LitNet contributors voice their opinions about current affairs.

Language of activism

Mphuthumi Ntabeni Opinion 2022-12-13

"From Fanon to Robert Sobukwe and Biko, these are prototypes of what Richard Wright called his 'split position' and 'double vision', which a Western-educated black man born in the Anglo-American-oppressive zeitgeist has to deal with."

To swim or not to swim

Darryl David Opinion 2022-12-08

"The beach quandary arose after I read a Rapport article, 'Jy swem eers, dan swem ons, Meneer die Burgemeester', which stated that Durban may be forced to keep their beaches closed due to high E. coli levels in the water."

New history curriculum for South African schools 2024: A historian’s opinion

Rodney Warwick SA Skoleseminaar | Schools Seminar 2022-11-29

"A new history curriculum is scheduled for implementation; completion thereof is intended by 2024, and it is almost definitely constructed around ANC nationalistic assumptions of what constitutes valid historical knowledge. This potentially forebodes disturbing implications regarding state attempts to manipulate students’ comprehension of their own identity, particularly minorities and specifically white South Africans."

Race and Transformation in Higher Education Conference raises crucial themes in pursuit of Stellenbosch University’s transformation journey

Aslam Fataar, Nico Koopman, Leslie van Rooi, Therese Fish, Zethu Mkhize Universiteitseminaar | University Seminar 2022-11-25

"Attended by 150 persons from various regional and international universities, as well as participants from civil society, the conference occurred in the wake of the release of the Khampepe Report, which highlights, among other things, the lived experiences particularly of students and staff of colour at SU."

The ambiguity of the name Luckhoff: my thoughts at the Race and Transformation in Higher Education Conference at Stellenbosch University

Moegammad Tahier Kara Universiteitseminaar | University Seminar 2022-11-25

"While I was sitting in one of the conference sessions, I recalled a discussion we’d had in school 35 years before. It was about the name of the school which I matriculated from. The issue was, who is this person whom Luckhoff, our school, was named after?"

We cannot go back: my reactions to the Race and Transformation in Higher Education Conference at Stellenbosch University

Joy Petersen Universiteitseminaar | University Seminar 2022-11-24

"I come to the Race and Transformation Conference looking for expert, substantive ways of understanding race and transformation globally, and at Stellenbosch University. I crave an ethical and empirical sense-making, gatvol of the patriarchal, anecdotal tales I am fed, before being silenced."

China’s President Xi: Crossing the Rubicon

David Willers Opinion 2022-11-09

"But crossing the Rubicon, as always, carries risks. PW Botha lasted a few years more, Julius Caesar had his Ides of March moment not long after – and Xi Jinping?"

Cyril Ramaphosa, King Charles and Rishi Sunak – the art of imperial swagger redefined

David Willers Opinion 2022-10-26

"The bottom line of Ramaphosa’s state visit to King Charles and new prime minister Rishi Sunak is that adroit footwork is now required by all parties to mitigate the effects of the global polycrisis, defined by historian Adam Tooze as a situation consisting of multiple crises, the whole being more dangerous than the sum of the parts. The danger is the deep global recession now taking shape ...."

Amos Nteta: Growing up in the shadow of the Cradock Four

Amos Nteta Feeste 2022-10-19

In this video Amos Nteta talks about the work of Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkhonto and Sicelo Mhlauli, who jointly became known as the Cradock Four.

Prima Donna Meloni: the new broom unsettling Europe

David Willers Opinion 2022-10-11

"How, one might ask in disbelief, could one of the most civilised countries in the west, the cradle of the Renaissance, throw in its lot with such a dangerous man as Putin? It is almost impossible to imagine such a thing. But that is the question being asked now, and the answer to Italy's future must surely lie in the character and beliefs of the new prime minister."

Etienne van Heerden Veldsoirée: Days like this

Darryl David Opinion 2022-10-06

"Yes, every now and again, you curate the most perfect book festival imaginable. And the Etienne Van Heerden Veldsoirée over the Heritage Day weekend was one such festival. With BookBedonnerd a month away, I'm worried we might have peaked too early."

When is an election free and fair?

David Willers Opinion 2022-09-29

"I was interested to read that several ANC Youth League officials have flown to Russia to monitor the controversial referendum being held to legitimise the 'annexation' of the Ukrainian territory that Putin’s army is occupying. The referendum has been discredited in advance by most of the world as a sham, but this hasn’t deterred the ANC’s intrepid task team from acting as 'international observers'."

A sterile vow: Die gelofte and the transformation of myth

Robin K Crigler Opinion 2022-09-20

"Thus while Die gelofte is not the innocuous romance it claims to be, as a reactionary manifesto it also fails. The script is too reluctant to stare into the void of its ideological roots. It retains only the aesthetics of old-time nationalism and a vague but passionately asserted sense of victimhood."

The doomed Warsaw airlift: South Africa’s finest hour

David Willers Opinion 2022-09-13

"The Polish government commemorates the sacrifice of the SAAF airmen in their attempt to relieve Warsaw, to this day. Next year is the eightieth anniversary of the doomed Warsaw mission, and it will be interesting to see how the occasion is marked by the present South African government."

South African writing on Angola: The forgotten war

David Willers Opinion 2022-08-23

"All wars in history, from the Greek heroes onwards, spawn such intense memoirs, long and short. They are a bedrock of classic literature. We are fascinated by them. They invite us to eavesdrop on the confessional. They are a form of writing therapy, a way of laying the ghost, and a psychiatrist is not needed to tell us that. But there is also more to it. War memoirs involve all of us, including the bystanders. They make the reader complicit."

Sisulu and Socrates

David Willers Opinion 2022-07-27

"This brings me to the strange case of Sisulu and Socrates, who have become unlikely bedfellows in this fight to speak your mind, albeit from diametrically opposed corners."

Hennie van Coller’s politicisation of children’s literature polemic

Darryl David Opinion 2022-07-25

"So to Anne-Marie Beukes. Rather than distance yourself from Van Coller’s article, which is inconclusive on the allegations of homophobic tendencies, in my humble opinion, distance yourself from the Snow White storyline of the organisation you head up."

When we want success for ourselves, we must want success for others

Zubayr Charles Opinion 2022-07-19

"Izzart removed the laces of the sneakers and washed them separately. He tapped lukewarm water into a transparent bowl and generously sprayed TopShelf Sneaker Cleaner product on various targeted areas – everything done with precision."

“Wrong Fugard”

Anthony Akerman Books and writers 2022-07-13

"Athol was spending increasingly longer periods working away from South Africa, but he always returned home to write. He told me he couldn’t write anywhere else. He had to be at home."

Centenary of the 1922 Bondelswarts Uprising

Rodney Warwick Opinion 2022-07-13

"This year marks the centenary of the Bondelswarts Uprising in Namibia – then South West Africa – between late May and early June 1922, and its prompt crushing, which resulted in Jan Smuts’s British Empire-supporting South African Party government attracting significant national and international criticism. What drew attention was the manner of this historically Nama group’s suppression ... This tragic episode followed a long history of fierce Bondelswart resistance against intrusion into their independence."