Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Just stumbled across an article by Kwame Anthony Appiah on the Public conversations website, where he looks at Identity, Politics and the Archive. This type of contribution ties in with some recent posts on Beyond Identity where Ross Rayners raise some interesting issues and discussions, we often consider out of bounds.
It seems at least to me, that Appiah is presenting a strong argument, which see social identity as much more than the usual mixed race, or mixed culture arguments. But this is not the point that he is making. He is simply saying that national identity is ( and never was) a homogeneous state of being. He writes 'By and large people, do not live in mono-cultural, mono-religious, mono-lingual, nation states and, by and large, they never have.' He quotes Ernest Renan in defining a nation as a 'soul, a spiritual principle....' which consists of two things, namely, 'the common possession of a rich heritage of memories, whilst the other is a present agreement, a desire to live together, the willingness to continue to value the heritage that one has received, undivided.' The reality, Appiah continues later, is however that the past is not innocent. Its rooted in our choiced recollections (the archives), therefor the stories we tell to ourselves and our children. These stories are of course representing the one we still remember or want to remember and in the public sphere the choices of those in power, being told primarily, via the education system and national media. Hence his conclusion, that nationality or national identity then, our South African-ness is work in progress, as we delve into our archives, albeit colonial, to recollect and retell the stories of those also written out of history, but also as we commit to our construction of our future story together, an archive that remains to be written.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I heard her on radio as we were on our way back from holiday in Cape Town at the beginning of Jan 2008, telling her story of the First for woman Kilimanjaro project and we hoped to see anything in the media, to no avail. We commit to keep track of this amazing truly South African women, as she takes on the mountains of the world. We are right behind you Deshun!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
This is indeed a great challenge as on the one hand coloured communities are highly religious, yet also entangled in various pie in the sky churches. Spirituality is central to the develop communities.
Unasuming, coming on as a sub, he saved the day for us, as we were heading for another defeat on the soccerfield. Elrio van Heerden, hailing from the Eastern Cape, made Bafana's fans smile as he netted an impressive long range shot of 25m, late in the second half. The game against Angola, was to set the pace for our Afcon campaign, but also World cup 2010. The hope is that talent like van Heerden be given the chance to show their mettle, hopefully helping Bafana to survive the group of death (Group D), possibly bringing the cup home. This is a long shot, of course, but why can't we dream ? Go boys !
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
birthday of Bruindevelopment Forum-BDF. Of course, the conversations on
Bruindevelopment comes a long way, and will continue after BDF. Thanks
to all the visitors and those that left comments and sent emails. I
however, cannot remember the exact date of our first post, but know that
it started somewhere in January 2007. ( It shouldn't be too difficult to
look this up in the archives). Anyway, the story of BDF started in an
informal conversation, on the question what and how are we to respond to
the plight of bruin communities, progresively and positively, but also
without the usual racist undertones or crude ethnic nationalism that
sometimes undergird, political processes, like voting and party
formation. This is not the agenda of BDF. Starting with the blog,
hesitantly and without a clue or background of webdesign, journalism or
serious writing, was a risk. We do it hesitantly for a second reason: we
need to bear in mind that some would argue that this conversation is
irrelevant or even an embarrasing relic of the past. Afterall, we want
to move on in the rainbow-nation, or on the other hand maintain our
struggle identity and credentials, in the new South Africa ( or even new
This is however not the full picture of our current reality. Race
categories of Coloured, white, Indian, African, are still with us,
officially. We've also refered to the reality that more and more young
professional and connnected people would describe themselves as loudly
and proudly as Coloured, struggling with the older generation of
comrades and activists, who (still) call themselves black. So, what are
we to do with this? Should we deny, or write it away or simply omit it,
consciously- this upsurge of consciousness ? The book edited by Zimitri
Erasmus, Coloured by History, shaped by place, helped us to find some
theoretical framework for our conversation. This book, based on a
conference, held in the late 1990's, at the UCT aimed to deal with this
question, whilst aiming to get beyond populist and superficial
explanations of coloured identity formation. The one explanation namely
of defining Coloured people as mixed has been shown to reify the
colonial myth of pure races. Like Erasmus and others, we argue for the
salience of cultural creativity and hybridity, shaped by the social
context. South Africa's new context, as refered to earlier, shapes new
identities, which selectively appropriate a wide array of cultural,
spiritual, ethnic, georgraphical resources, in order to shape. identity
in a postcolonial context, a context of global capital, and flows of
information and cultural goods. In sense, for all of us, an expreience
of diaspora, of exile challenge all to re-imagine new identities, as the
basis for development and social transformation. In this respect,
Manuel Castell's analysis of the Network society and the Power of
Identity is relevant, as it helps to provide a lense to be able to read
our current context and the processes of identity formation.
In coming back to Bruindevelopment forum, we aim to provide space for
conversations that transcend racist ideology, by grapple seriously with
a postcolonial context. In this respect, we want to keep on reflecting
on the role of media, popular culture as well as other cultural
indistries, aiming at stimulating some interesting conversation, or at
least, alternative perspectives and stories, specifically then, from the
Bruin perspective then. We would want to network with others on this
conversation, talking, debating and telling stories, thus building
community. Of course, we cannot be everything to everybody and certainly
we cannot provide for the needs of all in this space. In this respect we
would be quite willing to refer and link this small conversation to
other links. May this year be a time of some wonderful conversation and
we invite even those who would disagree, with the aim at honestly
dealing with our very complex context.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Greyling plaas tereg die aanstelling binne die konteks van die land se Grondwet, en verwys later na 'regstellende aksie' en 'transformasie'. Hy is van mening dat transformasie (asook 'regstellende aksie' ?) 'n kode woord is vir 'nie-wit', wat dan iets verklap van die reaksie elke keer as hierdie woorde in 'n gesprek kom.. Sy argument is egter ten diepste gegrond op 'n storie waar hy sy wit bevooregting, onder apartheid erken maar terselfdertyd sy skuld daaraan ontken after all: Dit was nou eenvoudig die konteks- en so meen hy, het hy nie 'n sê gehad of 'n keuse daarin gehad nie. Dit was genade onverdiend. Hy vertel: 'Dit was onvermydelik dat ek destyds in die ras-bevoorregte wit skool sou wees. Dit was die konteks van die tyd. Dit was nie my skuld nie, maar dit was 'n werklikheid-'n onregverdige, rasgegronde werklikheid.' Hieroor het hy, volgens hom nie 'n keuse gehad nie- 'n keuse na die ander kant sou tewens 'mal' en 'dom' wees en hy sou oor die keuse, les bes 'in die tronk beland het'.
Die probleem met hierdie denkwyse, Ferdi, is dat jy wel 'n keuse gehad het en dat jy/julle gekies (gestem) het vir die onregverdige, rasgegronde werklikheid en daarom bevoorregting. Mense soos de Villiers het nie 'n keuse gehad het nie en moes agter die sinkplate en op die 'gravel' velde oefen en speel. Hulle was aan die ander kant, nee, die onderkant van die bevoorregting, terwyl mense soos White, Erasmus en die ander wit afrigters, soos wat jy hulle noem, inderdaad onregverdig bevoordeel is. Hulle kon die belastingsgeld en aandag van apartheid in ervaring en 'bewese sukses' sukses omskep. Dit is die verlede en baie sou wou hê dat ons dit daar laat. Dit kan egter nie. Dit is dan juis die Grondwet wat hierdie verlede as vertrekpunt en verwysingsraamwerk het waarbinne ons vandag leef en werk, moet die doel om hierdie ongelykhede reg te stel. Ons lees die eerste drie sinne in die Preamble:
'We, the people of South Africa,
Recognise the injustices of our past;
Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land.'
Maar meer nog, die skeefgetrekte werklikheid het nie in 1994 skielik verdwyn nie en dit is hier waar regstellende aksie en transformasie inpas. Die vraag is hier hoe dit reggemaak word daar waar ons werklikheid nog steeds skeefgetrek staan vanuit hierdie verlede.
Miskien is die hele argument bietjie uitverband geruk, want die feit is toe hulle (die 'beste' afrigters in ons land dan) die kans gehad het om aansoek te doen, toe het hul keuse (demokratiese reg) uitgeoefen om nie aansoek te doen nie.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The matter between the community members of Delft on the one hand and Thubelisha Homes and the provincial government on the other hand has been postponed again. The Burger reports that the frustration of members of the community is rising.
The challenge of housing relates to many other social challenges that we face in our communities and the manner in which this case is handled hopefully don't indicate the priority that housing has amongst our political leadership. Lack of housing and overcrowding exacerbate the drug scourge, HIV/AIDS and the shocking conditions under which our young people have to study. By living in the 'yard' and on 'flats' impacts on their self-image and dignity- this situation is the festering sore on which gangsters and other predators thrive.
Another concern should be the danger that power hungry, politicians would want to milk this cow for political gain. This case will be followed closely as it would give indication of where the ongoing battle between homeless communities and the political and economic elites of the day stands. The court need to speed up the process so that poor and homeless communities know where they stand ( or sleep)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
This is certainly no walk in the park, but inevitable and unavoidable, as the image of our 'dieners' are in tatters. In local communities we are terrorised by druglords, who pay off cops with a drink at the 'smokkelhuis' down the road, law abiding aunties laugh at you when you call the station. They've learnt that the 'van' will come a few hours later (if ever!) and many times with the cops inebriated. How can these clowns be respected?
Of course this is a long term process, touching many levels of the system, but as a start Comm Williams should talk to the communities, denouncing corruption and ill-discipline, he should lift the embargo on crime statistics and invite and implement independant research into trends and international benchmarks. Pull in the ex-cops and soldiers, if need be. This is your time now, chief, take command of your troups and win this war...one of our most important, if not the most important.
Of course, it is impossible to answer this question in the space of a few lines on a blog. But lets at least start to problematise matters as another contribution to this difficult debate. The notion of 'black consciousness', relates to the work of the Black Consciousness movement (BCM) in the late 60's and early 70's, under the inspirational leadership of Steve Bantu Biko ( I write what I like). He argued that the white colonial masters were dividing the oppressed, under the terms 'Africans', 'coloureds' and 'Indians', giving different levels of priviledge to them, thus dividing them. These racial groups were called the non-whites, or non-Europeans. It is in this racist context, of being a non-entity, where whiteness was equated to purity and blackness to evil, that Biko advocated an affirmation of the inherent beauty and power of a collective consciousness, black consciousness. Some of us, who remember the 1976 riots, would recall the emotional energy behind the slogan, 'Black Power'. Being in primary school in Paarl, during this time, this rallying call, united Africans, Coloured and Indians alike, in the revolt against all the machinery and instruments of white power, with the ultimate aim a more human face to us all, not black and white. In the 80's we then see a revival of the notion of non-racialism, broadly under the inspiration of the Freedom Charter, organized under the United Democratic Front (UDF). The new rallying call was simply Amandla (power) with the response Ahwetu (loosely to mean 'to the people'). During this period, activists and politically conscious people, amongst the African, Indian and coloured groups, would continue to call themselves 'black' or simply 'comrades'. This remained until today, especially amongst the older generation of our communities, who were not only active the struggle, but also others who were simply politically conscious. it remained a positive affirmation of collective political consciousness.
In the new South Africa, things however changed. The leaders and activists of the UDF and later, the mass democratic movement of the late 80s, early nineties had to make way for the 'exiles', who took over the leadership, because so it was understood, they 'suffered and struggled more'. Former black comrades, now discovered that they did not suffer enough and back came the notions of African, coloured and Indian in the nomenclature of officialdom, still under the broad rubric of 'black', but now facing new challenges, elites and political configurations. Also, newer generations, born after official apartheid, re-invented new meanings of the notion of colouredness, but also blackness and so forth, a process that is evolving and affirming the identity in seemingly positive and not mutually exclusive ways. Being Indian, Coloured or whatever is not an affirmation of being against whoever or not affirming the historical place of black consciousness challenging whiteness. This is the postcolonial fluidity of hybrid identities, that are emerging in the face of new challenges in late modernity, as it also unfolds in Southern Africa. It seems that over against the prevalence (still) of whiteness (irrespective of the demise of the National Party) in media and economy as well as the arts, blackness still has to be affirmed, keeping in mind the complexity of identityformation in the postcolony, so that we all (irrespective of the identities we hold dear) can attain a new consciousness. This might sound like semantic confusion, and maybe it is, given the rapid transformations we face and the need, maybe for new language and meaning. But we cannot escape the difficult task of grappling with what ever we inherited, in order to overcome the contradictions in it. It is only through this struggle, that we can come to a place where we bestow upon the whole South Africa and the world this gift of a human face (Biko).
Monday, January 14, 2008
SARU need to jack up the processes around the coach, which include the public relations, player management and renumeration and more importantly, it is only hoped that SARU will make it possible for the overseas-based players to be able to play for the national team. This will of course, put the ball in their court to decide whether they will play under a coach, who is not white.
Be that as is may, it is obvious that De Villiers has good rapport and respect amongst the players he coached to become the world champs at junior level and he will just have to build on this foundation. The skepticism, virulent critique and downright hogwash, from some quarters, will have to be dealt with primarily by performance and success on the field. Constructive critique need to be taken and weighed, but the buck (Bok) will stop with him, and his decisions will have to be respected. Should he fail to perform according to his mandate, then he should be replaced, which is nothing new to Bok coaches. What we however would ask from him then would be to own up to his failures, as we sure would think, he would for his victories.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
All three of these candidates have achieved a lot since our re-admission to the world stage. As national coach, maybe Chester is maybe the odd-man-out, as his coaching experience is certainly not enough. Allister, was not very prominent in the 2007 World cup campaign and it seems as if Eddie Jones overshadowed him and some would say, 'bailed him out' at the end in terms of the impact of our backline. He did not impress as a key member of Jakes staff, sorry and that leave us with de Villiers, who certainly had his fair share of glory. If we put him up against Heyneke Meyer, it might however seem as if Meyer has the upper hand.
Apparently the 'players union' (SARPA), brought out their 'vote'. They, of course, are not part of the panel and certainly cannot be the eventual employer of their coach. If their voice is something to go by then it seems as if it will be Heyneke Meyer. It makes sense as Meyer has a truckload of credibility as a coach of the Super 14 winners, the Bulls. Be that as it may, the question is however should another white (no pun intended !)person take the team to the next World Cup at the expense of upcoming coaches of colour ? The appointment of de Villiers, will certainly open up the game as he is a firm and outspoken advocate for transformation. His track record shows, more than Meyer, that transformation and winning are not ad odds with each other and that particular skills are needed to 'get the mix' right. Being respected at the grassroots, but also amongst the juniors of a few years ago, his appointment will certainly send the right message to the townships, to Bruin and Black communities and budding talent, which certainly will effect the growth of the game. On the other hand, we also need to send out a message that breaks the apartheid myth, namely that people always only look after our own, at the expense op common sense and reality.
It seems as if the best way would be think in terms of and to go for a combination, which draw out the strengths from two candidates. Allister, in a sense, had his chance, but he has strong support from Jake White and also much needed experience on international level. His appointment (again) as support coach or even head coach will however be a surprise. Chester, with all due respect to him, is out of the equation. The appointment of Meyer, with de Villiers, as assistant will put two strong bulls (not Blue Bulls!) in one kraal, which will be an interesting dynamic. This would not come as a surprise and if we should have any reservations, then it would be the question of continuity. But then, de Villiers knows the juniors, who are and will be coming through the ranks for at least, the next 2-3 years and Meyer, knows the real Bulls, which seem to be currently the backbone of the Bokteam. Whichever way the announcement of Oregan Hoskins goes, it should be an interesting period for South African rugby.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
I am familiar with the fact that even the word 'coon' is offensive and relates to the practice from the time of slavery (also in other parts of the world) to 'entertain' whites with typical antics and the reinforcement of warped caricatures of slaves and people of colour. Back in the days, '2de nuwejaar' is the time for the marches and the frolics that goes along with that. As we have moved up the social scale, it became an embarrassment- a reminder of working class life, under apartheid, colonialism (or even slavery). Another interpretation suggest that underneath this, was a subversion of the then dominant colonial culture. Irrespective of our interpretations and serious (?) preservations, this art form (!) is seemingly thriving. It's a weird experience when you hear in 2007 that your teenage cousin from Bonteheuwel, who just passed matric, is part of a troup and more-so that more and more youngsters and girls are involved-when the old is remixed with new hip-hop dances and styles; when close to 80 000 people/ fans line up the streets of Cape Town waiting to 3 hours for the procession to start. It's a thrill to watch young artists like Loukmaan Adams, Mono Dullisear, Terry Hector, Allistar Isobell, Tarryn Lamb, Carmen Maarman and Bronwyn Reddy celebrate/perform David Kramer and Talliep Petersen songs like 'Klop-klop' Ghoema/New Year', etc, in the Baxter theater with packed audiences from all walks of life. It is then maybe more accurate to suggest that we still create and re-create new expressions of who we are and also how we fit into the bigger picture. In this process we selectively appropriate elements from our collective history, biographies, but also new technologies and bits and pieces of current pop culture and form the collective identities that shape us unconsciously, yet profoundly. In this way we strive to stand up to the real social challenges of today.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
- Kwame Anthony Appiah on Identity, politics and the...
- Deshun Deysel's latest achievement
- Prof Nico Botha speaks on hope
- Elrio van Heerden saved the day for Bafana, South ...
- Celebrating one year !
- Brian Habana gelok na Frankryk met miljoene
- De Villiers kry werk in konteks van ras-diskrimin...
- Robert Pierce is at it again...
- People in Delft still waiting for court on housing...
- Tim Williams acting topcop, need to act now
- black or coloured ?
- Reactions to the appointment of De Villiers, no su...
- Another Bennie McCarthy...?
- Facebook Coloured groups exploding, why ?
- Congrats to Pieter De Villiers, new Bok coach
- Steven Pienaar, not another Bennie McCarthy ?
- Springbok coach to be announced.
- 'Klopse' -carnival in the Cape- 2 January..
- On Gibbs, Norman Arendse and Mickey Arthur
- the old and the new
- ▼ Jan 2008 (20)