“Quite simply – and this is what I wish to discuss tonight in relation to the question of rage and violence – we are living in different times. Or at least, our time is disjointed, out of sync, plagued by a generational fault line that scrambles historicity.
“The spectre of revolution, of radical change, is in young peoples’ minds and politics, and it is almost nowhere in the politics of the anti-apartheid generation. In fact, even as they criticised young people just five years earlier for being apathetic and depoliticized, they have now thought student activists misguided, uninformed, and mad.
“You would think that it might be possible to resolve this difference in time by means of a careful reading of what is called the ‘objective conditions for revolution’: are we in fact in a time in which revolution is immanent? No matter the subjective experience of time – there must be a way of determining who has the better bearing on history, who can tell the time. What time is it? Yet to tell the time is a complex matter in this society.
“We are, to some degree, post-apartheid, but in many ways not at all. We are living in a democracy that is at the same time violently, pathologically unequal. Protest action against the government – huge amounts of it, what in most other places would signal the beginning of radical change – often flips into a clamour for favour from that very government. Our vacillations, contradictions and anachronisms are indication that what time it is, is open to interpretation.
“I want to argue that the comrades I have worked with in the student movement are not so much mad as they are time-travellers. Or rather, that their particular, beautiful madness is to have recognised and exploited the ambivalence of our historical moment to push into the future. They have been working on the project of historical dissonance, of clarifying the untenable status quo of the present by forcing an awareness of a time when things are not this way. They have seen things many have yet to see. They have been experimenting with hallucinating a new time…”
Read the rest of this paper, delivered at the 13th annual Ruth First Memorial Lecture at Wits University in Johannesburg last night.
They don’t understand.
We never will.
Our bodies are monuments of centuries of torture,
these exist in us
we live it every day.
We built this country
whips at our backs –
The Man holding the whip did not build –
Apartheid is not over.
No magic TRC wand can bippity-boppity-boo! it away.
Our glass carriage is still a pumpkin,
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,
Gee my ‘n kans om te huil
vir my ma
en my pa
en my susters
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
B.A. Theatre and Performance at UCT
Please visit Ameera’s blog, HERE.
A substantive account of what students are doing right now at UCT. Fiercely awesome.
Forgive me at this moment, it is difficult to not be romantic in my description of what I feel is History in the making. This story is dedicated to my friends and comrades who are making waves at the University of Cape Town on behalf of many students, on behalf of me, on behalf of our children to change the institutional climate from the restrictions it has been gripped with through it’s inception. This latest wave of energy takes its rightful place as one, among many, of the acts of resistance against the systemic forces that resist change and substantive “transformation” as voices take on a new interpretation of the never ending struggle for liberation.
Forgive me in my limitedness, as I am physically unable to recount to you all that happened but I hope you appreciate my account of what I remember.. along with the moments that, most…
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“Mr President” is the controversial first single released on Long Talk 2 Freedom. It is a work of hip-hop protest literature which deals with the failed presidency of Jacob Zuma. The work remixes, and was inspired by, Tunisian rapper El-general’s classic, “Rayes lebled”, which became the theme song of the Tunisian revolution which brought Tunisian Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali down in 2011.
Written, produced, mixed and mastered by Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh aka Vice V
Recorded by Tiger.X
T. Lekota, “Response to the State of the Nation Address”, February, 2013.
J. Malema, “They Shot us Behind the Mountain: Address on the First Anniversary of the Marikana Massacre”, August, 2013.
A protest song from the triple album Orphans – Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards (ANTI- Records, 2006). Tom Waits at his most direct is devastating.