As in earlier years, the controversy on the significance of the figure of ‘zwarte piet’ cropped up again. On those earlier occasions, we have posted both blogs arguing in favor of the ‘tender Dutch tradition’, and blogs stating that the arguments about the ‘innocent custom’ simply won’t do. This year we again, simultaneously, publish two contributions, by Duane Jethro and Rhoda Woets, questioning the guiltless-ness of the figure of zware piet.
By Duane Jethro It is that time of year again when, slowly, the Netherlands is being invaded by those loveable effigies of dark-skinned, red-lipped ZwartePieten. From Albert Hein to the Kapsalon, Rotterdam to Maastricht, little dark Pieten are colonizing inches of display space, as all across the Netherlands children wait anxiously for their white, bearded boss-man, Sinterklaas, to arrive from Spain and steam into cities and towns this November.
In keeping with the annual celebration, I have been asked to engage with the significance of the commemoration of Sinterklaas. I hope to use this opportunity to embark on my own intocht into the tradition, with the intention of dishing out intellectual snoepjes and cadeautjes that hopefully will add to the annual Standplaatswereld debate about the significance of that mercurial of Dutch folk characters, Zwarte Piet. Lees verder
Geplaatst in De Lage Landen, Discriminatie & Man/vrouw, English posts, Multicultureel & Migratie, Politiek & Burgerschap, Regio Afrika, Regio Europa
Tags: anthropology, cultuur, Duane Jethro, integratie, Nederland, South Africa
Duane jethro’s braai
By Duane Jethro The 24th of September marked Heritage Day in South Africa. Inaugurated in 1996, the state figured this public holiday would afford South Africans the opportunity to critically reflect on the post-apartheid nation’s rich cultural heritage and diversity. Responding to this implicit appeal, on the 24th of September 2005, the Mzansi Braai Institute initiated the idea of reframing Heritage Day as being a celebration of the braai, or barbeque. Lees verder
Image taken from http://kimmoment.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/mayhem-madness-media-exaggeration/
By Tarryn Frankish Globally, the question of how to deal with the ‘dirty business’ of keeping things clean remains pertinent. In this blog I look to South Africa for insight into these questions as strikes around the globe by cleaning staff force us to think about the politics and ethics of keeping things clean elsewhere.
As a Desmond Tutu scholar, working at the Vrije University in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa I have the unique opportunity of spending time in two countries as I work towards my doctoral degree. My first trip to Amsterdam coincided with a strike by cleaning services in May 2010. More recently, as I was leaving Amsterdam in February 2012, the working conditions of cleaning staff were again in question. This question resonates with what I have come to know in South Africa. Striking similarities in the way ‘cleaning’ is organised in the Netherlands and South Africa became apparent to me during my stays despite the contextual differences between the two countries, wherein cleaning work is performed and negotiated. The situation in South Africa (and some of the similarities witnessed in Amsterdam) suggests much for thinking about the politics and ethics of keeping things clean in a global context. Lees verder
Geplaatst in Discriminatie & Man/vrouw, English posts, Globalisering & Ontwikkeling, Politiek & Burgerschap, Regio Afrika, Regio Europa
Tags: anthropology, Conflict, mensenrechten, migranten, Nederland, protest, South Africa, Tarryn Frankish
- Photo from documentary ‘Can I kick it?’ (2010)
While studying in South Africa for one semester I was involved in a development project called “Girls and Football South Africa” (GFSA). This sparked my enthusiasm and interest for the use of sport as a tool in development initiatives and inspired me to write my Bachelor’s thesis on this topic.
By Siri Lijfering It was exactly one year ago that I left Amsterdam to go to South Africato do a minor in development studies at the university of Stellenbosch. During my studies there, I became closely involved in the GFSA project that aimed at providing girls from a township between 9 and 12 years of age, the opportunity to develop their football skills, personal qualities and self esteem (www.girlsandfootballsa.com). In the past few years, several ‘sport for development projects’ have been set up in townships, but none for girls, who are considered to be the most marginalized. Due to the parents’ long working hours, the large amount of single-mother households, and the common drug and alcohol abuse by adults, children, and especially girls, are parentalized – having an overdeveloped sense of responsibility for others – at a very young age which often results in social isolation. Hence, providing these girls with a safe space where they can play and talk with peers can prevent this. Lees verder
By Duane Jethro Since the conclusion of the World Cup, questions have been raised about what could be done with the vuvuzelas accumulated during the tournament. In response, the renowned South African cartoonist Zapiro offered a few creative, novel suggestions in one of his weekly sketches for the Sunday Times. These included deafened fans using their vuvuzelas as a hearing aid, following Paris Hilton’s lead and using it as a cannabis pipe, or as the case may be with recently sacked coach Raymond Domenech, using it as a receptacle for collecting change from the public while begging on the street.
Just as the vuvuzela’s uses as a material object were open to a multiplicity of reinterpretations, the horn has also lent itself to myriad symbolic readings that connected it to notions of culture, religion and social identities. In that case, we could perhaps find another, alternate use for the vuvuzela, using it telescopically to look back and scan the uproarious terrain of the World Cup and canvass some of the things that had been overlooked and not really heard. Lees verder
Dutch Fan Culture
By Duane Jethro Culture is on everybody’s lips. Another game at the fan park: Spain vs Switzerland, if I remember correctly. Cold beer in hand, I am engaging in conversation with a middle-aged gentleman about the World Cup vibe. It’s a chilly, grey day and the sparse crowd is quiet, subdued, passively absorbing Spain’s demise. Minutes later, a group of about 10 or so excited Bafana Bafana supporters congregate in my vicinity and start generating some gees. They sing popular local songs in isiXhosa, and blow their vuvuzelas in time to the tune, all the while drawing foreign bystanders into the enticing rhythm.
The scene is priceless and I remark that once people get hold of vuvuzelas they go mad. “Ja, ma wat kan jy doen is os culture”, [Yes, but what can you do, it’s our culture], he replies curtly. “A culture van geraas maak en tekeere gaan?” [A culture of making a noise and showing off], I cheekily quip. “En Party” [And partying], he adds, and we both laugh.
Geplaatst in English posts, Identiteit & Religie, Regio Afrika
Tags: apartheid, culture, Duane Jethro, FIFA, football, nationalism, soccer, South Africa, vuvuzela, World Cup mania
Aged supporter in Cape Town (all pictures by Duane Jethro)
By Duane Jethro Ke Nako is a Sotho phrase that roughly translates into “it is here” or “it is time”. Playing on this traditional term, the South African Broadcasting Corporation sought to tap into the charged feelings of anticipation and excitement with the prospect of the looming World Cup, with its own slogan, Feel It is Here. On June 11th, 2010, it arrived. The day marked a watershed moment in South Africa’s history, as the nation celebrated the opening of the highly anticipated FIFA 2010 World Cup™, to be staged on home soil. World Cup day, as it may be termed, was not only eagerly anticipated, it was also raucously celebrated. Lees verder
Geplaatst in English posts, Globalisering & Ontwikkeling, Regio Afrika
Tags: ceremony, Duane Jethro, FIFA, football, Ke Nako, soccer, South Africa, vuvuzela, World Cup, World Cup mania
Duane about to blow the vuvuzela
In our new series on the Football World Cup, Duane Jethro will regularly report from South Africa. Duane is currently doing his PhD research in his home-country, looking at cultural heritage initiatives in the post-apartheid era. The World Cup, with its articulations of a (putative) South African authentic culture, has become an important site of Duane’s investigations. In this first part of the series we’ll reproduce Duane’s report on the festivities in the context of the World Cup’s final draw, in which he discusses an object that has recently become somewhat controversial in the Netherlands: the vuvuzela. What does the vuvuzela stand for and where does it come from? Lees verder
(picture by Duane)
By Duane Jethro
The FIFA Fan Fest™, a locally organised public festival celebrating the FIFA 2010 World Cup™ final draw, was the watershed event marking South Africa’s official role as host of the 2010 World Cup tournament. Held in Long Street Cape Town, the magnanimous celebration stretched from the Convention Centre on the east, through the heart of the city to its western boundary. Attended by revellers, officials and, celebrities from across the globe, it represented the first major occasion for the local organising committee and the South African public to welcome the global football loving audience to South Africa. Significantly, amongst many nations represented at the event, there seemed to be a large contingent of Dutch supporters present, celebrating the Netherlands’ berth, and indulging in the general festivities. Lees verder
Street selling in The Gambia (by red hand records)
By Kim Knibbe What do a window washer at a cross-roads in a metropole who starts washing your window unasked, an old lady from a village in Africa who visits her son in the big city to ask for financial support, a beggar and a pickpocket have in common? According to the anthropologist James Ferguson, they are all involved in what he calls improvisational distributive labour. Ferguson said this during the seminar The Financial Crisis: views from anthropology, which was held at our department last week.
Geplaatst in English posts, Globalisering & Ontwikkeling, Ondernemerschap & Organisaties, Politiek & Burgerschap, Regio Afrika
Tags: anthropology, Anton Hemerijck, basic income grant, BIG, credit crunch, crisis, financial crisis, Howard Stein, james ferguson, Kim Knibbe, South Africa