Archive for May, 2008

Crisis…What Crisis?

May 26, 2008

Focus on Xenophobia
Crisis…what crisis?
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?



Editorial: What Now?

May 26, 2008

What now?
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.


Reflections of a Zimbabwean student

May 26, 2008

Xenophobia in South Africa

The musings of a Zimbabwean postgraduate student at UKZN
by Eslidha Chimedza

The past two weeks, and God knows until when, in South Africa, have been hell for anyone who is not of this land; the so called ”foreigner”. The attacks on foreign nationals has left us turning our heads, looking over our shoulders every few meters, switching off our cell phones in public, in fear of being heard conversing in an unrecognized language. My own language has become taboo in fear of being victimized for not being South African, except when I am in the company of fellow country mates.

Foreigners in South Africa are living the ”witchcraft era” once again, accused of grabbing jobs, benefiting from housing projects meant for locals and the most unforgivable sin as highlighted by e-news, is ”taking our women”. I wonder if ‘apartheid’ is turning in its grave, happy witness to the current chaos. How on earth is burning another man alive, beating people to death, raping women and torturing people with pangas, knobkerries, knives, stones, guns and any object liable to be a weapon, the best way to deal with problems. I will live to retell the fear that I felt and saw, written on the faces of fellow foreign students, as we took all of this in each and everyday from the television, newspapers and internet. Each night, we huddle together in the TV room to see this happening to people like us, wondering when it will be our turn.


Is Government nurturing Xenophobia?

May 26, 2008

Focus on Xenophobia
Is Government nurturing xenophobia?
by Steven Gordon

The recent wave of extreme xenophobic violence only serves to highlight a trend that has been developing within South Africa since the dawn of our celebrated democracy. For over a decade, state officials, law enforcement personnel and ordinary citizens have participated in abuses, frequently violent abuses, against foreigners. These abuses were, more often than not, sanctioned or at least ignored by the legitimate guardians of constitutional law.

Xenophobia, in South Africa, is not based on conflicting ethnicities but rather on the position of the immigrant before the law and lawmaking bodies. This moves beyond the law’s failed promise to protect immigrants and rests with the treatment of foreigners in the eyes of the law.


South Africa Safe from Scrutiny

May 26, 2008

Focus on Xenophobia
South Africa
remains safe from serious scrutiny
by Azad Essa

Media coverage on international news networks, like BBC and Sky, have had a field day broadcasting shocking images of recent events in South Africa: foreigners set alight, newly orphaned children clutching the hands of stranger’s and angry violent mobs ruling the streets of our business capital, Johannesburg. Likewise, our local press has expressed outrage, with dailies publishing very disturbing photographs on their front pages, both in protest and to cash in on the unfolding drama.

These are Africans being maimed and killed. While it signals a humanitarian crisis, it does not warrant a potent response from the developed world, as attacks on American or English citizens would generate. Until and unless it is in the interest of strong International powers to intervene and pressure the South African government to cipher solutions for the number of mitigating factors that have contributed to this tragedy, South Africa remains safe from serious scrutiny.

SA: A Land of Refuge?

May 26, 2008

SA: a land of refuge?
Joly Lutakwa

Having witnessed the impact of similar attacks toward people who are different from ”Us”, in countries like Rwanda, Somalia and the DRC, I feel extreme concern about the fact that people are being attacked without a real or defendable cause, other than being (perceived as) different. We would never have imagined that black South Africans, after years of apartheid and experiencing what it meant to be treated differently, would fail to tolerate these unfortunate fellow Africans seeking safety within their borders. What is the point of being able to say that South Africa has acted in a praiseworthy way during the last war of apartheid, if we have nothing positive to say about what has been done in the current one?


People, Energy, Food, Environment: The Crisis of Ideas

May 15, 2008


People, Energy, Food, Environment: The Crisis of Ideas

     by Noel Chellan

 Historically defined progress encapsulated in quantifiable indicators, the dominant of which is the Gross National Product, has to be debunked in the face of the energy crisis, the food crisis, the environmental crisis, the unemployment crisis, the safety and security crisis and the many other unwarranted crises that seem to overflow from the womb of capitalist development. Actually, the crisis that we are burdened with, is a crisis of ideas, in so far as it is these ideas that define and inform how people, energy, food and the environment intersect with each other.

Noel Chellan is a lecturer at the School of Sociology & Social Sciences.

2010: Trading on an uneven playing field

May 15, 2008


2010: Trading on an uneven playing field

    by Quraisha Daya


Margaret Ntuli* could not make enough money today, to afford transport home. As a street trader at Durban’s beachfront selling handmade crafts and curios, business is often so dismal, that many of her nights are spent sleeping on the callous asphalt in fear of patrolling policemen who have chased her away many times before. While the country eagerly awaits the 2010 World Cup and an escalation in revenue due to the anticipated boom in tourism, Margaret Ntuli is not as enthusiastic about the event, ‘I don’t think I will benefit from the world cup,’ she says, ‘everyone just bypasses us – it is only the big businesses that will make money.’


Worker’s Labour Matters

May 15, 2008


Workers’ Labour Matters

     by Patrick Craven


Patrick Craven is the National Spokesperson of COSATU. This is his address at the IOLS-Research/CCS Workers Festival at UKZN on May 7 2008



Exploitation from Below: Tutoring at UKZN

May 15, 2008

Right to respond

Exploitation from below?

Tutoring in the School of Sociology at UKZN-Howard College.

By Yajiv Haripersad


A recent restructuring of the tutorship programme within the School of Social Sciences has resulted in the restriction of the number of hours that post-graduate students are allowed to work as tutors. In addition, budget cuts have meant a decrease in tutors’ wages.