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Tonight, Monday 17 August 2015, Lebo Mashile, Sisonke Msimang and Panashe Chigumadzi will be speaking at the annual Ruth First Memorial Lecture, this year titled Race: Lived Experiences and Contemporary Conversations.  The talks or presentations, which take place at The Wits University Great Hall (East Campus) at 18.00 will be given by 3 of the most proficient writers and practitioners when it comes to post Apartheid race relations in South Africa.  Panashe, the fiery editor of Vanguard Magazine and soon to be published author of her first novel, Sweet Medicine, will be reporting on her research into the experiences of ”coconuts”.  Lebo Mashile, South Africa’s formidable poet and writer will be performing columnist and activist Sisonke Msimang’s text of her research into the possibility of interracial friendships.  The evening will end with a conversation of inevitable fire flames between these three super brains, facilitated by another super brain – author, decorated debater and radio anchor, Eusebius McKaizer.

I know I’m being biased by approaching this with such fervor when the event hasn’t happened yet, but I know these women personally.  Panashe and Lebo are part of The Feminist Stokvel (naturally we will all be there) and Sisonke, who regularly writes for the New York Times, is one of our country’s best thinkers on gender, race and class issues. That they are black women is crucial to the nuanced understanding required in talking about race on such platforms.  I promise this is going to be an important conversation, not only for Wits (which desperately needs to decolonize), but for our country and for national discourse on an issue that is not going to perish in our lifetimes.

To book a seat, please email ruthfirstlecture@gmail.com or just come, this will be worth standing for if the seats are taken.

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