UKZN PROFESSOR EDITOR OF NEW BOOK ON SOUTHERN AFRICAN-IRISH HISTORY

UKZN PROFESSOR EDITOR OF NEW BOOK ON SOUTHERN AFRICAN-IRISH HISTORY

Essays and Source Material on Southern African-Irish History, edited by Professor Donal McCracken of UKZN’s Centre for Communication, Media and Society, was recently launched by Irish Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Brendan McMahon. 

This new book, the fourth in the occasional series Southern African-Irish Studies edited by McCracken, records the saga of the Irish Diaspora in Africa.  It was published by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

According to McCracken, the population of Ireland declined by half after the great Famine of the 1840s. ‘One of the principal reasons for this was emigration. While hundreds of thousands of the suppressed and dispossessed Irish fled to the United States and Australia, some also came to South Africa,’ said McCracken.

Essays and Source Material on Southern African-Irish History has contributions which range from the 1808 Irish-led slave revolt in the Cape and the South African link to the Irish revolutionary Roger Casement, to a study of masculinity and Guinness in southern Africa. A document section contains a translation of a war diary written in French, brief biographies of hundreds of Irish in 19th century KwaZulu-Natal and a battlefield guide to Irish troop involvement in the province.

‘It has attracted scholars from nine universities in Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Britain and Malta as well as from three archives and the United Nations Commission for Refugees,’ said McCracken.

Born and educated in Ireland, McCracken is a historian whose interests include media and cultural history. He has been advisor on BBC-TV programmes on South African history and has published extensively on a variety of cultural topics such as the Zululand Wilderness, the Durban Botanic Gardens, the Anglo-Boer War and Irish History.
author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za