Health

At age 55 I began to hear voices: My journey into and out of madness

by Greg Shankland It was while living in New York City at age 55 that I suddenly began to hear voices, out of the blue. How did a smart, accomplished businessman succumb to fear and paranoia, to mania and unusual beliefs, so suddenly and so quickly? Importantly, how did I break through it? The first…

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Single vs two-parent families: A Western Cape study of well-being

by Dr Eugene Lee Davids Several theories exist within the field of psychology. These theories act as lenses to make sense of the world we live in and are important in understanding our interactions within the world as human beings. In South Africa, a country rich in diversity, a theoretical framework that I find very…

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The technology that is threatening life as we know it

We are currently witnessing a pervasive and accelerating recording, modelling and processing of data pertaining to human beings as well as other living species (and even inorganic things) on a scale that surpasses what most of us can imagine. This has been made possible by bio-technologies which seem as if they are the incipient actualisation…

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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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Has humankind really “progressed”, in the Enlightenment sense of the word?

In philosophy, there is a saying, by Hegel, that the owl of Minerva only spreads its wings at dusk. Hence, when we take stock of our situation today, with the benefit of such hindsight, what do we perceive? Has humankind really “progressed”, in the Enlightenment sense of the word? In fact, does “progress” make any…

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How to prevent another Life Esidimeni tragedy – experts speak out

By Suntosh R. Pillay On the surface of the disaster caused by the Gauteng Department of Health, it seems bizarre that vulnerable people were treated with no respect for their human rights, in a country whose Constitution fiercely protects them, supported by explicit legislation on the rights of the mentally ill (the Mental Health Care…

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Stop killing our wild animals!

In 2005 I spent three weeks in China, attending conferences in Nanjing and Beijing, and travelling to several other cities. At one point I participated in a hike about 90 kilometres outside Beijing, in an area where the great wall of China is quite dilapidated, unlike in the more touristy areas. It was an enjoyable…

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The resilience of a Somali community in Joburg

By Jennifer Sigamoney Globally, South Africa’s democracy is venerated and remains a symbol of hope for the rest of the continent. Consequently, however, to the initiation of true, representative egalitarianism in 1994, South Africa has attracted more asylum seekers than any other nation. The focus of this article is a small Somali community of political…

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Healthy cities are made of engaged citizens

If health is the absence of disease, then in the urban context, one might think achieving it is impossible. Yet in the past couple of days I was reminded that wellbeing is the result of a multitude of factors and that in our cities, just like at the individual level, such complexity means health is…

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Trump’s global gag rule puts safe abortion in jeopardy

In his first week as President of the United States of America, Donald Trump has demonstrated a callous disregard for women’s rights by reinstating and extending the so-called global gag rule, a policy which will prevent all organisations receiving US foreign aid for health from including abortion referrals or information within their programmes. Not only…

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