Zachary Levenson

Zachary Levenson is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at UC Berkeley. His current research investigates housing delivery and the politics of land occupations in post-apartheid cities.

How about booking a night in this ‘shantytown’?

Where else, but in #SouthAfrica. There are times when even we are speechless. Who comes up with offensive stuff like this? For a price nearly equivalent to the median monthly income of a South African domestic worker, you can stay for a night in a real informal settlement! I mean, just because these shacks have “under-floor heating and wireless internet access” doesn’t make them any less real.

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The South African Compromise

At this week’s Open Book Festival in Cape Town, one of South Africa’s many literary events, one of the most anticipated non-fiction writers was Adam Habib. A veteran political scientist, erstwhile Trotskyist, and as of recently, vice chancellor (equal to an American college president) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Habib just released his new book South Africa’s Suspended Revolution.

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Township “Living,” White People and the Limits of “Empathy”

If a white family spends a month in a shack, it’s called “brave,” an exercise in “empathy,” and above all, deemed newsworthy enough to gain international coverage. If a black family spends a lifetime in a shack, it’s called South Africa, and it certainly won’t make the paper.

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