Bus to Swaziland. Photo: Melissa Wrapp
Participants in last year’s “Archives of the Non-racial” mobile workshop through South Africa and Swaziland were asked to submit fragments of our notebooks – doodles, notes, reflections, poems, coffee stains. These have been gathered in the JWTC’s online journal, The Salon.
Check out all the loveliness here. This is my bit.
Solidarity and the non-racial (Political struggle 1)
“I’m not going into definitions with academics. Making resolutions and policy is one thing. These things evolve.” Ahmed Kathrada
He made it sound too easy! As if he, Sisulu, Mandela and the others had just sailed into a non-racial ANC. Building on the Congress Movement, it was they who made it such through their lived work. Brought to life with integrity, discipline, trust, humour, love. Practicing (non-racial) freedom, dignity and equality here and now, continually. And of course having a shared radical political project: not non-racialism for its own sake but as a method of struggle for national liberation. These things evolve. Continue reading
Posted in philosophy as emancipation
Tagged Achille Mbembe, Akbar Abbas, Ghassan Hage, JWTC2014, Kathrada, Levinas, non-racial, racism, Ruha Benjamin, Siba Grovogui, Twelve Years a Slave, Walter Sisulu, whiteness, Wopko Jensma
Talk about racism moves like a veld fire. It flares up, is spread by strong winds, then hunkers down until the next spark ignites. It would be best to stop feeding it, but mostly we keep on producing more wind. Why?
It feels like intransigence, as if people have dug in their heels, refusing to yield unless the other side meets some impossible demand. A deadlock. Couldn’t that indicate a secret longing for something alive, and open? Something unconditional, something that could surrender itself without shame. Something fearless. Something like love, or ubuntu, although these words grow more unusable by the day.
This intransigence locks us inside our skins (our culture, our side), like they were our very essence. In some sense, of course they are. But if this is the only truth, or the highest truth, then we have nothing ahead of us but the endless war of all against all.
We try to manage these conflicts of interest, but that only damps the fire down. It doesn’t bring peace. What is needed is a counter-logic, another understanding of our humanness. Continue reading