Tag Archives: culture

An important conference for Afrikaans in Europe

Summer is a good time for attending conferences in Europe, and 2017 has proved to be no exception. This afternoon we had to brave a thunderstorm that would hold its own against any Highveld thunderstorm in South Africa, and that in Venice, Italy, just after our arrival here from München by bus. We were on…

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Has humankind really “progressed”, in the Enlightenment sense of the word?

In philosophy, there is a saying, by Hegel, that the owl of Minerva only spreads its wings at dusk. Hence, when we take stock of our situation today, with the benefit of such hindsight, what do we perceive? Has humankind really “progressed”, in the Enlightenment sense of the word? In fact, does “progress” make any…

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Personality differences across the world

When you travel a lot, as we do, to different parts of the world, encountering people from widely divergent cultures, one might think that you would also come across personalities widely different from those you find in your own culture. However, experience has taught me that this is not the case, and that the divergences…

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What’s in a woman’s [sur]name?

Last year I visited the bank to do some admin and I was informed that my surname on their system differed to that which was in my ID. I was enraged. It was a few months after my partner and I had gotten married. We had gone to the Randburg Home Affairs office and with…

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The cold white shoulder to shoulder

On Youth Day weekend, thirteen South Africans gathered at a retreat centre in the Underberg to experiment with Insight Dialogue as a way of dealing with the pain and anger caused by the racism and prejudice that is thick in our country. We were an Indian woman, 6 black people (all women), 6 white people (including two men),…

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‘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…

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What I learned whilst slaughtering a cow

As soon as I had arrived from the Gauteng province (in time for lunch) and the excitement of my December homecoming now old news, I was given the itinerary for the day: “Mamela mfana, umnintsi umsebenzi ekumele siwenze ngelixeshana nikhoyo, ungekafiki umghidi.” (Listen young man, there is plenty of work to be done whilst you…

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We live in a nihilistic age

There is no doubt that we live in a nihilistic age — probably, as far as pervasiveness goes, the most nihilistic age in history. Nihilism is the cultural condition, or the psychological state, where nothing is experienced as having any intrinsic or inalienable worth, or value — which has nothing to do with saying that…

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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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South Africa reboot?

In the course of all the hype around “Rhodes must fall”, I started wondering about the logic underpinning the direction in which it has been developing, which seems to indicate that — as some commentators have indicated — nothing less than South Africa “falling” would satisfy those driving the process of destroying all vestiges of…

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