The Broken Circle: The Prevalence of Fear in Low-Cost Housing in South Africa

Introduction

The South African township is characterised by low-cost houses as well as the so-called ‘shack’ that consists of corrugated iron, plastic and cardboard. In several research projects high levels of fear have been encountered among residents of these low-cost houses, in both rural and urban contexts (Holm, Murray and Pauw, 2005).

The high levels of fear among residents of low-cost housing present us with a combination of problems of a technical, socio-cultural and religious nature. Modern science, as it has developed since the time of the European Renaissance, has not been very successful in addressing this type of problem. Modern science has been remarkably successful in unlocking the secrets of nature and in utilising the potentialities of nature, through a strong emphasis on the superiority of reason. But this emphasis has had a reverse side: scientists tended to dismiss all the non-rational, yet vital elements of human life and reality, such as the destiny of humanity, human freedom and spontaneity (Prigogine and Stengers, 1984: 34-5).

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‘In ferocious anger I bit the hand that controls’ – The Rise of Afrikaans Punk Rock Music

On a night in 2006, a Cape Town’s night club, its floor littered with cigarette butts,  plays host to an Afrikaner (sub)cultural gathering. Guys with seventies’ glam rock hairstyles, wearing old school uniform-like blazers decorated with a collection of pins and buttons and teamed up with tight jeans, sneakers and loose shoelaces keep one eagerly awaiting eye on the set stage and another on the short skirted girls. Before taking to the stage, the band, Fokofpolisiekar, entices the audience with the projection of their latest music video for the acoustic version of their debut hit single released two years before and entitled ‘Hemel op die platteland’. Read more

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Awareness is Power: Tactics for Staying Safe in Violent Spaces

Unfinished Structure – Photo by author

Violence is everywhere (Lindiwe, Hector Peterson Residence).

In order to understand the concept ‘awareness’, Hastrup’s (1995) explanation of consciousness is invaluable, especially to identify with people’s behaviour in violent situations. She explains that our patterns of thinking are not subject to paths of practical reason, but that we rather constantly reformulate our whole existence through our actions; a reconsideration of our ideas of consciousness is thus necessitated (ibid.: 99). Hastrup reminds us that we are inarticulate and that expression is not limited to the verbal. Expression, rather, takes place in various forms (ibid.).

Given Hastrup’s suggestion to understand consciousness from multiple angles, we approach a field within which questions of ontology and methodology join: how do people think and how do we know? (ibid.; Ross 2004: 35). What tools should anthropologists use to access these forms of consciousness that are so intertwined in social space, affecting it, being affected by it and being its defining capacity? In an environment of violence, students are affected, they can potentially have an influence on this through the tactics they use to stay safe and, at the same time, can become the defining capacity of such an environment. These are among the dynamics involved in conceptualising ‘awareness’ of potential danger in potentially dangerous areas. This awareness is positioned on various levels.

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The Ndebele Nation

With an Introduction by Milton Keynes
The Ndebele of Zimbabwe, who today constitute about twenty percent of the population of the country, have a very rich and heroic history. It is partly this rich history that constitutes a resource that reinforces their memories and sense of a particularistic identity and distinctive nation within a predominantly Shona speaking country. It is also partly later developments ranging from the colonial violence of 1893-4 and 1896-7 (Imfazo 1 and Imfazo 2); Ndebele evictions from their land under the direction of the Rhodesian colonial settler state; recurring droughts in Matabeleland; ethnic forms taken by Zimbabwean nationalism; urban events happening around the city of Bulawayo; the state-orchestrated and ethnicised violence of the 1980s targeting the Ndebele community, which became known as Gukurahundi; and other factors like perceptions and realities of frustrated economic development in Matabeleland together with ever-present threats of repetition of Gukurahundi-style violence—that have contributed to the shaping and re-shaping of Ndebele identity within Zimbabwe.

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The Igbo Concept of Mother Musicianship

Music is a ‘woman’, and intuitive creative management of life is more of a feminine attribute. Music is a communion, a social communion that nourishes spirituality, and manages socialisation during public events. These are some of the philosophical and concrete rationalizations that guided the indigenous categorization of an extraordinary performance-composer irrespective of gender or age as a mother musician as per indigenous terminological evidence in Africa. A composer gestates and gives birth to sonic phenomena.

Musical meaning has been discussed from the indigenous perspective as being based on the factors of musical sense, psychical tolerance and musical intention. The practice of performance-composition has also been identified as processing the realisation and approval of musical meaning as per context. Central to the philosophy of musical meaning as a society’s conceptualization of creative genius are the creative personalities who interpret and extend the musical factors as well as the musical facts of a culture. Such specialists are sensitive to the socio-musical factors contingent on a musical context at the same time as they are the repositories of the theory of composition in a musical arts tradition. Socio-musical factors here categorize those non-musical circumstances of a music-making situation that inform the architecture of a performance-composition; while musical facts are the essential elements of creative configurations that furnish musical arts theory.

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The Constitution, Negotiation and Representation of Immigrant Student Identities in South African Schools

‘Think, instead of identity as a “production” which is never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside representation’ (Hall, 2000).

Abstract

The easing of legal and unauthorized entry to South Africa has made the country a new destination for Black immigrants. As this population continues to grow, its children have begun to experience South African schools in an array of uniquely challenging ways. For these immigrant youth, forging a sense of identity may be their single greatest challenge. Accordingly, this study asks how do immigrant students construct, negotiate, and represent their identities within the South African schooling context. Findings were multifold in nature.

First, although immigrant students’ ease of assimilation into the chosen reference group was to some degree sanctioned by their phenotypic racial features, their attempt at ‘psychosocial passing’ was politically motivated. Second, immigrant students did not readily classify themselves according to skin pigmentocracy. Third, the majority of immigrant students heightened their ethnic self-awareness in forming their identity, but also assumed hyphenated identities. Fourth, immigrant students were not seen as having an identity, but rather as being ‘plugged into a category with associated characteristics or features’. Fifth, immigrant students forged a ‘continental identity’. And sixth, the selfagency of immigrant students was twofold in nature; not only did they want to improve their own condition, but there seemed to be an inherent drive to improve the human condition of others.

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