Race and South Africa… the more things change…

IMG_4257Since receiving my teaching award, I have been lucky enough to be invited to attend conferences and universities all over the world… it is an amazing experience and I have never felt so lucky.

 

My most recent travel was to South Africa to visit University of Witwatersand, Johannesburg (known as Wits) and Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

 

Before going to South Africa I must say I knew little about the country apart from some of the history of apartheid. The country has such is a rich a complex history with apartheid only one of many significant chapters. I found the country and the many people I met to be inspiring and hopeful, though much of what is happening is also heart-breaking.

 

In response, I did what I usually do when I try and make sense of the things that I see… I wrote an article in collaboration with Dr Nicky Falkof who is based at Wits.  What I found was that apartheid might be over, but racial categorisation continues in South Africa. So after 20 years since the (official) end of apartheid, race still colours almost every national conversation . As an outsider, I found this confronting. Even polite dinner discussions raise all sorts of questions about white economic privilege, affirmative action policies, guilt, responsibility, retribution and blame. You can read the article here…

I want to thank the many people that hosted me… I was lucky enough to run a lecture with the inspiring Dr David Hornsby; be informed about the history of the Johannesburg and its surrounds by Dr Kelly Gillespie and Leigh-Ann Naidoo; and get a number of history lessons over many a glass of wine at Rhodes with Dr Andrea Garman.

 

I should also mention that David Hornsby, Professor Ruksana Osman and I are aiming to collaborate on a project around pedagogical approaches to large class teaching.   David and Ruksana have a book coming out and we are also hoping to have our work published in an upcoming special issue… so watch this place!

 

It is an amazing place… try and get there…..

 

PS: Yes, I did take that photo…. wow!

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