Jansen's new book a snapshot of colour, love and interracial bonds formed at UFS

Professor Jonathan Jansen's latest book asks 'Can love and friendship form and flourish across South Africa’s imposed colour lines?'

His new book, called Making Love in a War Zone, is published by Bookstorm and available at major book stores.

Prof. Jansen, the former vice-chancellor at the University of the Free State (UFS) has written about his observations of interracial loving and learning while at the institution.

Jansen led the UFS from 2009, at a time when this historically white, conservative institution was grappling with the challenge of integration and making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

During his seven years at the university, Jansen says he witnessed and documented many friendships and romantic bonds across culture and colour.

The professor explains that he never understood the obsession with race and the classifications based on complexion.

He shares that he also experienced colourism because of his dark skin, when he first met the family of his lighter-skinned wife when they were young.

There is still a social status attached to how dark you are, even within the black community.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University

Ever since I was a high school teacher, I absolutely enjoyed the interaction with students.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University

Stumbling across the project of how students learn and live and love together was sort of a natural part of a series of conversations since I was at UFS.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University

I was always fascinated about why people made a fuss about loving across the colour line.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University

Fairly early on, I thought of skin as the epidermis. I never thought of it in terms of the social gradation of human beings between better and worse.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University

I was never brought up in my home or socio-political circles as thinking of hierarchies.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished professor in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University

Jansen discusses the journey to writing his latest book and the stories of those who participated in his work.

Take a listen to him explain the inspiration behind his latest literary wok:

The former vice-chancellor released another book last year on the student uprising at universities.

WATCH: Professor Jonathan Jansen on his 2017 book As By Fire - The end of the South African University


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Jansen's new book a snapshot of colour, love and interracial bonds formed at UFS


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