a teaching professor my main area of interest is South African intellectual
history. One of the defining characteristics of South Africa is that it is a
society that ostensibly lacks a collective history or shared philosophical and
political traditions. The main objective of my taught courses and seminars is
to introduce students to the contested histories of South African political
ideas and traditions. Some of the themes and topics examined in the courses
include: othering discourses and the emergence of a Cape discourse; slavery,
free labour and the history of paternalism; frontier violence and resistance to
conquest; and the emergence of African and Afrikaner nationalisms.
Having just completed a book on the Zulu and kholwa intellectual Magema M. Fuze, author of the Abantu
Abamnyama Lapa Bavela Ngakona (1922) / The Black People and Whence They
Came (1979), I am beginning a research project on the meaning and symbolism
of clothing in nineteenth-century colonial Natal. The availability and
desirability of clothing is often associated with the arrival of missionaries
who depicted clothing as the antithesis and an antidote to the ‘adornment’
associated with indigenous cultures. My research focuses on how
nineteenth-century Africans made sartorial choices that blurred this line
between clothing and adornment and how these choices were captured in paintings
Magema Fuze: The Making of a Kholwa Intellectual. 2011. University of KwaZulu-Natal Press: Pietermaritzburg.
Journal articles & book reviews:
Queen’s Bishop: A Convert’s Memoir of John W. Colenso”. Journal of Religion in Africa,
Volume 38, Number 3, 2008: 312-342
Assembly of Readers: Magema Fuze and his Ilanga lase Natal Readers”. Journal of Southern African Studies,
Volume 35, Issue 3, 2009, 595 – 607.
Frontier Remix”, book review of Premesh Lalu,
The Deaths of Hintsa: Postapartheid South Africa and the Shape of Recurring
Pasts. Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press. History & Theory, Volume 50,
Issue 1: 112–119.