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Book launch: Working-class homosexuality in SA History

When: Wednesday, 19 August 2020 - Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Where: Online Event

Start time:13:00

You are cordially invited to the next History Workshop webinar which is a launch of the book, Working class homosexuality in South African history

Working class homosexuality in South African history: Voices from the archives, by Iain Edwards and Marc Epprecht


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 The book's core analytic thrust centres around a previously unpublished primary source from the early twentieth century as well as unique oral history interviews with men remembering their lives in the gay settlement of Mkhumbane.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.

Biographies of Authors

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.

Biography of Discussant

Caio Simoes de Araújo is currently a Grantee of the Governing Intimacies Project of the Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa. His doctoral dissertation(Graduate Institute, Switzerland), entitled “Diplomacy of Blood and Fire: Portuguese Decolonization and the Race Question, ca. 1945-1968”, looked at the transnational politics of anti-racism during the decolonization era. Since June 2019, he has been the lead investigator of a research project entitled "Archives of the Intimate: Queer Oral Histories of Maputo, Mozambique," sponsored by the Governing Intimacies Project and the GALA Queer Archive, of Johannesburg, South Africa. The project carried out oral history interviews with LGBT-identifying interlocutors from Maputo in order to produce an archive of queer lives in Mozambique.

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