Breyten Breytenbach’s call to writers

12 Mar

“I believe we writers, word-makers rooted in civil society, need not be the clowns and the fools of those in power-not even the “whites” among us who suffer from being excluded from the “black” world. In fact, I believe we should think of freedom of the mind as a conscious and constant attempt to unthink order and authority. To think against hegemony of any variety, including the liberationist and the nativist and the iconic- particularly the insidious, moralistic mawkishness of political correctness expressed as a sightless idolization of our “leaders.” To think against the dictates, the values, and the property of consumerist societies. To think against the laziness of narcissism. We need to remember that we are bastards and forget that we’re obedient citizens. Indeed, that our absolute loyalty lies in the disobedience to power and in our identification with the poor.”

Breyten Breytenbach

“Mandela’s smile”, an essay in Harper’s Magazine, 2008

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