Equality

‘Blackface’ but not really

By Melissa Nefdt Recently there has been a story in the news of what initially appeared to be yet another case of blackface at a traditionally white institution. “Blackface at Stellenbosch University”, headlines said, above a picture of two young women clearly sporting paint all over their faces, necks and arms, smiling broadly into the…

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The question every white South African has to ask

“What if I were black?” I am beginning to understand as a white person why the fundamental causes of the inequality that persists in South African society have to be addressed, and the critical role that we whites have to play in bringing about changes towards removing inequality. Without white buy-in to the notion of…

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We are not born inferior to anyone

Far too many suffer from self-imposed inferiority complex. This is because they pay too much attention to what others have, especially the advantaged. They feel inadequate because they are looking at what others have: money, houses, furniture, clothes, cars, food and positions. As they say in the in the townships, “Bhek’indaba zakho wna!” – just…

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Silence is golden, nobody likes an angry black

Six years ago I was awarded an Open Society Foundation media fellowship. My assignment was to spend three months in the old Transkei, interviewing the rural South Africans of Pondoland and Thembuland about what democracy had – and had not – brought to their lives. I set myself up as an objective reporter on an…

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Malema, curry and casual bigotry

Two weeks ago, a journalist sent me a list of questions about racism and parenting. “Do you often think about how to protect your child from racism?” was one of them. “Is it important in your parenting approach?” This is still a theoretical question for me right now, though in years to come I will…

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Enslaved by freedom

By Danai Nhando Bob Marley’s famous lyrics in Redemption Song have been a silent anthem in my head of late. “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” The more I ponder on the state of my beloved continent, the more I realise how ironic it is that he sung this…

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Are activist youth our agents of real social change?

By Zukiswa Mqolomba Today’s youth are no longer the “lost generation” apathetic about the societies surrounding them. They are acutely conscious of their marginal structural position. Now, they no longer trust the state’s willingness and ability to find solutions to their problems. In their shared marginalisation, young people have developed a sense of common identity…

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Whites only Oscars and black sour grapes

The recent announcement of an exclusive all-white list of actors who are the finalists for this year’s Oscars has provoked a lot of negative black reaction. Big names in the movie industry like Spike Lee, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, among others, have criticised and condemned the list of nominees. Many other black people…

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Hostile response to #ForBlackGirlsOnly shows why we need it

With all the racial tension brewing over the past few months it’s no surprise that an event called #ForBlackGirlsOnly has caused a stir. Many think the event counters nation-building in a time when people are losing their jobs over racial slurs, and the amount of melanin you have can trigger an online shouting match. This…

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They herded us into the aircraft like cattle

By Robtel Neajai Pailey I thought I’d become immune to the indignities of travelling with an African passport, but an encounter last month proved me wrong. After a series of meetings in Dakar, I travelled back to London via Madrid on a red-eye Iberia Airlines flight. Disembarking from the plane in Madrid in the early…

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