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Anxious Joburg: The Inner Lives of a Global South City

When: Tuesday, 11 May 2021 - Tuesday, 11 May 2021
Where: Online Event
Start time:16:00


Join via Zoom

Associate Professor Nicky Falkof Cobus van Staden and Renugan Raidoo will present this Faces of the City seminar.

The genesis of Anxious Joburg lies in the realisation that discussions of the psychological aspects of urbanism, and the wider experiential aspects of city life is overwhelmingly focused on cities in the Global North. Despite the fact that the world’s largest and fastest-growing cities are increasingly in the Global South, most mapping of the urban experience is still dominated by discussions of London, New York and Paris. Meanwhile, while a lot of anxious attention is directed to Global South cities from the Global North, blaming them for migration, pollution, drug trafficking and so forth, mainstream urban studies literature is less concerned with what life in a Global South city is like. In the book, the contributors of the book focused on mapping the emotional landscape of Johannesburg by unpacking the issue of anxiety via many different methodologies and approaches. Anxiety is a useful theme because, unlike fear, it has no fixed object. Instead, every person has different triggers for their anxieties, and it allows us to look at the free-floating tension that underlies the urban experience, one that particularly marks the experience of living in Johannesburg. The contributors used a wide variety of approaches to map this lived reality. We are delighted to specifically feature the work of Renugan Raidoo, who focused on the affluent gated communities dotting the outer reaches of the city. He showed that the anxiety infiltrating these communities doesn’t only relate to crime or security, but is also fundamentally shaped by anxieties about control over the natural landscape.

About the speakers:

  • Cobus van Staden is a senior researcher focusing on China-Africa relations at the South African Institute of International Affairs, and a visiting lecturer at the Department of Media Studies at Wits University. He holds a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Nagoya in Japan. He is co-editor of Anxious Joburg
  • Nicky Falkof is an associate professor in the Media Studies department at Wits University, and author of The End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa (2015). She has a PhD in interdisciplinary humanities and cultural studies from the London Consortium, part of Birkbeck College, University of London. She is co-editor of Anxious Joburg.
  • Renugan Raidoo is a contributor to Anxious Joburg.
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