Hidden Voices: The decolonisation of knowledge production in South Africa
Flashes in Her Soul: The Life of Jabu Ndlovu by Jean Fairbairn is out in May from Jacana Media as part of the Hidden Voices series.
The life and times of Jabu Ndlovu, a strong woman – wife, mother, worker, union activist – who fought for the rights of her fellow workers and community members.
Flashes in Her Soul is the second book in the Hidden Voices series and is the story of Jabu Ndlovu, a shop steward of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and a community leader in Imbali near Pietermaritzburg.
‘My message is to encourage the women to struggle, even if they are not working, to be active within the community. They must help the community, especially the youth – help them when they have got problems’ – Jabu Ndlovu
Jabu, her husband and her oldest daughter were killed in a brutal attack on their home in May 1989. This story shows the courage and compassion with which Jabu fought against all forms of exploitation. Her story represents the experiences of thousands of women who struggled and suffered as a result of the war in KwaZulu-Natal in the 1980s and 1990s. Jabu’s story reminds us of the devastation that violence brings to families, communities and organisations.
The politics and dynamics behind the violence today are not the same as in the 1980s and early 1990s, but the need remains for strong and moral leaders like Jabu to speak out and organise against the violence and the moral corruption that lies behind it.
‘This book reminds us that before 1990 conditions on the ground meant that a determined union supporter such as Ndlovu could pay with her life for being a militant organiser. The new South Africa was not won cheaply.’ – William Freund, Professor Emeritus of Economic History, University of KwaZulu-Natal
The Hidden Voices series seeks to publish key texts, books, documents and other materials that were never published under apartheid or seminal books that have gone out of print. We hope that these recovered, lost or forgotten voices will help reinvigorate the humanities and social sciences and contribute to the decolonisation of knowledge production in South Africa and indeed throughout Africa.
Series curators and originators
Karin Pampallis is the Hidden Voices project manager. She is currently a researcher at the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP), at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Edward Webster is the Hidden Voices programme director and Professor Emeritus in the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP), at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is an internationally recognised sociologist and is the author of numerous books and research reports.