achille mbembe on fire

Brilliant and inspiring lecture by Prof. Achille Mbembe in conversation with Rhodes Must Fall at UCT on 29 April 2015, talking about decolonising the university.

Read his speaking notes here: Achille Mbembe – Decolonizing Knowledge and the Question of the Archive (pdf document).

ameera conrad – on exhaustion over a lack of understanding

ameeraI am tired
God Almighty, I am tired
of being told that we need to move on,
that we need to forget,
that we need to put the past behind us,
that Apartheid is over.

They don’t understand.
We never will.
Our bodies are monuments of centuries of torture,
trauma
terror
these exist in us
we live it every day.
We built this country
slaves
whips at our backs –
The Man holding the whip did not build –
we built.

Apartheid is not over.
No magic TRC wand can bippity-boppity-boo! it away.
Our glass carriage is still a pumpkin,
rotting,
pulled by rats.
A polite revolution over tea and crumpets, good Sir,
‘twas the order of the day.

When could we mourn?
When could we cry?
When could we scream
for our loved ones lost
our chances trampled on?

Please Mastah Baas Meneer,
Asseblief,
Gee my ‘n kans om te huil
vir my ma
en my pa
en my susters
en broers
gee my ‘n kans om te huil.

Let me stand up for myself
and for those who stood before me.
Let me march for myself
and for those who marched before me.
Let me call out AMANDLA
and raise my fist
and let me cry
after hundreds of years
let me cry.

— Ameera Conrad
4th Year
B.A. Theatre and Performance at UCT

Please visit Ameera’s blog, HERE.

olive schreiner on cecil john rhodes

“We fight Rhodes because he means so much of oppression, injustice, and moral degradation to South Africa; – but if he passed away tomorrow there still remains the terrible fact that something in our society has formed the matrix which has fed, nourished, and built up such a man!”

— In a letter to John X. Merriman on 3 April 1897, published at Olive Schreiner Letters online.

Rhodes statue, head covered in garbage bags. University of Cape Town, 17 March 2015. Photo: Rosemary Lombard

Statue of Cecil John Rhodes, head covered in garbage bags. University of Cape Town, 17 March 2015. Photo: Rosemary Lombard

Some more provocative white writing about the legacy of Rhodes can be found HERE.

ethel waters – his eye is on the sparrow

Pause to watch, listen and reflect.

Have you ever experienced the weird magic of coming across something obliquely on Youtube, on your way somewhere else, and it speaks so powerfully, so uncannily, to all the things happening right now around you that all the hairs on your body stand on end? This is one of those times. The scene comes from a 1952 film called The Member of the Weddingbased on the book/play by Carson McCullers, starring Ethel Waters, Julie Harris and Brandon De Wilde. I came across it because my housemate Khanyi and I were singing this old hymn, hamming it up Lauryn-Hill-in-Sister-Act-2 style. I wanted to check out some of the older versions… and this clip revealed itself to me, complete with contextual preamble.

Just to tether this to a little of my own current context (I unfortunately don’t have time to write much right now), here is something written by one of my MPhil classmates about the student protests demanding the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes that are currently happening at UCT, and here is the official SRC statement on the matter.

member-of-the-wedding-julie-harris-ethel-waters-brandon-de-wilde-1952