Tag Archives: Biko

Beyond Trevor Noah and Mandela’s rainbow: Towards a politics of empathy

I’ve been thinking about Trevor Noah’s op-ed in the New York Times, and its angry critiques, since the Day of Reconciliation in South Africa on December 16. Reconciliation is a thorny topic in our moody democracy, a reminder that the road to postcolonial hell is paved with good intentions. If you missed it, Noah argued…

Leave a comment Continue Reading →

Reflections on my life on Robben Island

By Professor Saths Cooper Much has been said and written about apartheid political imprisonment as the triumph of the human spirit under extreme conditions, which it most certainly was. Distance in time and place usually lends a weird enchantment to views and memories that we may have experienced. Our natural tendency is to shy away…

Leave a comment Continue Reading →

‘Decolonisation’, the new ideology

Everywhere one looks today in South Africa you find a new imperative: “Decolonise!” In certain academic quarters it has evidently already attained the level of a new ideology, where academics are expected to “decolonise” the courses they teach (and presumably the articles they submit for publication as well). What astonishes me is that academics do…

22 Comments Continue Reading →

What are ‘(post)apartheid conditions’?

This may seem like a straightforward question, requiring – and allowing – straightforward answers. Nothing of the sort, it turns out, and if one had any such illusions, the new book, (Post)apartheid Conditions – Psychoanalysis and Social Formation (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013) by psychoanalytical theorist Derek Hook, rapidly disabuses one of them. Hook, of…

2 Comments Continue Reading →

A Biko moment

I’ve been having a Biko moment for a while now. A “Biko [1] moment” is that moment when someone says something racist but I’m left wondering if I’m reading too much into the situation. That moment when I have to debate in mind if I feel welcome in a space because there’s an atmosphere of…

46 Comments Continue Reading →

Are we trapped in conversation?

With black consciousness thick in the air, old comrades smiling knowingly at each other, and images of the late Strini Moodley projected in front of us, those of us too young to be dynamic rebels against apartheid sensed a whiff of what it might have felt like to be at a secret activist meeting. The…

5 Comments Continue Reading →