The People’s Paper

A Centenary History and Anthology of Abantu-Batho
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  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Dimensions and Pages: 240 x 170 mm, 592 pp
  • EAN: 978 1 86814 571 3
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 340.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): 37.95

A fascinating and … pioneering volume. For the first time the story of the Abantu-Batho newspaper is told here, based on a massive amount of research. The book not only tells the story of a key newspaper, but also sheds entirely new light on the early history of the ANC and the hitherto largely neglected social, economic and political history of Africans on the Rand. An important, radical voice had been missing: here it is restored. A timely and salutary reminder of the struggles in the face of great odds to expose and to challenge the injustices of early twentieth century South Africa.

— Brian Willan, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Rhodes University

Once this material is in the public domain, it will be impossible to write about this era of popular politics in South Africa without making reference to Abantu-Batho and the key role it played. The many gems in this book peel away the layers in the story of the paper. It deals with a much occluded aspect of South African politics, history and culture about which many scholars have commented over the years but which no one has addressed.

— Heather Hughes, Principal Teaching Fellow, University of Lincoln

 

This much-awaited volume uncovers the long-lost pages of the major African multi-lingual newspaper, Abantu-Batho. Founded in 1912 by African National Congress convener Pixley Seme, with assistance from the Swazi Queen, it was published until 1931, attracting the cream of African politicians, journalists, and poets S.E.K Mqhayi, Nontsizi Mgqwetho and Robert Grendon. In its pages burning issues of the day were articulated alongside cultural by-ways. Comprising both essays on and texts from the paper, it explores the complex movements and individuals that emerged. The essays contribute rich, new material to provide clearer insights into South African politics and intellectual life. The Anthology unveils a judicious selection of never-before-published columns from the paper spanning every year of its life, drawn from repositories on three continents. Abantu-Batho also had a regional and international focus, and by examining all these dynamics across boundaries and disciplines the book transcends established historiographical frontiers to fill a lacuna that scholars have long lamented.

Distinguished historians and literary scholars, together with exciting young scholars, plumb the lives and ideas of editors, writers, readers and allied movements. Sharing the considerable interest in the ANC centenary, this unique book will have a strong appeal and secure audience among all interested in history, politics, culture, literature, gender, biography and journalism studies, from academics and students to a general public interested in knowing about this early ANC newspaper, its people and the stories that once captivated South Africans.

 

 

Preface Les Switzer

PART 1 ESSAYS

Introduction: A Centenary History of Abantu-Batho: The People’s Paper Peter Limb

Chapter 1. ‘Only the Bolder Spirits’: Politics, Racism, Solidarity, and War in Abantu-Batho Peter Limb

Chapter 2. ‘They Must Go to the Bantu Batho’:

Economics and Education, Religion and Gender, Love and Leisure in the People’s Paper Peter Limb

FOUNDERS AND EDITORS

Chapter 3. Pixley Seme and Abantu-Batho Chris Saunders

Chapter 4. Queen Labotsibeni and Her Role in Abantu-Batho: Gendering African Newspaper History Sarah Mkhonza

Chapter 5. ‘We of Abantu-Batho’: Robert Grendon’s Brief and Controversial Editorship Grant Christison

THEMES AND CONNECTIONS

Chapter 6. Swazi Royalty, the Founding of Abantu-Batho, and Pan-Ethnic Nationalism in the Early South African Native National Congress Chris Lowe

Chapter 7. Abantu-Batho and the Xhosa Poets Jeff Opland

Chapter 8. African Royalty, Popular History, and Abantu-Batho

Sifiso Ndlovu & Peter Limb

Chapter 9. ‘Johannesburg in Flames’: The 1918 Shilling Campaign, Abantu-Batho, and Early African Nationalism in South Africa Paul S. Landau

Chapter 10. Garveyism, Abantu-Batho and the Radicalisation of the African National Congress during the 1920s Robert Vinson

Chapter 11. An African Newspaper in Central Johannesburg: The Journalistic and Associational Context of Abantu-Bantu

Peter Limb

Conclusion Assessing the Decline and Legacy of Abantu-Bantu

Peter Limb

PART 2 ANTHOLOGY

Peter Limb is Associate Professor and Africana Bibliographer at Michigan State University. He has written widely on South African history. His recent books include A. B. Xuma’s Autobiography and Selected Essays and Correspondence (2012), The ANC’s Early Years (2010), Grappling with the Beast (2010), and Nelson Mandela: A Biography (2008).

A fascinating and … pioneering volume. For the first time the story of the Abantu-Batho newspaper is told here, based on a massive amount of research. The book not only tells the story of a key newspaper, but also sheds entirely new light on the early history of the ANC and the hitherto largely neglected social, economic and political history of Africans on the Rand. An important, radical voice had been missing: here it is restored. A timely and salutary reminder of the struggles in the face of great odds to expose and to challenge the injustices of early twentieth century South Africa.

— Brian Willan, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Rhodes University

Once this material is in the public domain, it will be impossible to write about this era of popular politics in South Africa without making reference to Abantu-Batho and the key role it played. The many gems in this book peel away the layers in the story of the paper. It deals with a much occluded aspect of South African politics, history and culture about which many scholars have commented over the years but which no one has addressed.

— Heather Hughes, Principal Teaching Fellow, University of Lincoln

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