Winner of the 2020 Fage and Oliver Prize

Winner of the 2020 Fage and Oliver Prize

The African Studies Association is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2020 Fage and Oliver Prize is: The Man Who Killed Apartheid: The Life of Dimitri Tsafendas by Harris Dousemetzis (South Africa, Jacana Media).

Dousemetzis winning entry was selected from nine shortlisted titles as part of the 85 publications submitted by numerous publishers. Chaired by Ray Bush, Professor of African Studies and Development Politics, University of Leeds, the jury found this to be a gripping book based on ten years of solid research.

On behalf of this year’s jury, Professor Bush said “The Man Who Killed Apartheid, The Life of Dimitri Tsafendas is a tour de force of investigative, analytical rigour, in righting one of the injustices perpetuated by apartheid.  Harris Dousemetzis documents the political commitment of Dimitri Tsafendas in his assassination of the architect of Apartheid, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd on 6 September 1966.  The government of South Africa covered up the assassin’s motivation as one of mental illness, fearing political backlash for implementing apartheid. Dousemetzis, however, details the life of Tsafendas, a communist who was committed to racial, economic and social equality.  He becomes South Africa’s longest serving prisoner, who was subjected to inhumane conditions of confinement and torture, dying at the age of 81 after 33 years of incarceration.   Harris Dousemetzis has written an accessible biography of Tsafendas that transcends the academic monograph.  He highlights the life and times of apartheid, employs transnational historical evidence and in so doing indicates the book’s contemporary relevance and significant contribution to African Studies.  This is a captivating and hypnotising book, a fabulously worthy winner of the 2020 Fage and Oliver ASAUK book prize.

The prize is awarded to the author of an outstanding original scholarly work and one that is enlightening for a wider public about African issues published during the preceding two years. The ASAUK is very grateful to the 2020 jury members; Professor Ray Bush (Chair): Dr Reginald Cline-Cole, Department of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham, Dr Diana Jeater, Department of History, University of Liverpool; Professor Madhu Krishnan, Department of English, University of Bristol and Dr Kate Skinner, Department of African Studies and Anthropology, University of Birmingham.

Thank you to the publishers who submitted their publications for consideration of this prize.  The 2018 Fage and Oliver prize winner was Professor Francis B Nyamnjoh for #RhodesMustFall: Nibbling at Resilient Colonialism in South Africa (Bamenda: Langaa RPCIG, 2016)

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