The launch of The Courage of ||kabbo: Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of Specimens of Bushman Folklore was held at The Book Lounge in Cape Town recently.
The collection of essays celebrates Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd’s Specimens of Bushman Folklore, a record of the language and poetry of the |xam. The spirit of celebration was certainly present at the launch, as contributors, interested individuals, and friends and family filled the venue.
Pippa Skotnes and Janette Deacon began by asking each other questions about their respective work on the Bleek and Lloyd archives and their exploration of |xam culture by other means. They have both spent decades on the research, and have many interesting stories to tell.
The Bleek and LLoyd archive consists of the genealogies and stories the two collected, as well as their personal library. Skotnes said that working in it is like taking the host at a eucharist: time disappears and you are flung back into the lives of these people. Deacon agreed with this, but she did not satisfy herself with paper records of the |xam people; she wanted to visit their heartland. Finding the places ||kabbo and his contemporaries lived was not an easy task. Finding relics of the now-extinct language group required much squinting at Bleek and Lloyd maps and modern 1:50 000 maps, a number of trips down bumpy farm roads, and more than a few kind locals.
San people are frequently romantically presented as the history-less predecessors of all other Southern African inhabitants. But the Bleek and LLoyd archives demonstrate that the culture of the |xam is the site of profound intellectual tradition. Skotnes said that she discovered that the |xam worldview was rich and nuanced. Deacon concurred, adding that making the existence of |xam culture known has sparked pride among people of San descent, and interest among researchers. Skotnes was part of a team that digitised the entire Bleek and Lloyd archive, so the knowledge of the |xam people free and available to all. It can be accessed from The Digital Bleek and Lloyd.
There was lively interaction when the audience was invited to ask Skotnes and Deacon questions. A number of contributors told stories about their fascinating research on San language and culture. As one of then said, “This is a wonderful book with a wealth of information. Everyone should buy one.”
Erin Devenish (@ErinDevenish811) tweeted from the event using #livebooks:
- The Courage of ||kabbo: Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of Specimens of Bushman Folklore edited by Janette Deacon and Pippa Skotnes
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Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse, co-authors of Africa’s Urban Revolution, say that the main reason they decided to write the book was because policymakers and political leaders in Africa are not engaging with the issues raised by rapid urbanisation on the continent.
Africa has the second-highest number of city dwellers, after Asia, and the growth of its cities is happening at an unprecedented rate. However, analysis and understanding of the problems and challenges raised by urbanisation is thin on the ground.
Pieterse says transport, climate change and food security need to be analysed in more depth. “The book offers some perspective as to where the debates and research are at in this all-important and rapidly developing field,” the Daily Maverick reports him as saying. “This is not the end of the story – it is very much the beginning.”
As Parnell and Pieterse put it in Africa’s Urban Revolution, “[I]increasing levels of urbanisation are probably inevitable and must be confronted”. There is no escaping the reality of Africa’s rapidly growing cities, or the fact that development is not always occurring at the same rate. To prevent gross inequalities from being perpetuated, it is critical to have scholars, practitioners and the public working together to re-imagine the construction – and ongoing development – of Africa’s cities. DM
SABMiller’s first-quarter revenue growth this year was six percent, beating an analyst forecast for the end of the financial year, March 2015.
In Beer, Sociability and Masculinity in South Africa, Anne Kelk Mager takes a sobering look at the culture of drinking in South Africa, and its commercial, social, and political history.
Kelk Mager looks at the corporate culture of then-South African Breweries (SAB), the world’s most successful brewing company, showing how a dominant brewer compelled the South African market “to comply with legislation that divided customers along racial lines, but also promoted images of multiracial social drinking in the final years of apartheid”.
Since the transition to majority rule, SAB has rapidly expanded into new markets – including the United States with the purchase of Miller Brewing Company. This title affords a unique view into global manufacturing, monopolies, politics and public culture, race relations, and cold beer.
A recent Business Day report highlights the effects of SABMiller’s expansion into new markets:
The company’s most profitable market, Latin America, was negatively affected by once-off events in Colombia.
SABMiller said sales in the country were weighed down by a “selective price increase”, as well as by dry laws for two rounds of presidential elections and in key cities during Colombia’s World Cup football matches.
However, strong volume gains in the soft drinks division and better pricing helped Latin America report 5% sales growth.
Regarding Australia, where SABMiller said a 6% decline in revenue was due to competitive pricing pressure and negative consumer sentiment, Mr van Vlaanderen said “we remain cautious on the outlook in this market”.
“With such a diversified geographic footprint there will always be winners and losers within the SABMiller stable, but overall we find the first-quarter results underwhelming despite the better than expected 6% group revenue growth number,” he said.
Aninka Claassens, one of the authors of Land, Power and Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa’s Communal Land Rights Act has written an article for City Press about how poor people are being dispossessed of their land in rural Kwazulu-Natal.
There is a conflict between indigenous rights and the land rights of individuals as defined in the constitution. The constitution says that people whose tenure is insecure because of previous racial laws should be given secure tenure. But, as land rights in the area are currently held by traditional Zulu leadership in the former KwaZulu Bantustan, the land rights of ordinary people remain insecure.
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Dispossession is again sweeping KwaZulu-Natal. The dispossessor this time is not a colonial or apartheid government; it is the Ingonyama Trust board, acting in the name of King Goodwill Zwelithini.
Trust chairperson Jerome Ngwenya boasted to MPs at a recent portfolio committee meeting about the trust’s progress in converting indigenous land rights into leasehold.
- Land, Power and Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa’s Communal Land Rights Act by Aninka Claassens, Ben Cousins
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Edgar Pieterse, one of the editors of Africa’s Urban Revolution, is the co-curator of the City Desired exhibition, which will be on show at Cape Town’s City Hall until 10 December.
The exhibition is a close look at ten ordinary people who live in Cape Town. This group is diverse and often socio-economically divided. Despite their disparate fortunes, they represent the city space and collectively define its identity.
The Cape Argus featured an article on the exhibition and it’s representation of Cape Town. Michael Morris, for Cape Town Green Map, spoke to Pieterse about the exhibition and the themes it explores.
Read the articles:
City Desired is curated around the fundamental humanity that we all share as we make our diverse ways into the world, forced to rub up against difference, challenges and many opportunities for transformative engagement. Ultimately, the exhibition is curated to allow every viewer to weave their own path through the various stories and provocations so that they can essentially find their own stories – in effect their desires – in the trains of thought that will be triggered.
Co-curators Edgar Pieterse, director of UCT’s African Centre for Cities research unit, and colleague Tau Tavengwa, have no illusions about Cape Town’s deficiencies – the rich-poor divide, and limited racial or class integration in a spatial format bequeathed by an unlamented history.
Yet, they write, “there is so much more to Cape Town… than just a story of inequity and divisions. Across all walks of life and places of residence and work, ordinary people are getting on with the business of life, love and aspiration. Even though it is impossible to ignore the blatant divides… most routine interactions are characterised by openness, generosity, goodwill, humour, and a willingness to experience new ways of being together… a shared desire for an alternate future.”
Dean Horwitz wrote an article about Viewpoints: The University of Cape Town and its treasures for Varsity.
Horwitz says that the book is a useful guide for life at UCT. It would make an excellent gift current students wanting to make the best of their time there, and for nostalgic past students. He describes the contents, prasing the beautiful images and writing, and outlines the legacy of the university and where it is going from here.
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The coffee table book features a mixture of amazing colour photographs and descriptive text that tells the story of the UCT and its journey to become the best university in Africa. The book offers a wonderful reflection of UCT’s place in history
Accountable Government in Africa: Perspectives from Public Law and Political Studies edited by Danwood Mzikenge Chirwa and Lia Nijzink is a look at the effectiveness and extent of government accountability in Africa. The insights to be gained from this book seem particularly relevant and necessary in South Africa at present, given President Zuma’s evasion of his constitutional obligations.
It is required that South African presidents appear before the National Assembly four times a year in order to answer questions. SAPA wrote an article about President Zuma’s refusal to do so, citing him saying the rambunctious behaviour in the assembly makes it “unreasonable”. The DA’s Mmusi Maimane says his party will do everything possible to ensure the president fulfils what the constitution demands on him.
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It is unacceptable that President Jacob Zuma refuses to appear in the National Assembly, the DA said on Wednesday.
“(He) is hiding behind the excuse that Parliament is too hostile an environment for him,” Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.
Phillip de Wet has written an article for the Mail & Guardian on the impending changes in the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa, with regard to patents.
According to De Wet, “An unprecedented and controversial overhaul of South Africa’s patent system – already in motion – promises either cheaper drugs and economic growth, or the collapse of a vital underpinning of industry.”
The changes mean that those applying for patents will face a rigorous examination, more in line with those of the United States and Japan. Two strains of thought have emerged from the process, the first arguing that the new laws will chase away investors, and the second arguing that life-saving drugs will become cheaper and more readily available.
“Although government policy has not yet been finalised and the matter is not even on Parliament’s schedule yet, technocrats are treating the change as a done deal,” De Wet says.
De Wet also refers to “Pharmagate”, which the Mail & Guardian reported on in January, where a coalition from Washington – claiming to be based in South Africa – attempted to influence local decision making.
But there are broader political arguments for spending the money to create an examining system for patent applications. At the moment, South Africa was patenting “nonsense”, said Professor Anastassios Pouris, the director of the Institute for Technological Innovation at the University of Pretoria. “If you protect [through patenting] any nonsense, you make it impossible for the real inventors to progress … [Large companies] try to patent almost everything that it is possible to patent so the competition cannot enter the arena.”
Pouris said: “[Currently] 80% of the patents [in South Africa] are awarded to foreigners, and only 20% to locals. Abroad, it is the exact opposite.”
In his article, “Patents and Economic Development in South Africa”, published in the South African Journal of Science in 2011, Pouris and his co-author write: “The current intellectual property rights regime not only fails to support the objectives of the national system of innovation but also … facilitates exploitation by foreign interests and creates substantial social costs.”
UCT Press and The Book Lounge would like to invite you to the launch of The Courage of ||kabbo: Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of Specimens of Bushman Folklore edited by Janette Deacon and Pippa Skotnes.
Deacon and Skotnes will be speaking about their work on the archives and ││kabbo’s legacy.
The launch will held be at The Book Lounge on Wednesday, 12 November, at 5:30 for 6 PM.
See you there!
- The Courage of ||kabbo: Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of Specimens of Bushman Folklore edited by Janette Deacon, Pippa Skotnes
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Andrew Siddle, author of The Failure of Decentralisation in South African Local Government: Complexity and unanticipated consequences, wrote an article for the Cape Times about the auditor-general’s consolidated report on local government audit goverments.
In the article, Siddle outlines the four different types of audit opinions that may be issued by the auditor-general. The most desirable of these is a financially unqualified opinion with no findings, or a clean audit. The worst is a disclaimer of opinion, when results are in too much of a mess to be made sense of.
Siddle says that very few municipalities merited a clean audit, and there is a need for senior government to intervene in municipal financial management.
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The number of clean reports has more than doubled, from nine to 22. True, that’s coming off an embarrassingly low base, and still represents less than 8 percent of municipalities – a shocking performance by any standard – but on the face of it, it’s a whole lot better than before. But closer analysis reveals a situation which is somewhat more complex.
Of the 22 clean audit opinions, no fewer than 18 were awarded to municipalities in just two provinces – 11 (exactly 50 percent of all clean audits) to the Western Cape, and seven (32 percent) to KwaZulu-Natal. The remaining provinces between them scraped together only four clean audits – one to Gauteng, one to the Northern Cape and two to Mpumalanga.
- The Failure of Decentralisation in South African Local Government: Complexity and unanticipated consequences by Andrew Siddle, Thomas Koelble
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