Sarah Britten

Malema, curry and casual bigotry

Two weeks ago, a journalist sent me a list of questions about racism and parenting. “Do you often think about how to protect your child from racism?” was one of them. “Is it important in your parenting approach?” This is still a theoretical question for me right now, though in years to come I will…

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27 Weeks

The gestation period of the human being is conventionally held to be 280 days. Nine months to get used to the idea, which is a good thing, because some of us, like me, have a lot to get our heads around. Those of you who’ve read my previous musings on the subject of children will…

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Thank you Penny

A preamble: just as Penny Sparrow does not speak for me, I do not speak for any of you. But I am hoping that some of you will at least listen, and think, and reflect. As a white South African, I’d like to say thank you to Penny Sparrow. Without her, we wouldn’t be having…

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Skattie, your narrative is changing

“Jou narrative is nou in sy moer in,” my good friend Juan WhatsApped me after I told him the news. I thought: there it is, the opening line for a blog post I know I need to write and which has proved to be harder than pretty much anything I’ve submitted to Thought Leader. Juan…

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The Exercise

“Let’s do an exercise,” my husband says. It is something he last did 20 years ago, at Harvard; this is the piece he wrote about it at the time. Dinner is over. Our friend Musa, the scientist, says that he thinks he has heard of this exercise. Tonight, the conversation has ranged from Neal Stephenson’s…

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Bic, and why creativity matters

When the Bic Women’s Day outrage first hit the social media fan, I was driving back from the Tembe Elephant Park where my husband and I had spent our first anniversary. I am in Durban this week for the Loeries, so creativity is top of mind – which is relevant, because creativity is central to…

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Exposed in Japan

“It’s good exposure,” Barbara says. She is a German woman of a certain age who represents a gallery with branches in Chicago, Berlin, London and Rome. “And it’s affordable,” she adds. “Some of the big art shows cost €10 000. My stand here was £600.” “Enough exposure and you develop pneumonia.” I laugh wanly, thinking of…

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Big in Japan (I hope)

Today, I board a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. I’ll have a lot of luggage with me: a suitcase filled with weather-appropriate clothing, 2 large portfolio bags filled with paintings in lipstick, a selection of A4 prints, flyers, business cards, and 30 metres of Velcro. From there, my husband and my friend Juan will…

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An open letter to 2014

Dear 2014, I know a lot of people can’t wait to the see the back of you. They say they hated you, you were horrible and they’d rather forget you. Quite frankly, they say (and they don’t even bother to whisper) you were crap. So I wanted you to know that not everyone feels that…

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Take drugs? Don’t help the piranhas

I’ve never taken drugs. Well, not the illegal kind anyway. I prefer to walk up to the counter at the pharmacy, recite my request and wait mournfully to be told that Discovery isn’t paying. As a kid in primary school, I regularly took overdoses of my asthma pills (Microfillin; active ingredient theophylline) in order to…

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