General

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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Fantasies of binaries: Why are we so uncomfortable with difference?

By Pierre Brouard By Sunday May 17 I would have participated in a panel discussion on LGBTI migrants and asylum seekers at an Idahot event organised by the Alliance Francaise in Sunnyside, Pretoria. Idahot is the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and is intended to celebrate sexual and gender diversity. This celebratory spin…

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Hey, relax, South Africa isn’t THAT bad!

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that South Africa has many problems. Our economy buckled due to the protracted platinum strike last year, violence and rape remains disturbingly high, poverty and inequality is on the rise and our politics are, well, underwhelming to say the least. One of the consequences is that we have…

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Verwoerdgate: A different take on Alistair’s faux pas

Alistair Sparks undoubtedly put his foot in it by referring, in the context of praising Helen Zille, to Hendrik Verwoerd as a “smart” politician. Whether he likes it or not, lumping the two together, as well as including him in a list of otherwise progressively inclined white parliamentarians from the apartheid era, to some degree…

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Am I a writer?

I’m an ink-stained notebook fiend, most of my pens get chewed like a rabid terrier, I write poems, post copious amounts of blog posts, churn out news reports, provide opinion pieces for several publications, proofread anything that crosses in front of my eyes, heck I even accuse non-readers of treachery against humans (spoiler: writers hate…

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