Sunday, 31 March 2013

The problem with whiteness

by Ferial Haffajee, City Press

I started out bored with the idea of whiteness and its attendant studies, but after attending a short part of the “Negotiating whiteness in 21st century South Africa” conference, I am now viscerally opposed to them.

While the stated purpose of whiteness studies is to expose white people to the legacies of post-colonial and post-apartheid privilege which still take racial forms, in fact the field continues to place privileged people at the centre of the gaze of the academy.

Andries Tatane killed again

City Press Editorial

Sometimes, Mzansi can simply break your heart.

We all witnessed Andries Tatane’s very public and brutal death.

The SABC captured for all to see Tatane’s arrest, his attempts to tear away from police, the shot fired into his chest, his fall to the ground and the red blood that gushed from his wound as life ebbed from him.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Popstars Politics in the New South Africa: A Conversation with Masello Motana

by Zachary Rosen, Africa is a Country

South African actress/singer/writer Masello Motana has had a career in the entertainment business that many would envy. She has played a leading role in a number of South African television shows as well as in a mainstream feature film. Her poems have been published in several anthologies in that country and she regularly amazes audiences as a musical performer. Sounds like the good life. Well, life would be much simpler for Masello if only she was content with collecting paychecks from beauty contracts and soap opera gigs. If only she pretended last year’s horrific massacre of mineworkers at the now infamous Marikana platinum mine in South Africa’s northwest never happened. If only she ignored the fact that businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, board member of the company that operates the Marikana mine, was elected to deputy president of the country’s largest political party, the ANC. If only she had kept her mouth patriotically clasped about social and economic inequality in South Africa.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Chinua Achebe: Without the story we are blind

Chinua Achebe
The ‘father’ of African literature set the template for the darker peoples of the world to tell their own stories, writes Percy Zvomuya. Mail & Guardian

Anthills of the Savannah (1987), the last novel the late Chinua Achebe wrote, has a chapter with the title Impetuous Son. The impetuous son is Ikem Osodi, poet and newspaperman, a character drawn from the skeleton of Achebe’s friend, the poet Christopher Okigbo, a victim of the Biafran War for independence.

Consumed by our lust for lost segregation

Achille Mbembe
An odious nostalgia is clearly present when the state protects the market with brutal force, writes Achille Mbembe. Mail & Guardian

The banalisation of cruelty and the repetition of often brutal and traumatic events – the Marikana massacre, deaths at the hands of an increasingly paramilitarised police force, the proliferation of bureaucratically induced and popular forms of xenophobia, countless and horrific incidents of rape, an expanding culture of venality, corruption and theft, the rebalkanisation of society and the resurgence of racism, the undisciplined and violent nature of citizens’ protests – have led many, here and abroad, to wonder what kind of social order, or figure of freedom, or even of the human, is being constituted in South Africa.

Andile Mngxitama the bully

Letter to the Editor, Mail & Guardian

Andile Mngxitama and Athi Joja have every right to criticise Jared Sacks for his piece on Mamphele ­Ramphele and Steve Biko ("Biko would not vote for Ramphele", March 15), but it is downright unethical for ­Mngxitama to threaten Sacks with violence – and to incite Sacks to resort to violence too – because Mngxitama did not like what he wrote.

According to a post on Mngxitama's Facebook page: "real bikoists out there, whenever we see that white little bastard called jared sacks, we must beat the shit out of him. they now pissing on biko's face. they can diss mamphele all they want, but to insult us like this? when i see jared, he must beat me up. that's the deal." He also responded to a response on his page by saying: "jared will pay for this."

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

We Need to Move beyond Mngxitama’s Gutter Politics

Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Unemployed People’s Movement Press Statement

We Need to Move beyond Mngxitama’s Gutter Politics

Andile Mngxitama has become notorious for trying to privatize the memory of Steve Biko. He is not the only person trying to privatize that legacy, which is a legacy that must be there for all of us. But he is the only one that uses gutter politics to defend his privatization of Biko’s legacy.

Johannesburg Academic Denied Entry to Palestine Recounts Experience of Interrogation by Israeli Soldiers

Andile Mngxitama: we need to draw a line in the sand

by Zackie Achmat & Richard Pithouse, GroundUp

On the 15th of March Jared Sacks, a journalist and activist, published an article in the Mail & Guardian asking whether or not Steve Biko, the Steve Biko of 1977, would have supported Mamphele Ramphele’s recent political initiative. Some people, including people who had been close to Biko, really liked the piece. Others, including the well-known public commentator Andile Mngxitama, didn’t like it at all.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Unemployed People’s Movement will not be Participating in the So-Called ‘People’s Space’ at the BRICS Meeting in Durban

Sunday, 24 March 2013
Unemployed People’s Movement Press Statement

The Unemployed People’s Movement will not be Participating in the So-Called ‘People’s Space’ at the BRICS Meeting in Durban

The Unemployed People’s Movement will not be participating in the so-called ‘People’s Space’ at the BRICS meeting in Durban.

Our Umlazi branch received a phone call recently informing us that buses were being provided for us to send our members to the so-called ‘People’s Space’ at the Centre for Civil Society at UKZN. We were instructed to mobilise to fill the buses.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Philosophy for Militants

Translated by Bruno Bosteels
A philosophical guidebook for the struggles to come
An urgent and provocative account of the modern ‘militant’, a transformative figure at the front line of emancipatory politics. Around the world, recent events have seen the creation of a radical phalanx comprising students, the young, workers and immigrants. It is Badiou’s contention that the politics of such militants should condition the tasks of philosophy, even as philosophy clarifies the truth of our political condition.
To resolve the conflicts between politics, philosophy and democracy, Badiou argues for a resurgent communism – returning to the original call for universal emancipation and organizing for militant struggle.

Women, Witch-Hunting and Enclosures in Africa Today

Nigel Gumede Must Go

19 March 2013
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Nigel Gumede Must Go

Everyone knows how serious the land and housing crisis is in Durban. According to the eThekwini Municipality there are more than 400 000 shack dwellers waiting for houses in the city. There are also 11 000 families rotting in transit camps. But the city is failing to build enough houses for the people. The Sunday Tribune reported that they only built 1 268 houses in the last financial year. And these houses are more like dog kennels than homes. Every year money from the housing budget is returned unspent. And after the scandals around the Manase report, Nqola and S'bu and Shauwn Mpisane everyone knows how bad the corruption is. Many people have been killed in struggles over housing. Cato Crest is just one example. We have also seen people being killed in places like KwaNdengezi and Uganda. Calls, letters and marches to the housing department go ignored. Court orders are also ignored. We have called for a public citywide list for the people in need of housing so that there could be transparency in the housing allocation. But the politicians refuse this idea so they can corrupt, monopolize and politicise housing delivery.

The Dignity of the Poor is Vandalized from Many Quarters

by Abahlali baseMjondolo (KwaZulu-Natal), Rural Network (KwaZulu-Natal) & the Unemployed People's Movement (Eastern Cape, Free State & KwaZulu-Natal), Harvard International Review

When black people rose up against apartheid, the government usually said that they couldn’t have organized themselves and that there must have been a white person making them resist. Some thought that only whites were capable of thinking, speaking, and acting for themselves. But it was not only the government that looked for conspiracies every time black people organized themselves. This also happened within the movement.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Why I no longer tell my brother to wear his pants properly

By Siphokazi Magadla, Thought Leader

Saggy pants is a popular form of displaying rebellion to teenage respectability by young men who wear their trousers far down their waists, often times generously exposing their underwear. Saggy pants are mostly associated with black male masculinity, which has been highlighted by the imagery often associated with mainstream hip-hop culture. Of course today this phenomenon is no longer the privilege of young black lads as many white boys in my classrooms and elsewhere subscribe to the ”sagging” pants phenomenon. Yet, nevertheless, sagging pants are historically linked to black male adolescence. Like many black sisters and mothers I had been particularly averse to my two brothers engaging in these displays as I unconsciously saw them as yet another easy way black men attract negative attention (read racism and police brutality) to themselves. I have however shifted in this view.

Nation state: Nyerere's legacy

Mahmood Mamdani
by Mahmood Mamdani, Mail & Gaurdian

Assessments of Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s first president, are conventionally focused on his quest for ujamaa, a just social order based on community solidarity. Whereas supporters hailed ujamaa as a creative adjustment of socialist thought to local realities, critics contemptuously dismissed it as a romantic and unscientific endeavour.

Nyerere’s concern with social justice needs to be understood in the context of his overriding commitment to building a nation state. In his farewell address to the Tanzanian Parliament on July 29 1985, Nyerere recalled: “The single most important task, which I set out in my inaugural address in December 1962, was that of building a united nation on the basis of human equality and dignity.”

Sunday, 10 March 2013


Dear colleagues from the Music Department,

We, the Rhodes University Palestinian Solidarity Forum (RUPSF), note with alarm that the Rhodes University Music Department has invited a musician, described as a “native of Israel”, to perform during the global campaign, Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). We also note that Dr Yossi Reshef’s performances in South Africa are made possible with “generous support from the Israeli Embassy”. His performance can thus only be viewed as being officially sanctioned by the Israeli government, and that he is coming to perform as a cultural representative of that government.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Oscar Pistorius case: Time magazine is wrong, Lulu is right

by Christi van der Westhuizen, Thought Leader

Two mainstream media companies have turned the Oscar Pistorius case into an opportunity to ruminate on the perils of post-white rule.

Time magazine and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) have both in their recent coverage used Pistorius’s defence to weigh in on the South African “culture of violence”. It is notable that these media companies have their roots in countries forged through violent processes of colonialism at about the time when the colony that became South Africa was being settled, also through violence.

Monday, 4 March 2013

South Africa: police brutality

by Benjamin Fogel, The Zambezian

The police in South Africa have taken yet another life, this time that of a 27 year old Mozambican Taxi Driver in Daveyton a neighbourhood in East Johannesburg . Mido Marcia was killed for parking on the wrong side of the road and having the gall to challenge the officer attempting to arrest him. For this he was handcuffed to the back of a police truck and dragged several hundred meters down the road in front of a crowd amassed at a taxi rank. Later it seems like he was beaten to death by police officers in a cell in a two hour assault.

Thandiswa Qubuda – another dead brick in the wall of rape imprisoning South Africa

Mandy de Waal
Very little is known about Thandiswa Qubuda, a recent casualty of South Africa’s violent rape pandemic. She was raped, beaten and died after lying brain dead in hospital for six weeks. There are no photos of her in newspapers, no stories of her life, no media headlines about the savage gang attack that led to her death. Qubuda’s passing would have been largely unnoticed, were it not for activists who demanded that people learn about what happened to her: that she was an unemployed woman, failed by the police and by a justice system supposed to protect her. By MANDY DE WAAL, The Daily Maverick

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Time of the signs: Feminism, by any other name . . .

Nokulinda Mkhize
by Nokulinda Mkhize, City  Press

Our pages have been filled with news and stories of statistics regarding ­gender-based violence and the abuse, assault and violation of women and girls. One that received great prominence was the case of Anene Booysens.

Men in her community, who were known to her, violently assaulted and raped her. She sustained heinous injuries and later died.

This is but one example of the violent acts perpetrated against South African women every four minutes.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Public Lecture: “Thought Amidst Waste: Politics in Shack Settlements in South Africa" (Urbana, Illinois)
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, University of Illinois

“Revolution” Theme Lecture: Richard Pithouse
“Thought Amidst Waste: Politics in Shack Settlements in South Africa"

by Richard Pithouse (Political and International Studies, Rhodes University)
Date: March 7, 2013
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum
Co-sponsored by IPRH and the Spurlock Museum.
A reception will follow the lecture.
This event is free and open to the public.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Thandiswa Qubuda has Died

1 March 2013
Unemployed People’s Movement Press Statement

Thandiswa Qubuda has Died

Dark clouds are not strangers in our patriarchal society. They are gaining momentum. On Thursday night, 28 February 2013, Thandiswa Qubuda passed from this world. She had spent six weeks in hospital, brain dead, after she was savagely raped and beaten.

We ask ourselves why her story, such a painful story, is not getting media coverage and creating an uproar. The lives of poor people count for nothing in this country. There is no democracy for us.