Gauteng launch: 13 December 2016


From Cattle-Herding to Editor’s Chair: The Unfinished Autobiography and Writings of Richard Victor Selope Thema, edited by Alan Cobley

The Society held an extremely successful launch of the new volume at the Blubird branch of Bookdealers in Johannesburg on 13 December 2016. Between 90 and 100 people gathered to meet Alan Cobley and to be present at the launch (the first formal gathering of the Society in Gauteng since the since the launch of Peter Limb’s edition of AB Xuma’s Autobiography four years before), following the two launches in Cape Town the previous week.

It was good to host members of the Society again in this region, but the members who were present were greatly outnumbered by other bibliophiles and interested members of the public, as well as many descendants of RV Selope Thema. The launch could best be described as a blend of a more formal launch and a joyous family celebration. Alan Cobley’s address was followed by presentations and reminiscences from three family members, John JR Masemola (the oldest living descendant of the volume’s subject), Godfrey Mhlongo and Phekane Ramarumo; Siyabonga Gama, the chair of the RV Selope Thema Foundation Trust; and Duma Nkosi, the former mayor of Ekurheleni, who represented the African National Congress. The historian Jane Carruthers, who recently stepped down as a member of Council, rounded off the proceedings before all guests shared some very enjoyable drinks and snacks.

The Society is very grateful indeed to Doron Locketz and Vivienne Yudaken of Bookdealers for their support in hosting this event so generously.

Nick Southey