Literary  critic and essayist Dr Wamuwi Mbao discusses the car as an instrument of exclusion

By CityLife Arts Writer

The Institute for Creative Arts continues this week to feature thinkers who tackle subjects that affect our daily experiences of life. On Tuesday, May 30, 2023, the series features literary critic, essayist and academic Dr Wamuwi Mbao. This edition is part of the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA)’s  Great Texts/Big Questions Lecture Series that has been running since last week.

The title of Mbao’s lecture is Driving while Black, which takes place at 17h30, The Little Theatre, UCT Hiddingh Campus.

In this public lecture, Dr Wamuwi Mbao considers technologies that systematically exclude Black people. Titled Driving while Black the talk reflects on the social impact of the car as a form of racialised and gendered authority. 
Mbao notes: “Innumerable studies are concerned with the social impact of the car and its attendant infrastructures. As the car, like most everyday objects, is also an artefact of culture, it is fruitful to pay attention to the ways in which the story of the car is part of the assembly of our humanity from the twentieth century onwards.

It is crucial to attend to the myriad ways in which everyday practices like driving are invested with forms of authority that are racialized and gendered. What happens to motoring as a social idea when it encounters the position of Blackness in the modern world? 
For those people who were left with the residue of belonging to a “slave race” under modernity, the experience of taking up modernity’s artefacts and placing them into human scenarios is unavoidably singular. Suppose driving is one of the various practices of technology and imagination that can be socially recognized as extending our sense of humanness. What happens when that technology and imagination systematically exclude Black people?”

About  Wamuwi Mbao 

Wamuwi Mbao is a literary critic and essayist. His reviews, essays and fiction appear in the Johannesburg Review of BooksAfrica Is A Country, and other avenues. He received a South African Literary Award in 2019 for his critical oeuvre. He teaches in the Department of English at Stellenbosch University. He is the editor of Years of Fire and Ash: Poetry of Decolonization, an anthology of South African struggle poetry published in 2021. Details
 .2023Great Texts/Big Questions Lecture Series Programme:
he Little Theatre, UCT Hiddingh Campus, Tue 30th May, Dr Wamuwi Mbao, at 17h30.  

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