‘A curious little sideline’: white women and black politics (1926–1936)
‘A CURIOUS LITTLE SIDELINE’: WHITE WOMEN AND BLACK POLITICS (1926–1936)
Elizabeth van Heyningen, historian, author, lecturer
In an era of expanding nationalism, the Covid-19 pandemic reminds us forcibly that we live in a global world. Can lessons from the past teach us to cope with present crises? This course offers an unfamiliar perspective in which three white women attempted to understand the forces of change in the African colonial world after the First World War and sought enlightened routes to reform. Mabel Palmer, Winifred Holtby and Ethelreda Lewis never acted alone. They formed part of a network that ranged from such luminaries as Leonard Woolf to local activists like Clements Kadalie, A.W.G Champion and William Ballinger of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union. In an era of economic depression, rising fascism, communism, and a loss of faith in the value of cooperation, they worked for a more enlightened world.
1. Mabel Palmer: economic and social underpinning of racism in South Africa
2. Winifred Holtby: a journalist’s perspective on South Africa
3. Ethelreda Lewis: a writer who influenced South African history
This course will be offered on the Microsoft Teams platform. Participants will be sent a link.
Holtby, W. 1982. (1933). Mandoa, Mandoa! London: Virago Press.
Lewis, E. 1984. (1933). Wild Deer. Cape Town: David Philip.
Shaw, M. 1999. The Clear Stream: A Life of Winifred Holtby. London: Virago Press.
Couzens, T. 1992. Tramp Royal. The True Story of Trader Horn. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.