Summer break in December and January brought a much needed pause in the unrest at South Africa’s universities. Protests have been continuous here since March 9, 2015, when students demanded the removal of the statue of the British colonizer Cecil John Rhodes from the campus of the University of Cape Town, where I work.
Seen as the symbol of a colonial past, the Rhodes statue found few defenders and was soon removed. The Rhodes Must Fall movement turned into Fees Must Fall, which besieged Parliament and brought a welcome reduction in tuition.
Black college students outnumber white students four to one and now are a majority on the best-funded campuses.… Seguir leyendo »
The 34 miners killed by the police earlier this month in a wildcat strike at a Marikana platinum mine, in northern South Africa, were immediately engaged as bit players in various morality tales. Marikana reminded some of the 1960 police massacre at Sharpeville; suggested to others that poverty and division had survived apartheid; or foretold a sharp confrontation between capital and labor. To many, it either predicted or confirmed the political and moral disintegration of the ruling party, the African National Congress.
I hesitated in choosing among these fables because a writer’s single item of professional knowledge is that a story is a speculation about the world, composed under the sign of luck rather than of law or reason.… Seguir leyendo »