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Students attend the Fort Hare Autumn School of Democracy

Date Released: Mon, 15 April 2013 16:24 +0200

Students of the department recently attended the Fort Hare Autmn School of Democracy. As one student reports back, 

'The conference took a historical and contemporary approach in critically engaging with the notion of social democracy, especially with its relevance to South Africa. Speakers such as Professor Francis Wilson from the University of Cape Town and Constitutional Court Justice and Fort Hare Chancellor Justice Thembile Skweyiya argued about the importance of adopting a backward looking approach in South Africa, especially in redressing the past and ensuring that racial divisions are transcended. We also tried to infuse Steve Biko’s Black Consciousness and the potential lessons we could learn today in contemporary South Africa. Speakers such as Dr. Ismael Lagardien and in particular professor Pumla Gqola argued about what they referred to as ambiguous visibility regarding black consciousness in South Africa. This means that Biko’s face is well know and marketed extensively, however his thoughts and intellectual contribution to society has not been used or implemented. This means that physically he is there, one can see his face, however in content and practice his absence, thus ambiguous visibility. We took a tour of the Fort Hare Dee Beers Centenary Archives, in which we saw studied the historical contributions of ZK Matthews, Chris Hani and other struggle stalwart. We concluded with a rigorous intellectual discussion with Nomboniso Gasa about the South African lived experience of the Constitution, with specific reference to gender.'