Koni Benson is an historian, organizer, and educator. She is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of the Western Cape.
Her research focuses on collective interventions in histories of contested development and the mobilization, demobilization, and remobilization of struggle history in southern Africa’s past and present. This involves working with various archives and coproducing life histories of self-organization and unfolding political struggles of collective resistance against displacement and for access to land and public services (such as water, housing, and education) in South Africa. These connections grew through the eight years she spent at the International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG) doing research and education work with trade unions and social movements. She is committed to creative approaches to history that link art, activism, and African history, and draws on critical approaches to people’s history projects, popular education, and feminist collaborative research praxis, in her work with social movement archives, and with various student, activist, and cultural collectives in southern Africa. She teaches courses on Memory and the City; Comparative Slave Rebellions in the Cape and the Caribbean; Activist Archives; and Oral History. She is a co-convenor of Revolutionary Papers, a transnational research collaboration exploring anti-colonial periodicals from across the global south, and is part of the facilitating collective of Know Your Continent (KYC), an African history popular education program.
Koni Benson is the author of Crossroads: I Live Where I Like, a graphic novel history on women’s organized resistance to forced removals in South Africa, (illustrated by the Trantraal Brothers and Ashley Marais, forward by Robin D.G. Kelley, PM Press, 2021). She is the co-author with Faeza Meyer of Writing Out Loud: Interventions in the History of A Land Occupation (forthcoming). With Asher Gamedze and Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, she co-produced “Radical Histories II: Ottilie Abrahams Speaks,” Owela (Kaleni Kolletive, 2019). With Feminist Alternatives, she co-produced My Dream is to Be Bold: Our Work to End Patriarchy (Pambazuka/ Michigan State UP, 2010). Her writing has been published by the Journal of Southern African Studies, African Studies Review, Feminist Africa, Gender Place and Culture: Feminist Geography, Education as Change, Agenda, Agitate, South African Labour Bulletin, Zambezia, Khanya College Journal, Pathways to Free Education, ILRIG, Zmagazine, and newspapers in South Africa, Canada, Kenya, and Namibia.
Teaching Tools by Koni Benson
The Namibian Review: A Journal of Contemporary South West African Affairs was published between 1976-1987. Initially it was produced by the Namibian Review Group (later known as the Swedish Namibian Association) and 14 editions were printed by Namibian political exiles in Sweden between 1976-1978. In 1979 the journal was translocated from Stockholm to Windhoek where […]
Journals presented by Koni Benson
The Namibian Review: A Journal of Contemporary South West African was first published in 1976 and came out over a decade of intensities of armed struggle and fierce debates about forms of the postcolonial future. Initially it was produced by the Namibian Review Group (known as the Swedish Namibian Association) and 14 editions were printed […]