Tag Archives: identity

Negotiating my identity as an introvert in an extroverted society

By Magnolia Bahle Ngcobo-Sithole When someone asks me “Who are you?” I often respond by giving my name and surname. If we keep the conversation going long enough I start talking about the work that I do. I may also mention some of my hobbies. The conversation stays superficial and safe. I never talk about…

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Are we programmed for prejudice?

By Melanie Judge In offering a response to the question, “are we programmed for prejudice” I wish to make the case for why thinking about prejudice is incomplete without thinking about it alongside power. I will address this in two ways: Firstly, by problematizing dominant representations of the victims and perpetrators of prejudice, and how…

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‘Kist’ – did you know it’s a uniquely South African word?

Recently I finished writing a novel titled Orphan Country, which is partly set in South Africa in the Seventies and Eighties. One of my main characters, Ruth, is half-Chinese and was adopted at birth. She has little clue as to who her parents really are and part of the storyline is her finding out more…

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You say I’m not African – but that’s where I’m from?

… And my parents were also born and raised in South Africa? Those were the questions running through my mind during an encounter with a senior member of the English Department, Julia*, at a university here in Auckland where I was studying in 2014. We were pleasantly discussing possible PhD courses I could look at…

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Xenophobia: We are a fickle bunch

We are a fickle bunch.   It amazes me how quickly a group of people can forget what it feels like to be the recipient of hatred. I’m baffled by how once the victim of violence because of an unreasonable reduction in identity can flip and do exactly the same thing.   How quickly those…

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How to challenge your whiteness…

I am a white South African man, and when I wrote about the problems of white masculinity I faced a barrage of abusive tweets, threats and even a phone call to one of my work colleagues to complain about my writing. Ironically, all of this proved the argument I was making. More importantly: it proved…

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The intimate and unbearable shackles of racism

You know this scene all too well: you’re in a supermarket and the person in front of you whispers a racist epithet under their breath. Apparently black shop clerks are to blame for shopping rush hours. Or you stumble into a serious debate where accusations of racism are used as a distraction to shut down…

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I’m exhausted

I’m exhausted by my privilege. I’m exhausted with restaurants filled with primarily white patrons. I’m exhausted that those serving these white consumers are mainly black. I’m exhausted by the ignorance of those in the vicinity to see the difference. I’m exhausted when I climb off a Gautrain bus only to see a man scrounging through…

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An Afrikaans arts festival and fish out of water…

I always wondered about that phrase, “a fish out of water”. To me, it always seemed like a chosen emotion. That is, you can only be a fish out of water if you chose to be one. In my head, any situation can be accommodated by opening yourself up to it, learning about it and…

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Tribal identity vanishing fast

Recent debates on tribalism and other related matters have generated more heat than light. Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele has reportedly accused the government of sponsoring tribalism to divide the country. At an address to students at Unisa in April this year former president Thabo Mbeki uttered similar remarks that rang alarm bells on the…

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