Charles Mathurin Villet, lecturer in philosophy, School of Social Science, Monash South Africa

The PowerPoint slides for this lecture are available. 

This double lecture offers a philosophical interpretation and critique of the life-world of suburban whiteness in South Africa beyond apartheid, and considers how the normativity of whiteness and, by extension affluence, has remained the standard in society. De jure apartheid might have come to an end but de facto apartheid endures: former political masters have successfully pursued economic affluence as compensation for political marginalisation. This has established the continuation of white privilege whilst blackness in general is misrecognised as being synonymous with poverty and crime. The structures that privileged whites during apartheid are, however, in the process of becoming structures that privilege the rich, both white and black. There is a gradual shift in society from race to class as the main factor in recognition.

By the end of this double lecture, participants will see why people like Donald Trump and Oscar Pistorius have made the most of the invisibility of their whiteness. They will also have a rough idea of contemporary forms of whiteness in South Africa: deliberate and casual racism, economic affluence, suburban victimhood, sporting excellence and reconciliation.


Recommended reading

Villet C. 2011. ‘Hegel and Fanon on the Question of Mutual Recognition: A Comparative Analysis’, Journal of Pan-African Studies, 4 (7): 39–51.

Villet, C. 2012. ‘Loftus as Afrikaner heterotopia: The life world of rugbymentality’, Image and Text: A Journal for Design, 19: 64–79.

Villet, C. 2012. ‘The invisibility of richness: A critique of Vice’s “strange place”’, South African Journal of Philosophy, 31 (4): 703–716.

Villet, C. 2017. ‘Donald Trump, white victimhood and the South African far-right’, The Conversation (online), 23 February.


Date: Saturday 12 August 
Time: 10.00 am–12.00 pm.
COURSE FEES Full: R193,00  Staff: R95,00  Reduced: R50,00