Tag Archives: whiteness

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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Thank you Penny

A preamble: just as Penny Sparrow does not speak for me, I do not speak for any of you. But I am hoping that some of you will at least listen, and think, and reflect. As a white South African, I’d like to say thank you to Penny Sparrow. Without her, we wouldn’t be having…

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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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Not all pale-skinned people are ‘white’

In certain circles I could suggest, “the real problems of the world are those caused by white masculine capitalist hegemony!” I might get a few heads to nod. I could then assert, “Down with white power! Whiteness must fall!” In the right circles this may well get me some applause. There would be others, however,…

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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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On whiteness and white guilt

There is a refrain that is often heard around the braai or the water cooler, and it goes like this: “Why should I have to apologise for apartheid? I wasn’t a part of it/was only a child/wasn’t yet born.” There is another one that I’ve been seeing more often lately, on Facebook and in thinkpieces,…

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‘Don’t you want to be white?’

By Lorato Palesa Modongo “Coming to a new country always forces you to confront things about yourself that you never considered before.” — Staceyann Chin, poet. I am from Botswana. Literally next door. I came to South Africa in 2013 to take up postgraduate studies at Stellenbosch University. I had three reasons. Firstly, psychology is…

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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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How to challenge your whiteness…

I am a white South African man, and when I wrote about the problems of white masculinity I faced a barrage of abusive tweets, threats and even a phone call to one of my work colleagues to complain about my writing. Ironically, all of this proved the argument I was making. More importantly: it proved…

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What the fake signing man really told us

Gibberish or not, what the fake signing man so pithily exposed about our society, is that white privilege and commonsense racism continue to permeate and dominate the South African public conversation. This was evident in the many educated and colloquial responses to this debacle which, rather than focusing on the grave disservice done to the…

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