Culture and Liberation: Exile Writings, 1966–1985 (The Africa List) (Hardcover)

Culture and Liberation: Exile Writings, 1966–1985 (The Africa List) By Alex La Guma, Christopher J. Lee (Editor), Albie Sachs (Editor), Bill Nasson  (Afterword by) Cover Image

Culture and Liberation: Exile Writings, 1966–1985 (The Africa List) (Hardcover)

By Alex La Guma, Christopher J. Lee (Editor), Albie Sachs (Editor), Bill Nasson (Afterword by)


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One of South Africa’s best-known writers during the apartheid era, Alex La Guma was a lifelong activist and a member of the South African Communist Party and the African National Congress. Persecuted and imprisoned by the South African regime in the 1950s and 60s, La Guma went into exile in the United Kingdom with his wife and children in 1966, eventually serving as the ANC’s diplomatic representative for Latin America and the Caribbean in Cuba. Culture and Liberation captures a different dimension of his long writing career by collecting his political journalism, literary criticism, and other short pieces published while he was in exile.
This volume spans La Guma’s political and literary life in exile through accounts of his travels to Algeria, Lebanon, Vietnam, Soviet Central Asia, and elsewhere, along with his critical assessments of Paul Robeson, Nadine Gordimer, Maxim Gorky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Pablo Neruda, among other writers. The first dedicated collection of La Guma’s exile writing, Culture and Liberation restores an overlooked dimension of his life and work, while opening a window on a wider world of cultural and political struggles in Africa, Asia, and Latin America during the second half of the twentieth century.
Alex La Guma (1925–1985) was a South African novelist and leader of the South African Coloured People’s Organisation (SACPO). Several of his books were published in the famed African Writers Series edited by Chinua Achebe, including A Walk in the Night, In the Fog of the Seasons’ End, and Time of the Butcherbird.

Christopher J. Lee is associate professor of history at Lafayette College, in Pennsylvania. He is the author of several books, including Jet Lag and Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanism.

Albie Sachs is an activist and a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. After having his arm blown off by a car-bomb in Mozambique in 1988 due to his opposition to apartheid, he fled to the US, but later returned to South Africa. He currently resides in Cape Town.

Bill Nasson is professor of history at the University of Stellenbosch and is one of South Africa’s leading historians. In 2011 he won the Recht Malan Prize for Best Non-Fiction for The War for South Africa: The Anglo-Boer War 1899–1902, which was also shortlisted for the Alan Paton Award.
Product Details ISBN: 9780857427892
ISBN-10: 085742789X
Publisher: Seagull Books
Publication Date: March 23rd, 2022
Pages: 624
Series: The Africa List
"'La Guma himself inhabited the dual role of writer-fighter that he maintained was crucial in the national liberation struggle. This conviction – that aesthetic concerns must speak to the people’s lived experiences and their emancipatory aspirations – aligns with La Guma’s commitment to socialist realism; yet, to attend to his non-fiction writing is to see that conviction in action. Offering a more holistic view of La Guma’s writing life in exile, Culture and Liberation works to “bring him home” while contributing new materials for understanding socialism and resistance movements in Africa, and South-South cultural studies more broadly."
— Journal of the African Literature Association

"La Guma has also inspired a consistent body of earnest and well-grounded scholarly study, much of it aimed at filling in the shadow in which the author’s career resides. Culture and Liberation is a new and worthy entrant that does the good work of concretising some of La Guma’s disappearing archive. The editor, Christopher J Lee, has gathered together a weighty assortment of essays, reports, reviews, interviews and stories penned over the course of La Guma’s career. These ancillary texts, the sort of thing writers do out of interest, obligation and a need to support life, are a vital if unwieldy archive through which La Guma’s abiding preoccupations can be traced." 
— Johannesburg Review of Books

"A short review can only touch upon a few points in such a wide-ranging collection. Worth mentioning, though, is La Guma’s beautiful tribute to activist/singer/actor Paul Robeson as one example of a work I am grateful to have encountered. [. . .] Christopher J. Lee’s perceptive introduction is the best account I have seen of La Guma’s life and work. On its own, it is worth the price of the book. [. . .] It is to be hoped that the present volume will help spark greater awareness of the contributions of Alex La Guma to making the world a better place."
— Marx and Philosophy Review of Books