Becoming Genetic Jews: Lemba Political Histories of Racial, Religious, and Cultural Difference in Twentieth-Century South Africa

Thursday, 4 August, 2016 - 15:00

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This paper is a draft of chapter two of my in-progress book manuscript "Genetic Afterlives: Evidencing Black Jewish Indigeneity in South Africa." This chapter considers the more than one hundred year intellectual history of knowledge production about the Lemba as potential "Semites" and their unsuccessful efforts to achieve ethnic recognition in apartheid South Africa through the creation of Lemba tribal authorities and a Lemba homeland. The chapter culminates with archival and oral history accounts of Lemba decisions to participate in genetic ancestry studies when they were approached to do so in the 1980s and 1990s.

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