Founded In    1999
Published   quarterly
Language(s)   English

Fields of Interest


Humanities and Social Sciences

ISSN   1543-1304
Publisher   Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Editorial Board

  Andrew Offenburger, Yale University

  Rita Barnard, University of Pennsylvania
  Christopher Saunders, University of Cape Town

  Andrew Van der Vlies, University of Sheffield

  Azeem Badroodien, University of Nottingham
  Surendra Bhana, University of Kansas
  Derek Catsam, University of Texas of the Permian Basin
  Greg Cuthbertson, University of South Africa
  Leigh Anne Duck, University of Memphis
  Norman Etherington, University of Western Australia
  George M. Fredrickson, Stanford University
  Christopher J. Lee, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  Alex Lichtenstein, Florida International University
  Peter Limb, Michigan State University
  Sabine Marschall, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  Lesley Marx, University of Cape Town
  Pearl McHaney, Georgia State University
  David Chioni Moore, Macalester College
  Peter Rachleff, Macalester College
  Renée Schatteman, Georgia State University
  Robert C.-H. Shell, University of the Western Cape
  Sandy Shell, University of Cape Town
  Keyan Tomaselli, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  Luvuyo Wotshela, University of Fort Hare

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies
Mailing Address

Safundi Publications
P.O. Box 206788
New Haven, CT 06520
(203) 548-9155 / Phone
(203) 548-9177 / Fax

Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies


Safundi -- "S" represents "South Africa," "a" stands for "America," and "fundi" comes from the Xhosa verb, "-funda," which translates as "to read/learn."

Safundi is an online community of scholars, professionals, and others interested in comparing and contrasting the United States of America with the Republic of South Africa.

Our journal, Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, is the centerpiece of our online community. We believe that analyzing the two countries in a comparative and transnational context enhances our perspective on each, individually. While new comparative research is the focus of the journal, we also publish articles specifically addressing one country, provided the articles are of interest to the comparative scholar. Furthermore, our subject matter is as permeable as any country's border: we will consider research addressing other colonial and postcolonial states in Southern Africa and North America.

Articles that Safundi publishes are academic in nature. Research papers are reviewed as they are submitted. Scholarly essays are welcomed. Any topic may be addressed. We hope to provide our readers with a diverse and insightful collection of articles in each issue.

We publish on a quarterly basis. Our journal is peer-reviewed. Submissions are vetted by the editors-in-chief and the editorial board before they are accepted for publication.

The views expressed in the articles are those of the authors and not of the editors or of Safundi itself.


» Visit Journal Web Site

April 2004, Issue 13-14

Ten Years of the New South Africa: An Introduction to Issue 13/14

Ambassador Masekela and Ambassador Hume introduce Issue 13/14, a special double issue on the tenth anniversary of South Africa's 1994 democratic elections.

Citizenship Over Race?: African Americans in U.S.-South African Diplomacy, 1890-1925

This essay provides a unique view of American-South African diplomacy primarily through the case study of African-American missionaries, Herbert and Bessie Mae Payne and James and Lucinda East, who sought to proselytize in South Africa between 1910 and 1923. In doing so, this article responds to recent calls to embrace an interactive "homeland and diaspora" model that bridges the emergent historiography of the African diaspora with that of continental Africa. Simultaneously this article redresses the shortage of analysis on Africa and Africans within African diaspora and black Atlantic studies by centering a diasporic population in Africa itself. The transnational orientation of this work brings a global dimension to African-American history while also moving South African history beyond its occasionally parochial nature.

South Africa, Israel-Palestine, and the Contours of the Contemporary World Order: An Interview with Noam Chomsky

On behalf of Safundi, Christopher J. Lee interviewed Professor Noam Chomsky on March 9, 2004, in his office at the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They spoke on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the end of apartheid, the building of the so-called "separation wall" in Israel-Palestine and its comparison to apartheid measures, and his general resurgence as a critical voice against U.S. foreign policy since September 11, 2001.

Presenting the Past, Performing the Future: Theater in New York and Cape Town Ten Years After Apartheid

The ten-year anniversary of the end of apartheid brought a wave of South African theater to New York. A city that had not seen a major production from that country since Athol Fugard�s Sorrows and Rejoicings in early 2002 suddenly had a surfeit of drama new and old by the beginning months of 2004. At Lincoln Center�s Vivian Beaumont Theater in December, John Kani�s Nothing But the Truth told of apartheid�s lingering specter even after a decade of democracy. That same month, LaMaMa, one of downtown New York�s premier avant garde venues, played host to a South African production of Woza Albert!, Percy Mtwa, Mbongeni Ngema, and Barney Simon�s famous parable of Christ�s second coming in the apartheid-ridden nation. Uptown at Barnard College�s Minor Latham Playhouse, Lara Foot Newton, the former Associate Artistic Director for Johannesburg�s Market Theatre, presented The Well Being, a fable of devastation and recovery in rural South Africa. In April of 2003, the Brooklyn Academy of Music revived Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona�s The Island, about life on Cape Town�s infamous Robben Island Prison. Fugard�s earlier play Master Harold...and the Boys opened for a limited run on Broadway a month later. In Cape Town, however, the dawn 2004 was not a moment for the kind of pointed political drama presented in America. The legislative capital�s three major theaters -- the newly-built International Convention Centre, downtown�s Artscape (formerly the Nico Theatre Centre), and the Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town -- played home to what might seem like entertainment pure and simple: a play from Shakespeare, an American musical, a dance revue, and a slapstick comedy. But underneath the singing and pratfalls lay a commentary on the direction the new South Africa must take in the years to come. Though Cape Town�s theater offerings may seem at first more frivolous than those in New York, taken together they present a compelling picture of a city and a nation trying to lay out a course for its second decade of democracy.

Awake the Beloved Country: A Comparative Perspective on the Visionary Leadership of Martin Luther King and Albert Lutuli

While direct contact did take place between Martin Luther King and Albert Lutuli, two of the premier black leaders of the 1950s and 1960s, the purpose of this essay is not primarily to add to the growing body of evidence of U.S.-South African links. Its principal aim is to use Lutuli�s career as president-general of the African National Congress (ANC) between 1952 and 1967 as a foil in order to shed light on King�s contested role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Rac(e)ing Poverty and Punishment in South Africa, 1920-1970

This paper unpacks the ways in which race and modernity shaped perceptions of crime, disorder, and poverty in South Africa by looking at how aspects of inequality and injustice were inscribed into discourses of disorder in the past. Historically, the issues of race and poverty in South Africa were often used in traditional urban settings to produce numerous images of urban crises. The paper is presented in four sections. The first section focuses on Michel Foucault�s ideas on the nature of punishment in modern society and how correctional institutions regulate the lives of those deemed to be a "danger to modern society." Foucault�s ideas are set to provide an explanatory platform for the paper�s overall analysis of penal practice in South Africa. The second section focuses on the interaction between the construction of mechanisms of racial hegemony in South Africa in the past and the development of a penal system that could harness and control the consequences of rapid social change. Punishment is here linked to four broad developments that emerged alongside the construction of a modernizing society. These developments included debates and processes that sought to respond to problems on indigency, links between punishment systems and understandings of racial mixing, the reliance on the authority of scientific interventions and programs of education to assess and address identified needs, and the belief in preparing subjects for work in order that they later not be a burden to the state. The third section addresses the ways in which the evolving punishment system in South Africa was both informed and constituted by academic criminological thought during the twentieth century. Dirk Van Zyl Smit has identified two criminological periods in the development of penal practice in South Africa after 1910, periods that he has characterized as "Legal Reformism" and "Afrikaner Nationalism." He notes that the two periods and traditions interacted in complex ways to inform the development of social policy thereafter. For example, Van Zyl Smit notes that both traditions of criminological thinking assumed that the building of a new South African nation within the broader imperial framework would always only be based on "Afrikaners and English working together." It was also assumed that indigent whites that committed crimes of serious social consequence did so only because there weren�t enough social welfare programs in place to protect them from "falling into disrepute." Using the key concepts prevalent in the first three sections, the fourth section briefly suggests how notions of color shaped and interacted with institutional provision and arrangements in the period 1945 to 1970.

A Decade of Post-Apartheid: Is the City in South Africa Being Remade?

This paper argues that in many ways the South African city continues to reflect the apartheid spatial and socio-economic order. Most black South Africans, especially that section of the population that was categorized African during the apartheid era (about four in five South Africans), remain marginalized, while white South Africans, although increasingly differentiated, continue to dominate spatially and economically. There has certainly been progress in the areas of governance and infrastructural development, but this progress has been tempered by the strong affiliation of the post-apartheid government to a neo-liberal economic policy, low economic growth, pervasive poverty, high levels of unemployment, and the crisis engendered by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The article concludes that the possibility of the creation of a "socially just city" as defined by David Harvey (2003) is negligible.

Normalization and the South African City

A common view among students of South Africa, policymakers, and academics alike is that since the ending of apartheid South Africa has been somehow "normalized." This normalization is seen as a tendency towards the production of urban forms common in North America and Western Europe as well as a means of situating South Africa�s major cities within the context of an increasingly global system. The first aim of this paper is, then, to address the extent to which the South African city has been normalized. In this regard, the Sandton phenomenon to the north of Johannesburg is emblematic of the Western notion of "edge city" and Johannesburg itself as a world city. The specificity of the South African case, however, suggests caution in this interpretation. Here, the second aim of the paper is to examine the value of the normalization framework�s contribution to the analysis of urban and/or social forms. Focusing on the Johannesburg metropolitan area, and considering that Sandton is not just an edge city but a new central business district (CBD), suggests that something rather different might be materializing in the South African city. Likewise, in the same metropolitan areas there appears to be an emergent and distinct racialization of the spatial division of labor. Drawing on the evidence presented by the Johannesburg metropolitan area, this paper attempts to examine the normalization thesis and provide an alternative approach based on the distinctions to be made for the case of South Africa.

A Scrupulously Selfless Couple: Sisulu, Elinor. Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime. Cape Town: David Philip Publishers, 2002.

The author reviews Elinor Sisulu's biography of her mother- and father-in-law, published in 2002 by David Philip Publishers.

Other Issues

July 2013, Volume 14, Number 3
April 2007, Volume 8, Number 2
January 2007, Volume 8, Number 1
Deterritorializing American Culture, 23
Safundi Issue 22, Issue 22
George Fredrickson's White Supremacy , Issue 21
October 2005, Issue 20
July 2005, Issue 19
April 2005, Issue 18
January 2005, Issue 17
October 2004, Issue 16
July 2004, Issue 15
October 2003, Issue 12
July 2003, Issue 11
April 2003, Issue 10
May 2002, Issue 09
February 2002, Issue 08
November 2001, Issue 07
July 2001, Issue 06
April 2001, Issue 05
January 2001, Issue 04
October 2000, Issue 03
July 2000, Issue 02