Social Dynamics

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Print ISSN: 0253-3952
While migration in South Africa has been studied on a broad canvas, there have been few accounts of children's migration and the effects on living conditions and wellbeing. This article compares the access to services, housing and household amenities, and family characteristics of children born in the Greater Johannesburg metropolis with those of in-migrant children. The article also examines other indicators of child wellbeing related to parental care and schooling. In-migrant children, particularly children who have lived previously in rural areas and/or have recently migrated into the city, are significantly disadvantaged in comparison to long-term resident children in terms of parental education and occupation, housing type and ownership, access to electricity, refuse removal, water and sanitation. In-migrant children also live in households that are less likely to have amenities such as a refrigerator, television, washing machine, telephone and motor vehicle. In terms of child indicators, in-migrant children enjoy less frequent parental contact and are twice as likely to start school later than resident children. Whilst urbanisation to South Africa's metropolitan centres is generally associated with several widely recognised benefits, for children, these benefits may be tempered by the disadvantages of in-migrant families known to be associated with child wellbeing.
The essential idea is to show how norms can emerge spontaneously at the social level from the decentralized interactions of many individuals that cumulate over time into a set of social expectations.
The Dutch East and West India Companies established colonies in the Caribbean, Brazil and at the Cape of Good Hope. The resulting townscapes can be read as artefacts of domination - attempts to stamp order on the chaos of newly-colonized lands. But at the same time, such built forms incorporated knowledge of the "low-other" - the underclasses in highly hierarchical colonial worlds. As a result, the experience of resistance (rarely directly visible in such public constructions as street grids and building facades) was incorporated into the symbolic language of dominance, setting up a dialectical relationship between the High and the Low.
This paper reviews the concept of race as applied in southern Africa, and with particular reference to the idea of the “Negro”. After examining earlier work in the field of physical anthropology, more recent theoretical concepts are applied in a critique of modern practice. It is concluded that the revolution in physical anthropological theory has been largely “silent”, with the consequence that new ideas have not been systematically applied in archaeology. It would seem that there is little firm, and still acceptable, evidence for the identity of early farming communities in southern Africa.
Articles of apparel may carry strong symbolic meanings and convey messages such as gender and social status. As with other media of communication, items of dress are systematically related to each other to form codes. The top hat is a good example. Part of the urban uniform of the English male upper class from the late eighteenth century onwards, the top hat had become unfashionable in elite circles by the later years of the nineteenth century. However, by this time, the top hat had been adopted as part of the regalia of political leaders outside the colony and in later years, of the South African State President and of participants in the licenced saturnalia of the Coon Carnival.
Over the last fifteen years radical historiography has demolished the unstated presumption that South African history began in 1652. However, in emphasising the centrality of the mineral revolution, it encouraged a tendency to see South African history as really beginning in 1870. Many recent liberal works have done the same. This article argues that, no matter how much new was brought into South African society by the great transformation of the late nineteenth century, industrial capitalism was able to build on historical processes within pre‐industrial colonial society to a degree that is far greater than is frequently realised. The article develops five main propositions: (i) as a colony, the Cape can only be understood within the context of the Dutch and British empires (ii) a necessary condition for the establishment of colonial agriculture was the generally forcible dispossession of the African population from the land (iii) colonial agriculture relied to a very large degree on forced labour systems, whether the labourers were legally slave or free (iv) almost all colonial farmers were linked to the urban, and so to the world, market, both to sell their produce and to raise credit and (v) the farming community was never homogeneous, but exhibited continual and various degrees of stratification. Focussing on colonial agriculture, the article concludes that capital accumulation by one class to the exclusion of others and with the help of the state had begun long before the mineral revolution, setting the pattern for modern South Africa.
Although the urgency with which the Dutch East India Company administration at the Cape built defensive works was a direct result of their fear of attack from both land and sea, there was an additional imperative, for the Castle at Cape Town stood as a symbol of Dutch colonial aspirations. In this paper, we compare written and material texts of one part of the Castle's architecture to show firstly, how the discordances between such sources can reveal an underside of early colonization and secondly, how the Castle moat, in the seventeenth century a stamp of aspirant power, was by the mid-nineteenth century a dump and a public nuisance.
'Everyday Geographies' Map (Andrew, 18 years & Lubega, 11 years)
Childhood is characterised by diversity and difference across and within societies. Street children have a unique relationship to the urban environment evident through their use of the city. The everyday geographies that street children produce are diversified through the spaces they frequent and the activities they engage in. Drawing on a range of children-centred qualitative methods, this article focuses on street children's use of urban space in Kampala, Uganda. The article demonstrates the importance of considering variables such as gender and age in the analysis of street children's socio-spatial experiences, which, to date, have rarely been considered in other accounts of street children's lives. In addition the article highlights the need for also including street children's individuality and agency into understanding their use of space. The article concludes by arguing for policies to be sensitive to the diversity that characterises street children's lives and calls for a more nuanced approach where policies are designed to accommodate street children's age and gender differences, and their individual needs, interests and abilities.
This paper reviews the purposes of higher education in South Africa through to lens the 1997 Education White Paper. It is argued that, while the principles of the White Paper have shaped the development of the higher education system over the following decade the primary objectives of transformation have yet to be realized.
Youngest Sons and Land Allocation
While ethnographers document rules of inheritance as favouring the oldest son in both Pedi and Ndebele tradition, the inhabitants of this Trust village ‐ of both language groups ‐claim to practise last‐born inheritance. The paper explains this change as resulting from the extreme shortage of land in the village, due to the area's rapid population by ex‐labour tenants from the white farms of the southeastern Transvaal. The “rule” of ultimogeniture is, however, flexibly interpreted. A married son may be favoured above the youngest, since the role of women in tending the inherited plot, and in caring for aged in‐laws, is crucial. A couple wishing to transfer land to an unmarried daughter, in the absence of a married son, is hamstrung by the rule ‐ “traditional” but enshrined in Homeland bureaucracy ‐ that only men may inherit land. Another divergence from the norm can be seen in the case of many Ndebele families, whose extended and solidary structure prompts an indefinite deferment of the transfer of land to one single heir so that it may continue to be used by the whole household.
Zimbabwean state leaders have resorted to violent repression of mass protests to secure power. Mass protests, peaceful or not, have turned out to be too risky and impermissible despite the Zimbabwean constitution legalising peaceful protests. This article focuses on the Zimbabwean experience of violent repression and draws on the brutal experiences of protesters at the hands of the police on 16 August 2019. The principal focus of the article is on how ordinary Zimbabweans responded by creating and circulating satirical memes on social media, utilising humour to critique and ridicule police brutality. The analysis is informed by Scott’s concept of the weapons of the weak, the views of Barber on popular culture, by Fiske on popular pleasure and Mbembe on the commandement. I also draw from ideas on the concept of laughter and/or humour posited by Bakhtin, Singh and Taecharungroj and Nueangjamnong. I argue that laughter drawn from satirical memes offers comic relief to a people who have gone through violent repression. It is also a tool that empowers them to make meaning of police brutality, to expose the police’s vices and follies, and to condemn and show resentment towards state and police excesses.
Early copies of the Photographic Album of South African Scenery that was published between c.1880 and c.1888 by Robert Harris in Port Elizabeth consisted of 28 double-card pages with two, occasionally one, tipped-in photographs per page. During the near-decade of its production, the number of images increased, printed captions replaced handwritten captions and both the selection and arrangement of images became gradually more coherent and programmatic. The paper interprets these changes as Robert Harris’s attempt to construct a public identity for South Africa at the moment its economy and society were being transformed by the diamond mines at Kimberley and elsewhere that constitute the focus of the later form of the form Album. In the developed form of the Album, a narrative progression is suggested to move from Cape Town and the Western Province, to Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Province, to the Kimberley Diamond Fields, Natal, etc. In order to read this journey critically, the paper is arranged to demonstrate the constituent parts of this journey in the representation of cities and towns, laid out in grid plans on the African veld; the depiction of individual buildings with their expressive vocabulary of architectural style; and the idea of commerce – represented in street scenes, markets and seaports – and the facilitation of commerce through roads, bridges and mountain passes. The disproportionately large number of photographs of Kimberley, with both its mining operations and no less than three commercial markets, underlines the significance of commerce and industry in the new South African identity. The emphasis on commercial achievement in the Album leaves an obviously subordinate role for images of nature in both agriculture and landscape. Farming is represented through such exploitative practices as forest clearing and hunting, rather than the developed forms of agriculture of wine farming, sheep farming and wheat farming. And landscape in the Album is either a landscape subdued to the wants and needs of a settler population that would bludgeon its way through mountain passes or divert the course of rivers to facilitate commerce, or a landscape that is defined by the imported aesthetic conventions of the picturesque and sublime. Similarly, grouping the photographs of indigenous peoples that are scattered throughout the Album, one may see that their representation is entirely instrumental, divided crudely into roles of either war-like barbarians or pliant labourers. In these ways, the Photographic Album may be understood as a true mirror of the colonial achievement.
This essay is about issues of methodology when undertaking research in a post-colonial missionary archive. It is an attempt at recovering the local history of post-abolition Angola from the photographic holdings of the archive of the Spiritan Congregation by restoring the links of a photograph to its context and to contemporary historical discourse. The subject matter is a photograph taken in 1904 at the mission of Malange, in northern Angola. It shows catechists, men and women wearing European and African dress, and children, some of whom were born “free,” while others were “freed slaves.” They were grouped around a Marian shrine on the occasion of the inauguration of the first printed edition of Spiritans’ bilingual catechism in Portuguese and Kimbundu. By commuting between foreground and background, the essay traces the ramifications of the history of a cultural zone of confluence of different worlds. The project underlying the essay is to use historical photographs to recover the past seen from “the other side.”
While no policymaker would claim to be celebrating the centenary of the Natives Land Act, the form and content of the commemoration of this significant event on the website of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has some unsettling parallels with the celebratory countdown to the Soccer World Cup of 2010. Rather than using the centenary to acknowledge the significant changes in relations to land of the past century, the state is treating it as an opportunity for political theatre that deflects attention from serious weaknesses in its land reform programme. If the centenary of the 1913 Land Act is to be an opportunity for meaningful reflection, then a more thoughtful engagement is required with major processes of social change and regional differentiation over the past 100 years.
Umteteli wa Bantu, launched in 1920, was much more than the moderate, black newspaper most of its contemporaries assumed it to be. Established by the Native Recruitment Corporation as an exercise in “soft power” through propaganda, the split created between its business and editorial functions facilitated editorial autonomy. Umteteli form, a term taken from Kevin Barnhurst and John Nerone’s work on newspaper history, included the casual and irregular intermingling of social and personal news with all the other paper content. By sewing people and their activities into the fabric of the paper, Umteteli created a niche and identity for itself as constitutive of black sociality in which the constraints imposed by racial segregation no longer impeded upward social mobility. This playfulness and creativity contradict much of what is written about the paper, usually assessed for whether its political content was supportive or not of African nationalism. Also, through ongoing encouragement and exhortation to its readers, the paper drew readers into a status as co-producers, creating commonality through the relationship of readers to the paper where that commonality might not have existed otherwise.
From the inception of colonial film-making in British West Africa in the early 1930s, dirt and the cinema were closely connected. Numerous educational movies were produced to show Africans the economically, physically and morally degrading consequences of “dirty habits.” By the early 1940s, the Colonial Office had come to realise that, within the cinema spaces created by mobile health units across Africa, intended audiences processed images and messages through their own aesthetic, spiritual, moral, economic and political value systems. These systems exceeded colonial projections and defied assimilation into colonial categories of dirt. This article focuses on the complexity of intended audiences’ responses to the simple ideological formula of colonial health and hygiene films. It argues that the presence of local aesthetic tastes and values in media archives on public health and hygiene in colonial Africa represents a vital space of mediation that must be considered alongside film content and film-makers’ intentions.
This paper focuses on the increasingly important role played by pictorial journalism in the struggle for Nigerian self-rule. From the late 1920s onwards, daily newspapers printed portrait photographs with a pro-colonial slant: members of the colonial administration, international heads of state, foreign ministers and, occasionally, the highest-ranking Nigerian politicians. To challenge a dominance of pro-colonial depictions, the anti-colonial West African Pilot introduced a new style of printed portrait photographs in 1937 that became a role model for other newspapers in the 1940s and the 1950s. This article focuses on the use of these portrait photographs for the political propaganda of party-affiliated newspapers, such as the Daily Service, the West African Pilot and the Southern Nigeria Defender, which were published in the southwest of Nigeria. The technological difficulties of printing photographs in newspapers in the 1940s meant that editors had a limited choice of which portrait photographs to include (mainly photographs of politicians, businessmen and chiefs were available). The editors were further constrained by the scarcity of photographs of ordinary people. In addition, photographs depicting the colonial administration’s personnel or edifices were not in line with the editorial policy of the anti-colonial newspapers. In the 1950s, when Nigerian newspapers were able to afford the technological equipment to reproduce their own photographs, a representative cross-section of Nigerian society was still rarely included in the portrait photographs. The photographs that were printed showed the self-fashioning of Nigerian leaders of democratic parties, ahead of the emergence of a new style of democratic and charismatic leaders in Senegal. Although these anti-colonial images were more democratic than the old colonial images in pro-colonial newspapers, they replaced the imperial hierarchies which editors rejected, with the new social hierarchies of local Nigerian elites foreshadowing the politics of independent Nigeria.
The article provides a critical reflection on the practice of photographic salon exhibitions in the 1950s. In South Africa and abroad, there was a resurgence of photographic societies from the early 1950s that encouraged amateur photographers to create images based on a distinct visual grammar, thereby offering them not only an opportunity to display their work but to compete amongst each other. Subsequently, salon exhibitions produced work that would be judged on its pictorial rather than strict representational value thereby depoliticising the exhibition space. On the other hand, this article seeks to place this practice in the realm of racial segregation under apartheid by considering the deployment of the “black subject” in the native rural reserve in Joseph Denfield’s (1911–1967) work. Through a study of his ethnographic photographs which were exhibited internationally in this period as pictorial work, as well as his intellectualisation of his practice as native photography, it argues that the space of the salon allowed him to pose the “native question” pictorially, that is, provided a discourse through which the “native” could be “known” and ordered.
The Boy Kumasenu (Sean Graham, Gold Coast, 1952) produced by the Gold Coast Film Unit during the 1950s, before independence in Ghana, had a public impact and success with local Ghanaian audiences that other colonial films never achieved. About a boy, Kumasenu, who moves from a rural village to the city of Accra, the film attempts to represent an African experience of modern life, using a local cast. This article explores the film’s popular reception by drawing on advertisements, newspaper coverage, reviews, awards it received, as well as contemporary personal correspondence and retrospective interviews with the filmmakers. It proposes that the film’s appeals lay in its inclusion of highlife, its fashions, styles and music, popular in the Gold Coast, alongside cinematic conventions of documentary, drama-documentary, neorealist film styles and the Hollywood gangster genre, already familiar to urban Ghanaian audiences. Furthermore, its theme of urban youth and citizenship evoked the concept of the “African Personality,” an identity that Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party would link with highlife music at independence. By tapping into the popularity of cinema and highlife, the film promoted nascent nationalist sentiments, and became associated with anti-colonialism and social change in the newly emerging independent Ghana.
This article draws on oral histories of Rylands, a former Indian group area on the Cape Flats. It shifts focus from narratives of dispossession to narratives of the making of a relocation site. The Cape Flats has generally been represented as a place of poverty, crime and hopelessness and existing on the "fringe" of the city. This article seeks to complicate our understandings and imaginings of the Cape Flats by focusing on Rylands. In its focus on the middle class, it argues that they transformed their physical surroundings. Spaces in Rylands, built by Indian capital, also offered the Cape Flats useful resources. As an apartheid-designated space, Rylands had a significant role in the entrenching of Indianness leading to energised cultural and religious activity with temples and mosques becoming the centre for residents. There were competing visions for Rylands; some dallied with apartheid governance structures but, by the 1980s, the non-racial ethos dominated and for youth this place became their centre.
This is the story of a duel between a small magazine and the South African police Special Branch. The South African government maintained they had a free press. They therefore wanted to avoid outright censorship. They hoped that they could make The New African give up and shut up. The Ministry of Justice used the Special Branch to censor by harassment – police raids, confiscation of equipment, destruction of copies of the magazine, intimidation of printers, and a verdict of obscenity, which was turned down on appeal. One editor enabled the other editor to escape on a Norwegian cargo boat to Canada by jumping over the side of the boat to escape going to Canada as well. They then restarted the journal in Britain and slipped free copies into South Africa.
Headquartered in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) engaged the Portuguese army from 1962 to 1974 in a ground war over Mozambique’s independence. At the centre of this military struggle were the geographical regions of the liberated zones, areas in northern Mozambique that FRELIMO designated as under its control. In order to make an exile movement present and real for illiterate populations, FRELIMO trained a group of its soldiers as photographers, who travelled across Mozambique to photograph the war. This act of photographing and distributing images had its political advantages for drawing international aid, but these image-making processes also risked disrupting the ethnically diverse coalitions that made up FRELIMO’s military and popular support. In an effort to address scholarship on liberation movements in Africa, which has overlooked the importance of photography, this article considers the technical, technological, and structural mechanisms FRELIMO instituted from 1962 to 1974 to facilitate the production and circulation of photographs of its liberated zones. Reading FRELIMO’s photographic archive of the liberation struggle against the stories of their producers and users allows for an understanding of how the visualising of the liberated zone enabled FRELIMO to situate itself as a national movement with broad regional and ethnic support inside Mozambique, all the while articulating for international audiences a multiracial and countrywide war effort. The liberated zone was not just a physical landmark, but its picturing transformed it into a visually constituted category for foreign and local populations to identify with an independent Mozambique under FRELIMO’s control.
During the early 1960s, many Mozambicans fled from the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Niassa to the sanctuary and friendly border of Tanganyika (Tanzania) to escape the escalating violence of the anti-colonial war. These Mozambicans experienced, like many political refugees, a crisis of status during this migration. In seeking to survive their migration to Tanzania, many existing social relations among Mozambican refugees were temporarily suspended during this transit. Under the auspices of FRELIMO 1 1. In its English translation, FRELIMO stands for the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique. View all notes and the Tanzanian authorities, Mozambican refugees often found that their opportunities during this social breakdown were usually limited and redirected for the purposes of winning the anti-colonial war. Many of these people, regardless of gender or age, were also socially transformed by a continuum of survival skills that I call the bio-social experience. Many Mozambican refugees opted to work with FRELIMO as products of their own individual bio-social experiences. With the assistance of this revolutionary constituency of Mozambican refugees, FRELIMO’s institutional strategies and infrastructure projects inside Tanzania and in northern Mozambique offered an opportunity to demonstrate its early proto-state hegemony and revolutionary Pragmatism.
This paper discusses the incapacity of the Portuguese Estado Novo to successfully decolonise its territories in southern Africa, especially Angola and Mozambique. More precisely, what I will analyse is the failure of the policy of autonomy for the colonies promoted by Portugals Prime Minister Marcelo Caetano between 1968 and 1974. As such, I will first analyse the Portuguese colonial administrations reform process carried out by Marcelo Caetano, under its policy of "progressive autonomy and participation" of the colonies. Then, I will discuss the limits of this policy of autonomy and the brewing of strong tensions within the Portuguese regime. Finally, I will make a few remarks about the blockade of Marcelo Caetanos government, which resulted in the fall of the dictatorship on April 25, 1974.
Balla et ses Balladins, "Touré, " melodic outline transposed to c major. Transcribed by the author. 
miriam makeba, "Touré Barika," with lyrics. Transcribed by the author. 
This article revisits the cultural history of Guinea in the three decades following independence through focusing on the musical activity of Miriam Makeba, the exiled South African singer who resided in the country between the years 1968 and 1986. Recent scholarship has illuminated the vast investment of the Guinean state in developing modern national culture as part of the process of decolonisation as well as the limited freedom of expression, imposed by the state, that subjugated local cultural production. While these studies have concentrated primarily on Guinean cultural agents, this paper explores transnational dimensions within the cultural politics of Guinea. It highlights Makeba’s emplacement in Guinea in the context of nation building, Pan-Africanism, cold war politics and black transnational cultural exchanges. By focusing on the disparity between textual sources and musically embedded meanings extracted from Makeba’s music recorded in Guinea, this paper recasts Makeba as a conduit of African-American musical influences in the Guinean scene. By doing so, it uncovers cultural spaces that were not subordinated to official state ideology mediated through print culture, and thus have hitherto been unrecognised in mainstream historiography.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Angola's independence, this essay revisits key dimensions of the country's postcolonial trajectory through the prism of the complex politics of the nationalist struggle and the first decades of selfrule. Its goal is to provide a series of reflections, mostly centred on the MPLA regime, rather than a comprehensive treatment of all political actors in Angolan politics of recent decades. It argues, firstly, that Angola's trajectory from independence to the end of the country's long civil war in 2002 was powerfully conditioned by the structural legacies of late colonialism, the associated intranationalist politics and the particular circumstances of the end of empire in 1975. To these legacies, the essay adds the (constrained, but real) choices made by Angolan decision-makers in terms of institutional consolidation, the management of the economy and state-society relations. Secondly, the essay outlines the extent to which the MPLA's 2002 victory against UNITA in the country's civil war did away with the fragmentation that had characterised Angolan politics since the 1960s. The clashing, indeed mutually exclusionary, nationalist projects that had jostled for control of the Angolan state were replaced by a would-be hegemonic political force with a strong sense of legitimacy and a self-defined project of postwar nation building. The key question for the contemporary study of Angola - and one that the oil-fuelled politics of the national reconstruction era provided plenty of reflection on - is the extent to which the MPLA's postwar vision can supersede the country's historical divisions and provide the population with both the material prosperity it yearns for and a shared understanding of belonging.
This article examines how PUTCO buses formed part of apartheid infrastructure by transporting commuters between the Bantustan of KwaNdebele and Pretoria. It discusses the arduous conditions of this daily commute, as well as the ways in which PUTCO buses became central to mobilising against KwaNdebele’s independence in 1986. More specifically, this article demonstrates how the daily exhaustion of commuters, the poor design of these buses, their lack of safety and high fares in the 1970s and 1980s have continued into the post-apartheid present. Not only does this demonstrate the resilience of apartheid infrastructure – seen as a form of resoluteness and resistance to change – but it also highlights the resilient citizenship required from commuters in the post-apartheid period. Resilient citizenship – where responsibilised citizen-subjects in South Africa are required to be adaptable to apartheid infrastructure – has emerged through the state’s embrace of a neoliberal regime. Characterised by privatisation and reducing state expenditures, this regime has, in relation to apartheid’s infrastructure, given rise to techniques of government that shift responsibility onto individuals by imposing strategies of adaptability. Former residents of KwaNdebele, black women in particular, are thus required to be adaptable to PUTCO’s perilous routes and the poor design of the buses.
This article explores how the medium of radio through the genre of radio drama enables the exploration of issues of power and violence in a way that is both public and intensely private. It argues that through the airing of a topic as feared, as secret and yet as pervasively present - or potentially so - as the supernatural and the occult, radio drama can open up for debate areas of modern life around which there is often official silence. The focus is on a double serial drama, single parts of a proverb, Yiz’ Uvalo and Inqobo Yisibindi (“In Spite of Fear, the Victor is Courage”). I discuss the power of radio to create an interactive community and particular public and the power of this particular drama to harness listeners’ interest, emotions and fears. It had the ability to fascinate and delight and to create a parallel world, which intersected with events but at the same time kept its own internal dynamic which impelled its listeners on with it. I explore too the particular elements within people’s lives and imaginings with which this drama interacted, and how this contributed to its extraordinary “success.”
This essay looks to the presence of the publishing “backroom” in the work of South African writer Ivan Vladislavić. Vladislavić was employed by Johannesburg-based Ravan Press as their Social Studies Editor in 1984; his short, overtly anti-realist story, “Tsafendas’s Diary,” was published in Ravan’s flagship magazine Staffrider in 1988 (7 (1)), notably the first issue to which Vladislavić was formally attached as assistant editor. Prior to its appearance in Missing Persons (1989), Vladislavić’s first single-authored collection, this story’s publication in Staffrider provides an opportunity to revisit its critical ethical drives in ways unavailable in the relatively unitary product of the book. I offer a “small” reading of “Tsafendas’s Diary” in its earliest print context as a formative example of Vladislavić’s unique, cooperative way of working with others, arguing for the various ways the text “joins in” with the overlapping sets of the smaller, decentred print communities gathered by the radical activist and anti-apartheid solidarities of the magazine. The centrality of independent publishing, editing and production become legible in this reading, and so, their significance to Vladislavić’s ongoing literary labour and its subtle textual negotiations of his position as a white anglophone writer and editor, art critic and “public intellectual.”
This essay argues that the violent explosion at Marikana is an indication that ordinary South Africans are rapidly losing faith in the democratic institutions and social contract arrangements that underpin the 1994 post-apartheid South African democratic social contract, whether Parliament, the collective bargaining system, or the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). Similarly, "legitimate" institutions, such as political parties, trade unions and civic organisations - the organisations which pre-date 1994 - are also increasingly experienced by their members and supporters as not responsive, relevant or accountable. Marikana shows that if democratic institutions and "legitimate" institutions do not become more responsive, accountable and democratic quickly, ordinary people will increasingly look to new ones, including populists ones, or seek answers in violence. The essay concludes that although there are still many democratic and "legitimate" institutions which generate high levels of trust and enjoy widespread credibility and legitimacy, South Africa may have to renew aspects of its democratic social contract, institutions and rules, and in some cases, even create new, more relevant ones.
This article explores how independent literary publishing activities in South Africa during the period 1994-2004 sought to engage in public debate and deliberation, and thereby moved beyond purely literary concerns. It focuses on the publishing activities of five publishers - Dye Hard Press, Botsotso, Timbila, Kotaz and Chimurenga - and draws on a series of interviews with the publishers. The article considers how the publishers understood their publishing activities as acts of public engagement and contestation, and argues that they can usefully be thought of as counterpublics, a characteristic which feels unique to the post-apartheid period. It argues that public sphere theory offers a way of talking about the divergent characteristics of the publishing activities, which can be considered acts of poetic world making that position themselves in contestation with the post-apartheid mainstream. However, it suggests that their relationship to the mainstream is at times ambivalent and their independence not always assured. This is particularly felt in the reliance of some of the publishers on state and state-aligned arts bodies for funding for their survival, but also in other areas such as their difficult relationship with commercial book dealers and the mainstream media. Their proximity to the mainstream in terms of state funding also suggests the need for a theorisation of what we might call 'embedded counterpublics' in highly stratified societies such as South Africa.
Teju Cole (b. 1975) is a Nigerian-American prize-winning writer, photographer, and art historian whose fictional travelogue Every Day Is for the Thief (2007/2014) includes photographs. Its male protagonist resembles the author in many ways: both are educated middle-class New York City dwellers of Nigerian descent who, after many years, return to Lagos for a visit. The protagonist delivers a personal account, which fathoms his own in-between identity. At the same time, Cole’s protagonist presents a portrait of Lagos and its inhabitants, which highlights political aspects of life in contemporary Nigeria, namely, poverty, corruption, mismanagement, and communal violence alongside cultural topics. Still, the interests of Cole’s protagonist do not take him to Lagos’s numerous slums but to museums and cultural institutions. This article analyses Cole’s portrait of Nigeria’s mega-city by paying special attention to the intermedial relationships between the text, with its verbal images, and the black-and-white photographs that accompany it. These relationships between words and pictures in Cole’s work are loose, sometimes enigmatic, prompting readers to contemplate the reality of life in the West African metropolis of Lagos and with it common modes of representation such as travel writing and documentary.
Top-cited authors
Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala
  • US Agency for International Development
Andrew David Spiegel
  • University of Cape Town
Edgar Pieterse
  • University of Cape Town
Isabel Hofmeyr
  • University of the Witwatersrand
Mahmood Mamdani
  • Columbia University