south africa in the twilight of liberalism: richard pithouse

Originally posted on Kafila:

[Note: Recent events in South Africa – from raging student movements across university campuses to xenophobic violence in the streets of Durban – seem to echo so many struggles both inside and outside the university “here.” This is the first of hopefully several posts from South Africa, that seek to listen and travel across.]

Guest Post by RICHARD PITHOUSE

South Africa was supposed to be different. We attained our freedom, such as these things are, after everyone else but Palestine. It was late in the day but the afternoon sun was glorious and the best people, people who had passed through the long passage of struggle, told us that we would be able to avoid the mistakes made everywhere else.

There was a mass movement that, whatever its limits, had won tremendous popular support and carried some noble ideals through its travails. Its leaders cast long shadows. Our Constitution, we…

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still life with white hyperbole

Lizza Littlewort - "Still Life with White Hyperbole". 2015.

Lizza Littlewort – “Still Life with White Hyperbole”. 2015.

This is an adaptation from a still life by someone I’m actually descended from, whose son (or grandson, not sure) came out here as a PA to Simon van der Stel and apparently was the most corrupt, heinous motherfucker you could imagine. It’s very hard to get a straight answer from anyone in my family, but one distant uncle who I chatted to on the phone told me that because he could prove his direct descent he was allowed into the basement of the Rijks Museum where they kept all the family info. He said this guy was so corrupt that he was, individually, the reason for the first slave rebellion at the Cape. So it’s like an actual time warp of history. Except of course when I research when the slave rebellions were, none of the dates tie up. But of course there must be so many of these hideous occurrences which we no longer even know about.

Here’s the painting, by Jacob Jacobsz. De Wet (Jacob de Wet II):

jacobz

Jacob de Wet II (Haarlem 1640/2-1697 Amsterdam).  An Italianate river landscape with a swan, a Eurasian bittern, a peacock, a pheasant and other birds before a stone vase on a pedestal. Oil on canvas, 153.6 x 217.5 cm.