Pre-order! Ausi Told Me: Why Cape Herstoriographies Matter by June Bam – fascinating insights into life at the Cape over several centuries
More about the book!
Ausi Told Me: Why Cape Herstoriographies Matter is now available for pre-order from Jacana Media.
The book provides fascinating insights into life at the Cape over several centuries, the indigenous inhabitants and their accumulated knowledge, and how attempts were made to systematically erase this knowledge during the colonial and apartheid eras.
Yet the wisdom of the ages still resides with the Ausidi, the female, intergenerational knowledge-keepers who are revered for the central role they played in Rondevlei, Hardevlei and other communities on the Cape Flats before the forced removals from the 1960s onwards changed the landscape forever.
Ausi Told Me delves into many of the untold stories of the Cape, challenging various scholarly assumptions about the origins and enduring influence of the Khoi and San in the languages and cultures of southern Africa. The meticulously well-researched text is also skilfully interwoven with stories from current and former residents of the Cape Flats who speak candidly about their childhood experiences, the vast expanses of plants and flowers that used to more than satisfy local communities’ food and medicinal requirements, and the Ausidi – the formidable yet selfless family matriarchs, many of whom refused to be cowed by the apartheid regime’s forced removal policy and fought to protect their cherished livestock and land.
Ausi Told Me: Why Cape Herstoriographies Matter serves as a reminder that popular history is not unassailable; it should be regularly questioned and, where necessary, challenged. The book makes a powerful case for a decolonised approach to exploring and interpreting southern Africa’s neglected past – in which the stories, dreams, visions and rituals passed down through the generations are recognised once more as critical sources of scholarly knowledge and physical and emotional wellbeing.
About the author
June Bam heads up the San and Khoi Unit at the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, having previously held research fellowships at York and Kingston universities. She also leads the !Gâ re – Rangatiratanga – Dadirri group comprising indigenous scholars from the Worldwide Universities Network.
Other career highlights include: co-editor of Re-thinking Africa: Indigenous Women Re-interpret Southern Africa’s Pasts (2021); co-editor of Whose History Counts (2018); visiting professor with Stanford University’s overseas programme (2014–2020); recipient of the Unesco Peace Education Prize for South Africa (2008) for the collaborative work Turning Points in History; and finalist in the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences inaugural awards (2020).