Remembering South African writer Peter Abrahams: 1919 – 2017

first_imgSouth African writer Peter Abrahams died on 18 January 2017. An early pioneer in the exploration of race identity in South Africa, he was a literary giant who was at the forefront of capturing the injustice of apartheid.Writer Peter Abrahams was born in Vrededorp, Johannesburg, in 1919. He lived in London and Jamaica, and his extensive collection of fiction and non-fiction focussed on pan-Africanism and race identity in South Africa. (Image: Wikipedia)CD AndersonPeter Abrahams, who died aged 97 at his home in Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica, was one of South Africa’s most distinguished writers. His fiction and non-fiction work challenged and dissected the complexities of the black South African identity. His biting criticism of the early days of apartheid and his exploration of pan-Africanist philosophy were fuelled by the need to tell the world of the injustice of racism and colonialism.Abrahams will be remembered best for his Mine Boy, which was added to the South African school curriculum in the early 2000s.First published in 1946, Peter Abrahams’ Mine Boy exposed the condition of black South Africans under a white regime. It presents a portrait of labour discrimination, appalling housing conditions and one man’s humanitarian act of defiance. (Image: Justseeds website)Mine Boy, a brutal story of South African urban migration, became the first novel by a black South African to be published internationally. It was the third book by a black South African to be published, after Sol Plaatje’s Mhudi in 1930 and RRR Dhlomo’s 1928 novel, An African Tragedy.“I am emotionally involved in South Africa,” Abrahams said in 1957. “If I am ever liberated from this bondage of racialism, there are some things much more exciting to me, objectively, to write about. But this world has such a social orientation, and I am involved in this world and I can’t cut myself off.”During his most prolific years, 1946 to 1966, Abrahams wrote eight novels, as well as memoirs and political essays. His 1948 novel, The Path of Thunder, inspired the ballet piece, İldırımlı yollarla, by Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev.Abrahams’ early yearsAbrahams was born in Vrededorp, Johannesburg, in 1919 to an Ethiopian father and coloured mother.According to his obituary in The New York Times on 22 January 2017, Abrahams was inspired to read and write at a young age when he heard Shakespeare’s Othello. A prodigious student, he began contributing poetry and short fiction to so-called bantu publications after completing his basic education. As a young budding writer, he consumed literature, particularly the works of black American writers.“I read every one of the books on the shelf marked American Negro literature,” he wrote in his memoir Tell Freedom: Memories of Africa in 1954. “To (these) writings of men and women who lived a world away from me … I owe a great debt for crystallising my vague yearnings to write and for showing me the long dream was attainable.”This knowledge also inspired his political thought and his desire to capture the black South African psyche in words.Ship to LondonAfter a stint as the editor of a Durban socialist magazine in 1939, Abrahams found work aboard a ship bound for London. In the British capital, he worked as a journalist on the British Communist Party’s Daily Worker newspaper.Peter Abrahams’ 1956 novel A Wreath for Udomo was inspired by his friendships with with African intellectuals and revolutionaries in exile in the UK. The novel deals with the complex realities and conflicts between duty to nation and ideals. (Image: Justseeds website)He lived in London’s African immigrant community, meeting exiled political figures and intellectuals, including future Kenyan leader Jomo Kenyatta; Kwame Nkrumah, who would go on to lead Ghana to independence from Britain; and Trinidadian pan-Africanist George Padmore. The experience inspired his most multifaceted work, the 1956 novel A Wreath for Udomo, about political and social transitions in postcolonial Africa through the eyes of the continent’s political exiles. Renowned English literary scholar Harvey Curtis Webster called the book “the most perceptive novel … about the complex interplay between British imperialism and African nationalism”.During the 1950s, Abrahams travelled across Africa, including a return to South Africa to observe the rise of postcolonial, pan-Africanist political movements. These essays, long considered the most authoritative work on the era, were later published as Return to Goli.Settling in the CaribbeanAfter being commissioned by the British colonial office to research and write a comprehensive history of Jamaica, Abrahams wrote of the island and its people: “…in the stumbling and fumbling reaching forward of its people, is dramatized … the most hopeful image I know of the newly emerging underdeveloped world”.With his wife Daphne and their three children, he made Jamaica his home for over four decades.South Africa, however, remained foremost in his writing; in particular, it was the setting of his 1965 novel, A Night of Their Own, about the anti-apartheid underground. This inspired his 1985 magnum opus, The View From Coyaba, a detailed transgenerational novel about black struggle movements in Africa, America and the Caribbean.As he got older and the postcolonial era reached its pinnacle with the end of apartheid in the 1990s, Abrahams felt less obligation to capture the zeitgeist of black African political thought. Instead, he let new, younger literary voices speak about the evolving movement.Speaking to Caribbean Beat magazine in 2003, Abrahams said: “I became a whole person when I finally put away the exile’s little packed suitcase. When Mandela came out of jail and when apartheid ended, I ceased to have this burden of South Africa. I shed it.”Abrahams never returned to his country of birth.Overdue tribute?The Daily Maverick’s J Brooks Spector observes, in his lovingly detailed obituary of Abrahams on 25 January 2017, the often overlooked connection between South Africa and the writer, and begs an important question: “Surely there should be a (South African) library named in his honour, an endowed chair in African literature at one of the nation’s premier universities, and a publishing effort reprinting his output in a standard, uniform edition?““Embracing his memory as an early literary pioneer and impact as a writer must also take into consideration the eclecticism of his political thinking, his influence on the pan-African idea, and an ethnicity that embraced the near-totality of South African experience,” Spector concludes.Source: New York Times, Daily Maverick, South African History OnlineWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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Senate Bill sets up group to study trucking regulations

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., recently introduced legislation to revise existing trucking regulations to make them more flexible for drivers hauling livestock.The “Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act” would establish a working group at the Department of Transportation (DOT) to examine the federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules and the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations. The HOS rules limit commercial truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period. Once drivers reach that limit, they must pull over and wait 10 hours before driving again. ELDs record driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information, electronically reporting the data to federal and state inspectors to help enforce the HOS rules.The legislation requires the Secretary of Transportation to establish a working group within 120 days to identify obstacles to the “safe, humane, and market-efficient transport of livestock, insects, and other perishable agricultural commodities” and to develop guidelines and recommendations for regulatory or legislative action to improve the transportation of those commodities. The bill would suspend the ELD regulation for livestock haulers until the DOT secretary proposes the regulatory changes. The National Pork Producers Council supports the legislation as a reasonable solution for developing HOS rules that protect highway safety and allow livestock haulers to meet animal welfare standards.last_img read more

Pansare murder: court grants conditional bail to Dr. Tawde

first_imgIn yet another setback to the Govind Pansare murder case, the Kolhapur sessions court on Tuesday granted conditional bail to Hindutva activist Virendra Tawde, suspected to have played a key role in the killing of the veteran Communist leader.As per the bail conditions, Mr. Tawde’s passport will be impounded and he cannot leave the State.Mr. Tawde, an ENT specialist who worked actively for the radical Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (a splinter group of the Goa-based Sanatan Sanstha) is prime accused in the 2013 murder of rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar in Pune.He is now lodged in the high-security Yerwada Jail after the Additional Sessions Court in Pune quashed his bail plea in October last year.Expressing disappointment at Mr. Tawde being given bail, Megha Pansare, daughter-in-law of the deceased Communist leader, pointed to the slow pace of investigation, as Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar, the two activists of the Sanatan Sanstha suspected to have carried out the actual shooting of Pansare are still to be arrested.“The SIT’s delay in nabbing Akolkar and Pawar is stalling the trial of the accused such as Sameer Gaikwad and Tawde. We urge the State government to have a dedicated team within the SIT to pursue the case, affected by frequent transfers,” Ms. Pansare told The Hindu.In June last year, the court, after three rejections, gave conditional bail to Sanatan Sanstha activist Sameer Gaikwad, prime accused in the Pansare murder case. Gaikwad was picked up from Sangli in September 2015, the first arrest in the Pansare case.The veteran Communist leader, along with his wife Uma, was shot outside their home in Kolhapur’s Sagar Mal locality on February 16, 2015. Mr. Pansare succumbed to his wounds four days later.last_img read more

Mark Barroca wins PBA Governors’ Cup Finals MVP

first_imgIs Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Terrence Romeo tells Leo Austria: ‘I don’t care if I’m starting or not, I just want to win’ Barroca, who is now a six-time PBA champion, averaged 11 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game in the championship round.“This championship is special because it’s been a long time since we won the championship,” Barroca said in a TV interview shortly after the final buzzer of Game 6.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chief Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LATEST STORIES Magnolia guard Mark Barroca more than made up for his rough play in Game 4 that nearly cost him a suspension with a Finals MVP performance in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup title series against Alaska.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Mark Barroca upon receiving his Finals MVP trophy. #PBA2018 pic.twitter.com/oAbi3YobeJ— Bong Lozada (@BLozadaINQ) December 19, 2018 TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Lacson: 2019 budget delay due to P75-B House ‘insertion’ The 32-year-old Barroca helped the Hotshots close out the Aces in six games with 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal in a masterful 102-86 victory Wednesday night.Barroca bagged his second Finals MVP plum after also earning the recognition back in the 2014 Philippine Cup.Magnolia gave the Purefoods franchise its 14 crown overall and ended a four-year title drought.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ View commentslast_img read more