#FeesMustFall: An interview

I was interviewed by Sophie Schasiepen for the Austrian feminist magazine an.schlage in 2016. The interview covered issues surrounding #RhodesMustFall, #FeesMustFall and feminism within the movement. It was originally published in German here. This is the English translation of the interview. The translated piece is longer than the German version.

In April 2015, the #RhodesMustFall (RMF) movement achieved the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes* from the campus of the University of Cape Town (UCT). Debates leading to this event soon included demands for much more radical and extensive changes than just the removal of a statue: the protests were aiming for the decolonization of South African universities – and the country as a whole. Out of these discussions, many more initiatives were founded on different campuses throughout the country, amplifying the momentum of RMF. In October last year, a new climax was reached when students, parents and staff protested against an increase of tuition fees in, forming the #FeesMustFall (FMF) movement. All major campuses in South Africa were temporarily shut down. Jacob Zuma´s promptly following promise for a 0% increase of tuition fees has not put an end to the struggle – on the contrary, this year, at the beginning of the new term, protesters have been interrupting the registration processes and are continuing to take their demands to the streets.

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The day I met the man with the trumpet: Ambrose Akinmusire

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A previously unpublished story I wrote after an interview in 2013 with African American trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.

“Oh my, I think I am going to cry. This is too beautiful” The lady sitting next to me whispers in my ear. We are sitting right in front of the stage, on the hard-floor, cross-legged, wide-eyed with eager ears. As the Ambrose Akinmusire quintet serenades us at the 15th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival, my mind wonders and I think of the history of jazz. From its inception in New Orleans in the 1920’s and 30’s, the radical years of the 1960’s and 70’s, to the innovative musicians of the 2000’s. I ask myself, do jazz musician consider this rich history when they make their music? How do jazz musicians respond to our current social and political climate using music? I decided to speak with Akinmusire about my questions; an award winning African American trumpeter, bandleader and composer.

We met on a Sunday afternoon at the Cape Sun hotel, where most of the artists performing at the festival were staying. The lunch time buzz of the hotel restaurant combined with the racket of exhausted musicians checking out made it a bit hard for us to hear each other, but because when Ambrose speaks, he is committed to a conversation, listening attentively and picking his words intelligently, the noise slowly died away as we became immersed in our conversation.

After briefly talking about the rise in the number of protests in South Africa, the Marikana massacre – where 34 miners were fatally shot by police – and about the minimum wage in South Africa versus America, I decided to kick off the official interview by asking him whether he felt any pressure creating his new album considering the resounding success of the previous one. “When I create an album, I really try to figure out what that album is missing or what I’m missing, then I try to address those in the next album. I didn’t feel any pressure, but I do more than ever feel a sense of obligation because I can no longer convince myself that people aren’t watching me or that I don’t matter…” the trumpeter confesses. “I feel a sense of obligation for my community that I grew up in, I’m starting to feel a sense of obligation for, I haven’t formulated it yet and I don’t even know how to explain it, for Africans… I want to bring people together, especially black people.”

Ambrose’s father is Nigerian, so he grew up with some connection with his African side of his family. “You know it’s so cliché to say, ‘you need to go back to Africa’. I’ve heard this all my life but coming here I’m like oh shit, it’s true!” Refreshingly though, Ambrose also realises how cliché it has become for American artists to think of Africa as ‘the motherland’, without making an effort to learn about African history and how that connects to Africans landing in America through the slave-trade.

We then later walked to Greenmarket square, an African market in the Cape Town city centre that is always buzzing with vendors eager to get their display items purchased by fascinated tourists. Interestingly, the market is filled with exactly those people Akinmusire speaks off, that exoticize Africa.

As we walk through the market we discuss some of the hardships that befall young black men in America and the world. One of those is the high rate of young black men being brutally murdered by the police. He addresses this problem in Roll call for those absent, a song where a little girl reads out the names of various young black men who were victims of police brutality and an unjust system in the States. He explores the same concept in a song from his previous album called My name is Oscar. There is a confrontational posture to the song, it could be the vibrant drums or Akinmusire’s repetition of Oscar’s name, as compared to Roll call… which is much calmer, meditative even as it awakens a sense of loss.

These songs then drive home the message that in the current social and political climate, black people dying in numbers with no action – or justice – is nothing new. His concern with his community and expression of that concern through music reminds me of the zeal and commitment of the Black Arts Movement in the 60’s and 70’s. A sister to the Black Power movement in the States, it focused on radicalising art so that it represented what the people were going through at the time. I therefore find it important to listen to Akinmusire’s work with an open mind, not only to the different, engaging sounds he brings, but also to what he is saying about his social and political environment.

I’m Tired

My eyes are betraying me these days.
I see painfully.
My brain mashed up.
Seeping through my ears.
My bones feel like they are too heavy for my body.
Weighing me down.
Pulling me closer and closer towards the earth.
Where my momma is.
I drift along these days.
Unaware of space and time.
Trying to lift my head from drowning in a sea of blood.
I need to get out.
I’m tired.

FEATURE: What Happened, Miss Simone?

This review was published privately last year as part of  five feature assignments done for the Wits Journalism Department.  

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MUSICAL GENIUS REMEMBERED: In the new documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? the life and music of civil rights activist Nina Simone are remembered.                                                                                                                                     Photo: Wiki Commons

Eunice Kathleen Waymon, more famously known as Nina Simone sits, back up right, in front of a black grand piano. Sparkling white teeth emerge from her beaming face. Her afro is pitch black and as kinky as they come.  It is 1969 and she sings cheerfully, “to be young gifted and black, Oh what a lovely precious dream.”

Later on (1976) we then see Nina sitting in front of another piano, back slightly slouched this time and speaking to a largely white audience in a fragile tone, “I’m tired.”

She starts playing but then abruptly stops and sharply points a finger at an audience member who stood up while she was singing, “hey girl, sit down! Sit down!”

At this point, her eyes are like sharp knives piercing through the girl’s ego.

This is halfway through the documentary produced by her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelley, What Happened, Miss Simone? The documentary provides one of the most thorough representations of Nina. Her daughter disapproved of the previous documentaries and films about her mother’s life, saying they never portrayed the “true Nina Simone.” The Nina that was a musical genius who despised injustice, but who also carried enormous burdens on her back. Who had massive demons. In this documentary we are shown how these demons affected not only her, but her family, friends and music.

One could argue that what each of us considers ‘demons’ is different. For her abusive husband and manager, Andrew Stroud, one of her ‘demons’ was her political activism. For him, she should have stuck to singing popular music and her career would have continued as normal.

For her daughter it was her bipolar disorder (which was unknown to both of them at the time), which created a fractured relationship between mother and daughter.

But for Nina, her demons were boundless. She couldn’t pin point them or say what they were. But she knew she was troubled.

A great feature of the documentary is the rare insight it gives into Nina’s life. For instance, in her roughly scribbled diary entries she speaks of wanting to be dead and of despising her husband.

In one of the rare interviews she speaks about participating in the civil rights movement and how that gave her a renewed sense of worth, “It was very exhilarating to be part of the [civil rights] movement at the time because I was needed. I could sing to help my people and that became the mainstay of my life. Not classical piano, not classical music, not even popular music but civil rights music,” she says.

The one event that prompted Nina to join the civil rights movement, and to write the song Mississippi Goddam which became “the soundtrack of the civil rights movement” was the bombing of a church which claimed the lives of four young black girls.

This event pushed her towards radicalism. This renewed sense of purpose was translated into her music. In Ain’t Got No (I Got Life) Nina is brutal and utterly pessimistic about black life in the United States. In the song she says, “Ain’t got no mother, ain’t got no culture, Ain’t got no friends, ain’t got no schooling, Ain’t got no love, ain’t got no name, Ain’t got no ticket, ain’t got no token, Ain’t got no God.”

As seen in the lyrics above, and in Mississippi Goddam, her lyricism showed an understanding of the bareness of black life at the time – and some might argue even now. From slavery to the Jim Crow era, blacks in the United States (and around the world) were denied a sense of place and a sense of being. And for her, translating this through music was her purpose.

As she says in the documentary, she loved black people, and she shared her hopes for a more equal future in her music. She used self-affirmatory lyrics as a fighting tool to gain and give strength to her people for a revolution. And this is why she was so popular.

Born in the Deep South Nina started playing the piano when she was 4 years old. Her first experience of racism was when her parents were forced to move to the back of the venue for a white couple during her first piano recital, “It was my first feeling of being discriminated against and I recoil in horror at it,” she said. “I never got over that jolt of racism.”

She then received classical piano lessons from her mother’s white employer, “I crossed the railroad tracks every weekend to get to Mrs Mazinovich’s [piano teacher]… In the South railroad tracks were made to divide the blacks from the whites, I was so scared,” she said.

Nina played everything from Bach to Beethoven. She dreamed of being the first black female classical pianist, but she was rejected by the Curtis Institute of Music when she was 19 years old because she was black.

After her rejection she released she had to work. This led her to start playing and singing in night clubs in Philadelphia, adopting the name Nina Simone to hide from her highly religious mother.

The rest, as they say is history.

Nina Simone gave her life to music. What Happened, Miss Simone? gives only just a glimpse of Nina’s genius. “Nina Simone was a free spirit in an era that didn’t really appreciate a woman’s genius,” says Attallah Shabazz, Malcolm X’s eldest daughter who lived next door to Nina for many years.

Nina’s genius, as depicted in the documentary and in her music, was uncontainable. Her music was the soundtrack to a very turbulent time for black people in the United States, and all over the world, “I choose to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself in. That to me is my duty… how can you be an artist and not reflect the times?” she said.

In the documentary, Nina says that her happiest time was when she lived in exile in Liberia. When she passed away in 2003 aged 70, her ashes were spread all over the world including Liberia where hopefully, the restless soul finally rested.

Art in times of a coming revolution

ITAI Hakim is a folk-soul singer, guitarist and songwriter with a sense of humor and a consciousness that allows for thoughtful conversation and spine-chilling socially aware music.

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ITAI HAKIM: The singer, songwriter and guitarist is planning o releasing more music and more creative collaborations this year. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Born in Diepkloof, Soweto, Hakim says he grew up listening to the likes of West Life, Andrea Bocelli, and only later were his tastes in music challenged. “From the get go I wasn’t listening to anything traditional or deeply black. I think my first interaction with a black musician was Craig David, and you know he is very sanitised,” he says.

He went to a mostly white primary school “in the suburbs and I became culturally assimilated.” His first encounters with “race” as a social qualifier of space and opportunity was in high school, “when your white friend can’t come over and sleep at your house because you live in Soweto, that’s when you realise that something is off,” he says laughing.

By the time Hakim got to Wits University, where he studied Psychology, Sociology, English and Philosophy, his conceptions of the world and music were highly influenced by the “underground” hip hop, slam poetry and live music scene of the late 2000’s.

By the time 2012 came, he had been performing in gigs around Johannesburg in different bands and he would later be signed, as part of the group 8 Bars Short at Motif records (although this didn’t work out as planned). He would also perform his Tsonga and Venda folk vocals in a tour of the United Kingdom with the band, The Brother Moves On.

For him going to the UK was a sobering experience, “it was great in the sense that it felt like it was all me, you know, I couldn’t be like it was because of someone else who made it happen.”

With an upcoming international tour, an EP and an album to be released later this year, the current events that have woken different forms of resistance in universities across the country have pushed Hakim, and many other artists, to interrogate the inextricable connections between art and politics. “Will inequality exist forever? That scares me… I don’t think that, or at least I don’t want that to be the case. So we need to make a plan, so that this is not the case,” he says.

“My question even as an artist is ‘how big is your fight?’” he says. “It’s the same thing as an artist, as a journalist, as a doctor, as a policeman. You always have the issues of justice that you always have to negotiate with internally.”

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CONSCIOUS MUSICIANS: Itai Hakim is also part of the group, Children Of The Wind with poet Modise Sekgothe. Photo: Michelle Gumede

One of Hakim’s interests are in storytelling, specifically writing books for young black children with black illustrations as a way to counter and speak against a narrative that feeds young black children whiteness and white values from a young age.

Pointing to a book he is currently reading by black feminist scholar and cultural critic, bell hooks, called Black Looks: Race and Representation, he speaks about how the book has helped him contextualize notions of black representation and how certain messages i.e. writing black children’s books, are important, valid and necessary.

Speaking about the student movement and the paintings that were burnt by #RhodesMustFall activists at the University of Cape Town he says: “I just found myself asking the question, ‘kanti how is a revolution supposed to happen?’ We can’t always be in dialogue debating, and in meetings, no. And I feel like South Africa has been here before.”

“What do you expect to happen? You gonna spend R2 million on secret police and tell us there is no money for kids?”

With music projects, theatre collaborations, and writing projects coming up, Hakim believes the question that artists should be asking themselves now is, “as an artist you are never neutral… are you just doing this just to be popular or are you for real for real? I think every artist needs to ask themselves that question at some point.”

 

Story originally published on Witsvuvuzela.com 

Wrestling With Intersectionality

I co-authored this piece with my brother, Ncedisa Mpemnyama. It was originally published on the Culture Review website on January 11, 2016.

Last year presented us with many gains in the black radical block in South Africa. From the formation of the Rhodes Must Fall movement at the University of Cape Town, which shook the whole institutional white structure of the university, to the boycott of lily white literary festivals by prominent authors in the black literary circle. Not forgetting the important moment of the Fees Must Fall movement which is still carrying on despite desperate attempts by the ruling party and its student wings to disrupt and dilute its cause. The moments and movements have centred discussions of decolonization, race, anti-blackness and sexism at their core. With resistance from the far right to even the left, the discussions, debates, actions and organizing have been pushing forward regardless.

At such a critical moment, it is thus important to also centre introspection and self-criticism at the core of this new black radical reawakening. What does it mean when we say we want to “decolonize” Africa? How do we avoid making the same mistakes as black radical movements of the past, without falling into separatist tactics that only further divide the black community? But also, how do we guard against the use of black radical discourse to derail and halt true black liberation by diluting the discourse to serve liberal reformist ends?

This piece seeks to examine the widely used concept of intersectionality, to critique the direction of the black radical movement. While many have gulped down this term without questioning its implications and meanings, we choose to view it with a certain level of suspicion, owing to the ways in which it has been used by some members of the black radical community to unjustly alienate our own.

Firstly let’s get to grips with intersectionality. Intersectional politics are politics about different forms of oppression working on the same body all at once. Historically, intersection stems from a black feminist take on black female positionality within society and the forms of oppression they wrestle with, which differentiates them from white women and black men. It also speaks dramatically of how black liberation movements, throughout history, have sidelined and undermined female revolutionaries to push forward hyper-masculine figures as leaders and thinkers. In it sexuality, gender and class, are all linked with race as a grounding principle.

Intersectionality is also about criticizing and opening up the tensions found internally within the broader black liberation project and community. By opening up these tensions the idea is to reveal and critique internal power dynamics that colour black interactions across many forms of difference, that is male and female, able bodied and disabled, queer, cis, trans, heterosexual and gender nonconforming identities. Certain proponents of intersectional politics believe that if one person possesses most, if not all these marginalized identities, then that individual experiences more forms of alienation as compared to other ‘less’ marginalized black identities, i.e. cis heterosexual able bodied males.

If one takes, as a point of departure, the fact that all black people have, and continue to wallow in an anti-black white supremacist patriarchal order due to three instruments of anti-blackness i.e. slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism, one can say that these forms of unimaginable violence ate (eat) away considerably on black notions of gender and sexuality from the gaze of the oppressors or the world. When blacks got into the new world, scared and disorientated, and were placed on the auction block among oxen and other things, their gender and/or sexuality dissipated, making them what Frantz Fanon called “objects among objects”, that is, blacks assumed a sub-human status from then till now.

Speaking on the Atlantic slave trade and it’s ungendering qualities, black radical feminist scholar Hortense Spillers notes how both black women and men were reduced to numbers in the commerce of slavery. She says: “We might say that the slave ship, its crew and its human-as-cargo stand for a wild and unclaimed richness of possibility that is not interrupted, not ‘counted’/ ‘accounted’, or differentiated until it’s movement gains the land thousands of miles away from the point of departure. Under these conditions one is neither female, nor male as both subjects are taken into ‘account’ as quantities. The female in ‘Middle Passage’ as the apparently smaller physical mass, occupies ‘less room’ in a directly translatable money economy. But, she is, nevertheless, quantifiable by the same rules of accounting as her male counterpart”.

Spillers also notes that when analyzing black subjugation and its attendant forms of suffering it is important not to make the break between slavery and modern times because the continual grotesque violence that characterises ALL black life shows us crudely that slavery is still in operation but by a different name.

This is where our analysis parts ways with the intersectionalists (now it is at this particular point that we feel intersectionality falls short, or rather in its current articulations, fails to account for a number of things.) While we acknowledge the spirit of wanting to rid the black community of acts of violence that act against our collective strivings for (internal and external) freedom, we regard its preoccupation with wanting to, as feminist lawyer Kimberle Crenshaw describes, “reconfigure blackness” and wanting to make it more “intersectional” as unnecessary and disingenuous because at the core of radical Black Power politics, is an intersectional outlook. Black radical politics are essentially about reimagining and remaking our power relations within the black community, thus ridding it of the internalized oppressive ways in which it violates its members. Black radical anti-racist struggle is therefore meant to foster black unity so that blacks can collectively fight against the white power structure which is mainly the root cause of all the internal problems that cause disunity and therefore violence.

This black solidarity was at the centre of the Combahee River Collective’s rejection of certain forms of separatist politics from a sector of the black feminist block of the 1970’s in the United States. In their important statement, The Combahee River Collective Statement they assert that: “although we are feminists and Lesbians, we feel solidarity with progressive Black men and do not advocate the fractionalisation that white women who are separatists demand. Our situation as Black people necessitates that we have solidarity around the fact of race, which white women of course do not need to have with white men, unless it is their negative solidarity as racial oppressors. We struggle together with Black men against racism, while we also struggle with Black men about sexism”. The statement goes further to say, “we realize that the liberation of all oppressed peoples necessitates the destruction of the political-economic systems of capitalism and imperialism as well as patriarchy”.

Therefore, there’s a difference between wrestling honestly with internal black power dynamics and the sin of collapsing black solidarity for separatist anti-black agendas. The latter is what seems to have gripped the intersection movement in South Africa today. In recent times, intersectional politics seem to be overtly obsessed with the “black body” but the analyses is divorced from its [the black body’s] relation to how anti-blackness and white supremacy have deformed sexuality and gender in black spaces. What you get is a constant invocation of some “black body” that seems to be floating outside the over-determination of white power, in so doing creating a false impression that certain black identities are burdened by oppression more than the black male “patriarchal” identity. The separations even go further to say that black heterosexual women are positioned differently to black transgender and Lesbian women, owing apparently, to their “superior” position within the traditional black masculinist communities. What this seems to suggest is that there are certain black women’s bodies that are more in danger than others. This also suggests that heterosexual black women and men, all socialized within a patriarchal society, have power to oppress other blacks outside the gender binary. Again, we acknowledge that all black people harbour dangerous and violent conceptions of gender and sexuality; we also acknowledge that the above assertion is incorrect and only relies on anecdotal cases and notions of rejection and alienation from those who are rejected by the black community’s erroneous investment in white supremacist hetero-normativity.

The insistence that black Lesbians are in danger of being killed exponentially in black communities is not supported by any data, but instead, what empirical data points us to are depressingly high numbers of black on black male homicide rates. Data clearly shows that during slavery, apartheid and present day, “black men are still most likely to die violently from interpersonal conflicts” and by violence from state apparatuses. In the imagination of a white supremacist world, black people (black men especially) already assume a subhuman and inherently violent status. So when black men kill and are killed indiscriminately by the state and themselves it goes unnoticed.

The assumption that black equals violence, dirt and danger also points us to the violent treatment black LGBTQIA+ people receive in supposedly safe (read white) LGBTQIA+ spaces. How can one forget the racist spectacle at the 2012 Johannesburg Pride when black marchers, seeking justice for the brutal killings of black Lesbians in townships, were hurled with all sorts of insults including being told to “go back to the townships” by white Pride goers.

An important space to examine and critique the internal dynamics of the black radical movement is through a look at the current student movements. Although the student movement has not completely declared itself a blacks only space, by virtue of its disavowal of white power and white supremacy and its centering of decolonization as an organising principle, we consider it a black radical movement. Three events pop up instantly when thinking of how the ‘black’, ‘gender and sexuality’ questions are currently and ought to be dealt with.

Firstly, the sexual assault of a female student by a male student at Azania House at the University of Cape Town. Secondly, an almost physically violent encounter between UCT vice chancellor Max Price and Fees Must Fall students at a disrupted VC meeting. And lastly the continued valorisation (and exoneration) of female ANC leaders at Wits Fees Must Fall even after they were found having secret meetings and selling out students to the ruling party.

When thinking of the #RapeAtAzania as it was referred to on social media, the students need to be commended for correctly standing up to the perpetrator and endeavouring to root out forms of sexual violence in the movement. As the dramatic events unfolded – the assault, the victim courageously speaking out and the literal “witch-hunt” of the perpetrator throughout the university and all its surrounding precincts – one could not help but wonder how things would have turned out if things were slightly different. Had the perpetrator been a white male, would the same witch-hunt have happened? Meaning do we think of violent black masculinity in the same ways we think of violent white masculinity? Do we consider white masculinity as violent at all or is violence (or the ability to be violent) solely reserved for the black cis man? And lastly, are the ways in which white supremacy over-determines blackness, more especially black masculinity, taken into consideration when witch-hunting perpetrators of black-on-black violence? One can think here of mob justice in the ghettos as being instructive.

The second event occurred when students flooded a senate meeting where Max Price was speaking on University premises. Feeling patronised and frustrated by the VC, angry students threw water bottles at him while others wanted to ruff him up a bit. Proponents of intersectional politics were against this move, saying that they were against violence and that beating up Max Price, the embodiment of white supremacy, as that would compromise the “narrative”. One again then one wonders, had Max Price been a black female/male would the reactions have been as “rational” as they were towards a white man? Would there have been reservations or would the water bottles have long been replaced by clenched fists?

Even though it started there, the Wits FMF movement was the one most gripped by ANC hegemony out of all the campuses. This resulted in three of the (media’s) leading figures being students closely aligned to the ruling party. Two of the students, both women, were discovered in an ANC meeting with senior ANC officials plotting ways to take over the movement. Given the anti-black nature of the ANC and by extension it’s student wings, one would assume that two ‘”leaders” would immediately be viewed with suspicion and distanced from the movement by virtue of their alignment to the ruling party. Instead some intersectionalists at Wits continued to protect, form alliances with and valorise them, only because they are women. Again one must ask, if the student movement is one that is black radical, then how does it account for having leaders (whether female or male, gay or lesbian, able bodied or disabled) of political formations that deliberately block decolonisation from moving forward?

Looking at the above examples one wonders what does all of this mean for intersection and how it grapples with antagonisms at the level of practical struggle. How does the black radical block deal with a form of intersectionality that favours whiteness (in the ways it practically deals with its members)?

The point of waging a radical revolution is dismantling all forms of oppression, imagining new forms of identity and as Hortense Spillers says “claiming the monstrosity (of a female with the potential to “name”), which her culture imposes in blindness”. The task of the new emerging black radical block is to commit to the task of learning, acting and speaking against the intra-prejudices characteristic of black radical struggle, without falling into the trap of aiding an anti-black system.

If we don’t guard or defend the sacred pact of black first solidarity we might find ourselves moving in silos and fashioning self defeatist alliances with “progressive whites” at the expense of our collective black liberation interests, in a misguided attempt to appear intersectional. Interlocking systems of power demands interlocking practices of unity to disrupt and dismantle them. To scream “race first” is not to sustain and maintain the erasing practices of patriarchy and its violence but to be at one with the reasoning behind the strivings of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Saartjie Baartman, Nzinga and many others who have never been mentioned. In the words of Black revolutionary Assata Shakur, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains. We must fight on.”

A protesting pen

The University of the Witwatersrand has been riddled with student protests for the past week. The protests were sparked by the University fee increase of 10.5% for the 2016 academic year.

When I initially heard about the protest I had no hesitations about which side I would take. I didn’t think twice about whether or not I should join the protesting students or not. At this juncture I was sure – I am a student before I am a student journalist. In fact,  I am a black student before anything!

As the protests proceed, the word ‘objectivity’ keeps on cropping up in my head. What does it mean to be objective in a continuously changing country like South Africa. At times I believe that our history as a country doesn’t allow us to be objective. History gnaws at our feet and begs us to remember it. Include it. Use it in our reporting.

What I struggle with the most is how objectivity is perceived and embraced. To me it seems like to be objective is to be comfortable with the status quo. It means not questioning or interrogating, in a meaningful way, the worst of injustices. It seems almost superficial.

What I think though is that even those that are object have chosen a side. They are part of an ideological framework that accepts society as is and demonises radicality.

Many,  including close friends, have asked me why I have not been writing about the protests. The truth is, when it comes to certain things I choose not to be objective – in the traditional journalistic sense. In certain occasions my blackness, my feminism,  my class consciousness, won’t let me be an objective journalist. And that is fine. I accept this.

So what is a black feminist journalist to do in situations of injustice? I guess… use their pen to protest – and hope they don’t get punished for it. Or alternatively they join the masses and fight for change to happen, with pen in hand. Dripping with the ink of resistance!