General

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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Going public in our homes

Many protest that public space is becoming privatised and, as put by Anne-Marie on her blog, some argue “big city public spaces turn out to be extended private spheres”. I would like to think it could actually be the other way around: our private space could be an extension of our public life. Our individual…

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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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Two ways to curb South Africa’s jobs crisis

By Zukiswa Mqolomba South Africa is currently facing a job crisis of epic proportions. The change in unemployment numbers masks even sharper deterioration in the labour market. Firstly, it masks the increase in the number of “discouraged work seekers” as individuals have given up hope of finding work. Secondly it masks the exponential increase in…

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A flexible model for research in the human sciences

It often happens that postgraduate students and I have conversations about the question, how to go about doing research in the humanities and social sciences (the “human sciences”). And I’m not only talking about methodology (which is not the same as method); methodology is closely intertwined with epistemological (knowledge-) and ontological (being-) questions, and cannot…

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Making local knowledge matter in the classroom

Recently my grade 10 pupils had to present orals using quotes from African writers. While listening to their orals I was struck by the lacklustre nature of their speeches. When I introduced the assessment to the girls there was an understanding that the speeches should be interesting and that the opportunity to research African writers…

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My first day at a Model C school

As some may recall, 1991 heralded the watershed year where the Model C schools were to open their doors of learning to the whole South Afrikan population. My first taste of the Model C school society came sometime that year. That day, I left Zwelitsha, just outside eQonce, and headed to eMonti. Together with Mama…

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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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Mbeki must leave the past in the past

It would seem one of the greatest leaders to emerge from the liberation struggle, Thabo Mbeki, can neither leave the past behind nor ignore his detractors. The former president wants everyone to like him. Much as he succeeded Nelson Mandela in 1999, Mbeki told the country and world that his shoes were too big and…

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The particularity of race and the universality of being human: Derrida on Mandela

Judging by the seemingly never-ending spate of articles, debates, and to-and-fro accusations that reflect a veritable obsession with race in this country — an obsession one might have expected to abate somewhat at this point in time, almost 22 years after the demise of apartheid — it appears to me a timeous moment to return…

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