Rekgotsofetse Chikane: Breaking a Rainbow, Building a Nation

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“Whiteness seeks to remove us from its embrace because we threaten it. We place its position at the centre at risk when we dare to usurp it rather than simply remain constant in relation to it. Exerting my identity undermines the identity of whiteness. Yet exerting my identity calls into question my commitment to follow this feeling of emancipation from whiteness to its natural conclusion. It challenges whether or not I am willing to dismantle the system in which I exist to place myself in the centre at the expense of whiteness and the social leverage it has afforded me. This uncertainty of the coconut’s commitment begs the question: as a coconut, are you willing to slide down the snake to join those who have been excluded from the born-free ladder and assist them in the revolution, the chimurenga?’ – Rekgotsofetse Chikane

These words end the first chapter of Rekgotsofetse Chikane’s Breaking a Rainbow, Building a Nation: #ThePolitics behind #MustFallMovements

Rekgotsofetse Chikane found his passion in the field of youth development and politics since 2009. He is a University of Oxford graduate with a Master’s in Public Policy.

This book is a first-hand account of the university protests that gripped South Africa between 2015 and 2017, widely known as #FeesMustFall. In this book, Rekgotsofetse delves into what he calls the politics behind #MustFall movements. He explores – through a musical and biblical language –themes around fighting the perpetual sense of survival, challenging the score and setting of the stage for #RhodesMustFall, identities in the movements from Black radical thought to Black Radical Feminism and ends the book with the question “Should Coconuts be Trusted with the Revolution?”

In this podcast, we sat and dive deep into the work that Rekgotsofetse puts into the book. We speak about double consciousness, his relationship with his father, party politics, and who has the right to tell the story of #FeesMustFall. We also challenge him on certain framings in the book that could be read as further marginalising certain voices that uplifted the movement.

This conversation reminds us of the richness that comes from telling our own stories and creating our own narratives. As youth month ends, we thought to share with you some reflections on youth politics.

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