Athambile Masola

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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Reimagining dialogue

I used to love going to church. Growing up in a traditional black Methodist Church meant that for each service I knew what to expect. People would arrive 15 minutes before church began, wait in the pews silently or sing a few hymns while we waited for the choir to usher in the preacher for…

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#Bringbackourgirls, Lwandle, Gaza and detaching from this world

It started with the #Bringbackourgirls campaign. I hadn’t followed the story closely, but when I read articles to make sense of what had happened, I couldn’t make sense of it. I tried to imagine people coming into my school and taking away the students and there being no sense of security or outcry. I tried…

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Where you from Van Damme?

“Every black African everywhere is rightly or wrongly perceived to originate — a contentious concept in itself — from somewhere. Almost overwhelmingly that somewhere is consensually assumed, indeed believed, to be an idyllic village perched somewhere far away in rural crevices. Even today, when someone asks you in the city, or at a dinner table…

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Thank you Maya Angelou

I found out about Maya Angelou’s passing from a new friend while visiting Uganda. Access to the internet was sporadic and I hadn’t checked Twitter for a glimpse of what was happening in the world. When he told me I slapped him on the arm (a terrible reflex I have when I’m shocked or angry)…

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Lines of privilege

“I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.” These are the words that played over and over in my mind while I was at the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF) this past weekend. Two friends and I attended two sessions on the festival’s final…

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The EFF ‘hooligans’ in Parliament…

“Who are these idiots who voted for the ANC and the EFF?” I heard this question in passing while the election results were trickling in. The aftermath of the elections has been focused on a few issues but I would like to focus on these two: – Does the EFF have what it takes to…

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On teaching ‘creatures’

For the past two months I’ve been writing about the lives of teachers and their students from across the globe (for a project called #TeacherTuesday). All these stories have been highlighting the complexities in classrooms and policies that often underpin what happens in the classroom. Most of the reflections I’ve written for #TeacherTuesday have largely…

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A Biko moment

I’ve been having a Biko moment for a while now. A “Biko [1] moment” is that moment when someone says something racist but I’m left wondering if I’m reading too much into the situation. That moment when I have to debate in mind if I feel welcome in a space because there’s an atmosphere of…

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The calling

There are very few professions that are referred to as “a calling”. The few I know: teaching, being a doctor (traditional healers included) and becoming a religious teacher. There are super-spirituals connotations with the idea of “a calling”. The first time I heard about the idea of “a calling”  was in the context of someone…

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