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NALSU Events


Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) events include an Annual Neil Aggett Labour Studies Lecture, a seminar series, and the Vuyisile Mini Winter School series. The first NALSU events were held as part of the NALSU launch, which took the form of a series of three launch events held on 2-4 April 2014:

  • The first Annual Neil Aggett Labour Studies Lecture was given by Dr Beverley Naidoo, author of Death of an Idealist: In Search of Neil Aggett, on 2 April 2014.
  • A Neil Aggett Colloquium was held in the Makana City Hall on 3 April 2014. Chaired by Dr John Reynolds of NALSU and well attended by members of trade unions, civics organisations, government and Rhodes University, the colloquium featured inputs by the following people:
    • Prof Fred Hendricks, Dean of Humanities and Chair of the ISER Board;
    • Mr Katishi Masemola, General Secretary of the Food and Allied Workers Union;
    • Dr Beverley Naidoo, biographer of Neil Aggett;
    • Mr Jan Theron, Coordinator of the Labour and Enterprise Policy Research Group at the University of Cape Town, and former General Secretary of the Food and Canning Workers Union and the Food and Allied Workers Union;
    • Mr Brian Sandberg, Coordinator of the Neil Aggett Support Group;
    • Dr Gavin Andersson, Managing Director of the Seriti Institute;
    • Ms Jane Barrett, Affiliates Support Coordinator of COSATU;
    • Ma Lydia Kompe, former trade unionist and Member of Parliament, and currently Member of the Limpopo Provincial Legislature;
    • Mr Sipho Kubeka, former trade unionist and currently Deputy Director in the JMPD; and
    • Prof Eddie Webster, Director of the Chris Hani Institute.
  • A Naming Ceremony, during which the Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University, Dr Saleem Badat, and the Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mr Mcebisi Jonas, spoke. Following additional remarks by Mr Brian Sandberg, Prof Robert van Niekerk (Director of the ISER) and Dr John Reynolds, the unit and the building were formally opened by Ms Jill Burger, Neil Aggett’s sister. 

The following Neil Aggett Labour Studies Lectures have been held since the NALSU Launch:

- 21 September 2015: The death of Neil Aggett: unions and politics, then and now by Prof Edward Webster, University of the Witwatersrand

- 25 May 2017: Confronting South Africa's Inequality: Wy and How? by Prof Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town

- 14 August 2018: Seeing Apartheid from the inside out: the life of Winnie Madikizela Mandela by Prof Shireen Hassim, University of Witwatersrand.

The Labour Studies Seminar Series programme has grown to being the largest seminar series on the Rhodes University campus, and stands as an example of collegiality in action. Focused on labour studies broadly defined, the seminar series includes contributions from a range of theoretical, methodological and disciplinary perspectives, but with a general commitment to emancipatory politics and social justice. Organised jointly by NALSU and the Departments of Sociology, History, and Economics and Economic History, the labour studies seminar series runs according to an annual programme that is released at the start of each year. The programme for the 2018 Labour Studies Seminar Series can be found ‌here.