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Unisa Press

List of more 2009 hidden histories series

Critical reasoning and the art of argumentation. Revised edition.
MES van den Berg. January 2010.

Defiant images. Photography and Apartheid South Africa. Darren Newbury. Unisa Press. December 2009.

The restructuring of SA higher education: Rocky roads from policy formulation to institutional mergers 2001-2004 - Barnes, Baijnath & Sattar. December 2009.

Media Policy in a Changing Southern Africa. Critical reflections on media reforms in the global age. Edited by Dumisani Moyo and Wallace Chuma. December 2009

Robben Island to Wall Street. Gaby Magomola. Unisa Press Hidden Histories Series. November 2009. ISBN 978-1-86888-570-1.

Climate change. The corporate response. Hennie Stoffberg & Paul Prinsloo.
ISBN 971-1-86888-564-0. Unisa Press & Trialogue. October 2009

Time, space and pace: computer-integrated education in South Africa
– Rabelani Dagada. Foreword by Prof Mthuli Ncube. October 2009

Thinking Diversity, Building Cohesion: A Transnational Dialogue on Education
Editors: Mokubung Nkomo and Saloshna Vandeyar
Unisa Press; SAVUSA Series with Rozenberg. September 2009

Close to the sources – Abebe Zegeye & Maurice Vambe. Unisa Press & Routledge. September 2009

Between Empire and Revolution: A Life of Sidney Bunting, 1873-1936
Hidden Histories Series. Allison Drew. September 2009. Hidden Histories Series. Unisa Press & Chatto & Pickering

African women & ICTs. Investigating technology, gender and empowerment. Ineke Buskens & Anne Web. Unisa Press & Zed Books. September 2009.

Mulatu Astatke. The making of Ethio Jazz. By Abebe Zegeye. Meskerem Assegued in conversation with Mulatu Astatke. Book and Music CD. Unisa Press & Red Sea Press. September 2009.

Volk and flock. Ecology, Identity and Politics among Cape Afrikaners in the Late Nineteenth Century. Mordechai Tamarkin. September 2009.

Memory strategies. A memory improvement program. Deirdre Potgieter. CD: August 2009

Brief Chronicles: South African Literatures in Historical Context. Kenneth Parker
Unisa Press Imagined South Africa Series; Brill. Abebe Zegeye, Series Editor. August 2009


The making of an African Communist:
Edwin Mofutsanyana and the Communist Party of South Africa 1927—1939

Robert Edgar

ISBN: 186888331-0,  Item 7371
SA         R59.00 (VAT & postage incl)
Africa     R71.80 (Airmail incl)
USA       $11.70 (Airmail incl)
UK         £7.40 (Airmail incl)    
Europe   €10.20 (Airmail incl)

The book is a short biography covering part of Mofutsanyana's eventful life, a period of turbulence within the Communist Party of South Africa, of which Mofutsanyana was at one point General Secretary. Edgar bases his account on extensive archival work both in South Africa as well as in Russia, and has some notable interview material.

Robert Edgar is Professor of African Studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He has written primarily on twentieth-century Southern African political and religious history. Among his works are African Apocalypse; the story of Nontetha Nkwenkwe, a Twentieth Century South African Prophet (with Hilary Sapire) and An African American in South Africa: the travel notes of Ralph J. Bunche, 1937.

50 Years of the Creedom Charter
Jeremy Cronin & Raymond Suttner

ISBN: 186888375-2, Item 7707
SA         R129.00 (VAT & postage incl)
Africa     R178.16 (Airmail incl)
USA       $32.59 (Airmail incl)
UK         £20.74 (Airmail incl)    
Europe   €28.52 (Airmail incl)

50 Years of the Freedom Charter is a revised edition of the earlier 30 Years of the Freedom Charter, which was banned for possession under apartheid.   Such banning meant that the book could no longer be sold but even having it in one’s possession could lead to prosecution.  The work tells the story of the creation of the Freedom Charter in 1955. The adoption of this democratic document followed an unprecedented process, where volunteers travelled throughout the country in order to hear what ordinary people wanted remedied in their lives and their vision of an alternative, free South Africa.  These demands were brought together into the Freedom Charter, which was adopted at the Congress of the People, attended by over 2000 delegates in Kliptown, outside Johannesburg on 26 June 1955.  The Charter was later made the basis for a treason trial of 156 leading figures, lasting over four years, but leading to the acquittal of all the accused.

This new edition contains the original text of 30 Years but a substantial new introduction dealing with the contemporary significance of the Charter in democratic South Africa.

Writing left: The radical journalism of Ruth First
Donald Pinnock
ISBN  978186888365-3,   Item 7743
SA         R139,00 (VAT & postage incl)
Africa     R156,93 (Airmail incl)
USA       $26.70 (Airmail incl)
UK         £17.00 (Airmail incl)    
Europe   €23.37 (Airmail incl)

The radical press which helped to end apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s was not an immaculate conception. It was born of traditions developed by a group of small newspapers which emerged in the 1940s and were battered into silence by the early 1960s. Many of the journalists and editors from these earlier publications were imprisoned or driven into exile and emerged, in 1994, as the leaders of a new, democratic South Africa.

One of the most influential journalists of that press tradition did not return. In 1983 Ruth First was killed by a letter bomb sent to her Mozambique office by white police operatives. In a flash of powerful explosive South Africa lost one of its most intelligent, incisive and dedicated journalists. This is a book about her role in the struggle for a free and committed press with heart.

The publication of Don Pinnock’s study of Ruth First’s political journalism, Writing Left: the radical journalism of Ruth First, is an important addition to the series.   While doing research amongst veterans of the struggle I have constantly heard that too little is known about Ruth First and her contribution.  Described as an intellectual giant, she was able to stand her ground in a male-dominated liberation movement.  First was a very independent thinker, differing from both the ANC and SACP over policy towards the Zimbabwean liberation movements, when the ANC backed ZAPU alone, and the Soviet Union.

Beautiful, elegant and fond of fine clothes, First breaks stale stereotypes of what a revolutionary is supposed to look like.  None of this taste for the good things of life detracted from her iron will and determination.  It was because of this that her life was tragically ended by an apartheid assassin in 1982.

Ruth First was the journalist who exposed the treatment of workers on the potato farms in Bethal, revealing conditions so horrific that they led to a national boycott amongst black people.   This was a young white woman, in her twenties, going into dangerous conditions in order to investigate what was happening on these farms.  Unfortunately, we do not find enough of that type of journalism anymore.   Aspirant journalists need to study this work to see a model of how someone lived out the best traditions of her profession.

Apart from her political journalism, First published on a wide range of issues, including one of the first systematic works on the military coup d’etat in Africa, The Barrel of the Gun, co-authoring a work on Oliver Schreiner and many other books and articles.  It is hoped that publishing of Pinnock’s meticulous study will be a prelude to a proliferation of works on First as well as republication of her various studies.


Rebellion and Uproar: Makhanda and the Great Escape from Robben Island
Julia C. Wells

ISBN 978186888368-4; Item 7750
SA         R59,00 (VAT & postage incl)
Africa     R71,75 (Airmail incl)
USA       $12.00 (Airmail incl)
UK         £8.00 (Airmail incl)    
Europe   €10.50 (Airmail incl)

The name of Makhanda has long been associated with the unyielding spirit of resistance against oppression of the African people. Many have compared him to Nelson Mandela.
As a warrior-prophet of the Xhosa people, he led a monumental attack against British forces in Grahamstown in 1819. Though he failed to defeat them, his reputation as an indominitable freedom fighter was sealed when he escaped from Robben Island in1820. This volume tells the story of that escape, both exploding the myths that came to surround it and providing new detail about what really happened.

The artists of the Egazini Outreach Project, living in Grahamstown today, have captured their feelings about these dramatic stories in visual images. Their works illustrate this book, enhancing our understanding of the past.


Extracts from the book: Makhanda's escape from Robben Island :

Sailing to Freedom

As the last musket balls fired by the guards fell short of the boat, the newly liberated prisoners turned their faces towards shore and visions of freedom. The battle to escape from the prison at Robben Island had been hard fought, but now the dream was happening.  Hans Trompetter, a long-serving Khoisan rebel leader from the eastern frontier districts, had led all the Xhosa prisoners in a daring rescue of the most esteemed of all the prisoners of war, the chief and prophet Makhanda.  In the boat was David Stuurman, also a veteran of the Khoisan freedom struggle nearly twenty years earlier.  This was his second escape from Robben Island.  The first in 1817, had made him the ‘most wanted man on the frontier’ until his recapture

Makhanda’s role in the struggle for the frontier

The home the escapees longed to see again was then known as the eastern frontier, the land of the amaXhosa.  After years of fighting against incoming colonisers and a devastating civil war, Makhanda rose to prominence as a prophet and adviser to Chief Nldambe.  In a bold attempt to reclaim their land, Makhanda mustered a force of 10,000 Xhosa warriors to attack a British garrison at Grahamstown in April 1819.  They could not overcome the muskets and artillery fire and within six months the British army drove Ndlambe’s people even further eastward.  Early in this war, Makhanda surrendered himself in the hopes of bringing peace.  Instead of negotiating, the British sent him to Robben Island.  They kept him apart from the other prisoners in a separate cottage on the property of John Murray, who ran a whaling station on the island. The Commandant of the prison organized special food and furniture to keep Makhanda comfortable.

Hidden Histories Series Foreword

by Raymond Suttner

This series has been conceived as an outlet for research that might otherwise not have been published. Very important studies may have been rejected for reasons that do not affect the considerations that guide our programme. 
While the 'Hidden Histories' series aims at producing marketable books that reach a wide audience, the existing market does not govern it. Our primary concern is to add to the knowledge available to scholars and the reading public, and to expand this public and its interests. Consequently, we seek out works that break new ground or cover old ground in new ways.
The South African reading and book-purchasing public is small and most books that are sold in bookstores here were published overseas.  This is not because of a lack of material that ought to be available as books, published and marketed in bookstores, but also through other outlets that can be revived or created in order to reach people who do not patronise the plush malls.
While the words ‘hidden histories’ may have a slightly clichéd ring, they seem best able to convey what we are looking for: writing that we think is worthy of publication but has not yet found an outlet. There has been a shift in writing and scholarship away from certain themes that used to preoccupy scholars in the early years of the twentieth century, in particular monographs on rural areas. We want to encourage writing about places and people who live outside the main city centres.  Also, there is now an opportunity to write about people, issues and events, that was not possible in the past.
One of the reasons is the emergence of a democratic South Africa out of a protracted liberation struggle, many of whose participants and activities are little known because they worked secretly. Sometimes these ‘unknown’ figures performed heroic acts. Sometimes individuals who are publicly known as traitors, and who ‘worked for the system’, were assisting the liberation struggle. There is complexity, then, that has not yet been adequately captured in current literatures. We would like to provide a forum for such works.
There is a sense of urgency in capturing this oral and invisible history because many whose stories have not been told and need to be told, are old.  Many are no longer with us, gone with their story unheard, or at best sketchily remembered by others. 
At the same time, our view of ‘history’ is neither narrow nor sectarian. We do not conceive of it as referring exclusively to the past, but also to the present, regarded as part of history. We encourage publication of works that deal with contemporary problems  or  with past issues  representing causes of great public concern.

This is intended to be an ‘engaged’ series in the sense that it is intended to raise and investigate problematic, controversial and difficult questions that arise in the context of the ongoing processes of South African history. Such questions may include issues of morality, problems relating to gender relations, questions of identity and the imprint of distinct experiences and belief systems within specific organisations prior to joining. 
The form in which such works may be presented seeks to capture the variety of modes that artists, novelists, poets, historians and other scholars have chosen to convey what they consider to be important.

Raymond Suttner