Selected Southern African Journals and Newsletters
ACAG Update (P.O. Box 261096, Excom 2023). Monthly bulletin of the anticensorship action group of South Africa, mainly recording assaults on freedom of speech and media censorship.
AFRA Newsletter of the Association for Rural Advancement (170 Berg Street, Pietermaritzburg 3201). Provides moving accounts of forced resettlements and the struggle to reclaim African land.
Africa Analysis (167 Kensington High Street, London W8 6SH). A fortnightly, and rather expensive, bulletin on financial and political trends in the whole of the African continent. Particularly useful to stockbrokers, trade analysts, and authors of risk studies.
Africa Confidential (Computer Posting, 120/126 Lavender Avenue, Mitcham, Surrey CR4 3HP). Probably the most widely read and best-informed fortnightly newsletter on Africa, albeit with an unfortunate tendency to focus on personalities rather than on the interests and social forces they represent.
Africa Insight (P.O. Box 630, Pretoria 0001). The quarterly of the Pretoria Africa Institute. Often contains useful articles on countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which are only now receiving closer attention in the South.
Africa Report (833 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017). A readable, bimonthly journalistic magazine of commentary on African events for American taste.
Africa Research Bulletin (Blackwell Publishers, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF). The most authoritative summary of press reports, speeches, statistics, and events throughout the continent. Published monthly since 1964.
African Affairs (18 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5BJ). Published quarterly for the UK Royal African Society. A thorough, somewhat eclectic and anthropologically focused academic journal that offers solid and esoteric articles as well as a substantial book review section.
The African Communist (P.O. Box 1027, Johannesburg 2000). The theoretical quarterly of the SACP, billed as “a forum for Marxist-Leninist thought,” mostly of the orthodox kind.
Agenda (29 Ecumenical Centre Trust, 20 St Andrews Street, Durban, 4001). A journal about women and gender, and the triple “exploitation and oppression” of South African women “on the basis of their class, race, and gender.” It aims to reach a wide audience through accessible style, but the resulting selection often lacks depth and is beset by sloganeering.
Canadian Journal of African Studies (Canadian African Studies Association, Innis College, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto, M5S 1A1). This journal has established a reputation for solid (if sometimes rather academic) refereed articles and reviews. Bilingual (English and French).
CSIS Africa Notes (Center for Strategic and International Studies, Suite 400, 1800 K Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006). A monthly briefing paper on a topical African issue, ably selected by veteran Africanist Helen Kitchen, of interest to American policy makers.
Democracy in Action (Idasa, Hill House, 1 Penzance Road, Mowbray 7700). A bimonthly newsletter of the Institute for a Democratic Alternative that has increasingly developed into a jargon-free yet sophisticated forum for political education. It strives to present accessible debates about South African political problems of the day.
Development and Democracy (Urban Foundation, P.O. Box 1198, Johannesburg 2000). A new irregular journal by the develoment lobby of big business with comparative contributions by high-powered academic experts.
Development Southern Africa (Box 784433, Sandton 2146). The quarterly of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, in which traditionally oriented economists, social workers, and public administration specialists dominate the discussion.
Die Suid-Afrikaan (Breestraat 215, Cape Town 8001). An influential mouthpiece of liberal Afrikaner intellectuals, founded by Hermann Giliomee and now edited by André du Toit. High analytical quality combined with a keen sense of the burning issues of the day.
Fast Facts (SA Institute of Race Relations, P.O. Box 31044, Braamfontein 2017). A monthly update of Institute members of current issues for busy readers.
Front File (37 Fairhazel Gardens, London NW6 3QN). One of the better of several London-based monthly commentaries on South African developments, written by veteran journalist Stanley Uys. Often reprinted crucial information from obscure sources but unfortunately ceased publication in 1992.
Frontline (Box 32219, Braamfontein 2017). An unpredictable and generally entertaining monthly presided over by maverick editor Denis Becket, who sometimes hits on little-noticed contradictions in South African life.
Indicator South Africa (Centre for Social and Development Studies, University of Natal, Durban 4001). An informative, nonpropagandistic, and jargon-free quarterly monitor of South African political, urban and rural, and economic trends. A good source for up-to-date statistics and pithy analyses.
Information Update (HSRC, P.O. Box 9086, Pretoria 0001). A quarterly HSRC expensive publication to keep decisionmakers up to date on the latest survey results. Although the same material is more cheaply and, frequently, more concisely presented by the various publications of the Institute of Race Relations, Information Update is valuable for its in-depth empiricism.
The Innis Labour Brief (The Innis Labour Brief Co., P.O. Box 91070, Auckland Park 2006). A manual on current economic, political, and industrial developments. Highly informative on trends in the labor field; by a former Wits sociology lecturer turned successful business consultant.
Journal of Contemporary African Studies (Africa Institute of South Africa, P.O. Box 630, Pretoria 0001). A biannual interdisciplinary journal, previously published by the Pretoria Africa Institute and now by Rhodes University. A more voluminous emulation of the reputable Journal of Modern African Studies containing thorough, scholarly articles.
Journal of Modern African Studies (Huish, Chagford, Devon, TQ13 8AR). One of the best and up-to-date academic journals, with a broad range of contributors, under the able editorship of David Kimble.
Land Update (Box 16858, Doornfontein [Johannesburg] 2028). The journal of the National Land Committee is a valuable source of news and commentary on resettlements and the debate about a new land policy.
Leadership (P.O. Box 1138, Johannesburg 2000). A glossy advertisement for a more enlightened corporate culture. Superb photographs and a good nose for trendy politics and lifestyles.
Mayibuye (P.O. Box 61884, Marshalltown 2307). The monthly journal of the ANC and successor of Sechaba, which was published in exile. The contributions, through which the ANC leadership tries to keep its bewildered constituency on course, are mainly aimed at mobilization.
Monitor (P.O. Box 13197, Humewood 6013, 19 Clyde Street, Central Port Elizabeth, 6001). Edited by Rory Riordan; publishes three editions a year on glossy paper with stunning photographs. A poorer but more political version of Leadership, with a heavier focus on human rights issues, more in-depth interviews, and fewer corporate topics.
New Nation (P.O. Box 10674, Johannesburg 2000). A weekly ANC-supporting tabloid of atrocities and continued struggle, edited by Zwelakhe Sisulu. Includes a useful educational supplement that, together with documents and commentary on internal ANC debates, provides a unique source of insights into urban black thinking in the PWV region.
Politikon (PSASA, Box 1040, Florida 1710). The journal of the South African Political Science Association featuring solid academic analyses of both South African problems and issues pertinent to political science in general.
Race Relations News (P.O. Box 31044, Braamfontein 2017). The quarterly official journal of the liberal South African Institute of Race Relations. Written in an easily accessible style, it defends the traditional liberal values of pluralism and democratic tolerance and is equally critical of human rights abuses whether perpetrated by the government or by liberation movements. Summaries of the Institute’s research and the text of speeches by Institute members generally convey a valuable nonpartisan overview of the South African conflict.
Race Relations Survey (South African Institute of Race Relations. P.O. Box 31044, Braamfontein 2017). The annual authoritative book-length compendium of intelligently organized facts, figures, and commentary, mainly gleaned from the South African press. The survey has established a high reputation as a meticulous and indispensable overview for any serious student of South Africa.
Reality (P.O. Box 1104, Pietermaritzburg 3200). The combative and refreshing voice of the handful of moral liberals left in South Africa. Not shy to criticize the regime and the ANC alike on the basis of a genuine commitment to individual freedoms and human rights.
Review of African Political Economy (P.O. Box 678, Sheffield, S1 1BF). A provocative, critical analysis of the political economy of the Third World by authors of the unorthodox Left.
RSA Policy Review (SA Communication Service, Private Bag X745, Pretoria 0001). A monthly journal of interviews with government ministers and articles by bureaucrats with the aim of elaborating National Party policy.
S.A. International Affairs Bulletin (Jan Smuts House, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits 2050). South African foreign policy issues and international relations are analyzed by the academics of John Barratt’s institute.
S.A. Journal of Economic History (Economic History Society of Southern Africa, c/o Division of Economic History, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits 2050). A biannual academic publication with a focus on economic history.
SA Labour Bulletin (P.O. Box 3851, Johannesburg 2000). The only consistent account and analysis of union struggles since the emergence of independent unions in the early 1970s. More oriented toward praxis than theory, it is nevertheless not an in-house organ but a sympathetic, factual observer of and commentator on the plurality of trends and events in the labor sphere.
Searchlight South Africa (14 Talbot Ave., London N2 0LS). A little-known Trotskyite journal founded by Baruch Hirson, who not only knows the activist history from the inside but crusades against the shortcomings of the ANC and its ally, the SACP.
Social Dynamics (Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700). An academic social science journal, typical of the genre with the occasional brilliant article or book review tucked amidst dull, esoteric, and jargon-laden treatises.
South Africa International (P.O. Box 7006, Johannesburg 2000). The quarterly of the South Africa Foundation, the big business lobby. It has become ever more sophisticated in its broad range of authors and coverage of topics pertinent to South African socioeconomic development. The journal, together with the Foundation’s newsletter, comes free to interested subscribers, who are mostly business professionals.
South Africa in the Nineties (HSRC, Private Bag X41, Pretoria 0001). A new quarterly published by the Social Dynamics section of the Human Sciences Research Council with analytical contributions on the progress towards a democratic social order written by academics across the political spectrum.
South African Defence Review (Institute for Defence Politics, P.O. Box 4167, Halfway House 1685). Generally useful and pertinent working papers to facilitate the transition to a democratically accountable and national defense force in a postsettlement South Africa, edited by Jakkie Cilliers.
South African Journal of Human Rights (Juta Ltd., P.O. Box 14373, Kenwyn 7790). Thorough academic discussions of the legalism of the apartheid nightmare by the best legal minds of South Africa in the liberal tradition.
South African Sociological Review (Editor: Jeff Lever, University of the Western Cape, Bellville 7530). Like Social Dynamics, the academic journal publishes a wide spectrum of research and reviews mostly by South African academics.
Southern Africa Report (427 Bloor Street W., Toronto, M5S 1X7). The strident, bimonthly Canadian voice of John Saul, deploring capitalist-racist collusion in the world and longing for the days of the original Frelimo. Well-informed on Mozambique but predictable on South African events.
Southern Africa Report (P.O. Box 261579, Excom 2023). A weekly airmail bulletin compiled by veteran liberal journalist Raymond Louw. It contains perceptive summaries of selected events, along with separate commentaries by the editor that adhere to liberal principles similar to those of SouthScan. Weak on economic trends but strong on human rights issues.
Southern African Review of Books (Centre for Southern African Studies, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Capé). An excellent bimonthly paper in the format of the New York or London Review of Books that not only focuses on South African debates about literature and art but is equally valuable for its treatment of avant-garde political controversies. Edited by historian Rob Turrell from London.
SouthScan (P.O. Box 724, London N16 5RZ). One of the most informative and comprehensive newsletters; also among the least expensive for individual subscribers. Focuses about equally on economic and political issues, and is slightly biased toward ANC interpretations.
Spotlight (South African Institute of Race Relations, P.O. Box 31044, Braamfontein 2017). Bimonthly dispassionate analysis of a particular topical issue, such as educational reform, violence, negotiations, or political strategies.
Theoria (University of Natal Press, P.O. Box 375, Pietermaritzburg 3200). A scholarly, non-disciplinary journal in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. It encourages reflection on important intellectual currents and social, artistic, and political events.
Towards Democracy (Institute for Multi-Party Democracy, 85 Field Street, Durban 4001). A new in-house journal by Oscar Dhlomo’s non-partisan Institute with useful analysis and exhortations for political tolerance and national reconciliation.
Transformation (Economic History Department, University of Natal, Durban 401). A quarterly, rather modest, semi-academic journal of the broad independent left, covering similar ground as Work in Progress but with more careful selection of in-depth articles and commentary. Essential reading for understanding intraleft debates.
Vrye Weekblad (P.O. Box 177, Newton 2113). The Afrikaans equivalent of the Weekly Mail, with much more in-depth contributions that cover a broad spectrum of political, cultural and human interests, under editor Max du Preez.
The Weekly Mail (P.O. Box 260425, Excom 2023). Probably still the most lively, though not unbiased, source of rich details about the darker and lighter sides of living in the land of apartheid.
Work in Progress (Southern African Research Service, P.O. Box 32716, Braamfontein 2017). A fine example of radical leftist but jargon-free analysis in the tradition of critical democratic socialism. Like Transformation, crucial to understanding the intricacies of debates on the Left.