by Azad Essa
The barbaric violence, including the intimidation and killings that silenced the ho hum of the rainbow nation for the past three weeks has finally subsided.Ordinary South Africans, after witnessing the bloodshed sprayed all over their newspapers and television screens, appear to have returned to the daily drama of their own lives. Of course, the mass rioting might have stopped, but isolated incidents continue to reverberate sporadically across the country.
It is rather the South African government’s feeble approach to finding caring solutions to this and other crises that force one to question government commitment.
But even government inaction can’t hold out for so long.
You can bet your bottom Zim dollar that government will respond eventually. A xenophobia related conference will be arranged, a set of international rock stars will fly over for a Madiba-inspired concert, mass t-shirts and other such memorabilia will be sold. And if we really lucky, we might even get another public holiday.
Azad Essa is a journalist and researcher based at IOLS-Research
Published by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin,
November, 2007, 724 pages, U.K, £25 .00, India, 795Rs.Reviewed by Wajahat Ahmad
‘I know the regime will try to suppress the truth by all possible means; I know that there will be a conspiracy to bury me in oblivion. But my voice will not be stifled -it will rise from my breast even when I feel most alone, and my heart will give it all the fire that callous cowards deny ?Condemn me, It does not matter. History will absolve me.’
Fidel Castro, 1953
Focus: Xenophobia in South Africa
Reasons for the impeding crisis
By Patrick Craven
The recent shocking spate of murderous attacks on foreign residents has rightly dominated both the media and the academic world. IOLS Research has already made an important contribution to the debate around the causes of this outbreak of violence.
What is becoming clear is that there is no consensus on the underlying reasons for the problem and the debate will doubtless continue. I would like to focus on one particular attempt to identify the reasons – an article on 30 May 2008 in Independent Newspapers by veteran journalist Allister Sparks. He puts the blame on the interaction of two failed government policies – one caused by the old ANC leadership and the other, as
he puts it, at least partially by the new.
NOCWAL: supporting postgraduate research
by Yajiv Haripersad and Sabeeha Maithir
University education is characterized by a reputation for developing critical thinkers. This is especially so in the Faculty of Humanities, Development and Social Sciences. However the gap between developing an analytical mind on a learner level, guided by teachers or supervisors within the relevant higher education institutions and writing independently is one that remains under-developed. Postgraduate learners rarely express individual (or collective) research interest through independent initiative research papers or the like. Reason for this being, that there is no formalized space dedicated to the stimulation of postgraduate research through which postgraduate learners can express their interest in research.
Furthermore upon reaching a postgraduate level and thereafter exiting university, a learner is armed with the necessary rules and taught methodologies but without an avenue through which to channel this knowledge and interest in research. University education is often criticized for not providing for the practical training of the learner, a need that other tertiary institutions such as those aligned towards more vocational training and education provide for. There is thus an opportunity for the creation of a formal structure within public higher education institutions that provides for the experiential training needs of postgraduate learners.
The plight of tutors at UKZN: who is the real culprit?
by Percy Ngonyama
As tutors engage in rigorous debate about the super exploitation of their cheap labour, they should be wary not to succumb to ‘divide and rule’?the boss’s very effective dirty strategy? blaming fellow victims. Getting up and standing up for their labour rights are long overdue for tutors at UKZN.
The prospect of withholding of labour power should be seriously looked into.
As our experience, past and present, will tell us, sometimes, this is the only language bureaucrats understand.
Percy Ngonyama is a MA student and a Tutor in the Department of Historical and
Focus: Xenophobia in South Africa
Nothing more than an inferiority complex.
by Phumlani Zulu
To me xenophobia is nothing.
It’s just another form of inferiority complex leading to frustration, driving people to misdirect their anger. This is a wake up call for all of us in South Africa. Today we are chasing our brothers and tomorrow we will fight against one another as South Africans and I wonder when we are going to stop. We need our African fellows and they also need us. From now on, all concerned South Africans should heed a call of fighting side by side against xenophobic elements. It is now the time for all South Africans to stand up like never before and fight xenophobia.
Focus on Xenophobia
by David Bullard
Before I got axed from the Sunday Times I wrote a couple of columns commenting on President Mbeki’s rather dismissive attitude towards Zimbabwean immigrants. He once made a remark along the lines of ”they are here so get used to it”. I argued that we owed Zimbabweans fleeing from a despotic regime rather more than that. Unless they were absorbed into society, given identity documents and their talents utilized we were in for big trouble.
Governments don’t like to be told what to do by journalists and that’s partly why I am no longer writing for the Sunday Times I suspect and why I am unable to find employment with any other newspaper.
I take no delight in being proven right over these past two weeks. The mayhem in the informal settlements is reminiscent of the 1980’s with the difference that in the 1980’s people were fighting for their freedom. That still didn’t excuse the necklacings and the kangaroo courts set up to decide if somebody was guilty of being a ”traitor”. Today’s situation is altogether more frightening and irrational.
Or is it?
by Aisha Lorgat
Now we have all seen it, here and abroad, emblazoned like a shameful scarlet letter in media images and news feeds that are strikingly similar to the beginnings of the Rwandan genocide. Horrifying images of necklacing, the punishment meted out in township justice during apartheid that everyone, we certainly, assumed had no place in the new South Africa, return to haunt our collective consciousness again. The crime this time however, was not being an informant or askari, but that the man burning to appease the blood lust of the mob had committed the truly despicable crime of being born north of the Limpopo.
All of us in South Africa need to decide if we are indeed ‘African’ at all. The fractured schizophrenic identity games we play with ourselves and others are becoming extremely damaging. If South Africa is indeed part of Africa then we need to commit ourselves to the continent, not just in trite statements, and not in a patronising ‘big-brother’ way. Instead we need to recognise that we all on this bright continent are linked to each other integrally; that the umbilical cord to the heart of our Africanness may be damaged but that it can never be severed without killing us in the process.