24th Jul2016

Waiting on the World to…

by admin

Pretty BicycleHi everyone,

Welcome to another edition of the exPress imPress blog. As usual, our great writers have provided us with articles to enjoy and mull over. Monde Nqeza writes a literary appreciation of one of Lupe Fiasco’s lastest tracks, “Adoration of the Magi”. Thabisile Miya considers the need for Africans to produce their own narratives in so that, (to paraphrase Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s phrase) we may counter the danger of a single story. Nokuthula Mkwanazi considers the fragile relationship shared between South Africans and other African nationals. Her article gets us to wonder whether we, as South Africans, regard ourselves as too special to be considered as Africans.  Finally, Londell Ramalepe gets us to consider the ethical implications of the recent plagiarism scandal around Melania Trump’s recent Republican National Convention speech.

Hope you enjoy the works of our talented writers.

Until next week,

Sandiswa and the 2016 exPress imPress team.

24th Jul2016

Foreign Native Africans

by admin

As South Africans, we pride ourselves on being known as the “Rainbow Nation”, but just how many colours are we really including in our rainbow?

United States of Africa

Ask any African, from outside of our South African borders, about what their thoughts are on South Africans and how they view us and the answers will probably be more self-reflective than actual truth or reality. I interviewed a few South Africans, and their so-called “foreign” counterparts to ask them about their thoughts on the South African superiority complex.

I quizzed our willing participants on their thoughts about South Africa and how “United” and accommodating South Africa really is to our brothers and sisters from neighbouring African soil. We discussed a lot of topics, but what stood out to me, was the lack of African representation in South Africa. I find it highly problematic that in South Africa’s daily news bulletins, varying from half an hour to an hour in length, the large majority of them cover South African top stories/headlines, global headlines and some international news, which is fine, but it is problematic if the same courtesy is not extended to other African news, from outside our borders. Less than a minute is spent on news related to Kenya, Namibia, Ivory Coast, and other African countries. When thinking of this, consider that we frequently get top of the hour updates on the American presidential elections and any other American news. There is an American news channel (CNN) on DSTV’s bouquet. In addition, there are hundreds of American television shows broadcasted on DSTV.

But, it does not stop there. We frequently listen to American pop music, assisting in the generation of a wealthy and thriving entertainment industry. There is nothing inherently wrong with being exposed to, and consuming, western media content; however, I do want to ask one question. What about Africa? Why do I barely see, hear or speak about the greater parts of Africa, and their top stories? How is it possible that I can name neither a Namibian pop artist nor a Kenyan television show, yet I have countless American pop idols on my mobile playlist? This is something that sparked a bit of shame and anger in me because, although I stand against Afro-phobia, I am, admittedly, not well-versed on Afrocentric topics.

I find it perplexing to refer to the rest of my native-African counterparts as foreigners, yet I call my European counterparts by their nationality and not their label. I would never say there is that French foreigner from Paris; I would call him that French guy/girl. This is a behavioural pattern I have noticed with my friends as well. It is highly problematic that after the history we share with our African counterparts, that we would forcefully kick them out of our country, yet Egyptians, Syrians and Pakistanis always come by and they are not being set alight or beaten to death. This raises the question, “Why the hostility?”

I asked a few of my interviewees and they suggested that this segregation can come from a place of regulating the population rate, wanting to intimidate the perceived weaker race, or just plain old self-entitlement attitudes. One of my interviewees mentioned that they feel out of place when they are in South Africa and amongst South Africans, not just because of the language barriers but also because they have never been made to feel that they can settle down in South Africa and start a life here, because of the attitudes they have been exposed to, which mirror those of the participants in/of the xenophobic attacks of 2008 and 2015 respectively.

What we should be focusing on in times of #feesmustfall movements and #blacklivesmatter movements is a common goal to want to help each other climb up the ladder in life, and not fall deeper into suffering. I believe that we should work together to pull up other African countries so that they can have an economy as strong, even stronger, than ours. I also believe that we should be more inclusive of other African entertainment and media, seeing as they are closest to us.

 

18th Jul2016

I See You See Black

by admin

The sun burns Wicked Bodies…

 

Day sees us dying in our smiles

And night waits for us – who we really are – alive.

 

I know you think I don’t, but I do;

I see you see black.

 

And I am here to tell you I am more than that;

Why are you amazed at my presence?

Why are you surprised

That I can have a mind?

 

I am More than an just Art piece, I am More than just a Number,

I am Nothing to watch in that Manner,

 

I have a Heart,

I am Together and I fall Apart,

I Bleed, I feel Rain,

I was bore by a Woman,

I can smell Roses,

 

I am More than the questions raised in ‘Philosophy’,

I am More than just a Dark part in ‘History’

 

Why did I ever need Science to tell me I am a human being?

Why does the colour of my skin have to make me something else?

 

 5_dark-and-lovely-10-x-14-acylic-on-canvas

 

 

 

 

Note: The above Poem is not racist and not intended to offend ANYBODY, but it is just a mere inspiration from the Block 3 First Year Philosophy topic, Philosophy of Race, and My pride in My ‘blackness’.

16th May2016

The Poem That Is So African

by admin

4 Africa-map-on-faceWhy is it we need a day, a week, a month

To say we are proud of being us

And glad to be each other’s sisters and brothers?

Why is it we need a day, a week, a month

To be proud black people, and darker?

We were born into this –

The melodies,

The dances,

The greenest mountains,

The whole of our families,

The clothing,

The crying,

The blood dripping,

The dying,

The hoping

The waking,

The celebrating,

The coming together,

The darkness,

Our dark skin colours…

Why is it we need a day, a week, a month

To look back on where we come from?

Why is it we need a day, a week, a month

To paint pictures and tell stories of our freedom?

Each day is a reminder of where we come from,

Each day is a song of our freedom.

Our names and mirrors reveal us,

There is no hiding the Africanness.

We are naked before the world,

Never to be known as nothing else – but Africans;

African Americans, African Asians,

Everywhere we go the history follows,

And it follows each day.

You are my brother and my sister every day,

Do you hear me, African human?

We do not need Africa Month, Africa Day

To remind ourselves that we are proud of who we are.

We should be proud of it, celebrate it,

Dance to the drum beats,

Dark Skin,

This fire within,

Attires made of animal skin,

Our souls cut open

To be released into some Heaven,

Blood coming from our noses,

The smiles of our many children

Covering the pain that is there

That just will not leave,

The air that we breathe,

The sun setting,

The magic in our every story’s setting…

 

Each day we are African, not only in May.

 

 

 

27th Apr2015

Looking In From The Outside

by admin

Fred Mwirumubi writes about xenophobia from an ‘outsider’s’ perspective and provides his take on how to combat the reemergence of xenophobic violence.

 

Many people back home view South Africa as some kind of Promised Land. It is held to the same standard as the United States or Europe and over the years I heard about how developed and further ahead it was of other African states. Coming from a third worldfred pic country, I was very excited when I first landed in Johannesburg, with all my ideas of what South Africa was constructed by multiple glowing accounts that I had often heard.

However, as I have been living here, I have started to see a different side to South Africa. This has made me realize that just like all other nations; South Africa has its fair share of problems too. Transitioning from a relatively homogenous society into a heterogeneous society saw me dealing with issues – specifically around race – that I never really thought about before.

I have begun to see both the good and the bad in South Africa, and I’m slowly starting to learn the complexities and nuances of this society. This, to me, highlights the need to conduct frank and open dialogues between South Africa and other African states. Perhaps through this dialogue, we will be able to address the misunderstandings and prejudices between South Africa and the other African states.

The recent xenophobic attacks highlight the simmering issues not shown to the rest of the Africa and the world. These attacks have exposed the ugly parts of this society, but have concurrently brought out some of the better parts of it as well. Recent campaigns and efforts to condemn xenophobia and question the response by the government have illustrated that this society is full of fair-minded, rational individuals who are able to look beneath the surface of affairs and form discussions on how to deal with these issues.

Perhaps by creating our own platforms where we can freely voice our opinions and reach out to the people in power, we can effectively bring about this dialogue. Parts of the underlying issues causing xenophobia, in my opinion at least, are about how certain groups of people are portrayed. There is an urgent need to have more objective platforms where news stories can be told in a way that is not sensationalised in order to gather more views or to sell more newspapers.

We need platforms that tell stories where not every person from a certain group is lumped together and portrayed in a certain way; thus creating prejudices and stereotypes that may result in negative attitudes towards individuals in particular social or cultural groups.

By having more open and honest platforms, people will be able to see the events that are so often ignored by the mainstream media on the news. This will ensure that individuals’ frustrations are not accumulating, erupting and manifesting in violence and chaos before we know it. Although, it is important to bare in mind that having more objective platforms will only be effective if enough people get behind these platforms and use the power that the platform has afforded them to raise their voices and put pressure on those in power to act in line with the best interests of society, rather than themselves.

27th Apr2015

Post-Xenophobia: What Now?

by admin

Chuene Raphunga reflects on the recent wave of xenophobia in South Africa and what should be done to halt it.

It’s almost been three weeks since the attacks on foreigners reemerged in South Africa. As South Africans, we need to consider the fact that xenophobia is against humanity and paints our country dark in that respect. But we must also consider the root causes of xenophobia. One predominant cause is the inequalities that are still currently at play within our society. For example: youth unemployment is rising dramatically and there is still a lack of opportunities for most South Africans. In addition, issues of land and economic redistribution are still a challenge today. But does this mean that we must kill our fellow African brothers and sisters? The answer is simply no! Our national challenges should not lead us in the wrong direction. But rather, the government must be held accountable for the current state that the country finds itself in today.

Chuene Pic

The main reason why I believe the government is at fault is because since the dawn of democracy, previously disadvantaged people never encountered the promises that they were due. Instead, democracy created a massive gap between the rich and the poor. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Is this what our heroes stood and ceased for? No – they longed for a South Africa where everybody would be happy so as to heal the wounds of the past injustices and atroscities conducted toward them.

It seems, however, that we are in a new phase of apartheid. I say apartheid because the term translated in English simply means ‘apartness’. Yes, we are still apart. Our freedom was never to succeed without the efforts of our fellow Africans. Amid that, South Africans are essentially returning their kindness with cruelty. Although, there have been several peace marches taking place in an effort to condem the ongoing xenophobic violence in the country, and most notably the march to the Union Building in Pretoria on the 25th of April 2015.

But how do we prevent similar instances from recurring in the future? One way could be by revisiting our policies on immigrants in a manner that will exhibit a just cooperation among us and our fellow African brothers and sisters. No one will come from anywhere across Africa and solve our issues if we Africans don’t resolve our own issues. Our African governments need to cooperate in unity and leave behind the ethnic attitudes that were instilled in us by people who promoted our difference.

In order to address the issues of xenophobia, we need to adopt two different but complementray approaches. The first approach pertains to the hiring of foreigners. Individually owned White, Indian and Black companies need to review their recruitment policies and all of their workers need to pay income tax. Because, if these business owners keep on hiring foreign nationals (provided that they pay them much less) it creates an impact on our economy. Similarly speaking, the government needs to audit small companies and make sure that the people who are hired are legally residing in South Africa and thus pay their income tax.

The second approcach deals with putting measures in place that ensure xenophobia will never prevail again, and if it does; more severe consequences need to be put into effect. With regard to measures combatting future instances of xenophobia, the South African Parliament needs to amend policies on xenophobic attacks and penalties must be put into action. By so doing, they will be limiting the number of attacks on foreign nationals.

Let’s all embrace the Africa that we all live in. We are all the children of the soil and are all migrants in the Southern Hemisphere of our continent and we should all show remorse and partake in the fight against xenophobia collectively.

27th Apr2015

Stop Xenophobia!

by admin

Bongi Sesane speaks about how responsibility, feedback and accountability by the South African government might resolve xenophobia.

The past three weeks have seen the precious lives of several foreigners lost in South Africa. It is evident that South Africa has plenty of the issues when it comes to the ways in which our government handle some of the matters involving civil society. This Bongi Picconsequently means that South Africans should not blame and kill their fellow African brothers and sisters – but they should rather consider why certain social and economic problems are not being seen to be the government that they voted into power.

Xenophobia is disappointing to most South African citizens and after apartheid the country implemented important Constitutional changes, including: the Bill of Human Rights. This was one of the ways in which the New South Africa tried to rectify the mistakes and injustices of the apartheid era. In addition, the post-apartheid South African foreign policy states that: “Enduring security cannot be through national and regional efforts to promote democracy, respect for human rights, sustainable development, social justice and environmental protection.”

When looking at the current situation in South Africa, it is difficult to say that the abovementioned factors are really being practiced. For instance: when an immigrant from Mozambique, Emmanuel Sithole, was brutally murdered in a violent xenophobic attack, can we really say that we are aware of what apartheid cost us and why people, like the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, fought for the freedom of this country? Because honouring his legacy definitely does not reflect in killing innocent foreigners.

Personally, I don’t encourage xenophobia at all! African foreigners are our siblings; how can you kill your own flesh and blood?

Although, another issue to ponder is how much evidence we actually have to prove that all the people who were murdered in the xenophobic attacks were actually illegal immigrants? In addition, the government does not fund foreign nationals and assist them in building up small businesses from which they make a living. On the other hand, South Africans are entitled to various free things, such as: free education, free service delivery, RDP houses, free literacy programmes for adults, and so forth. So why is there so much anger? These foreign nationals are making their own honest living from nothing.

The Home Affairs Minister, Gigaba Malusi, stated that his team would introduce a new Green Paper policy by next year; however, the ANC need to review this policy first. Gigaba also mentioned the National Policy Conference which took place in 2012 and discussed the existence of undocumented immigrants who posed economic and security threats to the country.

However, if the government promise to provide greater opportunities for the country’s citizens, they should be held responsible for giving feedback when they promises are not met. The government should also implement policies that balance out employment between South Africans and foreign nationals. For example: companies should have to employ an equal amount of South Africans and foreign nationals, rather than just foreigners. Although, what happens if immigrants have qualifications and South African do not? Should South Africans still be able to keep their jobs? These questions remain unanswered, but the truth is that we need to stop fighting and killing each other because this violence will never bring any positive development to Africa.

Let’s stop xenophobia!

27th Apr2015

A Picture Speaks 1000 Words

by admin

Sandiswe Sondzaba sheds light over the violent xenophobic attacks that have recently been taking place in South Africa, whilst providing her view on whether or not photojournalists are in fact ethical in capturing such violence.

In the last few weeks xenophobic attacks have swept across several regions in South Africa. Various journalists have covered these attacks, alongside analysts who try to find an explanation as to why foreign nationals are being targeted yet again. Various explanations have been brought forward, including the fact that South Africa’s high unemployment rate has resulted in impoverished South Africans feeling maligned and disempowered. Other explanations have pointed to the recent Rhodes Must Fall movement, which marked a significant turn in the conversation around the role of colonial memorabilia within the post-apartheid era. Although these explanations have given compelling reasons for the xenophobic attacks, they have failed to humanize the men and women who have been affected by these attacks.

However, this humanization was achieved by James Oatway who photographed the brutal murder of Emmanuel Sithole in the Alexandra township. The photographs, which featured in the Sunday Times newspaper on the 19th of April 2015, showed the sequence of events which led to Sithole’s death as well as the suspects who followed and killed him. The most haunting image within this series of photographs is that of Sithole lying amongst the littered pavement just before he succumbed to his fatal wounds (see below). Although this image has succeeded in capturing the brutality of the xenophobic attacks, they have raised questions around whether or not Oatway acted ethically when capturing Sithole in his final moments.

Sandi Pic

This is not the first time that a photojournalist has raised ethical debates for their work. Another South African photojournalist, Kevin Carter, was heavily criticized for his failure to assist an emaciated toddler who was the subject of his Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph: The Vulture and the Little Girl. Although photojournalists often risk their lives documenting stories that very few are willing to document, one can raise questions about whether they actually take it too far.

Unlike a written report, a photograph gives the viewer visual evidence which they will more likely remember. What this means is that one ought to ask questions about whether the subjects of the photographs are afforded their dignity and agency. This is not to deny the importance of Oatway’s photograph; however, one has to ask whether Sithole’s dignity was violated as Oatway captured his dying moments. In Oatway’s defence, he has stated that he did not know the full extent of Sithole’s injuries when he took the photographs he did. Therefore, baring that in mind, one should then ask whether or not the editors of the Sunday Times had the right to run those series of photographs on their cover page.

Although the images captured the public’s attention, they that did so in a manner that depcited a man in his dying moments. This consequently raises the question about whether Oatway humanized or exploited Sithole. I, for one, cannot make a concrete judgement on this debate. With the benefit of hindsight I would argue that Oatway should have assisted Sithole; however, within the immediate context of the attack, I doubt that I would have done anything that might have put myself or other individuals at risk of injury or death. I also think that Oatway’s images succeeded in that they helped to capture the perpetrators inhumane actions. This, at least, afforded Sithole’s family the comfort of knowing that they may receive justice for his death. However, this comfort is unfortunately not commonplace for many others living in South Africa – both citizens and foreign nationals alike.

27th Apr2015

South Africa: The Land of Oblivion

by admin

Manuel Mafakane gives his perspective about South Africans who are currently carrying out violent xenophobic attacks on African foreign nationals acorss various areas in South Africa.

Today I will be looking at the issue of xenophobia in our beloved country, South Africa. This is a very touching and sad issue that has to be dealt with as soon as possible by the South African government as well as its citizens. I say no to xenophobia because it needs to come to an end. Xenophobia is simply the dislike of, or prejudice against people from other countries. This is exactly what South Africans in the post-apartheid era are doing best, that is: detesting Africanforeigners, and especially Blackforeigners.This seems to indicate that South Africans are oblivious about how our fellow A676x380frican nations helped our own political leaders and activists during the times of apartheid.

Yes, African countries like Zambia, Ghana, Angola, Tanzania and many others played an important role in helping South Africa become the place that it is today. These countries helped South Africa achieve democratic freedom by looking after our political activists and freedom fighters who were in trouble with the apartheid government, by welcoming them into their countries and keeping them safe during their stay there. For example, in 1962, Nelson Mandela left the country for Tanzania to seek support for the liberation struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Tanzania welcomed Mandela with open arms and he consequently received assistance from the country. Similarly, South African refugees settled, built houses and earned a living in Mazimbu, Tanzania. The Tanzanian government additionally provided education for the children of South African refugees in the Mazimbu Camp. During the same year, Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) , led by Robert Sobukwe , received support from Ghana. Therefore, it is evident that South Africa received a lot of support and help from other African countries in the past and we should appreciate that and return the favour .

As the saying goes, “history repeats itself,” and that is the case with xenophobia. South Africa experienced xenophobia during 2008 and 2009, and now again in 2015. History is consequently repeating itself and it will definitely happen again in the future if something serious isn’t done about it soon. However, xenophobia is deeply ingrained in the minds of South Africans, because they believe that Afr73-6665r0jtovdb44hc7quf0ayiic3t2u4plg740qrfizeican foreigners are stealing their job opportunities; and this is one of the main reasons South Africans keep on attacking them.

In addition, xenophobia is something which will never come to an end if our leaders, like King Goodwill Zwelithini, continue to encourage South Africans to chase away and attack our fellow African brothers and sisters. On the 12th of April 2015, attacks on foreign nationals reermerged in Kwa-Zulu-Natal when shops in Umlazi and Kwa-Mashu, outside of Durban, were torched. An estimated 2000 Malawian, Zimbabwean, Mozambican and Burundian foreign nationals have been displaced, and around five people have been killed. There were also attacks on foreign nationals in other provinces in the country.

Xenophobia is not right at all: South Africans should treat African foreign nationals as fellow brothers and sisters by living together in peace and harmony in democratic South Africa. We, as South Africans, must start treating our fellow African brothers and sisters with respect and dignity, and this includes the government; since I believe our government and political leaders are also disrespecting foreigners by not adequately protecting them. Thus, there is only one enemy in our country and that is the ‘elite’.

The elite are using us, the poor, to fight the poor. The government also blames the poor for all the wrongs, mistakes and crimes that they have carried out. Wake up South Africa; the people you call foreigners are not takUnknown-2ing your jobs, your government and your elite are! For instance, who employs foreigners in their shops instead of South Africans? Who is not given the opportunityto go to school for free and study to become anything they wish to be? Who are the most successful   and wealthiest people in our country, yet can’t even share a piece of their wealth to feed the poor?

The answer to all these questions is: elite South Africans! They are the problem, but the blame is being shifted to poor, innocent foreigners. Our country will remain in this current state until South Africans change their minds and the way they see things . Wake up South Africa; do something instead of just complaining and quarrelling, because we all know that that is what you are good at. I say no to xenophobia, it must come to an immediate end!


 

20th Apr2015

The Return of Xenophobia

by admin

Raphunga Chuene writes an insightful piece on the devastating reappearance of Xenophobia in South Africa.

It’s almost been two weeks since a new wave of xenophobic attacks erupted in KwaZulu-Natal, and they have rapidly begun spreading to other parts of the country, inclduing, Johannesburg. The attacks, as allegedly reported, might have been influenced by a statement made by the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, over the past month wherein he declared that: “foreigners must pack their bags and go home” as quoted in News 24. Following the continual violence that has spread throughout the country, five people have been reported dead and more than 2000 foreigners have been displaced from their homes and are now seeking shelter in refugee camps. This violence has been directed towards foreigners who have been physically attacked and their shops which have been looted; however, several native inhabitants have accordingly been arrested for their unjust actions. As in 2008, the first wave of xenophobic attacks, the core reason behind this violence lies in the presumption that foreigners limit employment and other associated opportunities for the local community.

It can thus be arugued that the attacks on innocent foreigners are not surprising; South Africa has a high youth unemployment rate as well as a high degree of nepotism in terms of opportunities. Structures of societies remain unequal and individual abilities are hierarchically differentiated – hence creating inequalities in the distributions of income and resources. Extreme poverty is still a daily concern for the majority of South Africa and many people resort to crime as a means of survival. But the question still remains: after attempting to rid South Africa of foreigners, are the locals then guaranteed the opportunities and employment that they have been killing and chasing foreigners away for? The answer is no! This highlights the fact that the immense lack of opportunities and resources in South Africa does not actually have anything to do with the foreigners inhabiting our land; but rather with the current government who is ruling over it.

In addition, South Africans tend to embrace the idea that they are entitled to all that they please and wish for, without actually having to work for it. But, times are getting harder; life is becoming more and more about the survival of the fittest. On a daily basis it is possible to witness young South African people sitting on street corners taking drugs and other dangerously harmful substances instead of looking for jobs or pursuing their studies – surely this reveals the laziness within the confines of our youth today?

Furthermore, although the Zulu King declared that South Africans misinterpreted his message, the fact remains that people are sensitive to statements made by and actions practiced by their role models and leaders. This was evident when the peace march, which was undertaken in the CBD of Durban by civilians who were marching against xenophobia, were confronted by a crowd of rowdy, violent xenophobic attackers. However, this subsequently resulted in the King reaching out to and meeting up with other community leaders, in an attempt to establish effective measures to avert the ongoing violence.

This violence needs to come to an end! Let’s all mutually embrace the goodness of Africa. The freedom of our country would have not been possible without the cooperation and coordination of our mother states; so let’s overcome ourselves once more for a better Africa that has suffered, been refused, marginalised and disadvantageous for so long.

It is time for the people to break the vicious cycle of poverty by learning from the examples set by these foreigners and what they have done to survive in our country. Our African struggle is one, our pain is one, and our experiences are common. We are all caught in the front line striving to make ends meet. Our leaders need to also be wary of what they say, for they have a substantial influence certain ideas and opinions in society. They are the pillars of our societies and, as such, must portray a good example of how humanity and humility sought to be…not the other way around!

 Untitled

ABOVE: Foreign nationals gesture after clashes broke out between a group of locals and police in Durban on 14 April, 2015 in ongoing violence against foreign nationals in Durban, South Africa.

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