In her own words: Mam'Winnie as she was; not as I was taught about her

I have been rewatching the documentary about Mam'Winnie's life, WinnieI am still stunned about what happened to Mam’Winnie in the wake of the new South Africa, the Rainbow Nation. Moreover, I am even more aware of the power of propaganda which successfully hid Mam’Winnie’s voice and intellect from public discourse; even in the new South Africa. 

Lalela: Zimamele — a place for listening to yourself

Ndingangakhe ndisithele Kwimpazamo zonke Ndibe nemizuzu ndedwa ekuthandazeni
I didn’t know how to write about Lalela and my experience of visiting this place until I read a chapter from bell hook’s Belonging: a culture of place. My friend and her partner live on a farm in Magaliesburg. They named the farm Lalela and opened it up for friends to visit and experience life differently from city life. I have been here for almost three weeks and I came with the sole purpose of finding some peace and quiet. And I have experienced it in abundance.
In her chapter “Touching the earth” bell reflects on the relationship she has with the earth. I had read this essay when I first read the book but the essay reads differently now that I have experienced what bell writes about beyond the initial reading and understanding. Here are a few extracts from the essay which resonate with what I have experienced at Lalela as well as what has emerged in the conversations I’ve had with other people who have been a…

'Tis the season for reflecting

2017 is almost over and I made the decision to end 2017 and begin 2018 with a sort of retreat. I write this while in Magaliesburg at a farm called Lalela (I'll write a long post about it at the end of the experience). I could have gone to India but instead I felt I needed to stop and rest (being a tourist in India would not have been stopping nor restful). I've had quite a busy year: I started a new job in January, I registered for a PhD, I’ve been attending conferences and speaking at public events more than ever, I decided to support a friend to start a school in January 2018 amongst a litany of other experiences which were both public and private. Like many people; it's been a year. 

The end of the year is always a time of much flurry with end of year celebrations, holidays, family time etc. By choosing to literally retreat from all the end of year buzz means I have three weeks of nature, good food, good company and lots of time to think and reflect. While 'tis the s…

C is for culture. C is for civilisation. C is for colonialism

I’m currently reading Robert Young’s Colonial desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race and I’ve been taking pictures of interesting excerpts which are making me rethink culture. Thus far (I’m still reading the book) I’m beginning to wonder how Africans thought about difference amongst different groups of people before the catastrophe of Western/European colonialism.
These thoughts have led me back to Prof Archie Mafeje’s paper The ideology of tribalism where he makes an argument questioning the origins of the word tribe and how it came to be accepted that ‘tribalism’ is a part of the African experience (in anthropology in particular). He begins the paper with the statement: Few authors have been able to write on Africa without making constant reference to 'tribalism'. This suggests that tribalism has become to be an essential part of how we describe Africa and make sense of the differences amongst different people in Africa. Mafeje continues by posing the questions: Could t…