Isabel Hofmeyr's Gandhi's Printing Press underlines the significance of Indian Opinion in Gandhi's South African project of fostering Indianness, draws parallels with print cultures elsewhere, and highlights the role of the Phoenix Settlement in sustaining Satyagraha. Among the striking themes of this study are slow reading, which Hofmeyr works out at length, and Gandhi's racial prejudices toward Africans at a time when Africans' own political activism was developing in parallel with those of Gandhi, within a context of the militarized consolidation of white power. Slow reading is particularly relevant in our age when the audit culture at higher education institutions means that there is little market value in critical writing and limited opportunities to produce informed and active citizens. Gandhi's Printing Press underscores the need for a sustained examination of Gandhi's thinking on race and an interrogation of whether his choices were a result of innate biases or larger historical forces that defined the possibilities of political action. Afro-Indian relations remain problematic in the postapartheid era despite the commemoration of Gandhi as an anticolonial hero. A critical examination of the formative period of Indian settlement in South Africa may be more useful than the dominant color-blind account of solidarities between Indians and Africans.
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Goolam Vahed; Gandhi, Indian Opinion, and the Making of Indo–south African Identity, 1903–14. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 August 2015; 35 (2): 354–360. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-3139132
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