VC’s book seeks apartheid’s banished

Rhodes University’s Eden Grove complex played host to the launch of Vice-Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat’s book, entitled The Forgotten People: Political Banishment under Apartheid on Tuesday 16 September.

The book's promotion was well supported, with many professors, staff members and students among those in attendance.

Presenting a summary of the book’s findings, Badat proudly exclaimed that “this book is the result of 30 years of research and investigation into the lives of those who were banished into the depths of South Africa’s corners.”

“The apartheid government used banishment as a tool to punish, marginalise, intimidate and threaten the resistance and to maintain the apartheid group,” said Badat. Quoting Helen Joseph, a long-time friend and former colleague, Badat added: “the ‘living dead’ were punished within the law but outside of justice.”

Due to Joseph’s continuous devotion to caring for those who were banished before and during South Africa’s apartheid years, Badat dedicated his book to the deceased freedom fighter.

Professor Paul Maylam of the university’s history department is a close friend of the vice-chancellor and claimed that Badat’s compilation of research has taken those who were banished “out of oblivion”.

“The book is a history of the macro and micro. Global history of banishment has been researched as well as specific South Africa case studies,” Maylam continued. “Thirty years of research is truly amazing, as today there is so much emphasis on speedy publication,” he said.

The unveiling of the book was accompanied by a short preview of a documentary that is still in production, which follows Joseph’s journey to find and care for those banished as well as Badat’s own exploration on this topic.

A photographic exhibition presenting the same story is still in the works.

Story by Tegan Scales

Photo by Sophie Smith

Source: The Oppidan press website


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