If there were a scent of this time, it would be ‘revolution’, pronounced in French if the smell one is after is something decidedly bourgeois. The centre (read dominant culture) is in the witness stand, being questioned, as it were, by the periphery. Decolonisation is the language of our time — decolonising curriculums, institutions, the list goes on — yet the language of these movements has not been subject to the same rhetoric of decoloniality. Slogans of these movements are in English — FeesMustFall, RhodesMustFall, BlackLivesMatter — and the ideologies of these movements are shaped and rendered in the dominant…

Three queer men of colour meet on the dance floor in Cambridge. It’s Thursday. They are out, trying, it seems, to set the night and their worries ablaze. How amazing it is that the lost find each other? That misery finds her cousins?

Tonight they dance, hips moving in frenetic intensity, knees buckling and bending to the bass, faces contorting into that look that is halfway way between a grimace and unbridled pleasure.

Tonight they are the belles of the ball — the people everyone wishes they could be, unencumbered by the shackles of self consciousness or draconian gender norms

“In Mongolia you must accept two truths”, my friend Bolor-Erdene insists. “The first is that our nomadic tradition makes us very flexible. When the snow falls, you have to move your ger and your herd, no matter what plans you had already.”

“The second”, she adds, “is that we are all on Facebook.”

A remarkable 2.25 million out of Mongolia’s 3 million population are active Facebook users, representing the highest proportion of Facebook users for low income countries. This high usage rate results partially from Facebook’s Free Basics program, which enables Mongolians to access the platform for free on mobile…

It is more likely that humans will work alongside machines long before they are completely replaced by them, yet much of the attention on technological disruption continues to centre on the existential hysteria about the prospect of a jobless future. There are myriad papers and news articles that detail the rise of the machine, often conceptualised as robots and devices stepping into roles previously occupied by humans, while humans become obsolete.

But the machines have already risen.

Humanoid robots like those on Hollywood blockbuster film I, Robot may not be running all industries as humans languidly contemplate their obsolescence, but…

When I read Susan Cain’s Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, I did so as a sort of ethnography of the other. I am an extrovert of the highest degree. You need to see me at a party, carrying conversation with enviable facility, laughing boisterously, easily the centre of attention. I am in my element at a dinner table, no wine drank yet, whipping eruditely between high and low brow conversation. I will tell you what highlight Rihanna uses for her contour right after we discuss Nozick’s ethical egoism. I am a force!

I…

Why aren’t we outraged by ableism? No, I ask with genuine curiosity because it doesn’t make sense to me. We are collectively irked by panels composed entirely of old white men, yet when we see a panel comprised only of the able-bodied no one bats an eyelid. It can’t be a numbers thing. There is anywhere between 1.3 …

My best friend Jessica suggests this litmus test for friendship: Imagine that, following a tireless fight with cancer, your body fails you, and you have to leave three children to grow up without you, their sole parent. In your last moment of life, you can will them into the care of someone else. In this thought experiment, they are to take with them a sizeable inheritance, so you can’t make material considerations for their future guardian. Who would you choose?

I was able to put ten names down, none of them family, and all of them, people unknown to me…

I spent the entirety of my time in the Silicon Valley trying to escape the tech-evangelist bent of the place. It seemed anywhere I went on Stanford’s campus, I was sure to find a group of students huddled together, ideating the next app that would solve a set of problems that Californians were yet to discover they had. The ideas were interesting (a drone delivery service for marijuana), creative (a system that predicts a potential mate’s likelihood to text from their Facebook usage trends), and totally cosmetic (algorithms that match your frozen yoghurt order to your mood). What united them…

Curious things began to happen to me when I inched closer to the world of work. When my best friends and I approached our graduation, we began to shed some of the self-righteousness that we wore to our moral philosophy lectures, where we’d speak vehemently against capitalism and insist instead on love as a framework for life and work. One has to step ever so slightly away from a deontological view of the good with its universalist prescriptions if one is to justify one’s presence at a consulting recruitment event when just last week the very same person proclaimed quite…

Or more aptly the things they tell you, but you insist they must have you confused with someone else.

I graduated with an Oxford degree and before this a Stanford degree. This is not something I tell myself, but a fact people kept reciting to me over and over, as if reading from the same hymn sheet.

‘But Tebello, you’ll be fine! I mean you went to these places, so if they don’t take you, who are they hiring then?’.

I did not know who they were hiring. Just that it was not me. I sent out countless resumes, some…

Tebello Qhotsokoane

Writer | Lover | Young professional

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