APC May 2021 Workshop: Collated Abstracts
Vanessa Chen: History PhD Proposal
I will be presenting a preliminary draft of my PhD proposal. The research builds on an initial survey conducted at the Cape Archives during my Masters in Digital Curation titled: The archival records on Chinese slaves, convicts, exiles and ‘free blacks’ at the Cape of Good Hope (1654 -1838): Conceptualising a digital curation project. The proposed PhD will comprise two components, the creation of a digital archive and critical discussion of its form; the development of a number of historical presentations based on and linked into the archive and a critical discussion on both the form and content of the presentations. It hopes to convene various material cultures from national, international and personal collections online.
David William Cohen: Tibulya
In giving testimony, in explaining, in telling stories, speakers commonly introduce sayings, or proverbs, to strengthen or clarify expression, even as the introduction of such additional elements might deflect from the directness of an assertion into more allegorical or poetic speech. I have heard others, and found in my own expression, that a saying or proverb, one that perhaps suggests itself as familiar, or shared, among speaker and listener, seems somehow to give authority to speech--toconfirm the truth of the content of speech or the truth of an observation, or of memory, or of hearsay--even where the assertion comes from somewhere else than the subject of focus. I have heard the same proverbs, or sayings, explained and contextualized in multiple and sometimes competing ways, confirming the richness of these forms of speech, even as difference or variation confounds the seeming goals of verification of meaning. I have wondered about this multiplicity of explanation of the meaning of a saying—and one could extend this to images and written expression—that is deployed to give dimension to a story or the etymology of a place-name or personal name or title. Where some might argue that in these instances multiplicity reveals the poverty of such language to get to reality, or truth, I think these elements may become familiar, and conserved, because they serve or support or engender more than one different explanation. So, as I reread the early historian of Busoga Y. K. Lubogo’s accounting of the meaning of “Gabula” (approximately meaning “outsider” or “wild one” but these are not that satisfying as translations), the name associated with a nineteenth century ruler in Busoga, and the name that became the title of the rulers of the kingdom of Bugabula, I noticed that Lubogo offered a saying and a specific explanation for how Prince Kitamirike, successor to the rulership, acquired the name and title Gabula.
“food may be scarce in a well-tended garden but plentiful in a neglected one which is situated on good soil.”
Lubogo’s explication of the name and the saying focused on a brief account of Kitamirike’s parentage. . .his father Kagoda had a number of “beautiful and respectable” wives but “most of them were barren, unlike the simple ugly slave girl” who mothered Kitamirike.
Beyond recognizing some deeply meaningful agrarian insight, and also alerted to a revelation on historical variation in human fertility, I wondered if there might be additional explanations for the saying, and for the title of Gabula. . .drawing on the presumption, admittedly questionable, that the stickiness of certain ideas rests on an interplay of contending explanations rather than on a singular hegemonic one. This led me to look into the details surrounding the succession from Kagoda to Kitamirike and to the reconstruction of the movements of that “simple ugly slave girl” who happened to have a name “Tibulya”, a lineage and clan, and a place of origin.
Ilyaas Combrink: Towards History Honours Thesis
The current South African school curriculum is called the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (Often referred to as the CAPS document). This forms part of the National Curriculum Statement for Grades R-12, which represent the policy statement for learning and teaching in all schools. These policy documents explain in great detail what teachers need to teach and assess on a grade-by-grade and subject-by-subject basis. However, there are many critiques and criticisms of the history CAPS curriculum for its marginalization and erasure of traditional African histories and knowledges in favor of spreading Eurocentric narratives of history (colonization, imperialism, world wars et cetera).
Proposed Research Question
What historiography, and what ideas about historical methods informed the section of the CAPS curriculum theme “Transformation after 1750” and how do the historiography and these historical methods relate to contemporary developments in the discipline since the implementation of this theme in the school curriculum.
Lesley Cowling: Chapter 1 - Commercial presses and the construction of black publics in South Africa
This chapter explores the specific features of the commercial press sector in South Africa in the 20th century, covering issues such as white ownership of black readership publications, monopolization by a media companies, the desire for black ownership of media and the relationship between advertising and black readership publications. The chapter discusses how the so-called ethnic presses – black, Afrikaans-language and English-language - of the South African media space created separate publics during the apartheid era and how those have persisted and shifted in the post-apartheid period. The chapter argues that the business model of black-readership publications during the post-war and apartheid eras cannot be separated from their functioning in South African public life, but is fundamental to the ways in which they created publics and mobilised political influence.
Henry Fagan: Shaping and reshaping: The James Stuart Archive and the historiography of KwaZulu-Natal region’s late independent era
This paper examines how JSA has steadily shaped and reshaped the production of the KwaZulu-Natal region’s late independent era history. The project to annotate and publish the oral evidence originally assembled by James Stuart and his interlocutors began fifty years ago. To date six volumes have been published. I argue that the JSA has influenced the scholarship in two ways. Firstly, the JSA’s publication generated exposure and greatly improved academics’ accessibility to a rich supply of evidence which was largely unknown to the field. By the late 1970s, in large part due to the JSA, African oral evidence was beginning to (re)attract serious attention from
intellectuals in an academic setting. Secondly, the JSA has become a site for the production of ‘critical history’ and the ‘life’ of archives. Stuart’s interlocutors began to be recognised as historical actors whose agency has shaped the recorded evidence. Consequently, the JSA, alongside The James Stuart Papers themselves, have become central to efforts to decolonise late independent era history.
Angela Ferreira: Using gossip and anxiety concerning the hunter-trader communities in Natal in the late 1820s and 1830s to explore the fluidity and contemporaneous elements of identity in precolonial Natal
When exploring the history of the heterogenous hunter-trader communities of early nineteenth-century natal, several researchers revealed how many past literary works often mythecised or romanticised the European traders living at Natal. These narratives often painted the white traders of Natal as adventurous “Crusoes” all bearing the torch of civilisation in a dark and untamed land. Yet, not all writings concerning these Natal trading communities worked to idealise them; some were bitter and harsh and ultimately constituted pejorative gossip. By “thinking with gossip” and using insights on social anxiety, this research considers various examples of pejorative gossip concerning these trader communities in the nineteenth century. In considering the impetuses behind such gossip and anxiety, the work shows how identity is unfixed and is made up of various multifaceted elements that agents can access at different times and contexts. Identity can thus be viewed as what Judith Butler had termed “performative acts.”
Sizakele Gumede: Revisiting the imperial control of Zululand and Natal: alongside the political praxis of Harriette Colenso, 1884 to 1913.
Prior scholarship on the imperial government’s rule/control in Zululand and Natal is mainly based on that government’s own archives and sources, and that has resulted with skewed research output of the imperial government that is the reflection of its own records. Such situations inevitably introduce into research the partiality of the archives as witnesses of the past; because without those witnesses being subjected to forensic investigation and interrogated together with or against other witnesses from other sources, it becomes inescapable for research output not to be susceptible to bias and distortion.
The purpose of this study is to foreground the significance of a widened, varied and differently-angled approach to doing research; that illustrated by investigating the imperial government’s control over Zululand and Natal, alongside Harriette Colenso’s political praxis, over the period from 1884 to 1913. The study answered the question: What did Harriette Colenso’s political praxis reveal about the control of the imperial government in Zululand and Natal?
This study’s analysis and investigation of Harriett’s campaign and at least fourteen cases/events produced evidence in that although the imperial government officially reigned over Zululand and Natal, but at some key historical moments, that government was not in control over situations and events that occurred in those regions and are ascribed to it. The study established that the colonial government controlled the imperial government’s decisions and actions by contriving events and through orchestration that included withholding and manipulating information.
The study’s approach was to weave Harriette’s political praxis into the investigation of the historical timeline of situations and events, related to Africans’ affairs, that occurred in Zululand and Natal from 1884 to 1913; and establish what they revealed about the rule of the imperial government. From the different political contexts identified during this period, the thesis was organised into four core chapters; one of these chapters will be presented at the Research Development Workshop.
Carolyn Hamilton and John Wright: Methodology Chapter for a Book on Politics and Identities in the KZN region, c.1750-1830
This paper is a basis for chapter 2 of a book we are writing on politics and identity-making in the KZN region in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In chapter 1 we set out our conceptual framework; in this chapter, we discuss the main sources of evidence and our methods of reading them. We introduce the key methodological innovations that we employ in the course of the book.
The core methodological challenge that a study of this nature must address is that most, if not all, of the materials that we have available to us to investigate politics and identities in the remote past, have been shaped in one way another, by later forms of political and identity discourses and practices, as well as those of academic disciplines. Our methods are geared towards grappling with what this means for using materials about the remote past, which themselves entered the record under a variety of circumstances later in time. In taking this approach we tackle certain disciplinary habits, and critique long-standing reliance on early ethnographic accounts as well as a clutch of assumptions about the nature of oral evidence. We explicitly foreground the largely neglected archive of material about the century before colonialism that was laid down by speakers of isiZulu and related variants, much of it in vernacular form.
Richard Higgs: Discontinuity in
Discontinuity is both a fundamental property of digital signals and a postructuralist tool for the analysis of history. This presentation of the conceptual framework for a PhD study examines the intersection between these two notions of discontinuity and how this intersection may play out in the virtualisation of historical narratives and historical objects. Against a background of posthumanist concepts that examine and problematise the place of the human as constituted in, with, and by technology, I plan to explore whether the discontinuity brought about at the level of the signal by digitisation and virtualisation is an any way different or more significant than those arising from any other mediatisation, and what it may mean for historicity in a posthumanist framework.
Anette Hoffmann: Blood and Bones of Colonial Linguistics
Until very recently few linguists studied the past of their discipline. After 1945, German Africanists purged the discipline of its racialising terms and forgot about the party membership of its academics. In 1934 the German linguist Carl Meinhof had asked his colleague Dorothea Bleek about blood samples of people he called Bushmen, which were sent to him by Adrianus Pijper from Pretoria shortly thereafter. More than a century earlier, in 1806, one of the first lists of words in two southern African languages were taken to Germany together with insects, botanic samples and the severed skull of a man called Bartman, by Hinrich Lichtenstein. Between these two dates, languages German Africanists conceptualised languages through the lense of race, and collections were created with the aim to materialise ideas of racial difference. Particularly the human remains of these collections are now rarely associated with linguistics. This paper is the first step toward a research project on language and race on the basis of collections of human remains, photographs, casts and other objects in Germany and South Africa.
Heather Hughes and Victoria Araj: Decolonising people and places: the challenges of Reimagining Lincolnshire
In response to the Black Lives Matter global protests of 2020, the University of Lincoln initiated an institution-wide decolonising project. One theme focuses on curriculum and pedagogy. The other, Reimagining Lincolnshire, is a public history initiative that focuses not only on the built environment of the campus but more importantly on the region within which the university is located. Participants include campus-based as well as community-based groups. This paper surveys the context for the emergence of a project such as this, the kinds of archive and sources available for an exercise in reinterpretation (raising questions also about archival silence) and what the limitations of this kind of work are.
Duane Jethro: Archival Grief - Reflecting on the Mourning of the African Studies Library
I use this introductory text to put on the table a set of thoughts and ideas that I hope will provide the platform for a more sustained engagement with the loss of the AS Library, archive and salvage.
The main issue I grapple with and would like to open up to is the notion of grief. As I remark in the introduction, to grieve the loss of a library is indeed a strange thing. What does that mean? I am especially interested in grief as an unclear, unfinished set of feelings about loss. What is there to make of that space of shock, confusion, chaos and uncertainty in oneself that arises with the chaos of a library being obliterated by fire?
There are some key sub-questions here: What are the implications of grief for notions of recovery? What nostalgias does it trigger and evoke?
Grief is also important as a space for evocations of imaginaries of archive, for nostalgias of what the library once was, but also for thinking about what it can be.
It also links up to the democratic exchange of competing ideas about knowledge and cultures of learning that will now be launched.
For now, these are the questions I hope I can get feedback on for the session, archival grief, as one stepping stone in a bigger theorisation of the loss of the AFS library.
Sanele kaNtshingana: Noyi Gciniswa and William Kekale Kayi: African converts and earliest articulations of umbuso
The encounter of the African people and the missionaries created intendent and unintended consequences. One of the unintended consequences was the appropriation of colonial technologies of writing by the African converts to narrate their own African histories in their own terms. This enterprise did not come with no difficulty or tension. The missionary upper handedness in transcription, editorial and sometimes translation re-shaped these narratives in very specific ways. African converts had to negotiate this tension and graft through it for the first thirty years of missionary evangelism from the late 1820s. This chapter will discuss two major writings in the early nineteenth century concerning umbuso in the Xhosa kingdom. These are Gciniswa Noyi’s iziqwenge zembali yamaXosa (1838) and William Kekale Kayi’s Gesimilo senvelo senkosi zamaxosa (1857?). I will look at the discursive strategies the two writers employed to tackle the subject and the forms of ukuxoxa [debate/discussion] these two writers employed on this subject. The circumstances around the production of these texts will be central in the discussion.
Alirio Karina: Reading the “Native”: The Ruse of Ethnology in Post-abolition Zanzibar
Examining photo postcards of post-abolition Zanzibar alongside other archival and secondary materials, this paper explores how ideas of racial, indigenous, and ‘civilizational’ substance are presented both visually and in caption and writing, and reads these against discursive tropes in descriptions of pre- and post-abolition Zanzibar. I argue that, in the midst of an emancipation project both produced by the missionary mode of authorizing conquest and later beholden to it, ethnological modes of reasoning and their shorthands offered a solution to the problem of the ugliness of colonialism. In their ethnological framing, these photo postcards (and the discourse they represent) invoke a nostalgic fantasy of a deeply rooted freeholder peasantry, a fantasy deeply at odds with the lumpenproletarian ‘residuum’ reading of this population by British diplomats and cabinet, the histories of European, Swahili and Omani slaving that produced it, and, perhaps most strikingly, with the fact of British conquest. Counterposed to the missionary mode that justified empire by virtue of the ostensible moral necessity of conversion—a task which, in Zanzibar, was always going to be abortive—by drawing upon existing terrains of ethnological reason, these postcards justified British imperial action by rendering it absent from the colonial terrain; by pretending the empire wasn’t there. As such, this paper argues for reassessing the relationship between anthropological discourses and the political-economic imperatives of conquest.
The study involves investigating the following questions: What did it mean to belong to one of the clans (Maloko) prior to the formation of the Basotho nation by king Moshoeshoe? What political rights (if any, and what might rights have meant or entailed then?) existed for subordinate [clans?] and individuals, before the emergence of the polity under Moshoeshoe? What was the situation during the reign of Moshoeshoe? What changed in 1867 when British suzerainty was imposed? What was the impact of the concept of the human rights as declared by the United Nations in 1948? Finally, what were the effects of these questions on the achievement of independence in 1966? This study will attempt to analyze the changes of how Sotho people’s rights were conceptualized, analyze the responsibilities of the leaders and how these have changed from pre-colonial period, during the colonial period, during Lesotho’s period as a Protectorate and after Lesotho’s independence.
Cynthia Kros: The Call to go on ‘Battling with Banality’: A short appraisal of work on ‘deep’ history published in the Journal of Natal and Zulu History from 1978.
The museum work I was thinking about at the time of the last APC Workshop has to be deferred, and I am on the brink of a new project, which is going to take me into the realm of what I shall call, for the present, the creative arts. But I cannot say too much about this new endeavour yet, save that it is, among other things, a history education project. What I am proposing for this forthcoming Workshop, is a reflective paper that I hope will help me to prepare for the new project, while not losing sight of my most recently completed one —the edited collection with co-editors John Wright, Mbongiseni Buthelezi and Helen Ludlow, to be published under the title, Archives of Times Past: Conversations about South Africa’s Deep History.
I am currently engaged in responding to a recent call for papers with what the editors of the Journal of Natal and Zulu History call a think piece, intended for inclusion in the final issue of the journal, which despite their dedicated work towards rehabilitating it, is shortly to breathe its last. My piece will be very brief, of necessity, and although I intend to go further than simply offering homage, will not be able to elaborate on several, perhaps potentially contentious observations. My focus will be on the debates around the nineteenth and early twentieth century histories of the region that were waged in the journal over the years of its existence, which often acquired an intensity and even, on occasion took the form of brutal close combat, that as some of the authors themselves remarked, seemed to resonate with the literal violence of the battles to which they referred.
In order to follow the direction of some of these debates, arguing that they still have pertinence for the present, and to understand the reasons for their intensity and even rhetorical violence, I would like to propose an expanded piece for the APC Workshop.
I was first prompted to go in this direction by Hlonipha Mokoena’s 2005 article, in which she presents the subject of her brilliant biography, Magema Fuze as a hard-pressed emissary between two worlds who chooses history to be his guide. Mokoena’s article is at once erudite and empathetic. When I started reading other articles in the journal, I was confronted with authors, who like Fuze, took history as their guide, who were also highly erudite and often had enormous empathy with their subjects, but whose language was frequently intemperate and angry — quite unlike Mokoena’s cool, considered, but nonetheless vivid account. The most obvious contrasts with Mokoena and these other authors might be attributed to gendered and generational origins — and perhaps her partial (but also qualified) identification with an isiZulu-speaking subject.
I understand that some of the ferocity of the attacks of one historian on another have to do with the gender of the protagonists, and sometimes a sense that a deep male friendship had been betrayed — I will try to say more about this in the full paper. But I am also interested in how these, predominantly male authors thought about the discipline of history and their expectations of the role and responsibilities of professional historians in relation to ‘a public’, conceived of as susceptible to being misled about, in one case, the ‘real’ nature of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 and, in another the extent of Bhambatha’s heroism and his ‘real’ role in the 1906 Uprising commonly associated with his name.
Amogelang Maledu: Developing a contemporary curatorial practice of South African sonic and music cultures post-1994 through multisensory archives: Pitori (Pretoria) as a case study
My research proposal is interested in situating the cultural production and creative survival praxis’ of popular Black Township (electronic House) music produced post-1994, but however situating the genealogy from Kwaito and other music genres preceding that. I am particular interested in both Pretoria’s historical and contemporary cultural flux as a framework of mapping these sonic and musical genealogies (often osmosis and intersections as the music itself does not always necessarily follow a neat linearity of genres). The research proposal is curatorial: relying on time-based exhibition making practices such as the Internet as a democratic archive of cultural and self-curation where a lot of my pop cultural interests in this particular music lies. However, I will also similarly engage museum archives and objects where specific links with the Pretoria region is relevant. Museum archives that will particularly be interesting will be music collections where musical objects with various music histories lay silent, soundless and their objectness often ethnomusicologically essentialised. My research is interested in animating such archives and creating new epistemological frameworks that are not authoritative but imaginative, and subversive of the colonial strategies engaged in such archives. I am interested in producing new contemporaneous ways to think through the archive and its potential relevance in the contemporary, especially engaging digital media in the arts through the sonic and music as modalities of knowledge generation in curation beyond the material object.
Keywords: Pretoria, curation, sonic, pop South African music, Kwaito, archives, museum, ethnomusicology
Athambile Masola: Archiving friendships: Frieda Matthews, Pumla Ngozwana in Ellen Kuzwayo’s Call me woman
This paper attempts to respond to the historiography of black women during the early 20th century through the lens of friendships amongst missionary-educated black women. In 1935 Frieda Matthews wrote a letter in the newspaper The Bantu World reflecting on her time spent in London. Accompanying the letter was a picture of her and her friend, Ellen Pumla Ngozwana standing outside a building at Amanzimtoti where they were teachers. Using this image as a starting point, this paper will attempt to offer a reading of the meaning of this friendship as well as the ways in which relationships fostered through the missionary-educated social milieu. Secondary to the picture, this paper will use Ellen Kuzwayo’s autobiography, Call me women (2004) which offers more insights into the friendship between Frieda and Pumla who were her teachers at Adams College. Kuzwayo’s reflections can be read as an archive of friendships amongst black women during her education in the 1930s and offers room for speculation about the impact of these friendships beyond the personal realm of friendships. When reading black women as historical figures, they are often depicted as profiles in spite of the evidence showing they were women who were in community with each other. In a sense, it is through friendships that women were able to sustain their public lives.
Thokozani N Mhlambi: On African Dramatic Forms
- Creative content in African languages in Africa has seldom been accorded the same status as literatures in French or English.
- This is in-spite of the fact that most of continent’s creative output of songs, performance poetry, comedy appearing in African languages is appreciated by audiences here and elsewhere.
- The relationship of (dis)continuity between the traditional dramatic performance forms and the writerly, mechanically reproduced (radio, recording, etc) is seldom theorised enough, to the extent that it explains those assumptions of continuity/progress or perceived loss in the technologies of recording and writing.
- Notwithstanding the diversity of African forms, attesting to the richness of life in Africa itself, there are observable similarities that make generalisations across regions, across genres possible.
- The tension that exists in European forms: characterised by an over-theorisation of elite forms, matched by a poverty of thinking on popular forms, except under strange terms, such as “literature from below,” “discourse on popular culture”.
- Limitations in observation and analysis of African historical phenomena is often elided by the tools used to think through it. For example in the early scholarship on southern Africa one often finds designations of ‘dancing’ ‘music’ conflated, almost in such a way as to imply that they mean the same thing to African and European audiences, when they do not.
This paper expands on some of these issues. It also tabulates a register of terms found in the historical literature on culture in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, that I argue begin to delineate a field offering a conceptual understanding of the role and place of creative production in the region in the past.
Lebogang Mokwena: Materiality, Museums, and the Production of History
This paper is a preliminary consideration of the work of objects in the production of knowledge. Specifically, it tries to summarise my very rough and preliminary reflections on how knowledge on the South African past is produced in the museum context, drawing on an analysis of (a purposive) case study of the three-format isishweshwe story exhibition (2013 – 2018). Noting the centrality of objects and material culture in the work of museums (through object collection, classification, organisation, and storage) this paper (and the broader project out of which it emerges) conceptualises objects as an epistemic resource. By this I mean that objects serve as a resource in the course of producing and presenting history in exhibitionary form in the museum. It extends the sociological literature on museums and, by drawing on the object-sensitive analytical strategies developed in social studies of science and technology, enriches this scholarship with a sharper focus on materiality and the epistemic power of objects in the museum.
Ettore Morelli: Book chapter: Chapter One, Historians
The paper that I present at the Research Development Workshop is the first draft of the first chapter of my book project. The provisional title of the book is ‘The Southern African Highveld, c.1500 c.1850’, which is admittedly bland and vague, but gives a broad idea of the region and period that I cover. In the book, I intend to study various political formations in that time and space, spanning from small group of migrants and bands of hunters to large territorial states. Politics, trade, social structure, philosophy, ritual are my main themes. In other words, the ambition is to write a well-rounded history of the region in the three centuries before colonialism. Some of the prominent theoretical points of the book are the search for a new periodisation and for different approaches to time and history. This is the keystone of the chapter that I present at the workshop. The ‘Historians’ of the title are the African intellectuals that interrogated the past of their families, their communities, and their enemies from about mid-19th to about mid-20th century. Starting from Tlali, one of the sons of Moshoeshoe and author of the first ‘History of the Basotho’ in 1858, in the chapter follows them in a series of short biographical sketches that ends with the descendants of the Bakubung and Bataung, Fred Serame Ramakabane and Abraham Aaron Moletsane, in the 1950s 1960s.
By placing them at the beginning of the book, I propose them as the main ‘authorities’ and the most innovative sources of my analysis in the following chapters. From their texts, that are written in a panoply of genealogical, mythological, epic, lyrical, descriptive, and scientific registers, I also draw periodisations and even different measures of time. The chapter has also the objective of analysing the production of these sources but attempts to do it in a subtler way, by putting fragments of the lives of their authors to the forefront. The transformations of Southern Africa from mid-19th to mid-20th century will be necessarily just hinted at in the background.
The second chapter of the book will start from c.1500 and will deal with early political formations between the Molopo and Orange rivers. The rest of the chapters will progress chronologically, reaching in the last chapter the period that opens the first chapter.
Maanda Mulaudzi: “Phusuphusu dza Dzimauli:” (The “Civil Strife of Dzimauli”) - W.M. D. Phophi as an historian
W. M. D. Phophi is more well-known among scholars and the public as one of Dr N. J. van Warmelo’s interlocutors in the production of ethnological publications on the Vhavenda. He is further treated as an important source of historical fact, but rarely treated as an historian in his own right. In this paper, I tentatively begin to reconsider and reposition Phophi’s public profile. To do so, I focus on his work “Phusuphusu dza Dzimauli.” Although he never used the word history himself, Phophi nonetheless considered the book as a historical work (mafhungo) about the long history of southern Africa prior to European colonialism. The publishers of the book, however, described it as both a novel and history. Indeed, under apartheid (the bantustan inclusive), the book was prescribed as novel of Luvenda literature rather than history to a several generations of students. For my purposes, I am interested in the kind of history Phophi produced and suggest that the book should be viewed as part of the African intellectual efforts to produce history under colonial and apartheid.
Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja: Audiotopia of Kgala!Namib Jazz and the Othered Struggle Music
This paper is a map of historic movements and mobilities of jazz and struggle music in Namibia and beyond its borders. The paper looks at the stories and musical work of artists such as The Dakotas, Ben Molatzi, Outjo Singers, Erna Chimu and Carlos Kambaekwa as part of a long and overlooked historical process and development of Jazz in Namibia. These cases are read in relation to my own musical collection in my PhD performance-as-research project Ondaanisa yo pOmudhime. Here, I discuss three songs from this collection that I define as jazz and struggle music to unpack the musical migrations and their historical nuances. Josh Kun’s notion of the Audiotopia as a listening method is used to trace the spaces that this music evokes, archives, maps and imagines. Most of these musical practices discussed in this paper are rooted in indigenous local performance practices such a s/Gais and Tsutsube which also reveal how Oudano mobilizes movement and trans-locality in the geo-political sense.
Sibusiso Nkomo: News and information circulation in the interior of South Africa – 1829-1832
This chapter focuses on the 1829-1832 period, a world packed with signals of communication and news over a vast area from the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope to the eastern frontier and as far as the Molopo River. It was in this period that a vernacular publishing culture in south Africa started with much improvisation and due to information circulated from speaking, hearing and writing down to translation reliant on partnering with indigenous communities. You also see the influence of the mission training on young missionaries in the field recording and sharing. The early period helps us understand how we arrive at the newspapers that the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society was to publish in Lesotho in the 1840s and more consistently from 1863.
Keywords: missionaries, travel, communication and news
Debra Pryor: Towards Digital Curation Honours Proposal
An index card is a small and simple object. Ranging in size, it takes the format of a rectangular paper card used for recording and storing discrete information on. Offering the means to keep fixed information permanently available for easy retrieval, it allows an expandable, mobile system for the reshuffling and integration of new information.
Adopted in a Library setting, where every book was described in three cards by Title, Author and Subject, the index card may have done well to locate a book for reference and loan, but I will argue that the same card system employed in a museum and archive setting needs to be examined as an archival object. Whilst it appears to record the material culture of an accessioned object and the culture of the producers and places the object originated from, it is more accurately a record of the culture of the Institution it finds itself in.
I propose to examine the Index card as an archival object and explore the tension between its affordances and constraints as a tool; the nature of indexicality and its relation to power and knowledge; its history as an information management device for naturalists and its echoed technologies in both clinic and prison; its inherent position as capturer and how this shapes what is captured; acknowledging it as the ‘analogue parent’ of multiple metadata fields as we move into the post-index card digital future, using its successes and pitfalls to instruct us toward data transparency and mindful digital practice.
Himal Ramji: Contemporary Representations of the Cattle Killing
This paper is the sixth chapter of my PhD. It is the final chapter. I have yet to write the introduction and conclusion of the thesis.
The PhD covers stories of the Great Xhosa Cattle-Killing (1856-7). The first chapter deals with the theatrical invention of a narrative through photographs, depositions, and court trials. The second deals with the initial history inscribed by John Aitkins Chalmers, the critiques of this in the isiXhosa newspaper Isigidimi SamaXosa by W.W. Gqoba and W.M. Philips, and the reproduction of Chalmers’ history by Charles Brownlee. The third engages the endurance of Gqoba’s narrative in the works of W.B. Rubusana and A.C. Jordan, as well as two translations of the work by Jeff Opland and Helen Bradford. The fourth deals with Xhosa references and renditions in the work of Nontsizi Mgqwetho, J.J.R. Jolobe and D.L.P. Yali-Manisi. The fifth deals with the nationalisation of the history through an article by Achille Mbembe, some errant tweets from Helen Zille, several parliamentary references, and, of course, the national schools history curriculum.
This chapter primarily engages two works: Jennifer Wenzel’s exemplary work in her book Bulletproof, and the contentious Americanisation of the story in the work of Andrew Offenburger through his association of the cattle-killing history with the 1989 Hollywood film ‘Field of Dreams’.
I have attempted to challenge the hegemony of the Western world and the global middle and ruling classes on the concept of ‘globalisation’ by exploring the globalist enterprises of those who dared to imagine that the Russians who fought in Crimea in the nineteenth century were black. In this, I seek to engage the concept of globalisation, its plurality, and how different authors have worked with the intellectual barriers and bridges of the ‘postcolonial’ and ‘neocolonial’.
Sabelo Sibiya: Towards MPhil Digital Curation Proposal
The primary objective of this study is to first evaluate how the history and the Izibongo of the Sibiya clan in KwaZulu Natal is digitally curated, to assess any connotation of colonialism on already recorded and curated history and izibongo of the clan thereof.
To extract raw knowledge and information about the Sibiya clan from the knowledge custodians of the clan.
To redo and re-curate the recording of the izibongo and the history of the Sibiya clan.
To remove any influence of colonization on the already recorded and curated history and izibongo.
Wade Smit: Story in a Time of Tumult – turning to creative expression to explore themes of history, power, time, space, and place
The paper I will be presenting is not academic in nature, though for my own research it does, at least, have some purpose. I have, over the last few months, seen a Master’s hand-in turn into a PhD project, moved to a new home, seen my mother for the first time in almost two years, and adopted a second dog. I have also found myself severely burnt-out on academic work, particularly on the research topic I am pursuing for my dissertation. As a result, seeing this call for abstracts for the first APC workshop of 2021, I wanted not to fret about producing a piece of academic writing, or even presenting what I have been working on. Instead I want to follow my impulses and experiment a little. I decided to try write a piece of creative writing that is self-serving, in that it will hopefully help me to mentally refresh my relationship with more formal scholarly writing while at the same time allowing me to explore themes that interest me in a new light. I have no idea what the quality of the final product will be, and this is not really the purpose. What is intended is to release the tension I have come to hold in my mind and in my hands when sitting to write, read, or think.
Greer Valley: PhD Chapter 3: Relationality between the Netherlands and South Africa
The Goede Hoop exhibition is likely the first time that many members of the Dutch public encounter the history of Dutch colonialism in South Africa. South African-Dutch colonial history is absented from Dutch national history (as is the case with other Dutch colonial histories to varying degrees). In contrast, the opposite is true for South Africa. Apartheid South Africa’s historical account of its relationship with the Netherlands is a feat of mythology and fiction and filled with tropes of the Dutch as heroic explorers and bearers of civility. The apartheid state crafted their version of the history of South Africa through the prudent curating and staging of national narratives that emphasised the European history of the Afrikaner. These efforts at curating the apartheid nation continue to have resonance today.
Through the analysis of specific objects on display, including selected exhibition texts, this chapter will examine the ways that the exhibition form can preserve and confirm knowledge, belief systems, and mindsets and obscure the ways that these ideas come into being (epistemic violence). For example, while claiming to be revisionist and promising to take a critical approach, the Goede Hoop exhibition narrative begins with a portrait of Van Riebeeck. It ends with a panel of text that refers to his landing in 1652, closing with the question: “when will he (Van Riebeeck) topple from his pedestal?” It is necessary to address this because the scale of Van Riebeeck’s relevance and impact in the Cape Colony has long been contested and debunked. The embellishment of Van Riebeeck’s character and physical appearance is traced to the making of national narratives by the apartheid state. The curatorial decision to begin and end the exhibition with Van Riebeeck thus frames the representation of South African-Dutch.
Patrick Whang: Understanding the Transition from Chieftaincy to Political Parties in Pre-Independence Lesotho
Context: This paper is based on the limited research conducted to date and will possibly become part of a chapter within my PhD thesis.
Abstract: In Basotho society, there has been a popular saying that a ‘chief is a chief by the people’ (Morena ke Morena ka Batho). This phrase was based on the concept that a chief’s power was tied the people’s acknowledgement of this power to govern. But changes in the interactions between chiefs, colonial administrators, and the Basotho themselves in the early to mid-20th century began to erode this notion.
When Britain re-established governance from the Cape Colony in 1884, the British administrators initially had a hands-off approach to the internal management of Basutoland, leaving these affairs to the chiefs. Sir Alan Pim referred to this as a form of ‘parallel rule’. But over time, the British gradually inserted themselves as the intermediaries between the chiefs and the people as the British learned that some chiefs abused their inherited power and also to curb the prolific expansion of the number of chiefs due to the system of ‘placing’ the sons of chiefs.
The colonialists’ solution of gazetting and the subsequent reduction in the number of chiefs and headmen after the imposition of the Native Administration Proclamation No. 61 of 1938, created a tension within the institution of the chieftaincy. The rise in the number of ritual medicine murders (liretlo) in the 1940s, only exacerbated this issue. The installation of the female regent ‘Mantsebo in early 1941, after the unexpected death of her husband Paramount Chief Seeiso, seemed to further weaken the institution.
Within this backdrop, rising political consciousness by a small but burgeoning number of ’elites’ comprising educated Basotho commoners and professionals led to the formation of early political groups, such as the Basutoland Progressive Association (1907) and Lekhotla la Bafo (1919), which gained more attention as time went on. These were the precursors to the first modern Basotho political parties, including the the Basutoland African Congress (BAC) which was formed in 1952 under the direction of Ntsu Mokhehle.
But the institution of the chieftaincy did not collapse with the rise of political parties. The colonial authorities, who attempted to reform and reshape the role of the chief in Basotho governance, handed the mantle over to political parties, who attempted to become the new intermediary between the people and the chiefs. While the political discourses within and between political parties began to dominate the narratives on governance in Lesotho in the decade leading up to independence, with the exception of the disputes around the future role of the Paramount Chief, the institution of the chieftaincy did not disappear completely but continued to operate in the background.
John Wright and Carolyn Hamilton: Politics and identity-making in the upper Mzinyathi region before the late eighteenth century
This paper forms the first part of chapter 5 of a book we are writing on politics and identity-making in the KZN region in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In chapter 1 we set out our conceptual framework; in chapter 2 we discuss the main sources of evidence and our method of reading them. Chapter 3 is on the establishment of a powerful polity under the rule of an intrusive Ndwandwe group in the uPhongolo-Black iMfolozi region in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; chapter 4 is on the different processes in which a rival Mthethwa polity developed under Nyambose rule in the White iMfolozi-uMhlathuze region.
In this paper we discuss the early stages in the growth of a polity, led by a group known as the ‘Hlubi’ in the literature, in the upper uMzinyathi region. As in all the substantive chapters of the book, we begin with a detailed examination of the available sources of evidence. One of the main factors that shaped the nature of the sources is the break-up of the Hlubi polity in the late 1810s, the scattering of numerous sections onto the highveld and into the Eastern Cape, the reconsolidation of the main house in KZN, and the making and remaking in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries of accounts of the past among these various groups that differed markedly according to political circumstance.
For the history of the Hlubi main house in the era before the diaspora, important early sources are James Stuart’s notes of his conversations in Pietermaritzburg with Mabhonsa Kubheka, a supporter of the main house, in 1909; numerous snippets of oral accounts of the history of Hlubi groups in the Eastern Cape published in books and articles by isiXhosa-speaking authors, notably Richard Kawa, John Henderson Soga, and Henry Masila Ndawo, in the 1920s and 1930s; and several essays, written in English and in isiZulu, submitted for the ‘tribal’ history competition organized by Africana collector Killie Campbell in Durban in 1950, and since then lodged in the Killie Campbell Africana Library.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the upper uMzinyathi region was intermittently inhabited by groups of hunter-gatherers for many millennia before 1400 CE. After this date they increasingly interacted with groups of farmers from lower-lying areas to the east, and possibly from the highveld to the west, who were moving across the landscape, and settling for longer or shorter periods in areas favourable for cattle-keeping and hoe agriculture. Recorded accounts indicate that in perhaps the late 1600s or early 1700s a group of outsiders that probably emanated from the Eswatini region, and, one source suggests, may have been called the imiHuhu, established itself on the upper uMzinyathi. We discuss the factors which possibly enabled it to settle on the land among pre-existing groups, and, over time, enabled its leaders to extend their authority more widely. There is little evidence to go on, but the political dynamics involved seem to have been very different from those of the Ndwandwe expansion. Rather than mobilizing force to overcome established polities, the group’s leaders sought to use their prestige as outsiders who brought new forms of knowledge to attract new adherents and to make alliances with other groups. In the process they and their adherents seem to have taken on a new collective identity as ‘amaMpembe’. At a later stage, in the course of what seems to have been a major succession dispute that enabled the descendants of Hadebe, son of Mthimkhulu I, to establish themselves as the ruling clan, the amaMpembe in turn took on a new identity, this time as ‘amaHlubi’. We discuss the ramifications of the dispute in some detail, and why it is recounted differently in Natal-based sources and in Eastern Cape-based sources.
The paper ends by touching on the reign of Nsele (kaMashiyi?) in, probably, the third quarter of the eighteenth century, when the region’s political history begins to emerge slightly more clearly.
Thandile Xesi: Congress of Traditional Leaders in South Africa (CONTRALESA) – the convening of post-apartheid social imagery, 1987-1993.
Contrary to widespread expectations, the observance of the institution of chieftaincy in post-apartheid public life is perhaps the most surprising outcome of the long history of the liberation struggle in South Africa. Far from being exiled to the realm of the ‘pre-modern’ world, chiefs have continued to stress their significance and role in the ‘new’ South Africa. The proponents of the institution of chieftaincy claim that the institution is the custodian of “tradition” and should thus be “restored” to its former position in society. Following through this, I offer a critical narrative of the movement known as the Congress of Traditional Leaders in South Africa (CONTRALESA) established in 1987. It must be noted that, the creation of this movement was not an arbitrary occurrence, but a product of long-simmering tensions between the state and traditional authority. Thus, the principal instrument adopted by the current ruling party (ANC) to lobby chiefs in post-apartheid was the establishment of CONTRALESA. Hence, zooming into this CONTRALESA’s archive helps us understand the different ways in which engagements move across time and space and the arrangements and processes through which ideas are launched, circulate, and are engaged in public life. To this end, we rely on the movements’ archival records – documents, press statements, speeches and so on to understand the evolving demands of both CONTRALESA and the institution of traditional leadership. Also, to understand how these discourses and conversations are framed within the academy and the press. The broader aim is to bring into view networks of circulation of ideas across time and space, in order to make sense of how they are taken up by different constituencies, and what does this mean in thinking about the principal ideas that underlie public engagement.
Carine Zaayman: Reimagining custodianship of the past Anarchival practices and performance in the Clanwilliam Arts Project
Through a set of preliminary notes, I want to begin thinking through a framing of two case studies* that employ what I call “anarchival practices”, namely Onthouers/Rememberers and the Clanwilliam Arts Project. I identify these two projects as instances that do not accord colonial archives the power to determine the horizon of methodological possibilities when the past is engaged. Moreover, I argue that through their practices, these projects instantiate a form of custodianship of the past that exceeds, in some significant ways, the petrifying grip of colonial archives. In order to test the viability of reading their methodologies as anarchival practices, I interpolate them with the work of Saidiya Hartman on “fabulation” (2008) and Elizabeth Povinelli on “incommensurability” (2001). At the same time, I want to hold in view the critique on the Clanwilliam Arts Project by Samuel Ravengai (2015) who argues that in choosing which aspects of the colonial archive to narrate, the project fails to provide “a plausible historical context that explains the subaltern narrative of dispossession” (219). In response, I seek to gauge whether the methodological gains of both projects, especially those arising from an unfaithfulness to colonial archives, enable them to make tangible a past that was displaced by colonial epistemes in a move that addresses the foundation of this dispossession.
* I am developing this framing in preparation for a longer text that will outline anarchival practices and discuss their employment in these two case studies.