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Menings | Opinion > SeminaarKamer | Seminar Room > English > Essays

Essays


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Victims and victors: winners and losers in a post-apartheid arts dispensation
Mike van Graan - 2011-12-05
Is Limpopo sucking the hind teat of arts funding in South Africa today? According to the NAC’s 2010 annual report, out of a total of 615 funded applications, Limpopo had only 33. Or maybe it was Mpumalanga with 16 projects. Or the Northern Cape, with only 3? Gauteng, the richest province in the country, had 291 projects funded – accounting for 40 percent of the total funding of R81 m. The six poorest provinces in the country between them received 20 percent of the total funding, half...

Legal opinion relating to the passing of the protection of state information bill
Melanie Schoeman - 2011-11-23
Untitled Document Aim of the Act This new controversial law has been proposed in order to protect the state against "espionage" and guard "national interests", but among other things it will have the effect of being able to gag the media. Opponents of the law dubbed it the "secrecy bill" due to the severe restrictions it places on the freedom of information and the excessive penalties it imposes upon those who infringe the law. The new draft sought to create a law that would allow any organ of...

In defence of lost causes: giving the devil his due
Abri de Swardt - 2011-11-01
Untitled Document Despite being at best a contested figure within the canon of contemporary South African sculpture, Dylan Lewis somehow manages to perpetually show his works in public. Abri de Swardt traverses exclusive golf courses, millionaire country estates and numerous botanical gardens, and most recently the Rooi Plein of Stellenbosch University, where he settles to probe the sizeable matter of public art within a student community, only to realise, much to his surprise, that...

Copying, circulating, concealing and contesting in Cape Town’s reading cultures
Archie Dick - 2011-10-13
Delivered at the Open Book Literary Festival as part of the session “Reading Cape Town - Who reads what and so what?” As an outcome of this boekjol the social movement Equal Education will hand over a fully stocked and functioning library to Matthew Goniwe High School in Khayelitsha. I’m a product of a Cape township high school and I remember that the library was kept under lock and key in the principal’s office, more for the benefit of reporting to the school inspector...

Understanding the Julius Malema phenomenon: A South African necessity
FM Lucky Mathebula - 2011-10-04
Untitled Document In one of his seminal speeches Martin Luther King Jnr warns society that “[I]n the end, we will remember not the words (or noises) of our enemies, but the silences of our friends.” The ascendance of Mr Julius Malema to what is arguably the most powerful position to be held by a young adult in South Africa has attracted noises and silences that only history will tell of their animosity or friendliness. Whatever the answer turns out to be, Mr Malema has entrenched himself...

The artist's reaction to traumatic events in society: How do societal traumata impact on, or even define, the works of artists?
Antjie Krog - 2011-09-22
Untitled Document Antjie Krog delivered the keynote address at the Goethe-Institut's Über(W)unden Art in Troubled Times conference which took place from 7–11 September 2011. Antjie Krog at the Über(W)unden Art in Troubled Times conference Photo: Delwyn Verasamy/2point8 I will look at three artworks: one by an artist who responded to a traumatic revelation before the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission; the second, a piece of sculpture made...

Remarks at the unveiling of the UDF Memorial, Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain
Allan Boesak - 2011-09-02
Remarks at the unveiling of the UDF Memorial, Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain 20 August 2011 This is a great historic moment, and we all owe the City and the province a great debt of gratitude. I come today with a reminder and a plea: a reminder of what happened then, and what is possible today; and a plea for what is needed today. Twenty-eight years ago, at this place, a movement was born that signalled the coming together of a people, the strength of single-minded determination, and...

The politics of televisual postmodernism: Colour TV as case study
Rohan Magerman - 2011-09-01
The SABC’s website has the following press release for their new variety show Colour TV. I quote onlycertain parts of it: Never before have the conditions been so ripe to introduce a show to South Africans that challenges a thought process and teases diplomacy so outrageously and SABC 2 is the perfect platform to launch this first-of-its-kind series to the world … The definition of who coloured people are has shifted from being a one dimensional take based on skin colour and race...

Decoding “the Boer” in the “Kill the Boer” song: a South African necessity
FM Lucky Mathebula - 2011-06-23
Untitled Document The terminological, conceptual and political breadth associated with the term Boer, as well as its multiple applications to mean different things to different people and political constituencies, has evoked scorn and praise from a broad spectrum of South Africans. Whilst these interpretations are its strengths, in historical terms, it has also grown to become its prominent socio-political liabilities, particularly given the historical truths characterising a pre-Mandela South Africa....

“Enough is enough” - or is it?
Grace Kim - 2011-04-28
A male newsreader speaks about the recent service delivery strikes in Ficksburg as groups of people fill the TV screen. The camera zooms in on a banner with the words: “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – WE WANT THE OFFICE KEYS NOW!!”. Seconds later, the camera moves to a shot of a bare-chested man surrounded by policemen in body shields and helmets. There’s a scuffle. As the camera pans out, it shows two, three, four, five, six, seven, perhaps more, police, surrounding him, striking...

To e-Book or not to e-Book
Janet van Eeden - 2011-04-26
Untitled Document I had four plane flights in 48 hours last week. To make good use of the time in transit I decided to plan a story based on one of Jane Austen’s heroines or villains. So I took my tattered copy of Pride and Prejudice along to while away the in-between hours and to get into the right linguistic state of mind. As I sat on the metal seats which are ubiquitous in boarding queues, I felt a need to be furtive when I took my yellowing paperback out of my bag. Alongside me people...

A language act for South Africa? The role of sociolinguistic principles in the analysis of language legislation
Theodorus du Plessis - 2010-11-11
Die Afrikaanse weergawe van hierdie artikel het eers in LitNet Akademies verskyn. Lees dit hier. A language act for South Africa? The role of sociolinguistic principles in the analysis of language legislation1 1. Introduction A central or national language act for South Africa is currently a topical issue, as a result of the summons that was served by an attorney from Brits, one Cornelus Lourens, on 14 August 2009, in an endeavour to enforce the promulgation of the South African Languages Bill...

Jan Rabie / Marjorie Wallace Lecture: Ground Zero – the South African literary landscape after apartheid
André P Brink - 2010-09-22
It is with particular pleasure that I am giving this Jan Rabie / Marjorie Wallace lecture today – for academic and professional reasons, but above all to say thank you to two people who for fifty years formed a very special part of my life. Each of them contributed in a unique way to the world of South Africa and decisively influenced my life. Marjorie through her painting, Jan through his writing. Marjorie with her joy of life, her frolicking on the colourful surface of a world below which...

The Google Book Settlement
Bertus Preller - 2010-09-15
“Was it ever reasonable to think that such a revolutionary, unprecedented pact, negotiated in secret over three years by people with loose claims of representation, concerning a wide range of stakeholders, both foreign and domestic, involving murky issues of copyright and the rapidly unfolding digital future, could be pushed through as a class action settlement within a period of months, in the teeth of a historic media industry transition?” (Andrew Albanese, Publishers’ Weekly) ...

Is an open constitutional democracy a threat to security, or rather political expedience?
Cobus Fourie - 2010-08-31
The current furore over the Protection of Information Bill and the Media Appeals Tribunal has fundamental and seemingly overlapping human rights issues at heart: the right to privacy and dignity coupled with the State’s interest in supposed national security and the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The apparatchiks and cadres at the ANC are quite indignant at what they claim the unscrupulous, paparazzi-esque harassment and stalking of esteemed members of parliament,...

Protection of the impimpi
Tessa Dowling - 2010-08-31
If I worked in a government office and got this lovely, juicy bit of information about some political shenanigan that I felt should be made public property, I would be tempted to publish it in isicamtho (tsotsitaal), or even just a non-standard variety of an African language. There is one thing about i-information in African languages (even the standard ones): iyahamba (it travels), iyatshintsha (it changes) and awuyazi ukuba ivela phi okanye i-meaning ithini kanye kanye (you don’t know where...

FIFA World Soccer Cup is here!
Jameson Maluleke - 2010-06-10
Time and again, we South Africans fail to transform our society into a great nation with its own passion and ambitions that surpass the American dream. Why do we keep on failing to do the obvious? Has somebody cast a spell on us? Is it a curse from the gods? Perhaps it is because we don’t listen to the advice of the knowledgeable, but insist on groping our way around like blind men. Well, we are not a bunch of failures or a lazy lot who await miracles and expect gifts. And we have neither...

Decorations with fancy, military ranks amidst high crime rates
Jameson Maluleke - 2010-05-28
What we did when we entered the new South Africa was permissible. It was permissible to decorate our prestigious democracy with the aid of whatever alterations we could find. It was permissible to change everything from the name of a one-year-old baby to the name of a dam so as to drift along with the roaring storm of the democratic revolution. But it is no longer permissible, in the light of what we know now, to change everything in the hope that we will get rid of apartheid from our mindset, partly...

Decorations with fancy, military ranks amidst high crime rate
Jameson Maluleke - 2010-05-25
What we did when we entered the new South Africa was permissible. It was permissible to decorate our prestigious democracy with the aid of whatever alterations we could find. It was permissible to change everything from the name of a one-year-old baby to the name of a dam so as to drift along with the roaring storm of the democratic revolution. But it is no longer permissible, in the light of what we know now, to change everything in the hope that we will get rid of apartheid from our mindset, partly...

Of passion and patriotism: one group’s quest for racial harmony and tolerance of others
Jameson Maluleke - 2010-03-17
Driven by the impulse of the ages and by the spirit of non-surrender, a group of twelve white compatriots have declared an all-out war on racial intolerance. Despite their beaming faces in one of the leading Sunday papers, members of the group expressed their concern about deep-seated racial hatred in our motherland. They formed the group because they are convinced that “in public discourse, the white voice is not strong enough in its stand against racism”. Despite their good intentions...

Dialoguing semantics: Sharing peanuts with fellow translators
Jameson Maluleke - 2010-02-17
Introduction In his brilliantly written contribution to LitNet's online seminar on literary translation, Russell H Kaschula bemoans “the lack of appropriate terminology or cultural/linguistic equivalents in the target language”, which he rightly claims to create “cultural/semantic gaps or blanks”. Semantic gaps or voids are defined in the paper as “[t]he non-existence in one language of a one-word equivalent for a designatory term found in another”. By way...

Afrikaans as a language of reconciliation, restitution and nation-building
Neville Alexander - 2009-10-06
Paper presented at the Roots-conference held at the University of the Western Cape, 22-23 September 2009 Prof Neville Alexander, Director of the National Language Project, PRAESA Introductory remarks It is by no means axiomatic that a language which has in at least two significant phases of our history been an apple of discord can under changed circumstances become a language of reconciliation and nation-building.[1] Yet it is as such that I wish to present the future of Afrikaans within the...

Experts of our time: in keeping with the ancient Greek occupation of sophistry and soothsaying
Jameson Maluleke - 2009-09-16
In recent years, our society has been overwhelmed by a mushrooming of "analysts" in every field of knowledge. As a result, the audience or the readership of the analysts’ message find it difficult to identify the more acceptable viewpoints from a maze of pronouncements. Their devotees call them by fancy names, like experts, opinion-makers, commentators or spokesmen and spokeswomen. You see and hear them speak on the television and radio. Then you may read their views in newspapers...

The triumph of liberalism over the forces of evil
Jameson Maluleke - 2009-08-17
Introduction It is a fact that almost all 48 million of South Africans subscribe to the liberal doctrine. Unfortunately some do it cautiously, as they think they might lose their social standing or even their jobs. Others are unaware that the social system they have adopted as their own is, in fact, liberalism. The abuse of democracy by ignorant and greedy despots in previously colonised countries is a typical instance of the unawareness in question. The reason behind the pandemonium is partly...

The patriarchy, the religious right and the threats to human rights
Cobus Fourie - 2009-08-07
In 1993 the 4 Non Blondes had a huge international hit with their song titled "What’s up?". Linda Perry, the vocalist and songwriter, sings in the first phrase, “I realised quickly when I knew I should that the world was made up of this brotherhood of man for whatever that means …” The song’s chorus further asks the pivotal question: "What’s going on?" The question is obviously rhetorical but is, moreover, a statement of discontent. ...

Un-freedom of speech in South Africa
Cobus Fourie - 2009-07-29
Americans often laud themselves on their Constitution and its over-glorified First Amendment. In essence the First Amendment is a free-for-all get-out-of-jail card which causes the country (and world by proxy) much harm. Bigots use it to incite hatred against their imaginary cultural war foes; they use it freely, without restraint and in the worst way possible. Lies, deceit, propaganda and defamation are virally spread through mass media with the fervour that you will not encounter in any...

The need for liberalism
Jameson Maluleke - 2009-07-22
Before I begin, allow me to make my own public confession. I am a liberal, not because I am "an Anglophile and a hater of my own", 1 but because liberalism is my opium. I am a liberal, not because I have been motivated by my own selfishness, but “because I can’t find it in me to call myself anything else". 2 I am a liberal because the spirit of Ubuntu and humanism are intertwined with my conscience to be a tolerant and a patriotic South African. I am a liberal, not...

Authenticity denied: the tale of a non-melanistic black youth – a reading of Langston Hughes's 'Passing'
Phil Ndlela - 2009-06-18
Freedom is tragic because it is conscious both of its necessity and of its boundaries. "I do not hope for victory", writes Kafka. "Struggle in itself is not blissful, except in the measure that it is the only thing that I can do … Perhaps I will finally surrender, not to the struggle, but to the joy of the struggle. – Carlos Fuentes In this paper I want to argue that the strategy adopted by the narrator in Hughes's epistolary piece "Passing" is fundamentally...

Towards promoting African languages in a multilingual context
Sandile Gxilishe - 2009-05-06
Abstract The article traces the history of marginalisation of African languages, including South African languages. It highlights some of the challenges facing attempts to develop African languages in respect of literature, language and linguistics. We further discuss the prevalent preference for English and other colonial languages as languages of communication and instruction by the present rulers of Africa. This is done to the neglect of African languages spoken in these countries. The paper,...

A history of saints and the lure of a presidential throne
Jameson Maluleke - 2009-03-26
When Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu handed over the national leadership to former President Nelson Mandela soon after the latter's release from a prolonged imprisonment in 1990, the whole nation was stunned. Nobody had ever imagined that the courageous cleric would decline an opportunity to serve the country as a cabinet minister, or a deputy president for that matter. Tutu had gone through hell and damnation at the hands of the oppressors during the struggle. The whole nation...

John Higgins and the pitfalls of underdetermination
Kelwyn Sole - 2009-03-26
(A response to John Higgins, "The sole measure of poetic value") My recent article on South African poetry to which John Higgins has responded had several levels of intention.1 Firstly, through a discussion of post-liberation State economic policy and its effects on civil society, it sought to show how the everyday life of many South Africans is still pervaded by a sense of lack that can be in part traced back to global neo-liberal policies and the present government’s implementation...

The State of Election Address: The Anatomy of the Presidential Address
Jameson Maluleke - 2009-02-25
Both President Kgalema Motlanthe and his minders must have been stunned to realise that his State of Election Address has generated a great deal of hopelessness and despair in almost all South Africans regardless of the phrase "a journey of hope and resilience" being one of the main themes. Rightly so – people are concerned about the insecurity, political instability, the effects of the global economic meltdown, and above all, they are worried about the reputation of the present...

People first: shortage of public toilets, the cholera epidemic and other stories
Jameson Maluleke - 2009-01-28
Most rural towns and some of those attaining city status, particularly in Limpopo, are developing at an alarming rate. Vast spaces of the meadowlands, once a paradise for grazing cattle, are now cluttered with high-rise buildings and motorways heaving with different makes of vehicles. Country shops whose owners were affectionately called general dealers have given way to big shopping malls where people shop until late hours of the evening. Despite all these new developments, despite being...

Fifteen years of (mis)education: High rate of matric failure and other stories
Jameson Maluleke - 2009-01-14
Abstract This paper seeks to reveal that our education system, for all its being an import and a prestigious system, is neither a sound nor a rewarding system. Fifteen years ago it was proclaimed as the flagship to transform the country’s old education system and to usher our school children into the birth of the new era. Sadly, the much acclaimed system does not only contaminate and corrupt the mind of our young ones, but is also instrumental in promoting abject poverty. The absence...

I speak of murder, rape, armed robbery and car hijackings …
Jameson Maluleke - 2008-12-19
As the global recession deepens its fangs into the South African economy, violent crimes will not only install transformation, but will create chaos and general instability as well. In the midst of the festive season, many of us innocent and defenceless South Africans feel threatened by bands of criminals prowling the neighbourhood condemning people’s lives to hell and damnation with impunity. Nobody can deny that our diligent policemen and policewomen spend sleepless nights trying to...

Africa's obsession with its famous son, Barack Obama
Jameson Maluleke - 2008-11-27
Introduction: Obamania One should be forgiven for thinking that Senator Barack Obama is Africa's president elect. The jubilation which swept across the entire African continent over Obama's recent election to the US presidency, virtually snatched him from the American people. Millions of Africans celebrated joyously across the continent in honour of their great son (of the soil). The rich were glued to the television to witness every bit of the historic election, while the have-nots beat...

The age of national conventions, new political formations and realignment: New challenges in nation-building
Jameson Maluleke - 2008-11-11
South Africa is currently passing through a period of uncertainty in which civil war or everlasting peace may result, depending on the ANC's adoption or rejection of the ANCYL president Julius Malema's battle cry, "Ready to kill for Zuma".1 This is the era which will go down in history like the one vividly captured and penned down by Dickens's literary genius: 2 It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,...

Not like a dog: A new reading of Lucy, a new reading of Disgrace
Dinie Schoorlemmer - 2008-04-17
Abstract This article focuses on Lucy Lurie, daughter of the main character David in JM Coetzee’s Disgrace. At first glance Lucy seems to accept the humiliation of a gang rape because it may be the price a white woman has to pay for staying on in post-apartheid South Africa. However, following the track of intertextuality with reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter (1850) and combining it with an analysis of Lucy’s focalisation from a gender point of view,...

A quest for a King Solomon in Polokwane: ANC 52nd national conference
Jameson Maluleke - 2007-12-14
The ANC is about to hold its 52nd national conference in Polokwane, yet leaders nominated as presidential candidates seem to have nothing to offer in terms of prophetic vision, insight and policy to guide the country to a prosperous future. People are subjected to the candidates' vacuous platitudes as they cast aspersions on one another, and the shout of "Umushini Wami" and other revolutionary slogans intended to gain political mileage. While parties do have their own policies, this does...

Poor Africa!
Jameson Maluleke - 2007-10-03
It is intriguing that nearly all analysts and commentators who are bold enough to tackle the titanic question, Why is Africa still poor?, have the same findings: slavery, colonisation, corruption by despotic leaders, civil wars, refugees, self-genocide, coups, terrorism, draught, starvation … the list is never ending. While I have no qualms about the veracity of the findings, in that they can be tested, the repetition, similarity and simplicity which characterise the findings belittle the...

Pride and prejudice – challenges in hugging the beloved country*
Jameson Maluleke - 2007-06-26
Introduction With the most radical Constitution (which compares only with that of France and the US) a romantic coat of arms, a colourful flag, and legendary leaders such as Madiba and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africans should be the most patriotic nation on earth. We South Africans should be proud of our velskoene, biltong, potjiekos, Mashangaan Wors and Mashangaan Mieliemeal. We should boast of our computers, micro-ovens and DVDs. We should be proud of our knobkerries and assegais, Bayete...

Nationalism and democracy
Ivor Chipkin - 2007-06-21
Ivor Chipkin spoke on his new book Do South Africans Exist? Nationalism, Democracy and the Identity of "the People" at the Cape Town Book Fair. The discussion took place on 18 June 2007, in Room 1.44 at 15:00. The talk was titled: Do South Africans Exist - Debate. This article formed part of the discussion. Click here for the article Suren Pillay presented at the event. In a recent opinion piece Christine Qunta slipped in a simple phrase that speaks volumes of the relationship between...

Remove Robert Mugabe: Appeal for a worldwide reading on September 9, 2007
Uli Schreiber Elinor Sisulu - 2007-06-13
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends The International Literature Festival Berlin is requesting authors to sign the appeal for a worldwide reading against Robert Mugabe - see our previous worldwide readings which took place on March 20th of 2006 and 2007 – the Anniversaries of the Political Lie - at www.peter-weiss-stiftung.de. The following have already signed: Edgardo Cozarinsky, Argentina; Ariel Dorfman, Chile; Ingrid de Kok, South Africa; Nuruddin Farah, Somalia/South Africa; Enrique Fierro,...

Of past events and passing shadows - Falsification and distortions of South African history
Jameson Maluleke - 2007-06-05
Introduction Explaining how Steve Biko identified the need for black South Africans to document the lives of fellow black South Africans in her moving autobiography, Ramphele (1995:67) bemoaned “the scarcity of black researchers and social scientists which made blacks vulnerable to becoming the objects of other people’s studies …” More than thirty years have passed since Ramphele lamented the lack of black historians in the 70s. This was the era when the repressive system...

Some of the challenges for Africa and countries of the South
Carl Niehaus - 2007-05-30
Friday 25th May was Africa Day. On this day every year we celebrate the birth of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25th May 1963. This article is an edited version of a lecture that I delivered at the Institute for Social Sciences in The Hague, The Netherlands. I send it to LitNet as my contribution to what I believe to be a critical debate that is necessary about the future and place of Africa as part of the “South” in our globalised world. I write this article as...

A Balancing Act1
Nèlleke de Jager - 2007-05-15
Years ago, I was working as an underling to Charles Fryer, for years a formidable fiction publisher in the Afrikaans book industry. The last book he edited was the original Afrikaans edition of Islands by Dan Sleigh, which was later translated into English by André Brink, and beautifully published by Secker & Warburg a couple of years later. In many ways Charles Fryer was the epitomy of old-style book publishing in this country. He was midwife, mother, father and bank manager...

On Freedom Day we celebrate ... and also remember the place of suffering we come from ...
Carl Niehaus - 2007-05-03
My friend Franz Marx told me the following story out of a bygone time in the history of our country. A time when, for a short while, the Republic of Lydenburg existed. This Republic was no more than a small town founded by the trekker leader Louis Trichardt, who called it Lydenburg (literally meaning “place of suffering”), because so many of his followers fell ill with malaria and died on their way there. On one of the farms of this rag-tag Boer Republic a love triangle played itself...

“Go hang!” or gang ho?
Carl Niehaus - 2007-04-26
I am not one of those who think that bashing President Robert Mugabe is the way to show how "progressive" you are. Fortunately I am just old enough to remember the excitement and pride so many of us felt when the freedom fighter Robert Mugabe took over from the repressive and racist minority regime of Ian Smith. I also remember with respect the tough and principled manner in which he negotiated the liberation of his country as compared with the shameful sell-out performances of the likes...

Why is crime in SA so violent?
Thembelani Ngenelwa - 2007-04-25
Crime is a global problem and is common to all societies, but South Africa stands out for all the wrong reasons. It is the violent nature of crime that makes the South African situation worse. There is a serious lack of regard for human life. The moral fibre has lost its meaning. What should be pointed out is that it affects both black and white, rich or poor, young and old. Violent crime is not really new in South Africa, especially in the townships. Criminals nowadays will kill you for no reason,...

Rehearsed postures of conviction
Sam Raditlhalo - 2007-04-06
I Now and again I come across an article that I read and reread, if only to understand why I am uneasy as I read it. Michael Titlestad's "The pitfalls of literary debut" (Sunday Times, 25 March 2007) reminds me of Fred Khumalo's "Free at last, but slow to fly" (Sunday Times, 21 August 2005). While coming from disparate positions, they essentially argue from a similar vantage point by implying that the relative success of post-apartheid black writing is deceptive. And...


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