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Alexandra -A History is a social history of one of South Africas oldest townships. It covers the period from the townships founding in 1912, when it was perceived as a peri-urban outpost, through to its growth as a center of black working class life in the heart of Johannesburg, to the post-apartheid era. Declared as a location for 'natives and coloureds, ' Alexandra became home to a diverse population where home-owners, tenants, squatters, hostel-dwellers, workers and migrants drawn from every corner of the country converged to make a life in the city. The stories of ordinary people are at the core of the townships history. Based on scores of life history interviews, the book portrays in vivid detail the daily struggles and tribulation of Alexandrans. A focus point is the rich history of political resistance, in which civic movements and political organizations -such as the ANC, Communist Party and socialist organizations like the Movement for Democracy of Content-organized bus boycotts, anti-removal and anti-pass campaigns, and mobilized for housing and a better life for residents. But the book is not only about politics. It tells the stories of daily life, of the making of urban cultures and of the infamous Spoilers and Msomi gangs. Over weekends Alexandra came alive as soccer matches, church services and shebeens vied for the attention of residents. Alexandra -A History highlights the social complexities of the township, which at times caused tension between different segments of the population, such as between the 'bona fides' and amagoduka, stand-owners and tenants, or hostel-dwellers and township residents. Above all else the community spirit of Alexandrans, expressed in an enduring love for the place, has repeatedly triumphed in the face of untold misery and adversity.
In the age of the African Renaissance, southern Africa has needed to reinterpret the past in fresh and more appropriate ways. The last 500 years represent a strikingly unexplored and misrepresented period which remains disfigured by colonial/apartheid assumptions, most notably in the way that African societies are depicted as fixed, passive, isolated, un-enterprising and unenlightened. This period is one the most formative in relation to southern Africa's past while remaining, in many ways, the least known. Key cultural contours of the sub-continent took shape, while in a jagged and uneven fashion some of the features of modern identities emerged. Enormous internal economic innovation and political experimentation was taking place at the same time as expanding European mercantile forces started to press upon southern African shores and its hinterlands. This suggests that interaction, flux and mixing were a strong feature of the period, rather than the homogeneity and fixity proposed in standard historical and archaeological writings. Five Hundred Years Rediscovered represents the first step, taken by a group of archaeologists and historians, to collectively reframe, revitalise and re-examine the last 500 years. By integrating research and developing trans-frontier research networks, the group hopes to challenge thinking about the region's expanding internal and colonial frontiers, and to broaden current perceptions about southern Africa's colonial past.
On 8 January 2012 the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, the oldest African nationalist organisation on the continent, celebrated its one hundredth anniversary. This historic event has generated significant public debate within both the ANC and South African society at large. There is no better time to critically reflect on the ANC's historical trajectory and struggle against colonialism and apartheid than in its centennial year. One Hundred Years of the ANC is a collection of new work by renowned South African and international scholars. Covering a broad chronological and geographical spectrum and using a diverse range of sources, the contributors build upon but also extend the historiography of the ANC by tapping into marginal spaces in ANC history. By moving away from the celebratory mode that has characterised much of the contemporary discussions on the centenary, the contributors suggest that the relationship between the histories of earlier struggles and the present needs to be rethought in more complex terms. Collectively, the book chapters challenge hegemonic narratives that have become an established part of South Africa's national discourse since 1994. By opening up debate around controversial or obscured aspects of the ANC's century-long history, One hundred years of the ANC sets out an agenda for future research. The book is directed at a wide readership with an interest in understanding the historical roots of South Africa's current politics will find this volume informative. This book is based on a selection of papers presented at the One Hundred Years of the ANC: Debating Liberation Histories and Democracy Today Conference held at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg from 20-23 September 2011.
South Africa's future is increasingly tied up with that of India. While trade and investment between the two countries is intensifying, they share long-standing historical ties and have much in common: apart from cricket, colonialism and Gandhi, both countries are important players in the global South. As India emerges as a major economic power, the need to understand these links becomes ever more pressing. Can the two countries enter balanced forms of exchange? What forms of transnational political community between these two regions have yet to be researched and understood? The first section of South Africa and India traces the range of historical connection between the two countries. The second section explores unconventional comparisons that offer rich ground on which to build original areas of study. This innovative book looks to a post-American world in which the global South will become ever more important. Within this context, the Indian Ocean arena itself and South Africa and India in particular move to the fore. The book's main contribution lies in the approaches and methods offered by its wide range of contributors for thinking about this set of circumstances.
Ekurhuleni - The Making of an Urban Region is the first academic work to provide an historical account and explanation of the development of this extended region to the east of Johannesburg since its origins at the end of the nineteenth century.
From the time of the discovery of gold and coal until the turn of the twenty-first century, the region comprised a number of distinctive towns, all with their own histories. In 2000, these towns were amalgamated into a single metropolitan area, but, unlike its counterparts across the country, it does not cohere around a single identity.
Drawing on a significant body of academic work as well as original research by the authors, the book traces and examines some of the salient historical strands that constituted what was formerly known as the East Rand and suggests that, notwithstanding important differences between towns and the racial fragmentation generated by apartheid, the region’s history contains significant common features.
Arguably, its centrality as a major mining area and then as the country’s engineering heartland gave Ekurhuleni an overarching distinctive economic character.
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