Insights from American historian Robin Kelley on black struggles in USA and SA

Author and historian, Dr Robin DG Kelly's research has explored the history of social movements in the U.S., the African Diaspora, and Africa; black intellectuals, racial constructs and more.

He is in South Africa and chatted to Eusebius McKaiser about some burning issues of the day.

He says that there is a global structural problem around inequality and racism and unless true justice is achieved we will still experience violence taking place.

He says the problem facing black America is not one that could be solved by dialogue or a having a better understanding of things.

He gives a description of how the Black Lives Matter movement came about and some of its mandates in the US.

The movement was established in 2012 after the shooting and killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, and the fact that Zimmerman was not held accountable for the crime he committed.

The slogan "Black lives matter" was not to say that we matter too, but means that justice matters.

Dr Robin Kelly, author and historian

Kelly has written extensively on state violence in the United States and also about some of the racial unrest in South Africa.

He speaks about the oppression of black people both in America and South Africa.

Dr Kelly gives insight and analysis on the point that "trauma is real", looking at the struggles that university students went through in recent years fighting for their right to education.

He argues that trauma should not be the end goal of one's activism but that trauma is a narrative of our struggle.

Trauma shapes these struggles. You cannot possibly experience slavery, forms of apartheid or state violence without experiencing trauma, that goes with the territory.

Dr Robin Kelly, Author and Historian

But to say that trauma is our structural narrative actually eliminates the reasons why those acts of violence are important because they are trying to restrain and contain revolutionary movements.

Dr Robin Kelly, Author and Historian

To hear more of this interview with Dr Kelly, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Insights from American historian Robin Kelley on black struggles in USA and SA


702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Harry Potter fans we are about to make your day!

Harry Potter fans we are about to make your day!

Check out this trailer for 'Voldemort – Origins of the Heir' a fan film, inspired by the universe of Harry Potter

Umlazi-born Harvard scholar paying it forward with empowering initiative

Umlazi-born Harvard scholar paying it forward with empowering initiative

South African Harvard student Mfundo Radebe is giving the country's underprivileged learners a helping hand through a new project.

UJ raises a whopping R147 million for its missing middle students

UJ raises a whopping R147 million for its missing middle students

Last year the ‘missing middle’ campaign secured R101 million through the collective efforts of the university management.

UCT campus opens next week and VC hopes peace will prevail

UCT campus opens next week and VC hopes peace will prevail

UCT was a battle zone last year rather than a place of learning but has now reached an agreement with student protest leaders.

Brian Williams expelled from UWC tells his side of the story

Brian Williams expelled from UWC tells his side of the story

Former UWC Council chair Brian Williams was expelled for participating in violent student protests at the university last year.

Concerned citizens team up to save universities

Concerned citizens team up to save universities

#AccessThuto was launched today to offer mediation and conflict resolution to help universities resolve the ongoing student protests

Bride-to-be loses wedding venue as hotel school cancels functions over protests

Bride-to-be loses wedding venue as hotel school cancels functions over protests

The Granger Bay Hotel School Restaurant has had to cancel several functions, including a wedding, over ongoing student protests.

Student unrest over funding as registration deadlines loom

Student unrest over funding as registration deadlines loom

Students protests may continue to rise while financial aid issues are unresolved.

Popular articles
So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

Wits associate professor of economics Christopher Malikane speaks to Azania Mosaka about the term that is being bandied about.

Shop 'til you drop: The top 'Black Friday' deals this week

Shop 'til you drop: The top 'Black Friday' deals this week

Start your Christmas shopping off with a bang at these major retailers offering some impressive discounted sales for Black Friday.

Pamela Nomvete on her downfalls as actress, and 'climbing back'

Pamela Nomvete on her downfalls as actress, and 'climbing back'

This week Xolani Gwala's speaks to former Generations actor Pamela Nomvete for #WhatInTheWorldHappenedTo feature.

How Naspers paid peanuts for Tencent (China’s most valuable company)

How Naspers paid peanuts for Tencent (China’s most valuable company)

In 2001 Naspers invested $32 million in (then tiny) Tencent. Learn more about the wildly profitable Chinese behemoth...

Police hunt man who doled out drug-laced sweets to school kids

Police hunt man who doled out drug-laced sweets to school kids

60 children from three schools in south of Johannesburg were rushed to hospital after eating sweets handed out by a stranger.

'The university degree is dead'

'The university degree is dead'

Flux Trends founder Dion Chang gives five reasons why he believes getting a degree is past its sell by date.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?