Tag Archives: whiteness debate

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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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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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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A New Year’s epistle to whiteness

Dear white people, There is no kind way to put this so gird your loins and swallow hard. All whites are racist. Some may not practice racism and many may be anti-racist. Others may mistakenly believe that we live in a non-racist epoch. Some may be left wing and others may be moderate or right…

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Mandela Day – a neocolonial exercise in the commodification of the good black

While every other black leader in a post-1994 South Africa has been constructed as an inferior “other” by the dominant discourse, Nelson Mandela has been deified as a saintly black and is held in high esteem by whiteness. He has been hailed as a decent and rational African by the moderate liberal white discourse and…

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Mr X versus the Marikana miners

The mysterious Mr X has been testifying against the striking miners at the Farlam Commission for the past two months in which he claimed the miners engaged in murder conspiracies and flesh-eating rituals. But Geoff Budlender has questioned parts of Mr X’s claims and provided evidence that disputes his claim that Association of Mineworkers and…

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White South Africans are victims too

On March 17 1992 the National Party, under former president FW de Klerk’s leadership, asked white South Africans a difficult question in the form of a referendum. The question was: “Do you support the continuation of the reform process which the state president began on February 2 1990 and which is aimed at a new…

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Rescuing whiteness

Well before Gillian Schutte’s letter to white people calling on them to reflect on their whiteness, its invisibility and centrality in the reproduction and edification of white power, the very experience of blackness has been characterised by this same demand. Yet, as is wont to be the case, it would be Schutte’s, a white woman,…

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Dancing to the tune of whiteness?

By Sipho Singiswa Almost 19 years after the 1994 election, institutionalised racism against indigenous African people has remained intact and largely unchallenged. The majority of Africans still live in poverty with very little access to land, housing, basic quality education, clean water and decent primary healthcare. All this is in violation of the much-praised South…

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