Sputnik from Below: Space Age Science and Public Culture in Southern Africa

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Seminar Date
May 8, 2013
In his satirical novel The Dixie Medicine Man, Christian John Makgala writes of Leroy, an orthopaedic surgeon from Mississippi who arrives in the town of Morwa, Botswana in 1971. Here, local excitement over the United States’ recent moon landing instantly makes him the focus of keen community interest and his popularity is soon felt as a threat by Jealousman, World War II veteran and resident headman, whose authority has rested on his reputation for knowledge of the world outside the village. In the scene of their first encounter, we learn that the headman is an avid reader of news media and a show-off who enjoys the sense of snobbery that literacy affords him.
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