Anti-CAD Bulletin and Torch
Schooling the nation through words: reading and writing in the Non-European Unity Movement, 1940s-1950s
The production and circulation of newspapers, periodicals and pamphlets by members of the Anti-CAD, All-African Convention and the Non-European Unity Movement (as well as the Teachers’ League of South Africa and the Cape African Teachers’ Association) during the 1940s and 1950s) should be understood as part of a wider system of alternative education and public knowledge. Indeed, I suggest that the entire institutional edifice of the AAC and Unity Movement can be understood as a massive initiative in public education, which saw the creation of a body of symbolic expressions, rhetorical strategies, methods of analysis and an entire repertoire of research, knowledge creation and dissemination.
Through the Anti-CAD Bulletin, the Torch and other newspapers as well as a regular programme of pamphleteering, political mobilisation through the reading, talking and listening became a means to circulate a set of concepts and ways of knowing that formed the basis of the creation of bonds of solidarity and a way of knowing South African society. However, this cultural order also reinforced the distinction between writers and readers and speakers and listeners in which the hierarchies of the school were transferred to the political movement. This is a study of how words and concepts were central to political mobilisation and unity, but also to the formation of internal contradictions and political dissidence.
Ciraj Rassool is Professor of History at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and directs the Remaking Societies, Remaking Persons Supranational Forum. His latest co-authored and co-edited publications are The Politics of Heritage in Africa: Economies, Histories and Infrastructures (New York, 2015); Rethinking Empire in Southern Africa (published as Journal of Southern African Studies, […]