A long, long time ago when there was still Apartheid, I needed a passport to travel by bus from Cape Town to Durban in South Africa. That meant going through the “independent homeland” of Transkei in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.  If you forgot that’s where the state banished surplus black people and from where capital got its cheap labor.  I can still remember the farce of crossing the “border” and having our documents checked by Transkei police in brown uniforms and ten gallon hats.

Then last week, before a short trip to Toronto, Canada, I received this message from Delta for South African citizens visiting Canada:

Additional Information: – Passports, identity or travel documents of Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and Venda are not accepted.

Who even traveled or still travels with such passports? Is it because I was traveling to a country that offers refugee status to white South Africans from democratic rule in South Africa.

BTW, Toronto–where I was for the Canadian Association of African Studies annual meeting–actually turned out to be worth it. I was on a panel with fellow AIAC contributor, Neelika, and Tsitsi Jaji, in English at Penn.  Other highlights: I went to a screening of academic and filmmaker Daniel Yon‘s beautiful new film on Sathima Bea Benjamin (review forthcoming); went to visit some exhibits of the Contact Photo Festival downtown (reviews and a possible interview on its way); drove around the Toronto suburbs and went for some cheap, very good Tamil food; met scholar and activist John S. Saul (video of John talking about his new book forthcoming on AIAC), and watched Canada’s version of FOX News.

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.