Two Wits University Press publications are shortlisted for the ASAUK THE FAGE AND OLIVER PRIZE

Wits University Press is pleased to announce that two of our publications have made it ti the shortlist for the inaugural award of the ASAUK Fage & Oliver Prize. The prize is awarded biennially to the author of an outstanding original scholarly work published on Africa during the preceding two years.

The books are:

Maxim Bolt’s Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms: the roots of impermanence.

Deborah James’  Money from Nothing: indebtedness and aspiration in South Africa

The prize has been established in honour of two of the founders of African Studies in the UK. John Donnelly Fage (1921-2002) and Roland Oliver (1923-2014) were pioneers of British African Studies. After a decade teaching in the University of the Gold Coast, Fage went on to found and lead the Centre of West African Studies at the University of Birmingham. With Oliver he founded The Journal of African History (1960). Roland Oliver taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies (1948-1986). He and Fage were among the founders of the African Studies Association of the United Kingdom (1963) and Oliver played a major role in the establishment of the British Institute in Eastern Africa.

The winner of the inaugural Fage & Oliver Prize, for a book published in 2014 or 2015, will be announced at the Biennial ASAUK Conference, to be held at the University of Cambridge, 7-9 September 2016.

The Shortlisted Books:

Maxim Bolt, Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms: the roots of impermanence.
Based on extensive, in-depth fieldwork on a white-owned commercial farm in the northern rim of South Africa, this book is an innovative extension and combination of two central and long-standing themes in southern Africa anthropology: migration and farm labour. It investigates the experiences and perspectives of people living through uncertain times – not only the permanent and temporary farm labourers, many of them migrants from Zimbabwe, but also the white farm owners, and the African intermediaries whose ambiguous authority on the farm is compellingly explored. As all these groups strive to establish security and stability in a highly precarious economic, political and legal situation, the Zimbabwe-South Africa border itself is imaginatively thematised as the site of emergent interests and identities. The study is distinguished by its historical depth, drawing on substantial archival work as well as ethnographic fieldwork, and by its lively, engaging style.

Deborah James, Money from Nothing: indebtedness and aspiration in South Africa.
This timely, empirically rich, and theoretically innovative study explores the upsurge in consumer indebtedness, and its flipside, accessible credit in South Africa, following the post-1994 government’s initiative to abolish “credit apartheid” and “bank the unbanked”. It reveals a complex, contradictory and multi-faceted picture of ordinary people’s experiences of debt, and their efforts to keep a grip on expenditure while meeting family obligations and investing in a better future through education and training. It shows the significance of debt for a growing African middle class, and the complex forms that private ownership of property amongst African families has increasingly been taking. Based on original research, it is illuminated with captivating individual case studies while speaking authoritatively to a whole domain of comparative and theoretical work on popular economies, the formal and informal sectors, and the meaning of indebtedness.


Other shortlisted titles are:

Matthias Krings, African Appropriations: cultural difference, mimesis, and media. Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press, 2015.

Terri Ochiagha, Achebe and Friends at Umuahia: the making of a literary elite. Oxford: James Currey, 2015.

Carina E. Ray, Crossing the Color Line: race, sex, and the contested politics of colonialism in Ghana. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2015

Benedetta Rossi, From Slavery to Aid: politics, labour, and ecology in the Nigerien Sahel, 1800-2000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Alison K. Shutt, Manners Make a Nation: racial etiquette in Southern Rhodesia, 1910-1963. Rochester NY: University of Rochester Press, 2015.

Ricardo Soares de Oliveira, Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola since the civil war. London: Hurst and Company, 2015.

Leave a Reply