Equality

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…

9 Comments Continue Reading →

Malema, curry and casual bigotry

Two weeks ago, a journalist sent me a list of questions about racism and parenting. “Do you often think about how to protect your child from racism?” was one of them. “Is it important in your parenting approach?” This is still a theoretical question for me right now, though in years to come I will…

10 Comments Continue Reading →

Enslaved by freedom

By Danai Nhando Bob Marley’s famous lyrics in Redemption Song have been a silent anthem in my head of late. “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” The more I ponder on the state of my beloved continent, the more I realise how ironic it is that he sung this…

7 Comments Continue Reading →

Are activist youth our agents of real social change?

By Zukiswa Mqolomba Today’s youth are no longer the “lost generation” apathetic about the societies surrounding them. They are acutely conscious of their marginal structural position. Now, they no longer trust the state’s willingness and ability to find solutions to their problems. In their shared marginalisation, young people have developed a sense of common identity…

Leave a comment Continue Reading →

Whites only Oscars and black sour grapes

The recent announcement of an exclusive all-white list of actors who are the finalists for this year’s Oscars has provoked a lot of negative black reaction. Big names in the movie industry like Spike Lee, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, among others, have criticised and condemned the list of nominees. Many other black people…

5 Comments Continue Reading →

Hostile response to #ForBlackGirlsOnly shows why we need it

With all the racial tension brewing over the past few months it’s no surprise that an event called #ForBlackGirlsOnly has caused a stir. Many think the event counters nation-building in a time when people are losing their jobs over racial slurs, and the amount of melanin you have can trigger an online shouting match. This…

9 Comments Continue Reading →

They herded us into the aircraft like cattle

By Robtel Neajai Pailey I thought I’d become immune to the indignities of travelling with an African passport, but an encounter last month proved me wrong. After a series of meetings in Dakar, I travelled back to London via Madrid on a red-eye Iberia Airlines flight. Disembarking from the plane in Madrid in the early…

4 Comments Continue Reading →

Peace is not an event

Over the weekend I watched Particle Fever, a documentary that follows six of the 10 000 scientists who joined forces to build the Large Hadron Collider and find the so-called “god particle”. It was a long-term experiment initiated in the 1990s that was successfully completed in 2013, nearly 50 years after the existence of the particle…

Leave a comment Continue Reading →

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…

18 Comments Continue Reading →

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…

3 Comments Continue Reading →