One of New Brighton’s successful academic sons will be back in the Bay this week to launch his book on Red Location and its history.
Prof Vuyisile Msila will launch his book, A Place to Live: Red Location and its History From 1903 to 2013 at the GFI Gallery in Park Drive on Thursday evening at 5.30 for 6pm.
He was in Port Elizabeth last month to set up the launch with Fogarty’s Bookshop, and it sounds as if it will be a fascinating evening as, apart from being born in New Brighton, matriculating at Newell High School and teaching at Mzontsundu Secondary School, Msila also graduated from and lectured at NMMU. Like so many culturally-minded citizens in this city, he is saddened that the Red Location Museum in New Brighton has been shut for so long.
“This is the second oldest location in South Africa but nothing has been written about it and more stories out of this place need to be told,” he said.
His concern is that future generations will not know these stories if no-one records them.
“The worrying aspect is that people who were part of the history never see the importance of the events. They never think of recording these. Many people I visited for interviews for example were part of that history but are not realising the importance of what they have in memory.
“I started the first few words for the book when the Red Location houses were being demolished and people were being moved to Masangwanaville. People were leaving the place so the ‘Live’ is a pun on ‘Leave’. People lived in this place – but now they were leaving.
“It is also difficult not to start at Red Location when one wants to tell the story of New Brighton.”
A preview of the book’s table of contents alone gives the reader an idea of the flavour: each chapter is linked to a story of a Red Location personality, with household names such as Ray Mhlaba, Vuyisile Mini, Rev JJ R Jolobe, Milase Majola, Florence
Matomela, Dora Nginza, and Francis Baard included. He also interviewed personalities like Nomhle Nkonyeni and Welcome Duru for the book.
Msila, a former Fulbright Fellow, is now head of the Institute for African Renaissance Studies (IARS) at Unisa’s College of Graduate Studies in Pretoria where he is a prolific researcher and essayist. His father still lives in New Brighton and Msila hopes to see friends and family at the launch on Thursday.
- A Place to Live: Red Location and its History From 1903 to 2013 is published by Sun Press and retails for R325 (e-book R160). Further information from Fogarty’s.