Thursday, May 21, 2015

Liberating ourselves from our liberators

Yes, April was the cruelest month in South Africa in recent history. In the mid weeks of the month, too many pictures stirred up bad memories. A black man in his late twenties kissing a sparkly machete. A young man crouching by the side of a wall, holding a sharp knife, ready to use. A group of angry black men brandishing hatchets. Three white policemen pointing their guns at a bloodthirsty mob. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the last one is a dictionary. Three white policemen ready to shoot black men, who were after other black men in South Africa. There can be no greater irony. You can hear Queen Victoria saying: I told you so. These people needed to be protected from themselves


Friday, May 15, 2015

Coming of Age in the Time of the Hoodie

"Before we were married, my husband asked me if I identified as “black.” I remember thinking this an odd question. I thought it should be obvious that I identified as black even though I was, “technically,” half black and half white. But right there, in the making of the half-black and half-white observation, was, perhaps, where some of my husband’s concerns lay. What I didn’t fully appreciate at the time was the history behind my husband’s question. He had grown up in apartheid Rhodesia where he experienced segregation and racism very much as African Americans would have experienced it in 1960s America. It was important, therefore, for my husband to feel reassured, especially for the sake of any future children, that they would feel secure in their “race.” I, in contrast, raised in Nigeria during the 1970s and ’80s, did not grow up with race as a defining element of my upbringing or identity. Nigeria has no history of apartheid and no established tradition of societies structured along racial lines"

Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Insightful essay. Worth the read.


Monday, April 27, 2015

South Africa is not all about Xenophobia

Watching the news recently, one would be tempted to believe that South Africa is just about the angry Zulu boys going after blacks from other African nations. It is ugly. There is no getting around that fact. It is also sad that South Africa has Zuma as her president. One can only hope that Z is truly the last letter in the English alphabet.

Zuma's time will come to pass. The question is: what next? What ideas will guide Zuma's successor? And that brings me back to the idea that South Africa is more than spontaneous violent outbursts of xenophobia. South Africa is still the land of Mandela and Tutu and of TRC despite its flaws.

In the past two decades, South Africans have produced  more comprehensive ideas about the future of the continent than the whole of Africa combined.

I have put together some brilliant ideas by some of South Africa's leading thinkers on the future of their country, Africa, and the world.

"Transcultural affinity: thoughts on the emergent cosmopolitan imagination in South Africa."