Zama Ndlovu

The sad state of our nation

There is a “thing” in the air. It’s not quite fear, not quite anxiety, not quite hopelessness, a tension, a deep crack in our society which is threatening to shift the ground we walk on together, separately. We can no longer afford to carry on living side by side, barely able to look at each…

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Malema may be gone, but issues still remain

Late on Saturday morning, in true African time, a ramrod Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a flinty speech that was not only a preamble to the African National Congress’s verdict on youth league leader Julius Malema, but a warning sign to the rest of the party: ill-discipline will not be tolerated. By upholding the guilty verdict, the…

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Gareth Cliff on everything you’ve already heard

Let me start with the mandatory “I don’t like Gareth Cliff and I don’t listen to his show” disclaimer. But despite this, I was secretly looking forward to reading his first book Gareth Cliff on Everything. In a fragmented, siloed society such as ours, books are a small mirror into sections of society you only…

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Black middle-class, middle-child guilt

Black middle-class South Africans suffer from a wide spectrum of self-inflicted psychological ailments, which you need to be black and middle class to truly understand. Each generation suffers from its own variations of these — only black syndrome, first black syndrome, (my favourite) bad black syndrome, black guilt — often discussed with close confidants, far…

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Let the Lama Skype in!

When Arch Desmond Tutu’s BFF received a big fat “NOT YES” from the South African government, the Arch took the (in)decision rather personally. Fortunately for our Tutu, we South Africans, having a flair for dramatic tendencies, dichotomised and moralised the issue into good vs evil, with the country’s integrity and pearly gate invite hanging in…

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What makes you a bad black?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a bright-eyed bushy-tailed little black Sipho was born with a defect, which doctors would later recognise to be a dictionary, in his mouth. Little Sipho was a curious little boy, reading anything he could get his tiny Zulu hands on (of course, relative to other kids his…

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My consciousness is not up for discussion

It’s unofficially national Black Consciousness Month, the month when we commemorate the brutal and untimely death of Steve Biko on September 12 1977, and what an interesting month it has been thus far. Until Steve Biko’s “I write what I like” landed on my lap, I had been living in oblivion to how abnormal my…

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Why I won’t be at Slutwalk

Nechama Brodie’s column left me cold, fuming and insulted, and that’s the version without the French. I followed her conversation with a few people on Twitter on Sunday and already expected an understandably defensive argument. I did not, however, expect her to equate disagreement with “a stranger groping my breasts in a club, because I…

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Charity is not our culture, giving is our way of life

Contrary to marketers’ beliefs, the black middle-class is not a new phenomenon born in 2003 with the birth of the Black Economic Empowerment Act. There has always been a “big-house” in the middle of the township with its usual four-room houses. There were always a few lonely Cressidas, packed like a tin of Sardine, heading…

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