#RhodesMustFall
312 Pages
English
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#RhodesMustFall

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312 Pages
English

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#RhodesMustFall. Nibbling at Resilient Colonialism in South Africa by Francis Nyamnjoh was awarded the 2018 Fage & Oliver Prize.
This book on rights, entitlements and citizenship in post-apartheid South Africa shows how the playing field has not been as levelled as presumed by some and how racism and its benefits persist. Through everyday interactions and experiences of university students and professors, it explores the question of race in a context still plagued by remnants of apartheid, inequality and perceptions of inferiority and inadequacy among the majority black population. In education, black voices and concerns go largely unheard, as circles of privilege are continually regenerated and added onto a layered and deep history of cultivation of black pain. These issues are examined against the backdrop of organised student protests sweeping through the country's universities with a renewed clamour for transformation around a rallying cry of 'Black Lives Matter'. The nuanced complexity of this insightful analysis of the Rhodes Must Fall movement elicits compelling questions about the attractions and dangers of exclusionary articulations of belonging. What could a grand imperialist like the stripling Uitlander or foreigner of yesteryear, Sir Cecil John Rhodes, possibly have in common with the present-day nimble-footed makwerekwere from Africa north of the Limpopo? The answer, Nyamnjoh suggests, is to be found in how human mobility relentlessly tests the boundaries of citizenship.

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Published 18 April 2016
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EAN13 9789956550708
Language English
Document size 3 MB

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#RhodesMustFall #RhodesMustFall Nibbling at Resilient Colonialism in South Africa
- Francis B. Nyamnjoh -
#RhodesMustFall Nibbling at Resilient Colonialism in South Africa Francis B. NyamnjohLangaa Research & Publishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher:LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.comwww.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookcollective.com
ISBN: 9956-763-16-0 ©Francis B. Nyamnjoh 2016All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or be stored in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher
Acknowledgements When Rhodes Must Fall and related student protests erupted and unfolded in 2015, I was on sabbatical and mostly away from Cape Town and South Africa. These student protests were preceded by violent ‘xenophobic’ (others would insist more appropriately on ‘afrophobic’) protests against foreign nationals mostly from African countries. The more I followed the developments from a distance, the more it dawned on me how the two forms of protest were not as disconnected as portrayed in media reports and commentary. Hence my decision to write this book showing commonalities between xenophobia and calls for the decolonisation of university education. Documenting and reading meaning into the effervescences of post-apartheid South Africa may contribute to understanding the growing impatience with and across racial, ethnic, gender and generational divides. The book delves into Cecil John Rhodes the person and as an embodiment of the dreams, aspirations and superiority syndrome of imperial Britain, as a way of accounting for Rhodes’s resilience and immortality in South Africa and globally. I hope it offers a framework for situating the possibilities and limitations of current clamours for decolonisation, as well as a way forward from #WhatMustFall to #WhatMustRise, in a dynamic process of ongoing cultural creation and societal regeneration. I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to all those who in one way or another contributed with humbling generosity their ideas, time, suggestions, and intellectual and related energies to kindle and rekindle my efforts. Of special mention are Deevia Bhana,Tinyiko Maluleke, Patience Mususa, Malizani Jimu, Sakhumzi Mfecane, Lindiswa Jan, Ayanda Manqoyi, Crystal Powell, Mohini Baijnath, Divine Fuh, Michael Rowlands, Sanya Osha, Kharnita Mohamed, Lauren Paremoer, Daniel Ogwang and participants at the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) Annual Lecture, which I delivered on 8 April 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. As someone who was not on the ground during these protests, I would like to acknowledge all the assistance I received from various sources in writing this book. As you will notice from my
endnotes and references, the various protests have generated an enormous wealth of resources, ranging from articles in newspapers and social media, to video footage and official statements by university management and the South African government. I owe a debt of gratitude to all these sources. My gratitude goes as well to all those who read and commented various drafts and sections of this book, pointing me as they did to sources and resources for further enrichment of my argument and its substantiation. I am most grateful for two fellowships, one from the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (April – June 2015) and one from the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies of Kyoto University (June – July 2015), which fellowships enabled me to write sections of the book. I benefitted enormously from the generosity, both intellectual and social, of fellows and staff of the two institutions. I am in their debt. I am also grateful to Steve Howard and his colleagues of Ohio University, for a visiting scholarship (August – September 2015), which enabled me to write a substantial portion of the book. Special thanks go to Mike Rowlands who generously agreed to write the Foreword, and to Moshumee Teena Dewoo and Sanya Osha who each wrote an Epilogue. I acknowledge with profound gratitude the editorial contributions of Kathryn Toure and of the Human and Social Research Council Press, which press published an earlier much shorter version of this book as a prologue to their State of the Nation for 2016. I am equally indebted to Mohini Baijnath, Patricia Johnson-Castle, Manya Van Ryneveld and Joanna Woods for assistance with proofreading. Last but not least, I am grateful to Wandile Goozen Kasibe, Public Programmes Coordinator at Iziko Museums of Cape Town, for permission to use one of his photos of the Rhodes Must Fall campaign.
Table of Contents Acknowledgements……………………...……………… iii Foreword by Michael Rowlands………………………… vii Introduction…………………………………………….. 1 1. Sir Cecil John Rhodes:  Themakwerekwerewith a Missionary Zeal……………...21 2. Black Pain Matters: Down with Rhodes……….………59 3. Not Every Black Is Black Enough……………………. 113 4. UCT Fires on All Cylinders……………………….…...143 5. Lessons from Rhodes Must Fall……………………… 187 6. Pure Fiction: What I Almost Had in Common  with Rhodes………………………………………….. 215 7. Conclusion: We Are allamakwerekwere…………….….. 229 Epilogue 1 by Moshumee Teena Dewoo ……………….. 267 Epilogue 2 by Sanya Osha ……..…………....…………... 275 References ………………………………………………281
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Foreword The Future Belongs to the Impure Michael Rowlands Emeritus Professor in Anthropology University College London, UK (His interests in cultural heritage encourage him to explore issues of social rupture and repair) “The future belongs to the impure. The future belongs to those who are ready to take in a bit of the other, as well as being what they themselves are. After all, it is because their history and ours is so deeply and profoundly and inextricably intertwined that racism exists. For otherwise how could they keep us apart” (Hall 1998: 299) This plea from Stuart Hall was made at the end of an intervention in a conference on ‘The House that Race Built’ in which considerable disagreements were voiced by the participants. The focus was on the legacies of the civil rights movements in 1960s USA. Could there be any doubt, Hall asks, that as a movement, civil rights struggle had not produced new ‘black subjects’? On the other hand could they be ‘new’ without being historically contextualised – evoking the tradition of struggle, in this case going back to the beginnings of slavery? Traditions differ and part of the reason for disagreement was, no doubt, the fact that Hall was writing as someone who arrived at black consciousness in conjunction with a particular form of civil rights movement in Jamaica in the 1960s. In the 1970s as a migrant to Britain, he was to find the signifier ‘black’ being adopted as a political category of struggle both by Afro-Caribbean migrants and by migrants from the Asian continent. People who had never experienced the term ‘black’ as race before, adopted it since, as they said, “Since the British can’t tell the difference between us, …we, might as well call ourselves by the same name”. This is no longer the case. The significance has gone. Things have moved into a new v
kind of ethnicised politics of difference. Paul Gilroy, in his new introduction to the 2013 edition of ‘There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack’ laments the decline of race as a means of political mobilisation in Britain. Cobbling identities may therefore be our way of preserving ourselves in new conditions of modernity. The kinds of xenophobic nationalism that are emerging in the world, are not about race or being ‘black’ and ‘white’ but about being American (are you not a Christian if you want to build walls rather than bridges to keep the ‘other’ out?) or English or South African. And this is the crux of the argument that Francis Nyamnjoh presents to us here. If, regardless of colour, all South Africans areAmakwerekwere, what kind of ‘cobbling’ will work to provide the flexible forms of citizenship that create conditions of harmony within some unified idea of tradition? One might imagine that this would have to entail some flexible ideas of what it is to be African as well as South African. It is an easy step to reduce these identities to the encounter with ‘blackness’. To be black is a feature of the encounter with whiteness or as Nyamnjoh says, quoting Fanon ‘every Antillean, however black physically, ‘expects all the others to perceive him in terms of the essence of the white man”’ (Fanon 1986 [1967b]: 63). The idea that all kinds of social visibility crucially depended on fantasies of whiteness subtly or not so subtly puts being ‘black’ as inferior in a white dominated society. Ironically, whilst this should be reversed in a black majority post-apartheid South Africa, the idea of being superior through the opportunities of becoming ‘white’, sets being ‘black’ in South Africa in a deadly opposition with the identifications of being black elsewhere in Africa. As a guide to understanding the demands for reform in South Africa, we might remind ourselves of Abner Cohen’s classic study of the politics of elite culture in Africa, in which he showed how ‘creole’ cultures in Sierra Leone and Liberia were formed through the creation of dense networks of amity based on a ‘civilising’ ethos of their distinctiveness through historical absorption into ‘whiteness’ (Cohen 1981). Written before but anticipating the tensions and contradictions that led to ‘civil wars, the clash between ‘civilising’ elites and provincialized Africans, has
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uncanny similarities to aspects of the political process in contemporary South Africa. ‘Decolonising the mind’ produces several other scenarios. One is to follow Ngugi wa Thiong’o (1986). To break the bonds of pain and suffering requires an end (cognitively) to the ‘language’ (sic English) that perpetrates the consciousness of its reproduction. A second seeks the end of education in Afrikaans in favour of English in traditionally Afrikaner universities such as Stellenbosch, Pretoria and the Free State. Another is to re-examine the shared values promoted by Thabo Mbeki’s espousal of ‘African Renaissance’. But, as we know now, his idea of ‘African Civilisation’ is profoundly Eurocentric, requiring that Africa has textual literacy and monumental architecture rather than its own ‘Civilisation’ based on orality and intangible knowledges. As Nyamnjoh has written elsewhere (Nyamnjoh 2004), African knowledges taught in universities in Africa, have been ‘westernised’. Products of the Northern ‘knowledge factory’ return, if at all, to Africa with ‘superior’ credentialism to pursue the inculcation of the same knowledge as regimes of truth. ‘Decolonisation should mean instead to pursue the project of an ‘African archive’ now dispersed on a global scale and in a multitude of moral and aesthetic forms. 1 Also, as Mbembe writes, this is not a pure archive but has, for long, been part of the Western archive, if not a co-maker of it. Again, it is ironic that the opportunity presented to Oxford University to recognise the fact that it has been integrally involved in the creation of this hybrid archive, has been refused. This was in the face of Oxford students who demonstrated in sympathy with students of the University of Cape Town, and on 6 November 2015, protested against maintaining Rhodes’s statue at Oriel College. The argument against was that this was a separate matter for the University, which could not accede to the demands of the Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford group, because it would mean indulging in a revisionist history and a devaluation of the contribution of Rhodes Scholarships. Yet this seems to give little thought to how badly this isolationist position would be received by many moderate Africans who see these protests as part of a more globalised and interconnected order.
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