MORNINGSIDE – Durban author, Julian Brown, will be releasing yet another brilliant novel this year, and just in time for Youth Day. His novel, Road to Soweto, examines the emergence of new forms of politics, of ideology, and of public protest in the decade before the explosion of the Uprising.
Brown is a senior lecturer in Political Studies at Wits University, and the author of South Africa’s Insurgent Citizens (Jacana 2015) and now The Road to Soweto (Jacana 2016). He was born and grew up in Durban (the son of ex-Durban Art Galley curator Carol Brown), where he earned his BA and MA at the University of Natal.
He earned his DPhil in Modern History from the University of Oxford, graduating in 2010. 2016, a year of recollection and remembrance – it is 40 years after the Soweto Uprisings, a date that marks a significant shift in the struggle against apartheid, but it is the year where a generation of so-called “born frees” are again fighting for access to education.
So why another book on the 1976 Soweto student uprising ? In the four decades since the Soweto Uprising, a consensus account of the politics of the mid-1970s, and the role of Soweto in them, has emerged. In this account, the Uprising arises out of a period of political inactivity. It is the moment of the emergence of a new generation of activists – mostly under the age of twenty – who would go on to drive politics in the future. And it was the product of local resistance to national state policies and practices, shaped by the experiences of students in Soweto, of youth gangs in the neighbourhood, and their contingent encounters with the police, and taken up nationally. This consensus story sees the Soweto Uprising as a moment of transition, from apartheid hegemony to popular resistance. But was the decade before 1976 ever as inactive as this story supposes? In this book Julian Brown takes up that question.
The formal launch of the book will take place at Ike’s Books and Collectables, in Morningside.