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Distributed for Seagull Books

Culture and Liberation

Exile Writings, 1966–1985

Edited by Christopher J. Lee
Foreword by Albie Sachs
Afterword by Bill Nasson

Distributed for Seagull Books

Culture and Liberation

Exile Writings, 1966–1985

Edited by Christopher J. Lee
Foreword by Albie Sachs
Afterword by Bill Nasson
One of South Africa’s best-known writers during the apartheid era, Alex La Guma was a lifelong activist and a member of the South African Communist Party and the African National Congress. Persecuted and imprisoned by the South African regime in the 1950s and 60s, La Guma went into exile in the United Kingdom with his wife and children in 1966, eventually serving as the ANC’s diplomatic representative for Latin America and the Caribbean in Cuba. Culture and Liberation captures a different dimension of his long writing career by collecting his political journalism, literary criticism, and other short pieces published while he was in exile.
This volume spans La Guma’s political and literary life in exile through accounts of his travels to Algeria, Lebanon, Vietnam, Soviet Central Asia, and elsewhere, along with his critical assessments of Paul Robeson, Nadine Gordimer, Maxim Gorky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Pablo Neruda, among other writers. The first dedicated collection of La Guma’s exile writing, Culture and Liberation restores an overlooked dimension of his life and work, while opening a window on a wider world of cultural and political struggles in Africa, Asia, and Latin America during the second half of the twentieth century.

624 pages | 6 x 9

The Africa List

African Studies

History: African History

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

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"La Guma has also inspired a consistent body of earnest and well-grounded scholarly study, much of it aimed at filling in the shadow in which the author’s career resides. Culture and Liberation is a new and worthy entrant that does the good work of concretising some of La Guma’s disappearing archive. The editor, Christopher J Lee, has gathered together a weighty assortment of essays, reports, reviews, interviews and stories penned over the course of La Guma’s career. These ancillary texts, the sort of thing writers do out of interest, obligation and a need to support life, are a vital if unwieldy archive through which La Guma’s abiding preoccupations can be traced." 

Johannesburg Review of Books

"A short review can only touch upon a few points in such a wide-ranging collection. Worth mentioning, though, is La Guma’s beautiful tribute to activist/singer/actor Paul Robeson as one example of a work I am grateful to have encountered. [. . .] Christopher J. Lee’s perceptive introduction is the best account I have seen of La Guma’s life and work. On its own, it is worth the price of the book. [. . .] It is to be hoped that the present volume will help spark greater awareness of the contributions of Alex La Guma to making the world a better place."

Marx and Philosophy Review of Books

Table of Contents

Foreword by Albie Sachs
A Note on Editing and Selection
Introduction by Christopher J. Lee

Part I. Political Worlds
Chapter 1. Great Power Conspiracy: Review (January 1967)
Chapter 2. The Time Has Come: New Forms of Struggle Face the South African Coloured Community (March 1967)
Chapter 3. The Time Has Come: S.A. Coloured People’s Social and Economic Deterioration (April 1967)
Chapter 4. The Time Has Come (May 1967)
Chapter 5. The Time Has Come: The Coloured People Must Prepare to Bear Arms for Liberation (June 1967)
Chapter 6. The Coloured Cadets Bill (October 1967)
Chapter 7. The Coloured People of South Africa (1968)
Chapter 8. Pumpkins and Dark Skins (1969)
Chapter 9. On the Coloured People (1970)
Chapter 10. The Immorality Act: South Africa’s Sex Law (August 1970)
Chapter 11. Dialogue ‘A Gross Betrayal’ (February 1972)
Chapter 12. Apartheid and the Coloured People of South Africa (September 1972)
Chapter 13. Vietnam: A People’s Victory (1973)
Chapter 14. Whither South Africa? (1974)
Chapter 15. Apartheid Coloured Council Flounders (1975)
Chapter 16. Africa and the USSR: A Friendly Handshake (1977)
Chapter 17. Apartheid is Not Just a Regional Problem (1979)
Chapter 18. Caribbean Against Apartheid (September 1979)
Chapter 19. ‘This is Our Vanguard, a Vanguard of Communists’ (1981)
Chapter 20. Caribbean – Nobody’s Backyard (1982)
Chapter 21. Israel and South Africa – Where the Vultures Perch (1983)
Chapter 22. Message to the People and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (1983)
Chapter 23. Israel-South Africa: The Unholy Alliance (1983)
Chapter 24. Cuba and Africa (1984)
Chapter 25. Tribute to Indira Gandhi (1985)

Part II. Cultural Scenes and Arguments
Chapter 26. The Third Afro-Asian Writers’ Conference (1967)
Chapter 27. Culture and Apartheid in South Africa (1968)
Chapter 28. Culture and Revolution (October 1969)
Chapter 29. African Culture and National Liberation (1969)
Chapter 30. Paul Robeson and Africa (1971)
Chapter 31. The Condition of Culture in South Africa (1971)
Chapter 32. GDR Opera Supports Liberation Struggle (1974)
Chapter 33. Culture and Liberation (1976)
Chapter 34. Has Art Failed South Africa? (1977)
Chapter 35. To Alternate Member of the Politbureau, CPSU CC, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan, Comrade Sharaf R. Rashidov (1978)
Chapter 36. Report of the Acting Secretary General (1979)
Chapter 37. Final Speech, Secretary General of the Afro-Asian Writers Association (1979)
Chapter 38. ‘Walk Among the Multitudes’ (1981)
Chapter 39. To Yuri Andropov, General Secretary of the CC CPSU, President of the USSR Supreme Soviet (1983)
Chapter 40. Is There a South African National Culture? (1985)

Part III. Literary Criticism and the Writing Life
Chapter 41. Literature and Life (1970)
Chapter 42. Address by Lotus Award Winner (1971)
Chapter 43. A Poet Is Born (1972)
Chapter 44. On Short Stories (1973)
Chapter 45. In Memory of Hutch: Alfred Hutchinson (South Africa) (1973)
Chapter 46. Lust without Passion (1973)
Chapter 47. Alexander Solzhenitsyn: ‘Life through a Crooked Eye’ (1974)
Chapter 48. Hello or Goodbye, Athol Fugard? (1974)
Chapter 49. Against Literary Apartheid (1974)
Chapter 50. Sounds of a Cowhide Drum by Oswald Joseph Mtshali (1974)
Chapter 51. I Came Here to Sing: A Tribute to Pablo Neruda (1974)
Chapter 52. South African Freedom Poetry (1975)
Chapter 53. South African Writing under Apartheid (1975)
Chapter 54. What I Learned From Maxim Gorky (1977)

Part IV. Five Stories and One Play
Chapter 55. Come Back to Tashkent (1970)
Chapter 56. The Man in the Tree (1971)
Chapter 57. The Exile (1972)
Chapter 58. Late Edition (1972)
Chapter 59. Thang’s Bicycle (1976)
Chapter 60. Blankets (1978)

Part V. Interviews and Memoir
Chapter 61. Alex La Guma, South African Author Recently Settled in London (November 1966)
Chapter 62. A Home Away from Home (1969)
Chapter 63. Why I Joined the Communist Party (1971)
Chapter 64. Answers to Our Questionnaire (1977)
Chapter 65. Why I Joined the Communist Party: Doing Something Useful (1982)
Chapter 66. Two Letters from Sechaba (1984)
Chapter 67. ‘My Books Have Gone Back Home’ (1984)
Chapter 68. Report of the Secretary General to the Seventh General (25th Anniversary) Conference, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, September-October 1983 (1985)

Afterword by Bill Nasson
Works Cited
Notes on Contributors

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