Critical consciousness is the answer

There is, increasingly, a common message that is emerging about South Africa 21 years since the formal end of apartheid — things are getting bad. As argued elsewhere, this might not be surprising particularly if we look at the developmental experiences during the first two decades or so for many post-independent countries on our continent….

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Gender violence and environmental injustice in the maquiladoras

Cost-benefit analyses are fairly central to mainstream economics. Even if one sets aside developments in economics of information or behaviour economics, which make room for irrationalities, social and psychological factors or asymmetries in information, economists will insist, and most of us may agree, that “things have to be paid for”. There is, however, a big…

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The rainbow nation needs a paint job

By Franklyn Odhiambo Theorists say race is a representation of social differences in a code that defends interests and conflicts by referring to apparent physiological characteristics and the treatment of fixities from these references as social facts and thus empirical truths. They say too that racism and a race project occur when a group has…

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What is ‘post’ in post-apartheid? Reflecting on my experiences

By Iris Nxumalo In a very engaging, robust class discussion about post-colonial societies, my lecturer challenged us by asking, “What is so post about post-colonial societies?” I paused. Upon reflection, I started to unpack our categorisations of people’s lived experiences into neat, temporal frameworks that organise our histories. I started to interrogate the places and…

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Paris again: Has Huntington’s thesis been vindicated?

The recent events in Paris (not long after the Charlie Hebdo attacks), which have understandably shocked everyone who values peaceful interaction between people of different cultural orientations, will no doubt fuel renewed intercultural distrust instead. This is to be expected, particularly after reports that one of the attackers might have entered France a few weeks…

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An equality fairytale

I identify at least 50 instances in this story that we affluent members of our society take for granted – see if you can spot them all or more. “Thandi was born in hospital by emergency Caesarean section six hours after her mother went into labour. Her mother had been careful to keep all her…

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Not all pale-skinned people are ‘white’

In certain circles I could suggest, “the real problems of the world are those caused by white masculine capitalist hegemony!” I might get a few heads to nod. I could then assert, “Down with white power! Whiteness must fall!” In the right circles this may well get me some applause. There would be others, however,…

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Decolonisation and the end of white male hegemony

Western civilisation has, since the dawn of patriarchy, privileged white masculine reasoning and meanings and depreciated the experience, knowledge and voices of women. With the advent of colonialism people indigenous to the Americas, Africa and other colonised lands, were also brutally constructed as less than human, “othered” and devalued by this monolithic white masculinist logic….

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On violence: Whose bodies matter?

By Barbara Boswell Violence is never acceptable. In a democracy, where legal instruments exist as a remedy to injustice, the use of brute force to seek and maintain power or settle scores is abhorrent and unacceptable. Yet we live in a country saturated with violence. Violence is in sharp focus as it spills over into…

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When institutional integrity trumps student rights

We have seen many frightening, exhilarating and liberating things over the last few months in South Africa. Student protests have swept the country and grabbed international attention for pushing back against an unjust and exploitative economic model. Since the announcement that there will be a 0% hike in student fees in 2016, some campuses have…

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