[Sponsored] ‘A magnificent achievement’—Find out more about Morafe: Person, Family and Nation in Colonial Bechuanaland by Khumisho Moguerane

Jacana Media is thrilled to announce the release of Morafe: Person, Family and Nation in Colonial Bechuanaland, 1880s—1950s by Khumisho Moguerane.

‘A magnificent achievement that changes much of what we think we know about southern African history.’—Isabel Hofmeyr, Professor Emeritus at WiSER, Wits University, and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University

Morafe is an illuminating historical work that explores the history of the British territories of British Bechuanaland and the Bechuanaland Protectorate through the history of one family. In a word, Khumisho has described Morafe as a story of ‘connectedness’, the successes and failures of maintaining connections between husbands and wives, parent and child, of tenant and landowner and of government and people.

About the book

In Morafe, Moguerane has written a vivid exploration of two generations of the prominent Molema family. They were ‘border people’ who straddled what would become present-day South Africa and Botswana.

The book begins in the eighteen-eighties at the frontier of the new British territories of British Bechuanaland (North West and Northern Cape provinces) and the Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana), where the political boundary between these two territories is negligible and where skin colouring did not yet necessarily connect with a particular social or political status, nor did it yet necessarily connect with a particular social or political status, nor did it yet really affect economic opportunity.

Morafe ends in the nineteen-fifties, where the political boundary matters profoundly, dividing two different colonial dispensations of colonial racial ordering and classification and two traditions of nationalist politics. With this landmark publication, Moguerane reveals that the ‘nation’ is less ‘out there’ in public institutions and political struggles but ‘in here’, in the everyday drama of personal and ordinary lives.

When it was released in 1996, The Seed is Mine: The Life of Kas Maine, a South African Sharecropper 1894—1985 by Charles van Onselen changed how a generation of historians understood South African history and biography; Moguerane’s magisterial approach in Morafe will similarly change our relationship to southern African history.

About the author

Khumisho Moguerane is a historian at the University of Johannesburg. She is interested in how ordinary people experienced colonial rule and the political and cultural worlds they fashioned along the colonial frontier. She explores how people’s everyday struggles for moral reputation informed political identity and contestations for power.

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