Founded In    1999
Published   quarterly
Language(s)   English

Fields of Interest


Humanities and Social Sciences

ISSN   1543-1304
Publisher   Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Editorial Board

  Andrew Offenburger, Yale University

  Rita Barnard, University of Pennsylvania
  Christopher Saunders, University of Cape Town

  Andrew Van der Vlies, University of Sheffield

  Azeem Badroodien, University of Nottingham
  Surendra Bhana, University of Kansas
  Derek Catsam, University of Texas of the Permian Basin
  Greg Cuthbertson, University of South Africa
  Leigh Anne Duck, University of Memphis
  Norman Etherington, University of Western Australia
  George M. Fredrickson, Stanford University
  Christopher J. Lee, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  Alex Lichtenstein, Florida International University
  Peter Limb, Michigan State University
  Sabine Marschall, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  Lesley Marx, University of Cape Town
  Pearl McHaney, Georgia State University
  David Chioni Moore, Macalester College
  Peter Rachleff, Macalester College
  Rene Schatteman, Georgia State University
  Robert C.-H. Shell, University of the Western Cape
  Sandy Shell, University of Cape Town
  Keyan Tomaselli, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  Luvuyo Wotshela, University of Fort Hare

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies
Mailing Address

Safundi Publications
P.O. Box 206788
New Haven, CT 06520
(203) 548-9155 / Phone
(203) 548-9177 / Fax

Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies


Safundi -- "S" represents "South Africa," "a" stands for "America," and "fundi" comes from the Xhosa verb, "-funda," which translates as "to read/learn."

Safundi is an online community of scholars, professionals, and others interested in comparing and contrasting the United States of America with the Republic of South Africa.

Our journal, Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, is the centerpiece of our online community. We believe that analyzing the two countries in a comparative and transnational context enhances our perspective on each, individually. While new comparative research is the focus of the journal, we also publish articles specifically addressing one country, provided the articles are of interest to the comparative scholar. Furthermore, our subject matter is as permeable as any country's border: we will consider research addressing other colonial and postcolonial states in Southern Africa and North America.

Articles that Safundi publishes are academic in nature. Research papers are reviewed as they are submitted. Scholarly essays are welcomed. Any topic may be addressed. We hope to provide our readers with a diverse and insightful collection of articles in each issue.

We publish on a quarterly basis. Our journal is peer-reviewed. Submissions are vetted by the editors-in-chief and the editorial board before they are accepted for publication.

The views expressed in the articles are those of the authors and not of the editors or of Safundi itself.


» Visit Journal Web Site

July 2013, Volume 14, Number 3

Looking from South Africa to the World: A Story of Identity for our Times

The article is a consideration of the question of identity in South Africa, and also in a global context. Just as South Africa has looked to the world in order to understand its place, so too the world might look to South Africa to illuminate patterns less immediately visible elsewhere. Far from being unrepresentative in the apartheid period, South Africa was the 'state of exception' that incarnated and concentrated global realities; equally in the current era the reciprocal relations between the South African and the global evoke haunting concerns. The article begins with a consideration of the 'classic' generation of anti-apartheid activists, including figures such as Nelson Mandela and Bram Fischer, as they fashioned a new sense of South African identity. Yet it goes on to consider what happens when the classic period is over, and older definitions and oppositions are no longer available. Here the navigations of fiction, both in South Africa and elsewhere, become significant, and the article examines the work of writers from Gordimer, Coetzee and Ndebele, to Caryl Phillips and W. G. Sebald. It ends with a contemplation of the current period, nearly twenty years after the democratic transition in South Africa. In the era of the Marikana massacre and other pressing developments, both music and fiction open up some of the ambiguities and obligations. Drawing on Agamben, I suggest the intrinsic mutuality of the 'home' and the 'foreign' in establishing a more promising -- and challenging -- sense of belonging and identity both in South Africa and the world.

Clingman's Question to Mandela and the Problem of Identity

Writing and Reading: Boundaries of Identity

The Long-Distance South African: A Story of Reading for our Times

At the Verge

This essay responds to the idea of "living the boundary" that Stephen Clingman develops in "A Story of Identity for our Times" and The Grammar of Identity. In mythical and wisdom traditions, revolutionary tricksters are often associated with thresholds, because travel across spatial, perceptual, or political limits is what allows cultural transformation to take place. In South Africa and elsewhere, boundaries are where culture is re-made.

"Yours for Socialism": Communist Cultural Discourse in Early Apartheid South Africa

This paper explores the diversity of cultural debates which constellated around the Communist Party in South Africa in the late segregationist and early apartheid periods. It traces the textual remains of an itinerant public debate--dispersed in periodical reviews, magazine articles, journalistic tit-bits and other ephemeral public sphere activities such as debating societies, theater groups and discussion clubs--with a view to complicating and expanding the South African literary-cultural archive. Of particular importance are the practices and protocols of reading, cultural critique and interpretation that characterized the intellectual-political field--or public sphere--which we name the Communist Party. In this way, a fragmented cultural discussion is provisionally reconstituted or "invented" as an important South African tradition and reclaimed as a significant intellectual inheritance. The project thus bears on broader question of reading the past and attempts to negotiate an historical split between uncritical nostalgia and the will to transcend.

A "Bloody Epidemic": Whiteness and Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa

During the last years of the apartheid state, white South Africa was gripped by a so-called epidemic of family murder. This article examines the body of contemporary press responses to these killings to analyze the persistent assumption made by newspaper and magazine writers that the family murderer was necessarily white, male, Afrikaans, and conservative, and to think about what white family murder meant within the late apartheid imaginary. The explicit performativity of whiteness in South Africa, the injunctions attendant upon white privilege, and the difference between reactions to these deaths and the way in which "black-on-black violence" was conceptualized are combined to illustrate how the understanding of family murder as a primarily white phenomenon reflected South African modalities of race, most particularly of how the idea of whiteness operated in the late apartheid context and how it related to national understandings of violence.

The Ethics of Waste in Zo Wicomb's You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town

Zo Wicomb's You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town (1987) uses bodily and material waste to figure larger social processes of marginalization, dispossession, and racial abjection during the apartheid era. As the apartheid regime sought to devalue the lives of those categorized as "Black" and "Coloured," while simultaneously profiting from their land and labor, it pushed non-white South Africans into dangerous proximity to hazardous and unseemly waste. Waste, in You Can't Get Lost in Cape Town, becomes both metonymy and metaphor. Wicomb not only uses it to index the historical and material processes of abjection that obtained in twentieth-century South Africa; she also takes up garbage, feces, vomit, and other refuse as an ethical lens for the consideration of how individual and collective subjectivities are formed by what is thrown away. In its relationship to waste of all kinds, the individual body becomes a site in which social processes of acceptance and disavowal play out.

Countercultural Influences on Resistance to Conscription in 1980s South Africa

A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality, and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics

Fight for Democracy: The ANC and the Media in South Africa

Safundi Book Notes

Other Issues

April 2007, Volume 8, Number 2
January 2007, Volume 8, Number 1
Deterritorializing American Culture, 23
Safundi Issue 22, Issue 22
George Fredrickson's White Supremacy , Issue 21
October 2005, Issue 20
July 2005, Issue 19
April 2005, Issue 18
January 2005, Issue 17
October 2004, Issue 16
July 2004, Issue 15
April 2004, Issue 13-14
October 2003, Issue 12
July 2003, Issue 11
April 2003, Issue 10
May 2002, Issue 09
February 2002, Issue 08
November 2001, Issue 07
July 2001, Issue 06
April 2001, Issue 05
January 2001, Issue 04
October 2000, Issue 03
July 2000, Issue 02