Reporting Race – Seminar 1 Overview

By Delani Majola

This is an overview of a seminar hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Institute for the Advancement of Journalism as well as the Canadian Embassy in Auckland Park on June 21, 2016 on Racism in Post-Apartheid South Africa.

Academic and member of the Foundation’s Board, Professor Achillle Mbembe says the ugly manifestations of racism are not uniquely South African but indicative of a global issue.

Mbembe was speaking at a Racism in Post-Apartheid South Africa seminar hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Institute for the Advancement of Journalism as well as the Canadian Embassy in Auckland Park on June 21, 2016.

Along with Mbembe, other panelists included journalist and co-founder of the Daily Vox, Khadija Patel, Programme Manager at the Foundation for Human Rights, Sarah Motha and director of the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies, Professor Melissa Steyn.

Mbembe stated that racism is not exclusive to South Africa with countries such as Europe, China, India and America witnessing a ‘global revival of racism’ and called for an inclusive approach to eradicating it.

According to Mbembe, the complexities of racism had ‘become difficult to pin down’ as it ranged from institutional to subtle forms of racism.

Mbembe, noted through his five point presentation the sophisticated nature that racism has adopted, adding that technology was a contributor to the reproduction of racism.

“If we really want to fight racism, then I think we should all be joining the Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA). It means the coming together of civil society organisations, individuals committed still to the project of non-racialism which itself has to be reinvented in the conditions of today both philosophically and practically.”

In his recommendations, Mbembe called for research in order to gain an understanding of the issue in order to address it accordingly and lawfully. He also invited those in various sectors, such as the arts, culture and fashion industry to get involved by promoting the value of non-racialism.

Motha corroborated this call when she spoke on the point of discrimination and justice, reminding the audience that every magistrate court also doubles up as an equality court.

Patel spoke about the exposure of race and racists on social media. In her presentation, she expressed concerns on the issue of integrity which often comes into question when journalists obscure the line between public and private social media identities.

Professor Steyn encouraged the audience to revisit the values of transformation as a society, asking for a unified diagnosis of the problem.

The seminar forms part of a series of discussions being hosted at IAJ exploring the manner in which race is reported. This will culminate in a two day conference in October.

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