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Kosmopolis Institute Publications Summer School Participant Weblog 2011

Summer School Participant Weblog 2011

On July 11th, the Kosmopolis Summer/Winter School 2011 in Bloemfontein, South Africa, began. The participants of this Winter School originate from South Africa, Uganda, India, Indonesia and the Netherlands. The Winter School staff requests each of the students to write a blog for this website, to voice their experiences during this intense and meaningful month. This page will be updated daily, when blog entries from the participants become available.

Download the pdf of all the blog entries, including an introduction, PDF filehere.

Changing Categories, Shifting Substance by Arshad Amanullah

In the spirit of Pluralism Effects


Day 27: Things Fall Apart by Helen-Mary Cawood

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity”.*


Day 25: The last day of Winter School 2011 by Theresa Eilu

The last day of lecturers was full of excitement as people prepared to receive their certificates, no lectures, no discussions, no group work – at last. But before the certificates were given out, Dewi presented a 10 minute Indonesian dance (Golek Ayun-Ayun) regarding the princess who was admiring her beauty.


Day 24: Good Stuff by Frank Nieuwenhuizen

-While writing this blog we are listening to Arshad’s Bollywood music online radio channel –We are drinking ‘Dutch courage’ (formerly known as beer: We developed our own slang within this very month)


Day 23: Group Presentations by Fulgencio Kayiso

Today was a great day indeed for it marked the end of the participants’ group presentations that began the previous day, Wednesday 3 August 2011. There were four ‘thematic‘ groups named according to the themes of the Pluralism Programme i.e. i) Reconciliation, ii) Sustainability ,iii) Identity, and iv) Pluralism Effect.


Day 22: What does it mean to be different? by Lihlumelo Toyana
What does it mean to be different? Does difference make you an alien (foreigner) to the present society. Does it mean you will never be accepted as an "alien" by this society?

Day 21: Singing Bhajans at Bloemfontein by Arshad Amanullah
“Hey, I have heard that Indians are very secretive. For example, if somebody is a surgeon by profession then he will secretly transfer his degree to his son even if the latter has not studied medical science”, said Mlamuli Siphamamdla Ntombela, a student of the Qwaqwa Campus of the University of Free State. Before he spoke his last word, we had burst into a loud laughter.

Day 20: Creature Fear by Indriani Widiastuti
We had our final excursion in the Winter School this weekend, we went to Clarens and University of Free State Qwaqwa Campus, Eastern Free State. Earlier J.C. said Clarens was only 3 hours away from Bloemfontein, but actually it was five hours.


Day 19: The Pluralism Kitchen by Jimmy Spire Ssentongo
See for yourself!

Day 18: It is very, very easy not to be offended by a book. You just have to shut it by Helen-Mary Cawood

“’I want to live in a democracy but I never want to be offended again.’ Well you’re an idiot”, rants comedian Steve Hughes. He carries on: “How do you make a law about offending people? How do you make it an offense to offend people? Being offended is subjective.


Day 17: Interview & The Pluralism Effect by Gayatri Sharma

This nice and easy interview was followed by an intense session on the Pluralism Effect – where we examined different approaches to ‘pluralism’ – and the relevance of universal values to the concept. We reflected on ‘what would you consider as an everyday experience of pluralism in your work or a home’


Day 16: (It hurts so much) to Face the Truth by Indriani Widiastuti

It is not the Mandela House that makes Vilakazi Street special, at least for me. As we walked down the Vilakazi Street, I vaguely heard the tour guide explained about The Soweto Uprising in June 16, 1976. There was a boy named Hector Pieterson, age of 13, shot by police in the long march right in the corner of the Vilakazi and Moema Street.


Day 15: The Weekend: A Rollercoaster of Impressions and Thoughts by Vicky Hölsgens

Last weekend we went to Johannesburg and Pretoria. We went to Soweto where we saw Mandela’s house, the Hector Pieterson museum about the Soweto uprising in 1976 and the Freedom Charter.

Day 14: Heritage by Evarist Ngabirano

South Africa, the rainbow country is dry but too cold as it is winter season. The Winter School has been running for two weeks now and we have had all our excursions to the Women’s Monument, the Townships, Soweto (Mandela’s House, Pieterson Museum), Constitutional Hill, the Apartheid Museum, Freedom Park (Pretoria) and the Voorttrekker Museum.

Day 13: What do you see in the Dark? by Phumzile Sokhela

Last year during December, I was in Johannesburg for vacation work. Myself, Hlumi, whose sister resides in Pretoria and one of our good friends, Xolisile, who has since moved to Johannesburg, decided to ‘hook up’ for the weekend. Saturday night, we were invited to a house party by friends of Xolisile (whom she met at the mall, briefly) who were in South Africa on training to be pilots.

Day 12: A two-coloured rainbow? by Fleur Nollet

Yesterday I wanted to give my friends and family back home an update on Facebook, but what to write, if one got too much to tell? After a few attempts I just wrote ‘what can I say? There happens so much…’ My dear sister responded: ‘You don't have to: Just experience!’ However, at the same time we are constantly pushed to reflect, to share our viewpoints, to express our feelings.


Day 11: Charades anyone?? by Vinita Verma

Writing after Jimmy’s blog is not an easy task but I’ll make an effort and will take comfort in his words, “...who would resist an Indian woman?”


Day 10: "Identical" but Different! by Jimmy Spire Ssentongo

It is Monday night. I prepare to enter my moderately sized bed, still reflecting on Amartya Sen’s Identity and Violence - the reading that closed my day. My reflection is not much about the soundness of Sen’s ideas in the book but rather on how much comes with this package called Amartya


Day 9: In Search of the Dutch Identity by Vicky Hölsgens

While sitting in the institute after dinner, I joined an ongoing discussion about Dutch identity. What is the Dutch identity? Vinita and Evarist want to know. None of the Dutch could really give an answer as Holland is not about windmills and tulips...


Day 8: The Real Stuff by Glancina Mokone
I honestly enjoy it when we are all together, whether we are eating in the kitchen or at the restaurant or at the Institute (where others literally live!). I honestly had no idea that the winter school would be anything like it is now. I am challenged beyond my own knowledge, character and opinion about issues that are of a personal, local and international interest, and I absolutely love it!

Day 6 & 7: Nice Weekend by Ambar Istiyani
There were no classes on Saturday and Sunday, yaayy!!! Most of us got up late and some of us did some laundry or read some readers given. I have had my cough since a week and weather only makes it worse. I have taken some medicine, but it hasn't worked yet. However, I didn’t want the cough to become a hinder to enjoy a nice weekend in Bloemfontein.

Day 5: A Capability to Eat by Agus Salim

It is already 8pm in Bloemfontein. But, it’s the same to me as midnight. Perhaps, I still have a jet lag, staying far away from my home country as far as a 5 hours gap. So sleepy I am. And it is already midnight in Yogyakarta, a city where my beloved wife and a cute little daughter live and are now sleeping peacefully.


Day 4: Museum by Dewi from Jogja
At 1345, we went for an excursion to several places: Vroue monument (Women’s monument), war museum, Maphike House and Heidedal Township. On our way to the museum, I saw a graveyard, Christian cemetery, across the museum area.

Day 3: Early One Morning by Frank Nieuwenhuizen

‘Early this morning, you knocked upon my door

I said hello ghost, I believe it's time to go


Day 2: Country's Presentations by Dewi Cahya Ambarwati
Today, we did presentations, by country. We had to present issues in our own country that relate to pluralism and development, also, we had to inform what our CSO/university have done concerning the issues, and, fears as well as hopes upon the issues.


Day 1: Dutch Courage by Vicky Hölsgens, Fleur Nollet and Renske van Lierop

Today we found out about Dutch courage. We would like to note that we’re very courageous to kick off this blog and we didn’t even drink booze (unlike the South-African girls who are drinking whisky in the other room).