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.
Denis Goldberg reflects on his activism, hardships in prison, and the highs and lows of the antiapartheid movement. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1963 in South Africa’s Rivonia trial with Mandela and other leaders. He served 22 years in an apartheid prison. Goldberg’s autobiography is titled The Mission: A Life for Freedom in South Africa.
Barry Gilder, South African folk singer and ex-ANC intelligence operative, is the author of Songs and Secrets: South Africa from Liberation to Governance. In the interview, he reflects on freedom songs, exile, and armed struggle. Gilder performs his “Matola Song,” about a friend killed by an apartheid death squad. He ends with thoughts on democratic governance and on the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, a think tank he co-founded in 2010.
Sekibakiba Peter Lekgoathi (U. Witwatersrand/Michigan) on radio, ethnicity and knowledge production in South Africa, both apartheid’s Bantu Radio and the liberation movement’s Radio Freedom, including broadcasts and audiences, idioms, songs and slogans. Also discusses formation of Ndebele ethnicity and role of popular radio in forging a strong ethnic consciousness, and histories of African interpreters and research assistants.
Adam Ashforth (Univ. of Michigan) on “witchcraft” in rural Central and urban Southern Africa. Discusses connections with colonial and postcolonial power and authority; gender; spiritual insecurity and religious enthusiasm; law, culture, and HIV/AIDS in Malawi; “anti-anti-witchcraft,” and the “serious laughter” of photographer Santu Mofokeng.
Sifiso Ndlovu (CEO, South African Democracy Education Trust) on the Soweto 1976 rising; personal and professional perspectives on challenges and contributions of African historians; writing and editing SADET’s The Road to Democracy in South Africa series; and the importance of orality and African languages in Zulu history and in rewriting South Africa’s past.