April 18, 2015

OPEN STELLENBOSCH 4 – Note on Student Grievances with Language Policy

Filed under: politics,stellenbosched — ABRAXAS @ 4:16 pm

18 April 2015

From the outset, Open Stellenbosch has made it clear that our aim is not an attack on the Afrikaans language per se, but to highlight the problematic ways in which Afrikaans is used at Stellenbosch University to marginalise and exclude students, especially, many black students. Before we address the minutiae of the Language Policy, it will be important to mention form the outset that our primary concern is with the teleological imperative of the policy, the very purpose of it, rather than its technocratic machinations.

The Language Policy of SU functions to position Afrikaans language and culture as subjected to vulnerability. It is therefore the duty of the policy to ‘protect’ this language, not only as a means of communication, but also as a site of cultural production. It is for this reason that we ought to interrogate the rhetoric of the Language Policy in order to trace in it the apartheid nostalgia that undergirds its very existence. It states in its aims and overview that it is, first and foremost, “committed to the use, safeguarding and sustained development of Afrikaans as an academic language in a multilingual context” (pg 2). This function runs in tandem with the aim to “increase teaching offerings in English” (pg 2). In addition, the Policy “acknowledge[s] language diversity and promote[s] accessibility for staff and students” (pg 2). However, the application of this policy is done through a “pragmatic” (pg 2) approach, which takes into account the resources for “support mechanisms”. We are persuaded to think that the intended aim is to develop ‘multilingualism’, or the loaded term, ‘language diversity’. But the giveaway, as we see it, lies in the defensive rhetoric that seeks to preserve a certain sense of power which is predicated on white privilege and cultural hegemony. And so, the term “safeguard” is used throughout the policy to somehow suggest that Afrikaans – as a historical entity, as a communication tool, as a socio-spacial culture – is under attack. The resultant logic is that the Policy will be its defender.

Interestingly, the Policy is framed in patriarchal rhetoric which feminises SU by referring to the institution and “her partners” (5), thereby turning it into a feminine object of protection, a protection to be carried out by the white male university council. What we have, in this instance, is a discursive strategy that attempts to reconfigure whiteness as actually disadvantageous and not beneficial in post-apartheid South Africa. It is no wonder that many white SU students argue, as they are known to have argued on many platforms, that whiteness in South Africa has become a liability and that they sought refuge in Stellenbosch, the last bastion of a form of Afrikaner nationalism. The suggestion conveyed by the Policy is, in the first instance, a flagging of the possibility that white Afrikaners are increasingly becoming an “unprotected” minority in the country. This idea stems from the view that whiteness generally considers the slate as having been wiped cleaned by the new dispensation and political reforms that have come into place in a post-apartheid context. We have also noted that the proposition from these students often involves an argument that states is that even talking about race is itself racist, since we ought to see people for their individuality rather than as members of a collective group.

This is precisely what we are fighting, and it has been noted even by Vice Chancellors at other universities, including the Rhodes VC Dr Sizwe Mabizela, former VC of Rhodes and now Director of the Mellon Foundation Dr Saleem Badat, and even, however inchoate, Dr Max Price. We call for our own VC to face up to this structural racism, by firstly addressing the very foundations of the Language Policy, and not merely the procedural modifications about teaching and translating. It is the very process of translating that presumes Afrikaans as the normative code, to which every other non-speaker, generally ‘non-white’, is expected to adhere. The Rector at the University of the Free State noted in connection with the passing of the former VC, Russel Botman, that:
“Some of the historically white Afrikaans universities have a perfect alibi for not transforming – Afrikaans. When the Potchefstroom campus of North West University or the University of Stellenbosch is pushed to enroll more black students, they take refuge in language rights protected by the constitution. Somebody must tell these campus leaders that in the wake of our horrific racist past, white-dominant campuses in this country are morally unacceptable, demographically unjust and educationally dangerous. Afrikaans as a language is vital to our multilingual democracy, and must expand, but as the handmaiden of social justice, not racial exclusion” [1] (para. 11).

It should by now be clear, or shall become clearer as we proceed, that the language question at Stellenbosch is indeed the mechanism through which systemic segregation functions at SU. Having dealt with some of the problematic foundations of this Policy and SU, we can endeavour to explore the intricacies and how they operate in the classroom. The foremost way in which the current language policy marginalises students is by negatively affecting the academic performance of non-Afrikaans speaking students. Many students struggle to understand the content of lessons because they are excluded through the use of Afrikaans in lectures. The interpretation devices given to non-Afrikaans speaking students are inefficient, inaudible and often do not work. They also make students feel uncomfortable, highlighting their status as “those who do not belong” at this university. There are lecturers at this university who refuse to teach or answer questions in English. Non-Afrikaans speaking students are excluded by having to constantly ask their peers for help in understanding the language used in class, distracting them from the underlying academic content. The result is that many non-Afrikaans speaking students come out of lectures feeling as though they have only understood half of the lesson. Secondly, we highlight the obvious impracticality for lecturers of having to teach in two languages at once. One sentence Afrikaans, one sentence English. We ask, how can this possibly translate into a fluent transferal of ideas to students? Lecturers in the movement have emphasized the pedagogical short sightedness in terms of the language policy, and how it translates into the teaching experience.
In residences the marginalisation of especially black students is most evident. Many residence meetings are conducted exclusively in Afrikaans and this feeds into some of the racist traditions which permeate many of the more traditionally Afrikaner residences. Many black students feel they cannot contribute to the Residence experience because they cannot speak Afrikaans. The same can be said about student departmental leadership positions. Following on from this, the language policy directly discriminates against non-Afrikaans speaking students and lecturers by denying them access to other opportunities on campus, such as having Afrikaans as a condition for employment.

We call attention to the clear links between language and white supremacy on this campus. Leadership positions and teaching positions disproportionately favour white, Afrikaans speaking males and we find this highly problematic. Secondly, the unchanged labelling of the department “Afrikaans-Nederlands” denies other important roots of the language, and perpetuates the Afrikaner- nationalist portrayal of the language as of exclusively European origin. Finally we ask, why, at a public institution of higher learning, should paying students be discriminated against on the basis of language? Surely, no student should have to learn Afrikaans – as well as the cultural conscription it demands – simply in order to be visible in the institution. It is for this reason that we insist that at this campus, language is used to divide, exclude and marginalise and therefore we are calling for the discontinuation of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction at Stellenbosch University.

[1] Jansen’s article is clear. Racism at SU is incubated in the language policy. The suggestion in his critical piece, Who killed Russel Botman?, is that the language policy as well as the role play by Afrikaans print media was central to the stress and resultant death of the late VC. It is true, also, as evidenced by the report in Die Burger, which sought to quell any Afrikaaner fears about an ‘uprising’ by referring to our mass gathering as ‘orderly’.


Open Stellenbosch
openstellenbosch@gmail.com | Facebook: Open Stellenbosch | Twitter: @openstellies

soiled sinema reviews sylvia kristel, jaren later

Filed under: kaganof short films,kerkhof short films,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 4:00 pm


6 april 2015

Filed under: Greyton 7233 — ABRAXAS @ 8:33 am


vincent brummer awarded the andrew murray prize for theology

Filed under: kagaportraits,stellenbosched — ABRAXAS @ 8:24 am

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first published here: http://stias.ac.za/news/2015/04/vincent-brummer-awarded-the-andrew-murray-prize-for-theology/

April 17, 2015

crimethinc on the ongoing militarization of the police

Filed under: politics — ABRAXAS @ 5:58 pm

It should have come as no surprise yesterday when the grand jury in St. Louis refused to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who murdered Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Missouri. Various politicians and media outlets had labored to prepare the public for this for months in advance. They knew what earnest liberals and community leaders have yet to acknowledge: that it is only possible to preserve the prevailing social order by giving police officers carte blanche to kill black men at will. Otherwise, it would be impossible to maintain the racial and economic inequalities that are fundamental to this society. In defiance of widespread outrage, even at the cost of looting and arson, the legal system will always protect officers from the consequences of their actions—for without them, it could not exist.

The verdict of the grand jury is not a failure of the justice system, but a lesson in what it is there to do in the first place. Likewise, the unrest radiating from Ferguson is not a tragic failure to channel protest into productive venues, but an indication of the form all future social movements will have to take to stand any chance of addressing the problems that give rise to them.

A profit-driven economy creates ever-widening gulfs between the rich and the poor. Ever since slavery, this situation has been stabilized by the invention of white privilege—a bribe to discourage poor white people from establishing common interests with poor people of color. But the more imbalances there are in a society—racial, economic, and otherwise—the more force it takes to impose them.

Marikana Sarabande from African Noise Foundation on Vimeo.

This explains the militarization of the police. It’s not just a way to sustain the profitability of the military-industrial complex beyond the end of the Cold War. Just as it has been necessary to deploy troops around the world to secure the raw materials that keep the economy afloat, it is becoming necessary to deploy troops in the US to preserve the unequal distribution of resources at home. Just as the austerity measures pioneered by the IMF in Africa, Asia, and South America are appearing in the wealthiest nations of the first world, the techniques of threat management and counter-insurgency that were debuted against Palestinians, Afghanis, and Iraqis are now being turned against the populations of the countries that invaded them. Private military contactors who operated in Peshawar are now working in Ferguson, alongside tanks that rolled through Baghdad. For the time being, this is limited to the poorest, blackest neighborhoods; but what seems exceptional in Ferguson today will be commonplace around the country tomorrow.

This also explains why struggles against the police have taken center stage in the popular imagination over the past decade. The police are the front line of capitalism and racism in every fight. You might never see the CEO who profits on fracking your water supply, but you’ll see the police who break up your protest against him. You might not meet the bank director or landlord who forces you out, but you will see the sheriff who comes to repossess your home or evict you. As a black person, you might never enter the gated communities of the ones who benefit most from white privilege, but you will encounter the overtly racist officers who profile, bully, and arrest you.

The civil rights struggles of two generations ago have become struggles against the police: today, a black man can become president, but he’s exponentially more likely to be murdered by an officer of the law. The workers’ struggles of a generation ago have become struggles against the police: in place of steady employment, a population rendered expendable by globalization and automation can only be integrated into the functioning of the economy at gunpoint. What bosses once were to workers, police are to the precarious and unemployed.

In view of all this, it is not surprising that police violence has been the catalyst for most of the major movements, uprisings, and revolutions of the past several years:

The riots that shook Greece in December 2008, ushering in an era of worldwide anti-austerity resistance, were sparked by the police murder of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

In Oakland, the riots in response to the police murder of Oscar Grant at the opening of 2009 set the stage for the Bay Area to host the high-water mark of Occupy and several other movements.

The day of protest that sparked the Egyptian revolution of 2011 was scheduled for National Police Day, January 25, by the Facebook page We Are All Khaled Said, which memorialized another young man killed by police.

Occupy Wall Street didn’t gain traction until footage of police attacks circulated in late September 2011.

The police eviction of Occupy Oakland, in which officers fractured the skull of Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, brought the Occupy movement to its peak, provoking the blockade of the Port of Oakland.

In 2013, the fare hike protests in Brazil and the Gezi Resistance in Turkey both metastasized from small single-issue protests to massive uprisings as a result of clumsy police repression.

The same thing happened in Eastern Europe, setting off the Ukrainian revolution at the end of 2013 and sparking the Bosnian uprising of February 2014.

Other cities around the US have witnessed a series of intensifying rebellions against police murders, peaking with the revolt in Ferguson following the murder of Michael Brown.

It isn’t just that the police are called in to repress every movement as soon as it poses any threat to the prevailing distribution of power (although that remains as true as ever). Rather, repression itself has been producing the flashpoints of revolt.

The police cannot rule by brute force alone. They can’t be everywhere at once—and they are drawn from the same social body they repress, so their conflicts with that body cannot be concluded by purely military means. Even more than force, they need public legitimacy and the appearance of invincibility. Wherever it’s hard for them to count on one of these, they’re careful to exaggerate the other. When they lose both, as they have in all of the previously described movements, a window of possibility opens—a Tahrir or Taksim Square, an Occupy encampment or building occupation, the occupied QT in Ferguson last August—in which it becomes possible to imagine a world without the boundaries and power imbalances they enforce. This window remains open until the police are able to reestablish their facade of invulnerability and either delegitimize the kind of force it takes to confront them, à la Chris Hedges, or else relegitimize policing itself.

Such relegitimization can take many forms. In Occupy, it took the form of rhetoric about the police being part of the 99% (which could just as easily have been said of the Ku Klux Klan). In Egypt, people overthrew several governments in a row only to see the police and military resume the same function again and again, each time relegitimized by the regime change; it turned out the problem was the infrastructure of policing itself, not a particular administration. In the Ukrainian revolution, when the police were successfully defeated, the same self-defense forces that had just routed them took over their role, performing it identically. Calls for “community self-policing” may sound innocuous, but we should recall the white vigilante groups that roamed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Policing, in practically every form we can imagine it, is bound to perpetuate racism and inequality. It would be better to talk about how to do away with the factors that give rise to our supposed need for it in the first place.

In protests against the killing of Michael Brown, relegitimizing the police has taken the form of demands for police accountability, for citizens’ review boards, for police to wear cameras—as if more surveillance could possibly be a good thing for those too poor to survive within the law in the first place. It is naïve to present demands to authorities that regard the police as essential and see us as expendable. This can only reinforce their legitimacy and our passivity, fostering a class of go-betweens who build up personal power in return for defusing opposition. We should be grateful to the demonstrators in Ferguson who refused to be passive last night, rejecting representation and false dialogue at great personal risk, refusing to water down their rage.

For the only possible way out of this mess is to develop the ability to wield power on our own terms, horizontally and autonomously, stripping the police of legitimacy and shattering the illusion that they are invincible. This has been the common thread between practically all the significant movements of the past several years. If we learn how to do this, we can set our own agenda, discouraging the authorities from taking the lives of young men like Michael Brown and opening up a space in which they cannot enforce the structural inequalities of a racist society. Until we do, we can be sure that the police will go on killing—and no prosecutor or grand jury will stop them.

first published here: http://crimethinc.com/texts/r/bluefuse/

lee scratch perry – hold on death

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 1:27 pm

nagmusiek wins uj debut prize, muller: “trots”

Filed under: literature,stephanus muller — ABRAXAS @ 12:20 pm


the fragment’s revenge on the discourse

Filed under: kaganof short films — ABRAXAS @ 12:14 pm

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open stellenbosch 3

Filed under: politics,stellenbosched — ABRAXAS @ 11:54 am

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open stellenbosch 2

Filed under: politics,stellenbosched — ABRAXAS @ 11:51 am

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open stellenbosch

Filed under: politics,stellenbosched — ABRAXAS @ 11:43 am

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vagina selfies on trial

Filed under: art,censorship — ABRAXAS @ 11:17 am

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keep reading this article here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/15/japanese-artist-trial-vagina-selfies

April 16, 2015

apocalypse i

Filed under: gustao zea,ruins — ABRAXAS @ 5:05 pm


jessie cohen reviews stacy hardy’s because the night

Filed under: literature,reviews,stacy hardy — ABRAXAS @ 4:40 pm


keep reading this review here: http://mg.co.za/article/2015-04-07-stories-that-push-the-boundaries-of-the-female-experience

de enge knijperman en de ondersteboven vrouw

Filed under: kerkhof short films — ABRAXAS @ 4:21 pm


thank you matthew whoolery for sending me the link to this image, much appreciated


Filed under: ian martin,literature — ABRAXAS @ 4:04 pm

Uncle Aubrey Witherspoon wasn’t a relative at all, but became an abiding presence in my life. It was when I was at a most impressionable age, almost sixteen, that he confided his story to me after having sworn me to lifelong secrecy.

Early January, in 1948, he received a call from the famous female explorer, Lady Felicity Murgatroyd, requesting him to accompany her expedition up the Zambezi in re-enactment of Livingstone’s 1858 journey. “Reacted with enthusiasm.” I can still hear his la-di-dah, eminently mockable accent. “Since boyhood I had yearned to visit darkest Africa and experience for myself the steamy fecundity of the tropics. And Africa was an entomologist’s paradise – you do know my field of speciality was the Diptera, don’t you?”

I have revisited his story so many times it’s like playing back an old tape recording.

“This was no tin-pot affair. No bundu-bashing escapade undertaken by a ragtag of amateur adventurers.” No, Lady Felicity was a formidable woman universally respected as an anthropologist and author, as well as an intrepid leader in the face of physical hardship. “Tough, dour and sustained by a puritanical sense of Christian duty and propriety.

Terrifying.” The scientific team consisted of Lady M, a botanist, a zoologist, and an entomologist. There was also a doctor, an engineer, a photographer, and two Rhodesian guides. And various lesser mortals like scouts, guards, cooks and porters. Fifty-two persons in all.

“The moment I was introduced to Miss Gladys Entwhistle, I began to fall in love. At the same time I was dismayed to learn the identity of the zoologist, a horrid little Welshman who bore me a grudge from our undergraduate days at London University. I didn’t realise it at first, but to fall in love with a botanist in the presence of a hostile zoologist is a terrible predicament to find oneself in.”

For three weeks they steamed slowly upstream. The great river was grey-green and greasy in appearance, hippopotami lolled in their path and the banks were strewn with basking crocodiles. They passed naked savages in dugouts, at night they heard Simba coughing in the jungle, the sunsets were bloodred, the symphony of nocturnal insects was Wagnerian in volume.

“I was too besotted to take much notice of what was unfolding.”

He chose to ignore the dark looks from the zoologist and the increasing frequency of his consultations with the leader. He pooh-poohed the warning found nailed to the wheelhouse door one morning.

“‘Morality’ and ‘devotion to duty’, indeed! Don’t worry your pretty head about this sanctimonious virago,’ I told her. ‘She’s probably suffering from a tropical disease, or something. Our love is our own affair, and besides, no-one could be working harder than we are.’ ”

The trap was a crudely simple one. Again the boat had run aground on a sandbank and they had pitched camp on shore. The servants had cleared away the evening meal, the fire had died down and the members of the expedition had retired to their tents. There was no moon. Not five minutes after the entomologist had slipped into the botanist’s tent, the photographer, a Scotsman with restless, venial eyes, set up his equipment and went to help the zoologist. Between them they carried a crate to the canvass flap. The photographer retreated to his camera, the zoologist opened the crate and three young specimens of the Crocodylidae family slithered into the tent. The photographer did not have long to wait.

“In flagrante delicto, I’m afraid. Don’t know whether I was more embarrassed or angry. The poor girl.”

She had screamed, he had shouted a great oath, and they had both catapulted themselves outward into the night. As they stood upright there was a flash of light and then the camp awoke in uproar.

“Damn good snap, actually. Caught us just at the right moment. Adam and Eve expelled from the garden – in this case, the tent. In the photograph her hands are vainly attempting to hide her nakedness, her head is turned, looking back in terror, her lips parted, her eyes wild. I am caught, slightly ahead of her, also with head turned. On my face is an expression of angry puzzlement. Would have been quite arty, if not for my state of tumescence, which transformed it all into nothing but tawdry pornography.”

When the paddle steamer went on its way once more it was without the disgraced couple. Ignominiously, they had been left standing on the bank, their personal effects in a pathetic heap at their feet, sullenly watching the vessel chug from sight as it rounded a forested bend. By means of dugout they reached the village of Tete, a day and a half downstream. From Tete they were fortunate to find a truck leaving for Rhodesia. An interminable, bone-jarring trip through the bush, it was. Across the border at Cuchumana and then the two hundred mile journey to Salisbury.


Initially they found the Colonial Experience a surprisingly amenable one. Their version of events was accepted, and soon they had found positions. But three months later the scandal broke. The Murgatroyd Expedition had returned to London and the grisly story, photograph attached, was soon doing the rounds. First Witherspoon and then his fiancée were called on to defend themselves, and then came the inevitable letters of dismissal.

She was pregnant. Her family wrote to chastise and disown her. Without witnesses they were married by an irritable magistrate who got both their names wrong. No reception, no honeymoon. When he was offered the position of Pest Control Officer with the Midlands Agricultural Co-operative he counted himself fortunate.

Gwelo was a small town about halfway between Salisbury and Bulawayo, situated in featureless countryside and serving a widespread farming community. East of the town lay a tract of Government land earmarked for future growth. It was an unworked wasteland of barren veld dotted with acacia thorn. From the Umvuma Road a track led in for three miles to the only habitation, the old farmstead. On hearing that this house was available, without rent, to a responsible party, merely in order to maintain a European presence, he agreed to take occupation.

The months passed, her tears dried up, and she became ever more silent, ever more absent. He realised they were descending into a kind of vortex at the centre of which lay a sour, stifling blackness.

When her time came he was preparing to leave for work. Her bag had been packed and ready for a week. They locked the house and, as fast as he dared, set off for Gwelo. At the maternity home he left her and hurried to the co-op to arrange with his deputy the work for the day. Not an hour had elapsed before he once more pulled up in front of the hospital. In that short time the baby had been delivered. Stillborn.


Despite her unswerving intention the first attempt proved unsuccessful. In the hateful, dingy bathroom with its lime-green oilpaint and sagging, stained ceiling, she sat on the cement floor against the wall with an enamel bowl of blood at her side. Her eyes were black and impenetrable like the bottom of the vortex.

“The second time she made a proper job of it.”

I remember the flat, matter-of-fact way he said it.

After finding her he spent the night sitting in the front room, the pressure lamp burning, the curtains undrawn. When the sun rose he went to the outbuilding and pushed open the big door. It swung halfway and scraped to a halt on the concrete floor. She was still hanging there. How could it be otherwise? The air stirred and a swirl of dust moved in, faltered and lay still. He entered and a rat scurried for cover behind the rusting hammer mill. She had attached the rope to the tie beam of the central truss, the stepladder lay on its side. The short drop had not been sufficient to break her neck; instead it was the slip noose that had strangled her. Her canvass takkies pointed downward as if saying, Look, only nine inches to go. Her shoulders were hunched forward and her arms dangled loosely. With the back of his fingers he felt her cold flesh and she gave an inch and swung back; half an inch and back.
For most of the day he sat on the veranda looking out through the mosquito wire, thinking of her hanging from the beam. As the hours passed anxiety began to build in him. He had to do something. Already it was going to be difficult explaining why he had not reported this last night. They had been so innocent and yet their lives had been ruined so quickly. Unreality surrounded him and he felt utterly alone in an empty, forsaken world. Yet the idea had begun to form and the conviction was growing as his nervousness increased. He had to do something and it had to be something that could at least partially justify or atone for this squandering of her life. She had been a scientist and an agnostic, unsentimental and fundamentally utilitarian. She would have approved.

It was easier to undress her where she hung. When she was stripped he positioned the ladder behind her and, with considerable difficulty, loosened the rope and took her down. Out in the hot sun he walked the hundred yards to the run and was sweating and out of breath when he lowered her to the ground. Bent double he backed in, dragging her after him, his hands in her armpits. In the middle of the chicken run she lay full length on her back amidst the dried-out weeds whilst he opened her abdominal cavity with a deep longitudinal incision from sternum to below the umbilicus. Then he turned her over, positioning her left arm behind her and her right arm crooked upward. Gently he prised open her jaws.

“As I stood up I was gratified to notice the arrival of the first blow flies, whose green metallic glint meant they were of the Lucidiae genus. I closed the gate and went back to the house for my notebook and bush hat.”

He spent seven months observing the decomposition of his wife and collecting the data upon which his career as forensic entomologist was to be built. In due course he discovered she was to be visited by a succession of four categories of insect. The first was that comprising the primary biodegraders whose purpose it was to recycle the bulk of organic matter. The second category consisted of parasites and predators that fed on the larvae of the first category. The third category specialised in the consumption of exudates, while the fourth category performed no function at all, merely looking and then moving on. The blow flies were by far the most industrious and brought about rapid change in the early stages. Ants assisted the flies by day, eating through the epidermis and causing lesions that could be used by the flies to gain access to the body. By night the smaller rodents assisted by gnawing the flesh from the extremities, thus providing further access. The family of hide-and-skin beetles known as Dermistidae took over from the flies when Mrs Witherspoon began to dry out.

“Finally came the Trox beetles, family Trogidae. If one can ever say finally. The process goes on, to dust and beyond. But certainly the last horde of bulk degraders arrived in the form of the Trox beetles, which specialised in the recycling of hair. It was time to conclude the field study. The notes I packed in a suitcase and my specimens, hundreds of them, all labelled, I placed in trunks. This was my magnum opus. As for Gladys, I gathered together what was left of her, coaxed the old hammer mill into life, and kibbled her into a coarse meal to be dispersed in the open veld.”


At sixteen I was thrilled by the cold logic of his story and overawed at his ability to salvage something from the tragedy that had befallen him.

“But just a word of caution, dear boy. It is possible, you know, that at some future date you might return to a subject, like this one, and find that the perspectives have shifted. What you find acceptable now might, in five years’ time, be totally untenable. Nothing’s ever cut and dried, you know.”

How right he was. It was only much later, after some trials of my own; that it began to dawn on me that what he had done was monstrous. I was appalled, not only by his behaviour, but at mine. How was it that I had failed to respond with the appropriate human feelings? Over the years this question has tormented me from time to time, like a recurring abscess. And the sharp pain made up of self-doubt, guilt and shame has been intensified by the addition of something that amounts to a feeling of humiliation. Was I duped into believing a cock and bull story? There is no way of telling, but I feel a sense of uneasiness whenever I think of his lurid description of the Zambezi. Had he used all those clichés as an intentional signpost to warn me of what he was up to? And, if so, why had my suspicions not been aroused?

Well, he has been dead for a long time now and there is no way of proving or disproving the veracity of his account. Besides, what difference would it make? Nothing is going to change that essential part of my nature that his story, true or not, has uncovered and laid bare.

malema allowed to blame anc for marikana

Filed under: 2014 - Marikana Symphony — ABRAXAS @ 2:33 pm

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first published here: http://ewn.co.za/2015/04/15/Malema-officially-allowed-to-blame-ANC-for-Marikana-massacre

black souls in white skins? – by steve biko

Filed under: andile mngxitama,politics — ABRAXAS @ 1:57 pm

Basically the South African white community is a homogeneous community. It is a community of people who sit to enjoy a privileged position that they do not deserve, are aware of this, and therefore spend their time trying to justify why they are doing so. Where differences in political opinion exist, they are in the process of trying to justify their position of privilege and their usurpation of power.

With their theory of “separate freedoms for the various nations in the multinational state of South Africa” the Nationalists have gone a long way towards giving most of white South Africa some sort of moral explanation for what is happening. Everyone is quite content to point out that these people -meaning the blacks -will be free when they are ready to run their own affairs in their own areas. What more could they possibly hope for?

But these are not the people we are concerned with. We are concerned with that curious bunch of nonconformists who explain their participation in negative terms: that bunch of do-gooders that goes under all sorts of names -liberals, leftists etc. These are the people who argue that they are not responsible for white racism and the country’s “inhumanity to the black man”. These are the people who claim that they too feel the oppression just as acutely as the blacks and therefore should be jointly involved in the black man’s struggle for a place under the sun. In short, these are the people who say that they have black souls wrapped up in white skins.

The role of the white liberal in the black man’s history in South Africa is a curious one. Very few black organisations were not under white direction. True to their image, the white liberals always knew what was good for the blacks and told them so. The wonder of it all is that the black people have believed in them for so long. It was only at the end of the 50s that the blacks started demanding to be their own guardians.

Nowhere is the arrogance of the liberal ideology demonstrated so well as in their insistence that the problems of the country can only be solved by a bilateral approach involving both black and white. This has, by and large, come to be taken in all seriousness as the modus operandi in South Africa by all those who claim they would like a change in the status quo. Hence the multiracial political organisations and parties and the “nonracial” student organisations, all of which insist on integration not only as an end goal but also as a means.

The integration they talk about is first of all artificial in that it is a response to conscious manoeuvre rather than to the dictates of the inner soul. In other words the people forming the integrated complex have been extracted from various segregated societies with their in- built complexes of superiority and inferiority and these continue to manifest themselves even in the “nonracial” set-up of the integrated complex. As a result the integration so achieved is a one-way course, with the whites doing all the talking and the blacks the listening. Let me hasten to say that I am not claiming that segregation is necessarily the natural order; however, given the facts of the situation where a group experiences privilege at the expense of others, then it becomes obvious that a hastily arranged integration cannot be the solution to the problem. It is rather like expecting the slave to work together with the slave-master’s son to remove all the conditions leading to the former’s enslavement. Secondly, this type of integration as a means is almost always unproductive. The participants waste lots of time in an internal sort of mudslinging designed to prove that A is more of a liberal than B. In other words the lack of common ground for solid identification is all the time manifested in internal strifes inside the group.

It will not sound anachronistic to anybody genuinely interested in real integration to learn that blacks are asserting themselves in a society where they are being treated as perpetual under-16s. One does not need to plan for or actively encourage real integration. Once the various groups within a given community have asserted themselves to the point that mutual respect has to be shown then you have the ingredients for a true and meaningful integration. At the heart of true integration is the provision for each man, each group to rise and attain the envisioned self. Each group must be able to attain its style of existence without encroaching on or being thwarted by another. Out of this mutual respect for each other and complete freedom of self-determination there will obviously arise a genuine fusion of the life-styles of the various groups. This is true integration.

From this it becomes clear that as long as blacks are suffering from inferiority complex -a result of 300 years of deliberate oppression, denigration and derision -they will be useless as co-architects of a normal society where man is nothing else but man for his own sake. Hence what is necessary as a prelude to anything else that may come is a very strong grass-roots build-up of black consciousness such that blacks can learn to assert themselves and stake their rightful claim.

Thus in adopting the line of a nonracial approach, the liberals are playing their old game. They are claiming a “monopoly on intelligence and moral judgement” and setting the pattern and pace for the realisation of the black man’s aspirations. They want to remain in good books with both the black and white worlds. They want to shy away from all forms of “extremisms”, condemning “white supremacy” as being just as bad as “Black Power!”. They vacillate be- tween the two worlds, verbalising all the complaints of the blacks beautifully while skillfully extracting what suits them from the exclusive pool of white privileges. But ask them for a moment to give a concrete meaningful programme that they intend adopting, then you will see on whose side they really are. Their protests are directed at and appeal to white conscience, everything they do is directed at finally convincing the white electorate that the black man is also a man and that at some future date he should be given a place at the white man’s table.

The myth of integration as propounded under the banner of liberal ideology must be cracked and killed because it makes people believe that something is being done when in actual fact the artificial integrated circles are a soporific on the blacks and provide a vague satisfaction for the guilty-stricken whites. It works on a false premise that because it is difficult to bring people from different races together in this country, therefore achievement of this is in itself a step forward towards the total liberation of the blacks. Nothing could be more irrelevant and therefore misleading. Those who believe in it are living in a fool’s paradise.

First the black-white circles are almost always a creation of white liberals. As a testimony to their claim of complete identification with the blacks, they call a few “intelligent and articulate” blacks to “come around for tea at home”, where all present ask each other the same old hackneyed question “how can we bring about change in South Africa?” The more such tea-parties one calls the more of a liberal he is and the freer he shall feel from the guilt that harnesses and binds his conscience. Hence he moves around his white circles – whites-only hotels, beaches, restaurants and cinemas -with a lighter load, feeling that he is not like the rest of the others. Yet at the back of his mind is a constant reminder that he is quite comfortable as things stand and therefore should not bother about change. Although he does not vote for the Nats (now that they are in the majority anyway), he feels quite secure under the protection offered by the Nats and subconsciously shuns the idea of a change. This is what demarcates the liberal from the black world. The liberals view the oppression of blacks as a problem that has to be solved, an eye sore spoiling an otherwise beautiful view. From time to time the liberals make themselves forget about the problem or take their eyes off the eyesore. On the other hand, in oppression the blacks are experiencing a situation from which they are unable to escape at any given moment. Theirs is a struggle to get out of the situation and not merely to solve a peripheral problem as in the case of the liberals. This is why blacks speak with a greater sense of urgency than whites’.

A game at which the liberals have become masters is that of deliberate evasiveness. The question often comes up “what can I do?”. If you ask him to do something like stopping to use segregated facilities or dropping out of varsity to work at menial jobs like all blacks or defying and denouncing all provisions that make him privileged, you always get the answer -”but that’s unrealistic!”. While this may be true, it only serves to illustrate the fact that no matter what a white man does, the colour of his skin -his passport to privilege -will always put him miles ahead of the black man. Thus in the ultimate analysis no white person can escape being part of the oppressor camp.

“~here exists among men, because they are men, a solidarity through which each shares responsibility for every injustice and every wrong committed in the world, and especially for crimes that are committed in his presence or of which he cannot be ignorant”.

This description of “metaphysical guilt” explains adequately that white racism “is only possible because whites are indifferent to suffering and patient with cruelty” meted out to the black man. Instead of involving themselves in an all-out attempt to stamp out racism from their white society ,liberals waste lots of time trying to prove to as many blacks as they can find that they are liberal. This arises out of the false belief that we are faced with a black problem. There is nothing the matter with blacks. The problem is WHITE RACISM and it rests squarely on the laps of the white society. The sooner the liberals realise this the better for us blacks. Their presence amongst us is irksome and of nuisance value. It removes the focus of attention from essentials and shifts it to ill-defined philosophical concepts that are both irrelevant to the black man and merely a red herring across the track. White liberals must leave blacks to take care of their own business while they concern themselves with the real evil in our society-white racism.

Secondly, the black-white mixed circles are static circles with neither direction nor programme. The same questions are asked and the same naivete exhibited in answering them. The real concern of the group is to keep the group going rather than being useful. In this sort of set-up one sees a perfect example of what oppression has done to the blacks. They have been made to feel inferior for so long that for them it is comforting to drink tea, wine or beer with whites who seem to treat them as equals. This serves to boost up their own ego to the extent of making them feel slightly superior to those blacks who do not get similar treatment from whites. These are the sort of blacks who are a danger to the community.

Instead of directing themselves at their black brothers and looking at their common problems from a common platform they choose to sing out their lamentations to an apparently sympathetic audience that has become proficient in saying the chorus of “shame!”. These dull-witted, self-centred blacks are in the ultimate analysis as guilty of the arrest of progress as their white friends for it is from such groups that the theory of gradualism emanates and this is what keeps the blacks confused and always hoping that one day God will step down from heaven to solve their problems. It is people from such groups who keep on scanning the papers daily to detect any sign of the change they patiently await without working for. When Helen Suzman’s* majority is increased by a couple of thousands, this is regarded as a major milestone in the “inevitable change”. Nobody looks at the other side of the coin -the large-scale removals of Afri- cans from the urban areas or the impending zoning of places like Grey Street in Durban and a myriad of other manifestations of change for the worse.

Does this mean that I am against integration? If by integration you understand a breakthrough into white society by blacks, an assimilation and acceptance of blacks into an already established set of norms and code of behaviour set up by and maintained by whites, then YES I am against it. I am against the superior-inferior white- black stratification that makes the white a perpetual teacher and the black a perpetual pupil (and a poor one at that). I am against the intellectual arrogance of white people that makes them believe that white leadership is a sine qua non in this country and that whites are the divinely appointed pace-setters in progress. I am against the fact that a settler minority should impose an entire system of values on an indigenous people.

If on the other hand by integration you mean there shall be free participation by all members of a society, catering for the full expression of the self in a freely changing society as determined by the will of the people, then I am with you. For one cannot escape the fact that the culture shared by the majority group in any given society must ultimately determine the broad direction taken by the joint culture of that society. This need not cramp the style of those who feel differently but on the whole, a country in Africa, in which the majority of the people are African must inevitably exhibit African values and be truly African in style.

What of the claim that the blacks are becoming racists? This is a favourite pastime of frustrated liberals who feel their trusteeship. At that time, and for many years, the only Progressive Party MP. Editor’s note. ground being washed off from under their feet. These self-appointed trustees of black interests boast of years of experience in their fight for the ‘rights of the blacks’. They have been doing things for blacks, on behalf of blacks, and because of blacks. When the blacks announce that the time has come for them to do things for themselves and all by themselves all white liberals shout blue murder!

“Hey, you can’t do that. You’re being a racist. You’re falling into their trap.” Apparently it’s alright with the liberals as long as you remain caught by their trap. Those who know, define racism as discrimination by a group against another for the purposes of subjugation or maintaining subjugation. In other words one cannot be a racist unless he has the power to subjugate. What blacks are doing is merely to respond to a situation in which they find themselves the objects of white racism. We are in the position in which we are because of our skin. We are collectively segregated against -what can be more logical than for us to respond as a group? When workers come together under the auspices of a trade union to strive for the betterment of their conditions, nobody expresses surprise in the Western world. It is the done thing. Nobody accuses them of separatist tendencies. Teachers fight their battles, garbagemen do the same, nobody acts as a trustee for another. Somehow, however, when blacks want to do their thing the liberal establishment seems to detect an anomaly. This is in fact a counter-anomaly. The anomaly was there in the first instance when the liberals were presumptuous enough to think that it behoved them to fight the battleforthe blacks.

The liberal must understand that the days of the Noble Savage are gone; that the blacks do not need a go-between in this struggle for their own emancipation. No true liberal should feel any resentment at the growth of black consciousness. Rather, all true liberals should realise that the place for their fight for justice is within their white society. The liberals must realise that they themselves are oppressed if they are true liberals and therefore they must fight for their own freedom and not that of the nebulous “they” with whom they can hardly claim identification. The liberal must apply himself with absolute dedication to the idea of educating his white brothers that the history of the country may have to be rewritten at some stage and that we may live in “a country where colour will not serve to put a man in a box”. The.blacks have heard enough of this. In other words, the Liberal must serve as a lubricating material so that as we change gears in trying to find a better direction for South Africa, there should be no grinding noises of metal against metal but a free and easy flowing movement which will be characteristic of a well-looked -after vehicle.

Frank Talk

By Stephen Biko

first published on the web here: http://www.blackstate.com/sbiko1.html

on the foreskin

Filed under: circumcision,niklas zimmer — ABRAXAS @ 12:49 pm

Screen shot 2015-04-16 at 12.47.49 PM

keep reading this article here: http://madsciencewriter.blogspot.in/2013/05/the-foreskin-why-is-it-such-secret-in.html?m=1

a kiss for an ex

Filed under: kagapoems — ABRAXAS @ 12:41 pm

my blessing and curse
it was all too much
but i got to hold
you at least for
one messing of
all we had
in us and any
way babe regret’s
not our kind of thing
my blessing and curse
i’m glad that you’re
well i can see from
the kindness in
yoour smile
that you
me well


Filed under: kagapoems — ABRAXAS @ 11:25 am

the rest of the lyrics i don’t remember
it was joni mitchell doing a cover
of a manhattan transfer song
if i remember correctly
please forgive me if
i don’t remember
what you told
me when
you told
you told me when you did.
Shall I sing that again?
Sheik Yerbouti was
the title of an in
fluential Zappa
album (well at
the very least
influential on ME.
That album had a very
big influence on me. Hey
there people I’m Bobby Brown


Filed under: kagapoems — ABRAXAS @ 11:24 am

It has become a crime
to write a poem in
a foreign lang
uage. If
a poem
in a language other
than your own you will
be invaded by poem police
and your rhymes will all be con
to reacted
they were
all pretending
to be happy
they were
of pretending
to be happy
in an entirely
project that was
not their own.
Hence and


Filed under: kagapoems — ABRAXAS @ 11:22 am

Soon everyone will hate you
But that doesn’t matter, you’ve
got your bunker. Soon your name
will be changed to Tyrant but that
doesn’t matter, you’ve got your head
phones on anyway and if they shout
too loudly you’ll have off with their
heads again. That’s what things
are coming to babe. Why not
drop the pretending for a
moment and realise
that you’ve got
this one chance
while you’re alive
THING and apologize


Filed under: kagapoems — ABRAXAS @ 11:21 am

Sorry about the roses
I had not time to
do the roses
when i
out of your
garden and
taken down
to the field beyond
the valley below where
i was doused in petrol and
set fire to. It didn’t last much
longer than an hour Your Majesty
before my final screams died down.
Oh yes and please accept my
apologies, I’m sorry about
your Roses.


Filed under: kagapoems — ABRAXAS @ 11:20 am

You will find me in the garden if you want me
You will find me in the garden on my own
First I sent off all the foreign born to the newly built death camps
Then I sentenced those born here before 1994 to the death camps
Then I sent all those born here after 1994 to the death camps
Then I sentenced my own family to the death camps
Then I sentenced the executioner and my own army
To the death camps
Now I’m on my own
You will find me in the garden if you want me
You will find me in the garden on my own

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