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Shamin Meer in conversation with Sisonke Msimang at Jhb launch of Fatima Meer: Memories of Love and Struggle

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Durban launch of Fatima Meer: Memories of Love and Struggle

Fatima Meer: Memories of Love and Struggle Fatima Meer: Memories of Love and Struggle will be launched in Durban on 4 April 2017. Shamim Meer will be in conversation with Ramesh Harcharan:

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Voices of Liberation: the legacy of Thomas Sankara continues

Sankara’s legacy, unclear as it may be, still lives and he remains immensely popular. If you travel through
Africa his image is unmistakable. His picture, with beret and broad grin, is pasted on run-down taxis and
is found on the walls of local bars. Internationally Sankara is often referred to as the ‘African Che
Guevara’ and, like his South American counterpart, it is his perseverance, dedication and incorruptibility
that appeal to the imagination.
Voices of Liberation: Thomas Sankara starts with a comprehensive timeline covering Thomas Sankara’s
life and major events in the history of the continent and region.
His Life section provides the most critical and fraternal assessment of the 1980s radical experiment
within the broader history of the country, the region and continent.
His Voice section succinctly provides a selection of Sankara’s speeches, broadcasts and interviews and
gives us insight to his outlook on the world.
His Legacy section combines an almost poetic tribute to the flawed through heroic period of Sankara’s
‘revolution’ with an incredibly relentless and honest analysis. This is done through the story of last
year’s uprising against Compaoré – with haunting lessons for South Africa.
The Postscript is an indispensable update to the extraordinary events in Burkina Faso during 2015,
chiefly the resistance to the coup in September. The authors look at Sankara’s influence on the popular
movements and its wider significance for Africa.

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China in Africa: the traces left by Li Xinfeng's travels in Africa

The Other Side of Freedom

The years Li Xinfeng spent as a Chinese
correspondent in South Africa are evident in
the insights he shares in China in Africa:
Following Zheng He’s Footsteps
– the narrative
of his research into the traces left by the
famed navigator during his travels in and
around Africa. Beginning on Kenya’s Pate
Island, Li’s research led him to travel around
much of the southern part of the African
continent, searching for signs that Zheng He’s
fleet had been there some six centuries
China in Africa: Following Zheng He’s
is more than just one person’s quest
to retrace the journey of an alluring historical
figure, shrouded in legend: Zheng He has
become an important symbol for the Chinese
people and the world of peace-loving cultural
exchange in general. Li’s comprehensive
research into the African travels of this iconic
figure presents a challenge to the postcolonial
world, highlighting the stark contrast between
colonising and fair exchange for mutual
benefit. A consistent thread in the narrative is
how best to respond to the challenge of
overturning the exploitation of colonial
relationships with friendly collaboration in
modern times.

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  • The Other Side of Freedom: Stories of Hope and Loss in the South African Liberation Struggle, 1950-1994 by Gregory F Houston, Shepi Mati, Hangwelani Magidimisha, Elmé Vivier, Mojalefa Dipholo
    EAN: 9780796925572
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Memories of Love and Struggle: read an excerpt from Fatima Meer's memoir

Fatima Meer

Activist and writer Fatima Meer devoted herself to resisting racism when she was just 17 years old; the first public act of defiance in a long and pioneering life of campaigning against injustice. Assassination attempts, petrol bombs, and threats against her family did not deter this fearless, selfless, and courageous woman.

Read an excerpt from her memoir here:

There were many ways in which non-European students were discriminated against and we organised against the racist practices we encountered at the University. For example, non-European students were not allowed to wear the College blazer, the rationalisation being that the blazer was only worn by those participating in sport. So to qualify for the blazer we first had to qualify for the College sports teams, but we were not interested in sports. We insisted that the blazer belonged to the University and we as students of the University thus had the right to wear the blazer. We insisted that the rules regarding the wearing of the blazer be changed to make it accessible to all students. We were also not allowed to be members of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) in those days. Phillip Tobias, 40 as I recall, was then the president of NUSAS and he held a NUSAS meeting at Sastri College. I made a point of attending the meeting and I challenged him on the exclusion of non-European students from NUSAS. Mabel Palmer, the Fabian socialist who organised the non-European section of the University and was one of our lecturers, had the task of ensuring that the NUSAS meeting remained pure white. She sent her secretary to check whether there were any non-European students present and the secretary, on finding me present, asked me to leave. I refused and criticised NUSAS for its racism. The University used to have dances but they were petrified that there would be “mixed” dancing between European and non-European students and so the senior marms used to be put on duty to ensure that rule was never infringed. The expedient explanation was that it was in the interest of the non-Europeans that these rules were observed because if the white community heard of mixed dancing on the campus, they would insist on closing down the non-European section of the University. The Drama Department staged a play by Shakespeare at the main campus and free tickets were offered to the non-European students. However, these were for segregated performances and the non-European Student Representative Council took the decision to refuse the tickets. Mabel Palmer called me in together with a few other students and tried to persuade us to attend the performance. Her final argument was to recite the dictum ‘All work and no play made Jack a dull boy’. Our retort was that none of us were ‘Jacks’. We were ‘Fatimas’, ‘Vassies’ and ‘Muthumas’.

That year the officials of the non-European SRC called on the non- European graduates to boycott the graduation ceremony until such time as the University eliminated their practices of racially segregated seating of parents and of presenting graduates by race (rather than in alphabetical order). The first two names on the statement protesting the segregation were those of fellow student activist Vasi Nair and myself. Mabel Palmer called the two of us into her office. She argued that we had accepted segregated classes, why then did we object to segregation at the graduation ceremony. We told her that we needed the education and it was only available to us through segregated classes. Attending segregated classes was degrading, but we were prepared to concede that degradation out of necessity. However, we could exercise a choice in attending the graduation ceremony or not. Our view was that this liberal white university had every freedom to desegregate its student body. All in all, that graduation ceremony was farcical as students heeded our boycott graduation call. The non-European students were just not there. As the graduation ceremony began it became clear that this was a “whites only” ceremony. The City Hall was clearly demarcated between non- European and European seating. As always the academic procession was all white. There was an awful emptiness and silence as the names of non-European students were called out. No other university had pretended to offer post-matric education to non-Europeans. Every other university had obsequiously heralded the apartheid logo of the racist government. In my exhilaration, I felt sorry for the Trojans like Mabel Palmer, Florence McDonald and Elizabeth Sneddon who had set up the classes for non-European students. I wished they were equally victorious with us because in fact they sympathised with us, even though they did not articulate that sympathy.

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Writer's masterclass with Thabiso Mahlape

Endings and Beginnings: A Story of HealingBlackbird Books founder and publisher Thabiso Mahlape will be hosting a writer’s masterclass. Among others, Mahlape published Redi Thlabi’s Endings & Beginnings.

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