Book discussion: The Man Who Founded the ANC: A Biography of Pixley Ka Isaka Seme by Dr Bongani Ngqulunga

  • DATE

    13 June

  • TIME

    11:00 - 13:00

  • VENUE

    Old College House Seminar Lounge, 1-09, University of Pretoria, Hatfield Campus

The Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship invites you to a book discussion with author Dr Bongani Ngqulunga (Director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, University of Johannesburg) on his recently published book, The Man Who Founded the ANC: A Biography of Pixley Ka Isaka Seme – winner of both the Alan Paton Awards as well as the Humanities and Social Sciences Award for Best Non-Fiction Monograph.

The book traces the life of one of the most remarkable South Africans - Pixley ka Isaka Seme – scholar, lawyer, entrepreneur, Pan-Africanist and political visionary extraordinaire. At the age of 30, he and his colleagues, founded the SANNC, later renamed the ANC, on the 8th of January 1912. Like a Shakespearean hero, it seems that this highly talented man, also had some serious flaws.

As Ngqulunga concludes his book, there is a sense of restraint and regret in his appraisal:

“In surveying Seme’s life, there is an inescapable sense of wasted talent: a man of his exceptional intelligence and vision could have – indeed should have – achieved so much more. What stood between Seme and the fulfilment of his potential may partially be ascribed to a predilection for opulence. But to leave it at that would be do an injustice to the man. His talent and vision withered before the blast of a social and political system that made no concessions … . Seme lived in the hope that a class of educated black men and women could at the very least thrive at the margins of such a system or at best be incorporated into its inner sanctum … .” (p.244)

Having been on the Humanities and Social Sciences judging panel, Professor Tinyiko Maluleke (Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, UP) will facilitate the discussion.


Date Thursday, 13 June 2019
Time 11:00 – 13:00 (refreshments to follow)
Venue Old College House Seminar Lounge, 1-09, University of Pretoria, Hatfield Campus
RSVP Cecelia Samson, [email protected]a, 012 420 2653

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