- Title: Being Black in the World (New Edition)
- Author: N. Chabani Manganyi
- Publisher: WITS University Press
- Country of Origin: South Africa
- Publication Year: 2019
- ISBN: 9781776143689
- Bib. Info: Paperback; 152pp
In 1973, Chabani Manganyi’s essays raised provocative questions that spoke to the issues of the time, and to his own unique relationship to them. Such a questioning approach remains essential to exploring being human today. – Gerhard Maré, professor emeritus, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and author of Declassified: Moving beyond the dead end of race in South Africa
This timely re-publication and thoughtful re-framing of Being-Black-in-the-World is a gift. It honours Chabani Manganyi’s seminal and historic contribution to understanding blackness as embodied and socially embedded, and to thinking about Black Consciousness as a politics of solidarity. It invites intergenerational conversations toward a decolonised world and pays homage to South Africa’s contribution to black radical thought. This text is a must-read. – Zimitri Erasmus, associate professor of Sociology and Anthropology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and author of Race Otherwise: Forging a new humanism for South Africa
Being-Black-in-the-World, one of N. Chabani Manganyi’s first publications, was written in 1973 at a time of global socio-political change and renewed resistance to the brutality of apartheid rule and the emergence of Black Consciousness in the mid-1960s. Manganyi is one of South Africa’s most eminent intellectuals and an astute social and political observer. He has written widely on subjects relating to ethno-psychiatry, autobiography, black artists and race. In 2018 Manganyi’s memoir, Apartheid and the Making of a Black Psychologist was awarded the prestigious ASSAf (The Academy of Science of South Africa) Humanities Book Award. Publication of Being-Black-in-the-World was delayed until the young Manganyi had left the country to study at Yale University. His publishers feared that the apartheid censorship board and security forces would prohibit him from leaving the country, and perhaps even incarcerate him, for being a ‘radical revolutionary’. The book found a limited public circulation in South Africa due to this censorship and original copies were hard to come by.
This new edition is an invitation to a younger generation of citizens to engage with early decolonialising thought by an eminent South African intellectual. While the essays in this book are clearly situated in the material and social conditions of that time, they also have a timelessness that speaks to our contemporary concerns regarding black subjectivity, affectivity and corporeality, the persistence of a racial (and racist) order and the possibilities of a renewed de-colonial project. Each of these short essays can be read as self-contained reflections on what it meant to be black during the apartheid years.