Rhodes Must Fall: Nibbling at Resilient Colonialism in South Africa

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Date: July 2016
From: Journal of Pan African Studies(Vol. 9, Issue 4)
Publisher: Journal of Pan African Studies
Document Type: Book review
Length: 1,855 words
Lexile Measure: 1540L

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Nyamnjoh, Francis B. Rhodes Must Fall: Nibbling at Resilient Colonialism in South Africa, 2016, pp.312. Langaa Research and Publishing Common Initiative Group: Bamenda: ISBN: 9956-763-16-0.


In a world that is increasingly marked by generous assertions of inclusiveness, even for extraterrestrials, while paradoxically dogged by practices of exclusion, hence, Nyamnjoh's book is indispensable for teasing out hypocrisies of citizenship and belonging especially by those nations in the world that evangelise about openness, human rights and democracy. The book retraces the resilient hierarchies of belonging, citizenship, and humanity using a unique unsullied approach offered by the recent "Rhodes Must Fall movement" in South Africa. The work meticulously interrogates the Rhodes Must Fall xenophobia/Afrophobia, inequalities, and exclusion in South Africa and beyond.

In the introduction, Nyamnjoh focuses on whiteness and how indigenous Africans inspired by colonial hierarchies of humanity encourage their children to become "white" through self-cultivation assimilation. For the author, although whites are often conflated with whiteness, this should not visor and blind scholars to the whiteness that the so-called "blacks" and other variants of skin pigmentation may aspire to enact, achieve and eventually have in common, however hierarchised the order may be (pp. 1-2). Nyamnjoh traces the hierarchies of whiteness that have existed since colonialism while revisiting the hierarchies of blackness in which [indigenous] African people were historically reduced to property and considered indistinct from animals (p. 2-3; 9). Black South Africans insist on Black people as the only makwerekwere because the colonial and apartheid hierarchies of humanity and the whites' assumptions of purity blind them to the fact that even whites such as Rhodes are makwerekwere, some of whom used corruption, self-deception, and greed for their own advantage and self-aggrandisement.

While questions of belonging and citizenship in Africa have been, as elsewhere in the world, amounted to aspirations of purity, authenticity, primary and often parochial identities (p 15). Thus, the writer argues for the need to encourage and provide for citizenship that negotiates and navigates matrices of conviviality from the intersections of myriad identity margins.

Content Evaluation

The book contains seven chapters. The first chapter argues that being and becoming are works and processes in progress requiring borrowings and enhancements to render them astute, beautiful and acceptable. In this chapter it is argued that bodies and essences are interconnected such that consciousness inhabits bodies and parts which are themselves never complete, but rather open, malleable vessels that are appropriated by consciousness in its multiplicity (p. 21). This is a conscious that allows for diversity, generative dialogue, and conviviality. While in his missionary evangelisation of the fineness and completeness of his British race Rhodes deluded himself about supremacy of his race (p. 24-25). This was coupled by his self-deception about the divine origins of his mission to civilise and convert others even as...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A461364178