Biko, Turner & the Durban Moment

If for some reason you happen to find yourself in Gauteng tomorrow, then do yourself a favour and head on down to the University of Pretoria. The Faculty of Humanities will be hosting the launch of Ian Macqueen’s recently published book, Black Consciousness and Progressive Movements under Apartheid. A synopsis of the book refers to the fact that the Black Consciousness (BC) movement tends to be viewed in isolation, or at least within strict parameters, with most people seeing it as the mirror image of white minority rule. What Macqueen points out is that no political movement stands alone, and in this intellectual discussion of BC he looks at the relationship between the various movements of the time, from radical Christianity to feminism, trade unionism and liberalism, including the discourse between Steve Biko and Rick Turner, and the influence of the Durban Moment on Black Consciousness.

Of particular interest in relationship to the Liberation Heritage Route is Macqueen’s focus on what he terms ‘radical spaces’ that encouraged oppositional debate during apartheid: places such as Beatrice Street (now Charlotte Maxeke Street) and the Medical School in Durban; the University Christian Movement at Jorissen Street in Johannesburg; and Cape Town’s Mowbray Centre. Macqueen highlights the significance of the physical spaces that played such an important role at a time when movement within South Africa was so severely restricted.

Ian Macqueen is a lecturer in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies at the University of Pretoria. He is also a research associate of the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand. For further information please visit the Facebook page of the UKZN Press

Image of Steve Biko courtesy of africancurators.com

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