Decolonising ‘Decolonisation’ With Mphahlele

Es’kia Mphahlele – Ills.: unisa.ac.sa

Es’kia Mphahlele was a writer, activist, organiser and teacher committed to the view that ‘Afrikan humanness’ is the real key to our freedom.
This week marks the 10th anniversary of Es’kia Mphahlele’s death.

Mphahlele (1919-2008) was a writer of fiction, a journalist, a cultural activist, an organiser and, above all, a teacher. The main aim of his fiction and non-fiction work was dealing with what he characterised as the “first exile” – from home culture and ways of understanding the world – from which victims of colonisation suffered. Mphahlele argued that colonised people should begin by overcoming “first exile” if they are to develop decolonising theories and practices. In an era in which the decolonisation of politics and knowledge has captured the imagination of many people, we would do well to recall Mphahlele’s work.

The focus on “first exile” is important because the ultimate aim of colonisation is to separate colonised people from their sources of economic autonomy, ways of understanding the world, and, ultimately, from themselves. The primary “spiritual striving” of victims of colonisation, not just colonialism, is a striving against what the great African-American intellectual WEB du Bois called double consciousness. Similar ideas were developed closer to home. Writing in the 1940s, HIE Dhlomo explained that successfully colonised individuals are ‘neither-nor’ characters who “are neither wholly African nor fully Europeanised”. Dhlomo showed that the double consciousness of these characters was evident in their use of “European measuring rods for success, culture, goodness, greatness”.

In a settler colonial context, the work of colonisation would be achieved when leaders of the colonised people calibrate their demands to Western-style multiparty democracy, civil rights and, therefore, the integration of the elite layer of the colonised people into the historically white world. In such a context, the world and privileges of the settler minority are legitimised and guaranteed, while ‘uncivilised’ people, the majority of the population, continue to exist on the underside of the new society.

When the ‘decolonial’ is fundamentally shaped by the colonial
But not all projects of self-determination take the lived experiences and ideas of this majority seriously. Some are attached to colonialist ideas or obsessed with whiteness, leading to ‘radical’ projects that recenter what they aim to challenge.

In the first case, seemingly decolonial projects repeat colonialist ideas about the inherent differences between black and white; the uniqueness of ‘black culture’ and its supposedly essential traits; and the need to retrieve ‘native’ discourses; forgetting that ‘the native’ comes into being only when the settler arrives and that ‘native’ discourse is constituted by what Congolese philosopher VY Mudimbe calls the “colonial library” – colonial experts of various kinds.

In the second case, the black radical’s ‘colonial mentality’ manifests in projects whose main aim is to shame historical colonisers by constantly repeating anti-black discourses that the black man is not human and cannot coexist with humanity. This trend can be seen in certain strands of Afro-pessimism.

The important point here is that decolonisation often needs to be decolonised itself. In South Africa, no other thinker grappled with this dilemma more than Mphahlele. Read more

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The Life And Times Of Es’kia Mphahlele

A wonderful documentary about one of South Africa’s greatest authors, Es’kia Mphahlele, who was one of the first writers to leave for exile in the 1950s and write about apartheid as it was unfolding in South Africa. His novel “Down Second Avenue” became an international sensation and was based on his personal struggles of being raised in poverty, getting an education and leaving the country. Es’kia eventually returned to South Africa in August 1977, during a tumultuous period one year after the June 16, 1976 Soweto riots and less than a month before the death of Steve Bantu Biko. Despite opposition from the South African government, he was offered a position at the University of Witwatersrand and he became an influential cultural leader, revered for his ideas on education and African Humanism.

Part 2 of a wonderful documentary about one of South Africa’s greatest authors, Es’kia Mphahlele, who was one of the first writers to leave for exile in the 1950s and write about apartheid as it was unfolding in South Africa. His novel “Down Second Avenue” became an international sensation and was based on his personal struggles of being raised in poverty, getting an education and leaving the country. Es’kia eventually returned to South Africa in August 1977, during a tumultuous period one year after the June 16, 1976 Soweto riots and less than a month before the death of Steve Bantu Biko. Despite opposition from the South African government, he was offered a position at the University of Witwatersrand and he became an influential cultural leader, revered for his ideas on education and African Humanism.

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Art Manifestation On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT – Upcoming Events

Upcoming events:

Location: Hilton Hotel, Apollolaan 138, Amsterdam –  17 November, 15.00 hrs.
Date: 17 November – 15 December 2019

17 november 2019, aanvang 15.00 uur Remember Baghad –  directed by Fiona Murphy (2017), 69 min.
Special Guest: Edwin Shuker
Reserveren: lindabouws@gmail.com

Edwin Shuker

Remember Baghdad
De film Remember Baghdad toont de geschiedenis van het joodse leven in Bagdad.  Met verhalen van de joodse vluchtelingen en documentaire-materiaal komt de ooit bloeiende joodse gemeenschap in beeld – een gemeenschap die bij elke volgende historische gebeurtenis klappen krijgt en langzamerhand leegbloedt. Schrijnend is dat de Baghdadi-joden hun naderende ondergang niet zien aankomen. Vooral de gegoede middenklasse leeft in een bubbel, vol vertrouwen in het koningshuis. Na de zoveelste militaire coup, de Zesdaagse Oorlog en een showproces tegen zogeheten ‘zionistische spionnen’ maken de laatste Baghdadi-joden zich uit de voeten. Zonder paspoort, zonder geld. Berooid komen ze aan in het buitenland. Hun in Irak nagelaten bezittingen worden binnen drie maanden geconfisqueerd, hun nationaliteit ontnomen. In Israël krijgen ze niet bepaald een warm onthaal. In de tentenkampen maken ze kennis met de harde, anti-Arabische Israëlische werkelijkheid. Andere Baghdadi-joden vertrekken naar Londen, de hoofdstad van de voormalige Britse kolonisator. Ook de familie van Edwin Shuker, de hoofdfiguur van ‘Remember Baghdad’ heeft zich hier gevestigd. Shuker kan en wil de Iraaks-joodse cultuur niet loslaten. Hij reist naar Irak om zijn oude buurt in Bagdad te bezoeken en om in het Koerdische deel van het land een huis te kopen. Een nieuw begin? Zijn tegenpool in de film is Eileen Khalastchy. Zij wil niet terug naar Bagdad om er de ruïnes van de joodse cultuur te zien. Liever denkt ze terug aan het glorieuze verleden. ‘It was paradise – Jews, Muslims and Christians, we were all Iraqis’’ vertelt ze ons met een brede lach.

Edwin Shuker is zakenman en filantroop. Hij zet zich in voor het behoud van het joods-Iraakse erfgoed en is een actief lid van de Londense joodse gemeenschap. Shuker is onder meer speciale gezant van de president van het Europese Joodse Congres op het gebied van interreligieuze zaken en vluchtelingen. Ook spreekt hij regelmatig over de joden uit de Arabische landen. Hij trad onder meer op in het Britse Lagerhuis, het Europees Parlement en de Verenigde Naties.

Location: Anne Frank Huis, Keizersgracht 192, Amsterdam
Date: 21 November – 19 December 2019
Art
Performance and meeting: 21 November 2019, 15.00 hrs.
Joseph Sassoon Semah & writer-poet Mati Shemoelof (Berlin), both of them Baghdadi Jews living in Europe: The Babylonian Jew in the West, The West in the Babylonian Jew: Re-Thinking the concept of GaLUT, Re-claiming the lost Culture. Moderator: Markha Valenta.
They will discuss Judaism, diaspora, exclusion, and acts of concealment and building.

RSVP: communicatie@annefrank.nl

Programma van ‘On Friendship (Collateral Damage) III- The Third GaLUT: Baghad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam
Joseph Sassoon Semah deelt zijn verloren gegane rijke joodse Babylonische culturele erfenis door middel van beeldende kunst, performances, debatten en lezingen. De manifestatie vindt plaats op 36 verschillende locaties in Amsterdam, van 7 september 2019 tot en met 19 januari 2020.
Hilton Amsterdam is een van de 36 locaties.
Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten
Curator: Linda Bouws

The complete program: http://rozenbergquarterly.com/art-manifestation-on-friendship-collateral-damage-iii-the-third-galut-baghdad-jerusalem-amsterdam-the-guest-becomes-host/

Het complete programmahttp://rozenbergquarterly.com/kunstmanifestatie-on-friendship-collateral-damage-iii-the-third-galut-baghdad-jerusalem-amsterdam-gast-wordt-gastheer/

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Cargo In Context & De Brakke Grond ~ On-Trade-Off; The Weight Of Wonders

On-Trade-Off; The Weight of Wonders

With: Sammy Baloji, Marjolijn Dijkman, Maarten Vanden Eynde, Musasa, Jean Katambayi, Georges Senga and Daddy Tshikaya
On-Trade-Off is a long-term artistic research project by an international group of artists, filmmakers and researchers, that want to bring attention to the ecological and economic implications of the extraction and processing of lithium, the most important natural resource for the world-wide production of ‘green’ energy. In the West, lithium is presented as a major step in the production of a green economy, while the burdens for the local population, where lithium is extracted, are neglected.

Cargo and De Brakke Grond have combined their strengths for a first presentation in the Netherlands of this extensive project, after previous stages of this project were presented at Contour Biennal Mechelen (BE), Galerie Imane Farès (FR) and the Lubumbashi Biennale (DRC).
Lia Gieling, curator Cargo in Context
Wytske Visser, programme manager visual arts Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond

On-Trade-Off follows the trace of lithium from its origin, namely the mining town Manono in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the largest lithium ore supply in the world has been discovered. Lithium has been named ‘the new black gold’. A diverse group of artists follows the international trade
route via Australia and China to Europe.
By using one chemical element – Li3 – On-Trade-Off zooms in on the social, ecological, economical and political aspects that are present in almost all
production processes since the triangular trade in the 16th century. Think of the inhuman labour during the extraction, the economical inequality to sustain
economical growth by all costs and the ignorant end users that are not aware of what will happen to the purchased goods.
By exposing the full supply chain of lithium, the (seemingly independent) elements that sustain this recurring imbalance, are connected and made visible.

From Manono (DRC) the journey continues to Australia, where the Tesla Energy Storage System is, currently the largest battery in the world and then to China, the largest producer of lithium batteries that are massively exported to the West.
Speculatively, the route ends in Africa, where a lot of electronic waste is dumped and is therefor returned to its origin, completing the triangular trade.

On-Trade-Off is developed in several spaces, in diverse forms and contexts, where each presentation or spin-off focuses on different elements of the
larger story. Collaboration and exchange is created everywhere with an abundance of people and organisations with diverse backgrounds, such as visual artists, curators, local communities, NGOs, filmmakers, thinkers, activists, computer engineers and designers.

The project exists of a series of new individually and collectively made art works. These are developed during three years and are the result of collectively
acquired knowledge and gathered research material around the subject.
Each of the participants approaches On-Trade-Off from their own artistic interest and media and the collected research material will be made available
to all participants as open source. This introduces a more sustainable form of (art) production.

The exhibition: The Weight of Wonders
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The Dutch Black School: They Are Not Us

Lammert de Jong – Being Dutch. More or less. In a comparative Perspective of USA and Caribbean Practices Rozenberg Publishers 2010. ISBN 978 90 3610 210 0 – The complete book will be online soon. 

‘An Inconvenient Truth’
In the Netherlands, black’ is not black; it is ‘non-western’, including Moroccan, Turkish, and people of Caribbean origin, lumped together as allochtons. In government statistics, schools with more than 70% allochton pupils are generally classified as a black school; schools with less than 20% allochton pupils are graded as white. The black school concept is also used in relation to the surrounding neighborhood. Schools with more pupils of non-western origin than expected in view of the composition of the neighborhood are labeled blacker or, in the case of an over-representation of white pupils, whiter. A deviation of 20% or more between neighborhood and school population classifies a school as too white or too black (Forum, 2007). The number of primary schools with more than 70% allochton pupils is increasing; in Dutch nomenclature: the schools are becoming blacker.

The Dutch black school is a perfidious contraption that locks in children of non-western origin, while its black label flags an underlying apartheid syndrome to underscore for the True Dutch – intentionally or not – how different these allochtons are. Yet the black school touches an open nerve in the Netherlands, a sensitive reality that surpasses its statistical definition. On the one hand the black school reeks of apartheid, which the Dutch so bravely contest when occurring elsewhere in the world. On the other hand the True Dutch are well aware that their entitlement and unencumbered access to white schools is at stake when school segregation is tackled in earnest. So far Dutch counteraction is limited to research and some experimental desegregation projects.

The Dutch black school is embedded in the particular Dutch school system that funds public-secular as well as private-denominational schools. Once, the Dutch school system was driven by the accommodation of different beliefs. On the strength of their belief – church-religion or secular ideology – parents wanted a school for their children that adhered to the values, doctrines, and rules of their faith, and paid for by the state. [Note: In 2009 the Netherlands’ Council of State pointed out that publicly financed orthodox religion-based schools may refuse teachers who identify with a particular gay life style. The fact that a teacher is gay is not sufficient to deny a position, but if he or she is in a same sex relation and married in church or city hall, that may suffice, as such contravenes the orthodox rule that marriage is a holy sacrament between one man and one woman]

Denominational and non-religious schools emphasized particularity, a distinctiveness that corresponded with religious doctrines or ideological orientations. The principle of Freedom of Education (Onderwijsvrijheid) is enshrined in the Netherlands Constitution, art. 23. Over the years parents have come to believe that they are entitled to choose a specific school for their children, which is a travesty of the freedom to choose a particular type of school, based on denominational or secular definition.

Dutch politics wavers when coming to grips with the effects the black school brings – quite literally – home. Most parents don’t set out intending to discriminate, which makes a noble difference, and legally enforced segregation is not on the books. Nonetheless a segregated white-black educational system has become a reality, with most True Dutch children in better schools and having better school careers, and children of allochtons at the other end. And that with long lasting effects after the school years have come to an end. This type of school segregation stigmatizes New Dutch children for life, while reinforcing an allochton footprint that will divide the nation for years to come. Although most political parties assert that integration is the major social issue of our time, they fail to confront the black school with a sense of urgency. Dutch politics still has to acknowledge that the black school emblematizes the allochton population in the Netherlands with an explicit signature: They are not Us.

Black schools are a common feature in most major Dutch cities. So far the black school does not stand out in Dutch politics as a problem that must be solved urgently by law, regulation or in the courts. The black school seems more of an inconvenient truth than a critical social or political issue. To an outsider this must be surprising, given that the Netherlands is known for its rock-solid liberal reputation. How come then that the Netherlands has become a segregated nation? And do they discriminate against people of color? Do the Dutch not know how to handle the ethnic complexities of today’s multi-cultural society? Or is it a lack of compassion for those who do not belong to the white Dutch tribe: Discrimination or not, my children first. Or is it merely a matter of social-economic stratification, a distinction between advantaged and disadvantaged children, so that the Dutch black school is just a myth (Vink, 2010)?

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The Making Of The Statute Of The European System Of Central Banks ~ Contents & Readers’ Guide

Contents

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
INTRODUCTION
Chapter 1: Introductory Chapter
Zur Thematik – Organization of the book – Methodology and sources – Descriptions of the main documents, committees and historical setting

Chapter 2: Integration Theory, Federalism and Checks and Balances
Integration and transfer of power – Federalism – Checks and balances

PART I
Cluster I (Checks and Balances between the ESCB and the Public Authorities)

Chapter 3: Introduction to Cluster I
Basic Community structure – Independence – Accountability

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