Neil Parsons

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Neil Parsons (19**-). Historian, lecturer and author, with an interest in film and performance.


Born and educated up to secondary level in England, he became a teenage volunteer teacher in Botswana in 1962-63, and later went on to postgraduate African studies at Edinburgh University. He then taught history at the Universities of Zambia (1971-75) and Swaziland (1975-79), and conducted educational research for the National Institute for Research in Gaborone (1980-83), thereafter becoming a freelance writer and honorary research fellow at the National Museum & Art Gallery in Gaborone. Between 1996 and 2009 he was professor of history at the University of Botswana (also teaching film studies), with short spells teaching at the University of Cape Town both before and after that. He has been, at various times, co-editor of the journals African Social Research, Journal of Southern African Studies, Pula Botswana Journal of African Studies, and Botswana Notes and Records. His books include The Roots of Rural Poverty in Central and Southern Africa (1977), A New History of Southern Africa (1982), Seretse Khama 1921-1980 (1995), King Khama, Emperor Joe, and the Great White Queen (1998), and Clicko the Wild Dancing Bushman (Jacana Media, 2009).

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

His current interest is the history of early silent films in Southern Africa, on which he wrote the book Black and white bioscope: making movies in Africa, 1899 to 1925, published in Bristol, UK in 2018.


Stellenbosch University Library catalogue.

Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

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