News/Politics

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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Derrida and the present world (dis-)order

Anyone who believes that the present world-dispensation is one of “order”, merely has to scan all the many sources of information to be disabused of such an illusion. In doing so, however, they would probably not realise that, as Derrida (1994; see below) enables one to see, these very news sources — mainly television, the…

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Something stirs behind the dull eyes and zombie shuffle

Just occasionally one glimpses, behind the dull eyes and zombie-like shuffle of President Jacob Zuma’s disengaged administration, the values that sustained the African National Congress in the struggle years. It’s a briefly cheering reminder that all is not yet lost. This week Kgalema Motlanthe, in an uncommonly frank Business Day interview, skewered the movement to…

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Are violent protests cleansing, like Fanon said?

By Liezille Jacobs and Julian Jacobs Frantz Fanon, often referred to as the psychiatrist who prescribed violence, would turn in his grave at the condemnation of the student protests because he believed overcoming oppression could be realised through a violent uprising of the masses. Fanon said the slave thinks of overthrowing his master while being…

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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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The burden of black privilege

By Sinegugu Ngwenya What an absurd notion. How offensive. What an insensitive response to a people deep in struggle. The thought of privileged blacks is a spit in the face of the “underprivileged” badge we so rightfully wear. For years I despised everything that happened to me, how I was reduced to melanin. From a…

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Could compulsory UKZN laptops be a game-changer?

On May 7 this year Renuka Vithal, University of KwaZulu-Natal’s deputy vice-chancellor of teaching and learning, sent out an internal email indicating that the university would be adopting Moodle as its on-line learning management system. All disciplines would be required to place first and second-year module material online. And first and second-year students would need…

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From small mutinies big coups doth grow

After 20 years of thwarted hopes and expectations, South Africans are adroit at juggling the private truth and public lie. The ability to reconcile these two without guilt or a giveaway smirk has become a necessary social skill to guard one’s career or business prospects. This is very much a characteristic of nations drifting towards…

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Stop invoking Mandela’s legacy to advocate respectability

Recently, I saw a Facebook post about an event where the keynote speech was titled “What would Mandela do?” The speech, unsurprisingly, criticised the recent student protests. For the love of intellectual discourse, can we please retire this phrase? Don’t misunderstand me. I have nothing but respect and admiration — and gratitude — for Nelson…

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#FeesMustFall: A movement of shares, likes, tweets and posts

In 2011 Chilean students began a protest movement to challenge the education system of their country. Known as the “Chilean Winter”, their dissatisfaction poured onto social media platforms. The students leveraged these sites to great effect to mobilise fellow academics, draw international support and express their own narratives which were ignored by the media. Fast-forward…

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