Tag Archives: identity

We’re all born naked, everything else is (a) drag

By Pierre Brouard When Caitlyn Jenner recently visited the Academy for Young Writers, an LGBTI-friendly school in a working-class New York neighbourhood, she was expecting some flak. In particular, from two youngsters, living non-binary lives, who had been vocal in their criticisms of her. Caitlyn was privileged, they said, had made disparaging remarks about “men…

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Umngqusho, koeksisters and defining South African culture

Being a vegetarian I never imagined that I would find myself (happily) plating 12 dishes of a braised sheep’s head and fried chicken feet. But these are the kinds of delicacies you end up serving if you’re ever tasked with showcasing South African food. “Smileys” and “walkie talkies” are what they’re called in Khayelitsha, where…

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Home is where the soul grows

I don’t like the idea of “nationalism”, it sounds divisive and exclusive, but on days like Freedom Day I secretly wish I could hold a more legitimate claim to this country, which has adopted me. In thinking about this, a poem I came across on Facebook recently comes to mind. It is entitled “Diaspora Blues”…

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Islamic fundamentalism in the information age

In the second volume of his monumental three-volume study on the information age titled The Power of Identity (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), Manuel Castells addresses (as the book’s title indicates) the different ways in which a sense of collective identity is configured at a time when the so-called “network society” has emerged, concomitantly with the global communication-technological…

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On assimilation and double consciousness

“In common with many Bombay-raised middle-class children of my generation, I grew up with an intimate knowledge of, and even sense of friendship with, a certain kind of England: a dream England composed of Test Matches at Lord’s presided over by the voice of John Arlott, at which Freddie Trueman bowled unceasingly and without success…

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Negotiating my identity as an introvert in an extroverted society

By Magnolia Bahle Ngcobo-Sithole When someone asks me “Who are you?” I often respond by giving my name and surname. If we keep the conversation going long enough I start talking about the work that I do. I may also mention some of my hobbies. The conversation stays superficial and safe. I never talk about…

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Are we programmed for prejudice?

By Melanie Judge In offering a response to the question, “are we programmed for prejudice” I wish to make the case for why thinking about prejudice is incomplete without thinking about it alongside power. I will address this in two ways: Firstly, by problematizing dominant representations of the victims and perpetrators of prejudice, and how…

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‘Kist’ – did you know it’s a uniquely South African word?

Recently I finished writing a novel titled Orphan Country, which is partly set in South Africa in the Seventies and Eighties. One of my main characters, Ruth, is half-Chinese and was adopted at birth. She has little clue as to who her parents really are and part of the storyline is her finding out more…

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You say I’m not African – but that’s where I’m from?

… And my parents were also born and raised in South Africa? Those were the questions running through my mind during an encounter with a senior member of the English Department, Julia*, at a university here in Auckland where I was studying in 2014. We were pleasantly discussing possible PhD courses I could look at…

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Xenophobia: We are a fickle bunch

We are a fickle bunch.   It amazes me how quickly a group of people can forget what it feels like to be the recipient of hatred. I’m baffled by how once the victim of violence because of an unreasonable reduction in identity can flip and do exactly the same thing.   How quickly those…

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