The History of Urban Cultures in Southern Africa

“Holi Festival in Cape Town, South Africa” by Warrenski / CC BY-SA, November 2013,
Illustration by Wikimedia Commons

Matthieu Rey (CNRS, IFAS-Research), Sophie Dulucq (IFAS-Research), and Noor Nieftagodien (Wits History Workshop, University  the Witwatersrand) are currently preparing the co-edition of a special issue devoted to the  history of urban cultures in Southern Africa (19th-20th centuries) for the Revue d’Histoire contemporaine de l’Afrique. This volume will gather papers insisting on the relationships between a specific place and stage – cities and towns – and the cultural forms that developed therein. From the colonial era to post-colonial times, urban cultures have indeed shaped particular types of sociability and specific worldview, whilst urban stages have provided the setting for artistic creation, leisure activities (music, photography, cinema, sport, etc.), new forms of sexuality, the development of a certain food practices, etc.

In order to prepare this forthcoming publication (Summer 2021), IFAS-Research organized a study day (journée d’étude) via Zoom on the 18th of September, during which the authors presented their papers and the preselected articles were discussed. We also had the pleasure to have with us Odile Goerg, Prof. emer. (Université Denis-Diderot), as well as Dr. Camille Evrard, member of the editorial board of the RHCA



General introduction.

Presentation by Charlotte Grabli, The Sounds of the African Cinematic Event: Film Soundtrack and the Politics of Fiction in Leopoldville and Johannesburg, 1930-1960.

A few words about the Revue d’histoire contemporaine de l’Afrique by Camille Evrard, member of the editorial board.

Presentation by Didier Nativel, « Xipalapala está chamar ». José Craveirinha, acteur et observateur des cultures urbaines de la périphérie de Lourenço Marques (années 1940-1970).

Presentation by Bryan Kauma, “Many of the dishes are no longer eaten by sophisticated urban Africans”: A social history of small grains culinary patterns in Zimbabwe, 1920s to 1950.

Presentation by Sophie Chevalier,  Sur la plage. “Civiliser” le front de mer à Durban au XXe siècle

Presentation by Jonathan Botes, Queering Johannesburg: Hillbrow as a Space of Queer Interaction, 1969-1980s.

Presentation by Caio Simões de Araújo, (Gay) Love in Times of Decolonization: The Politics of Sex and Liberation in Mozambique.

Conclusion and recommendations.