Gillian Schutte

Gillian Schutte

Gillian is an award winning independent filmmaker, writer and social justice activist. She is a founding member of Media for Justice and co-producer at Handheld Films.



On Clowns and Covert Racism

Picture credit: Green Tea Designs Gillian Schutte - The furore over the cartoon depicting the ANC parliamentarians and their electorate as a bunch of inept clowns is indicative of how far we still have to go in terms of embedded and unconscious racism in South Africa. There is nothing wrong with critiquing government in satirical depictions, but there is something horribly wrong when those depictions verge on 19th century blackface stereotypes and entirely overlook the racial demographics of our land. In this offensive cartoon we see the...

Leering Glances: The Silence on Sexual Harassment is Untenable

Picture credit: Leah Green turns the tables on sexual harassment. Screenshot from her movie "Get Your Arse Out Mate". Gillian Schutte - Sexual harassment on the streets is a pervasive phenomenon that women from a range of racial and cultural backgrounds as well as social circumstances experience in daily life. Most men, even educated men from so-called respectable backgrounds belittle women’s experiences of sexual harassment. Internationally, this has led to a spate of new films and campaigns where women are calling attention to casual and more aggressive forms of sexual harassment by turning the tables on men. Their...

Middle Class Narratives and the Disconnect with the Poor

Picture credit: So What Faith Gillian Schutte - In January this year, between 8-10 protestors were killed by the police in service delivery protests, four of them simply for rising up to demand a most basic right - water. This is a contravention of human rights on many levels and while it sent shock waves through poor black working class and marginalized communities, the broader middle class did not react at all. In fact, the silence from South Africa’s middle class was resounding and mystifying. Instead of outrage they have...

Legislative Jigsaw Puzzle Undermines Rights of Communities Affected by Mining Pollution

Picture credit: Discharge of untreated acid mine water in the West Rand courtesy John Wesson/Centre for Environmental Rights. Gillian Schutte - Brown issues, in environmental jargon, refer to the environmental impact of pollution on communities living in the ambit of big industry. This is the very issue that has been highlighted by the recent Kagiso Extension 1 community uprising against the Mintails gold mining operation on the West Rand of Gauteng. Mintails, an Australian owned company, has been practicing opencast mining and blasting only 100 meters from people’s homes in Kagiso, which, the community say, has resulted in...

An Activist's Manifesto for 2014: Ten Social Justice Issues to Champion

Picture credit: marsmet546/Flickr Gillian Schutte - The fanfare at the beginning of a New Year is usually celebratory and full of hope. This celebration is a way for people to wipe the slate clean and begin anew. But last year, 2013, was a particularly tumultuous year in South Africa when we were besieged by problems. In reality, these problems have been with us for many years and cannot be swept under the carpet. Many of the challenges South Africa faces are systemic and must be addressed with greater urgency. Let us include the resolution of...

From Trayvon Martin to Andries Tatane: Cognitive Dissonance and the Black Male Body

Picture credit: werthmedia/Flickr Gillian Schutte - George Zimmerman, the Florida neighbourhood watchman who shot dead an unarmed black 17-year-old male last year, has been acquitted of murder. Lawyers for Mr Zimmerman, 29, argued he acted in self-defence and with justifiable use of deadly force in the death of Trayvon Martin. A jury of five white women and one Hispanic woman voted unanimously in favour of the acquittal. While Zimmerman’s family and their largely right-wing white supporters celebrated, Martin’s family was...