News & events


Worker history in the post-apartheid memory/heritage complex: public art and the Workers Museum in Newtown, Johannesburg

26 September 2019
12:03 - 14:00

Date: 26 September 2019
Time: 12:30 – 14:00
Venues: Video conference in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban  Livestream via Vidyo

Dr Ali Khangela Hlongwane (University of the Witwatersrand) and Professor Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu (University of South Africa, UNISA)
Dr Mathias Fubah Alubafi  (Human Scineces Research Council)

Migrant labour has been an integral part of the political economy
of South Africa for most of the 20th century. The migrants were drawn from various parts of the country subsequent to processes of systematic dispossession and the imposition of various taxes. They were also drawn from various parts of Southern Africa. However, their experiences in the broader South African memory and heritage landscape has been dwarfed by the master narrative of the national liberation struggles. This emerges clearly when a cursory look is taken of the transformation of the South African memory and heritage complex in the last twenty four years. The experiences of migrant workers have remained largely unrecognised and unrepresented. This talk focuses on the history of worker struggles across the decades and zoom to the story of the Workers Museum in the Newtown Cultural Precinct in Johannesburg. The Workers Museum is explored side by side with the diverse collection of public art and memorial commemorating workers struggles in the inner city.

Ali Khangela Hlongwane is a researcher at the Wits History Workshop and an Honourary Professor at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He has published chapters in the multi-volume: The Road to Democracy in South Africa and and he is co-author with Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu of: Public History and Culture in South Africa: Memorialisation and Liberation Heritage Sites in Johannesburg and the Township Scape (Palgrave, 2019).

Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu is professor at the University of South Africa (UNISA), and author of: The Soweto Uprising: Counter-Memories of June 1976 (1998), and African Perspectives of King Dingane KaSenzangakhona: The Second King of the Zulu Kingdom (Palgrave, 2017).

Kindly RSVP by 25 September 2019

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference Room, 1st  floor HSRC Library, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria.
Contact Arlene Grossberg  | T: (012) 302 2811  | E:
Cape Town: HSRC Video Conference Room, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town.
Contact Shouneez Khan| T: (021) 466 7948 | E:
Durban: HSRC Video Conference Room, The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001.
Contact Ridhwaan Khan  | T: (031) 242 5400  | C: 083 788 2786  | E: 

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DST