Seminar to focus on issues of race and identity

2009-08-31 00:00

THE issue of race in post-apartheid South Africa will come under the spotlight at a public seminar in Durban this week to be hosted by the Durban-based Xubera Group, a provincial think-tank that promotes public discourse.

The seminar, entitled “Ambiguities of post-apartheid South Africa: Race and Identity”, will be held in conjunction with The Witness and Gagasi 99.5 FM.

Benedict Xolani Dube, a member from Xubera Group, said the aim of the event is to demystify the narrow definition of race and identity.

Panellists include renowned academics and activists Professor Mbulelo Mzamane, who is a director at the Centre of African Literary Studies at the University of KZN, and Ela Gandhi, the founder of the Gandhi Development Trust.

Said Dube, “South Africa’s educated African elite met at Bloemfontein on January 8, 1912, to institute the South African Native National Congress, renamed the African National Congress in 1923. These elites did not know that on May 18, 1912, in a village in the Transkei, Mr Dickenson, a white assistant magistrate, was to bless the ANC by fathering a future leader by name of Walter Sisulu.”

He added that the seminar will engage with geneticist Carol Eyber’s view that there is no such thing as race.

“This explores notions of the biological insignificance of race,” Dube said.

He added that the argument that racism is the result of faulty thinking and generalised and biased judgments will also be examined.

Dube said apartheid was a brutal system to anyone who dared to stand in its way regardless of skin complexion or race.

“In Lubango, Angola, 1984 Jeannette Curtis and her six-year-old daughter Kartyn Schoon were blown apart after receiving a parcel addressed to her partner, Marius Schoon. Fritz, their four-year-old son, witnessed his mother and sister’s brutal murder. Marius, Fritz and Kartyn were Afrikaners. Jeannette Curtis, Ruth First, and Amy Biehl are some of the white women who dedicated their lives for our emancipation. Omar Badsha, Yusuf Dadoo, Rick Turner, Bram Fischer, Sahdhan Naidoo, Mooroogiah Dhanapathy Naidoo, Strini Moodley, Beyers Naude, Basil February, Alex la Guma and many others define who we are today.”

The seminar will take place at the Hilton Hotel in Durban on Thursday at 5.30 pm.

The cost is R150 person, payable at the door.

For more information, contact Dube at 082 352 4277 or



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