Koni Benson

Koni Benson is an historian, organizer, and educator. She is a senior lecturer in the Department of History at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her research focuses on mobilisation, demobilisation, and remobilisation of struggle histories in southern Africa’s past and present.  She draws on critical and creative approaches to people’s history projects, popular education, and feminist collaborative research praxis in her work to coproduce life histories of self-organisation and unfolding political struggles for public services/the commons with social movement archives and with student, activist, and cultural collectives in southern Africa. She co-convener of Revolutionary Papers, a transnational research and teaching project working with anti-colonial movement materials and Know Your Continent, a popular education African history initiative. Previously she spent eight years working with social movements and trade unions as a research educator at the International Labour Research and Information Group, and as a researcher organizer for the Blue Planet Project supporting campaigns against the privatization of water on the African continent.  

She is author of Crossroads: I Live Where I Like (illustrated by the Trantraal Brothers and Ashley Marais, forward by Robin D. G. Kelley, PM Press, 2021/Jacana Press 2022), and coauthor with Faeza Meyer of Writing Out Loud: Interventions in the History of a Land Occupation (forthcoming). With Asher Gamedze and Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, she co-produced “Radical Histories II: Ottilie Abrahams Speaks,” Owela (Kaleni Kolletive, 2019).  With Feminist Alternatives, she co-produced My Dream is to Be Bold: Our Work to End Patriarchy (Pambazuka/ Michigan State UP, 2010). Her writing has been published by the Journal of Southern African Studies, African Studies Review, Feminist Africa, Gender Place and Culture: Feminist Geography, Transition Magazine, Education as Change, Agenda, South African Labour Bulletin, Zambezia, Khanya College Journal, Pathways to Free Education, ILRIG, Zmagazine, and newspapers in South Africa, Canada, Kenya, and Namibia.