n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Denke as voorwaarde vir 'n gesonde samelewing : navorsings- en oorsigartikels : voorwaardes vir 'n gesonde samelewing (gemeenskap)

Volume 55 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0041-4751



The aim of my contribution is to reflect tentatively on a few values or ideals that I think could contribute to a healthy society in conjunction with a post-1994 jurisprudence. I focus on three ideals, or values, namely transformation, equality and interdependence. Each of these concepts could be interpreted in many ways and enfolds a multiplicity of meanings. I attempt to be faithful to the indeterminacy of these concepts and the impossibility to capture anyone of them in a reification of meaning that excludes other meaning. Temporary and tentative meanings, however, are considered. My starting point for the reflection of these concepts comes from events and narratives that played out in Pretoria/Tshwane from 2010 to 2012 around the eviction of 700 families from an apartment building complex named Schubart Park. The main inspiration to reflect on a healthy society against the background of Schubart Park is a series of photos taken by photographer Herman Verwey, entitled "Post-apocalyptic Schubart Park". The Schubart Park apartment complex stands in the tradition of modernity, and in particular modern instrumental rationality that brought about, as argued by Henri Lefebvre, a shift from inhabitance to habitat. This shift, that brought about an alienation between the state and its citizens, is well demonstrated by the events that occurred and illustrated by the Verwey photos. Following Hannah Arendt, thinking - the ability to think in each situation what the best possible reaction might be - is the only condition that I support. Arendt, each and every time when she was approached to provide a general solution or to formulate general standards, refused to give an answer. She was of the view that each situation, each problem should be thought through anew and that specific answers could be given only to specific questions. I start with stories of Schubart Park as background, after which I consider transformation, equality and interdependence. I conclude by turning to Arendt, thinking and the Schubart Park photos. My main argument concerning transformation is that no easy solutions can be offered. I subscribe to the Deleuzian notion of becoming minor and argue that this notion should be coupled with transformation. A complex and ethical engagement with equality is similar to transformation in the sense that both of these approaches show an awareness of the complexities that we are confronted with, and are tentative and reflective. I recall notions of "gnostic time", the "haunting presence of ruined time" and of "a justice to come" and relate them to Arendt's insistence on thinking. The photos of Schubart Park, although they portray a ruined society and the absence of transformation, equality and an openness towards interdependence, also beckon reflection and thought and the possibility of a justice to come.

Die oogmerk van my bydrae is om voorlopig enkele waardes of ideale wat myns insiens kan bydra tot 'n gesonde samelewing tesame met die wording van 'n post-1994 regsleer in Suid-Afrika te bedink. Ek fokus op drie ideale, oftewel waardes, naamlik transformasie, gelykheid en interafhanklikheid. Elkeen van hierdie begrippe kan op vele maniere geïnterpreteer word en hou dus 'n veelvoud van moontlike betekenisse in. Ek gaan poog om getrou te wees aan die onbepaalbaarheid van hierdie begrippe en die onmoontlikheid om enigeen vas te vang in 'n reïfikasie van betekenis tot uitsluiting van ander. Tydelike en voorlopige betekenisse word wel oorweeg. My uitgangspunt vir die besinning van hierdie begrippe kom van gebeure en stories wat afgespeel het in die stad Pretoria/Tshwane in die jare 2010-2012, rondom die uitsettings van 700 families uit 'n woonstelgeboukompleks genaamd Schubartpark. Ek besin oor die gebeure tydens die afloop van die uitsettings. Die hoofinspirasie om 'n gesonde samelewing te bedink teen die agtergrond van Schubartpark is 'n fotoreeks van fotograaf Herman Verwey, genaamd "Post-apokaliptiese Schubartpark". Ek fokus slegs op enkele van die foto's uit die reeks ten einde my siening aangaande transformasie, gelykheid en interafhanklikheid te bedink. In navolging van Hannah Arendt is denke, die vermoë om in elke situasie te dink wat die beste moontlike reaksie sou kon wees, die enigste voorwaarde wat ek wil onderskryf.

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