The Durban University of Technology, in partnership with the English Academy of Southern Africa recently held a Commemorative Lecture at the DUT City Campus, where calls for a project that would bring the unpublished essays of DUT posthumous honorary graduate, Professor Lewis Nkosi, into one volume were made.
This call for the “Collected Essays of Lewis Nkosi” was made by Professor Michael Chapman, Emeritus Professor at UKZN. Titled “Lewis Nkosi: Commemorating The Exile at Home”, the seminar was held at the Arthur Smith Hall, DUT City Campus. Professor Chapman delivered the keynote address.
DUT Arts and Design Faculty Executive Dean; Dr Kenneth Netshiombo, Professor Stanley Ridge; English Academy of Southern Africa President, DUT Arts and Design Faculty Deputy Dean; Professor Graham Stewart and Professor Lindy Stiebel who co-edited Still Beating the Drum, an authoritative critical study of Lewis Nkosi’s work all attended and delivered addresses at the lecture.
Born in Chesterville, Durban, on 5 December 1936, Professor Nkosi died on 5 September 2010. He attended local schools before enrolling at the then M. L. Sultan Technical College, Durban. He joined Drum magazine as a writer in 1956, a magazine founded in 1951 by and for African writers. In his book “Home and Exile and Other Selections” published in 1965, Nkosi described Drum’s young writers as “the new Africans cut adrift from the tribal reserve, urbanised, eager, fast-talking and brash” a description writer Neil Lazarus felt fitted Nkosi as well.
Professor Nkosi endured severe restrictions on his writing due to the then publishing regulations found in the Suppression of Communism Act and the Publications and Entertainment Act passed in the 1950s and 1960s.
Regarded as one of the great essayist to come from the continent of Africa, Professor Nkosi is chiefly known for his scholarly studies of contemporary African literature. He authored the book “Mating Birds” in 1986 where he was critically acclaimed for his prose style and narrative structure. The work has also been compared with Albert Camus’s ‘The Stranger’ by several others.
From left: DUT Arts and Design Faculty Deputy Dean; Professor Graham Stewart, Dr Betty Govinden; English Academy of Southern Africa council member, Professor Michael Chapman; Emeritus Professor at UKZN, Professor Stanley Ridge; English Academy of Southern Africa President and DUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Ahmed Bawa at the DUT/English Academy of Southern Africa Commemorative Lecture: “Lewis Nkosi: Commemorating The Exile at Home”.