Some quotes from Understanding whiteness in South Africa with specific reference to the art of Brett Murray, by Ross P. Passmoor
‘“diasporics may position themselves as resisting assimilation, liminally situated on the borders or fault lines, alive to the play of contradiction and to the unregulated possibilities of such a positioning” (Dayal, 1996: 52).
“By situating his work in relation to class issues and political agenda, Murray further complicates notions of whiteness and diaspora. Suggesting that his whiteness should not prevent him from scrutinizing any powerful institution or personage in the post-apartheid context, Murray upholds a liberated whiteness that is specifically located in Africa. Thus in Crocodile Tears (2007) a confident Murray, who regards himself as an African and feels he can criticize anyone, regardless of race, confronts state ineptitude, personal greed and highlights the complexities within conceptions of Africanicity. In this there is a return to the goals of Murray’s early career, that is to undermine structures of oppression, while acknowledging his unique and complex position of being a white African.”
“The mistakes of the past are being repeated by the new elite. There is absolutely no difference between the two elites, absolutely none. The colour of the skin and for me that is not a difference, that’s a class issue. Now the new elite are just as corrupt as the past.”
Excepts from Agency and Amor Fati: Michael MacGarry’s ‘Show No Pain’ | by Chris Thurman | June 8, 2017
“Like MacGarry, I am a WESSA (white English-speaking South African) born in the late 1970s and thus of a generation that might not bear direct culpability for the iniquities of apartheid but that, if it is honest, was and remains deeply complicit. Like MacGarry, I am interested in historical representations of ‘the white man in Africa’ and in their contemporary echoes. Like MacGarry’s, my own critical interrogation of whiteness in South Africa probably emerges from a deeply repressed desire to exculpate myself – even though I know that this is neither desirable nor possible…
“Like MacGarry, I spent 2001 and 2002 in a vague stupor on a large muddy island on the western edge of Europe, experiencing what MacGarry describes as “voluntary South African alienation” and a “London-induced drowning of identity”: caught between an optimistic sense of opportunity and exploration on the one hand, and feelings of guilt and homesickness on the other.
“…metaphoric drowning of their vague identities” as semi-expats.”