Gwen Ngwenya & The Limitations of Neo-Liberal Selective Constitutionalism


Writer: Wanelisa Xaba
Photograph: Supplied

One of the consequences of challenging hegemonic Euro-Western white supremacist patriarchal canons in a colonial society are paternalistic views depicting one as a rogue or an empty vessel unable to engage ideologically. Living in occupied Azania where knowledge is centred on Euro-imperialist colonial hetero cisnormative ideals as the standard, renders white-supremacist defenders like Amanda/Gwen Ngwenya unable to engage with the content of decolonisation. In an article published by Politicsweb, she calls us “loud voices” whereby “nothing is serious to these people, there is no situation worthy of professionalism or dealings with people worthy of some integrity”. Unfortunately, as a proud and public defender of white supremacy, Amanda/GwenNgwenya has never been worthy of any integrity nor will she be engaged with an ounce of respect. However, if she wants to dance in the realm of ideas, I will take time off my third degree to tango.

Unfortunately, movements like Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall have injured the egos of right wing white settlers in the country currently named South Africa (occupied Azania). These movements have destabilised (ANC safeguarded) white supremacy and forced occupied Azania to face up to the many ways in which Apartheid is not-so-post. Through holding the ANC accountable to its promise of free education, exposing neo-liberal capitalist practices like outsourcing that exploit our already poor parents, and the demand to decolonise Eurocentric universities, student movements have upset the likes of Amanda/Gwen.

You see, Amanda/Gwen was very instrumental in entrenching white supremacy during her reign as the DASO/SRC president during our undergrad years. Her and her white counterparts were instrumental in advocating that UCT scrap its race-based policies. For Amanda/Gwen,“Many things are unfair. Life is unfair. It is about accuracy. It is about recognising equal achievement from unequal results” (2010). I am not sure what the rant about “equal achievement from unequal results” signified,taking into consideration the legacy of exclusion, segregation and unequal spending in schools and universities was based on race. I sure as hell also know that the violence of colonialism and white supremacist Apartheid laws were a tad bit more than ‘unfair’. One would think a madam who holds herself in such high intellectual esteem would get that discrimination that is based on race equals redress that is also based on race. I mean, even this assertion of redress is a superficial rudimentary explanation of racism that reduces my intellect to banal essentialist ideas of radical change. Yawn.

Her advocacy against the race-based policy then betrayed her (still) limited knowledge of racism which should be understood as institutionalised practices, beliefs and social relations that work to reproduce a racial hierarchy and social structure that yields superiority and privilege for whites, and discrimination and oppression for Blacks. Had her understanding of race not been shaped by the right wing DA, she would understand that access to university based on race doesn’t scratch the surface of ‘transforming’ these Black self-hating producing apparatuses (universities). One wonders how she is even the head of an institution dealing with race relations when her understanding of race and racism is so…shady.

Anyway, taking into consideration, her anti-Black stance in undergrad, I was not surprised that Amanda/Gwen was part of the right-wing cabal which called a convocation expressing a vote of no confidence against Max Price for the ways in which he handled us unruly Ka**irs. Regardless of her logic, the whole event was a deliberate attempt by panicked white supremacists(and their defenders) to undermine the decolonial project. More so, during the convocation, Amanda/Gwen racially profiled a Black member of the convocation who was being denied his right to speak. This then spurred Kamau Macua to research the validity of her degrees which then went viral on social media.

The likes of Andile Mngxitama also came out of the gutter to provide unsolicited commentary complimenting Amanda/Gwen on being able to cheat an already corrupt white supremacist system. I have no desire to comment here on pieces of paper which serve as modern dompasses into the job market ina society that centres white ‘knowledges’. It is the arguments she makes about Fees Must Fall that I wish to engage. In her recent article she argues that the agreement between UCT and FMF is “failing to be representative and failing to assert not just institutional values but constitutionally enshrined principles of academic freedom, free speech and the rule of law”. Taking into consideration that universities personify institutional racism, uphold colonial symbols and values; Amanda/Gwen’s qualm about the agreement violating institutional values renders her anti-Black.

In the article she invokes the constitution. Personally, I find the constitution to be an anti-Black negotiated document (between the ANC and white monopoly capital) with promises that do not translate into the lived realities of the many destitute Blacks in this country. The constitution under neo-liberaldemocracy is a document that just entrenches these negotiations into the ‘rule of law’. You see, if Amanda/Gwen engaged with political thought outside Helen Zille’s bibliography, she would know that neo-liberal democracy is a North American political construct initially designed to protect private property. If Amanda/Gwen was also a critical thinker, she would question why Law studies which (she apparently graduated in) rely so much on Latin. If she was a critical thinker, she would know that even Law as we understand it, is a colonial construct and that pre-colonial African societies had their own ways of conflict resolution.

However, she only invokes constitutionalism when she wants to protect white interests. If she truly believed in the constitution, then she would regard the exclusion of Black children from accessing an education due to poverty, as a gross human rights violation. Moreover, she would have also been on the frontlines waving the constitution when the Marikana miners were shot dead. Most importantly, she would be enraged and holding this country at ransom for its gross human rights violations of us poor Blacks living in poverty under post-Apartheid Apartheid. But no. Dololo constitutionalism there. Her only interest is the maintenance of white supremacist racism at UCT.

One can only hope that this is an academic and ideological engaged enough way to say, “porch negro”.


One thought on “Gwen Ngwenya & The Limitations of Neo-Liberal Selective Constitutionalism

  1. This racism crap is sure getting old. Perhaps the screamers would enjoy returning to live in mud huts and drink water from puddles after it rains. I would tone down the anti European rhetoric. Somehow the Europeans were able to figure out how to install plumbing without the help of any Africans. Africans have not figured out how to do it as of yet.


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