The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Working Class Homosexuality In South African History 5 Inch 2020 02 28 01

Working Class Homosexuality in South African History provides the first scholarly outline for the development of a narrative of same-sex working class African men. The book’s core analytic thrust centres around a previously unpublished primary source from the early twentieth century as well as unique oral history interviews with men remembering their lives in the gay settlement of Mkhumbane.

While South Africa’s Bill of Rights provides constitutional protection for the right of any person to choose her or his own sexual preferences, this has not prevented violent and even murderous assaults on members of the growing and increasingly vocal LGBTI community. Given the dearth of published works on South African’s gay communities and reasoned public discussion as well as the recent controversy over the film Inxeba, there is considerable urgency in confronting entrenched bigotry, prejudice, and homophobia.

Working Class Homosexuality in South African History inspires South Africans to reimagine an inclusive sense of the past as well as the future.

Endorsements

‘A poignant account of black working-class men obliterated from history because of their sexual orientation … Plethoric with unpublished words and phrases critical for validating a long homosexual presence in our African history. A beautiful, sad and heroic story!’

Professor Glenda Gray, President and CEO, South African Medical Research Council

‘Edwards and Epprecht use history from below to disturb prevailing and dominant narratives of South African past while also re-examining a particular history of the present with calm integrity, diligence, imagination and thoughtfulness. This is a rich and rewarding book.’

Wale Adebanwi, Rhodes Professor of Race Relations and Director, African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, UK

‘A fascinating path-breaking account of African male same-sex practices…’

Dunbar Moodie, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, New York

Mqenge 02 1995

Mqenge at the site of the old Emnyameni on 16 December 1995. Fieldworker is holding the tape recorder. As you'll see Mqenge is wearing his Addington Hospital gown after a bad fall, but insisted on keeping our appointment, as I mention in the book (p 173). This is a poignant photo. Here is the last leader of the Izingqingili zaseMkhumbane standing at their old settlement. And since Angel declined to be photographed this is almost certainly the only photo ever taken of one of the Izingqingili zaseMkhumbane.

Open Access

Product information

Format : 240mm x 168mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 288
ISBN 13 : 978-0-7969-2583-1
Publish Year : 2020
Rights : World Rights

INTRODUCTION

Essay “`I am Angel`. African working class same-sex identities, history and politics, past and present”

PART ONE IZINKOTSHANE yaseGOLI

Marc Epprecht

Essay “A Sex Scandal on the Gold mines. Johannesburg 1907”

Map

Photographs

Edited oral enquiry transcript

  • Transvaal Colony Confidential Enquiry into Alleged Prevalence of Unnatural Vice in Mine Compounds on the Witwatersrand, 1907

PART TWO INGQINGILI yaseMKHUMBANE

Iain Edwards

Essay “The izingqingili yaseMkhumbane. An oral history”

Maps

Photographs

Edited oral history interview transcripts

  • Man About Town
  • 5 March 1995
  • Mqenge
  • 7 November 1995
  • 26 November 1995
  • 2 December 1995
  • 16 December 1995
  • Leader’s Son
  • 13 December 1995
  • Young Onlooker
  • 19 December 1995
  • Angel
  • n.d. 1996
  • 16 March 1996
  • 23 March 1996
  • 2 April 1996

CONCLUSION

Iain Edwards is an independent historian with scholarly interests in oral history and historiography and historical methods, particularly concerning life histories and public heritage and history. In the early 1990s, he led the successful public campaign establishing the Kwa Muhle Museum in Durban; served as the historical expert on legal teams successfully representing previous African and Indian residents of Cato Manor Farm in Land Claims Court cases; and, as a government special advisor, was involved in the early stages of developing the historical narrative for the Freedom Park Heritage and Museum site.

Marc Epprecht is a professor in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen's University, where he teaches courses on culture and development, HIV/AIDS, and southern Africa. He has published extensively on the history of gender and sexuality in Africa, primarily in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa. His research engages with human rights questions and the ethics of research, activism, and knowledge production in Africa and the Global South more generally. He was a contributor and the associate editor for the African contributions to H. Chiang (ed.) Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History.

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