Jack Simons: Teacher, Scholar, Comrade

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Jack Simons was much more than a romantic revolutionary and public intellectual. He was interested in art, literature and religion. He was a walker and a lover of nature and the great outdoors. He was a good father, to many more than his own children, a gardener, and a cook. Above all, he was, as Nancy Gordon recalls, a ‘warm mensch’, who was totally committed to his vision of a non-racial, and ultimately socialist, South Africa. – Hugh Macmillan

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Jack Simons was much more than a romantic revolutionary and public intellectual. He was interested in art, literature and religion. He was a walker and a lover of nature and the great outdoors. He was a good father, to many more than his own children, a gardener, and a cook. Above all, he was, as Nancy Gordon recalls, a ‘warm mensch’, who was totally committed to his vision of a non-racial, and ultimately socialist, South Africa. - Hugh Macmillan

Jack Simons: Teacher, Scholar, Comrade is a pocket biography informed by personal knowledge of its subject, and firsthand experience of the ANC in exile in Zambia, as well as
by research in the archives and interviews. Born in 1907, Jack Simons was one of the leading left-wing intellectuals – and one of the greatest teachers – in 20thcentury South Africa. As a lecturer in African Studies at the University of Cape Town from 1937 until he was prevented from teaching by the government in 1964, and thereafter through his lectures and writings in exile, he had a profound effect on the thinking of generations of white and black students and on the liberation movement as a whole.

As Albie Sachs wrote in an obituary in The Guardian (1995), ‘It is not just the way he influenced so many individuals. It was the impact he had on the culture of a people. The new 
South African Constitution requires that the values of an open and democratic society should be nurtured. Simons fought all his life both for openness and democracy. His intellectual rigour, the honesty of his person, the sweep of his information, the humanity of his vision and interactiveness and the vitality of his ideas, imprinted themselves on the generation that fought hardest for liberty and made the most direct contribution to achieving the new constitutional order.’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hugh Macmillan is a historian who has taught at universities in Swaziland, Zambia and South Africa. He is currently a research associate at the African Studies Centre, Oxford University. He is the author of The Lusaka Years: The ANC in Exile in Zambia and a biography of Chris Hani, both published by Jacana Media.

ISBN 978-1-4314-2334-7
GENRE Biography
FORMAT Paperback
SIZE 180x110mm
EXTENT 160pp
PRICE R130
RIGHTS Co-published with Ohio University Press in the US and UK
RELEASE March 2016