Art and Revolution: The Life and Death of Thami Mnyele, South African Artist / Edition 1

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Overview

Thami Mnyele's life spanned the era of apartheid. He was born the same year the National Party won office and came of age in a time (the 1960s) and a place (Johannesburg) that offered a sensitive young black artist little encouragement. In 1985, in the waning days of apartheid, he was killed by South African Special Forces operatives in Gaborone, Botswana, where he had joined the banned African National Congress. Although reticent by nature, he played a vanguard role in efforts to throw open the doors of South African culture.

Thami Mnyele's story sheds light on this tumultuous era from an unusual perspective: that of an artist and not a "young lion." Not only does Mnyele's story help us understand the birth of a modern African aesthetic; it also addresses the genesis of revolutionary commitment. How did a man come to face the prospect of martyrdom and learn to accept it? How did this choice affect what he was able to express as an artist?

Diana Wylie's beautifully written and illustrated literary biography reveals the struggles inside and around a gentle South African artist as he remade himself into a revolutionary soldier, and brings fresh insights to our understanding of South Africa's recent history.

University of Virginia Press

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Editorial Reviews

H-SAfrica
Art and Revolution is, in plain terms, a biography of a noted South African artist whose work interrogated the individual and collective experience of apartheid during the 1970s and early 1980s. But it is also a cultural history, an intellectual history, and, unavoidably, a political history of the period. A particular spirit spirit inhabits this book, consisting of personal memory and obligation to a friend lost in the prime of his life...this book marks yet another intellectual departure for Wylie, demonstrating a versatility to be much admired.

— Christopher Lee, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

H-SAfrica - Christopher Lee

"Art and Revolution" is, in plain terms, a biography of a noted South African artist whose work interrogated the individual and collective experience of apartheid during the 1970s and early 1980s. But it is also a cultural history, an intellectual history, and, unavoidably, a political history of the period. A particular spirit spirit inhabits this book, consisting of personal memory and obligation to a friend lost in the prime of his life...this book marks yet another intellectual departure for Wylie, demonstrating a versatility to be much admired.

H-SAfrica

"Art and Revolution" is, in plain terms, a biography of a noted South African artist whose work interrogated the individual and collective experience of apartheid during the 1970s and early 1980s. But it is also a cultural history, an intellectual history, and, unavoidably, a political history of the period. A particular spirit spirit inhabits this book, consisting of personal memory and obligation to a friend lost in the prime of his life...this book marks yet another intellectual departure for Wylie, demonstrating a versatility to be much admired.

— Christopher Lee, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813927640
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 6/17/2008
  • Series: Reconsiderations in Southern African History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Diana Wylie is Professor of History at Boston University. She is the author of A Little God: The Twilight of Patriarchy in a Southern African Chiefdom and Starving on a Full Stomach: The Triumph of Cultural Racism in Modern South Africa (Virginia), which won the Melville J. Herskovits Award.

University of Virginia Press

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Table of Contents

Preface 1

Prologue 7

Ch. 1 Bruising 9

Ch. 2 Into the Vortex 25

Ch. 3 Tears 33

Ch. 4 Trying to Live an Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times 76

Ch. 5 Roots 117

Ch. 6 Making the Sun Rise 149

Ch. 7 Weapons of War 189

Ch. 8 Where is Home? 211

Epilogue: The War of Values 230

Afterword: Art and Revolution 236

Sources and Acknowledgements 251

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