Steeped in Heritage: The Racial Politics of South African Rooibos Tea

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, South Africa on 2017-07-25 02:33Z by Steven

Steeped in Heritage: The Racial Politics of South African Rooibos Tea

Duke University Press
2017-10-27
272 pages
3 illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8223-6993-6
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-6993-6

Sarah Ives, Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer
Stanford University

South African rooibos tea is a commodity of contrasts. Renowned for its healing properties, the rooibos plant grows in a region defined by the violence of poverty, dispossession, and racism. And while rooibos is hailed as an ecologically indigenous commodity, it is farmed by people who struggle to express “authentic” belonging to the land: Afrikaners who espouse a “white” African indigeneity and “coloureds,” who are characterized either as the mixed-race progeny of “extinct” Bushmen or as possessing a false identity, indigenous to nowhere. In Steeped in Heritage Sarah Ives explores how these groups advance alternate claims of indigeneity based on the cultural ownership of an indigenous plant. This heritage-based struggle over rooibos shows how communities negotiate landscapes marked by racial dispossession within an ecosystem imperiled by climate change and precarious social relations in the post-apartheid era.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction. The “Rooibos Revolution”
  • 1. Cultivating Indigeneity
  • 2. Farming the Bush
  • 3. Endemic Plants and Invasive People
  • 4. Rumor, Conspiracy, and the Politics of Narration
  • 5. Precarious Landscapes
  • Conclusion. “Although There Is No Place Called Rooibos”
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
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“So If You’re From Africa, Why Are You White?”

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing on 2017-07-16 00:40Z by Steven

“So If You’re From Africa, Why Are You White?”

FLY: (Freedom. Love. You.)
Cambridge University
2017-03-16

Nina Grossfurthner

I woke up a week ago and started my day eating breakfast and scrolling through Facebook. I usually read my Bible in the morning, but on that particular day I had a lot to get through before mid-day lectures so I decided I would leave it to the evening. Thinking back now, perhaps skimming through a quick verse would have allowed me to approach what happened next with a bit more grace. I don’t know how many of you have been keeping up with the story of Rachel Dolezal, in all honesty I don’t encourage you to do so. But, for those of you who haven’t I will briefly outline who this woman is and why I needed to write about her, a decision that didn’t come easy because I didn’t want to assign her any more space than that which she has so carelessly claimed.

Rachel Dolezal blew up on the internet a few years ago by claiming that she, a fully Caucasian woman, identified as ‘black’. When I first came across the story, I quickly scrolled past because I didn’t think it worth my time to hear her try and justify why she should appropriately be called black. However, what made me stop scrolling that morning, was the recent name change which Dolezal has undertaken.

Adding insult to injury, Rachel Dolezal recently made the decision to change her name to Nkechi Diallo – a confusing medley of both the Igbo language of southern Nigeria and that of the Fulani tribe whose people can be found in many West African nations (because African nations were effectively decided by white men using a ruler and a pen). Setting aside the obvious disturbance of taking on an ‘African sounding’ name, the seeming thoughtlessness behind picking whatever name she felt suited her reflects the same precarious attitude with which she chooses to engage with the ‘black’ identity…

Read the entire article here.

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ENCORE | Trevor Noah on growing up mixed race in South Africa, ‘a product of my parents’ crime’

Posted in Africa, Audio, Autobiography, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive, South Africa on 2017-07-05 18:45Z by Steven

ENCORE | Trevor Noah on growing up mixed race in South Africa, ‘a product of my parents’ crime’

The Current
CBC Radio
2017-07-05

Anna Maria Tremonti, Host


‘Fundamentally, myself, my mother and my dad were considered different types of citizens under the law,’ says The Daily [Show] Host Trevor Host on living in a mixed race family in South Africa. (Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Trevor Noah began his career as a successful stand-up comedian in South Africa. The Daily Show host has travelled a long way since then, but his humour is as biting as ever.

He brings that humour — along with candour — in Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, a new book about growing up mixed race in South Africa, facing prejudice and learning about survival and a mother’s love.

Noah was born in 1984 to a white father and a black mother during apartheid, which meant his family initially had to hide the truth from the outside world. He was largely kept indoors during the early years of his life, and when he did venture into public with his mother they had to pretend she was his caretaker. His father could never be seen with them in public…

Listen to the conversation (00:24:18) here. Read the transcript here.

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French Fathers and Their “Indigenous Children”: Interracial Families in Colonial Senegal, 1900–1915

Posted in Africa, Articles, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive on 2017-06-26 22:59Z by Steven

French Fathers and Their “Indigenous Children”: Interracial Families in Colonial Senegal, 1900–1915

Journal of Family History
Volume 42, Issue 3, July 2017
pages 308–325
DOI: 10.1177/0363199017711212

Kelly Duke Bryant, Associate Professor of History
Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey

This article focuses on interracial families in early twentieth-century Senegal, exploring how relationships between French fathers and their racially mixed children simultaneously challenged and reflected colonial racism. Relying on applications for scholarships and related correspondence, it offers detailed case studies of two such families and a discussion of wider trends. The article argues that despite the duty and love that they felt toward their mixed-race children, French fathers continued to see themselves as colonists and to accept some of the ideas about race and power that this entailed.

Read or purchase the article here.

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SAS Researchers Probe Racial Passing, Identity Based on Two Novels

Posted in Africa, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-05-11 01:18Z by Steven

SAS Researchers Probe Racial Passing, Identity Based on Two Novels

American University of Nigeria
2017-05-01

Nelly Ating

The modern-day issues of “racial passing” and “identity,” dominated the April 20 SAS research seminar presented by Dr. Agatha Ukata and Dr. Brian Reed of the English & Literature department.

The duo’s research probes the phenomenon in “Being and Not Being:  How Society Negotiates Humanity.”  This is a study based on Nella Larsen, and Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, and on Isidore Okpewho’s Call Me by My Rightful Name.

This work will be presented at the African Literature Association conference at Yale University in June.

Leading the discussion, Dr Ukata said that despite disparity in the years of publication of the novels, it is astonishing to see the recurrence of “racial passing” in this era…

Read the entire article here.

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Playing in the Light: A Novel

Posted in Africa, Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, South Africa on 2017-05-05 16:04Z by Steven

Playing in the Light: A Novel

The New Press
November 2007
224 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-59558-221-8

Zoë Wicomb, Emeritus Professor
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Set in a beautifully rendered 1990s Cape Town, Zoë Wicomb’s celebrated novel revolves around Marion Campbell, who runs a travel agency but hates traveling, and who, in post-apartheid society, must negotiate the complexities of a knotty relationship with Brenda, her first black employee. As Alison McCulloch noted in the New York Times, “Wicomb deftly explores the ghastly soup of racism in all its unglory—denial, tradition, habit, stupidity, fear—and manages to do so without moralizing or becoming formulaic.”

Caught in the narrow world of private interests and self-advancement, Marion eschews national politics until the Truth and Reconciliation Commission throws up information that brings into question not only her family’s past but her identity and her rightful place in contemporary South African society. “Stylistically nuanced and psychologically astute” (Kirkus), Playing in the Light is as powerful in its depiction of Marion’s personal journey as it is in its depiction of South Africa’s bizarre, brutal history.

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Rachel Dolezal: why ignoring the painful past of “passing” is indefensible

Posted in Africa, Articles, Media Archive, Passing, South Africa, United States on 2017-05-05 13:05Z by Steven

Rachel Dolezal: why ignoring the painful past of “passing” is indefensible

The Conversation
2017-05-04

Londiwe H. Gamedze, Tutor, MA student
University of Cape Town


Civil rights advocate Rachel Dolezal has been accused of falsely claiming she is African-American. Stephanie Keith/Reuters

In 2015, American Rachel Dolezal captured the public imagination when the media discovered that she was white and had been passing as black for nearly a decade.

Dolezal, who has had white ancestors for over three centuries, checked boxes like “black” and “African-American” on application forms, darkened her skin, and began to wear her hair in African-American styles. She lied about her past and family, and attempted to sue her alma mater, historically black Howard University for reverse racism.

“Black” Dolezal was a lecturer in Africana studies and president of her local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP.

She recently visited South Africa to discuss non-racialism, but received resistance against her self-identification as “trans-black” and her claim to an authentic, internal black identity. This isn’t surprising given the brutality of the country’s racial past.

Read the entire article here.

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Belgian church apologizes for role in mistreating mixed-race people

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Religion on 2017-04-29 01:38Z by Steven

Belgian church apologizes for role in mistreating mixed-race people

National Catholic Reporter
2017-04-28

Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service

Oxford, EnglandBelgium’s Catholic Church has apologized for its role in mistreating mixed-race people, who were born in colonial times to European fathers and African mothers and later taken away for adoption.

“The history of many metis, born of a Congolese, Rwandan or Burundian mother and a white father (serving) in one of these countries, is an obscure episode of Belgian colonization,” the bishops’ conference said in an April 26 statement.

“These children were long designated pejoratively as ‘mulattoes,’ while the colonial authorities, both civil and ecclesiastical, considered them a real problem. … We express regret for the part played in this by the Catholic Church.”

The statement was published after an official church apology was delivered by Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp during an April 25 symposium in the Belgian Senate

Read the entire article here.

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China has an irrational fear of a “black invasion” bringing drugs, crime, and interracial marriage

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Law, Media Archive on 2017-03-31 01:15Z by Steven

China has an irrational fear of a “black invasion” bringing drugs, crime, and interracial marriage

Quartz
2017-03-30

Joanna Chiu


Feeling it in Guangzhou. (Reuters/James Pomfret)

Beijing—Earlier this month in Beijing, amid the pomp of China’s annual rubber-stamp parliament meetings, a politician proudly shared with reporters his proposal on how to “solve the problem of the black population in Guangdong.” The latter province is widely known in China to have many African migrants.

“Africans bring many security risks,” Pan Qinglin told local media (link in Chinese). As a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the nation’s top political advisory body, he urged the government to “strictly control the African people living in Guangdong and other places.”

Pan, who lives in Tianjin near Beijing—and nowhere near Guangdong—held his proposal aloft for reporters to see. It read in part (links in Chinese):

“Black brothers often travel in droves; they are out at night out on the streets, nightclubs, and remote areas. They engage in drug trafficking, harassment of women, and fighting, which seriously disturbs law and order in Guangzhou… Africans have a high rate of AIDS and the Ebola virus that can be transmitted via body fluids… If their population [keeps growing], China will change from a nation-state to an immigration country, from a yellow country to a black-and-yellow country.”

On social media, the Chinese response has been overwhelmingly supportive, with many commenters echoing Pan’s fears. In a forum dedicated to discussions about black people in Guangdong on Baidu Tieba—an online community focused on internet search results—many participants agreed that China was facing a “black invasion.” One commenter called on Chinese people (link in Chinese) not to let “thousands of years of Chinese blood become polluted.”

The stream of racist vitriol online makes the infamous Chinese TV ad for Qiaobi laundry detergent, which went viral last year, seem mild in comparison. The ad featured a Asian woman stuffing a black man into a washing machine to turn him into a pale-skinned Asian man…

…Paolo Cesar, an African-Brazilian who has worked as a musician in Shanghai for 18 years and has a Chinese wife, said music has been a great way for him to connect with audiences and make local friends. However, his mixed-race son often comes home unhappy because of bullying at school. Despite speaking fluent Mandarin, his classmates do not accept him as Chinese. They like to shout out, “He’s so dark!”…

Read the entire article here.

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AIA Evening Lecture: An Overlooked Chapter in the History of Egyptology: W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey & Pauline Hopkins

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-30 02:03Z by Steven

AIA Evening Lecture: An Overlooked Chapter in the History of Egyptology: W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey & Pauline Hopkins

Penn Museum
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Thursday, 2017-03-30, 18:00-19:00 EDT (Local Time)

Vanessa Davies, Visiting Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, speaks at this Archaeological Institute of America Philadelphia Society lecture. Three prominent black writers of the early 20th century—W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Pauline Hopkins—incorporated ancient Egyptian culture into their writings. Attacking a common theory of their day, DuBois and Garvey used ancient Egyptian culture to argue for the humanity of black people, marshaling evidence of Egypt’s glorious past to inspire black people in the Americas with feelings of hope and self-worth. They also engaged with the contemporary work of prominent archaeologists, a fact lost in most histories of Egyptology. Hopkins’ novel Of One Blood places the reality of the racial discrimination and the racial “passing” of her day against the backdrop of ancient Egypt. Like Du Bois, she advocates for the education of black Americans, and like Garvey, she constructs an African safe haven for her novel’s protagonist. Understanding these three writers’ treatments of ancient Egypt, Davies argues, provides a richer perspective on the history of the discipline of Egyptology. Reception with opportunity to meet the speaker follows.

For more information, click here.

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