General

Modern slavery: The beast of our time

Since last week, popular SABC1 soapie Generations The Legacy has been running a storyline on human trafficking. The characters of Xolelwa and Lesedi attended a party where Lesedi’s drink was spiked and the two were then taken to Cape Town, where they were held with other young women and used as sex slaves. I am…

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Which “South Africa” do you live in?

People sometimes ask me, ‘Don’t you miss South Africa?’ ‘No,’ I reply – but in the same heartbeat that  answer is given comes my silent question, which South Africa? ‘You’re criticising South Africa Rod, the country you grew up in, that fed and clothed you, gave you an education, everything you have. Not cool.’ The same question rises….which…

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Masculinity and violence against women

During this period of encouraging the “proper” ethical behaviour towards women and children on the part of men, I have listened to a number of discussions on this topic on my car radio while driving, and I have not heard a single reference to Susan Faludi’s exemplary work in this field. Maybe it is because…

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The feeling of living in a ‘dystopian’ present

You know that you are living in a “dystopian” or “degraded” era when virtually everything around you emits unmistakable signs that, whatever the underlying reasons might be, instead of signs of hope for a better future, those that signal a future we should perhaps fear (and perhaps feel guilty about), are slowly but surely accumulating….

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South Africa’s policy choices unwittingly reinforce poverty

Statistician general Pali Lehohla has reminded us, yet again, that our stubborn and rising structural unemployment demonstrates that economic growth is still elusive and that our growth strategies are not delivering the intended outcomes. He also observes that the level of foreign and domestic investment is too low to create new businesses and jobs. The…

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The REAL task of decolonisation

Too few people seem to take the work of those two inimitably emancipatory thinkers, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, seriously. And I am not talking about those nit-picking academics who engage with them at an analytic level to argue about whether they got Marx right, or Foucault, or Deleuze, and so on. What I mean…

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The Soweto Marathon and important lessons running taught me

Running the Soweto Half-Marathon was a drastic step in my sporting life, and I achieved more than crossing the finishing line. Before the starting gun, I told myself that everything I had done while preparing for this race was behind me. Now was the time to give my best and make this race my magnum…

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Thank you, Mr Trump!

Dear Donald Trump, Thank you! In the days following the election I have seen numerous articles highlighting the follies of your choices, the irresponsibility of your comments, the virulence of your campaigning and the divisiveness of your words. In spite of all this, I would like to take a moment and say thank you. Thank…

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Has the time for ‘talks about talks’ come in SA?

The student protests of the last year are reminiscent of the 1976 student uprisings. Those protests were the precursor to a political change in South Africa less than a decade later. When young, educated “born free” South Africans express anger and impatience it’s time to pay attention. They have shown they want action. They want…

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Celebrating the language of stars in the wake of the supermoon

The earliest hanzi, stars are a language to master before dawn. Quick – before they trickle away, leaving everything hushed and open-mouthed. This is why your fingers come together in a woven calligraphy, to catch and caress prayers like polished stones. Your fingers know the twinkling leaves in the trees around you are synonyms for…

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