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The beginning of 2020 Dr Ettore Morelli joined the APC as Postdoctoral Fellow funded by the National Research Fund. Ettore received his PhD in History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in 2019. His thesis explored the political history of the southern Highveld between c.1500 and c.1800. Ettore published his first article in the Journal of African History in 2019. Ettore works on politics, philosophy, social hierarchy, exploitation, warfare, trade, ritual, and religion of the African communities that lived between the Drakensberg mountains and the modern border with Botswana, in the times before European colonialism.
In 2020 the African Studies Centre in Leiden is celebrating the “Africa year” of 1960, the year in which 17 countries on the African continent celebrate 60 years of independence. Events kicked off with a conference 'Africa: 60 Years of Independence' in Leiden on 30th January. Four keynote addresses were delivered.
The starting point for my book Kolonialgeschichte Hören: Das Echo gewaltsamer Wissensproduktion in historischen Tondokumenten aus dem südlichen Afrika (Hearing Colonial History: The Echo of Violent Knowledge Production in Historical Sound Documents from Southern Africa) is my engagement with colonial history as a listener. By means of listening to the persistent echo of colonial knowledge production in (mostly) linguistic recordings from southern Africa, I came to hear these recordings not as the language examples as which they were recorded and archived, but as acoustic sources of colonial history.
I arrived in Paris on the 8th of January 2020, on a rather cold windy day morning. Packing my luggage into the uber, and with my cello on my side, I then proceeded en route to the 4th arrondissement (district) in Paris, to Cité International Des Arts, an artistic centre located across the road from the Seine River, and overlooking the Notre Dame cathedral. Many artists from all over the world, who are doing work in Paris come to Cité International des Arts; a place which includes practice studios, a performance auditorium and exhibition centre.
On the 9th and 10th of March 2020 the Centre for Curating the Archive hosted the third Digital Humanities workshop for the Afridig programme at the Hiddingh Campus of the University of Cape Town. Members of the APC took part in the workshop and presented on the state of their project, the Five Hundred Year Archive (FHYA), together with the other two partner projects, the Bleek and Lloyd Archive, and Metsemegologolo. The Rock Art Archive was present as external partner.
The Rock Art Research Unit at Wits was set up in 1986 under Professor David Lewis-Williams in the Department of Archaeology. Over the years the unit earned a reputation as one of the leading international research centres in its field. It became permanently established as the Rock Art Research Institute in 2000. Today RARI is located in the School of Geography, Archaeology, and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, with the School being one of nine in the Faculty of Science. The Institute remains closely linked to the Department of Archaeology, and its staff teach undergraduate courses and supervise postgraduate students in the department.
The APC’s first Research Development Workshop of 2020 was undertaken in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown conditions, as universities in South Africa and many countries worldwide navigated closed campuses and the challenges of online teaching and research. At the APC, we felt that in this moment of great uncertainty, exacerbated inequalities and generalised malaise, the workshop could invigorate and motivate the research endeavours of our students and research affiliates.
In 2018 the FHYA digitised a box file containing Prof. John Parkington’s personal correspondence, notebooks, photographs and slides related to excavations at the uMgungundlovu archaeological site between 1973 and 1975. The material had been in Prof. Parkington’s possession, at UCT, since the 1970’s when he had led excavations at the site.
In the introductory comments to this workshop, held on 20 February, 2020, Carolyn Hamilton asked us to consider how commissioning produces certain kinds of work and to think about what happens when commissioned work enters public life.