In our previous Gazette we reported in detail on the successful completion of PhDs by Tebogo George Mahashe and Erica de Greef. In the July Graduation Ceremony, the two APC students, gowned in red, went up on the podium to receive their doctorates from UCT Vice-Chancellor Mamokethi Phakeng. We wish them both well and hope to continue to work with them in the APC. Mahashe has since accepted a position in the Michaelis School of Art and will be back at UCT in the new year as a lecturer.
In 2019 the APC welcomed a new cohort of students and some returning students registered for new degrees. Precious Bikitsha, who completed an Honours report on the Xhosa poetess and intellectual, Nontsizi Ngqwetho, has registered for a History MA, and plans further research in African intellectual history, along with another History MA student, Luvuyo Kiti. Daniel Dix also completed his History Honours last year and is undertaking MA research into the historiographically-neglected colonial magistracy system, focusing on the Durban magistracy, 1893-1910.
This was the title of the Killie Campbell Memorial Lecture given by APC research associate John Wright at the Killie Campbell Africana Library in Durban on 17 October 2018. Here he reports.
In the first part of the lecture I outlined what little is known about the life of Thununu kaNonjiya. He was a man of the Qwabe clan who was born in about 1814 and who grew up in the Zulu kingdom of Shaka and Dingane. In the 1840s he and his family moved to the newly formed British colony of Natal. Later in his life he became an acknowledged authority on the history of the Zulu kingdom.
APC research associate Cynthia Kros was invited to teach a class in January 2019 in a module for a master’s degree in museology by Dominique Guillaud, research director of the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and co-director of a heritage observatory run jointly by universities in the same neighbourhood cluster and the Natural History Museum, known as the Alliance Sorbonne Universités. The Master’s module bears the title: Approche Patrimoniales: Instruments et Contextes (A Heritage Approach: Instruments and Contexts).
At the end of 2018 Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, announced that she had appointed a Ministerial Task Team, led Professor Sifiso Ndlovu, to review the school History curriculum. Media reports noted that Minister Motshekga’s statement indicated that the new curriculum would have a more “Afrocentric” feel to it, that history could become mandatory for all learners right up to grade 12 and that a “History Teacher Development Programme” was on the cards for both Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and In-service Teacher Education.
In February this was the background to a Saturday discussion held at the APC on how history educators might support school-based history teachers to meet the challenges of teaching what the CAPS curriculum currently terms the time of Transformation, i.e. c.1750-1835, both more effectively and with greater enthusiasm.
In March 2019, Carolyn Hamilton, South African Research Chair in Archive and Public Culture, took part in a three-day colloquium held at the Nelson Mandela University and jointly organised by NMU, the Human Sciences Research Council and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
APC post-doctoral research fellow, Grant McNulty, recently attended a workshop about the humanities on the African continent in the era of machine learning. Held in early March at WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research), the workshop was co-organised by WISER, the LOST Network and the Media Studies and History departments at Wits and the University of Johannesburg respectively.
The APC’s first research development workshop of 2019 took place from 10 to 12 April at Inyathelo in Woodstock. This workshop was followed by another APC event, “Entangled Oralities,” which was held the following week. Following similar formats, both events highlighted the productiveness of critical and engaging discussions of pre-circulated work-in-progress across disciplines and academic expertise. The presence of our special guests for both events, Prof. Karin Barber and Dr. Paulo de Moraes Farias (University of Birmingham, UK), exemplified how fruitful and cross-fertilising collaborative discussions can arise between highly experienced academics and emerging young researchers based on different continents.
The APC’s Entangled Oralities Workshop took place from 15 to 16 April in the Jon Bernt Thought Space at UCT. The APC has in the past launched special foci on the visual, sound, spectral, and material archives. Our aim with this workshop was to inaugurate an intensive discussion centred on the oral, and orality, in the past and in the present. We intend to put a light on a range of orally-orientated materials, from oral accounts, narratives, praises, their transcriptions, recordings, performances, re-interpretations and utilisation in various forms in the present, encouraging discussion across disciplines.
APC Associate and Nelson Mandela Foundation Head of Leadership and Knowledge Development, Verne Harris, was a visiting professor at Dominican University in Chicago during its 2018-9 academic year. On 16 April as holder of the Follett Chair in Information Studies, he delivered the annual Follett Lecture for 2019. The title for the Lecture was A Time to Remember, A Time to Forget: Fred Hampton, Nelson Mandela and the Work of Memory. During his time at Dominican University, he also presented a short course on archives, ran a workshop on truth commissions, and taught a few classes.
In May, South African Research Chair in Archive and Public Culture (APC), Carolyn Hamilton and APC research associate, Professor Lesley Cowling (Wits University), attended the 45th Annual Conference of the African Literature Association, held in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Both scholars offered papers that take their work on public intellectual life (see Babel Abroad: Rage, Reason and the Reshaping of Public Life, in press with Wits University Press) in new directions.
In June 2019 a number of APC'ers (Precious Bikitsha, Wade Smit, Ayanda Mahlaba, Yonela Ndlwana, Carolyn Hamilton, Himal Ramji and Camalita Naicker), participated in a vibrant UCT History Access Graduate Students' workshop on "Vernacular Pasts." Providing expert input were invited guests historical linguist, Professor Pamela Maseko (North-West University), who raised a series of critical questions around the concept of vernacular and who discussed both the marginalisation and the authority of vernacular pasts; historian, Professor Nomalanga Mkhize (Nelson Mandela University), who both drew attention to the ways in which writers "organise the African subject" and pointed to ways of building the canon of African historical writing and epistemology; and literary scholar, Dr. Thulani Mkhize (University of KwaZulu-Natal), who took up the question of ways of using a vernacular literary archive, in particular that of the writings of African intellectuals in the press, and in particular what that archive offers historical research.