n Historia - An excellent anthology with a measure of quirkiness
The South Africa Reader: History, Culture, Politics, Clifton Crais and Thomas McClendon (Eds.) : book review

Volume 60, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



A populist cover emblazoned with an image of Bafana Bafana supporters blowing vuvuzelas and the quirky inclusion of recipes for biltong and bobotie (accredited to one of the editors) might inspire a certain cynicism, but this is an excellent anthology. Most likely aimed at an undergraduate audience in the United States, the editors emphasise "ordinary voices" rather than scholarship, with the work of professional academics very much in the minority, though each excerpted text is succinctly contextualised by the editors and there is a guide to further (more scholarly) reading at the back of the volume. The variety of material across the more than six hundred pages is quite remarkable: hymns; mine worker songs; the transcript of a political funeral at the height of apartheid; struggle songs; journalistic reportage; historical fiction and a photo essay (by Patricia Hayes, on Santu Mofekeng) all feature.

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