S7E8 Noni Jabavu: Hiding in Plain Sight

26 Apr 2023
S7E8 Noni Jabavu: Hiding in Plain Sight

Image credits: Athambile Masola by Nonzuzo Gxekwa

Victoria J. Collis-Buthelezi asks Athambile Masola and Makhosazana Xaba about their book Noni Jabavu: A Stranger at Home.

They reflect on when they first encountered Noni’s writing, her life and her family, the origins of the phrase “I write what I like”, the difference between living abroad and exile, Black women travelling, transnational archives and the challenges of biographical research.

Victoria J. Collis-Buthelezi is an Associate Professor in English, and Director of the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for the Study of Race, Gender and Class. 

Athambile Masola is a writer, researcher and an award-winning poet based in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. 

Makhosazana Xaba is an award-winning multi-genre anthologist, short story writer and poet. She is an Associate Professor of Practice at the Centre for Race, Gender and Class based at the University of Johannesburg. 

Athambile and Makhosazana collaborated on a collection of Noni Jabavu’s Daily Dispatch columns from 1977, A Stranger at Home (Tafelberg, 2023).

Our participants also warmly remember Prof Bhekizizwe Peterson (1961-2021), a professor of African literature at Wits University and co-editor (along with Makhosazana and Khwezi Mkhize) of Foundational African Writers: Peter Abrahams, Noni Jabavu, Sibusiso Nyembezi and Es’kia Mphahlele (Wits University Press, 2022).

In this episode we are in solidarity Andrzej Poczobut, imprisoned in Belarus. You can read more about his case here.

As tributes, Athambile reads from Mongane Wally Serote’s “Third World Express”, Makhosazana reads Lindiwe Mabuza’s “Voices that Lead” and Victoria reads an extract from Beah Richards’s “A Black Woman Speaks … Of White Womanhood, of White Supremacy, of Peace”.

This is the final episode of the season. We’ll be back with season eight after a short break. 

Listen to the episode here: