Abstracts: Interdisciplinary conference on brown identity at the Beyers Naudé Centre

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The Pale Skin of the Kat – James Read Jnr
Camilla Boisen and Christopher Allsobrook
University of Johannesburg and St Augustine College, Johannesburg

Christopher Allsobrook (MA Rhodes, 2005; DPhil Sussex, 2010) was born and raised in Port Elizabeth. His doctoral thesis addressed epistemological and ethical normative problems of justification for ideological and genealogical social criticism, drawing primarily on the work of Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault and Raymond Geuss.

Camilla Boisen (MA Copenhagen; MSc Econ, PhD Cardiff, 2009). Her main research interests include colonial political thought, history of political thought, humanitarian intervention, just war theory, natural rights, human rights, the political thought of (among others) Vitoria, Grotius, Pufendorf and Burke.

Our study of the ambiguous legacy of trusteeship ideology within the rubric of a politics of resistance focuses on a decisive, historically significant break with missionary integrationism with the Kat River Rebellion in the Eastern Cape in the mid-19th century. The tragic situation of the colonial loyalist Kat River settler the Rev James Read Jnr is the point of entry for our exploration of this significant evolution in the language of imperial political legitimacy. British officials were genuinely surprised that clear measures of civilisational progress among coloureds could fail to restrain such swift reversion to barbarity. Amongst the Kat River settlers, both loyalty to and rebellion against the Crown were equally justified by British universalist ideals. Our exploration of James Read’s awkward evangelical elision of this historic incorporation of difference uncovers systematic forces of power and ideology that continue to haunt democratic independence after apartheid.

Liberating Identifications: Being Black Conscious, Being Non-Racial, Being African
Nico A Botha
University of South Africa, Pretoria

Nico A Botha is Professor in Missiology at the University of South Africa and serves as a tent-making minister in the United Reformed Church of South Africa, Middelburg-Nazareth. As an academic citizen he serves as the general secretary of Southern African Missiological Society and as an executive member of the International Association for Mission Studies.

The objective of the paper is to show the liberating potential of a non-essentialist hermeneutic of identity. The simultaneity in the embodiment of black consciousness, non-racialism and an African consciousness is worked out by illustrating in narrative style people’s gravitation from one consciousness to another. A further issue is to show that in a creative tension between diverse ideological positions their liberating potential is reinforced rather than weakened. Also, that these positions are therefore not mutually exclusive, but since they are socio-historical constructs, the need for a contextual prioritisation may arise from time to time. An attempt is made at showing the need for some measure of integration between the three in the current state of the South African nation. Finally, a proposal is made on the necessary discourse between the three positions and the academic discipline of theology. The argument is advanced that new modes of liberation theology can strengthen black consciousness, non-racialism and an African consciousness.

Neville Alexander: The Struggle for National Unity and Political Trust in Post-apartheid South Africa
Michael Cloete
University of South Africa, Pretoria

Michael Cloete completed postgraduate degrees at the Universities of the Western Cape, Duquesne and Stellenbosch. He was a Fulbright Scholar and is currently the Discipline leader for philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, Systematic and Practical Theology at the University of South Africa. His research interests include philosophical discourses in African and Western modernity.

Neville Alexander’s political philosophy is strongly focused on the historical possibility of political unity beyond the divisive legacy of racialised patterns of identity of South African apartheid society. In his analysis of the liberation struggle Alexander emphasised a Marxist approach of class conflict without devaluing the historical complexity of the “politics of race”. The apparent failure of post-apartheid South Africa to find a common (normative) frame of reference (or “shared consensus”) capable of providing legitimate solidarity among all of those who live in it – including the victims of xenophobia – beyond historically reified conceptions of “race”, “culture” and “language” betrays an incapacity for political trust. This state of affairs has been exacerbated by the problematic appropriation of Eurocentric models of multicultural diversity as the normative framework for determining the path towards national unity. Alexander’s political philosophy represents an important alternative to the ideology of “rainbow cultural-nationalism”. In this paper I reflect critically on the significance of that alternative in the struggle for unity (in diversity) and trust (in adversity).

A Historical Overview of the Contribution of the African People’s Organisation towards Sport, 1909–21
Francois Cleophas
Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Francois Cleophas teaches sport history at Stellenbosch University. His PhD dissertation is entitled “Physical Education and Physical Culture in the Coloured Community of the Western Cape, 1837-1966” (Stellenbosch University, 2009).

Organised sport in South Africa emerged in the late 19th century with Victorian trappings of race, class and gender. The first major 20th-century black political organisation, the African Political Organisation (later African People’s Organisation, APO) devoted some attention to sport and its leaders were visible in clubs, provincial and national sports bodies. Its propaganda organ, The African People’s Organisation (APO) devoted considerable attention to sport. It carried sports reports from the major South African centres, but also remote rural parts of the country. By means of a sport-historical analysis of the APO historians are able to map the genesis of sports clubs and controlling bodies among a section of historically politically marginalised South African communities. This study forms part of a work in progress that aims to investigate the historical path of South African sport from its coloured-liberal roots to a non-racial weapon in an arsenal against segregation and apartheid and finally as part of a capitalist neoliberal agency.

Intellectual Historical Life Narratives: A Pedagogy for Contextual Theology
GE Dames
University of South Africa, Pretoria

Gordon Dames (DTh, Western Cape, 1999) is a senior lecturer in practical theology in the School of Humanities, University of South Africa. He has published widely on ethical leadership and leadership of reflective practitioners. He is the secretary of the Society for Practical Theology in South Africa.

This paper focuses on the intellectual historical agency of leaders in a specific socio-political context. The lived spiritual transformational experiences and decisions of leaders at the interface of historical hegemonic and contemporary socio-political conditions will be explored. The qualitative life narrative research methodology will be applied to address two questions: How did decisions influence and construct liberational praxes, and what do post-apartheid leaders envision for a new kind of humanity? The outline of this paper consists of the following facets: First, a historical and contemporary contextual description illuminates the background for the study. Second, the principles of life narrative research are applied. Third, five examples of the intellectual agency of leaders are outlined. Fourth, crafting similar, yet different applied liberation praxes to address post-apartheid challenges in search of a new kind of humanity in the 21st century; and finally to conclude the paper.

Ndumiso Dladla
University of South Africa, Pretoria

Ndumiso Dladla teaches philosophy at the University of South Africa. He previously published on coloniality and education and has an interest in African philosophy, the philosophy of liberation, hermeneutics and poetics. His current research concerns philosophy and racism.

According to the theories of white supremacy, blacks are located at the nadir end of an ontological hierarchy in which whites are at the zenith and the “rest of the ‘races’” in between according to their proximity to the poles. This suggests that “coloured” people contain both the “good blood” which in terms of this logic is requisite for humanity proper as well as the “bad blood” which places them in the class of Untermenschen, depending on the specific raciology. We examine the existential paradox in which the “coloured” may benefit from her “good blood”, that is to enjoy white supremacy and the ontological superiority (to the black) that it promises only upon the condition that she also accepts her inferiority to whites. The only way in which the coloured person can pursue true liberation is by a complete rejection of white supremacy, which practically means the total assumption of the existential position(ality) of the black person.

“Non-racialism”: A History of the Idea
Zimitri Erasmus
University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Zimitri Erasmus (PhD, Nijmegen, The Netherlands) recently joined Sociology at Wits after fifteen years at UCT. Her recent publications have two foci: expanding theories of creolisation for British Colonial Africa and questioning the continued use of apartheid race categories. She is passionate about building anti-racist praxis.

In this address I offer a conception of non-racialist thought as local conversations about, with and against global power/knowledge dynamics; and of its politics as “local effects of global power relations” (Manzo 1992). Three 20th-century processes emerge as central to a history of the idea of non-racialism: Pan-Africanism, black leftist thought, and the outcome of the Cold War. I show Pan-Africanist principles as central to the idea of non-racialism; black leftist thought as the cauldron for this idea - a key contribution from South African scholars and activists to this tradition; and the Cold War and its outcome as key to its marginalisation. This approach locates “non-racialism” globally, highlights local conditions that shaped its unfolding inflections, and sheds light on its marginality in contemporary South African politics. This recuperative history invites ways this idea might be productively rearticulated in the present.

Apophasis: Repetition without Alteration
Grant Farred
Cornell University, Ithaca, USA

Grant Farred teaches at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA. His previous works include Midfielder's Moment: Coloured Literature and Culture in Contemporary South Africa (Westview Press, 1999) and What's My Name? Black Vernacular Intellectuals (University of Minnesota Press, 2003). His forthcoming books are In Motion, At Rest: The Event of the Athletic Body (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) and Conciliation (Temple University Press, 2015). His new project is entitled "Figure of Thought: Jacques Derrida, Maghrebian Intellectual".

"Something is understood with regard to something else, it is taken together with it, so that this confrontation that understands, interprets, and articulates, at the same time takes apart what has been put together" (Martin Heidegger, Being and Time).

This presentation depends upon, and is therefore made vulnerable by, the troubling invocation of the apophatic because the project here is to imagine how it might be possible to speak of the "intellectual traditions", to think their "histories", only through insinuation, only through its putative naming. "Apophasis" is exercised by how to understand these specific traditions, these cherished, burdened, valued and under erasure "traditions" with "regard to something else": What does it mean to think a "tradition", especially when it cannot be proposed without "confrontation", without the a priori act of "taking it apart" in order both to figure a reassembly and to ask how this being-toward-thinking that militates against reconstitution and compels thought, thought provoked by "Intellectual Traditions". What does it mean to begin this thinking haunted by "something else", that something that draws one away from precisely that which asks for another, a further, a first, even, thinking? What if all that apophasis does demand a speaking of that "something else", that "something" that haunts every tradition, every history? Is any thinking possible without the thinking of what troubles not because it is removed but because it is, has always been, at hand, that which is presumed to be known or thought toward – "Towards histories"? How are we to arrive there?

The Contribution of the Teachers’ League of South Africa (TLSA) to the Non-Racial Schools’ Sports Movement in the Western Cape, 1956–94
Paul Hendricks
Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town

Paul Hendricks is a postdoctoral fellow at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. His PhD focuses on non-collaboration and the Teachers’ League of South Africa (TLSA) in the Western Cape, 1990–2003. It forms part of a wider research project that explores resistance in education and the uncovering of alternative education discourses and practices.

My contribution examines the Teachers’ League of South Africa’s (TLSA’s) tenets of non-racialism and non-collaboration within the Western Province Senior Schools’ Sports Union (WPSSSU) and Western Province Primary Schools’ Sports Board (WPPSSB) from the mid-1950s. It traces the influence of TLSA teachers within this mass-based schools sports movement as they sought to counter the apartheid regime’s ideology in sport, education and broader society. To contextualise the development of the TLSA’s ideas within the movement, the article adopts an historical approach. Based on interviews with TLSA members and teacher activists, documentary material of the non-racial sports movement, the TLSA and its umbrella body, the Unity Movement (UM), the article gives a voice to these distinct pedagogical and social agents. Lastly, it interrogates the notion that the WPSSSU and WPPSSB’s non-racialism and Double Standards Resolution - a version of non-collaboration – were central to their demise in the early 1990s.

Battling the Rainbow
Henry Jeffreys
Independent journalist, Cape Town

Henry Jeffreys is a former editor of Die Burger and founding editor of The New Age. He is a former chairperson of the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) and the 2004–2005 South African Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, USA. He is currently completing an MPhil in futures studies at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. He works as an independent journalist and political analyst.

One of the most surprising outcomes of South Africa's political transition from apartheid to a constitutional democracy was the extent to which the old National Party secured the support of voters in especially the coloured communities of the Western Cape in the first democratic elections in 1994. This strange phenomenon of an oppressed people getting a real chance to freely elect a government and then opting for the former oppressor, speaks to the heart of the South African conundrum of identity and community, our ability to come together as a nation true to the adage enshrined in our national creed of unity in diversity. As a nation we talk the talk of unity and display signs of it, mainly on the sports field (and then only when we win!). If truth be told, we are still making a mess of realising Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s noble vision of a united “rainbow nation” and a society at peace with its diverse identities and communities.

Make the circle bigger: Old papsak in new wine skins and the need for alternative discourses of “otherness” or the rantings of a “Cape Cloure”?
Johnathan Jodamus
University of South Africa, Pretoria

Johnathan Jodamus lectures at the University of South Africa in the Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies while finalising the editing of his PhD dissertation in religious studies (University of Cape Town). His research interests include gender and sexuality/sexualities, gender criticism, identity theory, socio-rhetorical criticism and Pauline literature.

In this paper I aim to tangentially question and critique the racial classification and profiling that is endemic to our South African context. This is attempted by engaging my own sense of bodiliness, habitus and positionality to sound the call for alternative discourses of queering and subversion of institutionalised ideological systems that seek to limit identity constructions into fixed stereotypes, premised on the assumption that such race-centric discursive practices are essential and innate to identity formation.

Hybridity and the Quest for Maximalistic Identities in Pluralistic Societies?
Nico Koopman
Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Nico Koopman is the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University and Director of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology.

The paper will argue that an ethic of hybridity paves the way for the development of maximalistic identities. Hybridity refers to the mingling of people, to the life in proximity of a diversity of people, to the exposure to and participation in the life of the other, to life with porous boundaries, to life of openness to the other, to life with a variety of lenses. This exposure to the other advances the notions of public sympathy, public empathy and public interpathy. Hybridic life as life with many lenses helps us to develop liberating maximalistic identities and to be freed from oppressive minimalistic identities. Maximalistic identities imply that I still have a particular identity, but due to my exposure to the other I am more than that particular identity. The exposure to the other does not leave me unchanged. I also embody something of the other to whom I am exposed. Maximalistic identities that develop through hybridic living provide the knowledge, values and skills that help us to deal with complexity in pluralistic societies. Coloured communities have a wealth of such narratives of maximalistic identities.

KhoiSan Identity in South Africa
Francisco Mackenzie
Institute for the Restoration of the Aboriginals of South Africa (IRASA), Cape Town

The quest for identity (and the resultant “Who am I?”) is an integral part of our humanity – individually as well as collectively. It undeniably has an impact on our spiritual and physical existence. This paper adopts a critical approach towards dealing with the perennial question of identity. It will address the issue of identity generally and KhoiSan identity specifically. In essence, the pursuit of identity is the journey into the “self”. Factors such as culture, religion, language, education, history and law dynamically interact and form part of this reality. Therefore the South African social reality is linked to the pursuit of identity. KhoiSan identity is no exception. Thus, both the inward (spiritual realm) and outward (physical reality) influence identity formation, together with the customs and traditions. In this case it’s the KhoiSan. Given the limitations of this paper fairly broad strokes will be applied, and I hope the matter will be coloured in during our deliberations. The intention of this paper is to broaden the discussion of identity, but also to deepen our better understanding of KhoiSan identity in South Africa.

“Colouredness” in Today’s South Africa: The William Pescod High School Experience and a Perspective from the Bench
Steven A Majiedt
Supreme Court of Appeal, Bloemfontein

Steven A Majiedt has been a Judge of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein since 2010, having been appointed to the Bench as a High Court Judge in Kimberley in 2000. He is also Deputy Chairperson of the Rules Board for Courts of Law and Deputy Chairperson of the Judicial Case Flow Management Committee under the auspices of the Chief Justice.

My presentation is made in my personal capacity. It reflects generally on the conundrum of a “coloured” epithet in a society intended by the Constitution to be, inter alia, non-racial. A particular perspective concerns the remarkable non-racial and non-collaboration history of the school where I and a number of other leading South Africans matriculated, namely William Pescod High School in Kimberley, which turns 125 this year. I will place that history in the broader context of the Northern Cape where, unlike in the Western Cape experience, the “coloured” majority voted the leading liberation party into power in 1994 and returned it to power with a larger, overwhelming majority in the next general election. Finally, my presentation will deal briefly with the race issue in judicial appointments and an examination of how the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has dealt with this thorny issue.

The Social, Environmental and Ideological Impact on “coloured” Identity
Basil Manning
United Congregational Church of Southern Africa

The Rev Basil Manning studied at FedSem and completed his postgraduate studies at King’s College, London, while in exile for 25 years. His ministry in South Africa today continues to focus on justice (racial, gender, economic) as it did in the United Kingdom and Botswana. He is currently President of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.

My paper will focus primarily on my adult reflections on my early childhood experiences and the impact of interactions with others up to standard 10 (grade 12) and how these formative relationships impacted on my “coloured” identity. The latter part of my paper will focus on how my involvement in struggle politics compelled me to shape a new identity which embraced the reality of my blackness in apartheid South Africa: becoming part of the “solution / the future” rather than part of the “problem”. Regarding the social impact the paper will focus on growing up in a predominantly “Black” area until the advent of the Group Areas Act, which then declared the township a “Coloured” area. With respect to the environmental impact I will focus on the images I received from the environment and how those shaped my identity. Critical in this section is the reinforcement and pervasiveness of images in the environment which drew me away from “blackness” and closer to “whiteness”. It will also comment on how I developed an “in-between” identity. Thirdly, I shall comment on the seductiveness of the ideology of white superiority and how the “Invisibility of (albeit in gradations) privilege” in resources, law, services and opportunities fed my separate “coloured” identity. It will also focus on Orthodox Christianity and how the images of worship and Biblical interpretation shaped my “amper wit” (“nearly white”) identity. The concluding part will focus on my struggle history and the challenges which that raised for my “coloured” identity, especially through exposure to Black Consciousness, Black and Liberation Theology, and my embrace of blackness as a good creation of God, moving away from self-degradation/self-hate which sought a near-to-white self-definition in the apartheid-imposed identity of “Coloured”.

Brown Consciousness - The Road to Freedom
Peter Marais
Bruin Bemagtigingsbeweging (BBB), Cape Town

Peter Marais is a retired politician. He served in various government capacities before 1994, inter alia as a New National Party delegate to the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) to end apartheid. From 1994 to 2000 he served as MEC in the Western Cape Legislature. In 2000 he won the elections as Cape Town’s first unicity mayor for the Democratic Alliance. In 2001 he became Premier of the Western Cape. He currently serves as secretary-general of the civic organisation Bruin Bemagtigingsbeweging (BBB, Coloured Empowerment Movement).

"I know exactly who I am because I know who my father was. I also know what I am because the mirror does not lie. It is just a pity that nobody ever asked me who I was. “Pretoria has decided” and Pretoria was always “right”. Even the courts agreed with Pretoria then, as it also does now. Peter Marais is a Cape Coloured finish and klaar. I am the sum of God’s creation: the United Nations condensed and squashed into a bottle, and well shaken. The end product is never the same, yet easily recognisable and known as Man. Adam Small wrote, “Die Here het geskommel/ en die dice het verkeerd geval vi’ ons/ daai’s maar al.” I agree with Adam Small, for it did not matter how many times the dice were rolled, it always landed White side up. Nowadays it always falls Black side up. For us nothing has changed."

I Know Myself
Debra Meyer
University of Pretoria, Pretoria

Debra Meyer is a professor of biochemistry with a publication record in HIV/AIDS research and the dichotomy of “being coloured”.

Studies on identity invariably draw on linguistic evidence in the form of life stories, narratives, oral traditions etc. Using a personal narrative to inform rather than explain how I am as coloured as I am black; my mother tongue more than my skin colour defines who I am. My name and first language, combined with my skin colour in this country, beg explanation (by the observer), especially since coming of age in the “ethnically safe” environment of a historical township. Because what I sound like does not match my skin, the most common identity question I field daily is, “Why do you speak Afrikaans so well?” My surprise at their surprise at my existence in post-apartheid rainbow land necessitates my involvement in a new revolution for the right to define myself and be judged on the content of my character rather than racial boundaries.

Screening Culture, Tweeting Politics
Viola C Milton
University of South Africa, Pretoria

Viola C Milton is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Science at the University of South Africa. Her recent journal publications report on research into television culture in South Africa, focusing specifically on health matters and issues of identity. She recently co-edited New Voices over the Air: The Transformation of the South African Broadcasting Corporation in a changing South Africa (Hampton Press, 2012).

7de Laan, a South African soap opera flighted on the public service broadcasting channel SABC2, professes to be a multicultural soap opera, paying reverence to the diverse cultural, ethnic and linguistic make-up of South Africa. In previous work I have argued that the soap opera presents a utopian view of community and citizenship in contemporary South Africa. Building on that observation this paper explores audience engagement with 7de Laan’s utopian construction of South African citizenship through the social networking site Twitter. It examines the ways in which a group of audience members negotiate and reflect on issues of representation on 7de Laan through the Twitter hashtag #7delaan, arguing that Twitter provides a platform for viewer fans engaged in a love/hate relationship with television to “bamboozle back”. My primary interest in the #7delaan community is therefore not only centred on what the community members tweet, but more so how their tweets frame the soap opera and their perceptions of it and to try to understand what these discourses might reveal about their perceptions of place, race and citizenship in contemporary South Africa.

Religion as an Identity Maker, Then and Now: A Reflection on the South African Context
Itumeleng Daniel Mothoagae
University of South Africa, Pretoria

Itumeleng Daniel Mothoagae teaches courses in New Testament and Early Christian Studies in the Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa. His research interests include Black Liberation Theology, race and identity. He currently leads a research project, “Voice of the Voiceless”, on the issues that affect Africans on the continent and of the Diaspora.

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye of service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men. (Ephesians 5:5-7)

One of the functions that religion has served and continues to serve is to be an identity maker. In South Africa the arrival of the Dutch in the Cape brought about a new kind of religion and that was Christianity. Christianity played two fundamental roles, namely colonisation and slavery. It is important to note that both were achieved through religion. Furthermore, the Bible “as the Word of God” was a tool by which one’s own identity was measured and determined in the name of God and religion. It is for this reason that South Africa 18 years into democracy continues to be characterised by racial differentiation, racial classification. In this paper I will argue that religion as a vehicle of imperialism is an identity maker in a country that has for over 300 years been characterised by racial discrimination. I will further discuss that for one to deconstruct racial barriers, it is imperative for one first to deconstruct the constructed identity that is founded on religion and qualified by the Bible. A conclusion will be drawn from the above, as well as future challenges.

Identity, Blackness, Autobiography, Writing and Publishing - A Personal Encounter
Robert J Pearce
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth

Robert Pearce is a director (university librarian) of the NMMU Library and Information Services. He has been a member of the South African Academy of Science since 2007 and serves, inter alia, on the Board of the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn. As a musician and dramatist he has written seventeen plays.

As a person who regularly speaks in public or on the radio I often get confronted with the identity issue: How do you classify yourself? What do you fill in under “race” on official forms? To answer the last question first: Nothing. As someone who sees himself as a citizen of the world, I can safely say that I belong to the human race. There are some of my friends who shout loudly that they are “Coloured” with a Capital “C”, or Brown People or Black, or Baster, Khoi, San, White, Portuguese, etc. I accept that, as long as they accept my origin and classification: GISA – to spell it out: G = Griqua (paternal grandmother) = Jaftha; I = Irish (paternal grandfather) = Pearce; Sotho = (maternal grandfather) = surname unknown (my mother, her sister and brothers were baptised Erasmus; A = Afrikaner (maternal grandmother) = Erasmus. Is that too much to ask, to be called GISA? Or is it too difficult for the race-indoctrinated to understand? And that’s just one side of my family ... There’s a personal story to tell.

The Intellectual and the Challenge of Truthfulness: Openness to Truth
Mogobe B Ramose
University of South Africa, Pretoria

Mogobe B Ramose is professor extraordinarius in philosophy at the University of South Africa. He has taught ethics, African philosophy and philosophy of law at various African and West-European universities. His many publications include “I think, therefore African Philosophy exists”, “Only the sovereign may declare war, and NATO too” and African Philosophy through Ubuntu (Mond Books, 1999).

An intellectual is the user of the intellect to understand reality and declare truth about it. The achievement of this objective demands two virtues. One is truthfulness, being not only the avoidance of falsity but the deliberate decision to be honest towards oneself and others. Another is openness to truth, being the willingness to challenge one’s own deeply held truths and to recognise the challenge of such truths from others. Openness to truth demands the rejection of dogmatism from whatever source. The purpose of this paper is to explore this understanding of an intellectual by focusing on the political history and philosophy of South Africa.

Revisiting the Synod of Dort
Robert H-C Shell

The author revisits the intellectual roots of the Synod of Dort (1618–1619) and the Arminian Remonstrants’ attempts to claim that Christ had died for all mankind. The author argues that the failure and expulsion of the Remonstrants led directly to the little- known, but pivotal gravamina concerning heathens born in Dutch households, which are known as De Ethnicorum Baptisis. There was an important triple historical conjuncture which has not been fruitfully explored. Firstly, the Synod was held in a pause in the Dutch War with Spain, which was an important element in the forging of Dutch nationalism. Indeed, Dutch became a state language with the translation of the Bible in 1635 as a direct result of Dort. Secondly, the Synod took place just as slavery was emerging in the Dutch colonial areas and wars. For example, while the Synod was still sitting, a Dutch ship delivered the first slaves to North America, to a plantation called Flowerdew Hundred on the James River. Another instance was a letter from Dominee Hulsebos that arrived from Batavia in 1612 to ask the Classis how Dutch clergymen were to view the Bible. The importance of the Synod of Dort hardly needs to be stressed as the Canons of the Dort still form the underpinnings of the Reformed faiths. However, was it a success in terms of Christianity when one considers the long-term effects on the slaves who came to comprise the majority of the Dutch colonial populations? The author answers by comparing baptismal practices which are embedded in the Catholic Council of Trent, which more comprehensively incorporated slaves into the colonial spheres of influence.

In Search of a Grammar for Life Together? Remembering Two Decades of doing Theology at the University of the Western Cape
Dirkie Smit
Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Dirkie Smit is a systematic theologian. He now teaches at Stellenbosch, but taught theology at the University of the Western Cape between 1981 and 1999. He is a member of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa and has been actively involved in church and ecumenical activities over many years.

During the middle of the 1970s until early in the 1990s theological education at the University of the Western Cape was often challenged by what was taking place in churches, theological debates, academic developments, and public life. Students, postgraduate students, alumni and friends were all involved in many different ways. It would be fair to say that many intellectual traditions from outside deeply influenced these historic moments in UWC theological training, but it would at the same time also be possible to claim that these historic moments have in return contributed to developments since that time, again in church, theological, academic and public spheres. In this paper some aspects of these historic moments are called to mind by way of very personal recollections, in the hope that these memories may lead to further reflections, to discussion and to joint interpretation, in order to situate this small historic moment in the broader perspectives of local intellectual traditions.

Towards Histories of South African Intellectual Traditions – The Histories and Life Trajectories of Coloured/”Coloured”/ColouredIntellectuals
Danny Titus
AfrikaanseTaal-en Kultuurvereniging, Johannesburg

Danny Titus is the executive director for culture in the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV). He also serves as a part-time commissioner for the SA Human Rights Commission. He is the chairperson of the civic organisation Bruin Bemagtigingsbeweging (BBB, Coloured Empowerment Movement).

It is with a sense of excitement and deep gratitude that I worked through the concept note and abstracts of this conference. While it is not an exaggeration to speak of its historic nature the conference begins to acknowledge to me the fundamental human rights of coloured people in South Africa. Questions that coloured people have been wrestling with in our South African democratic order have been quite basic: Does the new political regime include me when it speaks of South Africa belonging to all that live in it, black and white? This is captured by the title of the publication of Mohamed Adhikari, Not Black Enough, Not White Enough. A further twist in this matter is the policy in the ANC of “blacks in general, ... and Africans in particular”, which is confirmation of the exclusionary experience of coloured people in and outside the ANC. This brings into question quite crisply the relevance of non-racialism in the South African democracy. Whereas Julie Frederickse’s book is titled The Unbreakable Thread: Non-racialism in South Africa, struggle veteran Hilda Bernstein says no in her review of the book. She titles it The Breakable Thread. The concept note speaks about “ideas that influence South African social life” and also about the concern “with the invisibility of these histories”. In this regard I wish to reflect upon the lives and influence of Dr Abdurahman, Richard Dudley, Richard van der Ross, Allan Boesak and Trevor Manuel in terms of the current biographical literature. Critical questions as presented in the incisive evaluation of Nelson Mandela of Black Consciousness, Mac Maharaj on the ANC’s dealing with Indians and coloureds, Melissa Steyn on the reality of whiteness, and recently Xolela Mangcu on Steve Biko as a Xhosa prophet will be presented within the context of the conference. Recent involvement of coloured people in organisations such as the BBI (Brown Based Initiative) and the BBB (Coloured Empowerment Movement), as well as the surge towards indigenous peoples’ First Nation status in South Africa will be evaluated. Current cases in court on employment equity (the Jimmy Manyi challenge of national demographics as against regional demographics in the Western Cape) cannot be ignored.

Coloured Intellectual History?
RE van der Ross
University of the Western Cape, Bellville

Richard van der Ross is a former rector of the University of the Western Cape (1975–1985). He represented the Democratic Party in the Western Cape Provincial Legislature and served as the South African ambassador to Spain. His publications include Myths and Attitudes: A Look at the Coloured People (1979), The Rise and Decline of Apartheid (1986), Buy my Flowers! The Story of Strawberry Lane (2007), Up from Slavery (2008), The Black Countess (2008) and Blow to the Hoop (2010).

This conference is called to consider certain aspects of history, namely Coloured Intellectual History. The theme at once raises three questions, the first being: How does one describe the coloured people, and the second: Are there coloured intellectuals? A third question, the most pressing, arises, namely: Is there such an area of study as Coloured Intellectual History? We need not spend much time on the first two questions, not because they are not real, but because the first has been discussed and continues to be discussed at great length (and without much success) in other places, and the second (if the first has been answered positively) because the very calling of this conference suggests that there are indeed a number of coloured people who may be referred to as intellectuals. The third question is not so easily disposed of. Let us assume that there is indeed an area of reasoning, thinking or discussion or, to use an academic term, a discipline, called Intellectual History, can this term be interpreted to include the Coloured people? If “History” somehow refers to and includes the past, what does “Coloured Intellectual History” include as its rightful domain? Does it deal with coloured people and what they have contributed to the intellectual achievements of humanity?

“Church or Sect?” Dr ID Morkel and the Coloured Calvin Protestant Church of South Africa
Raymond van Diemel
Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Raymond van Diemel (PhD, history, Western Cape, 1998) chairs the Telematic (Distance) Education Department at the South African Military Academy, Faculty of Military Science, University of Stellenbosch. His publications include In search of freedom, fair play and justice, Josiah Tshangana Gumede, 1867–1947. A Biography (2001). In 2005 he attended the Haggai Institute’s prestigious Advanced Seminar in Leadership on Maui, Hawaii.

The dust-heap of pre-apartheid South African Christian historiography has claimed a number of casualties, one being the late ID Morkel, founder of the Calvin Protestant Church of Southern Africa, whose life story has not yet been recorded in detailed fashion. In 1950, a mere two years after the then National Party of the Dr DF Malan won the national elections on the “evil” apartheid manifesto, an insignificant coloured pastor announced that a new church would be established by breaking away from the then Dutch Reformed Mission Church in South Africa due to the apartheid policy. The news of the founding of the new church in the Cape Peninsula caused quite a stir in Christian and political circles. Dr Morkel was accused in the Afrikaner media (Die Burger in particular) of being an agitator who concerns himself with politics instead of the ministry, and of establishing a sect. Who was ID Morkel? What were the forces, the events and influences which moulded him intellectually and spiritually? How did he rise from an ordinary position as minister of religion of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church to become the founder of the Calvin Protestant Church of Southern Africa, whose contribution towards the upholding of the ideals of Christian, social and moral practices and for furthering goodwill among people of all races was acknowledged and rewarded with an honorary degree of divinity from the International Free University of London? Why did he decide to name his church after John Calvin, influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation? These are but some of the themes that will be discussed in this paper.

The Affirmation, Denial and Ambivalence of the Coloured Subject in Selected Post-1994 Auto/biographies
Hein Willemse
University of Pretoria, Pretoria

Hein Willemse has published widely on black Afrikaans writing and Afrikaans oral literature. He is a professor of literature in the Department of Afrikaans at the University of Pretoria and editor-in-chief of Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, the oldest literary journal on the African continent.

This paper departs from the premise that matters of identity are cultural and political constructs. It focuses on a number of recent South African auto/biographies by or about individuals classified “Coloured” under apartheid legislation. In the main these individuals represent themselves as literary writers, individual achievers, political and social activists or as leaders of the apartheid oppressed. All of them write from the subject position of social marginality, the position of the powerless and their struggles for personal or broader socio-political recognition. All these auto/biographies speak of a particular time, pre-1994, looking back over their lives from a vantage point post-1994. These life stories tell us about lives denied, achievements gained and choices made. I shall read these works with the following questions in mind: How do these authors deal with the notion of “race” and ethnic identity? Do they provide us with ways of moving beyond “race” in a socio-political environment where “race thinking” predetermines social space and mobility?

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  • Stanley Ridge

    A fascinating set of papers. My frustration has been in finding out when (time of day) the conference starts and what the programme looks like.

  • Reageer

    Jou e-posadres sal nie gepubliseer word nie. Kommentaar is onderhewig aan moderering.