MELANCHOLIA OF FREEDOM, social life in an Indian township in South African

: Hansen (T.B.)

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354 pp., illus., paperback, First S.A.Edition, Johannesburg, 2013.

 

First published in the USA in 2012.

Thomas Blom explores five decades of ordinary, everyday township life in Chatsworth, a formerly Indian township in Durban, and analyses the uncertainties, dreams and anxieties that have accompanied post-apartheid freedoms.

"With profound insight, Hansen explores the struggles of South African Indians to take possession of their new political and cultural liberty since the end of apartheid. Showing how they are haunted by a past they cannot openly mourn and bereft of the ambiguous certainties once ensured by a racist state, this compelling and highly original book calls on us to rethink the complex challenges that attend the meaning of freedom everywhere." Jean Commaroff, University of Chicago

Thomas Blom is Professor of Anthropology and the Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of South Asian Studies at Stanford University.

"This excellent book provides a subtle and convincingly argued analysis of the 'embarrassment' inherent in belonging to a community which was marginal-within-marginal to the South African mainstream. In exploring complicities
and dependencies as well as forms of resistance, and in fusing together issues of politics, popular culture, and religion, it takes a substantial step beyond much of the literature in postapartheid South Africa." Deborah James, London School of Economics and Political Science