Lifestyle

Skattie, your narrative is changing

“Jou narrative is nou in sy moer in,” my good friend Juan WhatsApped me after I told him the news. I thought: there it is, the opening line for a blog post I know I need to write and which has proved to be harder than pretty much anything I’ve submitted to Thought Leader. Juan…

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‘Don’t you want to be white?’

By Lorato Palesa Modongo “Coming to a new country always forces you to confront things about yourself that you never considered before.” — Staceyann Chin, poet. I am from Botswana. Literally next door. I came to South Africa in 2013 to take up postgraduate studies at Stellenbosch University. I had three reasons. Firstly, psychology is…

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Emerson, a much-neglected thinker

Ralph Waldo Emerson — the leader of American “Transcendentalism” in the 19th century — has a lot to teach the self-obsessed, narcissistic, smartphone-wielding generation of today. Despite the fact that his famous essay, “Self-Reliance” (1841; available here) is written in the excessively patriarchal language of the time — one might be forgiven for thinking there…

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Uncomfortable about current protests? Embrace your discomfort and be part of social change

By Ahmed Riaz Mohamed We live in a country and in a democracy forged through struggle, sacrifice and protest. The recent surge in student-led protest in the country is powerfully reminiscent of apartheid-era resistance and anti-apartheid marches, rallies and sit-ins. These students are channelling the spirit of former student leaders such as Steven Biko who…

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Normalising intimate partner violence among Soweto youth

By Matamela Makongoza, Mzikazi Nduna and Janan Dietrich One of the greatest challenges facing young people today is intimate partner violence. This is usually perpetrated by young men against their female partners. For instance, three out of 10 adolescent males in the Eastern Cape reported beating or raping their partners, and this type of intimate…

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Being a dominee in SA today – A letter to my Dutch Reformed ancestors

By Nadia Marais Dear ancestors, I write to you because I hope you might help us following the uproar last week after the Dutch Reformed Church’s General Synod decided to recognise same-sex relationships. On the one hand it is strange that there is such an uproar at all, not only because one of the core…

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Beauty is neither noble nor obligatory

It is generally understood that beauty is to be desired, it is desirable because it is inherently good. When asked to describe beauty, it is difficult to do so in terms that are divorced from concrete experience. Philosophers have argued about it for millennia. Feminists have tried to reclaim beauty by rebranding it, in this…

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Urgently rethinking mental health in South Africa

As troops of psychologists flocked into Joburg last month, Emperors Palace morphed into a marketplace of ideas. My everyday work context is a busy public hospital setting, so as I prepared for this annual congress, mental health was on my mind. And it still is, because October is mental health month, and Saturday was World…

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Negotiating my identity as an introvert in an extroverted society

By Magnolia Bahle Ngcobo-Sithole When someone asks me “Who are you?” I often respond by giving my name and surname. If we keep the conversation going long enough I start talking about the work that I do. I may also mention some of my hobbies. The conversation stays superficial and safe. I never talk about…

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The Exercise

“Let’s do an exercise,” my husband says. It is something he last did 20 years ago, at Harvard; this is the piece he wrote about it at the time. Dinner is over. Our friend Musa, the scientist, says that he thinks he has heard of this exercise. Tonight, the conversation has ranged from Neal Stephenson’s…

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