Film & Media


  • Parsons, Neil, The Revolution in Show Business, 1871-1913

  • Parsons, Neil, Kinetoscope & Cinematographe in southern Africa 1895-1899

  • Parsons, Neil, Videography of Botswana

  • Parsons, Neil, Blue Lagoon article

  • Parsons, Neil, ‘American movie-maker Harold Shaw as an agent of British Influence 1916-1920’. Paper presented at British Silent Film Festival, King’s College London, March 2018

  • Parsons, Neil, Guess Who????



2018     Black and White Bioscope: Making Movies in Africa 1899 to 1925.Bristol: Intellect Books & University of Chicago Press ISBN 978-1-78320-943-9, & Pretoria: Protea ISBN 978-1-4853-0955-0, Oct. 2018, hardback 272pp.

2009-10 Clicko the Wild Dancing BushmanCape Town: Jacana Media, July 2009. xvi & 251 pp. (ISBN 978-177009-710-0) & Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Dec. 2010 (ISBN 978-022664-7418 cloth; ISBN 978-022664-7425 paperback). Significant reviews:

  • Amanda Hellerin Boston Globe,12 Dec. 2010

  • Vanessa Toulmin (Prof. Popular Entertainment, U. Sheffield) in Times Higher Education,3 March 2011

  • Patric Tariq Mellet on Aug. 2009 ('Clicko the story of Franz Taaibosch, yesterday's Caster Semenya')

African Film (Sound)

2017     Film review:Krotoa(Penguin Films of Cape Town, dir. Roberta Durrant), Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa, vol.71, no.2, Dec. 2017, pp. 212-16

2016     Film review:A United Kingdom (Pathé, Perfect Weekend, Yoruba Saxon, 20th Century Fox etc., dir. Amma Asante), in Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa, vol.70, no.2, pp.108-112.

2015     External examiner:'Once Upon a Time in the Veld: South African Westerns in Context' MA in African Cinema, University of Cape Town Centre for Film & Media Studies

2014     Book chapter:'False dawns over the Kalahari? Botswana film production in historical perspective' in Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike, ed. Critical Approaches to African Cinema Discourse(Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books/ Ronan & Littlefield Publication Group), pp.135-53. ISBN 978-0-7391-8093-8 (electronic 978-0-7391-8094-5)

2013     External examiner: NAME 'From Matieland to Mother City: Landscape, Identity and Place in Feature Films set in the Cape Province, 1947-1989' PhD, University of Cape Town Department of Historical Studies

2009     External examiner: NAME 'Creating a Black Film Industry: State Intervention and Films for African Audiences in South Africa, 1956-1990' PhD, University of Cape Town Department of Historical Studies

2009     Unpublished talk:'Barack Obama, Lady Khama, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: African truths behind Hollywood fiction?' Botswana Society Lecture, National Museum & Art Gallery, Gaborone, 21 April 2009 

2009     Unpublished talk'Five films almost made in Botswana' Botswana Resource Sector Conference, Grand Palm International Convention Centre, Gaborone. Weds 10 June 2009

2008     Unpublished talk:'Making The No 1 Ladies Detective Agencytv series in Botswana' (i) Australian National University, Old Canberra House 20/20/20 Seminar Series 18 Sept. 2008; (ii) Alliance Française, Suva, Fiji, 3 Nov. 2008; (iii) Trent University, Peterborough, Canada, Department of History Lecture, Thurs 20 Nov. 2008

2008     Unpublished talk: 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? African Realities and Hollywood Fiction' Wheaton College, Mass., USA, Social Sciences lecture, Tues. 2 Dec. 2008

2008     Seminar paper:'Stone Age cinema and the cinema of the Stone Age in Southern Africa' Australian National University, Research School of Humanities Work in Progress Seminar, 17 October 2008

2007     Seminar paper: 'White man's bluff: the politics of film in colonial Botswana 1943-46' International Association of Media Historians conference, Amsterdam, 18-21 July 2007

2006a   Journal article: 'A hundred years of Botswana films and filming' Botswana Notes and Records, vol.38, pp.33-42

2006b   External examiner'The Great Dance: Myth, History and Identity in Documentary Film Representations of the Bushmen, 1925-2000' PhD, University of Cape Town Department of Historical Studies

2004        Seminar paper:‘The Kanye cinema experiment, 1945-48’ University of Botswana, Department of History seminar, Wed. 3 March 2004

2003a       Seminar paper:‘Film history and the African historian: the case of Botswana and the Kalahari, 1934-2002’ South East Regional African Studies spring conference, State University of West Georgia at Carrollton, Sat. 12 April 2003

2003b      Seminar paper: ’Film and history in Botswana: western perceptions of an interventions in Kalahari politics, 1934-2002’ La Trobe University, Melbourne, African Research Institute, Thurs. 12 June 2003

2003c      Internet publication: Film history and the African historian: Botswana and the Kalahari, 1934-2002’ Bi-annual Conference of the South African Historical Society 2003: ‘Southern Africa: Yesterday and Today’ University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, Tues. 1 July 2003<>

2003d      Seminar paper:'Films help lighten our darkness: cinema and the Bechuanaland Protectorate, 1943-1948’ University of London, School of Oriental & African Studies African History seminar, Weds. 19 Nov. 2003

2002        Seminar paper:'Three Khamas and the Kalahari: putting Botswana history on film' First International African Film & History Conference, University of Cape Town, 6-8 July 2002

2001        Film review:The Life and Times of Sara Baartman, the Hottentot Venus. A film by Zola Maseko, H-Net Multimedia Review <> (20 December 2001), reprinted in Pula: Botswana Journal of African Studies, vol.16, no.1 (2002), pp.68-69

1999        Internet: The BBC Video "Rhodes: the life and legend of Cecil Rhodes" and historical films about Africa" 14k, since removed to <

African Film (Silent)

?     Journal article'The Blue Lagoon (1923)', The Silent Film Quarterly, vol.2, no.4, in press 

2016     Journal article: 'Make faces, Zulu! Make faces, Zulu! Silent comedy and ethnic stereotyping in early South African movies', Journal of African Cinemas, vol.8, no 2, pp.133-54. ISSN 1754-9221 (online: 1754923X)

2015     Journal article: 'Santry'sWar Topicalities: South Africa's pioneer cartoon films, 1914-15',Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa, vol.69, no.2, pp.58-66. ISSN 2313-2590. ISSN 2313-2590

2013     Journal article: 'Nation-building movies made in South Africa (1916-18): I.W. Schlesinger, Harold Shaw, and the lingering ambiguities of South African union' Journal of Southern African Studies, vol.39, no.3, pp. 641-60. ISSN 0305-7070

2009     Journal article: 'Investigating the origins of The Rose of Rhodesia(1918). Parts I & II Screening the Past: An Online Journal of Media and History (Melbourne), issue 25, July 2009, Special Issue on The Rose of Rhodesia (1918)

2015     Seminar paper:'The London Missionary Society on silent film' University of London Institute of Historical Research, Christian Missions in Global History seminar & Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image, Gordon Square Cinema, 6 June 2015

2014     Unpublished talk:'Boer War films, Sold to the Malays, and the banning of The Dop Doctor in 1916' North-Eastern Workshop on Southern Africa, Burlington, Vermont, 17-19 Oct. 2014

2012     Seminar paper:'South African epic films and the ambiguity of Union, 1916-22' Department of History University of Botswana seminar, Thurs. 9 Aug. 2012

2011     Seminar paper:'Early South African movies and the lingering ambiguities of South African union 1910-18' Centre of African Studies, University of London/ Birkbeck College (Southern African History Culture & Society Series) workshop, 10 June 2011

2010     Seminar paper:'Before Schlesinger: Carl Hertz, The Great Kimberley Diamond Robberyand the cinema of illusion' Department of Historical Studies Seminar, University of Cape Town, Weds. 24 Feb. 2010

2009     Seminar paper'Zuluology: images of Africa and Africans in South African films 1911-1923' University of Botswana Department of English 5thInternational Conference 'Mapping English in Africa', Gaborone, Thurs 4 June 2009

2009     Unpublished talk:'A “lost” rival to Hollywood: South African feature films and their representation of Africans, 1911-1923' African Studies Centre Public Talk, University of Leiden Social Science Building, Thurs 12 Nov. 2009

2008     Unpublished talk:'The cinema of the Stone Age in Southern Africa' School of Social Sciences staff and students, University of the South Pacific, 4 Nov. 2008

2008     Unpublished talk:'South African Hollywood? The Rose of Rhodesia (1918)' Trent University, Peterborough, Canada, Department of History Seminar, Fri 21 Nov. 2008

Art & Communication

2018     Book chapter: ‘ ‘ in Illuminating Lives

2016     Unpublished talk:'John Koenkeefe Mohl and Tshekedi Khama: an African landscape painter and his patron' University of Birmingham African Studies/ History seminar, 20 Jan. 2016

2015     Seminar paper:'John Koenakeefe Mohl and the Bechuanaland Protectorate: the transfrontier career of a black South African landscape painter' JSAS/RoAPE/ SAIPAR Conference, Livingstone, Zambia, 8 Aug.2015

2012     Book chapter:'The "Victorian Internet" reaches half way to Cairo: Cape-Tanganyika telegraphs, 1875-1926', chap.5 in Miriam de Briujn & Rijk van Dijk, eds. The Social Life of Connectivity in Africa(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp.95-121. ISBN 978-1-137-27801-2

2009     Seminar paper:'Cape-Zambezi Telecommunications 1875-1914 (Preliminary Report)' African Studies Centre, (‘Connections and Transformations: The Social Construction of Linking Technologies in Africa and Beyond’ Research Programme), Leiden, Tues. 3 November 2009

1989       Periodical article: with Thandi Kgosidintsi, 'Publishing in Botswana' African Book Publishing Record(Oxford), vol. xv, no.3,pp.171-72.

1968        Periodical article: 'The Tswana press—an outline of its history since 1856' Kutlwano(Gaborone), vol.8, no.8 (Aug,), pp.48-52

Circus & Popular Entertainment

2009b   Book chapter:with Alinah K. Segobye, ‘From Banyoles to Botswana: the return of a Bushman to Africa' in Witnesses to History: Documents and Writings on the Return of Cultural Objects(Paris: UNESCO), pp.391-98

2012     Journal article: 'Kidnap in Connecticut [1919]' Bandwagon, Journal of the Circus Historical Society, vol.55, no.4, July-Aug. 2012, pp.32-38


2018     Book appendixNon-Fiction Films made in Sub-Saharan Africa 1897-1925’, pp.230-37 in Neil Parsons, Black and White Bioscope: Movies Made in Africa 1899 to 1925. Bristol: Intellect Books, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, & Pretoria: Protea