New in African Studies

Termites of the Gods

San Cosmology in Southern African Rock Art

In Termites of the Gods, Siyakha Mguni narrates his personal journey, over many years, to discover the significance of a hitherto enigmatic theme in San rock paintings known as 'formlings'. Formlings are a painting category found across the southern African region, including South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, with its densest concentration in the Matopo Hills, Zimbabwe. Generations of archaeologists and anthropologists have wrestled with the meaning of this painting theme in San cosmology without reaching consensus or a plausible explanation. Drawing on San ethnography published over the past 150 years, Mguni argues that formlings are, in fact, representations of flying termites and their underground nests, and are associated with botanical subjects and a range of larger animals considered by the San to have great power and spiritual significance. This book fills a gap in rock art studies around the interpretation and meaning of formlings. 

Wits University Press

Restaging Ubu and the Truth Commission
20 Years On

First premiered in South Africa at the Grahamstown Festival in 1997, the play Ubu and the Truth Commission is being restaged around the world to mark the occasion of 20 years after the end of apartheid. Over its life it has become a set work in drama courses locally and internationally. The play is a collaboration between writer Jane Taylor, artist William Kentridge, and Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler of the Handspring Puppet Company, recently acclaimed for their play War Horse, which has toured the world. The script, together with a selection of William Kentridge's drawings, and photographs taken from the performance showing the puppets and performers, brings together the powerful multimedia effects of the stage performance. And in this revised edition, the writer, director and puppeteers have added to their notes accompanying the play, reflecting on what the play means 20 years after it was first performed.


University of Cape Town Press

20 Years of South African Democracy

So Where to Now?

By Various Contributors

This publication is the outcome of a conference marking the beginning of South Africa's third decade of democracy hosted in November 2014 by the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) and the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI) at the University of South Africa (Unisa). The conference was entitled 20 Years of South African Democracy: So Where to Now? The main focus of the conference was projective reflections into the next two decades of democracy. It aimed to deal with the theoretical perspectives underpinning the state of South Africa in two decades of democracy and, most importantly, prospects for the future. 

Real African Publishers

Reading Culture in South Africa

Edited by Imraan Coovadia, Edited by Alexandra Dodd, Edited by Cóilín Parsons

Between 2009 and 2012, the Gordon Institute for the Performing and Creative Arts in Cape Town held the Great Texts/Big Questions public lecture series which became a celebrated part of Cape Town's cultural landscape, demonstrating current intellectual and creative thinking in South Africa. These lectures gave audiences a chance to engage with transformative texts and questions, to hear thought leaders speak on the ideas, the books, the art, and the films that matter to them and to us. Relocations: Reading Culture in South Africa brings together a selection of these lectures by world-renowned artists, writers and thinkers in the form of essays, for the benefit of a wider readership, with a contemporary design which plays with words. 

University of Cape Town Press

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