Archive | Past events

Exhibition of cartoons by Eddie Roux

From left to right are Jeremy Cronin, Prof Deirde Pretorius, and Prof Steven Friedman.

An exhibition entitled ‘MAYIBUYE! – the Umsebenzi cartoons of Eddie Roux’ opened at JIAS on Monday 17 September 2018.

The opening was addressed by Deirdre Pretorius, Associate Professor of Graphic Design in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at UJ; Jeremy Cronin, Deputy Minister of Public Works, and member of the Central Committee and Politburo of the South African Communist Party (SACP); and Steven Friedman, professor of politics at UJ.

Best known as the author of Time Longer than Rope (1948), Roux was a botanist, founder member of the Young Communist League, member of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA), and later a member of the Liberal Party.

In 1930, he took over the production and distribution of the CPSA weekly newspaper The South African Worker, and renamed it Umsebenzi (The Worker). He continued to work on the paper in various capacities until he left the CPSA in 1936. In this period, he not only wrote for and edited the newspaper, but drew cartoons for it as well.

The exhibition has been curated by Prof Pretorius. At the opening, she talked about the cartoons, and Cronin and Friedman about Roux’s life and politics.


The exhibition will hang at JIAS for a year. Viewing is by appointment only. Please contact JIAS staff.


In Rebel Pity: the Life of Eddie Roux, partly written by Roux and completed after his death by his wife, Winifred, he commented as follows about the cartoons:

“A feature of the new weekly was its cartoons. These I made myself in the form of linocuts. The problem was not so much to execute the cuts, for I had always had some facility in drawing, as to think up a new subject each week. I had little time to think except at weekends. The cartoons were worth it, however, for they added considerably to the attractiveness of the little paper, and as I cut the lino I encouraged myself by the thought that the space filled by a cartoon saved me so many hours of laborious type-setting.’


For a monograph containing the wall notes and a timeline of Roux’s life prepared by Prof Pretorius, as well as reproductions of some of the exhibits, click here.


This portrait of Eddie Roux appears on the frontispiece in Rebel Pity: The  Life of Eddie Roux, by Eddie & Win Roux (Rex Collings, London, 1970). Given that it must have been taken more than 50 years ago, we believe it is now in the public domain, and may therefore be freely reproduced.


To view a webcast of the opening, click here.

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Second panel discussion on work and the future

Cosatu president S’Dumo Dlamini delivers his opening remarks.

The second of four JIAS panel discussions on ‘Work and the Future’ was held on Wednesday 22 August 2018.

Entitled ‘Trade Union Perspectives’, this panel considered the views of workers on the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the future of work, and what trade unions are doing to secure their members’ futures.

Panelists included S’Dumo Dlamini, president of Cosatu, and Modupi Maile, first vice-president of NACTU.

The discussion was chaired by Fiona Tregenna, holder of the SARChI Chair in Industrial Development at UJ, and a Professor of Economics and Econometrics at the same university.

For more information about the series and the remaining two discussions, click here.

NACTU vice-president Modupi Maile makes a point.

Prof Fiona Tragenna during the discussion.


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First panel discussion on work and the future

Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal, during his introductory remarks.

On Wednesday 15 August 2018, JIAS held the first of four panel discussions on Work and the Future’. This opening panel discussed the broad changes involved in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, their implications for the future of work, and whether South Africa is capable of addressing them. Panelists included Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UJ, and Enoch Godongwana, chairperson of the ANC NEC Economic Transformation Sub-committee. About forty people attended. The introductory remarks were followed by a lively discussion. For details about the next three panel discussions, click here.

Dr Bongani Ngqulunga, Deputy Director of JIAS, introduces the panelists.


Enoch Godongwana, chair of the economic transformation subcommittee of the ANC NEC, during his introductory remarks.


Part of the audience during the panel discussion.

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Discussion of new book on Sol Plaatje

Dr Brian Willan delivers the opening talk at the discussion in the Chinua Achebe Auditorium in the UJ Library.

On Tuesday 21 August 2018, JIAS and Jacana Media, in partnership with the UJ Library, hosted a discussion of Sol Plaatje: A Life of Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje, 1876–1932, by Brian Willan.

Following Dr Willan’s opening talk, the book was discussed by Prof Mcebisi Ndletyana and Prof Liz Gunner. A question and answer session followed. The event was chaired by Dr Bongani Ngqulunga, Deputy Director of JIAS.


The book tells the story of Plaatje’s remarkable life, placing it in the context of the changes that overtook South Africa during his lifetime, and the huge obstacles he had to overcome. It draws upon extensive new research in archives in southern Africa, Europe and the United States, as well as an expanding scholarship on Plaatje and his writings.

Today, Sol Plaatje is celebrated as one of South Africa’s most accomplished political and literary figures. He was a pioneer in the history of the black press, the editor of several newspapers, and one of the founders, in 1912, of the African National Congress. He led the ANC’s campaign against the notorious Natives Land Act of 1913, and twice travelled overseas to represent the interests of his people.

Plaatje wrote several books, including – in English – Native Life in South Africa (1916), a powerful denunciation of the Land Act and the policies that led to it, and a pioneering novel, Mhudi (1930). Years after his death, his diary of the Siege of Mafeking was retrieved and published, providing a unique view of one of the best known episodes in the South African War of 1899–1902.

About the author

Brian Willan holds a doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University, and is currently an Honorary Research Associate of the Institute for the Study of English in Africa at Rhodes University. He has written extensively on Sol Plaatje and other aspects of nineteenth and twentieth century South African history. Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present, a multi-author volume edited by Willan, Janet Remmington and Bheki Peterson, was published by Wits University Press in 2016.

Dr Bongani Ngqulunga introduces the author.

Dr Willan, Prof Mcebisi Ndletyana, and Prof Liz Gunner.

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Launch of book by Prof Chris Brink

Prof Chris Brink addresses the launch.

ON Wednesday 19 September 2018, JIAS, the Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education at UJ, and the UJ Postgraduate School hosted the Gauteng launch of a book by Prof Chris Brink entitled The Soul of a University: Why excellence is not enough.

Chris Brink is Emeritus Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, and a former Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University.

After an introduction by the author, the book was discussed by a panel comprising Prof Jonathan Jansen, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State; and Prof Tawane Kupe, a Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand.


In this innovative book, Chris Brink offers the timely reminder that universities should have social purpose, as well as achieve academic excellence. They should focus not only on what they are good at, but also on what they are good for. He also argues that the current obsession with rankings and league tables has perpetuated inequality, and is preventing social mobility. This book shows how universities can – and should – respond to societal challenges, and promote positive social change. (Bristol University Press, 2018.)

More about Prof Brink

Chris Brink is a South African mathematician and academic, and a graduate of Rand Afrikaans University, forerunner to UJ. He served as Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University from 2007 until 2016. Previously, he was Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) of the University of Wollongong, and Head of Mathematics and Coordinator of Strategic Planning at the University of Cape Town. In the UK he served on the Boards of Universities UK, the Quality Assurance Agency, and the Equality Challenge Unit, and chaired the N8 Research Partnership, an association of eight major research-intensive universities in the North of England. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa.

‘Good books about universities are, alas, rare. This is a very good contribution, full of practical good sense and wisdom, all done with clarity and intellectual rigour.’ – Lord Patten of Barnes (Chris Patten), Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and the last Governor of Hong Kong

With deft clarity and deep humanity, Prof Brink casts a logician’s eye over the current state of higher education. He demonstrates how misguided attempts to improve accountability have led to the unmeasurable being measured and the valuable being devalued. This is a modern morality tale which deserves the widest readership.’ – Sir Howard Newby, former Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool University and former Chief Executive of HEFCE.

‘Chris Brink has a very special record of service to higher education and its social relevance. His scholarship and vision speak for themselves. His devastating demolition of the current preoccupation with league tables is brave and timely.’ — Lord Judd of Portsea (Frank Judd), former British Labour Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, former Vice-Chancellor of University of the Free State.

Prof Tawana Kupe of Wits University holds the floor.

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Workshop on life-writing

On Monday 6 August 2018, JIAS hosted a full-day workshop on life-writing entitled ‘Telling Lives: Trust, Lies, History’. The keynote speaker was Professor Carolyn Steedman of Warwick University in the United Kingdom.

The workshop was organised by the UJ History Department, the UJ Humanities Faculty, the Governing Intimacies Project, and the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Resarch ( WiSER). The convenors were Dr Stephen Sparks of the UJ Department of History and Prof Shireen Hassim of WiSER. The workshop formed part of WiSER’s Governing Intimacies project.

To download the full programme, click here.

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Launch of book by Vineet Thakur

On Friday 3 August 2018, the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press and JIAS hosted the launch of a book entitled Jan Smuts and the Indian Question by Vineet Thakur. The launch was held at JIAS, and took the form of a lunchtime seminar.

Vineet Thakur completed research for the book while working at JIAS as a post-doctoral student in 2015-16. Following an introduction, he was in discussion with Professor Dilip Menon, Director of the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) at the University of the Witwatersrand, and Prof Peter Vale, Director of JIAS.

This book is the second in the series entitled ‘Off-Centre: New Perspectives on Public Issues’, a joint initiative between JIAS and the UKZN Press.

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Seminar led by Prof Steven J Diner

On Thursday 23 August 2018, JIAS, the Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education Studies at UJ, and the Wits City Institute hosted a seminar on ‘Cities and Contemporary Higher Education: A Historical Perspective’, led by Prof Steven J Diner of Rutgers University-Newark in the United States.

Steven J Diner is a Professor of History, former Chancellor, and former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-Newark.

About the seminar

Since the end of World War II, the vast majority of American college students have attended institutions located in cities and metropolitan areas. However, this represented a radical challenge to college leaders’ traditional negative view of cities in general, and their belief that cities were ill-suited locations in which to educate young men and women.

In this lecture, Prof Diner examined how the long history of collegiate anti-urbanism and the recent embrace of colleges in cities have shaped America’s extensive contemporary higher education system. He concluded that, despite higher education’s long ambivalence about cities, colleges in cities have profoundly shaped contemporary higher education.

While he focused on higher education in the United States, this perspective contains clear parallels to higher education in South Africa, which was explored in the course of the seminar.

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Colloquium on Multilingualism

On 28-30 June 2018, JIAS and the Department of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies in the School of Humanities of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore hosted a Colloquium on ‘The Future of Multilingualism’. The Colloquium was held at JIAS in Westdene, Johannesburg.

To download the programme, click here.

To download the Colloquium Report, click here.


The Colloquium was aimed at taking advantage of multilingual sites such as South Africa and Singapore to explore the future of multilingualism. Questions addressed included the following:

  • What is the future of multilingualism in these multilingual societies?
  • How do anti-colonial and post-colonial nations reconcile multilingualism in the face of new linguistic ecologies?
  • What are the challenges of nation-building when one is faced with multiple tongues?
  • What does the way in which multilingual postcolonial nations deal with multilingualism tell us about a possible alternative framework for understanding the relationship between language and nation?
  • How are present education systems and technologies dealing with multilingualism?

By approaching this conversation from archives across Asia and Africa, the Colloquium sought to look at multilingualism and its future trajectory by taking into account the specificities of a range of colonial experiences, political regimes, and current infrastructures.

The gathering at JIAS was also aimed at generating contributions to an edited volume emanating from the first round of conversations which were held in Singapore earlier in 2018.

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Second conference on colonialism and its implications

On 9—11 July 2018, JIAS and the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg hosted a conference on ‘After the Prelude: Decolonisation, Evolution and Revolution’. This was the second in a series of three conferences on colonialism and its implications.

The convenors were Professor David Boucher of the Department of Politics and International Relations at UJ and Cardiff University (, and Dr Ayesha Omar of the Department of Politics at the University of the Witwatersrand (

For the provisional programme, click here.

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