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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How to help students succeed at university

By Rakhee Naik and Safiyyah Pahad After 21 years of democracy, people still question whether apartheid is a prominent reason impacting on the current state of education. Whether acknowledged or not, we must consider its impact on predominantly black students in accessing resources and educational opportunities. This is exacerbated by their limited social and cultural…

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Critical consciousness is the answer

There is, increasingly, a common message that is emerging about South Africa 21 years since the formal end of apartheid — things are getting bad. As argued elsewhere, this might not be surprising particularly if we look at the developmental experiences during the first two decades or so for many post-independent countries on our continent….

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Gender violence and environmental injustice in the maquiladoras

Cost-benefit analyses are fairly central to mainstream economics. Even if one sets aside developments in economics of information or behaviour economics, which make room for irrationalities, social and psychological factors or asymmetries in information, economists will insist, and most of us may agree, that “things have to be paid for”. There is, however, a big…

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The rainbow nation needs a paint job

By Franklyn Odhiambo Theorists say race is a representation of social differences in a code that defends interests and conflicts by referring to apparent physiological characteristics and the treatment of fixities from these references as social facts and thus empirical truths. They say too that racism and a race project occur when a group has…

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