Tag Archive: stellenbosch

So this past week a picture appeared on my Twitterer of a white girl with a statement written on a board that made me cringe:


Suddenly more and more of these pictures were popping up all over Social Media and turns out there was an #IAmStellenbosch group inviting students at the University to write statements about themselves which challenge the stereotype of a typical Stellenbosch student and highlight the differences and individualities of each student.

Their vision statement reads: To create an awareness of the thousands of individual identities that are housed in this university and bring them together into a single identity that is Stellenbosch University. 


To those who have been keeping some kind of eye on recent Stellenbosch events, this seems to be a response to the Open Stellenbosch movement, much of which was capture in the video ‘Luister’ that was put together by Contraband Cape Town in collaboration with Open Stellenbosch which you can see over here linked to an article by Layla Leiman in which she writes, ‘The documentary shares the testimony of the lived experiences of black students at Stellenbosch University and the culture of racism, discrimination, exclusion and violence that continues at Stellenbosch University 21 years after democracy.’

What is quite interesting to me, reading the vision and mission statement of #IAmStellenbosch [which you can find in their Facebook group] is that line one of their mission is: To create a platform of communication in which students listen to each other this not being through dialogue but discourse.

Whereas their poster campaign seems to be a knee-jerk reaction doing quite the opposite.

And it becomes quickly clear from reading some of the response comments to #IAmStellenbosch that there is some deep listening that needs to happen:

Nkosikhona Rabu Ntshiqa: This is all silencing fam. No real issues are on this mission statement; there’s nothing about the curriculumn change or anything hard core as that. Please take Black people serious; these are baby answers to very old and martured problems. There is no decolonization or anything of such form in this mission statement; this is all Mandela politics
There is no systematic change or anything of such. Students won’t take each other serious if this is all that you guys are planning to do. The same system that was undermining Black people is the same one used even now; this will cause conflicts and more frustration amongst Black people. We demand true decolonization; not just pictures of people with no problems writing shit and smiling for the camera; this is a serious issue please treat it with such seriousness and energy. Don’t waste our time.
Ruwayne Williams: This #iamstellenboschcampaign is the same as the stupid#whereisthelove event which was used to silence black voices and ignore black pain.#Furious#
Bonunu Ditshego: Is this something like#AllLivesMatter campaign that followed#blacklivesmatter? You people should take your patronizing BS and F yourselves. Try to#StopKony while you at it.
Sandile Mzilikazi Khumalo: This is the kind of institutionalised racism pandered by liberals who want to the existence of class identifiers, in particular the experiences of the black working class, at the expense of superficial individual identities.


During our time in Americaland, i became very aware that the story of people of colour over there mirrors that of those living in South Africa in so many ways. Even though the chief narrative is quite different for a number of reasons, many of the same themes and similar experiences and mindsets seem to pervade and so i believe there is a lot to be learned from studying both.

Earlier this year #BlackOutDay started trending on the Twitterer as a means for black people to celebrate black beauty and fight against the kind of negative images black people were used to seeing in the media:

You Tube personality Franchesca Ramsey told ABC News:

“Unfortunately, in most popular media talking about black people and our bodies, it’s mostly of us breaking the law, being killed or mistreated,” Ramsey added. “So it’s nice to combat these negative images and stereotypes with positive representations of ourselves.”

i found this blog post written by Akilah Hughes titled It’s Not About You which highlights some of the same issues that the detractors of #IAmStellenbosch are seeing and feeling:

During the wildly successful Blackout Day of March 6, black people posted and reblogged selfies on social media to promote community and the acceptance of features less visible in popular media. It was an uplifting day meant to remind black people, “you’re beautiful, too.” Some white people took offense. It wasn’t long after #BlackOutDay started trending worldwide on Twitter that the ‘whiteoutday’ hashtag became a thing.

Blackout Day did not claim that non-black people are immune to body image issues, or that others don’t face societal pressures. But, without fail, any time a historically oppressed group asserts their equality by boldly denying any inferiority to someone outside their group, some member of the un-oppressed majority takes it personally. Well, when oppressed groups take the initiative to lift themselves up, it is not an invitation to victimize yourself. Would you go to a toddler’s birthday party and kick over their cake to announce that you, too, have birthdays? The answer should be “no.”

Akilah ends off her post with this statement:

It. Wasn’t. About. Me.

Since that conversation, I’ve learned to listen before I follow my knee-jerk reaction and take offense at movements about which I’m not educated. It isn’t always easy to stop the instinct to be defensive, but it is necessary if things are ever going to get better. After really hearing the other side, ask yourself if anyone loses rights or status when that group gains theirs. John F. Kennedy said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” It’s important to remember that sweeping progress benefits us all, so let others do what they must to finally achieve equality.


Which brings me to a question i posed as a status on Facebook yesterday and want to dig a little more deeply into:

Brett Fish Anderson: So ‘‪#‎IAmStellenbosch‬‘ – ridiculous right? As is ‪#‎YesAllPeople‬ response to‪#‎YesAllWomen‬ and ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬. i was thinking about it today and it comes i think out of a place of ignorance. So my thought is that it belongs perhaps to the privileged (and not the marginalized) to sit and explain to those in ignorance. So they can know. If then, they choose ignorance after being informed, well then they’re on their own. Those are thoughts that have been running around my head.

As friendlyly as is possible, what is your response to that? i know many of my informed friends are just exhausted from explaining and that for too long it was expected that the marginalised should explain so that is my light bulb moment for today. What think you? ‪#‎IAmFacebook‬

To which some of my friends responded:

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Nick Frost: The marginalized can’t explain because the privileged don’t listen. That’s what the whole thing is about, the inability to shut up for once and listen. Stellies students think they can slap a hashtag on a half assed “upliftment initiative” and sing their problems away.

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Bruce Collins: Yeah. I looked at that #iamstellenbosch stuff and all I could think was “what is the point?”

It seems like a way to minimise what people are really experiencing by saying that others do not have similar experiences. It is also, in my opinion, an attempt to justify all that’s wrong at Stellenbosch. You see, just because some people are ok with the status quo that doesn’t mean that the status quo is right.

Furthermore, #iamstellenbosch is all about speaking and very little about listening.

What bothers me most are all the “I’m not a racist” statements. Instead of saying that, live it by listening.

Nick Frost: White guys listening to rap music does not equal the end of racism. Sorry #iamstellenbosch

Bruce Collins: Word! That was so ridiculous. “I am Afrikaans and my favourite artist is Drake”
Noddy badge? Hell no!

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Alexa Russell Matthews: Opportunities to be allies is what went through my head…. [This is a reference to a piece i am working on putting together with some friends of mine over here]

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Beben Cadman: It does not end anything but it highlights stereotypes. Doing something is better than nothing.

Kerri-Leigh Wayne: Exactly, it reinforces stereotypes

Beben Cadman: I don’t think it does. I think the more we say who we think we are the more it creates dialogue, the more we can be challenged, the more we grow. It’s the pretentiousness for a long time that culminated in these realities in this crucial year of 20 years of democracy. Yes we should be listening but talking tells us where we really at. I welcome any dialogue as long as we as people are challenged, reconciled and unified. Even us who might think we standing on the right side of human rights.

Tanisha NishNash Schultz: I feel “I am Stellenbosch” is trying to reinforce unity amongst students.

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Wayne Eaves: Good ask – we are at the beginning of a rise of a new wave of black consciousness in SA (or one just more public, I admit my ignorance), a conversation to which we are not invited at this juncture. Speaking into something uninvited is in many ways the quintessential essence of postmodern privelege. We need to learn to listen, to dig into our own history, deconstruct and restructure various paradigms – which facebook does not give me space to deal with – love the question!

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Megan Furniss: I have a new take. A brand new one. I will no longer be embarrassed by these ignoramuses. I will not care about them.

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Kerri-Leigh Wayne: It definitely isn’t the marginalised who should be explaining. I try to be listening more, like Wayne suggests, that’s been something I really have to work towards. But I still talk to white people around me, even if they remain ignorant and my views are unpopular, because I was, and still am, ignorant too. Being called out is what helps me to see that. I am not embarrassed by these people – they don’t represent me and many people have been socialised quite heavily into believing what they do, so it does not even reflect on the type of person he or she is. I also try not to ever take a conversation (or its derailment) personally. Having said that, I cringe intensely when I see an album like the #IamStellenbosch one but I am glad to see that some of the heaviest criticism of the privileged views espoused by the photos are being tackled by white people in the comments section.

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Brett Fish Anderson: i will blog further on this cos i think it is a helpful conversation to do a little deeper in. i think one of the big problems is that those of us who are somewhat informed – who have walked a bit of a journey in this – take for granted the informedness we have and then assume others have it and are making those same choices. i think we need to give more grace to uninformed and ignorant so that they have the opportunity to become informed and norant? Okay that’s probably not a word but it should be.

i doubt a student in Stellenbosch was being malicious, they honestly did what they thought was a good thing and so there has to be some moment of that opportunity happening to change that. i look back on my journey and at 41 I have been digging into this stuff more deeply for the last five years and so i could quite easily have been that student. I didn’t do so good. So it feels necessary for me to be prepared to take time to coach other people through.

Megan Furniss: You know what I think Brett? You are clever and kind and norant, and brave and full of energy. Spend it on those who need it most, and who can use you best. Others can get in line. There is work to be done and we need to act fast. Just went to witness Lingua Franca and I was totally humbled by them. It’s not about ‘us’ (read white people) anymore.

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Picture of South African Flag

What about you? If people around you [or online] seem ignorant about something which you have learned/studied/lived through/experienced do you believe that it is worth taking time and energy to school them with the facts so that they can understand and have a chance to ‘get it’? Or should the focus and emphasis be on those who do and moving forwards with them? Play nice in the comments but i would LOVE to hear some conversation on this…

[For some Creative Ideas on How to Become a Better Ally, click here] 

i have a saying that ‘people tend towards stupid’ and generally life (and smokers flinging cigarette butts out of car windows) continues to prove me correct on this one…

another prime example of this seems to be the mono-dimensional thort patterns of pedestrians in stellenbosch who will be walking along the pavement, possibly talking to a friend or messaging on their phone or vibing by themself and then they come to a road intersection and without fail just walk…

none of that left, right, left stuff we were taught as kids… and especially people with kids… it is bizarrely confounding – do you live in stellenbosch and have you observed this? do you live somewhere else and think your pedestrains are as monumentally stupid and death wishical (they’re not!) as ours?

arrive at intersection, walk… cars must wait, no thort of impending death or the possibility of a vehicle much bigger and heavier (most times) than you…

and i don’t think i can make my last point, cos it is a point of race (in terms of my observation experience) but i am wondering if it is possibly a point more of wealth/education/upbringing and context that makes the people who do this the people who do this…

[and normally i am very observant when it comes to driving but the other night on the highway when three different okes ran across in three different places, i honestly don’t think i would have spotted the one running closest in front of me who kinda got deer-scared in my headlights if it had not been for tbV pointing him out and that could have had a very bad ending]

your thorts on shtupidt pedestrian type people? i really do think it’s specifically a stellenbosch thing [and interestingly enuff it is not drunk students for the most part – most of the cars are gone by the time they head home]

so two nites ago we get a knock on our security complex apartment door at around 9.30pm and so being the nice friendly neighbourly guy i am i go and open it and it’s not nice to call someone a weirdo on first impression so i feel unable to describe to you the person who was outside the door [strange, cos usually an unexpected knock that late at nite at our complex means they’ve pulled another wheel clamping on us but i quickly went through an inventory of our cars and unless she broke into our garage to clamp my car…]

“um hi, i’m from lower die rand [name of our complex – we are upper die rand so kinda a whole different complex – we are kinda in the middle of a row of apartments in the middle of the complex so not your likeliest first apartment door knock you would have thort… but only if you were a sane person] and i’m looking for some help cos i can’t get my cat to go through the cat flap and do you know how to make a cat go through a cat flap?”

wo, really? could this be an encounter with the legendary catflap man?


i kid you not. now being friendly neighborhood nice guy type of guy i just think this is a little weird and i look in at val who is sitting on the couch and she is mouthing “No!” and shaking her head vigorously… and so instantly i go from ‘weird guy with cat flap problem’ to ‘hardcore serial killer with a really flimsy back story come to beat us to death with a domestic animal’ and as i peer down (it’s amazing what a rush of paranoia can do) it now seems like he quite possibly could be trying to have stucken his foot a little bit in the doorway ready to jam it in as i try and close it.

a huge war wages (instantly altho it seemed like for minutes with hardcore slow mo jedi-like moves and counter moves and strikes and counter attempts at strikes) between friendly neighborhood guy and wife-injected-paranoia freak…

i managed to kinda strike a balance between the two and so a hurried “i’m not the catflap engineering genius i may have appeared to you to have been upon initial glance” kind of apology and door close finished off the ordeal.

had i been a more neighborly guy you possibly could have found me at 10.30pm on friday nite down in lower die rand trying to help a new friend jam cats through a cat flap using enticement, threatening, subterfuge or sarcasm (who knows with cats? sarcatsm perhaps…)

but it seemed like more of a job for CATFLAP MAN…

so if there’s something strange, and your cat’s no good
who you gonna call? CATFLAP MAN
cos you installed a flap, but Mr Tibbs just stood
who you gonna call? CATFLAP MAN…

it’s a vybe

so those of you who know me know that i use the word ‘vibe’ a lot

noun: look at that vibe

verb: let’s vibe tonite

adjective : the service was vibing last nite

adverb: we played hockey vibedly

pronoun: the sandwich is vibe the table… okay, well not yet, but any day now…

i dig the word – it’s a vibe

anyways it is also the name of our junior youth group (grade 4 to 7) at the vineyard church in stellenbosch – we started near the beginning of the year with about 6 kids and run it every two weeks from 5-6.30 and last nite we had 14 kids and did a mini olympics (toothpick javelin, paper plate discus, straw tossing the caber – i know i know not an olympic event….yet! and so on) and it was out best nite yet – complete vibe

Vybe obviously standing for Vineyard Youth and then BE as in ‘be there’

anyways vibe moment of the evening was a game of balance the polystyrene cup on the other polystyrene cup (imagine the steroid usage for that one if it ever takes off) where three reps from two teams had to one at a time spin round ten times with a broom on their chin facing upwards (to get dizzy) and then run to the back chair get a cup, run to the middle chair, get a cup and run to the close chair and balance the one upside down on the other one and then pass on to the next person

all went well until little rachel spun round her ten times and then ran and instantly ran a 45 degree left line right into emma coming back to place her cups on the chair and took her and the chair out in one seemingly-choreographed motion – it was incredible and just a pty that we don’t have that on film – priceless

and a complete vibous vibe of vibanity!

smile, money man, smile

so you know how they say ‘men who guard the money never smile’? okay, well they should.

yesterday at the neelsie i walked round the corner carrying a table with chris to the elevator and as we rounded the corner two guys with hand guns stepped out – they were the money guarding people – third guy came round the corner with the bag which didn’t look all that big – and it’s the neelsie (student centre in Stellenbosch), what exactly are they protecting? con-doms?

so we step back and let them have the elevator and as i turned round there was this fourth guy – medium to large build black dude with this huge semi-automatic (i assume, don’t really know what that means but that’s the word i would grab out of the air to describe that kind of gun) gun which is at least half as long as him

he is doing the customary ‘people who guard money don’t smile’ grimace (‘grimace’ is a great word, kind of like ‘frolic’ and ‘begot’) so i smile at him and say hey or something

and then, because it has been quite a while since i took my life into my hands i asked him a few lets-try-get-a-smile questions – nothing. so i asked him do they pay you a lot for this and he was like ‘not really’ – so i said ‘but you’ve got that huge gun – go in there and demand some more’

i think if i was a money-guarding man that would have made me smile. even if they have strict men-who-guard-money-don’t-smile regulations which are seriously drummed into you at men-who-guard-money training camp, that was still a good one. at the very least a slight head nod to show he acknowledged it. But no, that dude kept the stereotype alive

altho i bet you that just after he kissed his wife and then rolled over to go to sleep later that evening he chuckled a short chuckle to himself, and when his wife said, ‘what is it dear?’ he just smiled in the darkness and said ‘nothing’ – i’m pretty sure that’s what happened, although he may have castigated her for the ‘dear’ thing.

that i am grappling with lately:

one of them is taking the incredible life-transforming simple-gospel stuff we are reading about in books like Shane Claiborne’s ‘The Irresistible Revolution’ and Erwin McManus ‘an unSTOPPABLE force’ and Rich Stearns ‘The Hole in the Gospel’ and even going back to the legen….dary Keith Green’s ‘No Compromise’ story and not just being excited and ‘challenged’ and ‘changed’ by it, and not just talking about it and maybe looking down on others who ‘don’t get it’ and all that and when do we actually start doing it and being transformed and changed – do we actually ‘get it’ or are we just excited by the idea? that is a tough one and i know my biggest problem is knowing the ‘how’ cos i am excited and i do think it’s great and i do want to live the simple passionate compassionate miraculous life to the full Jesus calls us to, but practically what do i need to do? question one i am grappling with.

part of question one is how do i justify the fact that i just spent R600 on an Eddie Izzard dvd boxset but don’t feel i can justify spending R700 to R900 for me and tbV to go watch him live (i guess that could be a problem with justifying both as opposed to either one of them perhaps) but then also not being able to justify someone else wanting to spend R300 on make-up for a wedding? why is mine okay and theirs not okay?

linked to that question will be that my lavish will be simple and ridiculous to Bishop’s Court residents and Saudi Arabia moguls but my simple will be wasteful and lavish and dreamed of for a typical Kayamandi shack resident – wealth and poverty can be relative to an extent.

question 2 regards being pastory type guy at enGAGE, a congregation that is part of the Vineyard church in Stellenbosch – are we really effecting change in the community or am i realistically simply just maintaining a small community of like-minded people? as in really, like what is really really happening there? cos if this year is all about just looking after 30 to 50 Christians and trying to make sure they are all still Christian at the end of the year and maybe a bit more Christian, then what the flippy flipperson? there MUST be more than this.

not needing answers (well, not from you) – just needing to ask the questions…

‘”We’re looking for a church that meets our needs.” It seems like I’ve heard this one a thousand times. The phenomenon of church shoppers has profoundly shaped the contemporary church. The entire conversation is not about relevance but convenience. The focus is not in serving the world; the church itself became the focal point. Our motto degenerated from “We are the church, here to serve a lost and broken world” to “What does the church have to offer me?” This move has made the pastor the only minister, while making the members the only recipients of ministry. What is lost in the process is an army of healers touching the planet.’

an unSTOPPABLE force: daring to become the church God had in mind – by Erwin Raphael McManus

my tag team buddy Sean Du Toit gave me this during my year of not reading and so i’ve been waiting almost a year to start reading and i am only on chapter none (yes ‘Atrophy’ is actually called chapter NONE) but i am loving it – have been to Erwin’s church which meets in a popular club in L.A. called Mosaic and i have never felt so welcomed in a church before (really believing the people were genuinely interested and not just on meeting duty – my younger cool sister Dawn and i went about two years ago and three different sets of couples totally stopped us and chatted to us and helped us out and stuff) and they combine art and music and present culture media with relevance and Bible teaching…

but yes, you do want to read this:

‘The servng that we are called to requires contact. You cannot wash the feet of a dirty world if you refuse to touch it. There is a sense of mystery to this, but it is in serving that the church finds her strength. When she ceases to serve the world around her, she begins to atrophy.’

‘the church has become a fortress from the world rather than the hope of the world’

and this bit is hectic:

‘From athlete to actor, musician to politician, both those who advocate the heart of God and those who seem to war against Him have many times been the product of the Western church. The problem has not been that these individuals of significant influence were outside of the sphere of the church’s influence, but that, in fact, they sat in the centre of the church and remained unchanged at the core.

America’s best atheists are children of the church. It is rare to find a person who is a passionate enemy of the church who has never had contact with her.’

and as you look around the big churches in Cape Town and Stellenbosch you see and hear the same things – not saying that the churches are not involved in good things and in a lot of service (would be interesting to see what percentage of each church are involved in outreach/serving and how many are just there for the show) but it’s things like “good worship vibe”, “great preaching” and “good organised cell structures” or “cool people my age group” that are the reasons why people are being attracted to those churches for the most part – still have to hear “they have an amazing feeding scheme” or “kick-ass township outreach” as reasons why people join churches…

anyways, get this, read it, pass it on, do it.

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