cover image All Rise: Resistance and Rebellion in South Africa

All Rise: Resistance and Rebellion in South Africa

Richard Conyngham et al. Catalyst, $23.95 trade paper (252p) ISBN 978-1-946395-63-4

Told through the artwork of seven South African artists, including the Trantraal Brothers, Dada Khanyisa, and Mark Modimola, this comprehensive and diverse history collects stories of lesser-known rebels and their attempts to challenge their circumstances under the period of political upheaval that was “the Union years” (1910–1948), a time characterized, in part, by institutional hostility towards working people. Conyngham scoured archives and court records and from them pieced together portraits of everyday heroes who attempted to fight unjust treatment, such as African women in the Transvaal who contested a law that required them to carry a pass at night in white neighborhoods, or Asian immigrants who, after having built their entire lives in South Africa, fought to stay there after their resistance to the “Black Act”—a law stating that all Asian men over 16 carry a registration certificate with their name, age, caste, and fingerprints—resulted in deportation. The records are adapted into scripts but also are reproduced as visuals throughout. Each chapter’s artists take on different mediums, such as colored pencil or ink and watercolor, with some dramatic sequences, but there’s a tendency to overload with expository text. Still, this accessible work of essential history will be welcomed on the shelves of activists and students alike. (Apr).