General

Are you an agnostic?

What is agnosticism? Broadly speaking, it is the position that claims that human beings cannot ‘know’ whether God (or gods) exists or not. We simply do not have the means to have such knowledge. I put ‘know’ in scare quotes because that is where an agnostic puts the emphasis. The ancient Greek word, ‘gnosis’, means…

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Why does celebrity online behaviour affect ordinary people?

In a recent article on the Yahoo website, Marie Claire Dorking claims that when so-called celebrities – the contemporary kitsch counterparts of ancient Greek Olympians – ‘behave badly’ online, their behaviour has a recognisable impact on the behaviour of ordinary people, including children. In other words, the bad example they set has consequences when it…

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Comrades Without Irony

For as long as I can remember, I have been dealing with lefter-than-thou comrades and more-authentically-revolutionary-than-thou types. Their judgemental bullshit has been harsh and unwavering. Their righteous certainty without irony. #ZumaMustFall protesters clash with BLF. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G) And, yet, among those very comrades I have seen (and continue to see) men fuck female and…

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The technology that is threatening life as we know it

We are currently witnessing a pervasive and accelerating recording, modelling and processing of data pertaining to human beings as well as other living species (and even inorganic things) on a scale that surpasses what most of us can imagine. This has been made possible by bio-technologies which seem as if they are the incipient actualisation…

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Our troubled world

A number of things have struck me since we arrived in Europe to attend a number of conferences, travelling from Ghent in Belgium through Munich in Germany to beautiful Venice in the Veneto of Italy, and they do not augur well for the future of human society or the planet. These range from observations in…

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An important conference for Afrikaans in Europe

Summer is a good time for attending conferences in Europe, and 2017 has proved to be no exception. This afternoon we had to brave a thunderstorm that would hold its own against any Highveld thunderstorm in South Africa, and that in Venice, Italy, just after our arrival here from München by bus. We were on…

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Radical Economic Transformation: SMME funding

South Africa has a bipolar economy – pockets of first-world prosperity in a sea of third-world underdevelopment. The SA government has sought to bridge this gap using fiscal stimulus delivered through the social grant system in addition to other infrastructure spending. This has had the effect of lifting, on aggregate, swathes of our people above…

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South Africa’s future becomes clearer

For good or bad, or for better or worse, the future of South Africa is becoming clearer. The signs are everywhere for everyone to see. It is better to deal with a clear future than an uncertain one, even if the future might look ugly. Now that South Africa’s future becomes clearer, we can all…

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Zille and Zuma: A fading star, a black hole and the end of an era

Helen Zille faces a disciplinary hearing from her party as an apparent “litmus test” of its credibility as a champion for the people. President Jacob Zuma, similarly, is facing off with NEC members for his shenanigans, having already navigated the party’s ethics committee, the stalwarts and having subjugated its youth and woman’s leagues. The president, it…

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The essence of neoliberalism

France’s pre-eminent sociologist and social theorist Pierre Bourdieu, who died not so long ago, did not pull his punches when it came to identifying the hegemonic economic system of the present, neoliberalism, ruthlessly as a “utopia of endless exploitation”. In an article titled “The essence of neoliberalism” (in Le Monde Diplomatique, December 1998) he puts…

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