Posted inEqualityMedia

‘Blackface’ but not really

By Melissa Nefdt Recently there has been a story in the news of what initially appeared to be yet another case of blackface at a traditionally white institution. “Blackface at Stellenbosch University”, headlines said, above a picture of two young women clearly sporting paint all over their faces, necks and arms, smiling broadly into the […]

Posted inEquality

Blackface, Khaya Dlanga and why we can’t disentangle sexism from racism

Speaking recently at Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism in Cape Town, iconic political activist and scholar Angela Davis in her talk “Anti-Racism: Transnational Solidarities” remarked that “black unity” is often a term that never fits the lived reality of many black people. She made an example of how in the “black power” movements in […]

Posted inGeneral

Black mouths, white voices

“You can teach a dog how to walk on its hind legs and put a diamond collar around its neck, but it’s still a dog.” No such saying exists in Zulu, or any other Bantu language for that matter. And yet the writers of Intersexions expected us to believe that. This quote featured on the […]

Posted inEqualityMedia

White writers writing black characters – a form of literary blackface?

White South African writers who create black characters are often challenged about the authenticity of their writing. If their main protagonist is black, this challenge intensifies, and if they write in the first person, it intensifies further. There is something particularly intimate about first-person narrative. It gets under the skin of the character in a […]