Remembering Marikana – some stains won’t wash off

By  Maurice Mcleod  If your partner came home and unexpectedly gave you an expensive platinum ring, you would probably be very pleased. But if you were behaving responsibly, you’d ask them where it came from and how they afforded it. When they admitted that they stole it from the little old lady down the street,… Read More

Top 15 recently published books by writers and poets from Sub-Saharan Africa

by Samira Sawlani As the festive season begins, so does the enjoyable and/or stressful task of choosing Christmas presents for loved ones. Fret not; be it for the book and poetry lovers in your life or a reward for yourself after all that shopping, here is a list of recently published fiction and poetry by… Read More

The struggle continues for South Africa’s #FeesMustFall Students

by Mako Muzenda A young man being dragged across the road by two armed policemen. The screams and pleas of “Don’t shoot us!” went unheeded; the South African Police Service (SAPS) officers opened fire, shooting students with rubber coated bullets. Those that could run away did, but some weren’t fast enough to escape the police. Dragged… Read More

Martha Solomons: The slave’s daughter and Countess of Stamford who made my life possible

by Karen Williams The question from the Pakistani government minister was not unfamiliar to me: “And what are you, are you a Zulu?” It was my early days in Islamabad and the official’s gentle ribbing was a common question. Yet this time, I was speechless. Floundering, I grasped at half-sentences, well aware that people around… Read More

The Indonesian anti-colonial roots of Islam in South Africa

by Karen Williams The 17th century history of Indonesia and its anti-colonial figures brought Islam into the cultural life of South Africa, particularly for poor non-Muslims who lived together with Muslim communities. Growing up, I had a belief that Islam was the religion of freedom, without knowing why this was such a core belief of… Read More

The South African Clapback

Caster Semenya: History Maker by Kiri Kankhwende She’s dangerous on the bend. Like Usain Bolt, Caster Semenya tends to surge past her opponents just as they have reached their physical limits, rounding the final turn into the last 100 metres of the race, before charging ahead to win. At some point, Semenya is expected to… Read More

A queer history: South Africa’s KhoiKhoi in Australia

by Karen Williams The last man executed for sodomy in Australia in 1863 was an indigenous black South African soldier. He was one of hundreds of mainly African and Asian indigenous and enslaved people transported from Africa’s south and its surrounding islands to the new settlement in New South Wales and Tasmania. Also in Australia… Read More

Thisgingnio: South Africa’s only Chinese woman prisoner

by Karen Williams  Although Chinese men made up the main contingent of prisoners that the Dutch East India Company (the VOC) held in South Africa, one Chinese woman prisoner has been documented. Thisgingnio1 was from Cirebon in Indonesia and she arrived in Cape Town on 9 April 1747. There is no information on her crime… Read More

An introduction to the Indian Ocean slave trade

by Karen Williams  When many people think of slavery, they think of the translatlantic trade that took place between Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean. The legacy of enslavement in the Americas (particularly in the United States) is known globally through the cultural and political impact of African-American iconography, films, history and references in popular… Read More

Chad’s Torture Factories: ‘Justice – not African justice’

by Karen Williams  Chad’s former leader, Hissène Habré, went on trial in Senegal this past July, accused of crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes committed during his rule. The trial comes after more than twenty years of long, hard struggle by survivors of Habré’s torture chambers and by the families of his victims. (The… Read More