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Sunday Times Politics Weekly

PODCAST | The 'problem of whiteness' and what SA should be doing about it

19 May 2022 - 17:16 By Mike Siluma
Marchers gather in Stellenbosch on May 19 2022.
Marchers gather in Stellenbosch on May 19 2022.
Image: Esa Alexander

Despite the end of apartheid 28 years ago, racial incidents are being reported in SA's schools with increased regularity, according to the SA Human Rights Commission's (SAHRC) Andre Gaum.

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In this episode of Politics Weekly, we ask what sustains racism in our society and how we can fight it more effectively. 

Joining our host Mike Siluma to frame this discussion are Gaum, social commentator and author of Run Racist Run Eusebius McKaiser and public policy and political science lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Dr Fikile Vilakazi. 

Gaum says the most recent SAHRC statistics compiled from various reports show a year-on-year increase in occurrences of human rights violations. Violations related to sexual orientation and race within schools and institutions of higher learning are of particular concern. 

This week a white student, Theuns du Toit, was suspended from Stellenbosch University for urinating on the belongings of a black fellow student, Babalo Ndwayana. Ndwayana claimed the incident was racially motivated based on comments made by Du Toit during the incident. At the same institution, a student was verbally abused for asking for an Indian song at a dance.

McKaiser, Vilakazi and Siluma discuss the tumultuous race relations still experienced by South Africans, how our historical handling of white supremacy has failed our society and what SA should do to undo the trauma caused by “whiteness” and a sense of superiority and exceptionalism that often leads to outrageous displays of racism in our everyday lives and institutions.  

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