15th May2017

Goodbye for Now

by admin

Hi everyone,

This week is our last edition for the semester and our talented team have written amazing articles for you to enjoy. Stephanie Schaffrath, inspired by the five lion fugitives in Nelspruit, has written a lighthearted piece discussing misguided stereotypes of Africa. Thabisile Miya has a list of South African YouTube vloggers that we all need to check out- because as they say, local truly is lekker. We have also included Sandiswa Tshabalala’s Response to “The Millenial Question” which won the Wits Mail & Guardian writing competition. The recent murder in Coligny,North West has inspired Jabulile Mbatha to write a piece decrying the presence of anti-black racism in post-apartheid South Africa. Finally, Veli Mnisi reflects on how #MenAreTrash demonstrates the violence of heteronormative, hegemonic masculine norms.

We hope that you enjoy this edition and good luck to everyone writing exams during this exam period.

Until next semester.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Tech Savvy

15th May2017

Trash Talk

by admin

front

Men are trash. This is a maxim adopted by self-proclaimed radical feminists who wish to express their disdain for the status quo. A status quo in which not only do men accrue benefits such as higher pay, more career opportunities, and positions of power in society, but also are able to live their lives without fear of experiencing violence of a verbal, physical, sexual nature because of their being considered the ‘weaker sex’.  Additionally, men might be called trash because they aren’t necessarily willing to work towards changing things and enabling a more equal society (because how do you begin working against a system which benefits you?)

Moreover, arguably the trashiest of the lot might be the crowd that floods the internet, discourse, social media and really any public space to defensively declare that “not all men are trash. You are generalising, and cannot attribute the behaviour of a select few to everyone”, as if they haven’t made contributions towards the objectification of women and/or consume media that maintains that very same mandate. But it’s fine. This might qualify them as trash because instead of engaging with the actual discussion at hand, the conversation is taken and made about men and how they’ve begun to experience discrimination themselves. I might even consider myself trash. I stand to gain from the benefits of patriarchy, and while I understand and attempt to empathise with the plight of women everywhere and appreciate the need for change and serious discussions, I am unlikely to actually use my agency to change anything or even forfeit my societal privileges because I am quite removed from the situations that women find themselves in.

However, I identify with a different kind of struggle.

Society’s perceived hatred of women can be linked to the fragility of masculinity, and masculinity’s need to maintain its hegemony because that’s just the way things are. Anything that is seen to deviate from masculinity is considered abhorrent and inherently less. These attitudes play out in a number of different ways. Homophobia, could be related to the need to maintain heteronormativity, which essentially empowers masculinity because in a “traditional” heterosexual relationship, men are seen as being dominant. The Bible (and John Milton’s Paradise Lost) even say so.

We must concede that it is possible for women to benefit from heteronormativity, should they identify as heterosexual, in a way that men and women who don’t, would not. Heteronormativity occupies hegemony in society, which seems to be arguably why we wouldn’t generally hear of such a thing as homonormativity. When you do hear of homonormativity, it is in relation to how homosexuality aligns itself to the ideals and constructs of heterosexuality, such as marriage, monogamy and procreation. This alignment implies that that there is a normal, but it isn’t homosexuality, and there are women who can find themselves within heteronormativity and find privileges that their queer counterparts would not. This is not to suggest that women’s issues are not as pressing and imperative as queer issues, however, intersectionality dictates that we be inclusive and genuine in relation to identity politics.

To have this authentic, genuine debate, a few concessions must be made:

It is possible that women can occupy certain hegemonic roles that are exclusive towards certain other lived experiences. White women, for instance, have certain privileges. As do heterosexual women, when compared to queer bodies, perhaps on the basis of religion. Interestingly, religion tends to relegate women to certain unfavourable roles in society. We must also discuss the amount of cultural appropriation that might occur on the part of women with regards to queer culture and language; concepts such as shade, reading, “yasss” and “hunny”. The erasure of the lived experiences of queer bodies that can be seen in television shows for instance when they are made the “sassy gay best friend” or “pet”. The contribution they make to the cisheteropatriarchy’s violence against the queer body and lived experience when the church makes admonishments against queer people for simply being. The failure to say anything when their pastors, fathers, brothers and lovers decide that the only good queer person is a dead one, or at least one that knows that they ought to be dead. Perhaps, even when mothers kick their sons out because they gave birth to boys and not girls or sissies. Women.

It is also necessary to point out that there is a phenomenon of gay misogyny. Gay men might be gay, but they are also men. However, we cannot regard any struggles in isolation. Because while women are being harmed and killed by the men they trust to protect them; Chechnya has set up a concentration camp where gay men are kept and tortured and killed. In 2017. I don’t know. Men truly are trash. Even making the above arguments probably makes me trash. But I too buckle under the pressures and the abuses of heteronormativity and the cisheteropatriarchy.

To the women who face violence on a number of levels during every single second of every single day, you are Goddesses.

To our queer brothers and sisters: slay and werk, you are Queens.
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15th May2017

What a Time to be Alive

by admin

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Racism is still alive and well doing what it does best. It is most certainly not a thing of the past (unlike what we were taught in many history classes) as it is the very thing that caused the death of Matlhomola Jonas Mosweu. The little black boy was allegedly killed by two white farmers Pieter Doorewoord and Phillip Schutte in Coligny in the North West. The reason behind his death is apparently because these two farmers had caught the boy “stealing” a sunflower, the very creation of God, on their farm. I argue that this is mere racism because this reason cannot be justified for his death matter-of-factly.  There can be no justification for the killing of a black child by white men especially in post-colonial, post-apartheid, constitutionally democratic South Africa. It is astonishing that in this day and age such brutality can be performed in broad daylight.

It is shocking that men who are supposedly sane can inflict such grotesque acts in the name of hate.  It is absolutely scary that black people should still live in fear of possible racial attacks. I would not be surprised if the accused denied the relation of racism against this charge. I would understand that, as brave as they were when killing this boy, they may be afraid of igniting the wrath of anti-racists if ever they admitted their act to have been solely based on racism. It is still hard for me to imagine what this little boy could have possibly done in order for them to have not merely verbally disciplined him, reported him to the police if he had broken the law, taken him to his parents to reprimand him themselves or even simply told him that what he did was wrong and shouldn’t be repeated in the future. The society at large should move towards a united South Africa that belongs to all. We need to steadfastly isolate racist elements within our communities and not infringe the rights our constitution has intrinsically granted us.

15th May2017

Response to “The Millenial Question”

by admin

Rhodes Must Fall

Tough to Manage. Entitled. Self-Interested. Lazy.

This is what Simon Sinek answer is, in short, to “The Millennial Question”. It is this broad view that is used to describe people born in 1984 onwards and is one which is commonly believed (evidence of which is how verbalisations of the term ‘millennial’ are often derisive).  It is also one which is, to some extent, true. He tells the audience that the reason millennials are tough to manage and, thus, entitled is because ‘in the real world’, you don’t get what you want merely because of your desire for it, which is contrary to milennials’  parents’ assertions.
However, there are flaws to his argument in that he disregards the nuance which exists in the characteristic qualities of this generation, globally.

Again, these descriptions are mostly correct, only when directing these criticisms towards a specific sub-set of millennials. Sinek seems to generally describe middle-class, white millennials as his view is not only trite, but it is not cognisant of the fact that in many societies around the world, parents are incredibly hard on their children, many being stereotyped as having high academic and career-choice standards as is the case in diasporic/immigrant communities. A study done by Acevedo-Garcia et al. (2014) supports the argument that children in these communities didn’t necessarily grow up being told that they were ‘special’, because their parents may not only have had to work as unskilled workers in these countries, meaning their hours didn’t allow much time with their children to ‘coddle’ them in such a manner, but their parents often emphasised the importance of academic excellence mainly because it was their only guarantee of careers which rival those of their middle-class and upper-class peers.

This also has relevance to post-apartheid South Africa, in which this generation are referred to as born-frees. All of the descriptions mentioned have been used to describe them recently, as they are often criticised for their participation in cross-institutional movements such as Fees Must Fall. One of these descriptions, which Sinek describes as being the most dominant of these, is entitlement, which has been uttered repeatedly in popular spheres such as on social media. These criticisms have been extended to any civic action which calls for economic transformation which will benefit this generation directly, as they are seen as wanting ‘better paying jobs’ because they feel entitled to them or because they want extra cash from ‘side-hustles’, for miscellaneous expenses. This, however, has been debated since many minimum-wage workers who happen to be from this generation, especially in the US, are working mainly to support their basic needs, and the needs of their families, as they are a generation whose first economic  experience was of a system in dire need of repair after 2008’s global recession.

Similarly, in South Africa, the current economic and racial composition of low-wage workers and laborers within this generation is the result of a devaluation of the basic education system, which doesn’t offer many opportunities to poor, black children growing up, other than jobs in service provision and this also dispels the adjectives of self-involved and lazy being deemed as the chief characteristics of millennials’ attitudes.

Lastly, criticism of the millennials’ or the born-frees’ sense of entitlement is one which I personally have had to confront, as although we have no formal system which still promotes subjugation as there was in pre-democratic South Africa, we still see the economic and social effects which are slowly coming to the fore in contemporary South Africa. At present, we find ourselves not only demanding, but pleading for the restorations promised to our parents post-1994, with anger which is justified as these are reparations to which we are very much entitled.

In closing, Sinek’s answer to ‘The Millenial Question”, is not only demographically limited, and reductionist in its criticism of western-located Millenials at large, but it doesn’t consider the effects of historical events on millennials  in non-western countries such as South Africa. Thus, what can be gathered from this attempt at answering The Question is that, even with close study of individuals in this generation, it has no definite answer and any further attempts are inclined to reduction, which is ultimately dependent on individual positioning.

15th May2017

YouTube is the Future

by admin

YouTube

In our current age of millennials and freedom of speech where online resources are easily accessible and everyone is obsessed about documenting their lives online, it does not come as a shock that the next big thing that everyone is raving about after Snap Chat and Instagram is vlogging. Vlogging is the act of taking video blogs where creators upload content on YouTube about an array of topics including tutorials about literally anything under the sun, music video reactions, entertainment, lifestyle, politics, food, fashion and updates or short clips of their lives. In sum, vlogging includes basically anything that can have someone’s eyes glued to their laptop or phone screens for days. This act is quite popular and profitable for most creators giving rise to a space called the vlogosphere where all it takes is simply a camera and a burning topic you want to address or your simply enjoy taking pictures and videos. If you feel that you have a story to tell- the platform is yours.

I would not consider this as the latest trend because vlogging has been around for some time with many people slowly embracing it. Particularly in South Africa, it is considered relatively new in comparison to America or Europe. Vlogging has some benefits such as profitability and everyone can participate there are no rules, it is easy for everyone to be connected since YouTube is accessible worldwide. But the most interesting part is that one can make profit by just having a camera.      If you already enjoy recording yourself doing something interesting and getting a certain number of views and subscribers, Google Adsense or Adprogram (a special program by google that permits publishers and content creators to serve media texts or interactive advertisements along their channels and vlogs which are targeted to a certain audience) which allows vloggers to generate revenue. There it is guys, another way to be a millionaire without slaving away in university. It is not as easy it seems anyways most people have ridden this wave and are slowly getting onto the money train that is YouTube and creating content whilst working with brand advertisers and becoming the voices and faces for the issues directed to an array of audiences.

In South Africa, I have my own list of vloggers and their YouTube channels that are totally worth checking out, firstly Ich Bin Siv by Siv Greyson, she is in her second- year at the University of Cape Town. She is queer and vocal about the issues that affect queer people in spaces such as UCT. There is series of poems in her vlogs known as vloetry and I am absolutely in love with them. She is fun loving and documents her life as she artistically documents her daily experiences of what it means to be black and queer. I am constantly in awe of her creativity in terms aesthetic and the different elements that re visually pleasing on her vlogs.

Pennyroad Cruising

Next is Cynthia Gwebu with her self- titled channel. This lady specializes in make-up tutorials and I attribute my newfound make up face to her.  Her tutorials are always so informative and she has knowledge on the latest makeup tricks and buys that are affordable yet magical. I suggest you do yourself a favour and check her channel out as you will no longer be excused for walking around with bad eyebrows.

Bad Boujee Tutorial

The next vlogger is a creative in the truest sense of the word. With a graphic design background and an eye for visual aesthetic, he has a series of vlogs on his channel which feature a group of his friends called “broke niggaz”, “confessions of my Instagram”, and the most recent and quite successful in terms of viewership, “microwave boys” which, to be honest, is my favourite. It features Vuzu entertainment presenter Larryngitis, radio DJ Sipho and event MC and host Sphaka who tackle trending weekly stories from social media and give them a fun twist filled with laughs, shade and just random boy foolery nice after a hectic long day on campus.

Microwave Boys

Sibu Mpanza is a vlogger who has been trending quite recently on twitter after being involved in a public spat with another South African vlogger Renaldo Gouws. Gouws accused Sibu Mpanza of being a fraud and fake but that did not seem to knock Mpanza down. After announcing that he dropped out of UCT to pursue his YouTube career and build his channel as a fulltime job, Sibu Mpanza serves as a reminder of how passionate and determined one needs to be in pursuing the things they love. I enjoy watching Sibu’s vlogs as he is vocal about social injustice, racism etc. He, much like Siv, has been actively taking a firm stance on issues that continuously affect the youth of South Africa post- apartheid. And trust me nothing is more interesting than a serving of shade and sarcasm occasionally, so I suggest that you grab a chair and let this brother teach you on how to generate revenue from YouTube.

Sibu Mpanza

This last group of vloggers is one of my all-time favourites. They are the true embodiment of black girl magic and it is pleasing to see young, black females taking a stance on a myriad of issues affecting girls all over. These three are such a chatty bunch, bubbly, and forever silly with well thought-out and laid out vlogs that are stimulating and force someone to take a stand on something. Recently, they have managed to go on a “ride along” with one of this country’s talented musician Thandiswa Mazwai and they have been able to showcase a side of celebrities that only a few television shows have been able to depict. These girls are going places. Watch this space.

Black girl magic

These are among a few of the vloggers and channels I keep up with. There are plenty more and it would be an absolute pleasure if more people were to create their own content and happily share it like these vloggers are successfully doing. Vlogging does not many have requirements and rules; it is all about passion and having fun, and hopefully the South African vlogosphere grows in leaps and bounds.

Vlogging is Lit Fam

 

15th May2017

Lions in the Streets of Africa

by admin

Some things just never get old. For example, the look you get when you travel abroad, proudly announcing that you are indeed from Africa; as in THE Africa. You know that dark and dusty place where you go on safari to observe wild animals and meet tall, thin, starving people? Yes, that’s where I live!

MAGALIESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 07:  Children play football in front of the setting sun on June 7, 2010 in Magaliesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

First the eyes get wider, then the chin pokes forward in amazement and finally you get the scan: top to bottom and back up again; just to make sure that you’re not some kind of fictional creature.

Once I even went so far as to elaborate on our local elephant transportation system (Ele Vaya) and my two pet lions that I keep in the bushveld south of my clay hut.

Lion

Despite my little jokes about western ignorance, given some recent occurrences, I have to wonder if the Western idea of deepest, darkest Africa is perhaps more accurate than we would like to believe. Apparently nowadays it is normal to have three pet lions in your backyard. Did I perhaps miss the memo?

And on top of that, we now have a new tourist attraction. Get your cameras ready folks; we have lions walking the streets. I have to wonder what Mother Africa has up her sleeve for next week’s headlines.

Lions in road

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