The lecture will centre around Nyamnjoh's recent book #RhodesMustFall: nibbling at resilient colonialism (2016). This monograph on rights, entitlements and citizenship in post-apartheid South Africa shows how the playing field has not been as levelled as presumed by some, and how racism and its benefits persist.
Through everyday interactions and experiences of university students and professors, it explores the question of race in a context still plagued by remnants of apartheid, inequality and perceptions of inferiority and inadequacy among the majority black population. In education, black voices and concerns go largely unheard, as circles of privilege are continually regenerated and added onto a layered and deep history of cultivation of black pain. These issues are examined against the backdrop of organised student protests sweeping through the country’s universities with a renewed clamour for transformation around a rallying cry of ‘Black Lives Matter’.
Nyamnjoh's analysis of the Rhodes Must Fall movement elicits compelling questions about the attractions and dangers of exclusionary articulations of belonging. What could a grand imperialist like the stripling Uitlander or foreigner of yesteryear, Sir Cecil John Rhodes, possibly have in common with the present-day nimble-footed makwerekwere from Africa north of the Limpopo? The answer, Nyamnjoh suggests, is to be found in how human mobility relentlessly tests the boundaries of citizenship.
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