Louise Ferreira

Turning human suffering into refugee chic

There are currently more than 65-million refugees and displaced persons in the world. It is one of the biggest human rights crises of our time, and deserves as much media attention as possible. But what refugees don’t need is to have their plight reduced to a fashion statement. “Refugee chic.” On Friday, there was a…

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Don’t trust people who say they’re not racist

There just aren’t any racists nowadays. I know, I was shocked too. It would seem to me that if you take to Facebook to call black people k*****s or monkeys, or believe that raping children is part of black culture, you are as racist as they come. But this accusation is categorically denied. White people…

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Men will never stop hurting us

As a child, I thought that grownups weren’t afraid of anything. They killed spiders. They didn’t believe in monsters and ghosts. They weren’t scared of dogs or the dark or the deep end of the swimming pool. Of all the disappointing discoveries of adulthood, the realisation that grownups are in fact very frightened very often…

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Some spaces exclude white people, and that’s a good thing

The Sunday morning after Mumford & Sons’ first Pretoria show, I woke up to a newsfeed and timeline going berserk — but about Beyoncé rather than banjos. I’m not part of the Beyhive, but I watched the Formation video out of curiosity. It’s incredible. What struck me most, though, was the fact that I felt…

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On whiteness and white guilt

There is a refrain that is often heard around the braai or the water cooler, and it goes like this: “Why should I have to apologise for apartheid? I wasn’t a part of it/was only a child/wasn’t yet born.” There is another one that I’ve been seeing more often lately, on Facebook and in thinkpieces,…

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Stop invoking Mandela’s legacy to advocate respectability

Recently, I saw a Facebook post about an event where the keynote speech was titled “What would Mandela do?” The speech, unsurprisingly, criticised the recent student protests. For the love of intellectual discourse, can we please retire this phrase? Don’t misunderstand me. I have nothing but respect and admiration — and gratitude — for Nelson…

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Anger, ‘outrage’ and the internet

Quite often, when I log on to Twitter, I’ll see comments like the following: “What are we angry about today? Did I miss today’s Twitter outrage? I don’t know what we’re supposed to be angry about this week, but I’m outraged just in case.” It happens especially after incidents like Bic’s sexist Women’s Day ad…

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We can no longer deny that #RhodesMustFall

A good seven or eight years ago, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Cape Town, students arrived on campus one morning to find that the statue of Cecil John Rhodes had been defaced with red spray paint. The message read, “Fuck your dream of empire”. I don’t really recall what my reaction…

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Please stop telling me how not to get raped

On Tuesday, the South African Police Service sent a series of tweets detailing safety tips to avoid rape. In an extraordinarily ill-considered turn of phrase, they tweeted that SAPS Northwest “are concerned about escalating contact crimes due to victims who roam the streets late at night”. Just let that sink in for a minute. “Due…

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When the system betrays our children

This was supposed to be a weary and fairly snide thinkpiece lamenting the ridiculousness of having a Women’s Day, a Women’s Month, that is completely associated with pink and flowers and whatever other qualities are deemed appropriately womanly. (Apparently, this includes wearing a doek.) Instead, I was reminded once again that I live in a…

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