OPINION

Raceballs 1

An occasional feature celebrating the wit & wisdom of the colour-blinded and racially obsessed

‘Fuck white people’ also formulates itself at the intersection of art, rage and performance. ‘Fuck white people’ is way of speaking of one’s experience of institutional, structural, and everyday racism. ‘Fuck white people’ is a highly aestheticised form of critiquing South Africa’s social ordering. “Fuck white people was clear,” says student activist Simakele Dlakavu. “Fuck whiteness; but fuck white people also. Why am I not allowed to say fuck you when you fuck me over every day? So fuck you.” - Lwandile Fikeni, Ruth First Memorial Lecture

The burning of university property is a grim acceptance of governance ruled by rights and recognition, sunk under the state’s description of what matters, what is counted as ‘morally legitimate’ politics, authentic protest, acceptable forms of resistance. But resistance contests these limits of respectability. In a war of defiance, resistance marks a union of forces that seeks to out-manoeuvre the policing of its legitimate parameters, that moves to negate its suppression. Anger forces itself to the surface. Will this rage be negated? This student resistance is a form of affirming presence in a space that excludes the lived black realities of many. – Oliver Meth, The Daily Vox

I didn’t care too much when students burned those paintings at the University of Cape Town, and I was jubilant when the statue of Cecil John Rhodes was pulled down. But in my mind, libraries are different — almost sacred. I was raised on the story that, no matter how busy he was, Lenin always found the time to return his library books. Since the incident, I have read both justifications and condemnations. I accept that the burning of the library was, in a way, a rational step. In the weeks of struggle leading up to the incident, the demands of the students were all but ignored by the public. Franny Rabkin, Business Day

The continuing denigration of African languages and exclusive valuing of English is evidence of apartheid's long shadow. It also points to the internalisation of colonial racism and the continuing power of whiteness. It's time to realise that access to English will not be achieved through English-only instruction. - Carolyn McKinney and Xolisa Guzula, The Conversation

While word has it that the instruction to video record us came from the Dean of Law (a whole womxn of colour!), we are klear that we will not be subjected to such white violence. The violent anthropologising of articulations of black pain without black people's consent is as old as settler colonial domination itself. We refuse to continue operating under the white gaze! – Rhodes Scholar Ntokozo Qwabe, Facebook

By their nature, universities reproduce past knowledge systems before they create new thoughts, meaning black students are not only usually taught by whites but taught White. To breathe, or to survive, under financial constraints and repeated cultural domination seems impossible, or at least only tolerable to pay back, pay forward, family investment. This is the country’s DNA, where dignity is a luxury, but how many generations will be able to accept the virus? - Greg Nicholson, The Daily Maverick

One of our biggest goals in the past year was to transform the M&G. It could no longer be perceived as a “white” paper. Beauregard and I were incredibly lucky to be given a blank slate thanks to many resignations before our time. We made it our goal when hiring and restructuring to prioritise not just black people and women but to hire people who thought about our country in a progressive way and were passionate about transformation themselves. We were able to dramatically change the racial make-up of the newsroom, particularly at top management level, which was previously predominantly white and is now over 60% black. – Verashni Pillay, Mail & Guardian

* With apologies to Private Eye.

Suggestions of items for inclusion in future editions to raceballs@politicsweb.co.za