Posts Tagged ‘Frantz Fanon’

Desmond Painter. Edouard Glissant en die poëtika van postkolonialiteit

Monday, June 6th, 2011
Edouard Glissant

Edouard Glissant

Edouard Glissant is vroeër hierdie jaar oorlede.

Hy is in 1928 in Martinique gebore — net drie jaar na Frantz Fanon, wat ook in Martinique gebore is. Glissant het Fanon egter met presies 50 jaar oorleef — Fanon is al in 1961 dood, op die jeugdige ouderdom van 36.

Ons het in Suid-Afrika, en in Afrikaans, waarskynlik nog te min aandag gegee aan Glissant. As briljante digter en romansier, ja, maar ook as filosoof en teoretikus van marginaliteit, diversiteit, kreoolsheid, post-europese artikulasies van moderniteit, die post-koloniale kondisie, taal en identiteit…

Fanon het die psigiese geweld van koloniale rassisme soos min ander verwoord. Hy het die teenstrydighede en slaggate van dekolonisasie in Afrika amper profeties uitgewys. Maar hy is al in 1961 dood — hy het in ‘n ander wêreld as ons geleef.

Glissant is nie noodwendig ‘n alternatief nie (Fanon is nog glad nie irrelevant nie), maar hy is myns insiens ‘n belangrike aansluitingspunt, ‘n verdere bron van konsepte, invalshoeke, trajekte en drome, veral in die sg. “postkoloniale teorie”, ‘n tradisie “still haunted by the spectre of Europe” (Achille Mbembe).

Hier volg drie kort uittreksels uit die Engelse vertaling van Glissant se boek Poetics of Relation.


Thinking thought usually amounts to withdrawing into a dimensionless place in which the idea of thought alone persists. But thought in reality spaces itself out into the world. It informs the imaginary of peoples, their varied poetics, which it then transforms, meaning, in them its risk becomes realized.

Culture is the precaution of those who claim to think thought but who steer clear of its chaotic journey. Evolving cultures infer Relation, the overstepping that grounds their unity-diversity.

Thought draws the imaginary of the past: a knowledge becoming. One cannot stop it to assess it nor isolate it to transmit it. It is sharing one can never not retain, nor ever, in standing still, boast about.


This flood of convergences, publishing itself in the guise of the commonplace. No longer is the latter an accepted generality, suitable and dull – no longer is it deceptively obvious exploiting common sense – it is, rather, all that is relentlessly and endlessly reiterated by these encounters. On every side the idea is being relayed. When you awaken an observation, a certainty, a hope, they are already struggling somewhere, elsewhere, in another form.

Repetition, moreover, in an acknowledged form of consciousness both here and elsewhere. Relentlessly resuming something you have already said. Consenting to an infinitesimal momentum, an addition perhaps unnoticed that stubbornly persists in your knowledge.

The difficulty: to keep this growing pile of common places from ending up as dispirited grumbling – may art provide! The probability: that you come to the bottom of all confluences to mark more strongly your inspirations.


Recognizing, imagining, Relation.
Yet another undertaking, thoroughly disguised, of universalizing generalization?
Escape, the problems at our heels?
No imagination helps avert destitution in reality, none can oppose oppressions or sustain those who “withstand” in body or spirit. But imagination changes mentalities, however slowly it may go about this.

No matter where one is, no matter how strong the force of errantry, one can hear the mounting desire to “give-on-and-with”, to discover order in chaos or at least to guess its unlikely motivation: to develop this theory that would escape generalizations.

Poetics? Precisely this double thrust, being a theory that tries to conclude, a presence that concludes (presumes) nothing. Never one without the other. That is how the instant and duration comfort us.
Every poetics is a palliative for eternity.

Desmond Painter. Bootjie na Kammaland

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Migrante op pad na Europa

Migrante op pad na Europa

Ek lees op BBC News: “Italy has warned that an influx of Tunisian migrants arriving on its shores could have devastating consequences for all European nations. / Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said migrants who have landed on the island of Lampedusa threaten the institutional and social structures of Europe. / The EU border agency is sending patrol boats and aircraft to assist Italy. / In another development, a boat was intercepted off Sicily carrying about 30 people believed to be from Egypt. / Italian police said the boat was intercepted overnight off the coast near Ragusa. / Meanwhile, in Tunisia, the authorities have lifted a night-time curfew.”


‘n Mens sou sweer hulle berig oor ‘n militêre inval! Ek lees op ‘n ander webblad: ‘A train carrying Tunisian immigrants from Italy was halted at the French border Sunday in an escalation of an international dispute over the fate of North African migrants fleeing political unrest for refuge in Europe. / But France blamed what it said were hundreds of activists on the train planning a demonstration in France, and posing a problem to public order. Traffic was re-established by evening — but not before Italy lodged a formal protest.” / At no time was there a … closing of the border between France and Italy,” French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said. It was an “isolated problem,” he said by telephone, “an undeclared demonstration.”‘

Tunisië: Frantz Fanon het op ‘n stadium daar gewoon, tydens die burgeroorlog in Algerië. In sy essay, ‘The “North African Syndrom”‘, skryf hy juis oor migrasie uit Noord Afrika na Frankryk.

Hy skryf: ‘Men come and go along a corridor you have built for them, where you have provided no bench on which they can rest, where you have erected a lot of scarecrows that viciously smack them in the face, and hurt their cheeks, their chests, their hearts.

Where they find no room

where you leave them no room

where there is absolutely no room for them

and you dare tell me it doesn’t concern you!

that it’s no fault of yours!’

Hy skryf: ‘All those men who are hungry, all those men who are cold, all those men who are afraid… All those men of whom we are afraid, who crush the jealous emerald of our dreams, who twist the fragile curve of our smiles, all those men we face, who ask us no questions, but to whom we put strange ones. Who are they?’

Hy skryf: ‘Who are they, those creatures starving for humanity who stand buttressed against impalpable frontiers (though I know them from experience to be terribly distinct) of complete recognition?’

Hy skryf: ‘His evolution and the story of his life. It would be better to say the history of his death. A daily death. / A death in the tram, / a death in the doctor’s office, / a death with the prostitutes, / a death on the job site, / a death at the movies, / a multiple death in the newspapers, / a death in the fear of all decent folk of going out after midnight. / A death, / yes a DEATH.’

Hy skryf: ‘If the standard of living made available to the North African in France is still higher than the one he is accustomed to at home, this means that there is still a good deal to be done in his country, in that “other part of France”. / That there are houses to be built, schools to be opened, roads to be laid out, slums to be torn down, cities to be made to spring from the earth, men and women and children to be adorned with smiles. / This means that there is work to be done over there, human work, that is, work which is the meaning of a home. Not that of a room or a barrack building. It means that over the whole territory of the French nation (the metropolis and the French Union), there are tears to be wiped away, inhuman attitudes to be fought, condescending ways of speech to be ruled out, men to be humanized.’

Hy skryf: ‘Your solution, sir?’

Hy skryf: ‘Don’t push me too far. Don’t force me to tell you what you ought to know, sir. If YOU do not reclaim the man who is before you, how can I assume that you reclaim the man that is in you?’

Hy skryf: ‘If YOU do not demand the man, if YOU do not sacrifice the man that is in you so that the man who is on this earth shall be more than a body, more than a Mohammed, by what conjurer’s trick will I have to acquire the certainty that you, too, am worthy of my love?’

Hy skryf dit alles in 1952.

Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon

Andries Bezuidenhout. Sy oë is blou

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011


In David Macey se biografie van Frantz Fanon, word vertel van ʼn keer in Frankryk toe ʼn dogtertjie vir Fanon in die straat sien en die volgende aan haar ma sê: “Kyk, ʼn neger… Kyk na die neger Ma, ek’s bang!” (p. 63) Later in die boek skryf Macey: “The gaze of the white man creates the black slave and forces him to recognise that he is a slave. Fanon remarks in Peau noire [sy boek Black Skin, White Masks] that ‘the negro is afraid of blue eyes’ and, speaking of his encounter with the child and mother, he writes: ‘All this whiteness burns me to ashes’.” (p. 167)



Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken sie abends
wir trinken sie mittags und morgens wir trinken sie nachts
wir trinken und trinken
wir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lüften da liegt man nicht eng
Ein Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit den Schlangen der schreibt
der schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margarete
er schreibt es und tritt vor das Haus und es blitzen die Sterne er pfeift seine Rüden herbei
er pfeift seine Juden hervor läßt schaufeln ein Grab in der Erde
er befiehlt uns spielt auf nun zum Tanz

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts
wir trinken dich morgens und mittags wir trinken dich abends
wir trinken und trinken
Ein Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit den Schlangen der schreibt
der schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margarete
Dein aschenes Haar Sulamith wir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lüften da liegt man nicht eng

Er ruft stecht tiefer ins Erdreich ihr einen ihr andern singet und spielt
er greift nach dem Eisen im Gurt er schwingts seine Augen sind blau
stecht tiefer die Spaten ihr einen ihr andern spielt weiter zum Tanz auf

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts
wir trinken dich mittags und morgens wir trinken dich abends
wir trinken und trinken
ein Mann wohnt im Haus dein goldenes Haar Margarete
dein aschenes Haar Sulamith er spielt mit den Schlangen
Er ruft spielt süßer den Tod der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland
er ruft streicht dunkler die Geigen dann steigt ihr als Rauch in die Luft
dann habt ihr ein Grab in den Wolken da liegt man nicht eng

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts
wir trinken dich mittags der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland
wir trinken dich abends und morgens wir trinken und trinken
der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland sein Auge ist blau
er trifft dich mit bleierner Kugel er trifft dich genau
ein Mann wohnt im Haus dein goldenes Haar Margarete
er hetzt seine Rüden auf uns er schenkt uns ein Grab in der Luft
er spielt mit den Schlangen und träumet der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland

dein goldenes Haar Margarete
dein aschenes Haar Sulamith


“Om gedigte na Auschwitz te skryf is barbaars,” het Theodor Adorno in 1951 gesê. Kort daarna, in 1952, is Paul Celan se “Todesfuge” in die bundel Mohn und Gedächtnis gepubliseer – ʼn gedig oor die Holocaust, in Duits. Soos J.M. Coetzee opmerk, het Adorno sy stelling in 1966 teruggetrek, “perhaps as concession to ‘Death Fugue’.” Dis seker een van die mees aangrypende moderne gedigte. Beide Celan se ouers het in kampe in Ukraine omgekom – sy pa aan tering, sy ma is geskiet. Celan self het in ʼn kamp gewerk en het homself na die Oorlog in Frankryk gevestig.

Celan was soms onthuts oor hoe die gedig in Duitsland ontvang is. Coetzee haal byvoorbeeld ʼn prominente Duitse kritikus aan wat van mening was dat die gedig wys dat Celan se digkuns bo die geskiedenis uitstyg, iets wat die digter self gevoel het ʼn wanvoorstelling van die gedig was. Ook die feit dat in Duitse klaskamers eerder op die musikale vorm van die gedig gekonsentreer is as die inhoud, het Celan nie beïndruk nie.

Dis vreemd hoe ʼn gedig – een wat jare gelede geskryf is – weer en weer kan opduik. Daar is byvoorbeeld verwysings daarna in Marlene van Niekerk se “Die verkorte raklewe van Anastasia W”, wat pas weer by die Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees opgevoer is.


Verlede naweek loop ek John Felstiner se vertalings van Celan in die Boekehuis in Johannesburg raak. Ek onthou dat Coetzee dit bespreek het in een van sy essaybundels. Hy het Felstiner se vertaling van “Todesfuge” as een van die meer suksesvolle pogings beskryf. Ek hou van die manier hoe Felstiner die oorspronklike Duits behou – dit forseer die Engelse leser om die feit dat die oorspronklike gedig in Duits geskryf is, te onthou. Die refrein – “dein goldenes Haar Margarete/
dein aschenes Haar Shulamith” –
aan die einde, word heeltemal in Duits weergegee. Teen hierdie tyd het die Engelse leser wat nie Duits magtig is nie, reeds gesnap waaroor dit gaan.



Black milk of daybreak we drink it at evening
we drink it at midday and morning we drink it at night
we drink and we drink
we shovel a grave in the air there you won’t lie too cramped
A man lives in the house he plays with his vipers he writes
he writes when it grows dark to Deutschland your golden hair Margareta
he writes it and steps out of doors and the stars are all sparkling, he whistles his hounds to come close
he whistles his Jews into rows has them shovel a grave in the ground
he commands us to play up for the dance.

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at morning and midday we drink you at evening
we drink and we drink
A man lives in the house he plays with his vipers he writes
he writes when it grows dark to Deutschland your golden hair Margareta
Your ashen hair Shulamith we shovel a grave in the air there you won’t lie too cramped

He shouts jab the earth deeper you lot there you others sing up and play
he grabs for the rod in his belt he swings it his eyes are so blue
jab your spades deeper you lot there you others play on for the dancing

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at midday and morning we drink you at evening
we drink and we drink
a man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margareta
your aschenes Haar Shulamith he plays his vipers
He shouts play death more sweetly this Death is a master from Deutschland
he shouts scrape your strings darker you’ll rise then as smoke to the sky
you’ll have a grave then in the clouds there you won’t lie too cramped

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at midday Death is a master aus Deutschland
we drink you at evening and morning we drink and we drink
this Death is ein Meister aus Deutschland his eye it is blue
he shoots you with shot made of lead shoots you level and true
a man lives in the house your goldenes Haar Margarete
he looses his hounds on us grants us a grave in the air
he plays with his vipers and daydreams der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland

dein goldenes Haar Margarete
dein aschenes Haar Sulamith


Margarete verwys heel waarskynlik na die karakter uit Goethe se Faust. ʼn Duitse vrou met blonde hare – Margarete, of Gretchen. Sulamith, of Shulamith, is ʼn redelik algemene Joodse vrouenaam. Dit word soms verkort tot Shula. Maar volgens Felstiner verwys dit ook na ʼn vrou uit Koning Salomo se “Hooglied”. Ek gaan soek dit op – kry drie weergawes:

Nederlandse weergawe uit 1898:

Ou Afrikaanse vertaling:

Manahaim beteken letterlik “twee kampe” in Hebreeus.

Nuwe Afrikaanse vertaling:

Sover ek kan vasstel, was die Sulamitiese vrou van Hooglied se vel swart, deur kleur van bokhaartente. Sy was verlief op ʼn skaapwagter, nie die koning nie. Sy het die koning verlaat om na die skaapwagter terug te keer. Hoekom dans sy voor soldate, by twee kampe? Het Celan dit in gedagte gehad toe hy die gedig geskryf het?


My oupa het Duits as vak op Universiteit gehad, in die 1930s. Hy het altyd vir ons uit Goethe aangehaal – uit sy kop uit. Een van sy gunstelinggedigte was “Erlkönig”. Weens my oupa se invloed het ek ook Duits as vak op skool geneem. Ek is dankbaar dat ek “Todesfuge” in Duits kan lees. Ek wonder of my oupa ooit Celan gelees het: “… der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland sein Auge ist blau.”

Frantz Fanon


J.M. Coetzee. “Paul Celan and his translators.” Uit: Inner Workings: Literary Essays 2000-2005 (Vintage, 2008).

John Felstiner (vertaler). Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan (W.W. Norton, 2001).

David Macey. Frantz Fanon: A Life (Granta, 2000).

Desmond Painter. Afrikaans, ras en nasionaliteit: Deel 1

Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon

In September hierdie jaar gaan ek die 18de tweejaarlikse Sociolinguistics Symposium in Southampton, Engeland, bywoon. Soos dit maar gaan — oftewel, soos dit maar met my gaan — moes ek oornag ‘n abstrak produseer, met die gevolg dat dit ‘n bietjie sonder fokus is, maar ook doelbewus vaag, sodat ek, wanneer dit by die skryf van die referaat kom, nie onnodig deur die abstrak aan bande gelê word nie…

Die onderwerp van my beoogde referaat is, breedweg gestel, taalpolitiek en taalideologie in Suid-Afrika, en meer spesifiek die diskursiewe posisionering (histories sowel as hedendaags) van Afrikaans ten opsig van ‘ras’, ‘witheid’, ‘bruinheid’/’swartheid’ en ‘nasionaliteit’/’Suid-Afrikaansheid’ hier te lande. Dit is baie vaag, ek weet; en meer nog, dit is (kyk maar na die abstrak hieronder) nog lomp en swaarwigtig geformuleer.

Die hele projek trek ook eintlik in twee rigtings. Aan die een kant wil ek iets probeer skryf oor die verstrengeling van taal (en spesifiek dan Afrikaans) met historiese konstruksies van ‘ras’ en ‘nasionaliteit’ in Suid-Afrika — ‘n idee wat eerstens by my posgevat het na die herlees van Jan Rabie se uitspraak oor Afrikaans as ‘n ‘nie-rassige prestasie’, maar wat ook gestimuleer is deur wat myns insiens ‘n verwaarlosing is van die rol van taal in akademiese besinning oor die historiese konstruksie van ‘ras’, ‘nasionalisme’ en dergelike onderwerpe in Suid-Afrika. Aan die ander kant wil ek ‘n aantal intellektuele hulpbronne (bv. Fanon se idees oor taal en kolonialisme, Bourdieu se teorie van simboliese heerskappy, Hardt en Negri se werk oor ‘Empire’) aktiveer binne die konteks van die huidige debatte oor veeltaligheid in Suid-Afrika. Ek sal moet besluit wat presies dit is wat ek wil doen.

Hoe ook al, teen die agtergrond van die debatte tans rondom die rol en status van ‘swart Afrikaans’ en ‘swart Afrikaanssprekendes’ dink ek tog my leeswerk vir die referaat kan vir sommige lesers van Versindaba interessant wees. Meer nog, hier is sekerlik heelwat lesers wat my van waardevolle raad kan bedien, veral wat die geskiedenis van Afrikaans en die Afrikaanse taalpolitiek betref. Wat ek dus wil doen is om so elke nou en dan oor my navorsing te rapporteer op hierdie blog. Ek belowe om dit nie oordrewe akademies te maak nie, maar te hou by temas en gedagtes wat vir lesers van hierdie blog dalk van belang kan wees. Hier is die abstrak, vratte en al:


Race, ‘whiteness’ and the ambiguities of national identity in representations of the ‘politics of Afrikaans’

This paper analyses representations of ‘the politics of Afrikaans’ in South Africa across a number of different discursive contexts, including academic writing, the media, and position documents produced by government as well as various cultural organizations. The aim of the paper is not to provide an analysis of the politics of Afrikaans as such, but to explore how struggles over and about the role, status and future of Afrikaans in South African public life are articulated, legitimitized, problematized and generally positioned in relation to the field of the political. What make representations of the politics of Afrikaans analytically particularly interesting is the fact that the language still occupies an ideologically ambiguous position in current South African political discourse. On the one hand, it is currently a minority language within a context of increasing (local and global) English hegemony, and hence subject to discourses of multiculturalism, minority language rights and linguistic justice. On the other hand, the history of Afrikaans as a language of apartheid administration and of racism in South Africa clearly remains a relevant (and rhetircally deployed) component of its public representation, especially regarding patterns of legitimization and deligitimization of the various cultural and political claims made in relation to it. Thirdly, in recent years Afrikaans has increasingly been contested in relation to its foundational relationship to ‘whiteness’ in South Africa, becoming the vehicle and stake also of black social, cultural and political aspirations. Representations of the politics of Afrikaans in South African discourse, then, reveal a number of important tensions in the relationships between language, on the one hand, and race, culture, national identity, the postcolonial and globalization on the other hand. These topics, with particular emphasis on the discursive (re)constitution of Afrikaans in relation to race, ‘whiteness’ and national identity, are explored from a language ideological perspective, drawing on the analytic strategies of discursive social psychology.