20 Years Later – The Role of Art and Justice in South Africa’s Democracy

At the entrance to the Constitutional Court of South Africa stands a sculpture of a large man yoked to a cart. His burden is a human one: a man and woman who themselves are seated on the back of a fourth figure kneeling on the cart. At first glance, the sculpture resonates with the history of servitude that marked the dehumanizing institution of apartheid. On closer reflection, the sculpture reveals a more complex message. The sculptor, South African artist Dumile Feni, did not create any racial differentiation between the four figures, and the man drawing the cart is the only figure large and strong enough to accomplish this task. The title of the work is History, and the four figures carry each other in a way that reflects the dependence, the interconnectedness and the tension that have always characterized human relationships. Read more…

Protests and the Construction of National Security Threats in South Africa

The revelations by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden – that the United States (US) has developed surveillance capacities that make it possible for intelligence agents to surveil all Americans and many non-Americans – have provoked outrage and debate over the extent of their anti-terror policies far beyond their border. This massive overreach has even crept into the monitoring of popular mobilization. Read more…

When Mandela Dies and Mugabe Goes

This month sees the anniversaries both of the first free general elections in South Africa (27 April 1994) and independence from white minority rule in neighbouring Zimbabwe (18 April 1980). And in coming months the sun could likely set in each country on the lives of two major African leaders whom history will remember very […]