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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09th May2016

No More

by admin

No More.

I can’t take this anymore.
Can’t breathe no more.
Robbed of happiness, like it was a thing of some sort.
Can hear my heart shouting for no more.
As if it’s a clock with batteries but not of energy, so it’s asking for more.
Can hear defeat from distance waiting on me 6 feet down the floor.
So, I put that picture on the wall.
Because never will come the day I will forget that war.
Sparked by episodes painted on his mind- an empty hall.
I put those scares and pains and seal them on that jar.
Cause they move with me like a wrecking ball.

Every time I close my eyes, I fell his fist on my body, so rather I fall.
Cause he forced himself on me, build a road where there was no way.
So fuck him I say.
How dare him? But I’ll find him and slay.
“Give it time” they said.
They said everything heals with time.
But I know, I’ll never let him get away.
So with him, he has a part of me that was not built with clay.

Now I know, that the past is a king somewhere.
I swear it has authority of some sort.
Now I am its slave, I am poor.
I have to go down and beg for some more.
Cause only this anger can hold of a soul, so roar.
I used to think the sky was not the limit, cause I was more.
And that I was fly, and strong.

Damn, now I have to fly back to the shore.
To grow the roots of my heart, and make sure.
Sure that even though it’s sore, I will endure so more.
Ask for nothing no more.

No More Image

26th Oct2015

Men in Suits

by admin

Jeffrey Motlhamme explains how ‘Men in Suits’ are of much greater threat to those in power than the previously violent and raucous rioting.

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Men in suits are are usually sought after as intellectual men who have economic ambitions for their people. They fight an intellectual and economic battle instead of a physical one. They understand that a physical battle is the one we are bound to lose because the people we are trying to battle – those in power – already have the majority of legitimate physical force with the resources to execute it. You see, men in suits understand that we have to interrogate power to remedy the struggles of society. They know that in this modern world, violence is no longer physical; violence is systematic and institutional. Those in power practice this type of violence through the law, unjust economic policies and the media.

We have seen a failure of the law to hold those in power accountable and bring them to justice. From the Marikana massacre to corruption deals; the media continue to promote the interests and ideas of the powerful in such a way that ideas of the powerless are seen as inferior. Sir Thomas Jefferson was absolutely correct in stating that: “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing”. A revolution is necessary in society. However, we have to acknowledge that there is a change in the nature of revolution, in terms of the resources and the approach. In the modern day revolution, social media is used as a tool to send different messages; it is even used to initiate a revolution. This can be seen in the #FeesMustFall movement. Violence is no longer seen as a necessary evil to effect change.

Now, men in suits no longer want to use violence as means to an end corrpution and injustice; instead, they want to use their intellectual ability to win battles. Those in power are not afraid of the violence people are trying to stage; they are more afraid of the men in suits. Stand up men in suits! This is our time, this is our moment to rise from these struggles and grab glory. We are our own leaders; we are the revolution; we are the people; but most importantly, we are in suits.

Power to the People!

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04th May2015

One Thing About Music

by admin

Jeffrey Motlhamme sheds light over the recent violent riots that have been taking place in Baltimore; further illustrating how Hip Hop and influential rap artists contribute to the promotion of positivity and peaceful during such times.

As Bob Marley sang: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” But, sometimes when it hits you; you feel the power behind the message instead. When looking at the state of Mu 1society today, things are just not the same. Music should bring people together despite their differences. Any genre of music can communicate messages to society, but because of the violence currently being experienced in Baltimore, I am going to place my focus on rap music. Rap music in the United States is dominant and very influential; but it all comes down to how rappers use this influence. My previous article on Hip Hop, black violence and racism expressed the idea that rappers should use their platforms to communicate and raise awareness about important issues in society. Well, my brothers and sisters of Hip Hop, things are looking good.

Following the death of Freddie Gray, who was in police custody when he suddenly passed, the people of Baltimore, and predominantly young black men,mu 2 began rioting in an attempt to determine what exactly caused Gray’s death. This kind of behaviour is not really surprising considering more and more incidents involving police brutality in the United States are emerging. However, our brothers in the Hip Hop industry really showed some love and urged citizens to take care of Baltimore instead of continuing to destroy it. Lupe Fiasco dedicated his, “It just might be okay,” video to Baltimore as a way of inspiring the people to stop rioting. Fiasco, one of the most socially-conscious rappers, inspired the people of Baltimore to be hopeful in this music video, from his 2006 album, titled: “Food and Liquor”. Wale also personally met with Baltimore students and urged them to stay together despite the violent events that were taking place.

mu 3What these socially-conscious rappers did is a clear example of how rap artists should use their fame to positively affect society. Music has an enormous influence on the lives of people and it can also shape how people perceive or understand certain issues in society. For example, this can be seen in the way people try to imitate and become gangsters because rappers are informing them of how gangsters behave. It can also be seen in the way people dress and speak. In short, music is power exercised in a very simplistic fashion; but it has a greater effect. This is the very same reason as to why when it hits you, you feel no pain.

The rap artists who dedicated music to and visited Baltimore greatly impacted the citizens and encouraged them to act peacefully. This is something that needs to be promoted not only in Baltimore; but also in other communities and countries caught up in the middle of violence. These acts of positive and peaceful promotion should open up possibilities to shape social discourses and also inspire other rappers to start touching on important issues. Music should help free people who are stuck in a tangled web of hatred and violence. Thanks to influential figures, such as Wale and Fiasco, I am hopeful for the end, or at least decline of, violent events taking place in Baltimore. I also hope that there will be change for the citizens of Baltimore and that justice will be served. My brothers and sisters of Hip Hop, I leave you with Lupe Fiasco’s message: “Revolution is hope for the hopeless”.

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27th Apr2015

Special Edition: Xenophobia

by admin

Today we are changing things up a bit with our first exPress imPress Special Edition for the 2015 blog year. Special Editions differ slightly from our regular exPress imPress editions, as there is one common topic that flows throughout all the articles as opposed to various different themes. The writers from our blog team who write for Special Editions are free to interpret certain topics in any way they choose to, incorporating their own personal ideas and opinions about such topics accordingly.

The return of xenophobic violence in South Africa has been dominating news headlines for the past several weeks. As these attacks are a topic on most people’s minds in South Africa, we at exPress imPress have put together a Special Edition based on just that. Here we see each of the writers writing about xenophobia from their own personal points of view.

Writers for this week’s Special Edition include: Fred Mwirumubi, Chuene Raphunga, Bongi Sesane, Sandiswe Sondzaba and Manuel Mafakane.

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We hope you enjoy our new blog team’s first Special Edition!

See you again next week,

Jess

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.

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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.

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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.

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