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Reconsiderations in Southern African History

Until the demise of apartheid, the historiography of southern Africa was dominated by opposing schools with differing analyses of it. This series reflects facets of southern African history that were neglected by these contending historical schools. Indeed, changing power relations in the region have broadened the scope of historical inquiry. Emerging topics include the history of women, religion, ideas, popular culture, the professions, manners, childhood, disease, mental illness, death and dying, technology, and the environment.

Series Editor: Richard Elphick


The Finger of God

Robert R. Edgar

On the morning of May 24, 1921, a force of eight hundred white policemen and soldiers confronted an African prophet, Enoch Mgijima, and some three thousand of his followers. Called the Israelites, they refused to leave their holy village of Ntabelanga, where they had been gathering since early 1919... More


The Cowboy Capitalist

Charles Van Onselen

The Jameson Raid was a pivotal moment in the history of South Africa, linking events from the Anglo-Boer War to the declaration of the Union of South Africa in 1910. For more than a century, the failed revolution has been interpreted through the lens of British imperialism, with responsibility laid... More


Historian

Hermann Giliomee

In this eloquent memoir, already widely read and praised in the author’s native South Africa, Hermann Giliomee weaves together the story of his own life with that of his country--a nation that continues to absorb and inspire him, both despite and because of its tortuous history.An internationally... More


Cradock

Jeffrey Butler. Edited by Richard Elphick and Jeannette Hopkins

Cradock, the product of more than twenty years of research by Jeffrey Butler, is a vivid history of a middle-sized South African town in the years when segregation gradually emerged, preceding the rapid and rigorous implementation of apartheid. Although Butler was born and raised in Cradock, he... More


Imagining a Nation

Ruramisai Charumbira

In Imagining a Nation, Ruramisai Charumbira analyzes competing narratives of the founding of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe constructed by political and cultural nationalists both black and white since occupation in 1890. The book uses a wide array of sources—including archives, oral histories, and a national... More


A World of Their Own

Meghan Healy-Clancy

The politics of black education has long been a key issue in southern African studies, but despite rich debates on the racial and class dimensions of schooling, historians have neglected their distinctive gendered dynamics. A World of Their Own is the first book to explore the meanings of black... More


The Last Afrikaner Leaders

Hermann Giliomee

Finalist for the Alan Paton AwardIn his latest book, renowned historian Hermann Giliomee challenges the conventional wisdom on the downfall of white rule and the end of apartheid. Instead of impersonal forces, or the resourcefulness of an indomitable resistance movement, he emphasizes the role of... More


The Equality of Believers

Richard Elphick

From the beginning of the nineteenth century through to 1960, Protestant missionaries were the most important intermediaries between South Africa’s ruling white minority and its black majority. The Equality of Believers reconfigures the narrative of race in South Africa by exploring the pivotal... More


Slavery by Any Other Name

Eric Allina

Based on documents from a long-lost and unexplored colonial archive, Slavery by Any Other Name tells the story of how Portugal privatized part of its empire to the Mozambique Company. In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the company governed central Mozambique under a royal charter and... More


One Love, Ghoema Beat

John Edwin Mason

One Love, Ghoema Beat: Inside the Cape Town Carnival takes readers behind the scenes of one of the world’s least known and most colorful carnivals. Similar in many ways to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, the Cape Town Carnival is unique in its history, which is rooted in... More


The Rise and Fall of Apartheid

David Welsh

On his way into Parliament on February 2, 1990, F. W. de Klerk turned to his wife Marike and said, referring to his forthcoming speech: "South Africa will never be the same again after this." Did white South Africa crack, or did its leadership yield sufficiently and just in time to avert a... More


The Afrikaners

Hermann Giliomee

This book is a biography of the Afrikaner people. A historian and journalist who was one of the earliest and staunchest Afrikaner opponents of apartheid, Hermann Giliomee weaves together life stories and historical interpretation to create a narrative history of the Afrikaners from their beginnings... More


Art and Revolution

Diana Wylie

Thami Mnyele's life spanned the era of apartheid. He was born the same year the National Party won office and came of age in a time (the 1960s) and a place (Johannesburg) that offered a sensitive young black artist little encouragement. In 1985, in the waning days of apartheid, he was killed by... More


Murder at Morija

Tim Couzens

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Social Death and Resurrection

John Edwin Mason

What was it like to be a slave in colonial South Africa? What difference did freedom make? The questions themselves are simply put, but John Edwin Mason has found complex answers after delving deeply into the slaves’ experience within the slaveholding patriarchal household, the work that slaves... More


The View across the River

Jeff Guy

This narrative aims to show how after its conquest, the Zulu kingdom was destroyed by the imperial policies of divide and rule, and how the Colenso family, especially the Bishop's eldest daughter, Harriette, took the lead in resisting colonial exploitation and imperial domination.This powerful and... More


Starving on a Full Stomach

Diana Wylie

An ideology of African ignorance that justified white supremacy grew up in South Africa during the first half of the twentieth century: if Africans were hungry, it was because they didn't know how to feed themselves properly; they were ignorant of "how to live." As a result, growing scientistic... More


"Beyond Our Wildest Dreams"

Ineke van Kessel

As anyone who lived through that decade knows, the 1980s in South Africa were marked by protest, violent confrontation, and international sanctions. Internally, the country saw a bewildering growth of grassroots organizations--including trade unions, civic associations in the black townships,... More


Blood from Your Children

Benedict Carton

The young black activists whose rejection of their parents' complacency led to the 1976 Soweto uprising and the eventual demise of apartheid are part of a long tradition of generational conflict in South Africa. In Blood from Your Children, Benedict Carton traces this intense challenge to an... More


Colonial South Africa and the Origins of the Racial Order

Timothy Keegan

In this masterly work of synthesis and reinterpretation, Timothy Keegan looks anew at the relatively neglected period of South African history before the mineral age- in particular the years of British rule up to the 1850s- and decisively establishes its importance in the shaping of South African... More