Lifestyle

A little known history of cocaine (Part 6)

For part five of the series, please click here. History has a number of valuable lessons to teach us not only about drugs, but also about ourselves. Problematically however, we still have yet to learn many of those lessons. While the “war on drugs” has begun to fade from view, at least in official rhetoric,…

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Social media in healthcare and why the doctorsaurs became extinct

Sometimes I feel very alone and vulnerable here. You see, it is rare that doctors air their views on social media (SM), and I have done a fair bit of that on this forum. If you sift out all my posts pertaining to healthcare and read them in sequence, you will have a pretty representative…

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Hunger pains and the Thursday meal

By Khanyo O Mjamba Excluding Phuza Thursday, I had other reasons for liking the 5th day of the week. The most important of these being that of my municipality’s sanitation services’ weekly collection visits. Every Thursday morning, bearing the formidable mass of black plastic, men and women of complex odours and bright orange overalls hop…

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Escape velocity

The astronomer Fred Hoyle once observed: “Space isn’t remote at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away if your car could go straight upwards.” Which is to say it’s twelve hours nearer to us than Cape Town is to Johannesburg. Imagine such a perpendicular journey: 100km above sea level we cross the Karman line —…

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A little known history of cocaine (Part 5)

For part four of the series, please click here. While some of the most interesting anecdotes and stories of cocaine’s convoluted history originate in the US and UK, Africa has its own tale to tell. While recent documents, reports, and sensationalist articles have reported an “explosion” of drugs on the continent, this is simply not…

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Chess the thing for Joburg inner city

Indifference is a powerful weapon, easily injected into entire atmospheres, hearts and minds. Since the beginning of The Troyeville Bedtime Story, a never-ending Joburg tale that began with a stinking pile of neglected rubble in 2011, my eyes and heart tend toward what appears to be impossible, dysfunctional, overwhelming. I am long suffering from a…

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A little known history of cocaine (Part 4)

For the part three of the series, please click here. In 1906 the US passed the Pure Food and Drugs Act that formally began the regulation of cocaine and the opiates, limiting their use to the medical sphere. In 1914 the Harrison Act was passed, which can usefully be seen as the beginning of the…

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Oppikoppi: A field of stars

This is how I used to feel: Whenever someone told me that he or she wanted to become a musician, or a singer, or a new Afrikaans songwriter, something inside of me died. This is what I wanted to say to people who told me this: “I know you think that you are unique, and…

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A little known history of cocaine (Part 3)

For part two of this series, click here. In the previous two articles in this series, I briefly documented how cocaine became seen as a “medical miracle” and how the rise of the first habitué’s revealed to medical science cocaine’s addictive potential. These first “addicts” where not however seen as innately criminal or diseased, an…

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So, someone you know wants to become a doctor?

Every now and then someone young approaches me for advice on choosing medicine as a profession. They are all extremely bright, capable and enthusiastic semi-adults, with strong desires to change the world and to “make a difference”. With on average 6 000 applicants for 250 places at a medical training university, the odds are against all…

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