The Politics of Black Intimacy in Twentieth-Century South Africa
This talk will explore the production of 'black intimacy' in South Africa in the twentieth century. The term is a portmanteau one that I use to refer to how black family and intimate life was fashioned, in the twentieth century. In particular, I am interested in how intimate lives were always the product of a tension between public and private, and understandings of those terms within the context of black social life. In South Africa, where sexual cultures have always been historically and racially contingent, this has meant that large swathes of intimate life are simultaneously secret and public at the same time. As a result, during the first half of the twentieth century, "African Family Life" became a central preoccupation of a spectrum of concerns, ranging from those who wanted to preserve the sanctity of the African family to those who wanted to legislate its dissolution in the service of cheap labour.