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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Mineworkers gather at Marikana koppie to remember the massacre

The Spirit of MarikanaHundreds of mineworkers and supporters began gathering in Marikana on Tuesday‚ ahead of the fourth commemoration of those who died when a labour protest turned violent on August 16, 2012.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has erected a stage below a koppie near Lonmin’s Marikana mine‚ where 34 people died when police opened fire. 10 others‚ including police officers‚ also died during the labour dispute over a R12 500 minimum wage‚ precipitating events that led to soul-searching over labour laws‚ inequality and the conduct of the police.

Small groups of mineworkers sang as people continued to gather at the site‚ with AMCU arranging music and entertainment ahead of commemorative addresses and messages of support later on Thursday.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa are expected to address the crowd.

The messages are expected to focus on the impact of the event on the lives of mineworkers and their families after they occupied the koppie during the dispute‚ as well as outstanding questions and lack of closure. Criminal and civil proceedings are still pending.

An inquiry chaired by Judge Neels Claassen is investigating suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s fitness to hold office and is expected to deliver its findings in August. Phiyega has, meanwhile, approached the North Gauteng High Court to challenge the findings of the Farlam commission of inquiry.

TMG Digital

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Don’t miss the launch of The Spirit of Marikana: The Rise of Insurgent Trade Unionism in South Africa in Sophiatown

Invitation to the launch of The Spirit of Marikana: The Rise of Insurgent Trade Unionism in South Africa

 

The Spirit of Marikana: The Rise of Insurgent Trade Unionism in South AfricaYou are invited to join Wits University Press at Sophiatown The Mix (Trevor Huddleston Centre) for the launch of The Spirit of Marikana: The Rise of Insurgent Trade Unionism in South Africa by Luke Sinwell and Siphiwe Mbatha.

On 16 August 2012, 34 black mineworkers were gunned down by the police in what has become known as the Marikana massacre.

The Spirit of Marikana tells the story of the union leaders at the three largest platinum mining companies who survived the barrage of state violence, intimidation and murder which was being perpetrated during this tumultuous period. What began as a discussion about wage increases between two workers in the changing room at one mine became a rallying cry for economic freedom and basic dignity.

Have the lives of mineworkers been transformed since then?

Grassroots leaders Alfonse Mofokeng and SK Makhanya, who formulated and lobbied a living wage for R12 500 for mineworkers, will be in conversation with Luke Sinwell about their experiences.

Also contributing will be Trevor Ngwane, scholar-activist and leader of the Marikana Support Campaign, and Primrose Sonti, Marikana community leader and member of Sikhala Sonke.

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New: The Spirit of Marikana: The Rise of Insurgent Trade Unionism in South Africa

Luke Sinwell and Siphiwe Mbatha open a window on the struggles of South African miners to overcome not only the opposition of the plutocratic mine owners, but also the opposition of the entrenched union establishment created in an earlier era of upheaval. – Frances Fox Piven, political scientist and sociologist, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

The Spirit of Marikana highlights the crucial role of ordinary workers in changing history. A richly textured, path-breaking history of the labour movement. – Trevor Ngwane, South African socialist and anti-apartheid activist

The Spirit of MarikanaWits University Press is proud to present The Spirit of Marikana: The Rise of Insurgent Trade Unionism in South Africa by Luke Sinwell and Siphiwe Mbatha:

On 16th August 2012, 34 black mineworkers were gunned down by the police under the auspices of South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) in what has become known as the Marikana massacre. This attempt to drown independent working class power in blood backfired and is now recognised as a turning point in the country’s history.

The Spirit of Marikana tells the story of the uncelebrated leaders at the world’s three largest platinum mining companies who survived the barrage of state violence, intimidation, torture and murder which was being perpetrated during this tumultuous period.

What began as a discussion about wage increases between two workers in the changing rooms at one mine became a rallying cry for economic freedom and basic dignity.

This gripping ethnographic account is the first comprehensive study of this movement, revealing how seemingly ordinary people became heroic figures who transformed their workplace and their country.

About the authors

Luke Sinwell is a Senior Researcher at the University of Johannesburg. He is co-author of Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer, co-editor of Contesting Transformation: Popular Resistance in Twenty-First-Century South Africa and the author of numerous articles on participatory democracy and contentious politics in South Africa. He is the General Secretary of the South African Sociological Association (SASA).

Siphiwe Mbatha is a co-ordinator of the Thembelihle Crisis Committee (TCC), a socialist civic organisation in South Africa which fights for basic services for all. Siphiwe is also an assistant researcher at the University of Johannesburg. He first visited Marikana the day after the massacre to provide solidarity to the striking mineworkers.

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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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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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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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Strategic lessons South Africa’s students can learn from the leaders of 1976

Anne Heffernan, University of the Witwatersrand

Students Must Rise

The author is co-editor of Students Must Rise: Youth Struggle in South Africa Before and Beyond Soweto ’76 published by Wits University Press.

This month forty years ago, thousands of Soweto school children took to the streets to protest the racism and inadequacy of Bantu Education. That moment has come to symbolise the role that young people have played and can play in shaping South Africa’s political discourse. It remains a touch point for student activists today.

The marches in June 1976 took shape around a unifying issue of immediate importance to the students: the imposition of Afrikaans as a teaching medium in black classrooms, whose curriculum was dictated by the then Department of Bantu Education.

Images from the march are filled with posters proclaiming “To Hell With Afrikaans” and “Vorster and Kruger are rubbish”. This refers to John Vorster, the prime minister of South Africa and one of apartheid’s architects, and his police minister Jimmy Kruger.

The juxtaposition of these claims is an important one. It speaks to how Soweto children began to straddle the space between local and immediate concerns and a national political agenda. This enabled them to transcend the issues of their classrooms and rejuvenate the struggle against apartheid on a national, and indeed international, scale.

Forty years later South Africa is again in the midst of a political movement led by students – this time on university campuses across the country. Today’s student activists are often compared to the generation of 1976. In mass marches through Johannesburg and Pretoria the form of their protest has prompted the comparison.

In their articulation of ideologies like Black Consciousness they echo some of the key thinkers of that period. But their protests remain largely constrained by the campuses on which they happen. In light of these struggles, it is useful to consider how the students of 1976 tackled similar problems.

The Afrikaans issue

The Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974 declared that in black schools across South Africa Afrikaans must be used equally with English as a medium for teaching non-language subjects like mathematics and social sciences.

Students and teachers alike struggled to teach and learn in a language for which they were ill-trained and ill-equipped with textbooks and other materials.

Historian Helena Pohlandt-McCormick has written that the Afrikaans medium policy “embodied everything that was wrong with Bantu Education”. She points to its disregard of sound pedagogy, and, more importantly, of the voices of the parents, teachers, and learners on whom it was imposed.

By the middle of the 1976 school year, students had organised themselves in individual protests. Many focused on the imposition of Afrikaans, others addressed student-teacher relations and corporal punishment at individual schools.

They were inspired and encouraged to connect these issues to the broader political system by a range of influences in their homes, communities, and classrooms. Among these were university students who had been “conscientised” through the Black Consciousness Movement and expelled from rural “bush” universities during waves of protest in 1972 and 1974. The most prominent of these was Ongkopotse Tiro.

After Tiro was expelled from the University of the North (today the University of Limpopo, outside Polokwane), where he was a prominent student leader and Black Consciousness proponent, he took up a job teaching history at Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto.

Though he was fired in 1973 and killed in exile in Botswana in 1974, some of his students, including Tsietsi Mashinini, became key leaders in the 1976 uprising.

Addressing structural oppression

Tiro and other young teachers encouraged their students to connect the particular grievances of their own situation – the inequities and injustices of Bantu Education – to the structural oppression meted out by the apartheid state.

This was a lesson students brought to their organisation of the protests on 16 June, and one that played an increasingly important role in the weeks and months that followed. Students in the Soweto Students Representative Council (which compromised many of the student leaders who had organised the June 16 march) called for their parents to stay away from work, and to boycott white-owned shops and products. By August the committee focused its energies on organising a student and worker stay away for the end of the month. According to Sibongile Mkhabela, a member of the SSRC, this was intended to achieve

more than only a march. […] This was the day to hit the white economy.

A few months later students rallied their families to participate in a Black Christmas to mourn those who had been killed by police since June.

June 16 forty years later

University students of 2015-16 have some key things in common with their 1976 predecessors. They have changed the tenor and shape of political discussion around education in South Africa, more effectively than any other single movement since 1994.

They have re-interrogated the ideologies that animated students in 1976. Their engagement with Black Consciousness and Biko, with Fanon and with pan-Africanism has led to a movement to decolonise universities’ faculty and curricula.

But today’s students have struggled to move their activism beyond universities. Not withstanding significant gains in the movement to end the exploitative practice of outsourcing jobs on campuses, for which the Fallist movements of 2015-16 deserve a great deal of credit, student movements today have yet to create enduring alliances with workers outside the university, or with school students.

Beyond shared ideology, the 1976 generation, and, perhaps even more so, the university students of the early 1970s who taught and inspired them, may offer some strategic lessons.

The author is co-editor of Students Must Rise: Youth Struggle in South Africa Before and Beyond Soweto ‘76 published by Wits University Press.

The Conversation

Anne Heffernan, Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow NRF Chair: Local Histories, Present Realties., University of the Witwatersrand

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Don’t miss the launch of Hidden Histories of Gordonia by Martin Legassick at The Book Lounge

Invitation to the launch of Hidden Histories of Gordonia by Martin Legassick

 
Hidden Histories of Gordonia: Land Dispossession and Resistance in the Northern Cape, 1800-1990Wits University Press, UWC’s Centre for Humanities Research and The Book Lounge invite you to pay tribute to the memory of eminent historian and activist Martin Legassick at the launch of his posthumously published book Hidden Histories of Gordonia: Land Dispossession and Resistance in the Northern Cape, 1800-1990.

There are few areas in South Africa like the Gordonia region of the Northern Cape Province. Hidden Histories of Gordonia is Legassick’s magnum opus, summing up a quarter century of research by one of the most important South African historians.

Sadly he did not live to see the publication of this book, passing away a mere two months before its publication. Legassick had a remarkable gift for storytelling and in this final work he brings to life the craggy, desert-like landscape of the Northern Cape and its histories of the “black” and “brown” people, who are often rendered mute or to mere footnotes in mainstream narratives. It is a fascinating and deeply moving work with a historian’s eye for detail and the long view.

The launch will take place in Cape Town on Thursday, 30 June.

Celebrating the book and remembering the life of Legassick will be Karen Press (the editor of the book), Mervin Gilbert (from the Abraham Holbors September Foundation who introduced Legassick to the region and its history), Noor Nieftagodien (activist and historian) and Thozama April (fellow and next generation scholar at UWC’s Centre for Humanities Research, who worked with Legassick).

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 30 June 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland St
    Cape Town | Map
  • Guests: Karen Press, Mervin Gilbert, Noor Nieftagodien and Thozama April
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge, booklounge@gmail.com, 021 462 2425

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Presenting Martin Legassick’s magnum opus: Hidden Histories of Gordonia

Hidden Histories of GordoniaNew from Wits University Press: Hidden Histories of Gordonia: Land Dispossession and Resistance in the Northern Cape, 1800-1990 by Martin Legassick:

The Gordonia region of the Northern Cape Province has received relatively little attention from historians. In Hidden Histories of Gordonia: Land dispossession and resistance in the Northern Cape, 1800-1990, Martin Legassick explores aspects of the generally unknown “brown” and “black” history of the region. Emphasising the lives of ordinary people, his writing is also in part an exercise in “applied history” – historical writing with a direct application to people’s lives in the present.

Tracing the indigenous history of Gordonia as well as the northward movement of Basters and whites from the western Cape through Bushmanland to the Orange River, the book presents accounts of family histories, episodes of indigenous resistance to colonisation, and studies of the ultimate imposition of racial segregation and land dispossession on the inhabitants of the region.

A recurrent theme is the question of identity and how the extreme ethnic fluidity and social mixing apparent in earlier times crystallised in the colonial period into racial identities, until with final conquest came imposed racial classification.

This is a magnum opus, summing up a quarter century of research by one of the most senior and important South African historians.

- Neil Parsons, former professor of history, University of Botswana

There are few areas in South Africa that are like Gordonia. It is to Legassick’s great credit that he recognised this, but nevertheless makes the history of the country’s major area of desert part of South Africa’s totality. It is a major achievement and an important book.

- Robert Ross, historian and author of The Borders of Race in Colonial South Africa: The Kat River Settlement, 1829-1856

About the author

Martin Legassick (1940-2016) was Emeritus Professor of History at the University of the Western Cape. A historian, activist and author, his publications include The Struggle for the Eastern Cape, 1800–1854: Subjugation and the Roots of South African Democracy (2011) and The Politics of a South African Frontier: The Griqua, the Sotho-Tswana and the Missionaries, 1780-1840 (2010).

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Don’t miss the launch of Students Must Rise: Youth Struggle in South Africa Before and Beyond Soweto ’76 at Wits

Invitation to the launch of Students Must Rise: Youth Struggle in South Africa Before and Beyond Soweto ’76 edited by Anne Heffernan and Noor Nieftagodien

 
Students Must Rise: Youth Struggle in South Africa Before and Beyond Soweto '76Wits University Press and the History Workshop invite you to the launch of Students Must Rise: Youth Struggle in South Africa Before and Beyond Soweto ’76 edited by Anne Heffernan and Noor Nieftagodien.

Students Must Rise marks the 40th anniversary of the June 16th uprisings. This book places that most famous of moments, the 1976 student uprising in Soweto, in a deeper historical and geographic context and also considers contemporary student-based political movements, including Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall.

Khwezi Gule, curator of the Hector Pieterson Museum, will be the guest speaker at the event.

The launch will be preceded by a colloquium, “Students Rising: Reflections on youth struggles in South Africa 40 years after.”

Don’t miss this important event!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 8 June 2016
  • Time: 5 PM
  • Venue: The Atrium
    South West Engineering Building
    East Campus
    University of the Witwatersrand | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Khwezi Gule
  • RSVP: Wits Press, info.witspress@wits.ac.za

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