Gillian Schutte

Brett Bailey’s human zoo and discourse bunfight

Brett Bailey, an award-winning South African theatre director and artist, thought it would be a brilliant idea to recreate a painful period of colonial history by reconstructing what turns out to be a human zoo as a traveling art installation. In his mind this was going to be a smart aesthetic reminder to the world…

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Marikana widows shed tears in Women’s Month

This Women’s Month marks two years since the Marikana massacre. The widows of the workers killed by the South African Police Service in 2012 have since received their deceased husband’s provident fund dues, but still wait for justice while the media and public attention has long since transferred from their plight to the Farlam Commission….

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Mandela Day – a neocolonial exercise in the commodification of the good black

While every other black leader in a post-1994 South Africa has been constructed as an inferior “other” by the dominant discourse, Nelson Mandela has been deified as a saintly black and is held in high esteem by whiteness. He has been hailed as a decent and rational African by the moderate liberal white discourse and…

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Mr X versus the Marikana miners

The mysterious Mr X has been testifying against the striking miners at the Farlam Commission for the past two months in which he claimed the miners engaged in murder conspiracies and flesh-eating rituals. But Geoff Budlender has questioned parts of Mr X’s claims and provided evidence that disputes his claim that Association of Mineworkers and…

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‘F*ck for Forest’ – a film review

This documentary introduces us to a whimsical, restless and sensitive Norwegian youth, 23-year-old Danny. He is a former Olympian equestrian star who dresses in discarded thespian clothing with felt hats, feathers and velvet cloaks over T-shirts, jeans and tackies. He speaks in poetic and quirky phrases peppered with eccentric humour. Danny is in angstful conflict…

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Of clowns, covert racism and whitewashing black concerns

The furore over the cartoon depicting the ANC parliamentarians and their electorate as a bunch of inept clowns is indicative of how far we still have to go in terms of embedded and unconscious racism in South Africa. There is nothing wrong with critiquing government in satirical depictions, but there is something horribly wrong when…

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Leering glances: The silence on sexual harassment is untenable

Sexual harassment on the streets is a pervasive phenomenon that women from a range of racial and cultural backgrounds as well as social circumstances experience in daily life. Most men, even educated men from so-called respectable backgrounds belittle women’s experiences of sexual harassment. Internationally, this has led to a spate of new films and campaigns…

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Middle-class narratives and the disconnect with the poor

In January this year, numerous protestors were killed by the police in service-delivery protests, four of them simply for rising up to demand a most basic right — water. This is a contravention of human rights on many levels and while it sent shock waves through poor black working-class and marginalised communities, the broader middle…

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Let’s talk about the protests. Where is the empathy and outrage?

“The country is burning”. “Burning frustration”. “Hot-headed in South Africa”. These are the headlines that abound about the many protests that are currently erupting around South Africa. On television we witness mobs of black people apparently running amok, building barricades and burning tyres. We hear of the disenfranchised masses dancing, picking up rocks and supposedly…

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An activist’s manifesto for 2014: Ten social justice issues to champion

The fanfare at the beginning of a new year is usually celebratory and full of hope. This celebration is a way for people to wipe the slate clean and begin anew. But last year, 2013, was a particularly tumultuous year in South Africa when we were besieged by problems. In reality, these problems have been…

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