Beyond the Rainbow Nation: New Narratives on Race, Class and Social Cohesion in South Africa

Beyond the Rainbow Nation: New Narratives on Race, Class and Social Cohesion in South Africa 2016-10-25T17:48:48+00:00

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Chair: Dr Sarah Chiumbu, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa
Panellist: Mr Molemo Ramphalile, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Panellist: Ms Tinyiko Chauke, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa
Panellist: Ms Ragi Bashonga, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa
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“We talk about ’94 as this momentous point in our country’s history, but we didn’t change anything, really, structurally and institutionally – we just… added blacks.” (Gugu Mhlungu from the documentary The People Vs The Rainbow Nation)

The Rainbow Nation is a term used to encourage a sense of belonging and national identity in post-apartheid South Africa. But more than twenty years into democracy, this concept is being disrupted by a growing sense of disillusionment about the slow pace of transformation, economic inequality and racism in South African society. Young people in tertiary institutions through #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall have been at the forefront of articulating this growing sense of national discontent. Drawing on a larger decolonisation position, student protests have highlighted the right to free higher education, racism in institutions of learning, symbolic/racial violence and the intersectionality of oppression, marginalisation and exclusion embedded in our country.

This session will draw on excerpts from the documentary People vs. The Rainbow Nation to engage the audience on broad issues of race, class and social cohesion in South Africa. The documentary tackles the subject of the Rainbow Nation from the vantage point of university students, professors, writers, and activists, zeroing in on the frustration that has been brewing among South African youth regarding the failed project of racial and social transformation. The debates generated by the protests, coupled with several incidents of racial intolerance on social media platforms in the last year, reveal that much more needs to be done in order to bring about meaningful social change in South Africa.

The session will address the following issues:

  • The myth or reality of the Rainbow Nation narrative
  • The fluidity and rigidity of race, racialization and racialised identities in post-apartheid SA
  • Race and its links to poverty and inequality
  • Race, class and social cohesion in SA
  • Dismantling Racisms: Plans, strategies and tools

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chiumbu-2Dr Sarah Chiumbu
Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa
Chair

Dr Sarah Chiumbu is Senior Research Specialist in the Human and Social Development Research Programme at the Human Sciences Research Council. Dr Chiumbu has over 15 years of teaching, research and media activist work in the non-governmental sector. Before joining the HSRC, she spent 6 years at the University of Witswatersrand where she taught courses in new media, media theories, alternative and community media, media economics and media & democracy and African Media Systems. While at Wits, she supervised a total of 30 students, 10 of them MAs and 6 PhDs. Dr Chiumbu’s research interests include the following: media, democracy & citizenship, new and alternative media, social movements, and critical policy studies. Sarah also has an abiding interest in critical theory, particularly, postcolonial theories, decoloniality and African political thought. She has published widely in books and international journals.
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ramphalileMr Molemo Ramphalile
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Panellist

Molemo Ramphalile is a PhD candidate in the Political Studies department at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a PhD research trainee in the Human and Social Development unit at the Human Sciences Research Council. His fields of interests include Black Studies, Critical Race Studies, Feminist Theory, Decolonial Studies, and Cultural Studies. Under the title “Sullening Scapes: Explorations of and within Performances of Blackness” Molemo’s thesis seeks to understand the point of congruency between black historical experience, subject formation, ontology and epistemology on the one hand, and distinctive modalities of expression that are manifest in black performance (or performances of blackness) on the other. ‘Blackness’ here, is positioned as a core concept that is deployed methodologically, analytically and normatively to mark out—and then to open up—a terrain of inquiry into the specificity and possibility of black life. Ultimately, what undergirds Molemo’s intellectual and political interests are questions around the possibilities and impossibilities of meaningful transformation in colonial/post-colonial and modern society.
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chaukeMs Tinyiko Chauke
Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa
Panellist

Tinyiko Chauke works for the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa as a PhD Intern in the HIV/AIDS/STI/TB (HAST) research programme. She is a registered PhD candidate with the Psychology Department at the University of South Africa serves. She previously worked at South African Catholic Bishops Council as well as with the Aurum Consortium as a Research Associate. Qualifications: Tinyiko Chauke has a Master’s degree obtained from the University of South Africa. Research focus and Presentations: Ms Chauke has presented at the Human Science Research Council Conference, Decolonising Feminism Conference as well as the Annual Decolonisation Conference and the SA 1st Violence Conference. Ms Chauke’s research interests include and not limited to the following; Indigenous Feminisms and Knowledge, social inequalities Decolonialism, Sexuality/queer sexualities.
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bashongaMs Ragi Bashonga
Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa
Panellist

Ragi Bashonga is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Cape Town. Her work is centred on the use of stories and the narrative to elicit social change. Ragi has presented her work on the significance of poetry for identity, inclusion, and equality at a number of international conferences. Her Master’s study from the University of Pretoria entitled ‘Selling Narratives: An ethnography of the Spoken Word Movement in Johannesburg and Pretoria’, gives perspective on contemporary black youth identities, their political and social experiences as drawn from the Gauteng Spoken Word poetry scene. Her current PhD study at the University of Cape Town explores identity and belonging of Congolese second-generation immigrant young people in light of xenophobia and Afrophobia in South Africa. Ragi’s academic achievement has been recognised with membership to the Golden Key International Society. She is currently placed as a PhD Research Trainee at the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria.
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