Of Coconuts, Consciousness and Cecil John Rhodes

Panashe Chigumadzi - storyteller and Ruth First Fellow - joined Azania in studio to unpack her presentation made at The 2015 Ruth First Memorial Lecture on the issue of race in South Africa.

Chigumadzi, 23, was the founder and editor of Vanguard Magazine, presented her work which explored the concept of a “coconut”...

Coconuts are of course privileged socio-economically by this very proximity to whiteness. That is the Rainbow Nation that we live in. And yet, it is those experiences of whiteness as a system and as a physical embodiment in our teachers and classmates that cause us pain. These are the experiences of ‘inclusive’ whiteness that can never truly accommodate us in our fullness as black people and instead force us into chameleon status as we constantly manipulate our accents and our hair and our names and our entire ways of being in order to be acceptable. That, is what forces us to realise that no matter how hard we work or how well we speak, we remain black. That, is what forces us to realise that we are still niggers. That, is what forces Coconuts to become conscious. And in the end, that, is what forces us Coconuts to join the call for Rhodes to Fall.

Panashe Chigumadzi, “Of Coconuts, Consciousness and Cecil John Rhodes’

Read Panashe's Ruth First Memorial Lecture here - Of Coconuts, Consciousness and Cecil John Rhodes

Listen to Panashe's interview with Azania...

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