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Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category

“Think Tool” to Manage Poorly Managed Urban Areas Produced by Changing Space, Changing City Editors

Changing Space, Changing CityPhilip Harrison and Alison Todes, co-authors of Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg After Apartheid, recently took part in the celebration and report of a three-year-funded programme at Wits entitled “Urban Resilience Assessment for Sustainable Urban Development”.

The programme, with Harrison as the lead investigator, produced a document which “recognises both the threats posed by poorly managed urban areas and of the opportunities that towns and cities offer for greater resilience and sustainability”, Northcliff Melville Times reports. This is intended as a “think tool” to aid thinking around “social resilience, environmental resilience and economic resilience, among others”. Todes also took part in the programme and presented her findings on the evening.

Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after Apartheid is a richly illustrated study which offers detailed empirical analyses of changes in the city’s physical space, as well as a host of chapters on the character of specific neighbourhoods and the social identities being forged within them.

Read the article to find out more about urban recilience:

Academics and industry professionals gathered at the Wits Club at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) on 16 February to listen to a report surrounding the topic of urban resilience. The report, entitled Urban Resilience Thinking for Municipalities, is the result of a new urban development concept that has rapidly gained a central place in spatial and urban planning policy in South Africa over the past few years. The report was not designed as a manual or tool box, but rather as a tool to promote urban resilience thinking.

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Celebrating 100 Years of Mahatma Gandhi’s Return to India with a Reprint of Eric Itzkin’s Gandhi’s Johannesburg

Gandhi’s JohannesburgOn Friday, 27 February, academics from around the world came together to celebrate the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India.

The two-day international conference was hosted by the Centre for Indian Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and the Indian missions in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

The conference celebrated various aspects of Ghandi’s life and career, especially his Satyagraha movement and the establishment of the newspaper, Indian Opinion, to further the Indian independence movement.

Read the article:

“Mahatma Gandhi and his association with South Africa, his adopted country for long years, remains an inspiring narrative of the shared values and struggles of the peoples of South Africa and India,” said Indian High Commissioner Ruchi Ghanashyam, who cited Gandhi’s writings at the conference.

Ghanashyam said it was appropriate that the conference was taking place in Johannesburg where the foundations of his ‘Satyagraha’ movement were laid.

Wits University Press will release a reprint of the classic book about Gandhi’s life in April 2015 – Gandhi’s Johannesburg: Birthplace of Satyagraha by Eric Itzkin.

About the book

From the young mining town of Johannesburg came ideas of peaceful struggle which spread across the world. Formulated by Mohandas Gandhi in the early 1900s, the philosophy of Satyagraha (soul force or passive resistance) became an inspiration to millions all over the world.

For a decade, during the formative years of his philosophy, Gandhi lived in and around Johannesburg where he established a prosperous law practice, though his legal work was soon overtaken by his political activism in support of Indian rights. During that decade, he made the streets and suburbs of the city his own, changing homes frequently and walking tirelessly.

Tolstoy Farm and other places and buildings captured in words and pictures in this evocative book are landmarks of Ghandi’s personal and political growth. The sites featured span huge social divides, from slums and shanties of the old Indian Location to the comfortable suburbs reserved for whites. Considered as a whole, they and the events surrounding them are an essential part of the Gandhian experience.

About the author

Eric Itzkin, a specialist in African Studies, has worked as a research librarian, archivist and museum curator. He is the curator of cultural history at Museum Africa in Johannesburg.

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Join Adam Habib in Johannesburg for the Launch of Two Books on South African Cities

Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after ApartheidUrban Governance in Post-apartheid CitiesWits Press, UKZN Press and Adam Habib would like to invite you to the launch of two books about Johannesburg and its development.

Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after Apartheid edited by Philip Harrison, Graeme Gotz, Alison Todes and Chris Wray and Urban Governance in Post-apartheid Cities: Modes of Engagement in South Africa’s Metropoles edited by Marie Huchzermeyer and Christoph Haferburg will be launched at the same event.

The launch will be at Shikisha Café at 6 for 6:30 PM on Wednesday, 4 March.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 4 March 2015
  • Time: 6 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Shikisha Café
    Miriam Makeba Street
    Newtown | Map
  • Host: Adam Habib
  • RSVP: Corina,

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View Pages and Images from Gerrit Olivier’s Penny Siopis: Time and Again

Penny SiopisGabrielle Guy has shared some pages from Gerrit Olivier’s new book, Penny Siopis: Time and Again.

To coincide with the publication of the book the South African National Gallery announced the first retrospective exhibition of Penny Siopis’ work, also titled Time and Again, which runs until 23 March, when it will move to the Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg.

View the pages:

Watch a video from the opening of the exhibition at the South African National Gallery in Cape Town:

YouTube Preview Image


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Don’t Miss Shaun Viljoen Discussing Richard Rive with Imraan Coovadia at Kalk Bay Books

Richard Rive: A Partial BiographyWits University Press and Kalk Bay Books would like to invite you to a discussion of Richard Rive: A Partial Biography by Shaun Viljoen.

Viljoen will be discussing writer, scholar and teacher Richard Rive, and the ideals and tensions that shaped his personality. He will be in conversation with Imraan Coovadia, author of, most recently, Tales of the Metric System.

The discussion will be at Kalk Bay Books at 6 for 6:30 PM on Thursday, 26 February.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 26 February 2015
  • Time: 6 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Kalk Bay Books
    124 Main Road
    Kalk Bay | Map
  • RSVP:, 021 788 2266

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Launch of Forgotten World: Join Peter Delius For a Guided Walking Tour of the Verlorenkloof Estate

Book Launch: Forgotten World

Forgotten World: The Stone Walled Settlements of the Mpumalanga EscarpmentWits University Press 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 event will take place on Saturday, 14 March on the Verlorenkloof Estate in Mpumalanga where Delius and the owner of the farm, Eric Johnson, will take the participants on a guided walking tour of the stone-walls.

The authors of Forgotten Worlds embarked on an exploration of the Bokoni area where the Koni people have been building intricate settlements from stone since the 1500s.

Registration starts at 10 AM and tickets are R100 per person. Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, 14 March 2015
  • Time: 10:00 AM onwards
  • Venue: Verlorenkloof Estate
    Between Lydenburg and Machadadorp
    Off the R36
    Welgedacht Farm
    Mpumalanga | Map
  • Refreshments will be served
  • Cover charge: R100
  • RSVP: Heidi Jonson,, 013 256 9314/5, 082 048 0777

Book Details

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Money from Nothing: Deborah James Explores Credit, Debt and Lifestyle Aspirations in South Africa

Money from NothingWits Press is proud to present Money from Nothing: Indebtedness and Aspiration in South Africa by Deborah James:

South Africa’s national project of financial inclusion aims to extend credit to black South Africans as a critical aspect of abolishing apartheid’s legacy. Money from Nothing explores the contradictory dynamics inherent in this project, and captures the lived experience of indebtedness for many millions who attempt to improve their positions (or merely sustain existing livelihoods) in this complex economy.

Deborah James shows the varied ways in which access to credit is intimately bound up with identity and status-making. The precarious nature of aspirations of upward mobility and the economic relations of debt which sustain people is revealed by the shadowy side of indebtedness and potential for new forms of oppression and exclusion which can accompany projects of upliftment. She reflects on the apparent absurdity of a situation where consumers’ borrowing is, on the one hand, checked by being blacklisted with the credit bureaux, yet borrowers clamour for a ‘credit information amnesty’ while lenders continue to lend with impunity.

James concludes that the paternalism of a system in which consumers’ bank accounts are under ‘external control’ intensifies the ‘advantage to creditor’ principle that has long underpinned South African consumer law.


List of Illustrations
Non-English Words and Phrases
A Note on Currency
Introduction: The Wellsprings of Consumption and Debt in South Africa
Chapter 1: Indebtedness, Consumption, and Marriage: The New Middle Class
Chapter 2: Regulating Credit: Tackling the Redistributiveness of Neoliberalism
Chapter 3: “Ride the Camel”: Borrowing and Lending in Context
Chapter 4: “You Don’t Keep Money All the Time”: Savings Clubs and Social Mobility
Chapter 5: South Africa’s Credit Crunch: Narratives and Neighborhoods
Chapter 6: “The History of That House Keeps You Out”: Property and the New Entrepeneur
Chapter 7: New Subjectivities: Advice, Aspiration, and Prosperity

About the author

Deborah James is Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Her previous books include Gaining Ground? “Rights” and “Property” in South African Land Reform and Songs of the Women Migrants.

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Excerpt: “Who are the Somalis in South Africa?” Samadia Sadouni Looks at Stratified Identities

Changing Space, Changing CityThe Mail & Guardian has shared an essay by Samadia Sadouni excerpted from Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after Apartheid, edited by Philip Harrison, Graeme Gotz, Alison Todes and Chris Wray.

In the essay, Sadouni, associate professor of politics at Sciences Po Lyon in France, discusses the diaspora of Somali people. She says that there is significant stratification among present-day Somali communities in South Africa, and outlines the ways that social stratification came to be as well as how it reveals itself in Johannesburg.

Read the excerpt:

Who are the Somalis in South Africa? They come from different parts of Somalia, including the self-declared states of Somaliland and Puntland. Some are originally from Ogaden in Ethiopia or from Kenya but were settled in Somalia for generations.

Somalis in South Africa represent different categories of transnational migrants who have crossed different borders at different times and in different ways; Somali migrants are not the same in terms of journey experiences or trajectories. This plurality of migrant routes plays a role in differentiating Somali subgroups, who have different approaches to dealing with uncertainty in their new country, and particularly in Johannesburg.

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Marxisms in the 21st Century Formulates “Meaningful Alternatives” to Capitalism

Marxisms in the 21st CenturyJohn Walsh recently wrote a short article about Michelle Williams and Vishwas Satgar’s Marxisms in the 21st Century: Crisis, Critique and Struggle, for the SIU Journal of Management.

Walsh says Marxisms in the 21st Century is an “interesting and useful contribution to the attempt to formulate meaningful alternatives to existing capitalism”.

He refers to Williams’ analysis of a movement with features of both Marxism and democracy. “Central to these movements,” Williams writes, “is the importance of radical, direct and participatory democracy in forging an alternative to and an appreciation of the limits of fossil-fuel capitalism”.

Walsh also examines Satgar’s neo-Gramscian ideological framework, and his opinion that post-apartheid South Africa in is a state of “passive revolution”.

The book contains papers that deal with other vital elements of contemporary politics, including the relationship between Marxism and feminism and with the need to find alternatives to fossil-fuel capitalism, as well as issues more specifically related to South and Southern Africa. It represents overall an interesting and useful contribution to the attempt to formulate meaningful alternatives to existing capitalism.

Book details

  • Marxisms in the 21st Century: Crisis, Critique and Struggle edited by Michelle Williams and Vishwas Satgar
    EAN: 9781868147533
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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Gabeba Baderoon on the Editorial Board for The Montreal Prize for Poetry (Entries Open Now)

Gabeba BaderoonRegarding MuslimsGabeba Baderoon is part of the jury for The Montreal Prize, an international poetry competition.

The competition is open to poems in English, of 40 lines or fewer, and there is an entry fee, which is lower for poets from developing countries. Prize money is $20 000 (+/-R235 000). The early deadline for entries is 11:59pm ET (Montreal Time) on March 31, 2015, and the final deadline is 15 May.

The top poems selected by the editors will also be published in a global poetry anthology.

Baderoon is joined on the editorial board by Kate Clanchy, Carolyn Forché, Amanda Jernigan, Anthony Lawrence, Niyi Osundare, Jennifer Rahim, K Satchidanandan, Michael Schmidt and Bruce Taylor, with Eavan Boland acting as prize judge.

Baderoon is the author of a number of poetry collections, the most recent being The Dream in the Next Body. Read her biography on the Montreal Prize website:

Gabeba Baderoon is a poet and scholar and the author of the poetry collections, The Dream in the Next Body and A Hundred Silences, and the monograph Regarding Muslims: from slavery to post-apartheid. Her short story “The Year of Sleeping Badly” was selected as one of the “Best Short Stories of South Africa’s Democracy” in 2014. Baderoon has also received the DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry and held the Guest Writer Fellowship from the Nordic Africa Institute. She is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund, and teaches Women’s Studies and African Studies at Pennsylvania State University.

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