Historia - Volume 57, Issue 2, 2012
Volumes & issues
Volume 57, Issue 2, 2012
Author Wesley MwatwaraSource: Historia 57, pp 470 –474 (2012)More Less
Academics working on any aspect of veterinary medicine in southern Africa frequently lament the paucity of relevant literature. Covering the whole of southern Africa, Karen Brown's account of the epidemiology of rabies, a first of its kind, will certainly lessen this burden. There is much to recommend in this book. Brown circumvents a number of methodological challenges to come up with a very interesting and informative account, which is useful for a number of fields including anthropology, history, veterinary medicine and public health. Taking a chronological approach, this book, which commences in 1800, deals with five main themes in seven well-written chapters. These include: human-animal relationships and the impact of rabies on developments in science and on public health policies; the cultural impact of rabies on how South Africans have viewed wildlife; the socio-economic impact of colonialism on the distribution of rabies; the evolution of Western knowledge about rabies; the role of the state in rabies control; and how rabies brought social anxieties into the limelight.
Africa in the Time of Cholera: A History of Pandemics from 1817 to the Present, Myron Echenberg : book reviewAuthor Howard PhillipsSource: Historia 57, pp 475 –477 (2012)More Less
This book by one of the pioneering medical historians of Africa, Myron Echenberg (emeritus professor of history at McGill University in Montreal) provides a good example of how adding a historical perspective can help explain a current problem. The current problem he focuses on is why surges of cholera have become one of the top five killers per decade in sub-Saharan Africa, even though the disease is easy to prevent (using chlorine bleach) and to cure (by oral rehydration therapy). Notwithstanding such counter-measures, four years ago the disease ravaged Zimbabwe, while eight years earlier it rampaged through KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape. In fact, since 1995 more than 95 percent of the world's cholera deaths have been in Africa. But it was not ever thus.
Author Jared McDonaldSource: Historia 57, pp 477 –482 (2012)More Less
The arguments presented in Dan Wylie's new Jacana Pocket Biography of Shaka, the famous nineteenth-century king of the Zulu, are those for which he has already become well known. As is to be expected, the volume is a condensed summary of his previous works, Savage Delight: White Myths of Shaka (2000) and Myth of Iron: Shaka in History (2006), the latter being the first comprehensive scholarly biography of Shaka. In terms of this new volumeâ??s accessibility to a wider audience, there is much to praise. Written as an introduction to the topic, in a witty, engaging style, it will almost certainly be well received by a novice readership. Arranged in eleven concise chapters, it can also be recommended as a valuable initial foray for those interested in reading more substantial scholarly works on Shaka and early Zulu history.
Author Norman EtheringtonSource: Historia 57, pp 482 –486 (2012)More Less
Magema M. Fuze emerges from this exceptional study as a far more interesting and thoughtful character than modern scholars have imagined. The very circumstances that propelled him into the public eye in the 1860s and 1870s ensured that he would be underrated as an independent thinker. Anglican Bishop J.W. Colenso during the early, evangelical phase of his career enrolled Fuze as a student in his short-lived experiment in elite education, Ekukhanyeni School. After the school fizzled out due to Colenso's financial problems and loss of interest, Fuze stayed on as the bishop's printer. From time to time Colenso wheeled him out as an "authentic" voice of Zulu public opinion. Miraculously, Fuze's views always ran parallel to the bishopâ??s current enthusiasms. After his death, Fuze continued in the employment of the Colenso daughters, Harriette and Agnes, who dedicated their lives to the bishop's last cause: justice for the Zulu royal house. In this capacity he accompanied Dinuzulu during his exile on the island of St. Helena. Up to this point Fuze's public life may be regarded as a textbook example of colonial ventriloquism; he was ever the loyal subaltern whose black skin and Zulu speech could be invoked in support of the Colensos' positions on current affairs.
The First President: A Life of John L. Dube, Founding President of the ANC, Heather Hughes : book reviewAuthor Bernard K. MbengaSource: Historia 57, pp 487 –490 (2012)More Less
Published on the eve of the centenary of the founding of the African National Congress, this book has come at a most appropriate time. This is a biography of John Dube, the second son of early Christian converts, James Dube and Elizabeth Namazi Shangase, who had come to live on the famous mission station Inanda, founded in 1857 by Daniel Lindley of the American Zulu Mission (AZM). James Dube, who was originally from the Qadi chiefdom headed by his father, Chief Langalibalele, under King Shaka, was ordained pastor by Lindley in December 1870.
Author Suryakanthie ChettySource: Historia 57, pp 491 –495 (2012)More Less
At the outset of his biography of Albert Luthuli, Scott Couper makes clear his claim that he wishes to consider the influence of his Christian beliefs on Luthuli's political philosophy which, in turn, impacted upon the way he desired to carry out the struggle against the apartheid state. Not without controversy, Albert Luthuli: Bound by Faith offers an alternate reading of a charismatic and influential figure that departs from the dominant nationalist discourse. This point of departure comes in the form of the decision to initiate the armed struggle on the part of the African National Congress (ANC). Couper builds a painstaking case to convince the reader of his argument, tracing the life of Albert Luthuli from his birth in Natal to the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death in 1967.
Prophet without Honour. F.S. Malan: Afrikaner, South African and Cape Liberal, F.A. Mouton : book reviewAuthor Lindie KoortsSource: Historia 57, pp 496 –499 (2012)More Less
South Africa's political landscape, past and present, is populated by a rich and colourful cast of characters. Unfortunately, the dearth of political biographers has meant that save for a few exceptions, prime ministers and presidents have monopolised scholarly attention. These men have come to embody the eras under their rule, while their allies and rivals have been reduced to a near-faceless mass of minions.
Author Dilip M. MenonSource: Historia 57, pp 500 –505 (2012)More Less
Gandhi was an indifferent father; an authoritarian husband; and a demanding and eccentric friend. He was politically and socially conservative and saw no inherent virtue in the idea of the independent woman or emancipated untouchable. His reading of religion, as of political theory, was idiosyncratic and his pronouncements apodictic. He was willing to lay his life on the line and fast whether it was for communal harmony, for concessions from the colonial state or to put the lid on social radicalism. Anyone attempting to refine a theory of Gandhianism is reduced to perplexity at the myriad inconsistencies and conjunctural certainties.
Author Ian MacqueenSource: Historia 57, pp 505 –509 (2012)More Less
Lindy Wilsonâ??s short biography of the late anti-apartheid activist, Stephen Bantu Biko (1946â??1977), has already been in circulation for 20 years in the form of an introductory biographical chapter to the edited collection, Bounds of Possibility: The Legacy of Steve Biko and Black Consciousness (1991).11 With this Jacana Pocket Biography, Wilson has revisited her text to make it more accessible to a wider reading public and used the opportunity to reflect again on the life of Biko. This is the only book-length account of Biko's life to date, a stark contrast to the vast amount of literature on other anti-apartheid activists and African National Congress leaders, and indicates an uneasy silence over the life of Biko.
Bush War: The Road to Cuito Cuanvale : Soviet Soldiers' Accounts of the Angolan Gennady Shubin and Andrei Tokarev (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Gary BainesSource: Historia 57, pp 509 –515 (2012)More Less
The publication of a South African edition of the recollections of Soviet military advisers who served in Angola during the late 1970s and 1980s is something of an anomaly in the burgeoning corpus of literature on the regional conflict. The Russian edition formed part of a series called the Oral History of Forgotten Wars. The war might be forgotten throughout the length and breadth of the erstwhile Soviet empire but in South Africa there is currently considerable interest in the history and legacy of the conflict. Internet sites, memoirs, novels, as well as photographic and art exhibits that include "Border War" or "Bush War" in the title have proliferated. The use of the latter phrase in the title of the book under review is obviously a marketing ploy that seeks to capitalise on its recognition value for South African readers. It almost certainly does not feature in the Russian vocabulary about the Angolan War.
Metal That Will Not Bend: The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa 1980-1995, Kally Forrest : book reviewAuthor Wessel VisserSource: Historia 57, pp 516 –519 (2012)More Less
This book is an addition to the growing number of contemporary South African trade union histories published since the 1980s. Within the space of 22 chapters the author traces the rise of NUMSA through its predecessors MAWU and NAAWU and examines how it built and used workers' power. The huge influence that NUMSA exercises as the largest affiliate (it had 235 000 members by 1989) in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is confirmed by its many leaders who became part of the post-apartheid South African political and labour elite, including names such as Bernie Fanaroff, Alec Erwin, Moses Mayekiso, John Gomomo, Tony Ehrenreich, Enoch Godongwana, Danny Oliphant and Willys Mchunu, to name but a few.