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Original image by Paige Furness. Collage by Ta'Ron Joyner.

Why I'm Okay With Losing at the Woke Olympics

'We need to think about the ways in which the 'practice' of a Woke Olympics affords us public praise, but does little to engineer a meaningful everyday politics, IRL as well as URL.'

This essay is part of OkayAfrica's SA Reframed series, featuring personal writing from some of South Africa's best young writers edited by Verashni Pillay.

I never thought I'd write this piece, but let's face it, the woke thing has gone too far. And before I'm dismissed as another inequality apologist, and shoved in a corner with Kanye West, hear me out. Increasingly, particularly in virtual communities, we are moving towards a space in which 'wokeness' is less a process of being awakened, and more an attempt to weaponize whatever philosopher you read that week (that's if you didn't just catch the Fanon sparknotes on someone else's tweet). As a person deeply engaged in political and pop culture work, I have a front row seat to the ways in which we have replaced critical thinking with old school binary oppositions; used complicated vocabulary to spin our opponents into webs of words (with little substance) and have begun to operate with a kind of smugness previously reserved for university lecturers and people who like to say "I told you so".

What does woke mean anyway?

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