16th Oct2017

A Seat At the Table

by admin

Black White

Hi everyone,

Last weekend, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation at UCT revealed that she had been the victim of a recent smear campaign that sought to cast doubt on her qualifications. The fact that a womxn as distinguished as Professor Phakeng was a victim of such malevolence demonstrates the pervasiveness of racial micro-aggressions within our society. We often think of racism being as overt as the white supremacist rallies that have become commonplace in America but we need to also acknowledge the more subtle racism that is just as effective at isolating and dehumanizing the objects of its manifestation. In order to combat this problem, greater awareness is necessary. As we occupy the seats at the tables we have been systematically excluded from, we need to acknowledge these micro-aggressions and keep fighting to dismantle these systemic exclusions.

Until next week.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

16th Oct2017

Being Black and Not Belonging in Academia

by admin

Mamokgethi Phakeng

Last weekend, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) for Research and Internationalisation at the University of Cape Town (UCT), revealed  on Facebook that there was a malicious email campaign launched against her that sought to cast doubt on her qualifications. The emails were sent to a list of about 40 people that included a former Vice Chancellor, members of the university’s council, senior professors and alumni.

According to Phakeng, the email distribution list looked well established and there were emails that did not refer to her and her qualifications. One alumni made reference to a DVC on Twitter who “is self-absorbed and narcissistic and can only be compared to [Donald] Trump”. A second responded stated in their response that they do not believe that she is mathematically qualified at all.

Phakeng, who became the first black womxn to obtain a PhD in mathematics education in 2002, has received messages of support from students, UCT staff members and academics in the wake of these allegations. UCT Vice Chancellor, Max Price, released a statement in support of Phakeng. In his statement, he refers to the emails as being mischievous and that he is saddened by the “attack on [Phakeng’s] integrity, professionalism and academic standing”. Others on social media came out in support of Phakeng with the hashtag #HandsOffPhakeng trending on Twitter.

Phakeng has stated that she chose to reveal the incident on social media because of her large network on social media and also because she wanted to highlighted the prevalence of these kinds of attacks on black academics. Holding a powerful position in academia, Phakeng believes that she can use her stature to draw attention to the racism that a lot of black academics experience on a daily basis. The experience has taught Phakeng that South Africa’s higher education spaces are not as transformed as she once thought and that racism continues unfettered within academia.

What Phakeng has brought to our attention is that racism is rampant within South Africa’s major institutions. Black academics and professionals are often questioned on their qualifications and are placed under a level of scrutiny that their white colleagues do not experience. There are many instances of  micro-aggression that black professionals often experience and cannot talk about. Whenever, we hear the word “racism”, we often think of emboldened white supremacists holding rallies in Charlottesville under the banner of Unite the Right. However, the subtle racial micro-aggressions that manifest themselves within many workplaces, and other spaces, are just as harmful as the more “obvious” manifestations of racism. Despite the proclamations of many liberals, racism still exists and it doesn’t only rare its ugly head when the “rotten apples” use the k-word or when school teachers make pupils the object of racist remarks. The most important thing we can learn from what Phakeng experienced last week is that the racism we experience may not be as overt as a brick thrown at your window but its impact is just as malignant.

12th Oct2017

Life Happens

by admin

Hi everyone,

Due to unforeseen circumstances we were unable to publish an edition for this week.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Until next time,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Life Happens

02nd Oct2017

Claim Your Place

by admin

Hi everyone,

This week’s edition of the blog focuses on how we must all claim our place in the world- no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Molebogeng Mokoka starts off by encouraging all of us to remain true to ourselves and to resist the urge to compare our life paths with other. Sandiswa Sondzaba discusses Redi Tlhabi’s latest book: Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo which reclaims the late Fezekile’s dignity and name.

We hope that you are encouraged to claim your place in the world.

Have a wonderful week.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Claim Your Place

02nd Oct2017

Call Her By Her Name

by admin

Khwezi

Redi Tlhabi begins her new book with the poignant statement, “I wanted her to know that I was writing, unapologetically, as a feminist who believed her”. The “her” in question is the late Fezekile Kuzwayo who is the subject of Tlhabi latest offering Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo.

Who is Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo? Up until her recent passing, Fezekile was publically known by the moniker Khwezi. This was the name that she had to adopt during one of the most shameful incidences in recent memory: the Jacob Zuma rape trial. Vilified, she had to adopt an alias and veil her face as she entered and exited the Johannesburg High Court. We did not know all that much about who she was other than the fact that  1) she was HIV-positive, 2) she was a self-identified queer womxn, and 3)  Jacob Zuma thought that she wanted to have sex with him on the basis of her wearing only a kanga in his presence. Fezekile’s treatment as Khwezi led one to sometimes wonder as to whether her detractors forgot that she was a human being who was being subjected to people’s sneers, victim-shaming and threats. Following the trial, she left South Africa for her own safety. Her mother’s house was burnt down shortly after the trial concluded. Jacob Zuma was acquitted of rape and yet his daughter, Duduzile Zuma, felt compelled to do interviews that vindicated her father by vilifying Khwezi. Soon enough, the trial became a distant memory for most South Africans. Jacob Zuma became President of South Africa and increasingly came to regard the state coffers as his personal bank account. In the midst of all of the calls for #ZumaMustFall and #PayBacktheMoney, we conveniently forgot that our President is a man who was convicted (although acquitted) of rape. Our President is a man who admitted, on Court stands, to taking a shower to decrease his chances of contracting HIV after having unprotected sex with the daughter of his late comrade. By all intents and purposes, if the judgement had been different, we would be reckoning with the strong possibility of our President being a corrective rapist.

Fezekile Kuzwayo did intend on using Redi’s book as a means for re-entering public life. She was going to attend all of the book launches and show her face to the world. After 12 years of being branded as “Khwezi, Jacob Zuma’s rape accuser”, she was finally going to get the opportunity to reclaim her name and her dignity. There is no doubt that the rape trial did derail her for a few years following the 8 May 2006- show me anyone who would not have been derailed by that experience. However, the fact that she wanted to use literature as a means of re-branding displays strength of character that very few people can attest to having. Tlhabi writes that, for the rest of her life, Kuzwayo feared being followed or watched. She worried about her name becoming public knowledge- the fact that she took the steps to overcome that fear speaks volumes about her constant willingness to speak truth to power. In Tlhabi’s book, Kuzwayo gets a fitting public re-emergence that restores her dignity, her voice, and her name. Lala ngoxolo sis’ Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo.

25th Sep2017

Speak Out

by admin

Hi everyone,

We trust that you have had a wonderful long weekend. Our team has put together a small edition for you to enjoy. Realeboga Petlele gives us a liberal Christians’ perspective on the End Days and the problem of charlatan pastors using the Church to enrich themselves. Veli Mnisi discusses the problematic nature of America’s current political scene. He also delves into the hypocritical reaction to Kathy Griffin’s photo that featured her holding Donald Trump’s severed head. Our two writers call for us to speak out against various injustices and we should all heed their call.

Hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Speak Out

04th Sep2017

Bring Back Our NSFAS

by admin

Bring Back Our NSFAS

Hi everyone,

We have a short edition consisting one incisive article by Realeboga Petlele that hits at the cause of the recent NSFAS fiasco involving Sibongile Mani and R 14 million of NSFAS funds. This article highlights the deep-seated systemic problems that continuously perpetuate themselves in South Africa’s higher education funding crisis. The fact that one student received R 14 million from NSFAS could have been a humorous incident. However, the fact that it took 5 months for the relevant authorities to pick up on this mistake demonstrates the deep rot within the system itself. We are faced with a funding crisis in higher education that affects not only students who are recipients of NSFAS funds but also academics, and contract workers. More needs to be done to curb this crisis because, as it stands, there are going to be dire consequences in coming years.

Bring back our NSFAS!

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

28th Aug2017

Make A Difference

by admin

Make A Difference

Hi everyone,

In this week’s edition of the blog, our writers have given two reflective pieces that implore us to make a difference to the world- in whatever small way we can. Realeboga Petlele reflects on how a day spent working with the Sithlengiwe Foundation in Braamfontein made her more compassionate towards Braamfontein’s (and more broadly, South Africa’s) homeless population. She ends off by calling on all of us to do whatever we can to assist homeless people. Tsholanang Rapoo discusses the difficult process of acknowledging one’s privilege and the importance of using one’s privilege to improve the lives of others. These pieces call on all of us to recognize that, individually, we are all responsible for effecting positive changes in the world.

Hope that this edition inspires you.

Until next week,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

21st Aug2017

Fight the Power

by admin

Defend Equality Love Unites

Hi everyone,

I hope that you have had a great week. Our talented team has put together an amazing edition filled with plenty of reads for you to enjoy. Monde Nqeza has written an album review of Sudanese-American rapper Oddisee’s latest feat, The Iceberg. I’ve given the album a listen and I happily echo Monde’s praises for this album. Veli Mnisi implores all of us to give The Hamilton Mixtape a listen. With all of the star power that is featured on it, it sure looks like it is an album worth many listens. Sekhumbuzo Obvious Nomaele discusses the causes of internalised homophobia and the negative consequences it has for members of the LGBTIAQ++ community. In a short piece, Jabulile Mbatha implores men to reflect on how toxic masculinities result in men committing acts of gender-based violence against feminised bodies who do not adhere to patriarchal behavioural norms. Finally, Tsholanang Rapoo discusses the inherent contradictions of patriarchy; she challenges men to consider what, then makes them men?

Hope you enjoy these insightful reads.

Have a wonderful week,

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

07th Aug2017

Connections

by admin

Hi everyone,

This week, our talented writers have written great pieces for you to enjoy. Leah has written a piece about how our subjective experiences affect our ability to connect with others. Stephanie Schaffrath ponders whether social media is worth the loss of privacy that comes with it. Finally, Veli Mnisi writes about all of the great shows on offer that have come with the current Golden Age of Television.

Have a fantastic week and a Happy Womxn’s Day to all of the strong womxn in your lives.

Enjoy!

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Technologies and Connections

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