General

The age of anger

A friend of mine – Avril Gardiner, art-fundi and owner-curator of the Liebrecht at gallery in Somerset-West – recently reminded me of a piece by Bryan Walsh in TIME magazine of 20 February (2017: pp. 15-16), in which Walsh talks about what he calls “this age of anger” in the context of the claim that…

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How to ignite growth and return South Africa to investment grade

The theme of the WEFAfrica 2017, “Achieving inclusive growth through responsive and responsible leadership”, could have been an appropriate and founding moral code and political philosophy for the incoming democratic government at the beginning of the transition period in 1994 because it captures, in a simple but profound manner, the essence of what needed to…

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The power of dissent

At certain times in history, sometimes protracted events have occurred that demonstrated the power of dissent – that (as far as we know) uniquely human capacity to express strong disagreement with some or other aspect of the political, social or cultural status quo, whether this is done peacefully or, in some cases, violently, in a…

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ANC’s Radical Economic Transformation is just a convenient diversion

The ANC has consistently promised to develop policies and strategies that will deliver a better life for all in the post-apartheid era. The people have demonstrated their confidence and trust by delivering the party into power until now. However, a break in this trust was demonstrated in the 2016 local elections when the ANC lost…

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Equality and intellectual emancipation

How does one achieve the intellectual emancipation of students, or, for that matter, of anyone, including yourself? The answer most people would probably give to this question, is that it is done through education and learning. To be sure, but what one learns from the French philosopher, Jacques Rancière, is that a great deal depends…

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The ANC must undergo creative implosion to re-invent itself

The long awaited cabinet reshuffle has finally happened. Almost a third of the ministers have been laid off. This is unprecedented. Its rationale according to the president is to promote efficiency and bring about a better life for all South Africans. But what is even more important is the genesis and pathology of this cabinet…

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The fatal hermeneutic divide in South Africa

Many people are bound to have thought of Alan Paton’s novel, Cry the Beloved Country, in the wake of recent events in South Africa. And everyone who have thought of it as a suitable response to these events may be forgiven. But there’s a saying, that people get the government they deserve, and it is…

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Blood Brothers and socio-economic inequality

At the dramatic culmination of Willy Russell’s gripping musical, Blood Brothers (1983), one of the twins who were parted soon after birth, Mickey, expresses his resentment at his mother, Mrs Johnstone, for not having been the one (Eddie) who was given away to a rich, childless woman, exclaiming something like: “I could have been him!”…

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How can we use privilege to influence change?

After a year and half of being the white facilitator in Consciousness Café, a pop-up dialogue café in which people of all races, nations and cultures, come together to examine their own feelings – and consequently actions – on the topics of racism, privilege and injustice in South Africa, I started to wonder if an additional conversation was needed. I had noticed…

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Is humanity a rational species?

Most readers’ gut reaction to the question, above, would probably be something like: ‘Yes, of course!’ But please consider that the question is not whether humans are, on occasion, capable of rational behaviour. As it stands, the question bears on what would, if it could be answered affirmatively, be the supposed overriding quality of the…

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