Tag Archives: race relations

The unbearable whiteness of being a middle-aged Afrikaans male

When I was recently asked to perform a few of my songs at the private birthday party of an old fan from the Voëlvry era, I agreed. “I don’t like performing at private parties, but at least these people won’t be a bunch of potbellied Afrikaans right-wingers,” I said to my wife. “This guy says…

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Now is a good time for South African whites to show courage

I can sum up my feelings over the last 20 years of democracy in South Africa as being a progression of emotions, from concern (pre 1994) to euphoria (elections) to “this is not so bad” to “quite comfortable thank you” (Mandela days) back to concern, (Zuma) then to anger (Nkandla et al), followed by frustration…

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Whiteness is like herpes

You know now that you have it but prefer not to talk about it. Every now and then it surfaces like a rash, provoking discomfort, not in you, but in others. You have lived with it for so long that for most of your life you didn’t even notice it. In fact, you were surprised…

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Luister, you can keep your Oxford scholarship

By Mark John Burke Three years ago, I sat around a dinner table as one of 10 national finalists for five very prestigious scholarships to Oxford. Across from me sat a professor who insisted: “We need to do away with Afrikaans completely. It is the language of the oppressor. We need to start with universities.”…

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On being mis-recognised: Julian Hewitt and the angry black woman

People think I’m an angry black woman. People who know me well, know that this is a misrecognition of me. I’m a nice person. I hate foot-in-mouth interactions: that awkward moment when someone says something they shouldn’t have said, and someone else has to salvage the situation or we all walk away. I save face….

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Times are changing…

It was at a girl’s varsity residence room the morning after we had sex that I read, for the first time, Steve Biko’s I write what I like. I was lying next to her, naked, and she had a handful of books on a bedside table. I read the first few essays, which left me…

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What does a ‘non-racial’ SA look like?

The University of California Humanities Research Institute’s Seminar in Experimental Critical Theory in conjunction with the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research’s (Wiser) Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism kicked off yesterday at the University of the Witwatersrand. The theme is “Archives of the Non-Racial“. It began with a conversation between Ahmed Kathrada and…

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Lines of privilege

“I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.” These are the words that played over and over in my mind while I was at the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF) this past weekend. Two friends and I attended two sessions on the festival’s final…

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Khaya Dlanga…white South Africans are trying

By Jordan Griffiths In a recent article Khaya Dlanga looked at race relations in our country 20 years on and presented the argument that in his view black people have made more of an effort towards the process of integration. He cited how black South Africans move to white suburbs, learn English and Afrikaans and…

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The intimate and unbearable shackles of racism

You know this scene all too well: you’re in a supermarket and the person in front of you whispers a racist epithet under their breath. Apparently black shop clerks are to blame for shopping rush hours. Or you stumble into a serious debate where accusations of racism are used as a distraction to shut down…

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