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.
Fransjohan Pretorius is professor of history and an experienced author and editor of eight books about the South African War. He has come together with a diverse team of twenty seasoned historians to write South Africa's history from the pre-colonial era to the present day. The book contains evidence, case studies, statistics and historic facts in an attempt to write a more balanced history of the country.
Internationally, much scholarship has been undertaken in recent years on the producers and material makers of periodicals and little magazines. In South Africa, only a start has been made in this field. That is why this new book by Corinne Sandwith, emerging to fill the gap in our knowledge and understanding, should be hailed as a significant new work of intellectual history in South Africa. As so little has been studied in detail, Sandwith repeatedly characterises her work as a project of historical "recovery" or "retrieval". In examining the literary and cultural debates in a range of South African publications including the SA Opinion, Trek, and The Voice she aims to reveal "the existence of a vigorous, non academic and, above all, public discussion of literature and culture in pre- and early apartheid South Africa" (p 3). Importantly, her aim is not limited to cultural debates, but to the constant articulation of political debates through the medium of the cultural, or "the way that cultural discourse doubles as a form of political expression" (p 175). This is an investigation of literary magazines as a form of social history, which draws in the role of writers and readers, as well as editors and printers, and the wider social context. Sandwith sees this context as one of both vigorous debate and a shrinking public sphere; an era when political discussion was becoming more constrained and circumscribed. And, as she points out, while the story of censorship during the apartheid era is familiar, the "threat to free public discussion in South Africa in the 1940s came not only from the state, but also from big business" (p 81).
In this pioneering and informative book, Mary Lederer, an American literary scholar and former lecturer at the University of Botswana, provides a survey of novels written by foreigners and Batswana about the country. In an earlier chapter Lederer examines novels whose writers reflect the strengths and weaknesses of the changing national character of Botswana. A classic novel that Lederer uses extensively to compare and contrast with later novels by Batswana writers is South African statesman Sol Plaatje's Mhudi, published in 1917.
The Historical Association of South Africa (HASA) announces the launch of this new award to the best third year student in History at every participating University in South Africa. This award is in recognition of Prof Johan Bergh who was president of HASA for over two decades and is in line with his ongoing commitment to promote History at postgraduate level. The winners will receive a year's subscription to Historia and their names will be announced in the first issue of Historia in the subsequent year.
Die Historiese Genootskap van Suid-Afrika (HGSA) kondig die bekendstelling van 'n nuwe toekenning vir die beste derdejaarstudent in Geskiedenis aan deelnemende universiteite in Suid-Afrika aan. Hierdie toekenning is 'n erkenning aan Prof Johan Bergh wat vir meer as twee dekades die president van die HGSA was en is in ooreenstemming met sy voortdurende toewyding om Geskiedenis op nagraadse vlak te bevorder. Die wenners sal 'n jaar se intekening op Historia wen en hulle name sal in die eerste uitgawe van Historia in die daaropvolgende jaar gepubliseer word.