Athambile Masola

The problem with ‘buying, swapping and selling’ domestic workers

I recently came across an advert about a domestic worker. The advert was a Facebook post written on a group called “Westville buy, swap and sell”. The group is used by a variety of people wanting to get rid of household appliances. I became uncomfortable when a black woman was made part of the list…

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Let’s talk about ‘black tax’

The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife — this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost … he simply wishes to make it possible for a man to…

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Education for all: Is it possible?

While driving to school this morning I heard on the news that a school in Limpopo has been without textbooks and teachers since the beginning of the year. The story was framed as yet another example of government inefficiency and an echo from the past when the same thing happened to a few schools in…

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The problem with #RhodesMustFall

South Africa has been consumed with statues in recent weeks. Statues have become a symbol of all the racial conflict bubbling beneath the surface of the “rainbow nation”. All at once, we agree that we need to talk about race and the colonial and apartheid history but at the same time we are afraid that…

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A state of panic: What is our response?

While witnessing the farce that was the State of the Nation address (SONA) last week, the cynic in me wondered, why are we surprised? We may not have predicted the chaos that unfolded in parliament, but the sentiments behind the event should not be a surprise. There are moments in South Africa’s political life that…

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The politics of speaking English well

While reading Stephen Grootes’ article, “The politics of navigating the English Language”, I became increasingly annoyed. In a country with 11 official languages why are we overly concerned with how well people speak English? Grootes’ article looks at prominent political leaders and how they fair when presenting themselves in English. The unintended consequence of writing…

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Education reform: Raising the floor or raising the ceiling?

“Wealthy parents choose [private schools] for their children, at least in part, as a risk-management strategy. If you look at the list of successful [private school] alumni, you’ll see some impressive names on it … but for a school that has been producing highly-privileged graduates for many years, it boasts very few world changers. Traditionally,…

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On being mis-recognised: Julian Hewitt and the angry black woman

People think I’m an angry black woman. People who know me well, know that this is a misrecognition of me. I’m a nice person. I hate foot-in-mouth interactions: that awkward moment when someone says something they shouldn’t have said, and someone else has to salvage the situation or we all walk away. I save face….

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Education: What’s the point of it all?

A few weeks ago, I read an article to my grade 11 students with the headline “Youth unemployment in South Africa – apartheid is alive and well”. My students are usually opinionated when it comes to certain issues, but not this time. They walked out of the classroom in silence. I noticed their quizzical looks…

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The problem with being previously disadvantaged

“But we’re not previously disadvantaged … we’re not underprivileged” my students tried to reason with me recently. We were talking about school issues and the issue of the school’s identity came up. I teach at a fairly new school in Cape Town which has been dubbed as a maths and science-focused school for students from…

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