Public Intellectuals in South Africa

Critical Voices from the Past
Editor(s):
Contributor(s): , , , , , , , ,
  • Publication Date: July 2021
  • Dimensions and Pages: 234 x 156mm;xtent: 272pp
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-689-5
  • eBook EAN: 978-1-77614-692-5
  • PDF EAN: 978-1-77614-691-8
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 420.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): 35.00

South Africa, however you come at it, has in its whole narrative … complexities about who we
are as people, that surprise, shock and regularly inspire. This collection does that – in buckets
full. I thought I knew South Africa, but in reading about the list of individuals shared here,
I realised how much more I have to learn about the country I live in. Marvellous job, Chris
Broodryk.
— Crain Soudien, former CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council

Public Intellectuals in South Africa both illuminates and enriches our understanding of …
intellectualism in various spheres of life – from the arts, to journalism, politics and the church.
Equally commendable is that this book illustrates the simple and yet profound point that
orality has been just as impactful as written text. Orality captured public intellectualism in its
original form: speaking out, directly to power!
— Mcebisi Ndletyana, Associate Professor of Politics, University of Johannesburg

Public Intellectuals in South Africa offers critical insights into the role of the public intellectual
at significant junctures in South Africa’s colonial and apartheid past as well as its transition
to democracy. This historical engagement is important in a local and global context where
disinformation, threats to free speech, media monopolisation and neoliberal imperatives
in higher education stand to undo our democratic gains. Now, more than ever, an informed
interrogation of the history of the public intellectual is essential reading.
— Adam Haupt, Professor and Director of the Centre for Film & Media Studies, University of Cape Town

Edward Said described a public intellectual as someone who uses accessible language to address a designated public on matters of social and political significance. The essays in Public Intellectuals in South Africa apply this interpretive prism and activist principle to a South African context and tell the stories of well-known figures as well as some that have been mostly forgotten. They include Magema Fuze, John Dube, Aggrey Klaaste, Mewa Ramgobin and Koos Roets, alongside marginalised figures such as Elijah Makiwane, Mandisi Sindo, William Pretorius and Dr Thomas Duncan Greenlees.

The essays capture the thoughts and opinions of these historical figures, who the contributors argue are public intellectuals who spoke out against the corruption of power, promoted a progressive politics that challenged the colonial project and its legacies, and encouraged a sustained dissent of the political status quo. Offering fascinating accounts of the life and work of these writers, critics and activists across a range of historical contexts and disciplines, from journalism and arts criticism to history and politics, it enriches the historical record of South African public intellectual life.

This volume makes a significant contribution to ongoing debates about the value of research in the arts and humanities, and what constitutes public intellectualism in South Africa.

Acknowledgements
Introduction: The Prismatic Nature of Public Intellectualism — Chris Broodryk
Chapter 1 Recalibrating the Deep History of Intellectual Thought in the KwaZulu-Natal Region — Carolyn Hamilton
Chapter 2 Elijah Makiwane and Early Black South African Public Intellectualism — Luvuyo Mthimkhulu Dondolo
Chapter 3 Black Art Criticism in The Bantu World during the 1930s — Pfunzo Sidogi
Chapter 4 In Conversation with the Nation: Sowetan’s Maverick Editor Aggrey Klaaste — Lesley Cowling
Chapter 5 William Pretorius and the Public Intellectualism of the Film Critic — Chris Broodryk
Chapter 6 Cultural Policy and the Arts: Mewa Ramgobin and Public Dialogue — Keyan G. Tomaselli
Chapter 7 ‘Kaalgat Critique’: The Public Intellectualism of Koos Roets as Afrikaans Satirist — Anna-Marié Jansen van Vuuren
Chapter 8 The Public Intellectualism of Artivist Mandisi Sindo — Katlego Chale
Chapter 9 The Janus-Faced Public Intellectual: Dr Thomas Duncan Greenlees at the Institute for Imbecile Children, 1895–1907 — Rory du Plessis
Contributors
Index

About the Editor
Chris Broodryk is chair of Drama, School of the Arts, University of Pretoria, where he is a senior lecturer in Drama and Film Studies.

South Africa, however you come at it, has in its whole narrative … complexities about who we are as people, that surprise, shock and regularly inspire. This collection does that – in buckets full. I thought I knew South Africa, but in reading about the list of individuals shared here, I realised how much more I have to learn about the country I live in. Marvellous job, Chris Broodryk.
— Crain Soudien, former CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council

Public Intellectuals in South Africa both illuminates and enriches our understanding of …
intellectualism in various spheres of life – from the arts, to journalism, politics and the church. Equally commendable is that this book illustrates the simple and yet profound point that orality has been just as impactful as written text. Orality captured public intellectualism in its original form: speaking out, directly to power!
— Mcebisi Ndletyana, Associate Professor of Politics, University of Johannesburg

Public Intellectuals in South Africa offers critical insights into the role of the public intellectual at significant junctures in South Africa’s colonial and apartheid past as well as its transition to democracy. This historical engagement is important in a local and global context where disinformation, threats to free speech, media monopolisation and neoliberal imperatives in higher education stand to undo our democratic gains. Now, more than ever, an informed interrogation of the history of the public intellectual is essential reading.
— Adam Haupt, Professor and Director of the Centre for Film & Media Studies, University of Cape Town

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