AfricaNow! June 28, 2017
Topic: South Africa’s Shack Dwellers and Landless Movements
Topic and Guest: An exploration of the language and praxis of decolonization through the reclamation of land and dignity in South Africa’s shack dwellers and landless movements with Dr. Yousuf Al-Bulushi, Assistant Professor, Peace Studies at Goucher College.
Frantz Fanon’s 1961 treatise on the dehumanizing effects of colonization on the psychic and material landscapes of the colonized, The Wretched of the Earth, provides a discerning articulation on the process of decolonization.
In the Wretched of the Earth, Fanon writes: “Decolonization never goes unnoticed […] it infuses a new rhythm, specific to a new generation of men, with a new language and a new humanity. Decolonization is truly the creation of new men. But such a creation cannot be attributed to a supernatural power: The ‘thing’ colonized becomes a man through the very process of liberation.” (Fanon 1961:2)
However, the process of decolonization has yet to reach full expression. The language and praxis of decolonization, the promise of a radical humanism, a new relation of being in the world, remains severely arrested. If decolonization was an intentional and direct response to colonialism, decolonization failed in uprooting the colonial repressive systems…on mass scale.
For Fanon, “the colonial world is a compartmentialized world […] a world divided in two. The dividing line, the border…” An idea Du Bois names the color line...later expands to the poverty line…a siphoning of the world’s resources into the hands of a few, safeguarded and securitized by barracks, the police station, drones, the banks, multinational corporations, private interests and capital.
In the past twenty years, throughout the African world as well as the global south, burgeoning social movements constituting what Sylvia Wynter describes as “the vast majority of peoples who inhabit the favela/shanty town’ of the globe and their jobless archipelagos…at the national level, Baldwin’s ‘captive population’ in the urban inner cities, (and on the Native Reservations of the United States),” have reinvigorated and expanded the arena and language of grassroots politics and political action. www.abahlali.org/
Originally broadcast on WPFW 89.3FM, Washington, DC. Tune into AfricaNow! live on WPFW 89.3 FM in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area or visit www.wpfwfm.org on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00PM (Eastern).