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Proudly South African: ESSA, DULLAH, AND US (Zubieda Jaffer) by By Dr Allan Boesak, 7 July 2019

8 July 2019

Honourable Judge Siraj Desai and the Board of the District Six Museum,

Family of Essa and Dullah, Friends, Brothers and Sisters:

What a privilege and honour to join you today in rejoicing in the life and work of two such remarkable and outstanding South Africans, in life friends to all of us gathered here this afternoon: Dullah Omar and Essa Moosa. And what an entirely proper, and absolutely well-deserved gesture from the District Six Museum. Thank you!

Democracy and the left in post-apartheid South Africa (Mail & Guardian) by Ben Turok 08 July 2019

8 July 2019

Professor Ben Turok, now 92 years old, was an ANC member of Parliament in South Africa for 20 years. Turok is the sole surviving member of the original underground leadership of the South African Communist Party, which he joined in the late 1950s and from which he was expelled in 1976, while in exile, after a dispute over dispersing funds to a trade unionist in South Africa.

Evolution of ANC economic policy sheds light on squabble over the central bank (The Conversation) by Vishnu Padayachee, Imraan Valodia & Robert van Niekerk, 3 July 2019

4 July 2019

The recent squabble over the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank has very little to do with real economic policies. It is rather emblematic of the intensely polarised levels of political distrust that currently exists within the African National Congress (ANC), the governing party. Compounding the problem is the lack of any coherent grand vision from the post-apartheid leadership of the ANC about the road they wish South Africa to embark on.

Xolobeni — The mine, the murder and the DG (amaBhungane) by Sam Sole, 30 June 2019

2 July 2019

Some stories intersect at many levels.

Such is the saga of Xolobeni, the unique coastal region across the Eastern Cape border from the town of Port Edward, southern KwaZulu-Natal.

It is a story about the struggle between mining and conservation, between local autonomy and the determination of distant politicians and bureaucrats that they know better – that stripping the dunes at Xolobeni for heavy minerals will mean “development”, which justifies ignoring local pleas for a gentler path based on agriculture and tourism.

The Maasai legend behind ancient hominin footprints in Tanzania (The Conversation) by Elgidius Ichumbaki & Marco Cherin, 26 June 2019

27 June 2019

In 1976 paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey and other scientists reported that they’d found ancient hominin footprints at a site in Laetoli, northeastern Tanzania. The footprints were frozen in volcanic deposits from the Pliocene, an epoch that lasted from 5.333 million to 2.58 million years ago. The team hypothesised that the footprints belonged to an extinct hominin species famously known as Lucy. The species’ scientific name is Australopithecus afarensis.

Marx and the Dutch East India Company ( Historical Materialism) by Pepijn Brandon, 13 June 2019

26 June 2019

In the final part of Capital, Volume I on “the so-called original accumulation”, Marx gives a dazzling overview of the often violent historical phenomena that contributed to the birth of the capitalist system, “dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.” Particularly striking to a historian of Dutch capitalism and colonialism like myself, is the special attention that Marx gives to Dutch colonial violence in Indonesia as an illustration of this general process. This choice of material is of more than just parochial interest.

Why South Africa Can’t Avoid Land Reforms by Mahmood Mamdani, 17 June 2019

20 June 2019

In 1996, while I was teaching at the University of Cape Town, I was invited by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be an in-house critic at a town hall it had organized. A member of the largely black African audience told this story:

“Tom and John were neighbors. One day Tom stole John’s bicycle. They did not speak for years until the day Tom extended his hand to John and said, ‘Let us reconcile.’

“‘What about my bicycle?’ John asked.

“‘Forget the bicycle,’ Tom said. ‘Let it not stand between us.’”

Unsung Heroes of 16 June 1976: Events leading up to the massacre and the teachers and parents who tried to stop it (Daily Maverick) by Marianne Thamm, 18 June 2019

18 June 2019

In 1968, almost eight years before the 1976 student uprisings against the enforcement of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in township schools, the Broederbond, a secret Afrikaner society, resolved to “Afrikanerise” the black majority.

By the time 1976 rolled around, black parents, teachers, school boards and residents’ associations had tried in vain for at least two years to meet and consult with government officials to warn of the devastating effects of the instruction to teach, in Afrikaans, half of the subjects taught at township schools.

Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out (The Guardian) by Yanis Varoufakis, 20 April 2018

4 June 2019

or a manifesto to succeed, it must speak to our hearts like a poem while infecting the mind with images and ideas that are dazzlingly new. It needs to open our eyes to the true causes of the bewildering, disturbing, exciting changes occurring around us, exposing the possibilities with which our current reality is pregnant. It should make us feel hopelessly inadequate for not having recognised these truths ourselves, and it must lift the curtain on the unsettling realisation that we have been acting as petty accomplices, reproducing a dead-end past.

No, Your Kid Couldn't Paint That: A 101 Guide To Appreciating Abstract Expressionism (Artspace) by Artspace Editors, 23 May 2019

29 May 2019

Whether you’ve visited your local museological establishment to escape the mounting heat or to get some much-needed culture, you may find yourself wondering exactly how the paintings on the wall got there, or, more specifically, why they’re good in the first place. What makes work, well, work? And... what’s with all the drippy bits?