History Access Graduate Students' Workshop

21 Jun 2019 - 06:00
Caption: Photo of UCT History Access Graduate Workshop. Photo courtesy of Nabowayah Kafaar.


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.

In a session on Textual Entanglements, Smit gave a presentation on the concepts of umbuso/ukubusa, and the challenges of understanding their situational and historical usage as everything from hegemony to life well-handled. Bikitsha offered a reading and discussion of two of the poems of Nontsizi Mgqwetho, including an elucidation of Mgqwetho's concept of  izibuko (ford); while Ndlwana introduced her Honours project on the history of African History in the UCT History Department. The programme included a range of presentations by other History Access students from UCT, as well as graduate students from universities all over the country.  The workshop, with a clear commitment to cross-institutional connections, proved to be an exciting introduction to History Access and a stimulating preparatory event for the fuller event planned for November 2019.   

Full programme here -

History Access link here -