Tag Archives: race

Biko lives but transformation suffers

As we commemorate the brutal and barbaric killing of Stephen Bantu Biko this time of the year we are once again forced to reflect on where we are as a country against the ideals that Biko died for. South Africa is also marking 20 years of political independence. It is fitting, indeed, to ask and…

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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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Don’t talk to me about race or blackness!

It was one of those easy and relaxed days over the weekend. I was in a group of family and friends enjoying drinks, snacks and good company. After all, we had been invited to hang out and just catch up. I was aware that this was an exclusive black group in a so-called former white-only…

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A big, fat, Mzansi advertising migraine

Advertising has a way of carrying our collective cultural fantasies in nifty little 30-second bites on television and single-page print adverts in newspaper or magazines, which seem, at first, harmless and fun until, of course, they begin to illuminate the forces that inform the images we see and the consequenses of those images to our…

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Times are changing…

It was at a girl’s varsity residence room the morning after we had sex that I read, for the first time, Steve Biko’s I write what I like. I was lying next to her, naked, and she had a handful of books on a bedside table. I read the first few essays, which left me…

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David Saks and the naturalness of white contempt

In Ubuntu: Curating the Archive (edited by Leonhard Praeg and Siphokazi Magadla), Ama Biney notes in the chapter “The Historical Discourse on Humanism: Interrogating the Paradoxes” that Aimé Cesaire notably made the case that Hitler’s crime was mainly that “he applied to Europe colonialist procedures, which until then had been reserved exclusively for the Arabs…

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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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Confessions of a not-so-proud Capetonian

By Nicola Soekoe Okay, I said it. I’m from Cape Town and, sure, I love the place, but still my reply to the come-from question usually takes the form of: “My family is from Joburg, but I live in Cape Town.” Four years ago when I first went abroad alone Cape Town wasn’t the sexy…

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How to challenge your whiteness…

I am a white South African man, and when I wrote about the problems of white masculinity I faced a barrage of abusive tweets, threats and even a phone call to one of my work colleagues to complain about my writing. Ironically, all of this proved the argument I was making. More importantly: it proved…

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Reducing Zille-Mazibuko saga to race a dangerous game

By Kameel Premhid and Dan de Kadt In a recent article for the Mail & Guardian, Verashni Pillay, an associate editor, argues that “white mentors need a wake-up call”. Her central thesis is that white mentors are prone to feeling a sense of ownership over their “black protégés” and that they struggle to cope when…

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