Marcela Guerrero Casas

Public space: a culture of belonging

The city where I live colours the experience I have on this planet and it frames my future, not just my present. The lack of opportunities to truly connect with others has swiftly removed my ability to understand this city, and in many ways, this country. Though a foreigner to start with, I thought that…

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My ode to the Bicycle: down memory lane & into the future

I have been feeling nostalgic these past few weeks. In reconnecting with the past, I have – as we invariably do – romanticised the early years of my existence. The bicycle has made a special appearance among those untouchable childhood memories. Perhaps this is because, unlike most memories, it is something I can still connect…

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Healthy cities are made of engaged citizens

If health is the absence of disease, then in the urban context, one might think achieving it is impossible. Yet in the past couple of days I was reminded that wellbeing is the result of a multitude of factors and that in our cities, just like at the individual level, such complexity means health is…

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Let’s set 2017 in motion

The notion of ‘movement’ has been on my mind lately. Blame it on the mood the New Year tends to bring about; the impetus to look for signs of change and renewal. In my case, they invariably present themselves on patches of pavement, and more often than not when I’m on my bicycle. Two instances…

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Let’s remember, some things still work

These are troublesome times, all over the world. Challenges are real and there is no point in pretending it’s all going to be okay. Let’s face it, we can’t recover from the dysfunctions of so-called democracy just like that. There are still deep racial divisions, underfunded education systems, bigoted leaders and unfinished peace processes to…

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Waging peace: A human undertaking

“You and I are simple social by-products,” said Vusi as we engaged in a heated discussion over the weekend. A younger me would have tried to disagree by presenting examples of human exceptionalism. But the week before had been the best mirror to stare at myself and relate to his words. Despite the distance and…

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Awakening the guardian within

I remember my mother speaking of “guardian angels” when I was a child. Though I became sceptical of their existence as I grew up, those stories stayed with me longer than my religious faith. Somehow I had the feeling someone or something was my guardian. Little did I know, it was sleeping inside.   On…

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It’s that time of the year: Women’s Month

The notion of being “a woman” vis-à-vis some other type of specimen has been in my mind lately. Blame the great advertising apparatus that kicks in every August. South Africa, unlike any other country I know, celebrates not just a Women’s Day, but a full Women’s Month. One would be forgiven for assuming that women…

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Super citizens and the art of improving civic behaviour

Cities, at least in the global South, seem to share something with adolescents; the potential for transformation is real and it drives a profound sense of power and ownership. However, very much like in our teenage years, change is only long-lasting if enough discipline and commitment are in place over the years. I am currently…

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Home is where the soul grows

I don’t like the idea of “nationalism”, it sounds divisive and exclusive, but on days like Freedom Day I secretly wish I could hold a more legitimate claim to this country, which has adopted me. In thinking about this, a poem I came across on Facebook recently comes to mind. It is entitled “Diaspora Blues”…

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