General

Are South Africans really all capitalists at heart?

The South African news cycle often is awash with nationalist rhetoric from the emerging and vocal opposition, raging against the African National Congress. These quasi-socialists hold out an image of an economically liberated Southern Africa, a picture of Mzansi at peace on the land – their land. The capitalists too have a vision for South…

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#ScienceMustFall in retrospect: Three lessons to help us move on

I remarked once that, “If the curricula shall be Africanised then, one may presume, we’ll have to find an Africanised version of Newtonian mechanics for the engineers, decolonised theorem proofs for mathematicians and the non-racist equivalent of Maxwell’s equations for physicists, among other things”. I said that this would be to take the call for…

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Why South Africa continues to grapple with the L-word

So there I was, propping up a barn in Sweet Auburn, Atlanta. I was in town for a conference about racial justice (or the lack thereof) with my Consciousness Café colleague Keke. Two days before, Donald Trump had been elected president of the US, and the conference was a churned-up sea of angry, bewildered activists….

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Why the ANC continues to flounder and defend the power of patronage

In my previous contribution in this column “The ANC must undergo creative destruction to re-invent and survive”, the theme of my message was that the task of reinventing the ANC and re-positioning its brand cannot succeed without a leadership overhaul. As the latest events have sadly confirmed, the urge to maintain the status quo trumps…

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Where is the wealth Malema wants to redistribute?

In a conversation about South Africa’s socio-economic malaise with a thoughtful sociologist from abroad, he asked the burning question that is shaping South African politics: “where is the wealth?” We talk often in South Africa about wealth redistribution, black economic empowerment and socio-economic rights. Our constitution at the outset sketches a socially just society as…

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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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