Categories Us and Them

EYES ON THE BACKS OF OUR HEADS

EYES ON THE BACKS OF OUR HEADS: Recovering a multicultural South Africa
Journalist and activist Sisonke Msimang speaks at a former prison complex in Johannesburg which once held Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. The setting is apt: Sisonke believes that post-apartheid South Africa has become imprisoned by its own past — a past whites cannot recall and blacks cannot forget. With both a mischievous sense of humour and sharp historical analysis, she pulls down the old binarism of black and white to make way for a truly multicultural South Africa, one that welcomes other African workers as it embraces its own racially diverse past: “We are learning to scan the wreckage of our history and mine it for gold. To look for the connections between us, even as we walk with our eyes firmly fixed on the horizon. We are moving ever more sure-footed, towards making a South Africa in which we all belong”.