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Six years in the making, The Pink Line follows protagonists from nine countries all over the globe to tell the story of how “LGBT Rights” became one of the world's new human rights frontiers in the second decade of the 21st Century.
From refugees in South Africa to activists in Egypt, transgender women in Russia and transitioning teens in the American MidWest, The Pink Line folds intimate and deeply affecting stories of individuals, families and communities into a definitive account of how the world has changed, so dramatically, in just a decade. And in doing so he reveals a troubling new equation that has come in to play: while same-sex marriage and gender transition are now celebrated in some parts of the world, laws to criminalise homosexuality and gender non-conformity have been strengthened in others.
In a work of great scope and wonderful storytelling, this is the groundbreaking, definitive account of how issues of sexuality and gender identity divide and unite the world today.
When Mark Gevisser was a little boy, growing up in a apartheid South Africa, he was obsessed with maps, and with the Holmden’s Registry, Johannesburg’s Street Guide, in particular. He played a game called “Dispatcher” with this eccentric guide, transporting himself across the city into places that would otherwise be forbidden him. It was through “Dispatcher” that he discovered apartheid, by realising that he could not find an access route to the neighbouring township of Alexandra, and later, by realising that Soweto was not mapped at all.
This was the beginning of a lifelong obsession with maps and with photographs, and what they tell us about borders and boundaries: how we define ourselves by staying within them, or by transgressing them.
Johannesburg is a place of edges and boundaries; no place for a flaneur: this book is Gevisser's account of getting lost in his home town, and then finding himself, and then getting lost again, as a gay Jewish South African who was raised under apartheid and who became an adult and married a man of a different race as the country moved towards freedom.
Using maps and memories, photographs and stories, Lost And Found In Johannesburg presents a new way of understanding race and sexuality, heritage and otherness. If Gevisser transcended boundaries by playing “Dispatcher” as a boy, his own boundaries were brutally ruptured when he was attacked in a home invasion in January 2012, while completing this book.
Lost And Found In Johannesburg is the story of that journey.
Mail & Guardian columnist Mark Gevisser captures South Africa's transition in forty elegant, sharp and intimate profiles of people with power.
This title is a story about home and exile. It is a story, too, of political intrigue; of a revolutionary movement struggling first to defeat and then to seduce a powerful and callous enemy, of the battle between unity and discord, and the dogged rise to power of a quiet, clever, diligent but unpopular man who seemed to take little joy in power but have much need for it. By the time he retires in 2009, Thabo Mbeki will have ruled South Africa, in effect, for the full fifteen years of its post-apartheid democracy: the first five as Nelson Mandela's 'prime minister' and the next ten as Mandela's successor. No African leader since the uhuru generation of Nkrumah and Nyerere has been as influential. The author's long-awaited biography is a profound psycho-political examination of this brilliant but deeply-flawed leader, who has attempted to forge an identity for himself as the symbol of modern Africa in the long shadow of Mandela. It is also a gripping journey into the turbulent history and troubled contemporary soul of the country; one that tries to make sense of the violence of the past and confusion of the present. As Mbeki battles, in the current day, with demons ranging from AIDS to Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and finds his legacy challenged by the ever-growing candidacy of his would-be successor Jacob Zuma, The Dream Deferred tracks us back along the path that brought him here, and helps us understand the meaning of South Africa, post-apartheid and post-Mandela.
A Ghanaian explores the increasing influence of China across the region, a Kenyan student activist writes of exile in Kampala, a Liberian scientist shares her diary of the Ebola crisis; a Nigerian journalist travels to the north to meet a community at risk, a Kenyan travels to Senegal to interview a gay rights activist and a South African writer recounts a tale of family discord and murder in a remote seaside town. With an introductory essay by Ellah Allfrey, this anthology gathers new stories of contemporary Africa.
In this gripping social history of South Africa, award-winning journalist Mark Gevisser follows the family of former South African President Thabo Mbeki to make sense of his legacy and understand the future of the country under new President Jacob Zuma. With unparalleled access to Mbeki and Zuma, as well as other key players in the ANC, Gevisser presents an intimate yet accessible account of South Africa's past, present and future. With his stunning account of the Mbeki family's history as a backdrop, Gevisser fleshes out a monumental period in world history that will continue to shape African politics for years to come.
For nearly ten years - indeed more if we include his period of influence under Mandela's presidency - Thabo Mbeki bestrode South Africa's political stage. Despite attempts by some in the new ANC leadership to airbrush out his role, there can be little doubt that Mbeki was a seminal figure in South Africa's new democracy, one who left a huge mark in many fields, perhaps most controversially in state and party management, economic policy, public health intervention, foreign affairs and race relations. If we wish to understand the character and fate of post-1994 South Africa, we must therefore ask: What kind of political system, economy and society has the former President bequeathed to the government of Jacob Zuma and to the citizens of South Africa generally? This question is addressed head-on here by a diverse range of analysts, commentators and participants in the political process. Amongst the specific questions they seek to answer: What is Mbeki's legacy for patterns of inclusion and exclusion based on race, class and gender? How, if at all, did his presidency reshape relations within the state, between the state and the ruling party and between the state and society? How did he reposition South Africa on the continent and in the world? This book will be of interest to anyone wishing to understand the current political landscape in South Africa, and Mbeki's role in shaping it.
"Defiant Desire" records the lives of lesbian and gay South Africans of all races, lived in the face of censure, denial and oppression, from a drag salon in Woodstock to a gay "shebeen" in kwaThema; from a church in a Pretoria nightclub to Johannesburg's lesbian and gay pride march; and from Afrikaans love poetry to the new activism. "Defiant Desire" brings together South Africa's most prominent gay and lesbian writers, activists and academics. The contributors set out to refute beliefs that homosexuality is a white, male or middle-class phenomenon. Their writing makes clear and vibrant the relationship between a growing lesbian and gay rights movement and the broader anti-apartheid struggle in a time of transition and upheaval South Africa, and challenges its people to build a new society that respects and cherishes all of its citizens. "Defiant Desire" is an articulate testimony to the range of gay and lesbian experiences in South Africa. It is both a document of lesbian and gay struggle, and an indispensable book for those interested in the sexual politics coursing beneath the country's troubled passage to democracy.
As a boy growing up in 1970s Johannesburg Mark Gevisser would play 'Dispatcher', a game that involved sitting in his father's parked car (or in the study) and sending imaginary couriers on routes across the city, mapped out from Holmden's Register of Johannesburg. As the imaginary fleet made its way across the troubled city and its tightly bound geographies, so too did the young dispatcher begin to figure out his own place in the world. At the centre of Dispatcher is the account of a young boy who is obsessed with maps and books, and other boys. Mark Gevisser's account of growing up as the gay son of Jewish immigrants, in a society deeply affected - on a daily basis - by apartheid and its legacy, provides a uniquely layered understanding of place and history. It explores a young man's maturation into a fully engaged and self-aware citizen, first of his city, then of his country and the world beyond. This is a story of memory, identity and an intensely personal relationship with the City of Gold. It is also the story of a violent home invasion and its aftermath, and of a man's determination to reclaim his home town.
An inner life of Johannesburg that turns on the author's
fascination with maps, boundaries, and transgressions
This singular memoir begins with a transgression--the invasion
of a private home in Johannesburg. But it is far more than the
story of a theft. "Lost and Found in Johannesburg" is a luminous
exploration of place, one in which the author's and the reader's
assumptions are constantly being tested.
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