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History > African History > Southern Africa

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Mad Dogs and Meerkats Cover

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Mad Dogs and Meerkats

A History of Resurgent Rabies in Southern Africa

Karen Brown

In South Africa, rabies has been on the rise since the latter part of the twentieth century despite the availability of postexposure vaccines and regular inoculation campaigns for dogs. In Mad Dogs and Meerkats: A History of Resurgent Rabies in Southern Africa, Karen Brown links the increase of rabies to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Her study shows that the most afflicted regions of South Africa have seen a dangerous rise in feral dog populations as people lack the education, means, or will to care for their pets or take them to inoculation centers. Most victims are poor black children. Ineffective disease control, which in part depends on management policies in neighboring states and the diminished medical and veterinary infrastructures in Zimbabwe, has exacerbated the problem.

 This highly readable book is the first study of rabies in Africa, tracing its history in South Africa and neighboring states from 1800 to the present and showing how environmental and economic changes brought about by European colonialism and global trade have had long-term effects.

 Mad Dogs and Meerkats is recommended for public health policy makers and anyone interested in human-animal relations and how societies and governments have reacted to one of the world’s most feared diseases.

Malawi and Scotland Together in the Talking Place Since 1859 Cover

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Malawi and Scotland Together in the Talking Place Since 1859

This pioneering and fascinating book is the first to tell the story of the remarkably enduring bonds between Malawi and Scotland from the time of David Livingstone to the flourishing cultural, economic and religious relationships of the present day. Why should there be any significant relationship between one small nation on Europeís north-western seaboard and another in the interior of Africa? How did it reach the stage where in 2012 Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government, could describe Malawi as Scotlandís ìsister nationî? This book attempts an answer.

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Marikana

Voices from South Africa's Mining Massacre

By Peter Alexander

The Marikana Massacre of August 16, 2012, was the single most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since the end of apartheid. Those killed were mineworkers in support of a pay raise. Through a series of interviews conducted with workers who survived the attack, this account documents and examines the controversial shootings in great detail, beginning with a valuable history of the events leading up to the killing of workers, and including eyewitness accounts of the violence and interviews with family members of those who perished.

While the official Farlam Commission investigation of the massacre is still ongoing, many South Africans do not hold much confidence in the government’s ability to examine its own complicity in these events. Marikana, on the other hand, examines the various roles played by the African National Congress, the mine company, and the National Union of Mineworkers in creating the conditions that led to the massacre. While the commission’s investigations take place in a courtroom setting tilted toward those in power, Marikana documents testimony from the mineworkers in the days before official statements were even gathered, offering an unusually immediate and unfiltered look at the reality from the perspective of those most directly affected. Enhanced by vivid maps that make clear the setting and situation of the events, Marikana is an invaluable work of history, journalism, sociology, and activism.

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Melancholia of Freedom

Social Life in an Indian Township in South Africa

Thomas Blom Hansen

The end of apartheid in 1994 signaled a moment of freedom and a promise of a nonracial future. With this promise came an injunction: define yourself as you truly are, as an individual, and as a community. Almost two decades later it is clear that it was less the prospect of that future than the habits and horizons of anxious life in racially defined enclaves that determined postapartheid freedom. In this book, Thomas Blom Hansen offers an in-depth analysis of the uncertainties, dreams, and anxieties that have accompanied postapartheid freedoms in Chatsworth, a formerly Indian township in Durban. Exploring five decades of township life, Hansen tells the stories of ordinary Indians whose lives were racialized and framed by the township, and how these residents domesticated and inhabited this urban space and its institutions, during apartheid and after.

Hansen demonstrates the complex and ambivalent nature of ordinary township life. While the ideology of apartheid was widely rejected, its practical institutions, from urban planning to houses, schools, and religious spaces, were embraced in order to remake the community. Hansen describes how the racial segmentation of South African society still informs daily life, notions of race, personhood, morality, and religious ethics. He also demonstrates the force of global religious imaginings that promise a universal and inclusive community amid uncertain lives and futures in the postapartheid nation-state.

Memory is the Weapon Cover

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Memory is the Weapon

Donato Francesco Mattera has been celebrated as a journalist, editor, writer and poet. He is also acknowledged as one of the foremost activists in the struggle for a democratic South Africa, and helped to found both the Union of Black Journalists, the African Writerís Association and the Congress of South African Writers. Born in 1935 in Western Native Township (now Westbury) across the road from Sophiatown, Mattera can lay claim to an intriguingly diverse lineage: his paternal grandfather was Italian, and he has Tswana, Khoi-Khoi and Xhosa blood in his veins. Yet diversity was hardly being celebrated at that time. In one of apartheidís most infamous actions, the vibrant multicultural Sophiatown was destroyed in 1955 and replaced with the white suburb of Triomf, and the wrenching displacement, can be felt in Matteraís writing. The story of his life in Sophiatown as told in this essay is intricate. Covering Matteraís teenage years from 1948 to 1962 when Sophiatown was bulldozed out of existence, it weaves together both his personal experience and political development. In telling the story of his life as a ìcolouredî teenager, Mattera takes on the ambitious goal of making us recapture the crucial events of the 1950s in Sophiatown, one of the most important decades in the history of black political struggles in South Africa.

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Mukwahepo

Women Soldier Mother

In 1963 Mukwahepo left her home in Namibia and followed her fiance across the border into Angola. They survived hunger and war and eventually made their way to Tanzania. There, Mukwahepo became the first woman to undergo military training with SWAPO. For nine years she was the only woman in SWAPO's Kongwa camp. She was then thrust into a more traditional women's role - taking care of children in the SWAPO camps in Zambia and Angola. At Independence, Mukwahepo returned to Namibia with five children. One by one their parents came to reclaim them, until she was left alone. Already in her fifties, and with little education, Mukwahepo could not get employment. She survived on handouts until the Government introduced a pension and other benefits for veterans. Through a series of interviews, Ellen Ndeshi Namhila recorded and translated Mukwahepo's remarkable story. This book preserves the oral history of not only the 'dominant male voice' among the colonised people of Namibia, but brings to light the hidden voice, the untold and forgotten story of an ordinary woman and the outstanding role she played during the struggle.

Music and Social Change in South Africa Cover

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Music and Social Change in South Africa

Maskanda Past and Present

by Kathryn Olsen

Music and Social Change in South Africa looks at contemporary maskanda-a folk musical genre distinguished by fast guitar picking and blues-style vocal intonation-against the backdrop of South Africa's history. A performance practice that emerged in the early decades of the twentieth century among Zulu migrant workers, maskanda is strongly associated with young Zulu men's experiences of repression and dislocation during imperial and, more particularly, apartheid rule.
 
Working closely with translated song lyrics and musical notation-and applying musical and socio-political analysis to this music and its cultural context-Olsen argues that maskanda offers insight into how the post-apartheid ideal of social transformation is experienced by those who were marginalized for most of the twentieth century. 
 
Drawing on a decade of research, Olsen strives to demystify the Zulu part of contemporary experience in South Africa and to reveal some of the complexities of the social, economic, and political landscape of contemporary South Africa.

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Natures of Colonial Change

Environmental Relations in the Making of the Transkei

Jacob A. Tropp

In this groundbreaking study, Jacob A. Tropp explores the interconnections between negotiations over the environment and an emerging colonialrelationship in a particular South African context—the Transkei—subsequently the largest of the notorious “homelands” under apartheid.In the late nineteenth century, South Africa’s Cape Colony completed its incorporation of the area beyond the Kei River, known as the Transkei, and began transforming the region into a labor reserve. It simultaneously restructured popular access to local forests, reserving those resources for the benefit of the white settler economy. This placed new constraints on local Africans in accessingresources for agriculture, livestock management, hunting, building materials, fuel, medicine, and ritual practices. Drawing from a diverse array of oral and written sources, Tropp reveals how bargaining over resources—between and among colonial officials, chiefs and headmen, and local African men and women—was interwoven with major changes in local political authority, gendered economic relations, and cultural practices as well as with intense struggles over the very meaning and scope of colonial rule itself.Natures of Colonial Change sheds new light on the colonial era in the Transkei by looking at significant yet neglected dimensions of this history: how both“colonizing” and “colonized” groups negotiated environmental access among and between each other, and how such negotiations helped shape the broader making and meaning of life in the new colonial order.

Not White Enough, Not Black Enough Cover

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Not White Enough, Not Black Enough

Racial Identity in the South African Coloured Community

Mohamed Adhikari

The concept of Colouredness---being neither white nor black---has been pivotal to the brand of racial thinking particular to South African society .The nature of Coloured identity has always been a matter of intense political and ideological contestation. Between Black and White: Racial Identity in the South African Coloured Community is the first systematic study of Coloured identity, its history, and its relevance to South African national life. Mohamed Adhikari engages with the debates and controversies thrown up by the identity?s troubled existence and challenges much of the conventional wisdom associated with it. A combination of wide-ranging thematic analyses and detailed case studies illustrate how Colouredness functioned as a social identity from the time of its emergence in the late nineteenth century through to its adaptation to the post-apartheid environment. Adhikari demonstrates how the interplay of marginality, racial hierarchy, assimilationist aspirations, negative racial stereotyping, class divisions, and ideological conflicts helped mold peoples' sense of Colouredness over the past century. Knowledge of this history and of the social and political dynamic that informed the articulation of a separate Coloured identity are vital to an understanding of present-day complexities in South Africa. Mohamed Adhikari lectures in the Department of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town. His books include Let us Live for Our Children: The Teachers League of South Africa, 1913-1940, and he coedited South Africa's Resistance Press: Alternative Voices in the Last Generation under Apartheid (Ohio, 2000).

The Origins of War in Mozambique Cover

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The Origins of War in Mozambique

A History of Unity and Division

The independence of Mozambique in 1975 and its decolonisation process attracted worldwide attention as a successful example of ìnational unityî. Yet, the armed conflict that broke out between the government and the guerrilla force in 1977 lasted for sixteen years and resulted in over a million deaths and several million refugees, placing this concept of ìnational unityî into doubt. For nearly twenty years, Sayaka Funada-Classen interviewed people in rural communities in Mozambique. By examining their testimonies, historical documents, previous studies, international and regional politics, and the changes that various interventions under colonialism brought to the traditional social structure, this book demonstrates that the seeds of ìdivisionî had already been planted while the liberation movement was seeking ìunityî in the struggle years. Presenting a comprehensive history of contemporary Mozambique, this book is indispensable for Mozambican scholars. It promises to serve as a landmark study not only for historians and the scholars of African studies but also for those who give serious consideration to the problems of conflict and peace in the world.

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