Our website uses cookies to improve and personalise your experience and to display advertisements(if any). Our website may also include third-party cookies like Google Adsense, Google Analytics, and Youtube. By using the website, you consent to the use of cookies. We have updated our Privacy Policy. Please click on the button to check our Privacy Policy.

Corruption in South Africa: new book sets out how ruling ANC lost the battle

Corruption in South Africa: new book sets out how ruling ANC lost the battle

ONE of the greatest benefits of South Africa’s democracy is freedom of speech and publication. Mpumelelo Mkhabela’s book, The Enemy Within, is the latest in a cascade of publications over the last decade that record corruption and theft by leading politicians in the country’s ruling party. In all too many countries in Africa and Asia a book like this would result in its author’s detention, censorship of the book, persecution of the publishers and printers, and harassment of bookshops that sold it. KEITH GOTTSCHALK, Political Scientist, University of the Western Cape South Africa is among a select group of democracies…
Read More
New book on Mapungubwe Archive contests history of South African world heritage site

New book on Mapungubwe Archive contests history of South African world heritage site

MAPUNGUBWE is a world heritage site and national park located on the border between South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. From about 1000 AD the settlement there developed into a major African state before being abandoned by the 1300s. Mapungubwe has been the subject of diverse scientific enquiry and archaeological research since the early 1930s. As a heritage site, however, it challenges colonial, nationalist and apartheid views of prehistory. The vast global trade that’s evidenced by masses of trade glass beads and local artisanship of metals at Mapungubwe shows that Africa was not a ‘dark continent’, devoid of technology and innovation.…
Read More
A South African university publisher makes it to 100. A rare and important event

A South African university publisher makes it to 100. A rare and important event

Author BETH LE ROUX, Associate Professor, Publishing, University of Pretoria IN the past month, my email has served up two contrasting examples of the state of scholarly publishing in African countries. The one was an invitation to celebrate the centenary of South Africa’s Wits University Press. The other, an academic report on the demise of Nigerian university presses. Between these two extremes, there are only a few functioning African university presses in 2022 – a recent survey found only 15 active presses out of 52 that claim to still be working. The situation is similar in other universities in the…
Read More
What the US can learn from apartheid-era book bans in South Africa

What the US can learn from apartheid-era book bans in South Africa

HELEN KAPSTEIN “Beloved.” “The Hate U Give.” “Maus.” “Burger’s Daughter.” EACH of these books has been banned at some point in time, but one stands out. Instead of being banned in 21st-century America, Nadine Gordimer’s “Burger’s Daughter” was banned in 20th-century South Africa during apartheid, that country’s period of official white supremacist rule. So why include it in this list? Despite the decades and distance between bans on this book and the others, the rise in attempts to ban and censor books in America in 2022 looks an awful lot like what South African censors did during apartheid. I make…
Read More
NoViolet Bulawayo’s new novel is an instant Zimbabwean classic

NoViolet Bulawayo’s new novel is an instant Zimbabwean classic

IN Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo’s new novel Glory – longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022 – animals take on human characteristics. Through this she explores what happens when an authoritarian regime implodes, using characters who are horses, pigs, dogs, cows, cats, chickens, crocodiles, birds and butterflies. Bulawayo’s celebrated first novel, We Need New Names, was a coming-of-age story about the escapades of a Zimbabwean girl named Darling who ends up living in America. Its hallmarks are accentuated in this new work: the troubled real world of class struggles, psychological dualities, colonial and postcolonial histories, war and the dog-eat-dog politics of…
Read More
Epitaph for a baobab: remembering South African poet and activist Don Mattera

Epitaph for a baobab: remembering South African poet and activist Don Mattera

THE towering South African poet, activist and humanitarian Donato Francesco Mattera passed away on 18 July at the age of 86. What he represented to South Africa is far larger than his contribution to literature. During the online memorial service for Mattera, filmmaker and lecturer Dr Teddy Mattera said of his father: “He illuminated my pathway as a creative person.” Tributes from journalists, historians, politicians, doctors and lawyers – people who don’t readily identify as creative – echoed his sentiments. Herein lies the enduring greatness of Don Mattera: what he did for people. Author PHILLIPPA YAA DE VILLIERS, Poet and…
Read More
Remembering Frantz Fanon – six great reads

Remembering Frantz Fanon – six great reads

FRANTZ Fanon, the Martinique-born psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary and leading pan-Africanist, would have been 97 on 20 July 2022. He left a remarkable imprint. His views influenced many in the field of mental illness as well as pan-Africanist thinkers and anti-colonialism and black liberation campaigners. Fanon’s wide-ranging interests can be gleaned from his writings on numerous subjects including politics, psychiatry and even sports. Six articles from our archives attest to Fanon’s influence and legacy. Author THABO LESHILO, Politics + Society, The Conversation Psychiatry in colonial society Fanon highlighted how, by institutionalising patients, psychiatric hospitals tended to further alienate them from their…
Read More
South Africa mourns legendary poet Don Mattera

South Africa mourns legendary poet Don Mattera

SOUTH Africans from all walks of life have paid tributes to and celebrated the extraordinary life of Don Mattera, the poet, author, cultural activist and community leader who passed away after a short illness. Mattera - 87 - was buried at the Heroes Acre at the Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to Mattera, who was honoured in 2006 by the government  with the Order of the Baobab for his “excellent contribution to literature, achievement in the field of journalism and striving for justice in South Africa” President Ramaphosa said: “As a nation, we are…
Read More
Book on Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe’s legacy has many flaws

Book on Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe’s legacy has many flaws

DEVELOPMENT studies professor David Moore’s new book, Mugabe’s Legacy: Coups, Conspiracies and the Conceits of Power in Zimbabwe, attempts to understand the legacy of Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017, when he lost power in a military coup. Author BLESSING-MILES TENDI, Associate Professor in the Politics of Africa, University of Oxford Moore maintains that Mugabe’s legacy revolves around what he terms “the three Cs”: coups, conspiracies and conceits of political power. He shows that “the three Cs” have their origins in the perilous politics of the independence struggle, in which Mugabe was a key participant. The book…
Read More
Wole Soyinka’s life of writing holds Nigeria up for scrutiny

Wole Soyinka’s life of writing holds Nigeria up for scrutiny

AKINWANDE Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, known simply as Wole Soyinka, can’t be easily described. He is a teacher, an ideologue, a scholar and an iconoclast, an elder statesman, a patriot and a culturalist. The Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet and essayist is a giant among his contemporaries. In 1986, he became the first sub-Saharan African, and is one of only five Africans, to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature. This was in recognition of the way he “fashions the drama of existence”. Author ABAYOMI AWELEWA, Lecturer in African and African Diasporan Literature, University of Lagos His works reveal him as a…
Read More