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American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois introduces the phrase double consciousness in his work. According to Du Bois, this phrase describes a dilemma of two consciousnesses that Black Americans face due to what he calls ‘the veil of racism’. While the consciousness that Du Bois speaks of is in the context of Black Americans, this work attempts to answer whether colonisation and racism in South Africa did not also lead to a form of double consciousness to those who experienced it. This work does this by firstly exploring the institutionalised form of colonisation in South Africa known as apartheid. It shows how this system characterised
and made Black people seem as though they were lazy, stupid, and inferior, which in turn led to the second consciousness. This work further shows the experience of double consciousness by Black South Africans through hair and beauty politics. It shows that Black South Africans retaliate and assert their blackness through protest despite the double consciousness. Furthermore, this work uses
South African literature to demonstrate how Black people in South Africa are knowledgeable of the consciousness, its effects, and how it operates.
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