General

Raising girls; raising boys

When my elder daughter, now 17, decided in Grade 6 that she wanted to attend a school social, we had to have a long talk. She was just 11, but I had to teach her not to accept drinks that weren’t sealed, not to leave an open drink unattended, not to hand out her phone…

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Why a coalition between the ANC and DA would be good for Johannesburg and both parties

Johannesburg is a very different beast to Cape Town. Bigger, more dense, constantly growing; it’s the economic heart of South Africa. Despite its faults, the local ANC government in Joburg has received mostly clean audits and managed to do okay given the massive challenges it faces in such a complex area. There is a lot…

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What’s in a woman’s [sur]name?

Last year I visited the bank to do some admin and I was informed that my surname on their system differed to that which was in my ID. I was enraged. It was a few months after my partner and I had gotten married. We had gone to the Randburg Home Affairs office and with…

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Why I have decided to vote for a pro-poor political party

I have made my voting choice. Here is my thinking. Firstly, these are local elections and, as a result, no major policy can be tested. I am also not certain that this election, or even our next national elections, are going to lead to any substantial transformation no matter who we vote for. I do…

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The Federal Republic of South Africa

As South Africa heads into the local government elections this week the country seems poised to enter a new era in the shape of our democratic landscape. This period will be marked by factionalism-cum-coalition politics. A speed dating version of alliance forming in which unconventional power brokers get to decide who runs a city, who…

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Tackle inequality vigorously to reduce racism and other social pathologies

A unique characteristic of South Africa as a society is the racialised structural inequality and unemployment inherited from the apartheid period. It was an intended and planned outcome of a warped strategy and a set of policy positions designed and rigorously implemented to achieve it. In a very weird way the outcome was hugely successful…

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The follies of humankind, through the eyes of a young girl

In this time of economic and ecological uncertainty, which has, tellingly, given rise to the philosophical genre of “extinction studies” (see http://thoughtleader.co.za/bertolivier/2014/06/30/human-extinction-its-not-just-science-fiction/), it may be wise to remind ourselves that the human folly which has given rise to the fraught state of the present, globally, is nothing new. Human history is littered with such follies,…

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The insurance industry: A broker’s perspective

The increasing complexity of the insurance industry due to regulation, compliance, globalisation and technological advancement presents a veritable minefield that people need to try and navigate on their own. This is where the broker plays a truly defining role in the insurance industry. According to Lee Stacey, Chief Broking Officer at Aon South Africa, they…

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How Pokemon Go has changed the behaviour of millennials overnight

If you are yet to hear about Pokemon Go by now, you must have shut yourself off from all media and people for the past week. Since its phased roll-out launch a week ago, Pokemon Go has taken over the news, the internet and the lives of Millennials the world over. The free to play mobile augmented…

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Brexit, capital as meta-body, and mytochondria

So it did happen in the end. Brexit. Against expectations, judging by the polls immediately before the referendum on 23 June. But looking back, it is not surprising that it happened. Most of those voting to leave are older voters, whose emotional ties to a Britain before the “free movement” immigration from European Union countries…

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