Wiser’s Burns responds to roundtable criticism

The Mail & Guardian's Deshnee Subramany wrote an opinion piece on her views of a discussion round-table and audience event at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (Wiser) last week. We are delighted that several people wrote about the event. Subramany did not have a tape recorder in her hand and did not appear to take notes in the after-forum discussion, so the points she makes are from her memory only, and many of them are misrecalled.

What is of interest here, and also the substance of Subramany's impressions are these: that Wiser did not constitute a representative panel (correct); that nonetheless issues of power, sexuality, race and class were constantly inflected with debates about femaleness and gender identity in the evening's events (correct); and that I disputed with her afterwards that the lack of what Subramany called variously an African and also a black woman was a deligitimising factor (also correct).

This was one of the best attended events at Wiser in the last year, and people with a huge array of identities came to the campus that evening and were in the room. Wiser, a Wits University humanities institute, is devoted to addressing issues of deep research interest and purchase in our society and the globe. And last week, we were delighted with the vigorous and open debate and the wide array of positions, issues and nuanced arguments that the forum elicited.

Besides the three speakers – who talked passionately about the issues generated around Rebecca Davis's piece on being female in South African politics for 10 minutes each, drawing on their wealth of journalism experience – the event was dominated by points from the floor and then responses from the speakers.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members
Advertising

Press Releases

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday