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Working Class Homosexuality in South African History: Voices from the Archives

Iain Edwards and Marc Epprecht
Working Class Homosexuality in South African History: Voices from the Archives
ISBN: 978-0-7969-2583-1
ISBN: 978-0-7969-2607-4
2020/257 pages
Distributed for HSRC Press
"Epprecht and Edwards have done a great service by bringing rare archival sources into the public domain." —Graeme Reid, African Studies Review

"A poignant account of black working-class men obliterated from history because of their sexual orientation.... Plethoric with unpublished words and phrases critical for validating a long homosexual presence in our African history. A beautiful, sad, and heroic story!"—Glenda Gray, South African Medical Research Council

"Edwards and Epprecht use history from below to disturb prevailing and dominant narratives of the South African past while also reexamining a particular history of the present with a calm integrity, diligence, imagination, and thoughtfulness.This is a rich and rewarding book."—Wale Abebanwi, University of Oxford

"A fascinating pathbreaking account of African male same-sex practices."—Dunbar Moodie, Hobart and William Smith Colleges


The very existence of homosexual working-class men in South Africa has long-been suppressed—or worse. Iain Edwards and Marc Epprecht have recovered representative stories of these men who were previously deemed "outside of history."

Based on a previously unpublished primary source from the early twentieth century, as well as unique interviews with men remembering their lives in the gay settlement of Mkhumbane, this book is meant to inspire both a reimagination of the past and the creation of a more inclusive present and future.


Iain Edwards is an independent historian based in South Africa. Marc Epprecht is professor of global development studies at Queen's University in Canada.


  • "I am Angel:" African Working Class Gay Identities and Politics, Past and Present. 
  • A Sex Scandal in the Gold Mines: Johannesburg, 1907.
  • Oral Enquiry Transcript: Transvaal Colony Confidential Enquiry into Alleged Prevalence of Unnatural Vice in Mine Compounds on the Witswatersrand, 1907.
  • The Izingquingili zaseMkhumbane: An Oral History.
  • Oral History Transcripts: Man About Town, March 1995.
  • Mqenge, November-December 1995.
  • Leader's Son, December 1995.
  • Young Onlooker, December 1995.
  • Angel, March-April 1996.
  • Conclusion.
  • Primary Sources.
  • Glossary.