Monday, June 23, 2008

Public Forum - Making Zuma: Unmaking Mbeki

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The Wits University Faculty of Humanities and The Weekender will be hosting a debate this coming Tuesday the 24th of June 2008 on the role of the media and its representation of our political leadership. The catalyst for the discussion is the seeming about-turn in the media's portrayal of the two players in the tragi-comedy known as 'the succession crisis'.

A brief profile of the panel is in order, along with some of their most notable writings.

First on the list is Prof. Sipho Seepe who is currently the President of the South African Institute of Race Relations. Prof. Seepe has been an ardent critic of the Mbeki administration, particularly on the President's pseudo-scientific views on HIV and AIDS. As head of what was during the apartheid era a bastion of liberal idealism and progressive politics, Seepe's appointment came as something of a surprise to some given his intellectual origins as a member of Black Consciousness (a movement seen as dialectically opposed to the perceived paternalist approach of white liberalism). However, Seepe puts forward an eloquent repudiation of this thinking by stating his admiration for the institute and the trans-ideological nature of its work. You can read the article on the SAIRR's website by following this link: 'Protecting a Brave History'.

Ms. Raenette Taljaard is the former DA spokesperson on Finance and is currently Director of the Helen Suzman Foundation. She has some well-reasoned opinions and a sober debating style. Raenette is certainly a very able bearer of the Suzman standard.

Prof. Adam Habib, who has recently taken the post of Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, and has worked extensively with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will surely add some flavour to the evening. In 2006 Adam was denied entry into the United States by the Department of Homeland Security. The American Civil Liberties Union have taken up his case, citing the use of ideological exclusion as a violation of "...Americans' First Amendment right to hear constitutionally protected speech by denying foreign scholars, artists, politicians and others entry to the U.S."

Prof. Tawana Kupe who is Dean of Humanities, Wits University will also be present.

Keep your eyes open on Quid Pro Quo for my report.

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Time: 18:00 for 18:30

Venue: Senate Room, 2nd Floor, Senate House, Wits University

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