‘Vat en sit’: South African men through the eyes of the women?

By Laetitia Simorangkir While conducting fieldwork for my research on the orga-nization of care arrangements in South African communities, I surprisingly often ended up in situations where my female respondents started to see me as ‘one of their own’. An unexperienced, ignorant one though, but still, ‘one of their own’. They enjoyed telling me about their communities and teaching me about their ways of living. One of the topics we discussed regularly, was the difference between men and women, especially their efficiency and usefulness within the household.

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Poor Whites in South Africa

Just like last year, various master students obtained a small financial allowance from the Vamos Bien-Foundation of our Department. In  return, they write blogs about their fieldwork, posted on the vamosbien.nl-site. Like last year, we will re-post some of these field stories on our Standplaatswereld site. The first one is by Dafydd Russell-Jones. He went to South Africa to explore the experiences of poverty among white communities living in informal settlements in and around Pretoria.  This research will explore the lived realities of white South Africans who have experienced a great shift in social and economic security since the end …

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Another World

By Duane Jethro. I cut in the queue to buy cigarettes. The big guy behind me approaches and says, “sorry but I was in front of you”. I let him pass. But he’s not content. He turns and says, “don’t be like the Dutch they were like that. They exterminated all the indigenous people. Just look at Holland, its all flat, indicative of the flat, all conquering mindset of the people that live there”. A short, stocky dude, he’s clutching a pack of salt, rice and milk. I wonder where he comes from. “You should be more like the Spanish” …

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Stormachtige tijden in Zuid Afrika: Goodbye Mandela

Femke Brandt, momenteel als post-doc werkzaam in Kaapstad, deelt enkele etnografische observaties omtrent het overlijden van Nelson Mandela op donderdag 5 december. Hoe ervaren Kapenaren het vertrek van hun nationale symbool van verzoening en vrede? Is er ruimte voor kritische reflecties op de erfenis van de eerste ANC president? Femke doet verslag van verschillende herdenkingsmomenten en een speciale vakbondsbijeenkomst op een wijnboerderij. Vrijdag 6 december – 00:00, middernacht Een stevige zomerwind blaast door de stad rond middernacht wanneer ik in mijn blauwe Toyota Tazz stap, na een avond onbezorgd dansen op reggae en dub in een piepklein Chinees restaurant onder …

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Blackening Up for the Festive Season

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 …

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Having Your Boerewors Roll and Eating it

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.

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The Politics and Ethics of keeping things clean: striking insights from South Africa

  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 …

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Sport for development; my South African experience

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 …

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World Cup Mania: Beyond the vuvuzela

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. …

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World Cup Mania: Talking about 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 …

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