Africa

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

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

Professor Ben Turok, now 92 years old, was an ANC member of Parliament in South Africa for 20 years.

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.

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.

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.

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 striki

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:

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.

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.

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.

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