Pretoria University Law Press marks 200th publication with monograph by Prof Charles Ngwena

Posted on October 01, 2018

The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) marked its 200th publication in September with the launch of a monograph by Prof Charles Ngwena, titled What is Africanness: Contesting nativism in culture, race and sexualities. This book has already been lauded as a significant contribution to ongoing discussions about race and identity.

The publication is a peer-reviewed monograph aimed at contributing to the ongoing scholarly conversation in and beyond South Africa about who is African and what is African. It looks critically at the naming of Africans by showing its purposes and effects; and offers an alternative understanding of how Africans can be named or can name themselves. The arguments in this book go beyond problematising African identity by addressing a theoretical gap in discussing African social identity. It develops an interpretive method that looks to the present, the future and the past, so that African identifications are not nailed to a mast but remain invested with mobility and the capacity to mutate radically, allowing for new and unexpected beginnings.

Prof Ngwena is Professor of Law at the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law. He has established a reputation as an internationally recognised scholar on the themes of disability and sexual and reproductive rights. With his new publication, he has reinvented himself as a scholar of importance on issues of race and identity.

The launch of the publication was a collaborative event and was hosted by the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies, at the University of the Free State, as part of its annual celebrations of Heritage Day. Dr Nadine Lake, of this Centre, introduced the book, while Tshepo Madlingozi, a colleague of Prof Ngwena at the Faculty of Law, provided a perspective on the work and framed some issues for discussion. Prof Ebenezer Durojaye, from the Dullah Omar Institute, at the University of the Western Cape, and an erstwhile student of Prof Ngwena, was the programme director.

Prof Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, UP, which houses PULP thanked the collaborative partners, the staff of PULP and Centre, and the author for his deliberate choice of PULP as the outlet for his research.

PULP’s contribution to academic publications was highlighted in a report by the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) on scientific book publishing in South Africa between 2005 and 2014. In the 10-year period under review, eight monographs and 89 chapters in edited collections published by PULP were considered by the Department of Higher Education as eligible for subsidy. 

PULP is an open-access publication and Prof Ngwena’s book is available at Printed copies may be ordered from PULP.

- Author Centre for Human Rights

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