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Imonti Modern

Imonti Modern

Picturing the life and times of a South African Location The book covers spaces, times and persons usually neglected when histories are written. It uses words and images to present a hidden history of the small city of ‘iMonti’ during the middle decades of the 20th century. The book reveals a modernising cosmopolitanism and nascent non-racialism that apartheid destroyed... It is full of cultural gems that have been unearthed through careful research and sensitive collaboration between scholars and the wider community” - Professor Mvuyo Tom, Chair of the Council of the Human Sciences Research Council and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare. Imonti Modern seeks to recount a previously untold narrative of East London’s Coloured and African locations after the Second World War and before these communities were ripped apart in the early 1960s by apartheid-era forced removals. Photographs, poems and oral accounts by former residents portray their public and cultural life in the city’s locations on the East and West Banks of the Buffalo River. In their own words and through their own pictures, these stories reveal how African residents created their own styles and forms of dress, music, leisure and home-making to forge a unique urban culture. How they created and occupied public spaces at the beach, in the dance hall, on the rugby pitch, in the boxing ring and at church and school. How they forged new social identities from the forms of consumption and aspiration that they found in the surrounding city. It also shows how their popular imagination was fired by the cultural and political example of black America, which offered hope for greater civic participation in a modern, developing world. This volume describes how a black urban world within a white city, a ghetto, became mobilised culturally, socially and politically to lay claim to the city as a whole, demanding full citizenship and equal rights for residents, before they were cast aside. The authors’ hope is that this history, this book, like the photographs and oral accounts upon which it relies, will restore the past to its previously marginalised subjects – fostering a new sense of belonging after the pain of dislocation and a dynamic of inclusivity that may shape East London’s future as a city.

Best Red

  • Product Information
  • Format: Soft cover 235 x 168mm
  • Pages: 256
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-9282-4623-7
  • Publish Year: Best Red
  • Rights: World Rights

Picturing the life and times of a South African Location The book covers spaces, times and persons usually neglected when histories are written. It uses words and images to present a hidden history of the small city of ‘iMonti’ during the middle decades of the 20th century. The book reveals a modernising cosmopolitanism and nascent non-racialism that apartheid destroyed... It is full of cultural gems that have been unearthed through careful research and sensitive collaboration between scholars and the wider community” - Professor Mvuyo Tom, Chair of the Council of the Human Sciences Research Council and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare. Imonti Modern seeks to recount a previously untold narrative of East London’s Coloured and African locations after the Second World War and before these communities were ripped apart in the early 1960s by apartheid-era forced removals. Photographs, poems and oral accounts by former residents portray their public and cultural life in the city’s locations on the East and West Banks of the Buffalo River. In their own words and through their own pictures, these stories reveal how African residents created their own styles and forms of dress, music, leisure and home-making to forge a unique urban culture. How they created and occupied public spaces at the beach, in the dance hall, on the rugby pitch, in the boxing ring and at church and school. How they forged new social identities from the forms of consumption and aspiration that they found in the surrounding city. It also shows how their popular imagination was fired by the cultural and political example of black America, which offered hope for greater civic participation in a modern, developing world. This volume describes how a black urban world within a white city, a ghetto, became mobilised culturally, socially and politically to lay claim to the city as a whole, demanding full citizenship and equal rights for residents, before they were cast aside. The authors’ hope is that this history, this book, like the photographs and oral accounts upon which it relies, will restore the past to its previously marginalised subjects – fostering a new sense of belonging after the pain of dislocation and a dynamic of inclusivity that may shape East London’s future as a city.

INTRODUCTION

EAST LONDON’S HIDDEN HISTORY

– Contested Histories

– A Lens on the Location – The Pictorial Record

– On Restitution

CHAPTER ONE

FROM LOCATION LIFE TO FORCED REMOVAL

– A City Divided

– Birth of a Slum

– Urban Life Shattered

– Removals and the Pain of Displacement

CHAPTER TWO

AFRICAN NATIONALISM AND RESISTANCE

– The Politics of Place

– The Rise of African Nationalism – The East Bank Massacre

CHAPTER THREE

LOCATIONS & GHETTOS IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE

– Townships and Locations

– The Jewish Ghetto and the African Location – The Black American Ghetto: A Trans-Atlantic Perspective

– The Charisma of East Bank and West Bank

CHAPTER FOUR

EAST BANK, WEST BANK: SOCIAL LIFE AND CULTURAL CONNECTIONS

A DOZEN ESSAYS:

  1. West Bank: United by Difference
  2. East Bank: A Multicultural Future Denied
  3. Music: This is the Modern World
  4. Style Wars: Panama Hats and Italian Spats
  5. Flags, Festivals and Fairs: Claiming Public Space
  6. Sunday Scene: Rituals of Community
  7. Home-making: Sunbeam Mums and Lux Ladies
  8. Boxing’s Tradition: Golden Gloves and City Slums
  9. Motor City: Subversive Car Culture
  10. Bathing While Black: The Freedom of Beach Culture
  11. The Rural in the Urban: Custom, Ethnicity and Tradition
  12. Revolutionary Cowboys: Sobukwe’s Soldiers

CHAPTER FIVE

THE DESTRUCTION OF A COMMUNITY AND THE AFTERLIFE OF LAND RESTITUTION

– After 1964: The Forced Removals

– After 1994: A Socio-economic Predicament – The Myth of a City

BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX

LESLIE J. BANK is a Deputy Executive Director at the HSRC in Cape Town and Adjunct Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Fort Hare, where he was formerly the Director of the Fort Hare Institute of Social and Economic Research.

MXOLISI K. QEBEYI is a community activist and historian, a photographer and film maker, who also served as a ward councillor in Duncan Village, formerly the East Bank location.

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