Free lunchtime talk: Humanitarianism and Its Pitfalls

You are invited to a free Lunchtime Soapbox talk entitled:

Humanitarianism and Its Pitfalls: Can doing good be bad? by Suren Pillay

The circulation of rumours that foreign nationals were to be attacked in the wake of the football World Cup in South Africa mobilised a certain section of the population and a variety of NGO’s to action against xenophobia. In his talk, Mr Pillay will interrogate the question: can the way in which we respond to social conflicts, like xenophobia, actually exacerbate the problem rather than address it?

Suren Pillay

Suren Pillay, senior lecturer in political studies at the University of the Western Cape, has been seconded to the HSRC as a senior research specialist in the Democracy and Governance programme. He holds an MPhil in anthropology from Columbia University in New York, where he is also completing his PhD, and an MA in development studies (cum laude) at the University of the Western Cape. His areas of research include the relationship between violence and state formation; the ways in which race, culture, and identity politics intersect in the fashioning of political communities, and developments in democracy and citizenship in postcolonial Africa.

A delicious and affordable (from R35) brown bag lunch will be on sale at the venue.

Date: Thursday 19 August

Time: 12:45 for 13:00pm

Venue: Lobby Books, Cape Town Democracy Center, 6 Spin Street

Contact: Andreas Spath at or 021 467 7606

Parking options:
Street parking in the area is safe and will cost you R4.50 per hour.
Parking garages open to the public in the area include:

  • Plein Park (Plein Street; to get to the entrance, turn off Plein Street into Barrack Street and then into Corporation Street).
  • Mandela Rhodes Place (entrance in Burg Street, off Wale Street).

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