Umabatha: Zulu play or Shakespeare translation? - Wright, L.S.
There can be few recent theatrical productions in greater need of interpretative effort than Welcome Msomi’s Umabatha. From its inception debate has raged over the cultural status of the production: was it an authentic expression of Zulu culture, or a tacky piece of ‘blacksploitation’? – to use Russell Vandenbroucke’s term. Was the production pleasing evidence of Shakespeare’s universality, a gift to the colonies returning joyfully to the motherland with interest accruing? Could it perhaps be a case of Zulu culture triumphing over Shakespeare, native invention swamping and overwhelming a colonially-imposed ‘high culture’? Was the show performing ‘Africa’ for the world...
South African Shakespeare in the Twentieth Century - Wright, L.S.
This special section of the Shakespearean International Yearbook asks a series of questions about South African Shakespeare, chapter by chapter, focusing on the twentieth century. The temporal emphasis is deliberate, because it was particularly in the last century that Shakespeare became an issue, albeit a minor one, in relation to the titanic political and ideological struggles that convulsed the country throughout the period. The articles set out to examine and re-assess, in historical sequence, some of the acknowledged highlights of Shakespeare in South Africa in the last century. These are the moments when, for a range of different reasons, Shakespeare...
Learning science through two languages in South Africa - Probyn, M.J.
[From the introduction]: South Africa is a multilingual country with eleven national languages - nine indigenous languages and the two former colonial languages of English and Afrikaans1 - recognised as official languages in the Constitution of 1996 (Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996).
Despite these provisions, since the democratic elections of 1994 English has expanded its position as the language of access and power with the relative influence of Afrikaans shrinking, and African languages effectively confined to functions of ‘home and hearth’. McLean and McCormick (1996: 329 in Mazrui 2002: 269) suggest that the constitutional recognition of 11 official...
Eastern Cape schools - resourcing and inequality - Hendricks, M.
This chapter looks at the causes and effects of the widely varying degree of access to material resources across schools in the Eastern Cape. Starting with a broad overview of schools and classroom resources across the whole province, I go on to examine the Grahamstown education district. I discuss the inequalities in resource provision between groupings of schools in the district: comparing independent and state schools, and also examining disparities across schools in different localities within the government sector. The role of parents in providing resources for their children’s schooling is also discussed, as are the relationships among the various...
Introduction: Stimela: Railway Poems of South Africa - Wright, L.S.
A collection of railway poems is an unusual undertaking. More than an exercise in nostalgia, this anthology captures a large slice of modern South African life, viewed from different perspectives. Many of South Africa’s best poets have written railway poems. This is unsurprising, for railways hold special meaning for a variety of people – people in all walks of life – who find them not only fascinating but emotionally sympatico. The place of railways in the South African economy is changing rapidly, and it will be interesting to see in the coming years whether the less personal, more streamlined business...
Introduction [to the book "Thuthula: Heart of the Labyrinth" by Chris Zithulele Mann] - Wright, L.S.
There are certain stories, the world over, that stir our hearts and minds to imaginings richer and deeper than the bald facts of history can easily satisfy. Such is the legend of Thuthula, the young Xhosa girl whose beauty and grace won the heart of Ngqika, chief of the Rharhabe Xhosa; the woman who was later married to his uncle Ndlambe, and then taken by Ngqika to become his wife.
The events took place in or around the years 1806 and 1807 in what is now the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Prior to the central episode treated in...
Introduction [to the book "Scatter the Shrilling Bones" by Sithembele Isaac Xhegwana] - Wright, L.S.
Scatter the Shrilling Bones by Sithembele Xhegwana comprises an ordered sequence of poems that conveys a journey both literal and spiritual. Revisitation is the organizing principle of the collection – the return to rural sources and origins by a consciousness estranged and illumined by modernity (cf. ‘The Return’). Underlying the collection is the theme of the night journey, whose archetype in western culture is Odysseus’ descent to the underworld – a pattern identified as such in the concluding essay ‘Starting from my Place: Notes on an Aesthetic’. The underworld here is literally the return to the home territory – a...
The glaciations of Wales and adjacent areas [Introduction / by Colin A. Lewis; Chapter 8: The upper Wye and Usk regions / by Colin A. Lewis and G.S.P. Thomas] - Lewis, C.A.; Thomas, G.S.P.
[From the preface]: The landscapes of Wales and adjacent areas have been profoundly influenced by glaciation. Much attention has been paid to the origins of the Welsh landscape, and, especially, to its morphology. This book, like its predecessor, "The glaciations of Wales and adjoining regions", published in 1970, aims to encourage and guide further research into the glacial history of Wales and its borderlands.
[From Chapter 8]: Mid-Wales was probably glaciated on at least two occasions during the Pleistocene. The glacial sediments and landforms discussed in this chapter appear to be of Late Devensian age. The scale of glaciation during the...
Recognition and development of the Irish Draught horse - Lewis, C.A.
The number of horses in Ireland had shown remarkable consistency from 1861 until just before 1951. Between the end of the Second World War and 1951 there was a rapid decrease in the number of working horses, and the rate of the decrease accelerated during the decade of the 1950s and the early 1960s. Throughout the 1960s popular emphasis was placed on mechanisation, as if there were no role for the horse as a working animal. Even the production of pleasure horses seems to have been initially regarded as of little value.
The 1970s were a sad period for both...
Inventing the human: Brontosaurus Bloom and the Shakespeare in us - Wright, L.S.
This essay was occasioned by the casual reading of a book called Harold Bloom’s Shakespeare (2002), a collection of responses, pro, ante and puzzled, to Bloom’s Shakespearean magnum opus. The more I browsed in the assembled essays, some of them originally reviews and conference papers, others specially commissioned responses, the more curious I became. On the whole, the contributors seemed not to understand Bloom, at least not to understand him adequately, which is a devastating handicap when the task in hand is to pass judgment. The problem seems to be that few academic commentators take Bloom seriously, accepting that he...
The biogeography of the
Prosopistomatidae, with a particular emphasis on Southern African species - Barber-James, Helen Margaret
The mayfly family Prosopistomatidae consists of the single genus Prosopistoma Latreille. Its known distribution includes species from Africa, Madagascar, the Comores, Europe, the Levant, India, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. A tropical Gondwanaland origin of the family has been suggested. No species are currently known from the Neotropical or Nearctic regions, though the family may yet be discovered in northeastern South America, since this region separated from West Africa only c.120 mya. Focussing on southern Africa, several undescribed species have recently been discovered, with interesting implications to...
The eggs of Afronurus LESTAGE, 1924 (Ephemeroptera: Heptageniidae): a cue for phylogenetic relationships - Belfiore, C.; Barber-James, Helen Margaret; Gaino, E.
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) investigation carried out on the eggs of Afronurus scotti, A. harrisoni, A. peringueyi, and A. ugandanus, has provided some chorionic details useful for a comparison between these species. In all the species, the egg chorion is decorated with sparse granules and shows two kinds of knob-terminated coiled threads (KCTs). The first kind is represented by small KCTs (5-7 ?m in diameter) densely concentrated at each egg pole; the second kind encompasses large KCTs (60- 80 ?m in length) situated equatorially. The micropyle has an oval to round sperm guide (15-20 ?m long; 12- 18 ?m wide),...
A synopsis of the Afrotropical Tricorythidae - Barber-James, Helen Margaret
The Tricorythidae of the Afrotropical Region is currently composed of five described genera, three of which are thought to be restricted to Madagascar (Madecassorythus Elouard and Oliarioniny, Ranorythus Oliarinony and Elouard, and Spinirythus Oliarinony and Elouard), one which is restricted to Africa (Dicercomyzon Demoulin), and one which is thought to be distributed on both landmasses (Tricorythus Eaton). Based on sexual dimorphism, manifest in the relative eye size of mature male and female nymphs and adults and on the structure of the genitalia of adult males, it is proposed that there are two additional genera in Africa, as yet undescribed. One...
A molecular analysis of the Afrotropical Baetidae - Gattolliat, J.-L.; Monaghan, M.T.; Sartori, M.; Elouard, J.-M.; Barber-James, Helen Margaret; Derleth, P.; Glaizot, O.; de Moor, F.C.; Vogler, A.P.
Recent work on the Afrotropical Baetidae has resulted in a number of important taxonomic changes: several polyphyletic genera have been split and more than 30 new Afrotropical genera have been established. In order to test their phylogenetic relevance and to clarify the suprageneric relationships, we reconstructed the first comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the Afrotropical Baetidae. We sequenced a total of ca. 2300 bp from nuclear (18S) and mitochondrial (12S and 16S) gene regions from 65 species belonging to 26 genera. We used three different approaches of phylogeny reconstruction: direct optimization, maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood. The molecular reconstruction indicates the...
Ecological thinking: Schopenhauer, J.M. Coetzee and who we are in the world - Wright, L.S.
For the ecological agenda to make substantive progress, we will have to see powerful people and social agencies turning away from the ecological insanity that threatens us all, and for this to happen, people need to embrace voluntary renunciation, on the understanding that this is not self-sacrifice, but a different and more satisfying way of being in the world. The paper offers some thought, provoked by reading J.M. Coetzee and Arthur Schopenhauer, about what would make this change possible, what might enable it; and secondly why it is implausible that any such ideal might actually come to pass.
Disgrace as J.M.Coetzee's Tempest - Wright, L.S.
Amid the deluge of criticism and commentary evoked by Disgrace, quite remarkably nobody has noticed that the book re-engages exactly the energies Shakespeare deployed in The Tempest, a play which has become an icon, if not the icon, of colonial and post-colonial studies.
A research prospectus for the humanities - Wright, L.S.
The humanities in South Africa, as elsewhere, face a crisis of credibility.There is pressing need for the humanities to articulate their social and educational purpose more clearly, so that their academic value is recognised beyond the confines of academia.The aim of reshaping human character and society remains the foundational impulse of the humanities. This is achieved through the careful study of specially selected exemplary 'texts': literary works, fine art, social schemes, intellectual movements, historical episodes, and philosophical and religious outlooks.Students are required to respond in person to both 'text' and the discourse of which it is an exemplary instantiation. This...
Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene foragers in southern Africa - Lewis, C.A.
Foragers occupied parts of southern Africa, including the mountains of the Drakensberg, during the Birnam Interstadial (c. 35 000 – c. 24 000 year BP). The Drakensberg was apparently unoccupied during the succeeding Bottelnek Stadial (c. 24 000 – c. 15 000 year BP) but was re-occupied during the Late Glacial. Lowland areas near the coast were apparently occupied throughout the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene.
Learning (dis)advantage in matriculation language classrooms - Prinsloo, J.
During the first decade of democracy in South Africa formal education has been characterised by sweeping policy shifts and consequent curriculum revision. In many instances, curricular revisions are criticised for failing to effect desired or anticipated changes. In this chapter the focus is on the language curriculum and the associated practices, or what I refer to as the literacy practices that have become naturalised over decades and persist in the present. The argument that is presented here contends that to enable effective change, it is essential to understand better what has historically constituted literacy practices and to recognise their social,...