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Of Motherhood and Melancholia: Notebook of a Psycho-ethnographer


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Botswana Women Write

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Interviews with Neville Alexander: The Power of Languages Against the Language of Power
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Price: R 380
Publication Date: 2014-07-01
Binding: Softcover
ISBN: 978 1 86914 277 3
Width: 140
Height: 220
Pages: 352

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Review by Joshua Maserow

Words of struggle: Joshua Maserow reviews Interviews with Neville Alexander, an impressive celebration of one struggle hero's principles and ideas

Interviews with Neville Alexander is a coruscating introduction to the life and work of a struggle hero. Alexander’s desire to be a citizen of a free and democratic South Africa for all its people was the raison d’etre of his exemplary life. In this language biography – “a personal account based on the singularity of individual experience… [which] reflects how personal experience is linked to the social and the political, how language ideologies impact on the ways in which experience is lived, how language attitudes are forged” – the editors, Brigitta Busch, Lucijan Busch and Karen Press display laudable selective nous. Their choice of materials successfully conveys the way events in Alexander’s personal life drove the decisions and interests in his professional and political vocations.

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Review by Rajend Mesthrie

South African Journal of Science 2015; 111(7/8)

Neville Alexander: History, politics and the language question

When Neville Alexander died in 2012, aged 75, after a short battle against cancer, South Africa lost its leading linguistic activist. It also lost an independent political thinker, one who had been incarcerated on Robben Island for 10 years, between 1964 and 1974, interacting there with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Eddie Daniels and others. The book under review is a fitting tribute to a great political figure and scholar.

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Review by Tony Voss, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
African Studies Quarterly, Volume 15, Issue 4, September 2015

Neville Alexander was born in Cradock in the Eastern Cape in 1936, of an Afrikaans-speaking father, David James Alexander, and English-speaking mother, Dimbithi Bisho. His paternal grandfather was Scots and his maternal grandmother a freed slave, raised in the London Missionary Station in Bethelsdorp, on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth.


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In a series of interviews conducted between 2006 and 2010, Neville Alexander reflected on how the languages he had used throughout his life shaped his world and his relationships with his immediate and wider communities.


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South Africa
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