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Jani Allan: Abuse and disgrace (Part I)

“My mother instilled in me from an early age that sex was the inevitable result of a man getting the better of you.” This is one of the many chuckle-worthy lines in “has been” famous South African columnist Jani Allan’s memoir, Jani Confidential. The book has glittering heaps of these verbal gems, which alone make…

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Please, mind your language

By Yolanda Mitchell Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms. This is a core value on which the Constitution is founded. Who doesn’t want to live in a country founded on such a noble base? It sounds like the Promised Land after all — especially to as many…

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Anticipating reality – Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon

Although the title of Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon (Pan Books, 2001) creates the impression that it belongs to the fantasy genre (not really my cup of tea), one soon learns that you are dealing with science fiction. And you know that you are dealing with a master of science fiction when many of the…

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‘Art is for everyone, because art is in everyone’

One of the beautiful things about a big city is its simple ability to give audience to the things that are happening in the wider world of the rest of the country. And so it was that I attended a book launch about an art gallery in the Northern Cape that was doing unusual and…

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Rethinking the new visa requirements, an open letter

Dear John, This morning you said, “Tourists are the most important people” because they bring jobs and money to South Africa before calling the new requirements for visas “daft”. You then went on to say that you just don’t understand why we would be tightening our controls and India doing everything they can to loosen…

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Franschhoek Literary Festival: Breaking the silence

I used to think it was okay that the Franschhoek Literary Festival was lily-white because the money it raised was used to fund libraries in disadvantaged communities. “Who cares where the money comes from as long as it goes to a good cause,” was my reasoning. I equated the literary festival with those charity gala…

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The real problem with the DA’s Values Charter

The opportunity for a genuine debate about liberalism in South Africa, started by the DA’s adoption of its Values Charter, is likely to be squandered. In two separate pieces, MPs Marius Redelinghuys and Gavin Davis, both supporters of new DA Leader Mmusi Maimane, demonstrate the real reason for their staunch defence of the Charter. It…

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Something’s fishy in the state of Sanral

Call SA’s national ANC government nothing but determined! In the face of widespread opposition against the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) and e-tolling, even from the ANC’s own Gauteng legislature, Cyril Ramaphosa has come up with a “rescue plan”. The details of this plan have seen the expected opposition from Outa (Opposition to Urban…

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Universities need vibrant student affairs officers to drive transformation

Did South African higher education have a hand in our resurgent student voice? Absolutely, student activists would argue, but for its lack of transformation serving as an obstacle rather than an ally in the project of change. Campus debates on change relate not only to transformation but also to how prominent and capable student voices…

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Big in Japan (I hope)

Today, I board a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. I’ll have a lot of luggage with me: a suitcase filled with weather-appropriate clothing, 2 large portfolio bags filled with paintings in lipstick, a selection of A4 prints, flyers, business cards, and 30 metres of Velcro. From there, my husband and my friend Juan will…

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