General

Student protests as ‘acting out’

The recent, and still continuing university student protests across the country call for a more fundamental theoretical approach. Although one could always address them at the level of “common sense” or everyday discourse (which is what I have done here before), it is perhaps time to elaborate on the fruits yielded by a psychoanalytical perspective…

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Mitchells Plain: Making the road as we walk

“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.” Antonio Machado My dad, though still sceptical of social media, has increasingly warmed up to Facebook and recently left a comment on my timeline referencing Machado’s poem (above). He said: “It seems you and your…

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Climate change activism DOES work, even against a colossus

Anyone who feels as strongly about some issues in the globalised world as I do, would feel buoyed by reading the article by Alex Altman, titled “The Thin Green Line”, in a recent edition of TIME magazine (February 15, 2016, p. 38-41). It is a tale of hard-won success on the part of tough environmental…

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The genesis of ‘uncontrollable societies’

What could “uncontrollable societies” – a phrase that probably strikes fear into the hearts of every member of technocratic governments the world over – possibly mean? To explain it is no easy task, because it entails abstract thinking and conceptualisation not often required of individuals in our technologically oriented society today. The intertextual reference of…

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Fort Hare is not what it is used be

The celebration of University of Fort Hare’s 100th anniversary has, indeed, revealed historical revisionism to portray the university as a hot bed of revolutionaries. This is a predictable political revision as the desire is to create the profession that former students were trained and destined for revolutionary roles in society. But one ZK Matthews does…

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The question every white South African has to ask

“What if I were black?” I am beginning to understand as a white person why the fundamental causes of the inequality that persists in South African society have to be addressed, and the critical role that we whites have to play in bringing about changes towards removing inequality. Without white buy-in to the notion of…

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Going public in our homes

Many protest that public space is becoming privatised and, as put by Anne-Marie on her blog, some argue “big city public spaces turn out to be extended private spheres”. I would like to think it could actually be the other way around: our private space could be an extension of our public life. Our individual…

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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…

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Two ways to curb South Africa’s jobs crisis

By Zukiswa Mqolomba South Africa is currently facing a job crisis of epic proportions. The change in unemployment numbers masks even sharper deterioration in the labour market. Firstly, it masks the increase in the number of “discouraged work seekers” as individuals have given up hope of finding work. Secondly it masks the exponential increase in…

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A flexible model for research in the human sciences

It often happens that postgraduate students and I have conversations about the question, how to go about doing research in the humanities and social sciences (the “human sciences”). And I’m not only talking about methodology (which is not the same as method); methodology is closely intertwined with epistemological (knowledge-) and ontological (being-) questions, and cannot…

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