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01 December 2022


Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

The Texture of Dissent

Defiant Public Intellectuals in South Africa

Editors: Narnia Bohler-Muller, Vasu Reddy, Gregory Houston, Maxi Schoeman, Heather Thuynsma

Publication: December 2022
ISBN (softcover): 978-1-928246-57-2
Format: 250 mm x 176 mm
Extent: 480 pp
Price: R350

About the book

The Texture of Dissent: Defiant Public Intellectuals in South Africa features the prominent voices shaped and preoccupied by the issues facing South Africans after the Nationalist Party election victory in 1948, highlighting the ways in which public intellectuals are involved in the ‘political work of social change’ through defiant thought and action.
What distinguishes the public intellectuals featured in The Texture of Dissent is the differing contexts and issues that shaped their lives, and the period during which they began to play prominent roles and shaped public discourse.
These voices, in the view of the writers, ultimately leave deep imprints on the exploration of what it means to be human in a complex and divided society.

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Labour Struggles in Southern Africa, 1919–1949:

New Perspectives on the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU)

Authors: David Johnson, Noor Nieftagodien and Lucien van der Walt

Publication: December 2022
ISBN (soft cover): 978-0-7969-2641-8
Format: 240 mm x 168 mm
Extent: 310 pp
Provisional price: R395

About the book

This collection provides fresh perspectives on the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union of Africa (ICU). By far the largest black political organisation in Southern Africa before the 1940s, the ICU was active in six African colonies as well as in global trade union networks.

Thirteen original chapters by major scholars examine different aspects of the ICU’s record in the 1920s and 1930s, assessing its achievements and its failures in relation to the post-apartheid present. In its syndicalist One Big Union approach to protecting workers’ rights, its emphasis on economic freedoms, its internationalism, and its robust protection of women and migrant workers, the ICU challenged fundamentally the axioms, tactics, and programmes of rival organisations like the African National Congress. More than simply an exercise in excavating a crucial chapter in struggle history, this volume demonstrates that the traditions and legacies of the ICU are of great relevance to contemporary Southern Africa.

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Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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