
    Edinburgh | Map

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Impossible Mourning Reacts Against Complacency and the Invisibility of People Living with HIV/Aids

Impossible MourningSteven Robins has written an article on Kylie Thomas’s new book, Impossible Mourning: HIV/AIDS and Visuality after Apartheid.

In the book, Thomas argues that people living with HIV/Aids are often rendered invisible by media. She says that as a nation, South Africa denies the devastation caused by the disease and thus makes mourning loss and suffering impossible. Impossible Mourning is a look at the representation of HIV/Aids and South African’s response to it in visual culture.

In the article, Robins says that while HIV/Aids is still a very big problem in South Africa, it is no longer viewed that way. There is less attention given to the disease in the media, and there is a kind of public complacency about it. Funding for organisations for the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is becoming more and more difficult to come by. He says that Thomas’s book is an important reminder of what art does to challenge this recurrent issue.

Read the article:

In her recently published book, Impossible Mourning: HIV and Visuality After Apartheid, Stellenbosch University academic Kylie Thomas analyses the role of art and photography in critically engaging with the pandemic.

Recalling the Aids denialism of the Mbeki administration, she writes about the ways in which the excess of words, images and debates on World Aids Day is accompanied these days by “the invisibility of the lives and the struggles of the majority of people living with HIV/Aids on all the other days of the year”.

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Fight for Democracy Author Glenda Daniels Edits 2014 Wits State of the Newsroom Report

Fight for DemocracyFight for Democracy: The African National Congress and the Media in South Africa author Glenda Daniels edited the second Wits State of the Newsroom report, titled “Disruption Accelerated”.

Glenda Nevill, editor of The Media Online, quotes Daniels in her review of the report which highlights the tumultuous reality of South African media. Nevill writes: “Daniels says these disruptions in South Africa’s newsrooms open up opportunities as they shake up ‘institutions and leadership, which may have become complacent, rigid and defensive’.”

All is not gloom and doom, however. Read the article to find out more about the report:

Daniels says positive developments such as Independent Media bing bought by a black consortium took place against the backdrop of an “increasingly threatening environment for journalists”, something that’s following a global trend. Investigative journalists, those pursuing corruption stories and photojournalists covering service-delivery protests have been particularly hard hit.

“The environment included incidents of surveillance and the alleged tapping of journalists’ phones,2 a number of assaults and harassment of journalists and photographers, including one death3 and a violent arson attack that completely burnt a community radio station to the ground.4 All this occurred against an ominous legislative backdrop: the impending signing into law of the Protection of State Information and Intelligence Bills and the existing anachronistic National Key Points Act,” she writes.

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Forgotten World by Alex Schoeman, Peter Delius and Tim Maggs: A Rich Account of the Koni People

Forgotten WorldNew from Wits University Press, Forgotten World: The Stone Walled Settlements of the Mpumalanga Escarpment by Alex Schoeman, Peter Delius and Tim Maggs:

The Mpumalanga Escarpment, stretching from Ohrigstad in the north via Lydenburg and Machadodorp to Carolina in the south, saw massive changes in precolonial times. Still visible today is a vast expanse of man-made stone walling which connects over 10 000 square kilometres of land into a complex web of circular homesteads, towns, terraced fields and linking roads, stretching for 150 kilometres in an almost continuous belt. Oral traditions recorded in the early twentieth century named the area Bokoni – the country of the Koni people.

Very few people know much about these settlements, how and when they were created, and why today they are deserted and largely ignored. A long tradition of archaeological work which might provide some of the answers remains cloistered in universities. The ensuing knowledge vacuum has been filled by a wide variety of exotic explanations – invoking ancient settlers from India or even visitors from outer space – that share a common assumption that Africans were too primitive to have created such elaborate and complex stone structures.

In Forgotten World two leading archaeologists and a distinguished historian provide a rich account which defies the usual stereotypes about backward African farming methods. They show that these settlements were at their peak in the period between 1500 and 1820, that they housed a substantial population, organised vast amounts of labour for infrastructural development, and displayed extraordinary levels of agricultural innovation and productivity. The inhabitants were connected to a trading system which linked them to the coast of Mozambique and to the wider world of Indian Ocean Trade beyond.

They straddled trade routes, especially in metal, that connected the mineral-rich northern reaches of South Africa to more southerly areas. Most intriguingly, oral traditions allow the authors to reconstruct the epic political and economic struggles that ultimately brought about the downfall and abandonment of the Bokoni settlements.

CONTENTS

Introduction Conflicting Readings of the Rocks

Chapter 1. Making of a Walled World: The context and emergence of Bokoni

Chapter 2. Living amongst the Terraces: The changing way of life at Bokoni

Chapter 3. Neighbours and Nemesis: Survival and defeat in an increasingly dangerous world

Chapter 4. Aftermath: Legacies in the 19th and 20th centuries

Chapter 5. What should be done: The case for decisive action to protect these sites

Book details


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New from Wits Press – Forgotten World: The Stone Walled Settlements of the Mpumalanga Escarpment

Forgotten WorldPresenting Forgotten World, Alex Schoeman, Peter Delius and Tim Maggs’ exposition of the mysterious Mpumalanga Escarpment:

The Mpumalanga Escarpment, stretching from Ohrigstad in the north via Lydenburg and Machadodorp to Carolina in the south, saw massive changes in precolonial times. Still visible today is a vast expanse of man-made stone walling which connects over 10 000 square kilometres of land into a complex web of circular homesteads, towns, terraced fields and linking roads, stretching for 150 kilometres in an almost continuous belt. Oral traditions recorded in the early twentieth century named the area Bokoni – the country of the Koni people.

Very few people know much about these settlements, how and when they were created, and why today they are deserted and largely ignored. A long tradition of archaeological work which might provide some of the answers remains cloistered in universities. The ensuing knowledge vacuum has been filled by a wide variety of exotic explanations – invoking ancient settlers from India or even visitors from outer space – that share a common assumption that Africans were too primitive to have created such elaborate and complex stone structures.

In Forgotten World two leading archaeologists and a distinguished historian provide a rich account which defies the usual stereotypes about backward African farming methods. They show that these settlements were at their peak in the period between 1500 and 1820, that they housed a substantial population, organised vast amounts of labour for infrastructural development, and displayed extraordinary levels of agricultural innovation and productivity. The inhabitants were connected to a trading system which linked them to the coast of Mozambique and to the wider world of Indian Ocean Trade beyond.

They straddled trade routes, especially in metal, that connected the mineral-rich northern reaches of South Africa to more southerly areas. Most intriguingly, oral traditions allow the authors to reconstruct the epic political and economic struggles that ultimately brought about the downfall and abandonment of the Bokoni settlements.

CONTENTS

Introduction Conflicting Readings of the Rocks

Chapter 1. Making of a Walled World: The context and emergence of Bokoni

Chapter 2. Living amongst the Terraces: The changing way of life at Bokoni

Chapter 3. Neighbours and Nemesis: Survival and defeat in an increasingly dangerous world

Chapter 4. Aftermath: Legacies in the 19th and 20th centuries

Chapter 5. What should be done: The case for decisive action to protect these sites

Book details


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Siphokazi Magadla: The Women of the EFF Better have Something up Their Sleeves!

UbuntuSiphokazi Magadla, co-editor of Ubuntu: Curating the Archive, questions why the female leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters have taken a back seat.

Magadla says the female leaders of the EFF, such as Primrose Sonti and Magdalene Moonsamy, have been “visible in their domestic worker attire”, but have been sidelined in the “political theatre” Julius Malema, Andile Mngxitama and others have created of parliament.

When I look at the bravado of the EFF men, I see at work the creation of a new heroic masculinity. These new “heroes” are inviting us to reinvigorate our claims to the nation and to accept the radical choices we will have to make in achieving a greater kind of freedom. Academic and gender specialist from the UK, Elaine Unterhalter in her work, “Heroic Masculinity in South Africa Autobiographical Writing of the Anti-Apartheid Struggle”, reminds us that the trouble with heroic masculinity is that:

“… in the discourse of heroic masculinity women may be un-gendered equal comrades, they may be heroines who inspire, but somehow do not live the struggle. They may be the wounded, or the innocent supportive relatives. In all of these guises they have no autonomy, no different political interests, and no struggle. Their views are always expressed or interpreted by men”

The demise of the ANC Women’s League already alerts us to the dangers of this kind of masculinity. The women of the EFF better have something up their sleeves!

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