Equality

Penny Sparrow saga: Forget the outcry – racism is here to stay

Four days in, and South Africa already has its first bit of racial controversy for 2016. Penny Sparrow’s Facebook post — where she referred to black people at the beach on New Year’s Eve as “monkeys” — has surely got to be one of the fastest, and most bigoted, blunders we’ve seen. The post has…

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Of black people, empty bottles and a body on the beach

I don’t quite see empty plastic bottles in the same way I used to. Two developments brought this about. The first being an initiative to create small businesses recycling empty soft-drink bottles. One that I called “Hanging Hope” and please go ahead, copy it, or tell someone else about it and give him/her a potential…

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White privilege: The more things change…

I gaped at the size of the property. I stood with the owner, Peter, on a side balcony of their spacious, slightly dilapidated home. Down below, the tennis courts were dwarfed by the ring of woods surrounding its fence. Some were sagging from the cascade of trees pushing through wires or pressing down the horizontal,…

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The Mazda CX-3 advert — slick, stylish and sadly sexist

Have you seen Mazda’s latest advert for their new CX-3 model? It’s an animated production that the company describes as “telling a true African fairytale story”. It begins at the scene of a beautiful wedding. A beautiful bride-to-be, Thandi, approaches her traditionally and somewhat royally dressed groom. But, something is wrong. She cries tearfully indicating…

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Theory vs praxis in decolonisation

Two recent articles by Shaun Stanley have caught my attention. The first argued that not all pale-skinned people are “white” and the second took issue with the vagueness of words like “transformation” and “decolonisation”. Stanley’s primary interest in these two articles seems to be the proper definition of concepts, ie a focus on the need…

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Enough of aid – let’s talk reparations

Colonialism is one of those things you’re not supposed to discuss in polite company — at least not north of the Mediterranean. Most people feel uncomfortable about it, and would rather pretend it didn’t happen. In fact, that appears to be the official position. In the mainstream narrative of international development peddled by institutions like…

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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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Global poverty is worse than you think

A few weeks ago the World Bank changed the international poverty line from $1.25 to $1.90 (R27) a day. Normally, changes to the poverty line slide by without attracting much attention, but for some reason this time people got excited. At first glance, it looks as if the bank has finally admitted that the old…

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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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Neoliberal capitalism is a violence against women (16 days of activism)

Sixteen days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is upon us again this year. As usual it will come and go but very little will change for the majority of women and children in South Africa. The middle class will be a little more aware of the heinous gender-based violence statistics that…

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