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Green in Black-and-White Times
Wednesday, 02 November 2016

Green in Black-and-White Times: Conversations with Douglas Livingstone

(Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZuluNatal Press, 2016)

[see ‘Books ’]

What is the language that the humanities have to offer?
Wednesday, 02 November 2016

‘“What is the language that the humanities have to offer?” Reflections on John Higgins’s Academic Freedom in South Africa: Essays and Interviews on Higher Education and the Humanities.’ Critical Arts 29(3), 2015: 261- 75.

[Online, Taylor & Francis ]

Writing a New World? -16th Time of the Writer Festival
Tuesday, 15 December 2015

“Writing a New World?”
16th Time of the Writer Festival
Centre for Creative Arts
University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa)
(18-23 March 2013)
A Response

 Writing a new world? This was the focus of the 16th Time of the Writer week.Nineteen writers, during the day, conducted workshops at schools, community centres and in Westville prison while, in the evening, read from their own work and offered reflections, or declarations, on the time of the writer in our ‘global-scape’. 

South Africa and the Myth of a Knowledge Economy
Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The National Planning Commission has tabled its plan and vision for South Africa 2030. In listing 9 main challenges Trevor Manuel, Minister of National Planning, identified two as particularly critical: too few people work; the quality of education available to most people is poor (Sunday Times 13/11/11:15). Pursuing the 'education' challenge commissioners on the NPC, Professors Malegapuru Makgoba, Jennifer Molwantwa and Ihron Rensburg (Sunday Independent 13/11/11:19), conclude that it is in making knowledge that the nation makes success.


Sejal Desai interviews Professor Michael Chapman, winner of the University Book Prize
Wednesday, 09 December 2009
SD: Your book Art Talk, Politics Talk (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2006) was recently awarded the University Book Prize in the categories Humanities, Management and Law.

MC: Yes, this is an honour. The Book Prize was instituted as an encouragement to researchers to pursue what in the humanities, at least, is still the internationally recognised benchmark: not the article, but the monograph. The National Department of Education research system doesn't give much encouragement to the book-length study. It is heartening, therefore, that UKZN acknowledges the book.

If you dont know the taal
Monday, 17 July 2006

If you don't know the taal  then stay out of the kombuis

Michael Chapman on Kannemeyer on Heywood

[Litnet, 50.  18 Feb. 2005: 1-3]



Christopher Heywood's A History of South African Literature (CUP, 2004) - misleadingly announced on the blurb as the ‘first critical study of its subject' - has elicited from several Afrikaans critics ‘vies' reviews.  I know the vies review having had its venom spat at my own literary history - it predates Heywood's - Southern African Literatures (1996;  2003). 

Ngema and Campbell: Two Voices from Durban
Monday, 17 July 2006
Ngema and Campbell: Two Voices from Durban

[Sunday Tribune 14 July 2002]

Why should Mbongemi Ngema remind me of Roy Campbell?  Ngema's anti-Indian song, 'AmaNdiya', is certainly in the news.  Campbell is also on my mind, this year being the 100th anniversary of his birth.  Like Ngema, Campbell said some outrageous things.  Like Ngema, he claimed artistic licence for his opinions, even his prejudices.  If Durban for Ngema is a place where Indian South Africans shamelessly exploit African South Africans, Durban for Campbell was, unflatteringly, a grocer's paradise, its dullness relieved only by the inexplicable fact of his birth in the backwater.

Is Mandela an African?
Monday, 17 July 2006

In Pursuit of African Scholarship

[Workshop on African Scholarship, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2005]


The new, merged University of KwaZulu-Natal wishes to be a premier institution of African scholarship.  What is ‘African scholarship'?  An idealistic interpretation emphasises essentialism, or what Ali Mazrui calls ‘romantic gloriana':   there is an African genius in the bones, in the blood, in the spirit;  a genius unaffected by the circumstance of history.  The argument is that, before colonialism, Africa had mathematics, architectural acumen (Great Zimbabwe), powerful kingdoms. 

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