Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

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.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Section 25: ANC snubs EFF after negotiations impasse

The ANC is searching for alternatives to end months of negotiations with the EFF on the land question

Allies warned Ace against taking his party to court

Magashule is expected to argue that the step-aside rule 25.7 is unconstitutional and unlawful

More top stories

Modack defence tries ‘back door’ to pull evidence from state

The businessman and alleged underworld figure claims he is ‘severely prejudiced’ by his ‘lack of knowledge’ of the charges against him

KZN education ‘capture’ claims against Morar persist

Whistleblower says more tender procedures have been bypassed in favour of connected auditor

The trouble with clamouring for the Constitutional Court to rule...

Despite the public interest in the ruling, the commission’s deadline has become irrelevant as it abandoned hope of forcing the former president to testify

Q&A Sessions: Judge Navi Pillay, a woman of many firsts

Judge Navi Pillay talks to Athandiwe Saba about being the daughter of a bus driver, a little girl who swore at school, and the pressure of being a leading woman in the world while being a mother at home

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…