The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation’s (IJR) South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB) has measured reconciliation in South Africa through public opinion surveying since 2003. For the past 15 years, the SARB has served as a driver for public debate on reconciliation and developing post-conflict discourse. Given the unequal and unjust economic and political power relations which characterise contemporary South Africa lowering levels of political trust can hinder meaningful reconciliation. Reconciliation, therefore, also has an important governance imperative, and is central to conflict resolution and social transformation. It is about finding creative and meaningful approaches to bring people together and closing the gaps of social divisions in societies with a conflict past.This article examines the relationship between reconciliation and political trust in South Africa in light of the IJR’s SARB 2017.

Ntombovuyo Linda

Ntombovuyo is an ASRI Research Associate. She was previously a Research Assistant at the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as well as a Project Analyst at the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies. She has published various papers relating to issues in Sub Saharan Africa viz, “Crisis States in Africa: The Case of Zimbabwe”, “The Place and Potential of the Youth in Governance”, “Governance within Higher Education”, “The Nature of the South African Immigration System”. Ntombovuyo was a fellow of the ASRI Future Leaders 2017 cohort, and she’s completing her Masters in Political Science at the University of Witwatersrand. She obtained her BA Honors in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg and a BA Public Administration and Political Science degree at the Nelson Mandela University.

Becoming a 21st Century Non-Racialist in South Africa
by Neeshan Balton


This article highlights areas of work where new directions on the meaning and execution of non-racialism in post- apartheid South Africa are needed. As a visionary political concept which guided much of the liberation struggle during the latter part of the 20th century it now has to contend with being state policy as well as a constitutional principle. Its relevance to society today would require an ongoing examination of its meaning and applicability. The article also breaks non-racialism down into several manifestations and discusses each discretely and in relation to each other.

Key words: Non racialism, anti-racism, ANC, Post-apartheid South Africa

Neeshan Balton

Neeshan Balton is the executive director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. He has been a community and political activist for the past 35 years with involvement ranging from teacher unionism, civic organising, youth activism and formal and underground ANC activism. He was an activist in the Transvaal Indian Congress and United Democratic Front. Neeshan chairs the boards of SANCA/Nishtara Lenasia and Eastwave Community Radio in Lenasia. He also serves on the Board of the Gauteng growth and development agency. He holds a MSC in Public Finance and Administration (University of London) and a BA and BED ( Wits).

Dr Abu Baker ‘Hurley’ Asvat:
South African History Online


The article is a biography of Dr Abu Baker ‘Hurley’ Asvat, better known as the people’s doctor, from his childhood in Vrededorp to his medical study and political activism as part of a Pan Africanist Congress (PAC)-aligned students group. More importantly the article brings to light the significant role the peoples’ doctor played in non-racial cricket and his emergence as a vital figure in Sowto’s life and politics.

Key words: Dr Abu Baker ‘Hurley’ Asvat, Azania People’s Organization, Black Consciousness (BC), medical activism, non-racialism

South African History Online

This article was published on South African History Online

South African History online (SAHO) is a non-partisan people’s history institution. It was established in June 2000 as a non-profit Section 21 organisation, to address the biased way in which South Africa’s history and heritage, as well as the history and heritage of Africa is represented in educational and cultural institutions.

The Thunder Before the Storm: Identity Constructions of Black South African Female Students
by Bonolo Moposho and Prof Garth Stevens


This was an exploratory study with a view to understand the identities of black South African women in higher education. The study is placed within the context of the Historically White University in South Africa. Through focus groups, the study investigated the experiences of sixteen South African black students; with a focus on their race, gender as well as class subject positions. A viewpoint of the intersectional and complex nature of identity was seen to be integral to understand the identities of black female students. The students’ articulations of their university experiences were explored, qualitatively, through three focus group discussions held at an Historically White University in Johannesburg. Results show that the Historically White Universities perpetuate the discourses of South Africa’s apartheid past and students’ identities are consequentially influenced by this. The implication is an alienation of the black identity in higher education.

Bonolo Mophosho

Bonolo Mophosho is an HPCSA registered counselling psychologist qualified through the University of the Witwatersrand’s (Wits) Masters in Community-based Counselling psychology. Bonolo’s research interests are in South African youth identities and relationships. Her MA research was in the identity constructions of South African black female students.

Bonolo completed her internship at Wits’ Counselling and Careers Development Unit (CCDU) working with students and members of the public, offering counselling and career services (career counselling and career assessments), and facilitating workshops on a variety of issues. Bonolo went on to work in a high school, assisting adolescents through various challenges through individual therapy, conducting psycho-educational assessments as well as facilitating workshops. Bonolo then went on to provide psychotherapy and group and individual trauma debriefing through EAP services for corporates.

Bonolo currently works in private practice with individuals; children, adolescents and adults, to assist with various life challenges.

Professor Garth Stevens

Prof Garth Stevens is a clinical psychologist by training, he holds the position of Assistant Dean for Research in the Faculty of Humanities, as well as Professor in the Department of Psychology. From 2010-2012 he held the position of Co-Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is currently a B-rated researcher by the National Research Foundation (NRF), interested in psychosocial understandings of human development, and applying psychosocial thinking to our personal and social worlds where appropriate.

The thrust of his research is however in critical and community psychology. His primary social research interests include foci on race, racism and related social asymmetries; racism and knowledge production; ideology, power and discourse; violence and its prevention; historical/collective trauma and memory; and masculinity, gender and violence.

The Radical Refusal of the Colonial Gaze: A Reading of Post-Apartheid Social Reality Through the Recent Student Protests
by Safiyya Goga


This short paper adds a complimentary angle to Sizwe-Mpofu Walsh’s perspective of race in South African life not being a problem of “a collection of racists” (see ASRI Short Paper 2 March 2016). I demonstrate that the problem of race is that we are unable to see ourselves and others outside of the colonial gaze that structures all social interactions and exchanges. The ways in which we relate to ourselves and others, is shaped by this invisible gaze.

In this way, the race problem is not just a black-white problem, but as I try to demonstrate, it is a problem for instance in how African and Indian communities in Durban see each other, as well as in how the (African) state sees its own poor/black citizens. The complexity of the race problem then is in how all social relations are structured by the enduring colonial gaze (which inscribes for instance the violability of poor/black bodies).

Student protests may indeed be seen as a rupture in that they aim to bring a new social reality into being. The refusal to adopt a pragmatic politics and contain issues for instance to ‘achievable’ goals such as #feesmustfall, is an indication of what is at stake in this struggle – a radical rupture with the past that the state has failed to deliver on (and in fact actively seeks to resist). Calling the state anti-black and placing themselves on the other side, the students are radically refusing the colonial gaze through which the state (and other actors) ask them to see themselves. Hyperlinks in the text provide further readings.

“[…] Africans and Indians have only been able to properly see and recognise each other through the mediation of a white colonial gaze, a master that distributed violence, care, desire, and partial recognition […]” (Hansen 2012: 136)

Safiyya Goga

Safiyya Goga is a Senior Researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in Pretoria. She completed her Master of Arts degree in Political Studies at Rhodes University with her thesis titled, The Silencing of Race at Rhodes: Ritual and Anti-Politics on a Post-Apartheid Campus.

Safiyya is currently pursuing her doctorate in Sociology through University of Stellenbosch. She has participated in a range of research projects including: A policy framework for the Department of Basic Education on gender equity in the South African schooling system, Learner absenteeism in schools; Backlogs in municipal foster care grant systems; A Rhodes University critical study in Sexualities and Reproduction (CSSR) analyzing how high school students, teachers, and principals across the Eastern Cape deal with issues of gender violence, teenage pregnancy, sex, love and HIV/AIDS through the curriculum; a Department of Justice project looking at the impact of landmark Constitutional Court Judgments on socioeconomic rights in the twenty years since democracy; and an IDRC-funded Agricultural Research Council project exploring the ‘meanings and materiality’ of livestock keeping in rural smallholder communities and the tensions produced in their engagement by the state in its attempts to foster rural development. She is also currently involved in a project exploring the controversies around colonial and apartheid-era statues. Safiyya’s research interests are aimed at making sense of the post-apartheid condition.

By Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh


This paper focuses on two approaches to confronting racial oppression: the first is ‘post-racial pragmatism’, a strategy advanced, to varying degrees, by both the DA and the ANC. The second is racial radicalism, a strategy exemplified in various new student movements. The paper than argues that post-racial pragmatism is a deeply misguided strategy, and that a radical approach to racial inequality is the appropriate response, given our current malaise. Moreover, the paper argues that we simply cannot persist in the belief that neutrality will lead, by some magic, to racial justice. Radical and structural changes to our economy and society are the only way out of this conjuncture.

Key words: Post-racial pragmatism; racial radicalism; neutrality; racial inequality.

Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh

Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh attained his MPhil with distinction at Oxford University, and is currently undertaking his PhD in International Relations at Oxford; he is also a founding member of the Rhodes Must Fall campaign. Previously, Walsh completed his Honours degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Cape Town, where he was elected president of the student’s representative council and was awarded an internship at the United States House of Representatives. At the age of 18 , Walsh, co-founded Grow2Lead, a youth leadership programme which had opened the door to another venture, InkuluFreeHeid, a social movement that unites politics and civil society. Walsh was also previously a speaker of the Johannesburg Junior City Council and was nominated for an All Africa Music award for a hip hop album.

Opinion | Race Trouble in Post-Apartheid South Africa
By Professor Kevin Whitehead and Professor Kevin Durrheim


“Nineteen ninety-four was a watershed year for South Africa, ushering in democracy after centuries of colonial and apartheid rule. Prior to this, South Africa was the infamous “last bastion of legislated white supremacy” in the world”. In this week’s short paper series we challenge the perception on race and identity Post-apartheid South Africa’ through our opinion piece by Dr Kevin Whitehead and Prof Kevin Durrheim, who question “How have race relations changed since the transition to democracy?”.

In this Opinion Piece, Dr Whitehead and Prof Dhurrheim argue that despite what many have hailed as the miracle birth of the rainbow nation, there remain deep racial fissures in post-apartheid South Africa, and for this reason there will be no easy solutions to these social conflicts and struggles over race and its stubborn entanglements with other facets of social organisation.

This opinion piece brings attention to the critical question on the issue of racial relations in the transition to democracy and showing how South Africans are grappling with the legacy of apartheid.

Professor Kevin Whitehead

Kevin Whitehead is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. His research employs an ethnomethodological, conversation analytic approach to examine ways in which racial and other social categories are used, reproduced and resisted in talk-in-interaction. His publications have appeared in journals including Social Psychology Quarterly, British Journal of Social Psychology, Research on Language and Social Interaction, Discourse & Society, Ethnic and Racial Studies and Journal of Language and Social Psychology.

Professor Kevin Durrheim

Kevin Durrheim is Professor of Psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He writes on topics related to racism, segregation and social change. His publications include Race Trouble (Durrheim, Mtose & Brown, 2011, Lexington Press), Racial Encounter (Durrheim & Dixon, 2005, Routledge), and Research in Practice (Terreblanche, Durrheim, Painter, 1999, 2006, UCT Press)

The Nation in the Post-apartheid Era: A Black Consciousness Perspective
By Dr Kenneth Tafira


The celebrated demise of apartheid in 1994 heralded a new historical era where non-racialism would bind the racially fractured nation. A new concept – The ‘Rainbow Nation’ – or ‘rainbowism’ emerged. Ethnic and racial differences would be effaced and a colour-blind future and society was envisaged. These particularisms, however, are far from disappearing. Under the ethos of rainbowism, race and racism recede to the background, become chameleonic and subterranean. As a result there is little attention given to how race continues to shape relationships and identities in the post-apartheid era.

Dr. Kenneth Tafira

Dr Kenneth Tafira was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He attained his B.Sc (Honours) Sociology degree from the University of Zimbabwe, an MA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is the author of Black Nationalist Thought in South Africa: The Persistence of an Idea of Liberation which is to be published by Palgrave Macmillan. He is currently a researcher at Archie Mafeje Research Institute, University of South Africa. His research interests are inspired by historical and contemporary manifestations of inequality, discriminations, injustice, exploitation and oppression. He conjoins forms of radical hermeneutics and knowledge production that supports social transformation. He is also a lyrical poet.