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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.

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Have a look at the programme:

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Join Mark Sanders, Hlonipha Mokoena and Dilip Menon for the launch of Learning Zulu: A Secret History of Language in South Africa

Invitation to the launch of Learning Zulu: A Secret History of Language in South Africa

 
Learning Zulu: A Secret History of Language in South AfricaWits University Press has the pleasure of inviting you to the launch of Mark Sanders’s new book, Learning Zulu: A Secret History of Language in South Africa.

This book, with its extraordinary mix of linguistics, literary criticism, cultural studies, psychoanalytic theory, and autobiography/memoir analysis will be discussed in conversation with the author, as well as Hlonipha Mokoena (historian and researcher – WiSER) and Dilip Menon (Director of the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa [CISA] at Wits).

Ostensibly about one man’s quest to acquire a language, Learning Zulu is a clever, surprising, and enlightening journey into 150 years of South African history. Nobody has written quite this subtly about race and language in South Africa in a long while.

- Jonny Steinberg, University of Oxford

Sanders is professor of comparative literature at New York University. His books include Complicities: The Intellectual and Apartheid and Ambiguities of Witnessing: Law and Literature in the Time of a Truth Commission.

This event is hosted in association with The Wits City Institute and the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS).

Space is limited and RSVP is essential – see details below. See you there!

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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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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.

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