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In Race Otherwise Zimitri Erasmus questions the notion that one can know race with one’s eyes, with racial categories and with genetic ancestry tests

Race Otherwise brings together the full amplitude of Zimitri Erasmus’s thinking about how race works. It tunes into registers both personal and social. It is not without indignation, and not … insensitive to emotion and … the anger inside South Africa. It is a book that is not afraid of questions of affect. Eros and love, Erasmus urges, are not separable from the hard work of thinking.’ – Crain Soudien, CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa

Race Otherwise

‘People from different parts of the world ask ‘what mix’ I am. Which would you prefer? Salt and vinegar or cinnamon and sugar? Neither one of my parents was black Black. Neither one of them was white White. I am not half-and-half.’
(from Chapter 1, ‘This Blackness’)

How is ‘race’ determined? Is it your DNA? The community that you were raised in? The way others see you or the way you see yourself?

In Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa Zimitri Erasmus questions the notion that one can know race with one’s eyes, with racial categories and with genetic ancestry tests. She moves between the intimate probing of racial identities as we experience them individually, and analysis of the global historical forces that have created these identities and woven them into our thinking about what it means to be ‘human’.

Starting from her own family’s journeys through regions of the world and ascribed racial identities, she develops her argument about how it is possible to recognise the pervasiveness of race thinking without submitting to its power. Drawing on the theoretical work of Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter and others, Erasmus argues for a new way of ‘coming to know otherwise’, of seeing the boundaries between racial identities as thresholds to be crossed, through politically charged acts of imagination and love.

Zimitri Erasmus is a professor of Sociology in the department of Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She is the editor of the seminal volume Coloured by History, Shaped by Place: New Perspectives on Coloured Identities in Cape Town (2001) and in 2010 she was a UCT-Harvard Mandela Mellon Fellow. Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa is her first monograph.

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Sitting Pretty explores the postapartheid identity of white Afrikaans women through the concepts of ordentlikheid and the volksmoeder

At the opening of South Africa’s first democratic parliament in 1994, newly elected president Nelson Mandela issued a clarion call to an unlikely group: white Afrikaans women, who during apartheid straddled the ambivalent position of being simultaneously oppressor and oppressed.

He conjured the memory of poet Ingrid Jonker as ‘both an Afrikaner and an African’ who ‘instructs that our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child’. More than two decades later, the question is: how have white Afrikaans women responded to the liberating possibilities of constitutional democracy?

With Afrikaner nationalism in disrepair, and official apartheid in demise, have they re-imagined themselves in opposition to colonial ideas of race, gender, sexuality and class?

This book explores this postapartheid identity through the concepts of ordentlikheid, as an ethnic form of respectability, and the volksmoeder, or mother of the nation, as enduring icon.
 
 
 
Christi van der Westhuizen is associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pretoria.

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"The perception that crime fiction in South Africa is a new form of literature is erroneous" - an excerpt from A Survey of South African Crime Fiction

At the opening of South Africa’s first democratic parliament in 1994, newly elected president Nelson Mandela issued a clarion call to an unlikely group: white Afrikaans women, who during apartheid straddled the ambivalent position of being simultaneously oppressor and oppressed. He conjured the memory of poet Ingrid Jonker as ‘both an Afrikaner and an African’ who ‘instructs that our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child’. More than two decades later, the question is: how have white Afrikaans women responded to the liberating possibilities of constitutional democracy? With Afrikaner nationalism in disrepair, and official apartheid in demise, have they re-imagined themselves in opposition to colonial ideas of race, gender, sexuality and class? This book explores this postapartheid identity through the concepts of ordentlikheid, as an ethnic form of respectability, and the volksmoeder, or mother of the nation, as enduring icon.

Christi van der Westhuizen is associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pretoria

First two volumes in new Off Centre-series now available

Water in Southern AfricaWater in Southern Africa
Larry Swatuk

When it comes to water, we are fed a daily diet of doom and gloom, of a looming crisis: wars of the future will be over water; nearly one-billion people lack access to clean water; river basins are closed so there is no more water to be allocated despite ever-growing demand; aquifers are overdrawn to such an extent that a global food crisis is just around the corner and major cities, such as Bangkok and Mexico, are sinking. And let us not forget about pollution or vector-borne diseases.

The challenges for sustainable water management are massive. Yet, as shown in this book, there are many positives to be drawn from the southern African experience. Despite abiding conditions of economic underdevelopment and social inequality, people rise to the challenge, oftentimes out of necessity and through self-help, but sometimes through creative coalitions operating at different scales – from the local to the global – and across issue areas – from transboundary governance to urban water supply. This first volume in the Off-Centre series argues that we must learn to see water and the region differently if we are to meet present challenges and better prepare for an uncertain, climate-changing future.

Larry A. Swatuk is Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo, Canada; Extraordinary Professor at the Institute for Water Studies, University of Western Cape, South Africa; and Research Associate, Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC). Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, he was Associate Professor of Natural Resources Governance at the Okavango Research Institute, Maun, Botswana.

Jan Smuts and the Indian QuestionJan Smuts and the Indian Question
Vineet Thakur

As the only surviving statesman of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Jan Smuts arrived for the first session of the United Nations in New York in 1946 to celebratory chants. His departure, a month and a half later, was terrifyingly dissimilar. The ‘counsellor of nations’ left a dejected man, with his honour, power and glory severely dented.

The tragedy that befell Smuts’ international swansong was an Indian delegation, which, as Smuts bemoaned, used his own words against himself and showed him to be a hypocrite. This was eerily similar to a diplomatic onslaught Smuts had faced between 1917 and 1923 at the hands of another set of little-known Indian diplomats. Through these episodic histories, this book chronicles the ambivalent cosmopolitanism of Jan Smuts.
 
 
Vineet Thakur is an assistant professor of International Relations at Leiden University, the Netherlands. He holds a doctorate from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, and has taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and Ambedkar University Delhi. He was also previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, University of Johannesburg.

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Reprinted English edition of Emperor Shaka the Great published with the isiZulu edition on the 10th anniversary of Mazisi Kunene's death

Mazisi Kunene is the much-celebrated author of epics, such as Emperor Shaka the Great (UNodumehlezi KaMenzi) and Anthem of the Decades (Inhlokomo Yeminyaka), as well as numerous poems, short stories, nursery rhymes and proverbs that amount to a collection of more than 10 000 works.

He was born in aMahlongwa in 1930, a small rural village on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Notwithstanding his cultural duties as a young man born into Zulu tradition, his calling as an imbongi was taken very seriously by his father and grandfather who encouraged him to write. Professor Kunene described this ‘calling’ to write as ‘something [that] is not me, it is the power that rides me like a horse’.

Kunene lectured widely and was Professor in African Literature at Stanford University and in African Literature and Languages at the University of California, Los Angeles. On his return to South Africa, he was Professor in African Languages at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

He went into exile in the 1960s for more than 34 years, during which time he established and managed the African National Congress office in London and later moved to Los Angeles with his family to pursue his academic career. In UNodumehlezi KaMenzi (Emperor Shaka the Great), which he wrote during this exile period, he positions Shaka as a legendary thinker, who had great skill as a strategic and military genius.

This vision acknowledges and re-imagines Shaka as a unifying cultural and political force that defined the cohesive Zulu nation. Kunene projects Shaka into the mythical ancestral universe that affirms the deep cultural lineage of the African world view.

This reprinted English edition is published with the isiZulu edition on the tenth anniversary of his death, embracing Kunene’s original dream to have his work published as intended in the original isiZulu form.

The symbolic and cultural significance of these publications begins a process of re-evaluating and recontextualising Kunene’s writing oeuvre.

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The latest contribution to The Road to Democracy series analyses commemorations and memorialisations of the Soweto uprisings

The Road to Democracy Volume 7 - Soweto Uprisings: New Perspective, Commemorations and MemorialisatiThis latest contribution to The Road to Democracy series deftly analyses commemorations and memorialisations of the 1976 uprisings in Soweto. Voices of authorities, police and veterans of the struggle are shared through collective memories, eyewitness accounts, and oral history testimonies.

These voices, and the experiences of activists, participants and observers of the uprisings, provide readers with a palpable and arresting ‘truth’ more compelling than that of a dispassionate history text.

This volume, the seventh in the series, postulates that history is about change at a given time: while pursuing a fragile balance between partisanship and objectivity, history is open to continuous reassessment and reappraisal, revision and re-examination, construction and reconstruction.

This volume, rooted as it is in primary evidence and archival material, rather than in abstract theories, offers readers rare insights from the voices and sometimes piecemeal memories of the students, parents and authorities who lived through those turbulent and momentous days.
 
Contents:

Foreword vii
Preface ix
Notes on contributors xii
List of acronyms xv
Introduction xvii

Chapter 1
Cultural imperialism, language and ideological
struggles inside the Soweto classrooms
By Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu 1

Chapter 2
The anatomy of the crowd
By Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu 41

Chapter 3
The centrality of public and oral history in
mapping the Soweto uprising routes
By Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu and Ali Khangela Hlongwane 79

Chapter 4
The 1976 Soweto students’ uprising and its aftermath
in parts of the Northern Transvaal
By Sekibakiba Peter Lekgoathi 126

Chapter 5
‘Angeke bemhlule umlungu. Umlungu unamandla
(They won’t defeat the whites. Whites are powerful)’1: Students protest
in Mzinoni township, Bethal, 1972−1977
By Tshepo Moloi 143

Chapter 6
June 16 1976 Soweto uprisings: A journey into
the contested world of commemoration
By Ali Khangela Hlongwane 165

Chapter 7
‘Bricks-and-mortar testimonies’: The interactive and
dialogical features of the memorials and
monuments of the June 16 1976 Soweto uprisings
By Ali Khangela Hlongwane 195

Chapter 8
History, memory, tourism and curatorial mediations:
The Hector Pieterson Museum and the representation
of the story of the June 16 1976 Uprisings
By Ali Khangela Hlongwane 227

Select bibliography 251
Index 257

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  • The Road to Democracy Volume 7: Soweto Uprisings: New Perspective, Commemorations and Memorialisati by South African Democracy Education Trust
    EAN: 9781868889082
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