Gift an article

A great wealth of history books now on our shelves

Share your Subscriber Article
You have 5 articles to share every month. Send this story to a friend!
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Loading, please wait...
New History of South Africa.
New History of South Africa.

At the recent launch of the updated edition of Tafelberg’s New History of South Africa, Professor Bernard Mbenga, one of the volume’s editors, noted that ways of writing history change over time, and our perceptions of what that history means also change. Hence the need for a new and thoroughly revised New History of South Africa, which was first published in 2007.

As the editors (Mbenga, Herman Giliomee and Bill Nasson) say in their preface, historians are themselves products of their history and time. Issues to do with race, the land, and power are viewed differently as time passes and new historians get to work on the record. The New History’s authors include "archaeologists, sociologists and political scientists" and aim to provide "a rich layer of perspectives" in a "readable, multi-authored general history of South Africa from its deep past in the mists of time right up to the present".

There will doubtless be continued argument about what our history is and what it means, however comprehensive the approach of such a volume: South Africa, say the editors, "is addicted to the notion of the present validating itself by calling up the past". History and history-writing are, inevitably, political.

Read this for free
Get 14 days free to read all our investigative and in-depth journalism. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed.
Already a subscriber? Sign in