277pp., paperback, Johannesburg, 2020
Social scientist Archie Mafeje (1936-2007) was born in the Eastern Cape and lived most of his scholarly life in exile. In 1968 the UCT Council unanimously approved Mafeje's appointment as senior lecturer in social anthropology, but as a result of pressure from the apartheid government, rescinded its offer. Mafeje left South Africa, completed his PhD at Cambridge University and worked in Tanzania, The Hague and Namibia, before returning to South Africa in 2000 to work at the African Renaissance Centre at the University of South Africa.
"This is a brilliant and systematic exposition of the scholarly works of Archibald Monwabisi Mafeje. As far as I can tell, this is the first book-length effort to drill deep and unpack Mafeje’s scholarly works. At a time when ‘decolonisation’ of knowledge is stranded at the level of protest scholarship, Nyoka’s scholarly interrogation of Mafeje’s oeuvre is a welcome departure. We are introduced in a rich, in-depth, and critical way to the abundant resources that one of Africa’s most creative social scientists produced. Nyoka’s book deserves to be read; it should occupy a space on the shelf of every library." Jimi O. Adesina, Professor of Sociology and DSI/NRF SARChI Chair in Social Policy, College of Graduate Studies, University of South Africa (UNISA)
"The importance of this book lies in its comprehensive use of archival and source material, and how it is used to show the evolution of Mafeje’s ideas. Through a discussion of his critique of the social sciences, land and agrarian issues and revolutionary theory and politics, Nyoka also shows how Mafeje’s work is not only significant for anthropology, sociology and African studies in South Africa, but also raises questions that are relevant in the global North. Mafeje’s scholarship deserves a much broader readership than it has had to this point and this book makes an outstanding contribution to his becoming better known as an exceptional South African intellectual." Professor Crain Soudien, Chief Executive Officer of the Human Sciences Research Council
Bongani Nyoka is a lecturer in the Department of Political and International Studies, Rhodes University, and a senior research fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, University of Johannesburg.