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Race and Reconciliation: Essays from the New South Africa

Daniel Herwitz
Series: Public Worlds
Volume: 11
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 260
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  • Book Info
    Race and Reconciliation
    Book Description:

    Seeking the timeless through the timely, Daniel Herwitz brings the vast resources of the philosophical essay to bear on the new realities of post-apartheid South Africa—from racial identity to truth commissions, from architecture to film and television. A public intellectual’s reflections on public life, Herwitz’s essays question how the new South Africa has constructed its concepts of reconciliation and return.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9456-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxviii)

    The inauguration of a new nation.

    1985. P.W. Botha, expected to make a speech announcing massive reform of the crumbling apartheid state, instead refuses to “cross the Rubicon.” Overnight the rand devalues by more than 100 percent in a country already embroiled in war, chaos, township violence, and spiraling state terror.

    1985 and 1987. The business and academic communities secretly meet the African National Congress, first in Lusaka and then in Dakar. The African National Congress begins to consider the idea of a negotiated settlement rather than an outright victory. All parties to the South African conflict fear the massive...

  5. 1 The Coat of Many Colors: Truth and Reconciliation
    (pp. 1-46)

    Joseph, seventeen years old, was a shepherd, along with his brothers. Israel, their father, loved Joseph more than his other sons, for he was his father’s late lamb, the son of his old age. One day, Israel had a special coat, sewn of long sleeves and dazzling colors, made for him. Joseph’s brothers, knowing that their father loved Joseph best, hated him so much that they could not utter a civil word to him. One day Joseph’s brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. Israel told Joseph to go and see how his brothers and the flock were...

  6. 2 Soweto’s Taxi, America’s Rib
    (pp. 47-68)

    Rainbow Nation: the guiding image of early postapartheid South Africa. Rainbow Nation: an image that had great currency during the mid- to late 1990s, the image of a society where, finally, each band of color would chromatically harmonize with all others while retaining its own distinctiveness. The South Africa of this nation-building slogan is one preaching difference alchemically harmonized by natural law. Such a law, according to which each group, each constituency, each colloquy is automatically rendered complementary to all others, is a law worthy of the utopian moment of nation-building. It is a law also of discovery, proclaiming that...

  7. 3 Afro-Medici: Thabo Mbeki’s African Renaissance
    (pp. 69-103)

    Semper aliquid novi ex Africa: “Always something new from Africa.” The African renaissance. So many words:indabasandbosberade,i.e., meetings, conferences, discussions, pronouncements, speeches. So many words about words. In a language that everyone can understand. In English, rather than the Italian of Filippo Brunelleschi and his grand Duomo. In English, rather than the German of Jacob Burkhardt and his glorious narratives of the Italianate past. In English, rather than Zulu, language of the fierce and indomitable Shaka. In English, rather than Xhosa, in which the young Nelson Mandela spoke his first words. A renaissance in English, even if...

  8. 4 Racial and Nonracial States and Estates
    (pp. 104-127)

    Presenting a paper to the University of Natal History Seminar in April 2000, the South African sociologist Gerry Mare began in this way:

    In 1985 acting president of the then-banned and exiled African National Congress, Oliver Tambo, was asked, at a press conference, what was meant by the liberation organisation’s commitment to “non-racialism” rather than “multi-racialism.” His rambling answer was reproduced in the ANC journalMayibuye,in one of the extremely rare references to race or even to “nonracialism” in that publication:

    “There must be a difference. That is why we say non- racial. We could have said multi-racial if...

  9. 5 The Genealogy of Modern South African Architecture
    (pp. 128-172)

    Public and private. North and south. We begin in the north, in public, at the center, to understand the periphery, the public, the private, the south.

    If the cultures of modernism are to be divided into margin and center, it is because the modern art and architecture that arose in the cosmopolitan centers of Europe and America arose in the context of robust art worlds, and the art and architecture at the margins did not. In the first instance, the form of life that gave rise to the European modernisms and avant-gardes was urban. Critics, journalists, novelists, and private citizens...

  10. 6 Postmodernists of the South
    (pp. 173-195)

    Dali Tambo, son of Oliver of past African National Congress fame and host for the dazzling and inventive television showPeople of the South,appears in the lightness of a complete African wardrobe, his long green garment fl owing to the ground as effusively as his gestures. His guests for the day include the effervescent and biting Peter Dirk-Uys, appearing in the form of the Uys alter ego, part anima, part animus Evita Bezeudenheit. Also onstage in this spectacle of the south, part traditional in its African style of participatory enjoyment, part postmodern in its capacity to stand identities on...

  11. 7 Ongoing Struggle at the End of History
    (pp. 196-210)

    One person dead and one hundred and fifty thousand demonstrating at the G8 Summit in Genoa. Demonstrations against the injustice in globalization in Seattle, Davos, São Paolo. All this at the end of history. Africa in shambles, and all this at the end of history. President Thabo Mbeki gaining back some of the moral capital lost during the AIDS debacle by impressing the G8 nations with a plan to help Africa.

    Thousands dead in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Pittsburgh, at the end of history.

    The end of history: Francis Fukuyama’sThe...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 211-216)
  13. Index
    (pp. 217-228)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 229-229)