Change is in your pocket

The Big Issue is a socially responsible non-profit organisation that enables willing unemployed and marginalised adults to take responsibility for their own lives through a developmental employment programme.

The humanities and beyond

Derek Carelse, Managing Director of The Big Issue, speaks with Professor Premesh Lalu, Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape, about the role the humanities as a field of study has to play in understanding the concept of freedom in a world of technological advancements.

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Derek Carelse (DC): First off, let’s talk about why the humanities are of importance in South Africa.

Premesh Lalue (PL): A principal concern of the humanities is the concept of freedom. They help us to mediate understandings about the desire and struggle for freedom. South Africa is one of the major contributors to the global debate on the future of the humanities because of the way that we have tried to define freedoms in the aftermath of apartheid’s racial oppression, class exploitation and gender divisions. We need to question how the arts and humanities can enable a more meaningful and enduring practice of freedom. Understanding this, as well as how technological advances contribute to the demise of democracy, the balkanisation of the world and the intensification of racism, sexism and exploitation, can help us to grasp where we are as a race.

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