Africa

Nadine Gordimer died at her home, aged 90 on July 14 2014. EPA/Alejandro Ernesto

The passing of Nadine Gordimer is a tremendous loss, both to South Africa and to the literary world. For me, and others who knew her, it will also be an enormous personal loss.

There is a growing authoritarian impulse in South Africa, including among some student activists. Mark Wessells/Reuters

The death on June 25 2016 of Adam Small, the South African Black Consciousness activist, Afrikaans poet and revered academic, was not unexpected. In the twilight of his years, in his public interactions, he came across as alert but increasingly frail, often teary-eyed.

Protesters allied to South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) have been on a rampage following a fallout over the party’s choice of a mayoral candidate for the Tshwane metropole, which includes the administrative capital Pretoria.

Frank Mukhaswakule Primary at Mashau village in Vuwani, Limpopo, was burnt down by protesters. Worldwide, attacks against schools and hospitals take place four times a day. Picture: SOWETAN

What exactly has gone wrong since 1994? What was done and not done, and who did or did not do it, that has left South Africa in the mess it is in in 2016?

We are academics raised and educated in various parts of the world, and now living and working in South Africa. The predicaments of its higher education landscape and society mark our work and thought.

Last month, the Harvard Art Museums reopened, and with them another addition to Harvard’s museum landscape: the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art, which will host rotating exhibitions of American, European, and other black art traditions.

Universities are any nation’s key public institutions of knowledge development. They drive research, teach students and supervise postgraduates.

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