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Archive for June, 2017

Watch: Sifiso Ndlovu discusses his participation in the Soweto uprisings

When the Soweto uprisings of June 1976 took place, Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu, the author of The Soweto Uprisings: Counter Memories of June 1976 was a 14-year-old pupil at Phefeni Junior Secondary School.

With his classmates, he was among the active participants in the protest action against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

Contrary to the generally accepted views, both that the uprisings were ‘spontaneous’ and that there were bigger political players and student organisations behind the uprisings, Sifiso’s book shows that this was not the case.

Using newspaper articles, interviews with former fellow pupils and through his own personal account, Sifiso provides us with a ‘counter-memory’ of the momentous events of that time.

Here, Sifiso discusses the book and his participation in the protest with David O’Sullivan on O’Sullivan’s Kaya FM breakfast show:


 
 

 
 

 
 

 

The Soweto Uprisings

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Author of The Soweto Uprisings: Counter Memories of June 1976 participated in the march at age 14

When the Soweto uprisings of June 1976 took place, Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu, the author of this book, was a 14-year-old pupil at Phefeni Junior Secondary School.

With his classmates, he was among the active participants in the protest action against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

Contrary to the generally accepted views, both that the uprisings were ‘spontaneous’ and that there were bigger political players and student organisations behind the uprisings, Sifiso’s book shows that this was not the case.

Using newspaper articles, interviews with former fellow pupils and through his own personal account, Sifiso provides us with a ‘counter-memory’ of the momentous events of that time.

This is an updated version of the book first published by Ravan Press in 1998. New material has been added, including an introduction to the new edition, as well as two new chapters analyzing the historiography of the uprisings as well as reflecting on memory and commemoration as social, cultural and historical projects.

Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu is an Executive Director at the South African Democracy Education Trust. He has a PhD in History from the University of the Witwatersrand and an MA in History from the University of Natal. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the multi-volume Road to Democracy in South Africa series.

He originally published The Soweto Uprisings in 1998, and was the co-editor, with Miranda Strydom, of The Thabo Mbeki I Know (2016). He is a Professor of History at the University of South Africa and also a member of UNESCO’s Scientific Committee responsible for updating the General History of Africa series.
 

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Lorenzo Fioramonti’s Wellbeing Economy lays bare society’s perverse obsession with economic growth

Wellbeing Economy

Using real-life examples and innovative research, acclaimed political economist Lorenzo Fioramonti lays bare society’s perverse obsession with economic growth by showing its many flaws, paradoxes and inconsistencies.

He argues that the pursuit of growth often results in more losses than gains and in damage, inequalities and conflicts.

By breaking free from the growth mantra, we can build a better society that puts the wellbeing of all at its centre.

A wellbeing economy would have tremendous impact on everything we do, boosting small businesses and empowering citizens as the collective leaders of tomorrow.

Wellbeing Economy is a manifesto for radical change in South Africa and beyond.
 
 
 
 
 

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40th anniversary edition of I Write What I Like includes a foreword by Njabulo S. Ndebele

I Write What I Like features the writing of the famous activist and Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko.

Before his untimely death in detention at age 30, he was instrumental in uniting Black Africans in the struggle against the apartheid government in South Africa.

This 40th anniversary edition includes a foreword by Njabulo S. Ndebele, personal reflections on Steve Biko and Black Consciousness, as well as Biko’s first known published piece of writing.

In addition, it features all the material of the original Picador Africa edition: a collection of Biko’s columns entitled “I Write What I Like” published in the journal of the South Africa Student Organisation under the pseudonym of ‘Frank Talk’; other journal articles, interviews and letters written by Steve Biko at the time; an introduction by Nkosinathi Biko; a preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and a moving memoir by Father Aelred Stubbs, which pays tribute to the courage and power of this young leader, who was to become one of Africa’s heroes.
 
 
Steve Biko was born in Tylden, Eastern Cape, South Africa in 1946. As a medical student, he founded a black student organisation in 1969 and created a national ‘black consciousness’ movement.

The movement’s aim was to combat racism and the South African apartheid government. He was banned in 1973, which prohibited him from speaking in public, writing for publication and any travel. Biko was arrested by police in September 1977 and died in detention, naked and manacled, from extensive brain damage, six days later.

He left a widow and two young children. His death caused international protests and a UN arms embargo. Biko became a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement. An inquest in the late 1980s found no one responsible for his death, but in 1997 five former policemen admitted being involved.

I Write What I Like

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Achmat Dangor’s Bitter Fruit back in print after more than 10 years

The last time Silas Ali encountered Lieutenant Du Boise, Silas was locked in the back of a police van and the lieutenant was conducting a vicious assault on Silas’s wife, Lydia, in revenge for her husband’s participation in Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress.

When Silas sees Du Boise by chance twenty years later, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is about to deliver its report, crimes from the past erupt into the present, splintering the Alis’ fragile peace.

A clear-eyed story of a brittle family on the crossroads of history and a fearless skewering of the pieties of revolutionary movements, Bitter Fruit is a cautionary tale of how we do, or do not, address the deepest wounds of the past.

‘Freshness and bold vividness are the qualities of Achmat Dangor’s writing … inn the post-apartheid era, he has tackled, in Bitter Fruit, as in Kafka’s Curse, with the honesty of his insight, the problem as well as the promised fulfilment of the enormous change that freedom brings about.’ – Nadine Gordimer

Achmat Dangor lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has published four novels, Waiting for Leila (1981), The Z Town Trilogy (1990), Kafka’s Curse (1997) and Bitter Fruit (first released in 2001), as well as a short-story collection, Strange Pilgrimages (2013).

Bitter Fruit was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for 2004 as well as the 2003 International Dublin Impac Award. Dangor’s new novel, Dikeledi, will be released in August 2017.
 

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“I feel that as a writer, our duty is to capture the human experience” – read an interview with Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

I think a lot of novels that we have coming out that most people consider particularly African novels are expected to play on politics, on corruption, on all these things. I don’t want those to be at the forefront. They are there, obviously, and they are very dominant, like on the landscape and the scenery. But despite all this, people carry on with their lives. They are little romances in hidden corners, they have their issues with their children, and all that. This corruption, this politics, this violence, in a way it kind of shapes certain things in the way we behave and the way we act, it is not necessary that every time you have to struggle with corrupt politicians and corrupt people, but the decisions they make somewhere, so far away from you, somehow have a resonance in the way you make your decisions and the choices you make in life.

Jennifer Malec, editor of the Johannesburg Review of Books, interviewed Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, winner of the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature, during Ibrahim’s recent visit to Johannesburg.

Ibrahim received the Nigeria Prize for Literature for his novel Season of Crimson Blossoms.

Read their interview here and listen to Ibrahim read an excerpt from Season of Crimson Blossoms here.

Season of Crimson Blossoms

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Launch – Wellbeing Economy: Success in a World Without Growth by Lorenzo Fioramonti

Using real-life examples and innovative research, acclaimed political economist Lorenzo Fioramonti lays bare society’s perverse obsession with economic growth by showing its many flaws, paradoxes and inconsistencies.

He argues that the pursuit of growth often results in more losses than gains and in damage, inequalities and conflicts.

By breaking free from the growth mantra, we can build a better society that puts the wellbeing of all at its centre. A wellbeing economy would have tremendous impact on everything we do, boosting small businesses and empowering citizens as the collective leaders of tomorrow.

Wellbeing Economy is a manifesto for radical change in South Africa and beyond.

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