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The Texture of Dissent: Defiant Public Intellectuals in South Africa

Narnia Bohler-Muller, Vasu Reddy, Gregory Houston, Maxi Schoeman, and Heather Thuynsma, editors
The Texture of Dissent: Defiant Public Intellectuals in South Africa
ISBN: 978-1-928246-57-2
2023/466 pages
Distributed by Best Red, an imprint of HSRC Press
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"This is a book to be prized."— William Gumede, University of the Witwatersrand

"Timely, daring, and so necessary in probing on the current state of South Africa."— Zintombizethu Matebeni, University of Fort Hare

"Offers us provocatively capacious ideas with which we might build worlds based on justice, equality, freedom, and dignity."— Crain Soudien, University of Capetown


The Texture of Dissent presents concise political biographies of a myriad of prominent South African public intellectuals who were shaped by the contentious issues of their day. Showcasing the ways in which these individuals were involved in the "political work of social change," the contributors also reflect on the legacy of their defiant thought and action in today's complex environment.


Narnia Bohler-Muller is divisional executive of the Developmental, Capable, and Ethical State research program at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). Vasu Reddy vice chancellor for research and internationalization at the University of the Free State. Gregory Houston is chief research specialist in the DCES research division at HSRC. Maxi Schoeman is professor emerita of political science at the University of Pretoria. Heather Thuynsma lectures in political science at the University of Pretoria.


  • The Texture of Defiance: Defiant Public Intellectuals in South Africa—the Editors.
  • Introduction.
  • Frene Ginwala.
  • Ronnie Kasrils.
  • Thabo Mbeki.
  • Chris Hani.
  • Kgalema Motlanthe.
  • Allan Boesak.
  • Frank Chikane.
  • Trevor Manuel.
  • Blade Nzimande.
  • Barney Desai.
  • Patricia de Lille.
  • Steve Biko.
  • Barney Pityana.
  • Mosibudi Mangena.
  • Alex Boraine.
  • Frederick van Zyl Slabbert.
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
  • Sheena Duncan.
  • Zwelinzima Vavi.
  • Introduction.
  • Adam Small.
  • Njabulo Ndebele.
  • Zakes Mda.
  • Mandla Langa.
  • Antjie Krog.
  • Mongane Wally Serote.
  • Peter Magubane.
  • Omar Badsha.
  • William Kentridge.
  • David Kramer.
  • Gcina Mhlophe.
  • Mike van Graan.
  • Abdullah Ibrahim.
  • Johnny Clegg.
  • Sibongile Khumalo.
  • Johannes Kerkorrel.
  • Brenda Fassie.
  • Simphiwe Dana.
  • Marc Lottering.
  • Anton Kannemeyer.
  • Chester Missing.
  • Introduction.
  • Hermann Giliomee.
  • Jonathan Jansen.
  • Shireen Hassim.
  • William Gumede.
  • Xolela Mangcu.
  • Ashwin Desai.
  • Patrick Bond.
  • Pierre de Vos.
  • Quarraisha Abdool Karim.
  • Introduction.
  • Pius Langa.
  • Navi Pillay.
  • Dikgang Moseneke.
  • Zak Yacoob.
  • Edwin Cameron.
  • Mogoeng Mogoeng.
  • Thuli Madonsela.
  • Henry Nxumalo.
  • Lewis Nkosi.
  • Aggrey Klaaste.
  • Anton Harber.
  • Mark Gevisser.
  • Ferial Haffajee.
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
  • Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
  • Clem Sunter.
  • Lebogang Pheko.
  • John Perlman.
  • Hennie van Vuuren.
  • Simon Nkoli.
  • Nomboniso Gasa.
  • Mark Heywood.
  • Sisonke Msimang.
  • Eusebius McKaiser.
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