Building a New South Africa

Building a New South Africa

One Conversation at a Time
David Thelen and Karie L. Morgan
Distribution: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvado
Publication date: 06/01/2015
Format: Paperback 87 color illus., 1 map
ISBN: 978-0-253-01784-0
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Once a thriving, multiracial community, the Sophiatown suburb of Johannesburg was home to many famous artists, musicians, and poets. It was also a place where residential apartheid was first put into practice with forced removals, buildings bulldozed, and the construction of new, cheap housing for white public employees. David Thelen and Karie L. Morgan facilitate conversations among today’s Sophiatown residents about how they share spaces, experiences, and values to raise and educate their children, earn a living, overcome crime, and shape their community for the good of all. As residents reflect on the past and the challenges they face in the future, they begin to work together to create a rich, diverse, safe, and welcoming post-Mandela South Africa.

Author Bio

David Thelen is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University.

Karie L. Morgan is a postdoctoral fellow in history at the University of Johannesburg.


“Building a New South Africa is quite wonderful. It's one of the few books I know that can breathe life into that worn word 'community' and do it with eloquent specificity.”
 — Jackson Lears, Board of Governors Professor of History, Rutgers University

“A distinctive and original contribution, this book engages with a community which has changed so much over the past 30 years. It underscores how people, isolated in their homes aspire to turn strangers into neighbors and asks about how to raise and educate children, how to sustain a family life, and how to overcome crime. It records conversations among groups, not individual interviews, and it illustrates how conversation itself can actually bring a community into being.”
 — Philip Bonner, University of the Witwatersrand

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Table of Contents

Map of Sophiatown
Preface to U.S. Edition
Introduction to U.S. Edition
David Thelen and Karie L. Morgan
Chapter 1: Getting Acquainted with
Neighbours on the Block
Block Group Meeting–Good and Gold Streets–7 June 2009
Block Group Meeting–Bertha Street–24 June 2009
Chapter 2: Visualising a Shared Place and Making a Shared Past.
Good and Gold Streets–Photovoice Discussion
-28 June and 15 July 2009
Bertha Street–Photovoice Discussion–19 July 2009
Chapter 3: Making Family around Mealtimes
Remembering Family Mealtimes:
A Conversation among Sophiatown
Cooking Club Members–15 October 2011
Glimpses of Cooking in Sophiatown
Comment–Challenges of Modern
Mealtimes: Reflections by René Lombardi–11 October 2012
Comment–Making Food and Heritage: Reflections by Tshepo Letsoalo–
13 September 2012
Chapter 4: Becoming Neighbours and Creating Community Community
Raising a Family with Neighbours: A Workshop–23 May 2012
Comment–Getting to Know Neighbours and Choosing a Neighbourhood:
Reflections by Sebastian van Rayne–25 November 2012
Comment–Overcoming Barriers to Become Better Neighbours: Reflections
by Noeriena Hendricks–24 November 2012
Keeping your Family Safe: A Workshop–19 May 2012
Encountering and Helping People in Distress: A Conversation among Young
People–9 October 2010
Comment – Growing Up and Helping Others: A Conversation between Two
Sisters–8 November 2012
Comment–Making a Difference in your Community: Reflections by Noeriena
Hendricks–18 November 2012
Comment–Helping South Africans in Need: Reflections by Charles Kwasi Asare–
9 November 2012
Chapter 5: Experiencing Change
Living over Half a Century in a Changing Sophiatown: A Conversation with Long-time
Residents–8 November 2011
Struggling with Memories of Triomf and Sophiatown: A Conversation between a
Mother and Daughter–3 August 2009
Comparing Sophiatown and Westbury: A Conversation across G

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