Illuminating Lives

Biographies of Fascinating People from South African History

Eleven fascinating lives are illuminated in this highly readable collection of South African biographical essays by a group of distinguished authors.
Date Published :
February 2019
Publisher :
Penguin Random House South Africa
Editor :
Vivian Bickford-Smith, Bill Nasson
Illustration :
11 images
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781776092642
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9.2 X 6 inches
In stock


In this fresh and highly readable collection of South African biographical essays, a distinguished group of authors illuminate the lives of eleven colorful and complex men and women whose personal experiences throw fascinating light on the times in which they lived. The individuals whose stories are told here are very different in time, in place and in work and at play, but are united by an abundantly rich humanity and by the fascinatingly different ways in which they navigated their existence through the uneven waters of South Africa’s distant and more recent past.

Including administrators and activists, sportsmen and teachers, a missionary, a pilot, a painter and a poet,
Illuminating Lives is a wide-ranging and moving book which provides readers with striking and unexpected insights into history. Here are some intriguing South African lives well worth knowing about.

About The Author

Vivian Bickford-Smith is an extraordinary professor in the History Department at Stellenbosch University. He has published extensively in nineteenth- and twentieth-century South African history, especially in the area of urban history and social identities. His publications include three books on the history of Cape Town; Black and White in Colour: African History on Screen; and, most recently, The Emergence of the South African Metropolis: Cities and Identities in the Twentieth Century.

Bill Nasson was born in Cape Town where he survived schooling and the trauma of adolescence before being educated in Britain at the universities of Hull, York and Cambridge. He has held visiting fellowships at Cambridge University, the Australian National University, the University of Illinois and the University of Kent in Canterbury. He lectured in economic history and history at the University of Cape Town for many years before moving to Stellenbosch University where he is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of History. An award-winning author, his numerous book publications include the acclaimed The War for South Africa, Britannia’s Empire, Springboks on the Somme, South Africa at War, 1939–1945, and WWI and the People of South Africa. Aside from being a general editor of 1914–1918 Online, the leading international encyclopaedia of the First World War, he is an ageing life member of the Peter Cook Appreciation Society.

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