Terri Barnes

A South African link to Trump’s inner circle

People are trying to figure out Donald Trump’s real agenda. There are big clues in the people around him. Trump appointed Steve Bannon as his campaign manager last year and Bannon is now his chief political advisor and strategist. Bannon is a multi-talented (journalist, naval officer, investment banker and Hollywood producer) white nationalist Islamophobe who…

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Trump’s America: No country for old women

I have managed a monosyllabic email and two cups of tea this morning. Typing this is agony. Now I know that the sun comes up and shines even on the day of the apocalypse. I didn’t know that yesterday. So this is a learning experience. Welcome to America’s 1948, where the sun is shining. With…

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Elaine Salo Is

Once, writing about pregnancy, I mused that the body has its own knowledge, beyond language and consciousness. If you’ve given birth au naturel, you will remember that the body takes over, heaving and contracting, doing things you cannot tell it to do or to stop; and your mind is overwhelmed in helpless agony unless you…

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Farewell Cuba

Barack Obama is in Havana tonight. What a sentence. From here in the belly of the beast, surrounded by the army, the army reserve, the navy, the air force, the marines, the coast guard, the national guard, nuclear warheads, stealth bombers, aircraft carriers, attack helicopters, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security, the National Security Administration,…

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This black life matters

Michael Brown was killed a year ago. They used to say, “It’s been a long, hot summer” but it’s been another long, hot, horror-filled year in the US; every single day another Michael Brown. This is someone I know. In high school, Kadeem was a force in the middle of the field. He owned his…

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Losing in straight sets to the truth about Mandela

Just having tea this morning in Illinois, US, checking out the early rounds at Wimbledon on ESPN, one of the American all-day sports TV channels. Turns out it is 40 years since a black man won Wimbledon for the first and so far the only time — Arthur Ashe in 1975. Yay Arthur. Three of…

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Take it down USA

Nine African-Americans attending an evening Bible study session at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, US were murdered in cold blood last week. US news outlets say that South Carolina resident Dylann Roof, a young white man, has confessed to the killings. He hasn’t been convicted in a court of law…

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Public historians, this is your moment!

In the past few weeks, statues of male historic figures in public places in South Africa have been splashed with poo and paint of all hues. It has become a veritable underground movement. Cecil Rhodes’ statue has been removed from the University of Cape Town, but around the country, George V, Louis Botha, General Fick,…

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Take it down

I know someone who — shall we say — passed water on Cecil John Rhodes’ grave in the Matopos Hills in southern Zimbabwe. The National Archives of Zimbabwe in Harare removed its own CJR statue in the 1980s and stuck it behind the building with some rusting tractors. Poor CJR. All he wanted was to…

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Back to Biko

Hello, cyberpublic. Let us read Steve Biko, I Write What I Like, page 31. “…the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality. The first step therefore is to make the black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with pride and dignity,…

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