Tag Archives: race

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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How do we fight racism properly if we still can’t define it?

It is easy to recognise overt racism when practiced by a white person as in Penny Sparrow’s now infamous “monkeys” incident over New Year. But when a black university student wears a “Fuck white people” T-shirt there will still be many people, predominantly but not exclusively black, who will say that that is not a…

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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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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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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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The dark side of the global village

We are constantly being reminded that because of instant digital connectivity, we live in a global village. Along with another over-worked modern metaphor — that it takes a village to raise a child — this is a phrase generally used with approval or, at worst, resignation. The less salutary aspects of village life are rarely…

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The battle for the heart and soul of the DA

Two out of three ain’t bad South Africans are continuously singing the same tune to the DA, to borrow from the artist Meatloaf “I want you, I need you, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you”. But unlike South Africans Meatloaf goes on to say, “but two out of three ain’t bad”….

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Racism, we have to deal with it every day

By Siphumelele Zondi I was recently tagged in a tweet asking how long black people will complain about racism and blame everything on it. Whenever I engage a group of white people about racism, whether in the work place or social settings, there will always be those that would say racism is over and we…

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Transformation, decolonisation and other vague words

“Transformation” has become a vague word. Yet the demand for university transformation is growing ever more vocal. What to make of this demand, then, is a matter of importance. This is about the only thing on which Mashupye Herbert Maserumule and I agree. I believe the other things he has said to be misguided. I…

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Unpacking ‘whiteness’

My last post “Whiteness is like herpes” did exactly what I thought it would. It resonated with a small number of fellow whites who correctly understood the analogy, and then provoked an angry reaction from many more whites who simply just proved my point, that “whiteness” (as an issue that is being spoken about internationally…

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