BEN KIES: HIS CONTRIBUTION TO NEW SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT IN SOUTH AFRICA
Professor Crain Soudien, CEO, Human Sciences Research Council
In the late 1930s a group of young, radical, Cape Town intellectuals, most of them from disadvantaged backgrounds, unsettled their elders. They questioned their deference to the white, colonial authorities. This course brings this group, described by historian Bill Nasson as ‘people of towering intellect’ and the important contribution they made to social and political theory into view. The course focuses on the work of Benjamin Magson Kies, a member of the South African Workers’ Party and one of the founders of the New Era Fellowship in 1937, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Non-European Unity Movement in 1943. He was central to the making of Cape Town’s anti-establishment political culture and particularly the emergence of the theoretical positions of non-collaboration and non-racialism.
1. The cumulative significance of the Kies oeuvre
2. Ben Kies: an enduring anti-establishment intellectual tradition in Cape Town
Soudien, C. 2019. Cape Radicals: Intellectual and Political Thought of the New Era Fellowship, 930s-1960s. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.