Apartheid on a Black Isle: Removal and Resistance in by Dawne Y. Curry (auth.)

By Dawne Y. Curry (auth.)

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Extra info for Apartheid on a Black Isle: Removal and Resistance in Alexandra, South Africa

Sample text

White officials made laws that segregated and sequestered the country’s largest population, and rendered them foreigners in their native land. Despite this political dispossession, Alexandra’s vibrant history of resistance threatened apartheid officials, who constantly sought its abolition, harassed its dwellers, and cordoned off its peripheries. Alexandrans not only withstood these challenges to the township’s sovereignty and its precarious existence, they also never cowered even during the 1970s, in a period when resistance allegedly dipped to an all time low.

Not only did John “Boykie” Mhlontlo know about the township’s history, he also helped to document it by taking photographs that chronicled weddings, funerals, baptisms, and other important events. ) Once I explained my project, this former ballroom dancer agreed to an interview at his sister’s place the following week. His sister ran a local shebeen (beer hall) in Beirut, an area dubbed a no-go zone in the 1990s because of the ethnic violence that broke out there. Mhlontlo, whose animation showed throughout the interview process, answered questions ranging from the personal to local politics.

Mrs. M. L. Mbatha, like Irene Tukie March and other mothers featured here, lost children in violence. Mbatha’s son died in her arms, and Irene Tukie March’s son died two days after the uprising began in Alexandra. Through the prism of death, I unearthed how women mourned,92 how the government regulated funerals, and how women and men traveled to the gravesites, even if it meant leaving the country, to honor the deceased. When they crossed international boundaries, survivors repatriated and interred the corpses on South African soil.

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