“In South Africa we have no business criticizing the young with homilies about propriety and dignity, decency and politesse. There can be no equality for young women in higher education if the spaces they are supposed to study in are organized around enabling their violation by omission, silence and inaction.
The shame does not reside with the survivors, despite the insults and abuse flung at them, despite the rubber bullets fired at them, despite being wrestled to the ground for daring to object to the normalization of and silence on their violence, and the inaction of organizations and institutions.”
– Angelo Fick, 20 April 2016. Read the full piece HERE.
Luister is a documentary about the lives of students of colour who attend Stellenbosch University, a South African institution of higher learning. In a series of interviews, students recount instances of racial prejudice that they continue to experience in the town of Stellenbosch, and the enormous challenges that they face due to the use of Afrikaans as a language of teaching at the university. Luister is a film about Afrikaans as a language and a culture. It is a film about the continuing racism that exists within a divided society. It is a film about a group of students whose stories have been ignored. Luister is the Afrikaans word for Listen.
[W]hen I began to write, at about the age of seven, stories in pencil with crayon illustrations that my poor mother was obligated to read, I wrote exactly the kinds of stories I was reading: All my characters were white and blue-eyed, they played in the snow, they ate apples, and they talked a lot about the weather, how lovely it was that the sun had come out. Now, this despite the fact that I lived in Nigeria. I had never been outside Nigeria. We didn’t have snow, we ate mangoes, and we never talked about the weather, because there was no need to.
My characters also drank a lot of ginger beer, because the characters in the British books I read drank ginger beer. Never mind that I had no idea what ginger beer was. And for many years afterwards, I would have a desperate desire to taste ginger beer. But that is another story.
What this demonstrates, I think, is how impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story, particularly as children. Because all I had read were books in which characters were foreign, I had become convinced that books by their very nature had to have foreigners in them and had to be about things with which I could not personally identify. Now, things changed when I discovered African books. There weren’t many of them available, and they weren’t quite as easy to find as the foreign books.
But because of writers like Chinua Achebe and Camara Laye, I went through a mental shift in my perception of literature. I realized that people like me, girls with skin the color of chocolate, whose kinky hair could not form ponytails, could also exist in literature. I started to write about things I recognized.
Now, I loved those American and British books I read. They stirred my imagination. They opened up new worlds for me. But the unintended consequence was that I did not know that people like me could exist in literature. So what the discovery of African writers did for me was this: It saved me from having a single story of what books are…
… If I had not grown up in Nigeria, and if all I knew about Africa were from popular images,I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals, and incomprehensible people, fighting senseless wars, dying of poverty and AIDS, unable to speak for themselves and waiting to be saved by a kind, white foreigner.
The Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative, where I work, is hosting an interesting conference next month:
Southern African Pasts Before the Colonial Era, their Archives and their Ongoing Present/Presence
16, 17, 18, July, 2015
Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative
University of Cape Town
“You can write and remember but for our part we are simply izithunguthu” (Thununu ka Nonjiya, 1903, in James Stuart Archive, vol.6. p.289)
Thunguthu (Isi), n. One flustered or put out, made to forget by being scolded or cross-questioned, though well-informed. Colenso’s Dictionary (4th ed., 1905, p. 627)
In late 2014 the sixth volume of the James Stuart Archive of Recorded Oral Evidence Relating to the History of the Zulu and Neighbouring Peoples (edited by the late C.de B.Webb and J.B. Wright) was published by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, bringing the number of pages of edited, translated and annotated archival text to a total of 1697 (excluding indexes), organised alphabetically from Antel to Zwayi, under the names of 185 primary interviewees.
The conference celebrates this remarkable editorial achievement and its contribution to the enquiry into the southern African past in the many eras before the advent of European colonialism. It also foregrounds and seeks to take forward new developments and thinking about these eras. It does this through a double focus on the different forms of archive relevant to the various eras and on the innovations – conceptual, theoretical, methodological, technological, practical or creative – involved both in mobilizing such archives, and indeed other materials considered to be not-archive, and in pursuing enquiries into those eras.
The conference will be organised around four central themes:
- the making and remaking of the James Stuart Archive;
- the nature and forms of archive, and indeed other forms of historical material, pertinent to these eras;
- the meanings of pasts designated “pre-colonial” in the present, and in past presents;
- innovations- conceptual, theoretical, methodological, technological, practical and creative – in enquiry into these eras.
The Making and Remaking of the James Stuart Archive
The James Stuart Archive is a rare southern African treasure for a number of reasons, of which two are particularly significant. The first is that while the collection is undoubtedly the work of the collector, and has been fundamentally shaped by him in ways that are the subject of ongoing critical scholarly investigation, the recorded texts also offer insight into the thinking of the various people whose accounts Stuart recorded. The bulk of the material was documented between 1897 and 1922, when Stuart interviewed some 200 people whom he considered to be well informed on contemporary and historical matters relevant to the region. He took detailed notes in the course of the conversations, often seemingly recording people in their own words. His working methods, the contributions of his interlocutors and all the other factors that shaped the archival texts, are the subject of ongoing scholarly attention. The combination of the extensiveness of the corpus and the nature of the material covered by interviewer and interviewees, often dealing with topics little discussed elsewhere in written documentation of the time, makes it one of South Africa’s most valuable historical resources pertinent to the late independent era in south-east Africa, as well as the colonial period that followed.
Archive and its “Others”
The past decade has seen the paying of close attention to the making and shaping of archive in many forms, while archive/s have also been the subject of sustained theoretical and methodological discussion. Long understood to be a time without an archive, the eras of the past before European colonialism and enquiries into them both draw from and contribute to, in distinctive ways, the larger critical discussion about archive, itself otherwise decisively shaped by European intellectual history. The conference theme on the nature and forms of archive focuses attention on these distinctive ways, seeking to understand what they mean for the wider understanding of archive and what they mean for enquiries into the long southern African past.
We welcome papers not only on similarly iconic text-based archives (like the much celebrated Bleek and Lloyd Archive of material collected from /xam and !kung speakers between 1870 and 1884) but also on lesser known text-based sources, including ones which might heretofore have never been explicitly treated as archives. The conference hopes to interrogate taken-for-granted distinctions between primary and secondary sources. When, for example, is a published account be considered an archive, and of what precisely is it an archive? We are interested in discursive materials that may not take a written form, including poetic forms, songs and invocations, and in interrogating critically the notion of “oral tradition”, seeking not only its disaggregation, but also careful reassessment of the conceptual apparatus associated with it.
We are especially interested in the nature of materials that are relevant to the remote past which have been or are yet thought of explicitly as “not archival”. Items of material and visual culture are widely used as sources for various aspects of enquiry into the past, but often in a manner that assumes that they have a timeless cultural relevance. We invite papers that build on recent work which historicises such items, paying close attention to particularities of provenance, circumstances and effects of collection, classification and curation. Current work is beginning to recognize incorporated, as opposed to inscribed, archival forms, notably embodied forms of materials that refer to the past. We invite contributions that grapple with the complex challenges involved in exploring, for example, contemporary instances of spirit possession and rituals concerning ancestors, for what they might add to an understanding of the distant past.
The Entangled “Pre-colonial”
How do we think of what has been termed the pre-colonial beyond the strictures of prepositional time? The academic orthodoxy teaches us to approach it as the distant past, as an evacuated experience, as a domain of specialists. And yet, our everyday scenes are stamped by its uncanny fecundity, its untheorised proximity, its entangled lives in the contemporary. In a variety of different ways – imaginatively, expansively, subjectively, critically, affectively – contemporary artists, writers, family and clan historians, politicians and intellectuals engage the body of inherited materials that academics and lawyers use as “sources”, often with very different purposes, from the celebratory through the denunciatory to the parodic. All of these engagements with the eras of the past before European colonialism, and with the ways in which the colonial and apartheid eras dealt with the earlier periods, undertaken by historians and many others, contribute to contemporary understandings and meanings of the distant past and fall within the purview of the conference.
In the nineteenth century, many colonial intellectuals took the history of the region before colonialism seriously enough to record and collect materials pertinent to it and to write its histories. In the post-conquest context of the twentieth century, the many eras of the long past, and indeed the history of indigenous people in the colonial and apartheid eras, were systematically ghetto-ised as the subject of the disciplines of archaeology, anthropology, linguistics and prehistory, and as requiring a specialist conceptual apparatus pertinent to the study of ‘tribal’ or ‘pre-modern’ societies. Unpacking the legacies of this conceptual apparatus requires comparative perspectives from across and beyond the continent attentive to the cross-genealogies of the tribal and the modern. These concepts have lingering effects that are yet discernible. In trying to think about the past beyond the warranty of these concepts, we also invite reflections on the ways of being in the world in which that past may not necessarily be an object of capture.
Our conference, therefore, is inevitably an engagement with the new. As it seeks to break out of the academic ghetto-isation, its exploratory restlessness challenges the established boundaries of disciplines, regions and identities. What happens when we consider enquiries into the past before European colonialism in the light of the contemporary insights on religion and affect, fashion and beauty, embodied knowledges, decoloniality, performance theory, border epistemologies, theory from the south, and so on?
The conference rationale is founded in a long view of history, seeking to subvert persistent habits of treating the past before colonialism as another country, and the advent of colonialism as the history of the region’s starting point with only a passing nod to, or introductory paragraph on, what went before. What happens when histories of ideas, modes of thought, institutions and practices, and the changes which they have undergone, are traced across the early state, late independent, early colonial, apartheid, and even post-apartheid, eras? In the conference even the latter, provisional, periodization would itself be open to debate and question.
For more information, please email APCemail@example.com.
It’s quite fascinating to watch how unwilling most white people are to listen to people talking about experiences that differ from their own. For example, in a conversation about institutional racism and changing Eurocentric curricula to syllabi balanced with African perspectives, having been taught from tiny that their white perspective is the only valid perspective, they are so utterly convinced of this that they are unable to hear the reasoning around what is happening. So, they become more and more threatened and confused, and say more and more strident, prejudiced things.
Here is a typical example of the trajectory of conversations I have been having with white liberals I know lately – people who defend rainbow nation rhetoric unquestioningly, because it stops them having to think critically about themselves and their comfy little self-made worlds, how they remain complicit with oppression. It starts with a status update posted by a Facebook friend, a South African doctor currently living in Europe. The main antagonist, whom I have never met nor spoken with before (and hopefully never have to again!), is just aching for an excuse to dismiss what I am saying, until he can’t hold back anymore and attacks me personally with a flood of childish insults. My grateful thanks to the voluble, rude, bigoted Roland Paterson-Jones for providing me with this perfect study of white arrogance. ;)
Anne* – 11 April at 00:19 ·
I too used to jump up and down in the safety of my little UCT play pen and protest all manner of things. But if you tried the sort of vandalism and intimidation that goes on now in your real-life work place, you would be out-on-your-arse fired and prosecuted. #realitybites #youllseewhenyougraduate
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Ingrid, Abby and 19 others like this.
Irene So true
11 April at 01:12 · Edited · Like
Roland Ha, snap! Maybe we just getting old and boring
11 April at 04:15 · Like · 1
Candy Well said A, my point exactly!
11 April at 05:34 · Like
Rosemary Sjoe, A, it’s really a different kettle of fish now, I’m telling you, having been there with you back then and also there now. These are big issues, not petulance.
11 April at 07:16 · Like · 1
Roland Bringing down apartheid was not petulance. Bringing down a statue? Meh!
11 April at 08:13 · Like
Rosemary The issue is institutional racism, which is still very much alive – and that statue is but a small symbol of its persistence. If you actually care, read the mission statement, here: https://www.facebook.com/RhodesMustFall/posts/1559394444336048 and understand that as a person who has historically been on the lucky side of the racial divides put in place by apartheid, i.e. someone who has never felt oppressed by the institutional climate at UCT, you will have been oblivious to the hurt and insults that persist due to the lack of transformation. As white people we don’t have a perspective on this pain, and, if we care about ACTUALLY bringing down the legacy of apartheid, we need to pay attention to what people who are still feeling its effects are saying.
UCT RHODES MUST FALL MISSION STATEMENT
11 April at 08:21 · Edited · Like · 1 ·
Roland Oh stop bleeding, Rosemary! They’re a bunch of spoiled arrogant privileged youngsters. Make a positive suggestion or contribution, and stop wringing your hands in shame. You’re actually being deeply condescending, rather than helping, which is, in turn, actually exacerbating the problem of unequal opportunity.
11 April at 08:26 · Like
Roland Your deliberate separation of ‘white’ and ‘black’, ‘us’ and ‘them’, is, similarly, entrenching damaging zeitgeist. Please stop!
11 April at 08:27 · Like
Rosemary Don’t get me wrong: I think racial categories are incredibly damaging. The fact that their legacies persist is something that needs to be dealt with though, not denied.
11 April at 08:30 · Like · 2
Rosemary I have no shame, and no condescension, Rather, I am doing my best to listen to what people say they need, and to make space for them to actualise those needs, rather than sitting with an imaginary panoptical viewpoint (that as white people we have been taught we have) and presuming to tell people what it is they need to do. THAT is condescension.
11 April at 08:32 · Like · 1
Roland Fair enough – at some point we need to take a stand on what we personally think is right though, rather than bend too much to dangerous philosophies, just because they come from sectors that may or may not have genuine historical grievances. The rise of naziism is a case in point.
11 April at 08:34 · Like · 1
Rosemary I can assure you that there would not be this hullabaloo if their pain was not real.
11 April at 08:35 · Like · 1
Roland And I assure you that nazi’s only rose to power through significant collective pain after WW1.
11 April at 08:37 · Like · 1
Rosemary Reductio ad Hitlerum
11 April at 08:39 · Edited · Like · 1 ·
Roland Ha – sorry for drawing an attempted analogy. My point though, is that damaged people are significantly more likely to be drawn to extreme viewpoints and actions. So, the real question is how do we reduce damage and polarisation? I have not seen any constructive suggestions emerging from RMF. I see only destruction, coupled with meaningless rhetoric such as ‘transformation’ and ‘africanisation’. What does that even mean?
11 April at 08:49 · Edited · Like
Roland And remember, in life little is fair – we all have reasons to feel aggrieved in some way. I’m sure you do. I know I do. The universe does not owe us our existence.
11 April at 08:48 · Like
Rosemary Are you at UCT right now? It’s been an incredibly moving and inspiring thing to see what Rhodes Must Fall has accomplished. It’s absolutely not about believing anyone owes them anything, and all about doing for self. They’ve had teach-ins and debates organised every night, and worked on what a non-Eurocentric curriculum would look like. One of my black colleagues at the Archive and Public Culture research initiative has been involved in facilitating this stuff. I assure you, this is a moment to rejoice in, not to be fearful.
11 April at 08:52 · Like · 1
Rosemary (I really don’t think the press has covered what has been going on in any vaguely satisfactory way. That is why I feel I must say something when people are all gloom-and-doom-and-contempt about it.)
11 April at 08:53 · Like
Roland No, I was at UCT in the mid/late 80’s. Why don’t we see more of the positive intent? I have read the RMF manifesto and am appalled.
11 April at 08:53 · Like
Rosemary I don’t know. It’s what fits narratives, I guess. I have to leave Facebook now. Thanks for the chat!
11 April at 08:54 · Like · 1
Roland And you really do like to cling to black and white
11 April at 08:55 · Like
Rosemary Um, I hate racial divisions as much as we all do. It’s just that rainbow nation rhetoric has not changed material reality, and people are still stuck in them – we have to acknowledge that, not deny that. We only have the luxury of denying that these divisions still persist if we are the minority privileged not to be hit in the face with them every day of our lives. The majority of our fellow South Africans continue to experience, and talk about experiencing, this oppression. To tell them they don’t experience this is to disrespect and dismiss their own lived realities and say we know better than them what their reality is. And that, to me, is disgustingly arrogant.
11 April at 09:00 · Edited · Like · 1
Roland Ok. So we listen. I don’t see that that materially (!) changes anything. What do we do?
11 April at 09:11 · Like
Roland And I will, frankly, continue to struggle to listen to the deliberate fascist polarisation inherent in ‘1 settler 1 bullet’.
11 April at 09:15 · Like
Anne Ah, now this is the stuff tertiary education is made of, two UCT alumni in eloquent, intellectual debate. That, ladies and gentleman is how it should be done. No poo flinging here.
11 April at 09:22 · Like · 4
Roland I think that Max du Preez is spot on, particularly the conclusion:
Radicalisation and polarisation: the encroaching threat – Moneyweb
11 April at 09:22 · Like
Roland Flattery will get you everywhere, Annetjie
11 April at 09:23 · Like
Anne Thanks Rosemary Lombard and Roland Paterson-Jones for your insights and wisdom. The atrocities of Apartheid must have been agonising, and yes I was lucky enough to be born who I was. However in my opinion, this is not about race. It is about civil and sensible behaviour. Debates, discussions, peaceful protests, go for it. Faecal flinging, chanting agricultural ammunition targets and reneging on tolerant and progressive agreements with the university, unacceptable. I want someone teaching me who is highly qualified, experienced and wise. Quota systems are unreasonable if candidates are to be elevated above more qualified counterparts. The interesting opportunity here is adding curricula that would broaden the scope of academic expertise and allow a broader selection of course material in both Afro- and Eurocentric studies. I for one am glad that I went with the Eurocentric option for medicine. Goodness knows how many people I could have let down in their health if I had gone with muti and bones option.
11 April at 09:36 · Like · 4
Roland Ha ha I was satisfied with my eurocentric maths and computer science too.
11 April at 10:15 · Like · 1
Roland For full disclosure, I have spent time with a sangoma too, and it was an interesting and positive experience.
11 April at 10:32 · Like · 1
Tanya Agreed Anne!!
11 April at 15:37 · Like
Rosemary “When democracy arrived, the legal barriers tumbled; deep-rooted beliefs that whites are superior did not. The “liberal” universities now had the right to teach who and what they pleased: they used it to keep alive the racial pecking order in a “colour blind” guise. In the early 1990s, sociologist Harold Wolpe warned against a view that white English-language universities were the only “real” institutions of learning and should be left alone to do what they had always done. He argued that they were also products of the past and so they too needed to change.” Really worth a read.
The racial denialism of South African liberals – The Rand Daily Mail
RDM.CO.ZA|BY STEVEN FRIEDMAN
13 April at 09:47 · Like · Remove Preview
Roland Rosemary, are you an academic? Are you prepared to show integrity and resign from your job in order to provide an opportunity for a less privileged person? If not, are you not simply representing the ‘other people must change’ attitude inherent in most of the RMF debate
13 April at 09:51 · Like
Rosemary I’m currently an MPhil student in Heritage and Public Culture, and, yes, thinking about where best to employ my energies after that. If I were to remain in academia, which I probably won’t, it would be in research, on colonial archives and production of knowledge, which is what I am looking at in my thesis – in an attempt to respond to the damaged legacy of those who came before. I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking a teaching post at this juncture.
13 April at 09:57 · Like
Roland Cool, these are tough questions. We all have no choice but to pursue our necessary imperative to stay alive; yet we also have to look more broadly towards our larger environment. I can’t help but observe that Steven Friedman is a pigmentally challenged individual, presuming to represent the experience of others, both formerly privileged, and not. Nowhere do I see him offering a personal experience: for example, “I, as an English speaking South African have been guilty of denial, etc.” Let’s hear some first-person perspective.
13 April at 10:01 · Like
Roland I guess another way to put this: How are you, Rosemary, going to put food on the table, after you have fought so hard for your cultural irrelevance?
13 April at 10:44 · Like
Rosemary Don’t worry yourself about that, Roland, I’m sure I’ll find something useful to do.
13 April at 10:49 · Like · 1
Roland “We had imagined that, after the removal of Rhodes, the vice-chancellor would come back to us and ask… what the plan of action is,” [Chumani Maxwele] said. “But instead we were just woken up by a letter of eviction.”
Are you fucking kidding me? Arrogance personified.
UCT occupiers consider their options – Western Cape | IOL News
13 April at 12:39 · Like
Roland I believe that this is what is colloquially known as ‘stank vir dank’:
“You, Max Price, chose not to engage us like humans. You referred to the black student as a problem,” said the RMF’s Thato Pule.
Occupiers speak out against UCT – Western Cape | IOL News
13 April at 17:14 · Edited · Like
Roland Rosemary, presumably you can give the contrary perspective? I am struggling.
13 April at 17:15 · Like
Rosemary Hey… This is longish, but I think it is really worth a read:
Reason after Liberalism
SACSIS.ORG.ZA|BY RICHARD PITHOUSE
Yesterday at 10:12 · Like ·
Rosemary In fact, read this one first:
South Africa in the Twilight of Liberalism: Richard Pithouse
Yesterday at 10:13 · Like
Roland Hey Rosemary, had a first pass at Richard Pithouse. The first half (about) echos, very strikingly, many observations that I have made very recently, on FB and other online discussion forums. The second half is less familiar, less accessible, and less appealing to me. I am an unapologetic liberal, with bent towards libertarianism, and informed by my casual adherence to (how I understand) buddhist principles.
The problem I have with Richard Pithouse, is that he presents more absence of ideas, than presence of ideas. What is the proposal? Liberalism is bad, we need something else. Why is it bad? Empirically? Perhaps – it certainly hasn’t been widely embraced. So, what are we proposing as the solution?
I had the same problem trying to engage directly with RMF on FB (they have now blocked me and deleted all of my posts). Time and time again, members would reply to me and tell me what (they believed) I was thinking, rather than what they were thinking.
Yesterday at 11:11 · Edited · Like
Roland Stated perhaps more primally, it appears to be human nature to grab what we can, and cling to what we have. It requires considerable religious or cultural principle, contrary to base instincts, to counter that. Communism was exactly an ideology that proposed a radical set of principles to ensure equality. What happened? It turned into yet another vehicle for crass inequality, and oppression of many people. I don’t know what the answer is, or where the answer lies, but I will continue to support what I see, personally, as the best system we have. Yes, IMHO
Yesterday at 11:11 · Edited · Like
Roland Also, “the enduring racism and coloniality of some of our universities” appears to simply be accepted fact. No-one has convinced me that this is fact, despite many pleas. We can take an audit by race group of various stakeholders. That is irrelevant. What is important is equality of opportunity, and the belief that that will eventually allow personal emancipation of anyone willing to buy a ticket. Yes, the abject poverty of much of our population is, itself, a massive barrier. So, how do we tackle that problem?
Yesterday at 11:03 · Edited · Like
Roland How are our universities any more ‘colonial’ than universities in China, Russia, Japan, Korea, America, Brazil?
Yesterday at 11:10 · Like
Roland ‘Black studies for UCT’
Curricular change could prove the most contentious element of UCT’s transformation in the wake of recent…
TIMESLIVE.CO.ZA|BY TANYA FARBER
Yesterday at 11:43 · Like
Roland I would be very interested in the student demographics by faculty. I suspect transformation is lagging in Science/Engineering, and I suspect that that is a reflection on the failure of our primary and secondary education systems (rated worst in the world for science recently).
Yesterday at 11:45 · Like
Yesterday at 11:59 · Like
Roland On the face of it, UCT has had extraordinary success in racial (yuck!) transformation in a single generation.
Yesterday at 12:06 · Like
Roland Rosemary, I challenge you to read this again, and identify aspects of it with which you are not 100% in agreement.
UCT RHODES MUST FALL MISSION STATEMENT
Yesterday at 12:40 · Like
Rosemary I’m 100% behind it.
Yesterday at 13:37 · Like
Rosemary I’ll send you an essay I banged out the other day which mentions a few concrete examples of institutional racism if you PM me your email address. Further than that, I don’t think we’ll see eye to eye if you’re a dyed in the wool liberal with libertarian leanings, so I will tip my hat and bid you adieu.
Yesterday at 13:41 · Like
Roland Fair enough, I’ll as the same questions I posed to RMF:
1. Can you provide precise examples of ‘institutional racism‘ at UCT?
2. Can you provide precise examples of ‘white supremacy and privilege at our campus‘?
3. Can you provide precise examples of how ‘students, workers, academics and interested staff members [are] alienated in their own university‘?
Yesterday at 13:41 · Like
Roland And before you bid me adieu, how would you most precisely describe your personal philosophy of society?
Yesterday at 13:42 · Like
Roland Note that I have actually been more productive than simply labeling myself – I have provided data and interpretation that you are welcome to respond to. If you simply can’t or won’t, based on my self-characterisation then fine – but that is a little hypocritical coming from someone who, just above, referenced Pitthouse quoting Fanon motivating for a new dialogue to establish a new philosophy.
Yesterday at 13:47 · Edited · Like
Roland What are you pro? It’s so easy to be against stuff.
Yesterday at 13:47 · Like
Rosemary I don’t have a word to describe my political orientation, other than a general suspicion of those in power, and how they got to be there.
Yesterday at 13:48 · Like
Roland We have something in common
Yesterday at 13:48 · Like
Rosemary I’m pro the destruction of hierarchies and inequality.
Yesterday at 13:49 · Like
Roland Hmm, anarchist, unless you have a cogent vision for a replacement. I agree, somewhat, in principle. Go well.
Yesterday at 13:51 · Like
Rosemary Not an anarchist because I believe in the rule of God… although not a manmade conception of God.
Yesterday at 13:53 · Edited · Like
Roland Surely not a European God? Just messing with you. As I said, I am more of an agnostic buddhist. I have very little faith (ha!) in societies built on religious law.
Yesterday at 13:55 · Like
Rosemary “Not a manmade conception of God” indicates my lack of faith in human interpretations of God, I thought… so I’m hardly advocating religious rule. Sorry, as I said, my beliefs don’t fit boxes.
Yesterday at 14:41 · Edited · Like
Roland Ok, I’m off to the Burn to take maximum advantage of my elite whitey privilege. I leave tertiary academic libertarianism in your capable hands
Yesterday at 15:15 · Like
Roland From a non-anarchist person of colour: “UCT students, direct benefactors of what Cecil Rhodes made possible, have clamored to remove his statue. Now that its gone, and with it an important, though controversial, aspect of its history.. what now?
Where a distinct statue once stood, now stands nothing. Very symbolic of that UTC Azania stands for.. nothing. Its one thing to know what you’re against.. its quite another to know what you are for. All this energy and vigor spent on a piece of stone could have been channeled to create real change. Like instead of focusing on perceived racism of the last century, the students could have protested the real and ugly racism taking place today across South Africa as people are killed in xenophobic attacks. But its always easier to deface and destroy something that can’t defend itself than to spend the blood, sweat and toil to build something better.
I love all the people of South Africa and say this out of love. You can never build yourself up, but putting someone else down..specially when that someone has been dead for a long time.”
What are you for?
Yesterday at 19:28 · Like
Rosemary This is what I am for. The statue affair has catalysed discussions like this one last night which should have been happening in earnest years ago: https://youtu.be/RCkXeMaaSwU
UCT Panel Discussion: Decolonizing the University
Charting a path forward for anti-sexist and anti-racist scholarship and activism. This discussion was hosted by the Van Zyl Slabbert Visiting Chair, the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and UCT’s SRC and moderated by Prof. Xolela Mangcu on Thursday 23 April 2015.
22 hrs · Like · Remove Preview
Rosemary Listen at 26 minutes to Pumla Gqola. This is the most constructive thing that has happened to UCT in years. I’m really out now. I have nothing further to say on the matter.
22 hrs · Edited · Like
Roland Rose, you have such a narrow perspective. Maths is maths. Engineering is engineering. Medicine is medicine – black people’s bodies look the same to pathologists as white bodies.
If you want to transform your own faculty, then do so, and kudo’s to you. Don’t presume that you speak for the more important pursuits.
As you said, once you are out of varsity, you will find a useful pursuit.
But, society needs scientists – when last did we have 24/7 power to write on FB?
We can do african pottery and weaving together, and even believe it;s important, but in the end, you won’t have electricity to your house, you won’t have water in your taps, you won’t have roads to drive on, you won’t have ‘colonial’ society.
I get that you are a lesbian feminist, just like my mom. But you are being used. Silly girl.
17 hrs · Like
Roland She got to the crux at about 29:00 and then walked away!
17 hrs · Like
Roland Cecil John Rhodes was more gay than straight, for god’s sake.
17 hrs · Like
Roland 33:31 “We are supposed to decolonise gender” – ha ha, “decolonisation” has become the void term for any new personal struggle.
17 hrs · Like
Roland Does anyone in south africa actually know what colonialism is? Apartheid was not colonialsism – the afrikaners had no european master.
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Roland Seriously, in Zulu culture, lesbianism is just not cool. Transgender is just not cool. As for you, Rose, just a litany of self-hurt, which, in any non-colonial society would have been a lot more difficult to you all than in learned european society.
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Roland 47:37: “capitalism, patriarchy and racism”. No, that online video is only available, due to technology that your brothers and sisters are learning in the science faculty.
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Roland Stop masturbating, Rose.
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Roland What the fuck does ‘intersectional‘ actually mean?
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Roland Paterson-Jones Sorry, university is not about wanking off about personal experience. It is about important learning. Not about obvious personal sexual proclivities. Seriously, go and wank off on your own.
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Roland University is about teaching the important knowledge that really holds our society together. Housing. Food. Water. Electricity. You fucking idiots in humanities will fuck it up for all of us, cos you really don’t get it.
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Roland How about you stop toppling statues and focus on maths and science education in primary school?
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Roland And yes, I am angry now.
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Roland You are an idiot, Rosemary, because you lack perspective.
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Roland Patriarchy and the power struggle. Feminist bullshit. Colonialism and the power struggle. Black bullshit.
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Roland Rose, you are not old or experienced enough to understand.
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Roland One day you will, or else you are going to be a very bitter old woman.
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Roland I have six kids. Four of them are teenagers right now. Two of them are legal adults. One of them is studying science at UCT.
Seriously, you guys lack perspective. No matter what ideology you aspire to, no matter what gender or race you aspire to, no matter how much you support the underdog, however you see that in your own mind: You still want water in your taps. You still want electricity in your stove, lights, fridge. You still want a fridge to keep you food fresh. You still want a car to drive. You still want roads to drive on.
How does that all work? Could that, perhaps be colonial influence? European influence? Good science?
Fucking idiots, sorry.
What is your counter-proposal? ‘Intersectionality’? ‘Decolonialism’? ‘Africanism’?
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Roland Rose, you said you wouldn’t be a lecturer, because you were not worthy. But can you take that all the way and be a subsistence farmer? In the true sense of the word. No european technology at all.
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Roland Don’t pretend you are doing society a favour, Rose. Have the courage of your own (lack of) convictions or fuck off. Seriously. Go find how useful you are to society as a white post-colonial feminist intellectual. Respond when you have grown up a bit, perhaps in 5 years?
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Rosemary You’re trolling and I don’t appreciate it, Roland. Turning off my notifications now. I would suggest you go somewhere else to rave to yourself about someone you don’t even know, and events you are very far removed from. Sorry Anne for this mess on your wall.
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Roland Rose, this is not sexist or racist. You are an idiot. Why? You have no idea how little you know. Like, when you turn the kettle on, what actually happens? When you climb into your car and turn the key, what happens?
You and your friends are dangerous because you make the arrogant assumption that your knowledge is more valuable than that of others. It’s going to be a hard hard lesson for you. Good luck.
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Rosemary Don’t patronise me. Nobody is trying to throw out infrastructure and western knowledge. They’re trying to reframe the curriculum and restore the balance. Get a grip on yourself, and leave me alone.
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Roland In case I haven’t beeñ.clear. Thànk you, but please don’t decolonize my faculty. Please don’t decolonize my children’s faculties. I believe that will destroy their education.
By all means decolonize your own studies but don’t be so arrogant as to assume you are doing any more than that.
I will leave you alone just as soon as you stop jeapardising my and my children’s future in our country?
Let’s touch base in 5 years. I predict you will have emigrated to europe.
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Roland I am not trolling. You posted the video. It was drivel. You are trying to change my world. I have a right to respond, and particularly a right to be angry. Anne has the right to remove my contributions, and some of them are admittedly personal. Just like the chairperson in your posted video personally buttering up the young feminist you so admire.
Tough, I know, but I think it needs to be heard lest we descend into the same empirical mess that is the rest of (actually) post colonial africa. Hell, even Anne has found a better life in europe.
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Roland I think what worries me most is the supremacist irrationality of you, Rosemary, and RMF.
We are right so we don’t even have to engage in dialogue. We don’t know what we want but in the mean time we are going to tear down what we have.
Welcome back to the dark ages.
6 hrs · Like
Anne Roland Paterson-Jones and Rosemary Lombard firstly let me say that I love you both and you both have extraordinary minds. Debate is great but Roland, please do not be rude to my old friend and family member. She has had her own in depth journey to where she is today. She is kind, thoughtful and highly intelligent and is entitled to her opinion. She is not the only proponent for what is happening today. I agree that we would be nowhere in terms of infrastructure and medicine without European science. I think it is diabolical how people are behaving in this revolution. It is my wish that we and society are civil and maintain the intellectual debate and energy to move forward without resorting to insults, damage and violence. I miss South Africa greatly and look forward to returning with better financial footing thanks to the relative strength of the Euro. Roland, I share your frustrations at having your voice removed from the RMF page. I agree with your debates, but please continue to deliver them in a manner that is respectful. I respect Rosemary’s opinion and believe that brave women like her might help us find a way forward in crazy times like this. Rosemary and Roland, be kind to yourselves and each other you beautiful people.
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Roland Mea culpa. Apologies.
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*not her real name
Read his speaking notes here: Achille Mbembe – Decolonizing Knowledge and the Question of the Archive (pdf document).
Charting a path forward for anti-sexist and anti-racist scholarship and activism. This discussion was hosted by the Van Zyl Slabbert Visiting Chair, the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and the University of Cape Town’s SRC and moderated by Prof Xolela Mangcu on Thursday 23 April 2015.
“The fact that we are able to have this conversation in South Africa as though it is new, as though these issues have never been thought of before, is precisely because of our inability to engage, and to read…In a staggering display of willful ignorance, we continue to have conversations that have been had, that have been taken in remarkable directions, as though we have just discovered them.” – Pumla Gqola (at 0:26:00)
[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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