223pp., illus., paperback, Athens, 2020
A short biography of Josie Mpama/Palmer (1903-1979), an anti-apartheid activist and outspoken advocate for women’s social equality. The first black woman to join the Communist Party of South Africa, in 1947 she was appointed Secretary of the newly formed Transvaal All-Women's Union and later served as President of the Transvaal branch of the Federation of South African Women. She was placed under a banning order just before the Women's March to the Union Buildings in August 1956 and detained in 1960 after the Sharpeville massacre.
“A fascinating, deeply researched biography of a key figure in black South African politics - a wonderful addition to our understanding of the early history of the South African Communist Party. The chapters on Josie Mpama’s family history are particularly illuminating on the complexities of ‘race’ in South African society." Iris Berger, author of Women in Twentieth-Century Africa
Robert R. Edgar is Professor of African studies at Howard University and the editor of An African American in South Africa: the travel notes of Ralph J. Bunche.