8 – 10 November 2017
Mbongiseni Buthelezi: Decolonizing Museums and Commemoration in South Africa: Three Ruminations
At the end of apartheid, the incoming government inherited national institutions steeped in colonial and apartheid legacies. A major project to remake public institutions was undertaken in the 1990s and 2000s. In this project, some of the old museums, galleries and monuments, seen as irredeemably colonial, were marginalised. Liberation struggle and ‘cultural’ commemorations were promoted by public figures and institutions as the alternative. Major new institutions were promoted and funded to tell the story of the ‘new’ South Africa in a deliberate move to decolonise commemorative practices. Fifteen years late, the most recent attempt is the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, which opened its doors in September 2013.
In this paper I ask the question: how far has the decolonisation of public history and public institutions in South Africa come in post-apartheid South Africa? I examine two public institutions - Freedom Park and the Zeitz Museum alongside a popularly used commemorative form, the praise poetic form of izithakazelo – to ask: might a further path to docolonising African representation lie in popular forms that are used in daily life by the majority of people?
Mbongiseni Buthelezi: From Socwatsha kaPhathu to James Stuart to Khaya Ndwandwe: Archival, Digital and Public Lives of a Poetic Form
Mtshapi kaNoradu maintained in an interview with James Stuart on April 01, 1918 that a man’s praises do not die because his descendants address them to him as a form of remembrance after his death. Elsewhere, Mtshapi elaborates: “Of the ancestors, each one is praised with his own praises. Praises do not die. They survive, and when a man’s sons slaughter cattle they declaim his praises, saying, ‘Eat, father!’, and break into his praises. That is how important they are” (Webb and Wright 89). The addressing of praises to ancestors during domestic ancestral rituals today is informed by the same assumptions about maintaining relations between the living and the dead that underlie Mtshapi’s statements. Moreover, the similar but more elaborate addressing of praises to dead chiefs and kings – such as those of Shaka kaSenzangakhona during ‘national’ ceremonies and celebrations – is driven by the assumption that they are fathers of their izizwe (nations). The Ndwandwe are one such isizwe. They are a defeated and scattered isizwe whose kingdom that was headquartered in Nongoma and Magudu in today’s northern KZN was destroyed by Shaka kaSenzangakhona’s rising Zulu state in approximately 1820. Various splinters of the kingdom lodged in what is today Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, and even Tanzania.
Since 1986, people who trace their histories and identities to this Ndwandwe kingdom have been convening to attempt to reconstruct their history and a sense of their historical selves. Since 2011 this grouping that calls itself uBumbano lwamaZwide has held annual ‘heritage’ commemorations in various parts of northern KwaZulu-Natal. A key aspect that was absent from both small meetings of chapters of this association and the big commemorations until the day a certain Khaya Ndwandwe appeared on the scene was the appropriate recalling of Zwide kaLanga as the putative father of all Ndwandwe people. Zwide was Senzangakhona, Shaka’s father’s contemporary and leader of the Ndwandwe during its confrontations with the Zulu that led to its collapse. He fled and ‘died a wanderer’ according to Shaka’s izibongo and Ndwandwe activists, which is a major psychic wound for many in the uBumbano.
The uBumbano is looking to commemorate their ancestors, especially Zwide as the founding father, in what they understand to be the appropriate mode of commemorating the father(s) of the ‘nation.’ Addressing the izibongo to the father that is publicly seen in Zulu ‘national’ commemorations today is considered old and traditional, that is, this is how fathers have always been commemorated; it is the customary way. In keeping with the customary way, Zwide’s izibongo should be called out when the commemoration begins and the event formally announced to the ancestors. This was not the case until Khaya Ndwandwe – a man in his thirties who later called out the izibongo at several points during the proceedings at the 2011 event – arrived during the event. He spontaneously started calling out the izibongo, which was a welcome surprise to the organizers.
My questions then are: In a situation when the putative children of a father of the isizwe (‘nation’) generally no longer know his izibongo (praise names) what happens when they try to remember him in the proper way? What do the father’s putative descendents do when the isizwe has become scattered over time, when the prevailing political orders in the intervening 200 years have long replaced the addressing of this isizwe’s fathers by those of the fathers of the new isizwe, the Zulu ‘nation,’ into which fragments of the old isizwe were incorporated? After all, for many Ndwandwe Zwide is now merely a name of a supposed ancestor. Because little is known about Zwide, the name lends itself to the mythologizing of the Ndwandwe kingdom as always having been more powerful than the Zulu state which is said to have defeated it by dint of unhonorable defections and deception. How do those trying to reinsert Zwide as the venerated father of the ‘nation’ remember him in the appropriate poetic form – izibongo – by which fathers are ritually and ceremonially remembered when his izibongo are almost entirely forgotten?
Erica De Greef: Reading The Sartorial: Working Towards Conclusions
For this presentation, I have extracted the three sections from my thesis that I consider to perform the critical and creative work in the study. Following an introduction and a framing chapter (where I set out the challenges and story of the study) are three chapters that interrogate the development and dispositions of the collections, classification systems and exhibitions of each of the three museums in my study (the SAM, SACHM and SANG) and their sartorial collections. I have then focussed specifically on the presence (and absence) of trousers in these collections as a research strategy to facilitate a critical reading across the collections, particularly in terms of the limitations, challenges and lacunae in each of the collections. Each chapter has a similar structure with a chapter introduction that frames the practice (of collection, classification or exhibition) in relation to fashion in the museum, followed by discussions on the development of each of the museum’s collection, the taxonomies that rule their objects and the tropes of display used to re-situate the objects in the public realm.
To reflect critically on these practices and conditions (particularly in relation to their current iterations) I have used close readings of selected trousers from (or absent from) the collections. These trouser-led observations bring attention to issues of inclusion, restriction, exclusion, naming, limitation, value, and the violence of epistemic framing brought to bear on objects in museums, and particularly, disproportionately across objects of dress and fashion in different museums (namely social or cultural history, ethnography or fine arts museums). I concluded each chapter with a short summary of findings towards my thesis conclusions and recommendations.
I present the trouser-led readings of the sartorial or critical observation from the three chapters and their interim conclusions in this APC research workshop to facilitate discussion towards consolidating my final thesis conclusions.
Jo-Anne Duggan: Troubling photographs / troubling the photographic encounter
This paper considers the genre of photographs described by Virginia Woolf as depicting “dead bodies and ruined houses”, and by Novak (2012) as “covered bodies laid out in makeshift morgues; anguished mothers holding photographs of their sons and daughters; debris-strewn streets after suicide bodies; human bones in a pile that fills the frame
The genre is named or classified broadly in the literature as images of horror (Woolf 1938 and Sontag 2003), photographs of trauma (Baer 2002), images of suffering (Sontag 2003), traumatic photographs (Hariman and Lucaites 2007), images of historical trauma (Guerin and Hallas 2007), and traumatic representations or images (Lieberman 2008, Meek 2010 and Zembylas 2014) pictures of atrocities (Novak 2012). The photographs fall within the category of ‘difficult knowledge’ theorized by Deborah Britzman (1998, 2000a, 2013; Britzman & Pitt, 2004 amongst others, with particular reference to the challenges of teaching and learning about or from ‘historical trauma’, especially through museum exhibitions which include photographs of trauma which trouble viewers.
The interviews I have conducted as part of my research into the biography and agency of photographs and film footage of the bodies of Jacqueline Quin and Leon Meyer, killed by South African security forces and photographed in the Maseru mortuary in 1985 brings into view the complex entanglement of at least four different types of images: news photographs or film footage of the scene; written descriptions found in biographies of the couple’s comrades; memories of the scene expressed verbally in oral history narratives; and images that reside in the mind’s eye of those who viewed the photograph. The interviews bring the deeply personal context in which these images were encountered or received, and the response they evoked, sharply into view.
In this paper, I begin the work of reviewing the material I have gathered and testing it against the conceptual frameworks advanced by the scholars listed in the opening paragraphs of this abstract to respond to the question: What do these [difficult] photographs do?
Henry Fagan: Cattle, Cultivation, and Trade: The economics of rapid expansion in the emerging Zulu kingdom (MA Thesis Proposal)
The dissertation will focus on agricultural production, the practice of cattle keeping, and the role of trade. These three areas of investigation will enable an effective examination of how the Zulu kingdom functioned economically. Productive forces are described as: (1) any action which contributes to the tangible material needs (such as tools and food stuffs) of the Zulu kingdom; (2) any additional labour requirements (such as transport or security) or organisational requirements (such as tribute systems or trading networks) that allow for that material contribution to take place.
The specific context that will be examined is that of the evolution of the Zulu regime during the reign of Shaka and the subsequent reign of Dingane. It is important to acknowledge that the Zulu ruler expanded his economic and political control very rapidly during this time, to effect that the Zulu kingdom was in a constant state of transition. Nevertheless, the polity under Zulu rule were not the first political unit to assume a structure resembling a kingdom - Ndwande and Mthethwa are precedent regional examples.
A related consideration was that in this context, the Zulu kingdom was not a socially or culturally homogenous society. Rather, it was composed of numerous different chiefdoms. All these groups were drawn together by the overarching power of the Zulu ruling lineage, either through coercion, or through the tendering of voluntary submission. They recognised the supreme authority of the Zulu King, to whom they were tributaries. 1
Katie Garrun: Examining colonial classifications: the possibilities and problems of a digital archive
The Five Hundred Year Archive (FHYA) research project focuses on the conceptual as well as technological task of re-curating objects representative of cultural history. The parameters of the study concentrate on a particular region and time period, these being the province known now as KwaZulu-Natal and southern Swaziland, and the time before colonialism. The limited scope was determined due to of the under researched nature of the area and time and the project’s aim of maximum complexity.
The FHYA is undertaking the task of convening a selection of these historical objects by using specific technological interventions that hope not only to digitally link dispersed objects but also to in some ways disentangle these objects from their legacy of colonial classification. The project’s intention is to create a functional exemplar archive and promote enquiry into the long past.
This paper serves as the foundation for the first chapter of my larger MPhil thesis. It sets out to tell the story of the Five Hundred Year Archive from its beginning phases in 2012 and its progress up until this point in 2017. This chapter will introduce the questions I aim to examine in this thesis as well as the methodology I will utilize to collect and assess the data to address the research problem I have identified. My main over-arching objective is to explore the technological processes put into place on the FHYA archival platform and how these processes carry out the project’s conceptual aims.
Simon Hall: The rock art of households in the Northern Cape (Simon Hall, Tim Maggs, Andrew September)
One motif theme in the rock art of southern African Bantu-speaking farmers is the depiction of household and homestead space. In this paper we focus on engravings of households that can be linked to southern Tswana-speaking cattle and cereal farmers along the Kuruman drainage. Using ethnographic sources we outline the spatial structure of a Tswana household that provided the physical setting for domestic production and consumption. This spatial structure was also indivisibly the arena of social reproduction, and especially, a ‘map’ of gendered roles and responsibilities. It is against this background that we discuss the engraving of household space and situate it within the girls’ initiation ‘school’ of bojale. We also adopt a praxeological view and suggest that meaning resided inseparably in the postures of engraving and the postures of domestic work, where knowledge was equally embodied in the action of making an image or grinding cereal. Embodied knowledge and ‘techniques’ of the body was ‘learnt’ early in life and conditioned within the spatiality of the household and through quotidian work and its framing materialities. We situate these engravings and their emphasis on initiation within new entanglements created by the colonial frontier and control over bodies and minds, and the changing conditions of household production.
Anette Hoffmann: Discarding Speech in Every Instance: Coloniality’s Word Deafness and its long Afterlife
In 1908 the Austrian anthropologist Rudolph Pöch produced phonographic and cinematographic recordings in the western Kalahari. A man with the ethnographic stage name ‘Kubi’ was both recorded and filmed. The silent movie was post-synchronised with a phonographic recording in the 1980s. The now sounding film is circulated widely, yet the speaker remains astoundingly mute. The recorded trace of his words has been deadened inthe wake of autopsy, the mediated practices of seeing as knowing (‘the native’). Kubi’s narrative might not be as significant as I would wish it to be; yet it has been acoustically registered, archived, preserved, digitized and even published. My paper revisits the scene of recording and the archival biography of the acoustic and visual material to discuss coloniality’s selective word deafness, and what it could mean to listen closely.
Alirio Karina: Un/Canny: An Analysis of a Social Situation in a Carved Stick for Sale to Europeans
When looking at crafted objects from the African colonial past – especially those that coalesce into museum collections, ethnographic and artistic alike – scholarship tends to focus on the colonial gaze, arguing that little else can be spoken for in an object and its collection. However, while objects are often opaque – and their creator’s motivations often not knowable with certainty – this approach ignores the fact that such objects can nevertheless be consequential actors in the world, bearing witness and making claims through their form and materials. My paper grounds itself in these theoretical and social materialities, paying attention to how African craft objects can articulate experiences and critiques of European settlement, race-making, and – more broadly – colonization on the African continent. Specifically, my paper examines one object collected in the 1940s by the anthropologist Max Gluckman, for the Museum of Ethnology of the University of the Witwatersrand. The object, accessioned as “Carved Stick for Sale to Europeans”, is a two-toned wooden staff mimicking a knobkerrie in its form, with two uncanny carvings: one of a man’s head on the top of the stick, and one of a female figure on the stem. I argue that the particular form of these two representations – and how this form works with the tones of the wood – cannily articulates experiences of colonial domination, and an understanding of the colonial gaze, in terms of race and indigeneity. By examining this politics of race and indigeneity, this paper underscores the overlooked theoretical agency of African museum objects.
Steven Kotze: Making a case for hoes: Gender, food production and iron artefacts in museum archives of KwaZulu-Natal
Field hoes, known either as amageja or amakhuba in Zulu, are iron implements often associated with women in African culture and with subsistence crop production. Considering the vital importance of these tools, the overall lack of interpretation or contextual information in displays of hoes in nine significant of museum collections in KwaZulu-Natal is worthy of comment and must be problematized. Among these museums, only two exhibitions contain any information on the gendered nature of hoes, and the contributions made by women in African agricultural economies before the introduction of ploughs in the late 19th century. Meanwhile, locally forged weapons such as spears and war-axes in the collections widely outnumber hoes, which constitute only one third of pre-conquest metallurgical artefacts. Museum exhibitions focussed on military tactics and weapons betray a uniformity of curatorial approach that can be seen as constructing a “dominant memory” based mostly on the experience of men and warfare. This is all the more striking as the collections of hoes are among the rare pieces of direct evidence that remains of the labour performed by women in homestead crop production. In order for museum exhibitions of African history in KwaZulu-Natal to address ideological questions first raised by John Wright and Aaron Mazel in 1987, particularly in the face of a resurgent Zulu nationalism, complexity and change need to form a greater part of museum displays. The depiction of a static African way of life in this region, seemingly trapped forever in the amber of a nostalgic pre-conquest military society circa 1850, needs to expand to include the role of women and hoes in agriculture as well as the process of urbanisation, development of townships and political struggles of the 20th century. The research summarised in this paper forms part of a new exhibition planned for the recently completed Mkhumbane Museum in Durban, as well as a chapter of an MA dissertation.
Rosemary Lombard: “Bared life”: Colonial and neo-colonial depictions of South African miners in the public imagination
I have been invited to submit an essay to an Austrian/South African publication with the working title of BASF, Lonmin and the massacre of Marikana: The persistence of neo/colonial exploitation, which examines corporate entanglement in neo-liberal systems and attempts to “deconstruct colonial and euro-centrist patterns and framings: e.g. on the level of addressing concepts of responsibility, politics of CSRs, self-representation of the enterprises themselves as well as public narratives in the aftermath of the Marikana massacre.” (pers. comm. with editor Jakob Krameritsch).
The essay builds on a paper of mine from 2014 which examines a set of Victorian stereographs of miners, linking their portrayal to dehumanising colonial attitudes towards workers on the mines, using Giorgio Agamben’s (1997) notion of homo sacer, and making connections with the contemporary corporate and government attitudes towards miners that precipitated the Marikana massacre. In this essay, I broaden my analysis to consider the “spectacularised” (Suren Pillay, 2014) miners of Marikana in more detail.
The concept document for the publication includes a variety of textual formats, from research papers and essays to manifests and interviews, and for my submission the editor has suggested “the format of an essay: which means that neither an overview nor the reconstruction of, for instance, the archive of visual narrative of mine work from 1900 till today is needed. The essay also would not need an extensive or in-depth analysis of the visual material in the aftermath of Marikana. It can and should be focused on specific, relevant examples.” (pers. comm. with editor Jakob Krameritsch).
George Mahashe: Introduction and conclusion to PhD thesis
For this development workshop I would like to present the introduction and conclusion sections of my PhD thesis titled “MaBareBare–A Rumour of a Dream: Exploring Subjectivity and Visuality by Examining Resistance and Facilitations of my Imagining of Khelobedu through an Encounter with Archive and Artistic Practice”. The two sections form an anchor for a thesis concerned with tabling the experience of, and insights gained from conducting research and practicing across areas such as archive (colonial and vernacular), contemporary art and Khelobedu. The aim of this thesis is to present constrains and moments of liberation within my quest to engage the context of an archival fragment subjectively by emphasising my position as both subject and researcher. Such a fragments include an archived rumoured dream. These constraints and liberations are considered within a context whereby some people from Bolobedu, including my great great grandparents, travelled to Berlin in 1897.
The thesis draws its rational from an observation by Premesh Lalu pointing out that the subjectivity of the colonised cannot be foregrounded within colonial archives, establishing historiography and discipline as key obstacles. The thesis understands this observation to indicate what is being theorised as coloniality, such as a persisting emphasis on colonial era rigour in the academy. In response, I argue that ill-discipline practiced from a subjective position (as both Molobedu and academic) within the context of contemporary art mitigates the problem of an over develop colonial subjectivity. This process is achieved through developing and practicing artistic strategies that seem to bypass inherited colonial academic practices. Such strategies draw on contemporary art’s Institutional Critique; and emphasise participation, travel, fieldwork and ‘play’ as key methodologies for the thesis.
The practical component manifests as introspection on photography beyond its representation capacity associated with a culture obsessed with the photograph (portable image object). Works produced through this process have been exhibited within contemporary art circuits, such as the Bamako Biennale. Works include photographic installation and video works. This concern with photography presents the tension inherent in my commitment and distrust of photography, which I see as being trapped in the discourse of evidence. The practical component finds some liberation through a series of camera obscura projects (Camera Obscura #1-6) that mitigates the tensions I identify within the dominant practice of photography today.
Ayanda Mahlaba: “Owethu umlando ujulile”: A preliminary contextual background of Mpolweni Mission
Writing scholarly about ‘communities’ whose traces of histories are hidden and obscure in archives and academic work poses great difficulty for researchers from those ‘communities’ as it means they have to do twice the work in excavating what lies hidden. This difficulty is further exacerbated by the elusively scary nature of the archives and the mysteries rather than possibilities it provides from afar, which may get reversed once the historian finds themselves inside the archives and starts to explore the materials in greater detail through exercising patience and care. The latter starts to allay any fears of getting lost within the intricacies of the archives once the oral history interviews (an archive on its own) rubberstamps what is found in the conventional public archive as compared to the other way round. The aforementioned proves true in the case of Mpolweni Mission – a former Church of Scotland mission station– whose status in the historiography of Natal and South Africa has been relegated to scant mentions and footnotes that do an injustice to the ‘richness’ of the community’s history as most of its inhabitants would proudly say. I use this paper to piece together a contextual background history of Mpolweni Mission as derived from my preliminary oral history interviews and the discoveries I made from my recent trip to the Pietermaritzburg archives. These discoveries provide a description of the geographic location of Mpolweni Mission in Natal (the magistracy it belonged to after the establishment of the mission) and an understanding of the motivations behind the establishment of the Church of Scotland mission in Mpolweni; the actors involved (missionaries and notable kholwa families – in this case the Hlubis and the Nkosis); a genealogy of the kholwa chiefs in the area (how and why they were appointed) – their relations with the Scottish missionaries and the colonial state (later apartheid state). This paper’s main aim is to highlight the centrality of oral history interviews (an archive) in recouping the histories of those who have been omitted in broader professional historical production (Mpolweni Mission being an example of this) and the possibilities this archive opens up in thinking about what constitutes history.
Mxolisi Mchunu: We saw it coming: Dreams and Visions of Civil War in the Natal Midlands
The memory of women in the literature on udlame (political violence) of 1987-1996 in the Natal Midlands received scant attention in existing studies of udlame. My research in 2008- 2010 in Vulindlela, Natal Midlands, explores the role of women, their place in the violence and also in the production of knowledge concerning the events.
Women in Vulindlela are now at the heart of acts of remembrance, because political wars have moved out of the battlefield and into every corner of civilians or ordinary people’s lives. That is why women, as well as men, now construct the story and disseminate it. Women join men in forming a new class of historical actors, who are now termed ‘witnesses’, people who were there, people who saw the war at close range, people whose memories are part of the historical records. Their testimony documents crimes they have seen, but their stories and their telling of them in public are historical events in their own right. This paper will focus upon how women in Vulindlela remember and how they share their memories of udlame from 1987-1996 in the Vulindlela district, Natal Midlands.
Jae Maingard: Cinema history in South Africa: black audiences and the cinema, 1920s to 1960s
My presentation will be in the form of (a set of notes towards) a book proposal based on my research on histories of cinema in South Africa. The proposed book is centred on the research I have completed on black cinema audiences set within a framework that imbricates South Africa’s complex political history, with relevant aspects of the political economy, cultural and cinema history, the powerful Schlesinger Organisation and its hegemonic grip on film exhibition and distribution as well as some aspects of film production through the first half of the twentieth century, and Twentieth Century Fox’s purchase of its film-related assets in the late 1950s. It includes a key case study that reconstructs the cinema history of District Six, Cape Town, based on extant transcriptions of life histories with former residents mostly from the 1980s, as well as other forms of historical memory and record, such as autobiographies, photographs, and paintings. The book will also include other significant case studies (still to be finally decided upon) such as Sol Plaatje’s mobile cinema in the early 1920s, films produced and screened by missionaries and mines for labour recruitment and the ‘moralizing’ of mineworkers’ leisure time, and the fecund period of the late 1940s and early 1950s that produced local entertainment films for primarily urban black audiences by both independents and Schlesinger’s African Film Productions. Questions of method, of what constitutes ‘the archive’ in this project, and how we might name and identify ‘it’, are also key to the book’s articulations and the research that underpins it, which would be especially helpful to discuss within the APC workshop. This book follows my earlier, South African National Cinema (2007), and several journal articles and chapters in edited volumes, that already map out some of the terrain that the book is intended to flesh out more fully and in new and fresh ways. It would be helpful to discuss the contents and approach of the present book in the light of this.
Thokozani Mhlambi: “Izinyanga zensimbi”
There is the Zulu saying that goes, ‘Inyanga ifa nezikhwama zayo’ (The diviner dies with her/his bag of remedies). Because when he or she chooses to guard knowledge for his own prestige, he or she fails to make a way to sustain her practice even beyond her lifetime. In this way she or he dies with her bags of wisdom. This paper discusses the category of Inyanga in relation to the long past. By thinking about the term as designating a cluster of institutions of people on Eastern rims of Ukhahlamba (Drakensberg) mountains and beyond that, covering practices such as metalwork, stone masonry, healing, music composition. This is used as a basis for asking epistemological questions.
Susanna Molins-Lliteras: The ‘Holy Circle’ of Kramats in Cape Town, South Africa
The ‘Holy Circle’ of consists of 20 kramats, or graves of Sufi Muslim saints which surround the city of Cape Town. The geographic location of each of the kramats forms a kind of circle around the city, which, according to local tradition, brings blessings and protects the city against natural disasters.
The tombs are of political prisoners and slaves from Southeast Asia exiled to the Cape by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries, and are considered places of baraka or blessings and are visited regularly by the Muslim community for prayer and remembrance. Most of the kramats are located on beautiful natural sanctuaries, from the foothills of Table Mountain to Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The indigenous vegetation surrounding the graves forms part of the fynbos family, the smallest in size but most varied floral kingdom in the world, only found in the Cape region of South Africa.
Some of the kramats, like that of Shaykh Yusuf in Faure, are categorized as National Heritage Sites, and are thus protected by the South African heritage legislation. Others, such as the Lion’s Head Kramat, fall within the borders of the Table Mountain National Park and are in this way somewhat protected. Nevertheless, most the kramats are found on private land and are subject to the whims of the proprietors. For example, the Oudekraal kramats, some of the most revered, are located on a prime location in the foothills of the Twelve Apostles mountain range and facing the Atlantic Ocean. The owner of the land has tried to develop the lucrative area on several occasions, causing uproar in the local community, which took to the streets to protest and has had to fight several legal battles to preserve both the religious and natural heritage of the kramat.
Rehana Odendaal: Academic Freedom
This chapter is the second chapter of my Master’s Thesis titled “The Interactive University: A History of Publicness at the University of the Witwatersrand 1922 to 2015”. The chapter focuses on the protests and debates which emerged in opposition to the Extension of University Education Bill, 1959, with a particular focus on Wits University’s responses. Using the protests and debates staged for and against this bill as a case study, the chapter traces the university’s relationship to different publics from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. The major themes explored in the chapter look at the relationship between concepts of institutional autonomy vs accountability in the discourse of Academic Freedom. The main thrust of the chapter is an analysis of the role of Academic Freedom as perceived by different stakeholders -students, the state, university management- as well as the way that the literature on Academic Freedom in South Africa is strongly tied to the historical experience of the ‘open’ Universities as sites of opposition in defence of public interest, which although dominant, has important limitations.
Joel Pearson: Document Wars and the Integrity of Local Archives: The Case of Mogalakwena Local Municipality
A host of authors have been warning for many years with some urgency of the rapid decay of state archives. A 2015 Archival Platform report concluded that ‘government record-keeping is in a state of crisis and that public archives are not resourced or capacitated to deliver on their mandate to ensure the proper management and care of public records in the custody of government bodies’. However, it is at local government level that many argue record management capacities are at their weakest. This, I contend, poses enormous challenges for historians wishing to study the local state in years to come. In this article, I look at some of the challenges afflicting record keeping at a troubled municipality in Limpopo province. In addition to a lack of resources and training, I point to an aspect which has hitherto been neglected in scholarship of post-apartheid archives: the influence of deepening political battles on the circuits of documentary production, storage and access. To improve the comprehensiveness and integrity of state archives – to serve as a record of the past for scholars of the future – I conclude that legislators and practitioners must reckon with the integral role that documents play in unfolding political battles within institutions of state.
Matete Phala: Who we are – or custom made? Visualising Bapedi in the Van Warmelo and the Hoffmann collections
For my presentation I shall give an overview of the work I intent to undertake for my MA dissertation. My aim is to compare two sets of ethnographic resources which had been produced a generation apart by two different ethnographers with the assistance of two different groups of interlocutors working in the same area, amongst people claiming to have an association with the Mamabolo community. The first collection to be assessed is that of Berlin Missionary Carl Adolf Hoffmann who was stationed in the area from the late 19 th century until the early 1930s The second set of material is that of Nicolaas van Warmelo who was an ethnologist in the Department of Native’s Affairs from the 1930s to the 1960s
The study aims to compare the Hoffmann collection of Cultural Knowledge and the Van Warmelo Collection, looking at the traditions, customs and rituals of the Bapedi people. For feasibility purposes the study will specifically look at the marriage tradition/ritual. It is the intention of the research to study the collections in depth: the role of interlocutors and ethnographers, thus establishing what the information in the collections represent; to compare the staging as well as the content of the Hoffmann and Van Warmelo renderings of marriage rituals; and finally arrive at findings that may enable further research.
Himal Ramji: Producing the Precolonial: Professional and Popular Lives of Mapungubwe, 1932 – 2017
This paper is a summarised version of the main arguments and ideas for my Masters dissertation, considering the productive work done in contemporary pubic representations of Mapungubwe.
The meanings imparted in Mapungubwe, and by association the meanings made through Mapungubwe of the conceptual period of the ‘precolonial’, have changed over the years – but it would be more precise to describe the symbols that construct such meaning as maintained although reconfigured. While Mapungubwe was once described as ‘forgotten’ history, found by intrepid explorers and archaeologists in the 1930s, it has shifted in representation, to become represented as a ‘stolen’ history, found once again by the postcolonial subject. I want to consider both interpretations as productive – bound together by the reproduction of the concept of the precolonial as lost and found – although, importantly, the symbolic associations of the ‘lost’ and ‘found’ have shifted seismically since the end of apartheid. From a cloistered professional subject, Mapungubwe has been exploded into a multitude of contemporary meanings.
The paper begins with a discussion of the introduction, giving a broad idea of the methods, and theoretical and analytical practices through which the thesis takes shape. The summarised first chapter deals with the initial archaeological construction of Mapungubwe, from the initial expedition of the Van Graan’s in 1932, through to the contemporary constructions of Mapungubwe in the post-apartheid era. The second summarised chapter keeps with the chronology of the first, moving towards the introduction of Mapungubwe into the national curriculum as an instrument of educative nationalism. The third chapter expands the gaze of the study outwards, to consider contemporary creative representations of Mapungubwe – in fictive novels, poetry, sculpture and touristic writing. The final section of this paper deals with the tentative conclusions I have drawn from the studies of the three chapters and three fields in which Mapungubwe has been historically constructed.
I want to consider the alteration or development of symbols for making meaning in the distant past, and how this meaning-making is contingent to the regimes of knowledge which dominate the activities and processes of the cultural production of symbols. This work is important because it will show the historic shifts that have occurred in the practical reproduction of symbols in making meaning in the concept of the precolonial – a concept constitutive of contemporary cultural production.
As a summary of the entire dissertation, the work makes use of a vast array of sources, including academic archaeological reports and articles, book reviews, letters of correspondence, historical texts, novels, sculptures and reviews, poetry, and film. This paper does not go into detail on each, but gives brief descriptions for the sake of the length of the paper.
Tracey Randle: A resuscitation of deadbones
Since 2004 Solms-Delta has undergone the intense academic gaze of archival research, archaeological excavation, and even case study and analysis of its social work interventions. It has been used as a research site, a teaching site and as a reference or benchmark site by both local and international academics. To a wider public the farm became an attraction as a result of these specific academic investigations. This chapter aims to track this academic gaze for the period May 2004 – June 2005 to set the scene for how this process would later affect the curation of the museum. Specifically, I focus on the archaeological process underwent, and its intersections with archival record.
Emma Sandon: Mining the Film Archive: South African mining documentary 1910-1950
This paper will look at film productions made by the mining industry, over a period of the first forty years of the Union of South Africa, 1910 – 1948, prior to the Apartheid government. It argues that the mining industry, alongside other state organisations promoting industry and modernisation such as South African Railways and Harbours (SAR&H), used the new technology of film to promote its system of labour exploitation, through its medical bodies (committees), its recruitment companies, Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (WNLA) and the Native Recruiting Corporation (NRC) of the Tranvaal Chamber of Mines, both unequalled in their mobilisation of African migrant labour.
[This paper is a further version of the paper Emma Sandon presented at the APC workshop in April 2017 and incorporates the feedback given at that session. It is a chapter for a second edited book on industrial film practices, Films That Work 2. Edited by Vinzenz Hediger, Yvonne Zimmermann, Florian Hoof.]
Katleho Shoro: Exploring shifts and visibility within contemporary performance poetry in South Africa
In 2017, there seems to have been a significant shift in the contemporary performance poetry landscape in South Africa. From within performance poetry spaces, there exists this air of greater possibilities for performance poetry (as a profession) and much of it is grounded in the current achievements and greater visibility of poetry. Within the general literary landscape, the success of publications and presence by those who identify as performance poets seems to be accelerating interest in having performance poets at literary festivals and increasing conversations and affirmations about performance poetry being poetry. And then there is the matter of performance poetry gaining more public visibility through the media and social media as well as greater attention within tertiary institutions.
The still-unfolding success of Collective Amnesia (2017), the collection of poems by performance poet and theatre-maker, Koleka Putuma, is perhaps the most apt anchor for this discussion. Koleka Putuma continues touring and launching Collective Amnesia throughout the country (and beyond), and the fact that her book is in its fifth print has shifted the rhetoric of poetry publications not being desirable or sellable. Also, public responses to her work via social media and articles indicate a longing for work like hers. Perhaps even a longing for poetry in general.
This paper is a preliminary attempt at exploring the shift that I believe to be occurring within performance poetry. The idea of growing visibility is central in this exploration on multiple tiers. Further underlying this exploration is an inkling that there is something about this particular socio-political moment in South Africa that is allowing more engagement with and visibility of performance poetry.
Sikho Siyotula: Visualising Southern African Late Iron Age Settlements in the Digital Age
The dissertation project studies the visualisation of southern African Late Iron Age settlements (second millennium AD, 900 - 1800) across the late nineteenth, twentieth and early twenty-first century (1871- 2015), found in a survey of the cultural production, circulation, reproduction and theorisation of illustrations accompanying archaeological, anthropological and historical southern African Late Iron Age Research (LIAR). The project focuses on the visualisation of five settlements namely: Mapungubwe, Khami, Great Zimbabwe, Bokoni and Manyikeni. I propose that as with the authority of Eurocentric ‘formative interpretations’ of LIAR currently under review, visualisations accompanying LIAR also needs to be critically relooked at within appropriate visual cultural methodologies informed by postcolonial, decolonial and critical race theory. A valuable contribution of critical LIAR is arguably its continuous demonstration of a pre-colonial hub of cosmopolitanisms on a scale never imagined in colonial histories of ‘indigenous’ communities – thought of as the ultimate ‘other’ of global modernity. The study focuses on the cultural politics of representation asking; what and who is being made visible in the visualisation of settlements accompanying LIAR and how; what forms of materiality and spatiality are pictured and performed; finally, what affect such visualisations have on the people that experience them.
Chris Wingfield: Art, Animals and Animism on the Missionary Road
This paper will consider presentations and re-presentations of animals from southern Africa in the museum and publications of the London Missionary Society. It will explore the mediations involved in the creation of these images, and the encounters from which they emerged. It will be suggested that a common and overlapping interest in animals, despite widely varying cultural logics and underlying ontological assumptions, underpinned many nineteenth century missionary encounters. Ultimately this paper seeks to explore the degree to which animals played a significant part in shaping the unfolding history of missionary encounters on the northern frontier.
John Wright: Southern Africa before Colonial Times: Towards a Revision
In December 2015 the editorial board of a new online reference work, the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History, invited me to write an article for this work titled ‘Precolonial Societies of Southern Africa’. I was happy to accept, but resisted the wording of the title on two grounds: first, that historians of southern Africa were increasingly abandoning the concept ‘precolonial’ to designate an era of the region’s history, and, second, that ‘societies of southern Africa’ had an outdated ethnographic ring to it. I suggested instead the title ‘Southern Africa before Colonial Times’, which the editors accepted. I submitted the article in December 2016, revised it in response to comments from referees, and resubmitted it in March 2017. It was published online in July 2017. Contributors to the Encyclopedia are encouraged to periodically revise and update their articles. I am taking this opportunity of putting my article before the APC workshop to elicit critical comments and suggestions for revision. The period which it covers dates from the beginnings of human history in southern Africa to the establishment of European colonial rule in the 19th century. It is divided into the following eight sections: Conflicted Pasts; Entangled Perspectives; Turning ‘Prehistory’ into History; Hunter-Gatherers, Pastoralists, and Farmers, 200 BCE to 1300 CE; Farming Societies, 1000-1750; Engagements with Europeans, 1500-1800; Political Transformations in the North and East, 1770-1840; Engaging with Colonial Expansion, 1800-1900. The article seeks to interweave a basic narrative with discussion of the nature and provenance of the main sources of evidence available, and of the concepts which historians use to make sense of them. Articles for the Encyclopedia have to be written within the following parameters: text of up to 8000 words; discussion of the literature 500-1000 words; primary sources 500-750 words; further reading 10 to 15 major books and articles.
5 – 7 April 2017
Zuleiga Adams: Memory, Madness and Race: Demitrios Tsafendas and the assassination of Hendrik Verwoerd
This paper examines howe the infrastructure of death-row imprisonment functioned as a biopolitical technology of the apartheid regime., as in the case of Demitrios Tsafendas, assassin of Hendrik Verwoerd, prime architect of apartheid. Tsafendas was declared insane, and placed on death row for twenty three years, where he was subjected to the secret violence of the apartheid regime. The death of Verwoerd public, messy and unheroic. The massively staged spectacle of his funeral was designed to obliterate the traces of his bloody and violent death. Tsafendas was locked up in a cell on Robben Island specially constructed for him to prevent any contact whatsoever between him and other prisoners. From there, he was secreted off to a cell under the stairway that led to the hanging chamber in Pretoria Central. The labyrinth of corridors and gates leading to this section of Pretoria Central, described by many who had been on death row, ensured that he was hidden deep within the recesses of the apartheid state’s prison system. The mode of Tsafendas’ imprisonment was designed as a form of concealment to repress the memory of Verwoerd’s bloody and violent assassination - it becomes a metaphor for a kind of psychic repression. The paper will consider how this psychic archive surfaces in various, forms, genres and mediums, working against attempts to consign Tsafendas to oblivion
Heeten Bhagat: How can a headrest become a hoodie? Playing with the surreal and the absurd: Juxtaposing pre-colonial and post‐independent performances of indigeneity in Zimbabwe
This research study will explore the precolonial archive to discover the surreal and absurd realities, problematics and opportunities embodied in the search for indigeneity for the post-independent era in Zimbabwe.
Harriet Deacon: Safeguarding traditional foodways in the EU: the traditional specialties guaranteed scheme and the unesco intangible heritage convention
Traditional food and drink production, preparation and consumption practices (collectively known as ‘foodways’) are considered an important part of cultural heritage in Europe. This paper compares the role of two legal instruments in safeguarding traditional foodways, viz. the Traditional Specialties Guaranteed (TSG) scheme, part of the European Union’s voluntary Quality Schemes Regulation (QSR, EC 1151/2012) and the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. In continental Europe, TSG registration and inscription on the Lists of the Convention are sometimes used in parallel to protect and promote the same traditional food production method. This paper focuses on the particular situation of the UK, where although producers have gradually become more interested in registering products under the QSR, they are currently facing some uncertainties as the UK prepares to leave the EU. The UK cannot propose nominations of ICH elements to the Lists of the Convention, as it is not a State Party. In this context, the paper asks to what extent, and under what circumstances, TSG registration could be used to encourage safeguarding of traditional foodways in the sense of the Convention.
Erica de Greef: Unpacking the question
In previous APC sessions, I presented work that addresses the issues facing the collections of dress/fashion objects at Iziko Museums. This has included questions of the binary framing of ‘high fashion’ and vernacular ‘dress’ used in exhibitions aimed at dismantling exactly these distinctions; the histories of the various museum collecting practices that have determined the dispositions of the sartorial objects in these collections; the absent bodies in the sartorial collections and their exhibitions; and, the classification structures or taxonomies that contain the objects within fairly narrow frameworks. Bearing all of this in mind, I am presenting a short, but important section in this workshop that will unpack the research question and supporting sub-questions.
Jo-Anne Duggan: Missing, mutilated marooned and marginalised: news photographs in the archive
Archives are generally understood to be places where material traces of the past, which may be of public or historical interest, are safely preserved. Archives may also be spaces of ‘danger and dissolution, a space of classification and rule so powerful that to be entered into the archive is to be subject to a particular kind of erasure’.
This paper continues my PhD research into a series of news images: two still photographs and television footage showing two of the victims of the 1985 cross-border raid by South African security forces on Lesotho. My focus here is on the lives of these images in the archive.
The paper: highlights the forces that the images are, or have been, subject to in the process of ‘archivization’ through a description of my observation of the material in a number of different archives; draws on oral history interviews with archivists to understand the affect on of these images on the individuals who encounter them in their day-to-day work; and begins to identify ways in which these issues have been theorised. It is a work in progress.
Carolyn Hamilton: Notes Towards a Chapter on iziThakazelo/tiNanatelo/iziDuko as Archive for my Book
(To be read in conjunction with my 2015 essay, “Archives, Ancestors and the Contingencies of Time”, in Alf Lüdtke and Tobias Nanz (eds.), Laute, Bilder, Texte. Register des Archivs, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Unipress), Göttingen, also circulated to workshop goers.)
At the second Precolonial Catalytic Conference held at NMMU in March 2017, Dr. Nomalanga Mkhize and her co-author, Dr. Sakhumzi Mfecane, offered a paper on “Rubusana and the Missing Idiom of African Historiography”. In her spoken presentation and by way of background to the paper, Mkhize reflected on her early immersion in a rural world, thick with forms of knowledge that she then lost when the family moved first into an urban setting, and then into exile out of South Africa. Referring to her rural existence she commented, “We knew that we don’t marry those ones. I don’t know how we knew it, but we knew it”. Her presentation included mention of a particular form of knowledge lost in the relocations, that of izithakazelo, translatable, perhaps, as clan address names, though I keep the suitability of this translation as an open question. In fact, izithakazelo are one of the ways that knowledge of whom not to marry - those who are related to one- is stored. As the conference continued, not only did the knowledge-laden character of izithakazelo percolate up at various time, perhaps quietly, but so too did the deep pleasure and acknowledgement associated with address names assert itself, not least in the repeated addressing of Dr. Mkhize with the Khabazela isithakazelo.
In these notes I address the enormous, extensive, and diverse archive constituted by the izithakazelo of countless clans, sub-clans and sections of families, across south-east Africa. I deal with what it is that size, extensiveness, and diversity each contribute to the value of this archive, and with what their combination adds up to. I also offer a discussion of what kind of archive izithakazelo constitute.
Gerald Machona: A Critical Discussion of Transnational Lobola, Ethnicity and Foreignness.
No abstract available
Grant McNulty: Access, Skills and Development? in Africa: Local Knowledge in Local Languages
I have been asked to write a chapter by the director of the Indigenous Language Media in Africa research unit at North-West University. Routledge/Taylor and Francis have requested a proposal from him for a publication in their African Studies series. This paper has been a strange and difficult one to try and put together, mainly because it puts forward a theory of change, a high-level strategy for the development of a practical project that is aligned uncritically to various development agendas. It may end up being case study, ‘we did this and you could do this’ type paper but as I relooked at it, I felt like a concept like development needed some critique / contextualisation.
Ayanda Mahlaba: Notes towards an MA proposal
This paper forms part of the preparatory work on my MA research proposal. In broad terms, my research interests are in pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Southern Africa with a particular focus on KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. Based on this description, this paper aims at unpacking how each period is refracted through the other, the continuities and discontinuities that have taken place and the symbolic meanings of these processes. This research project has largely been shaped by my maternal grandmother’s narrative about who her people, the Hlubis are, where they come from and how their chiefdom in Mpolweni Mission encountered the Scottish Presbyterian missionaries. In addition, what comes to the fore in this narrative are how my grandmother’s Hlubi clan has been conflated with that of Langalibalele Hlubi and the scant mention of Mpolweni in the historiography of mission stations in Natal. Nonetheless, her narrative becomes central for this project as it provides certain clues and possibilities for opening up broader questions pertaining to how pre-Shakan, Shakan and post-Shakan identities were formed in Zululand and Natal; the factors that facilitated these formations and how they have (or not) contributed to how we grapple with the present. Themes such as clan formation, clan names, Southern African migration, religion as a colonial project, mission stations, complex relations between chiefs and amakholwa, land claims and the state of former missions in modern day KZN will unravel as my grandmother’s narration is unpacked. It must be noted that these are draft questions, which may change especially once fieldwork that is crucial for this research has been conducted.
Thokozani Mhlambi: Radio & Afrikaner Enlistment
In 1938, the SABC established a self-contained Afrikaans service, known as the ‘B’ programme system. And it initiaited aims to reach out to rural areas through these transmissions. But what led to this sudden change of heart for those in charge of the SABC? What made the need so urgent at this time? With the sense of war looming it soon became clear that white South Africa depended on Afrikaaner agreement in order to enter the war, especially since the country opted for voluntary enlistment of soldiers over conscription. Attitudes towards South Africa’s participation in the war remained mixed; while African organizations, like the African National Congress (ANC) and the Transvaal Non-European People’s Conference offered only conditional support for the country’s war efforts, Afrikaans civic organizations such as the Ossewabrandwag (Oxwagon-fire brigade) and the Greyshirts vehemently opposed participation in what they considered as yet another war on behalf of the British Empire. This paper channels the factors that led to broadcasting being considered for Afrikaans-speaking populations in South Africa. It portrays the contestation that existed in civil society, given the dominance of English-speaking whites in public debates. It also conveys how the expediencies related to the Second World War made the Afrikaans-aimed broadcasts possible, and how these inevitably paved the way for broadcasting in other languages, such as Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho. Lastly, the paper then begins to make some speculative attempts of understanding today’s society and the disagreements that have recently ensued over the role of the state broadcaster.
Jacqueline Maingard: Projecting Modernity: Sol Plaatje’s touring cinema exhibition in 1920s South Africa
I propose to present a draft chapter commissioned for a volume on Cinema outside the City: Rural cinema-going from a global perspective (eds. Trevari-Gennari, Hipkins, O’Rawe) to be published by Palgrave MacMillan. The chapter focuses on Sol Plaatje’s engagement with film, in three sections: 1) Plaatje’s political work following the promulgation of the Natives’ Land Act in 1913 and his travels on two occasions to Britain as a member of the delegations representing the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), which had been established in 1912, to seek support from the Crown in repealing the Act; 2) Plaatje’s experiences related to film on his travels in Britain and the USA and how he acquired films and film screening equipment; 3) The events Plaatje organised on his return to South Africa in the early and mid 1920s, the place of film within these, and what he set out to accomplish. The draft chapter has been submitted to the editors for review and would benefit from the input of APC workshop participants before publication.
Lebogang Mokwena: Entering Modernity and Making Tradition
My research interests lie at the intersection of political, cultural, and historical sociology with a special focus on material culture and the making and/or codifying of ethnic / tribal identity in the context of British imperial expansion in Southern Africa. I therefore interrogate the making of racially and ethnically stratified polities in the course of assembling and institutionalising colonial administration.
While there have been a range of studies concerned with military conquest as a key instrument in the making of the colonial state, as well as the extension of Christian missionary activity as a pillar of Europe’s civilising mission in colonial contexts, far less attention has been directed at unravelling the relationship between the exchange of objects between European and indigenous actors, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the adoption or appropriation of some of these objects as markers of indigenous / tribal affiliation. Indeed, although there have been studies that have looked at the manufacture of tribal identity and the association of such manufacture with the emergence of such disciplines as anthropology and museumology, fewer studies have addressed how European objects (that is, objects manufactured in Europe and exported to various imperial locations), were adopted by indigenous peoples as markers of a range of identities; including differentiated ‘tribal’ identities or as markers of successful Christianisation. In this regard, European objects, once appropriated by indigenous societies, symbolised, embodied, and facilitated complex processes in the making of differentiated imperial subjects, what Burbank and Cooper (2010) refer to as the incorporation of difference within a single (albeit stratified) imperial polity. Thus, through, among other things, the making and, over time, the enforcement of difference spatially as well as through the codification of indigenous languages, processes of (colonial) state-making in Southern Africa were not predicated on the making of common national identities. Rather, the imagining of communities ostensibly engendered difference rather than sameness; a markedly different process and rationale when compared to the European context of nation state-making in the 18h and 19th centuries. In this regard, my proposed research addresses itself to these twin paradoxes: on the one hand, the making an sustaining of tribal differences through the incorporation and use of European imports and on the other hand, the making of colonial and post-colonial states resting on rather than subverting these presumed differences.
To this end, my research grapples with and contests an important tenet of the dominant literature on state-formation with regards to the treatment of the notions of sameness and difference. Secondly, my research attempts to recover the social and political life of objects (as well as their trajectories) in the context of macro-global processes of empire linked to the capitalist world-system. This study is intended to contribute to the extensive literature on the making of the modern world through an in-depth analysis of the mechanisms by which a certain notion of traditional Southern African life was produced and embedded.
Susana Molins Lliteras: ‘Africa starts in the Pyrenees:’ The Fondo Kati, between al-Andalus and Timbuktu (book proposal)
This book project is based on my dissertation by the same title (University of Cape Town, Dec 2015) [need new title suggestions!]. I received very positive reviews by the external examiners of my dissertation and strong encouragement to publish it as a monograph. As a result, and after further peer review, I have received a publication offer from the prestigious German academic publisher, De Gruyter, to publish the dissertation as a book in their series “Studies in Manuscript Cultures.”
The book - inserting itself into the disciplines of African book and archive history - presents a biography of the Fondo Kati archive, one of the many private family libraries that have surfaced in Timbuktu in recent years, and which has positioned itself apart from other libraries due to its claim to a unique historical heritage linked to al-Andalus. Analyzing both oral material, but especially the written marginalia found on the manuscripts of the collection - up to now unavailable and unstudied by scholars - this study treats the Fondo Kati itself as a historical subject, examining both its conditions of production as well as how its existence has in turn affected the context in which it finds itself.
The Fondo Kati archive as it currently stands was fashioned according to the vision of its director, Ismael Diadié Haidara. It is built upon two cornerstones: the genealogical project - the claim to uninterrupted “originally” Spanish or Visigothic ancestry for the Kati family - and the project of the marginalia - the archive as a family collection, built by generations of family members, each adding manuscripts and marginalia to the collection. The fundamental imbrication of the oral and the written in the Fondo Kati, represented by the repeated appeal to the genealogy of the Kati family as a source of differentiation and its marginalia as written “evidence,” are also the central features of the Fondo Kati that propelled the successful reception and circulation of the collection in present-day Spain.
The book also raises questions around the authenticity of the marginalia of the Fondo Kati collection, in terms of their dates of production and authorship. It concludes that, ultimately, the forgery in the marginalia of the Fondo Kati is about historical evidence, about providing textual, written proofs of a past, that may or may not have had existed, or existed only in oral family traditions. The Fondo Kati is a perfect example of how knowledge is constructed, of a researcher’s intrinsically partial access to the past. In the final instance, the very act of construction of the Kati collection is an active intervention in the production of history.
Camalita Naiker: Marikana and its afterlives in Popular Politics in South Africa
No abstract available
Rehana Odendaal: Responsibility
This chapter of my MA thesis introduces the question of what do we expect public universities to do? by describing the establishment of Wits’ University in 1922. The chapter also utilizes material from the Our University supplement of the Rand Daily Mail as well as other archival and secondary sources to examine the role that the University saw itself playing in South African society and how that role has developed over almost a century. The chapter unpacks the responsibilities of the university through the framework of its’ three core functions; research, teaching and service and links these functions to various publics that the university has interacted. It will argue that a change in the understanding of ‘the public’ shifts the responsibilities and actions of the University. Despite these shifts there are interesting continuities still evident in the university which provide useful context for thinking about institutional change in the contemporary moment.
Himal Ramji: A comparison of the representations of the precolonial in curriculum policy and the novel
This piece brings together some thoughts towards my master’s thesis. My MA project looks at the aims of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), and how these are reflected, or manifest in the content prescribed in the document with focus on the ‘pre-colonial’ sections of CAPS. For the sake of this paper, I wish to look specifically at the topic of Mapungubwe, as prescribed in grade 5, and compare the interpretation or historiography provided in CAPS, to that of textbooks, and beyond this to the genre of the novel. Essentially, for this paper, I want to ask: What might the creative interpretation of the distant past provide to our history education?
Tracy Randle: Digging up Deeds
My APC paper is presented as a vignette on the original deed of grant for Solms-Delta; a key aspect of my initial writing up of the research process underwent on the farm in the period 2004 -2005. I aim to use this paper to study this one document in some detail; to track and describe its multiple effects from its genesis in 1690 as a binding legal document that created and imposed colonial ownership of spatialized land in the Drakenstein region, all the way through to present day initiatives that seek to disrupt and tear at the legal authority and symbolic legacy that this document continues to hold over the landscape and the people that reside there.
Emma Sandon: Mining the South African Film Archive
This paper will discuss the use of film and cinema by the mining industries in Southern Africa, during the first half of twentieth century. Taking an overview of the scholarship on the importance of cinema to the regulation and recruitment of African miners: in the Copperbelt (Reynolds 2005, Smyth 1979, Windel, 2011); Rhodesia (Burns 2002, Smyth 1979); and South Africa (Couzens 1982, Gutsche 1972, Peterson 2003, Reynolds 2007); and assessing the range of films produced for the mines, copies of some of which are held in the National Film, Video and Sound Archives, South African Broadcasting Corporation in South Africa and the National Film Archive in London, this paper will examine the broader ramifications of mining interests in film production and cinema exhibition in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia.
In other parts of Africa under British rule, such as the Gold Coast, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the mining industries did not use film to the same extent, and British film companies were commissioned by the British government or British companies to promote trade in the empire. In the 1930s and 1940s, the British Colonial Office responded to missionary concern about migrant labour to the mines in the Copperbelt and supported film production for African audiences, first through the Bantu Education Kinema Experiment (BEKE) then through Colonial Film Units (see http://colonialfilm.org.uk). In South Africa, film production and cinema exhibition was controlled commercially by The African Films Trust, African Consolidated Theatres, and African Film Productions (AFP), a conglomerate which struck up a deal with the Transvaal Chamber of Mines to distribute American and British commercial films for screening on the Mining Compound Cinema Circuit both on the Rand and in Southern Rhodesia. The Mining Compound Cinema Circuit was set up in the 1920s by Reverend Ray Phillips of the American Board of Missions and financed by the Chamber of Mines. Concerns amongst mine owners, managers, missionaries and settlers about the content of the entertainment films shown led to a system of strict censorship of dramatic [westerns and melodramas] and comedy films. The Chamber of Mines commissioned AFP to make instructional and topical films to be screened on the cinema circuit, and AFP also produced films for the mining recruitment agencies, Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (WNLA) and Native Recruitment Corporation (NRC), later The Employment Bureau of Africa (TEBA) (Reynolds, 2007) [up until the 1970s, when the Chamber of Mines set up its own Public Relations Media Division alongside the TEBA Film and TV Unit which produced a newsreel]. These recruitment films were screened in villages on mobile cinemas, but they were not just screened for rural African audiences. They were also exhibited at cinemas all over South Africa as well as overseas, alongside other publicity films made about the mining industry for urban audiences, often coproduced with various South African government departments, especially the South Africa Railways and Harbours (SAR&H). These publicity films were made and used strategically for a variety of reasons: to allay settlers’ anxieties, to counter overseas public criticisms, particularly coming from missionaries, to attract settler immigration and investment by shareholders.
This paper will discuss these sources of mining history, and assess how film and cinema were used to promote mining interests in the region.
Katharina Schramm: Futuring the Good Life: Addressing Political Subjectivity in Contemporary South Africa
In my talk, I will focus on two striking expressions of political subjectivity in the city of Cape Town, each standing for a different, yet related, claim for wellbeing and a future. Both incidents involved the construction of shelters. In February 2016, students on the campus of the University of Cape Town built a "shack" in front of one of the representative university buildings to protest against bad housing conditions and profound inequality on campus. The university management's decision to demolish the shack resulted in a bitter conflict that lasts until today.
A few weeks later, a group of indigenous heritage activists erected a so‐called "Khoi kraal" on the premises of the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest colonial structure in Southern Africa. In their case, the main goal was to mark a historic and contemporary indigenous presence. Both cases dramatized exclusions and created new modes of visibility as well as expressing powerful claims of entitlement and belonging. I am interested in this interplay of precarious materiality, classificatory regimes and affective mobilization in relation to the enactment of versions of the “good life” in those encounters.
My paper falls into three parts: First, I will briefly discuss this underlying concept of the “good life”. Second, I will describe and analyze the two cases in relation to their specific articulation of political subjectivity. In conclusion, I will sketch the different versions of well‐being and the future that can be drawn from those cases.
John Wright and Cynthia Kros: ‘Chapter 1: In search of South Africa’s pasts before the colonial period’
The chapter is written round the notion of historical research as a journey of discovery into the available sources of evidence. It comes out of reflections about our personal journeys and the journeys made by the contributors to this book into the archive of evidence on South Africa’s history before the colonial period – how we read it and re-read it, and how, as we make our way into it, it changes our ideas about the past and about the nature of the archive itself. This notion of being engaged in ongoing discovery leads us into beginning the chapter by reprinting a newspaper article, written by Nomalanga Mkhize, that appeared in Business Day on 26 January 2016, under the heading ‘Education for the elite lacks social intelligence’. At the time, Mkhize lectured in history at Rhodes University, where she determinedly sought not to teach ‘insularity’ to students whom she saw as headed for the corporate boardroom. In the article she describes how her interest in the past before the colonial period was roused by stories of family history told to her by her father on road journeys through KwaZulu-Natal in the 1990s. She goes on to contrast the interest and pride that she felt in this history with the emptiness left in her by the kind of history she was taught at the elite school she attended, what she calls a history without ‘social intelligence’. Close readings of her account lead us to think further about the making of oral histories as conversations about the past; about our own journeys into the archive of recorded oral histories; and about conversations about South Africa’s past before the colonial period in educational contexts. History as taught in our schools and universities is not often about ‘journeys’ into the sources of evidence, or ‘conversations’ about them. We consider the effects of this absence, and examine the complex and ambiguous attitudes that manifest themselves in present-day South Africa to presentations in formal settings of the past before the colonial period. Such presentations generally discourage conversation, with the categories and narratives set up in institutional history often seen as confining or shaming. Outside these settings, though, there has recently begun an upsurge in the numbers of individuals trying to find out about pasts which they see as their ‘own’. We seek to explain these attitudes as effects of the ways in which ideas about the past have shaped, and been shaped by, the particular political and social struggles that have taken place in this country over the last 200 years.