Andile Mngxitama

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Centre for Creative Arts profile:

Andile Mngxitama was born and raised on the farms of Potchefstroom in the North West Province to a farm worker and a domestic worker.

Mngxitama, who holds an MA in sociology from the University of Witwatersarand, is a leading Black Consciousness thinker and organizer. He co-edited Biko Lives! Contesting the Legacies of Steve Biko, a collection of essays on the philosophy and writings of B.C. leader, Steve Biko. The collection looks at the ongoing significance of Black Consciousness, situating it in a global framework, examining the legacy of Biko, the current state of post-apartheid South African politics, and the culture and history of the anti-apartheid movements.

On Biko Lives!, Martin Murray, a Professor of Sociology at SUNY Binghamton comments, "Taken as a whole, this collection of essays is an important addition to the scholarship on Steve Biko. It contributes not only to a deeper understanding of what philosophy is, but also how Biko's writing can be considered philosophical."

In 2009, Mngxitama published the first four essays in the New Frank Talk series, a journal of critical essays in which the writer uses his broad political knowledge, razor-sharp wit and powerful debate skills to examine the black condition. His popular essay Blacks Can't be Racist, the third to be published in the series, has been prescribed by universities together with Why Biko Wouldn't Vote. Mngxitama is also a columnist for the Sowetan and City Press newspapers.

On his writing, he comments: "I think of myself as a window-cleaner; writing is one of the key tools I use to clean those dirty windows in people's minds."

Mngxitama will be launching the fifth issue of the New Frank Talk series titled White Revolutionaries as Missionaries? at the festival.


Shimrit Baer reports (21 June 2017): [1]

It is often pointed out that the expansionist project generates the military-security industry, and guinea pig populations on which control systems can be tested and marketed globally. But far more fundamentally to ordinary members of the Zionist class, the expansionist project functions as an elastic defense apparatus delaying assault on their internal space – their status quo – their purity. For Zionists, it’s “a space we can call our own.” Organizing against this organization of space has nothing to do with whether or not individuals happen to like living in their own traditional communities. Establishing presence and visibility in exclusive spaces removes the optics of irreversibility which surround them. This has been very compellingly put forward by the movements that are now building the way for radical economic transformation in South Africa. Andile Mngxitama, for example, “call[s] very openly” for “spatial invasion” as a needful process towards historical redress in South Africa: “Black people must actually go into the white spaces… to invade the suburbs, the beaches, the places which remain [exclusive].” The argument is considered radical, because it calls for exclusive space in South Africa to be dismantled as a means to the realization of basic rights, and for civil disobedience to be deployed to that end. The urgent push for radical economic transformation – a redistribution of space as a necessary first part of historical redress – has layers of relevance when transferred and applied to the logic of Zionist Space, and the possibilities of organization around it. As long as space is organized according to the aspirations of the Zionist class, power equality is never a possibility. As long as Zionist Space is countenanced, any unwanted population concentrated in enclaves on desired land can be weakened, injured, expelled and politically and physically decimated. There is therefore no leisure to not organize against Zionist Space.

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