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Zimitri Erasmus is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She received her PhD at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Her research interests include understanding and disrupting ‘race’ and racism(s), building anti-racist praxis, creolisation, and the idea of ‘mixed race’. She was a Commonwealth Fellow at the London School of Economics in 2005 and received the Distinguished Teacher’s Award at UCT in 2006. She has published on the place of ‘race’ in post-apartheid South Africa and is editor of Coloured by History, Shaped by Place: Re-imagining Coloured Identities in Cape Town published by Kwela Books in 2001. Her current work involves thinking comparatively about ‘Krio’ communities in Sierra Leone and ‘coloured’ communities at the Cape, South Africa.
Crimes of ‘Blood’: A comparative analysis of South Africa’s Immorality Act (1927 & 1950) and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act (1949), and Miscegenation Laws in North America
This study compares the effects of Miscegenation Laws in 20th century North America with those of apartheid South Africa’s Immorality (1927& 1950) and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages (1949) Acts. It draws on three sets of primary data: a) law reports of cases tried and sent for appeal - under various versions of the Immorality Act - before 1948 under the government of the Union of South Africa and after 1948, under the Apartheid government; b) House of Assembly and Senate Debates of the South African Parliament, under both the Union and Apartheid governments; and c) related Government Commission Reports. It also draws on already existing analyses of similar data from the North American experience to produce a comparative analysis of relevant laws in South Africa and North America.
The project examines the logic, procedures and socio-political effects of these key laws of Grand Apartheid. I ask four broad questions:
- What can we learn from the North American body of knowledge on the administration of ‘interracial’ sex and marriage that might be of relevance to such administration in colonial and apartheid South Africa?
- What is different about the South African case?
- How does this difference contribute to knowledge in this field?
- What does this comparative analysis offer in support of a critical literacy for the use of ‘race’?