David Coplan (Wits, Emeritus) takes us on a journey from New York to Soweto and into the making of his ethnographic studies of music and popular culture in West and South(ern) Africa. Coplan then turns to his recent book about The Bassline jazz club in Johannesburg. The interview concludes with insights from his new research on African borderlands and its contributions to global Border Theory.
Albie Sachs, former judge, freedom fighter, and professor, speaks (and sings!) about his anti-apartheid activism and lifelong commitment to equality and justice. He reflects on the enduring need for “soft vengeance” and draws on his 15-year term on South Africa’s Constitutional Court to emphasize the importance of constitutionalism for democracy. The interview concludes with Sachs’ thoughts on Jacob Zuma’s demise and Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency.
Prof. Norman Etherington (U. Western Australia) on empire in Africa, missions, and Southern African history. The interview focuses on themes of his distinguished career and influential works, such as The Great Treks, and his latest books Indigenous Evangelists & Questions of Authority in the British Empire 1750-1940 and Imperium of the Soul.
Dr. Alcinda Honwana on the struggles of young Africans, the condition of “waithood”—a state of limbo between childhood and adulthood—and their creative engagements with everyday life. She reflects on the art and ethics of oral interviewing in Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia, and concludes with a hopeful vision of young women and men as a force for positive change in Africa and beyond.
Part of a podcast series in collaboration with the U.S. African Studies Association.
Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Greg Marinovich (Boston University) on the genealogy and ethics of his work and on his new book: Murder at Small Koppie: The Real Story of the Marikana Massacre—one of the largest killing of civilians in South Africa since 1960.
Susanne Klausen (History, Carleton U.) on the history and politics of women’s reproductive rights in South Africa. Our discussion of race, nationalism, and women’s sexuality focuses on her new book, Abortion Under Apartheid, the first full-length study of the history of abortion in an African context. The interview concludes with an assessment of the present and future of abortion rights in South Africa and internationally.
Professor Renfrew Christie (University of the Western Cape) on South African advances and challenges since 1994; educational transformations at UWC; his role as an anti-apartheid student activist, exposure of South Africa’s nuclear bomb and subsequent imprisonment, and nuclear issues today.
Menán Du Plessis (Stellenbosch University and U. of Kentucky) on her literary work, research on the Kora! language, and the significance of Khoesan linguistics to southern African studies. Du Plessis also considers digitization efforts and the impact of mass media and the Internet on endangered African languages.
Keith Breckenridge (WISER) on the current state of digital Southern African Studies; the politics, funding, and ethics of international partnerships in digital projects; and his new book Biometric State: The Global Politics of Identification and Surveillance in South Africa, 1850 to the Present. Follow Keith on Twitter: @BreckenridgeKD
Part I of a series on digital African studies.
Chitja Twala (History, Univ. of Free State) on the history of black politics and the African National Congress in the Free State province; oral history; cultural resistance; the field of History in South Africa; lessons of the Marikana Massacre; and “transformation” in South African higher education.