Lecture & Discussion
Xenophobia and Racism in Post-Apartheid South Africa: A Writer’s Challenge
18th May 2016
19:00 Venue: ACADEMYSPACE, Herwarthstraße 3, 50672 Cologne
In English with translation into German
Event in the context of the Rhine-South-Africa-Fellowship in cooperation with stimmen afrikas / Allerweltshaus Köln and the Syltfoundation, with support from the Kunststiftung NRW
Migration is not only a central issue in Western Europe; it also plays a central role in South Africa. The coverage of international migration by the South African press has been largely anti-immigrant and unanalytical. While not all reporting has been negative, the overwhelming majority of the vast collection of newspaper articles, editorials and letters to the editor about immigrants and immigration uncritically reproduces problematic statistics and assumptions about cross-border migration in the southern African region. Although it is impossible to draw direct and causal links between this kind of media coverage and the rise of xenophobia in South Africa, it is true that the two are at least mutually reinforcing. The media, and the writing community at large, have a responsibility to be more balanced, critical and nuanced in writing about immigration and immigrants. How then, does a writer grapple with this sensitive issue? Academy fellow Fred Khumalo elucidates this question and joins in a discussion with author Guy Helminger who was the first Rhine-South African Fellow to visit Johannesburg in 2015.
Fred Khumalo is a renowned South African columnist and author of the novel Bitches’ Brew (Jacana Media, 2006), for which he was awarded the European Union Prize for Literature in 2006. Khumalo is a fellow of the Academy of the Arts of the World.