Media

‘Beyond Humanism’ in Wroclaw, Poland

We are in the beautiful and ancient city of Wroclaw, Poland (the former Breslau, in German), at the 10th International ‘Beyond Humanism’ conference, where theorists of post- and transhumanism come together (in a different country) every year. It is the third of these inter- and multidisciplinary conferences that we have attended, and as before, the…

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The destructive approach to nature: ‘Geostorm’

We are in Porto, Portugal, for an interdisciplinary international conference, and already we are impressed by the beauty of this old city. As usual, because I find seats on a passenger jet too uncomfortable to sleep, I used the time to catch up on some movies, including I, Tonya, with Margot Robbie’s Oscar-quality performance in…

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The arts and transformation of the self and the world: ‘Take the Lead’

Recently, I had the privilege of delivering the opening address at the launch of Louisa Punt-Fouché’s volume of poetry, ‘Ek skryf met Bloed en Bene’ (read it here), at the newly established art gallery on her and her husband, Ian Punt’s Kredouw Olive Estate, in the Swartberg. Surrounding myself and all the guests gathered there…

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Inner demons of sports: what happens to players after the soccer world cup ends?

By Dr Kirsten van Heerden ‘What makes one heroic?’ wrote Friedrich Nietzsche. Interesting question. What would your answer be? Nietzsche’s answer was profound in its simplicity: Heroic is to face simultaneously one’s greatest suffering and one’s highest hope. Sport is littered with examples that give life to this definition. Take the current Soccer World Cup…

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The world has not learnt anything from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s ‘Gothic’ (proto-)science fiction novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, which was published when the author was only 20 years old. It was the fruit of a contest among herself and two other literary figures — her future husband, the poet Percy Shelley, and another poet, Lord…

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These Gaza days

Dear Bibi You slaughter my people at your gate like dogs You deny their civility and call them terrorists You claim they are combatants on your blogs You hold up your soldiers as heroes for killing innocents You parade around like you’re not wholly corrupt You shout the odds on Iran like a expert pundit…

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Kingsolver’s narrative indictment of colonisation: The Poisonwood Bible

I have written about Barbara Kingsolver’s (and other figures’, such as Salman Rushdie’s) novelistic art here before and even referred to The Poisonwood Bible cursorily — but recently the effect of colonisation on the inhabitants of certain continents (in this case Africa) has occupied my attention afresh. Hence this post, specifically on Kingsolver’s masterpiece, The…

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The allure of Louisa Punt-Fouché’s poetry

Poetry is alluring. Who is there so insensitive among us that evocative poetic phrases would not move us? Yes, I know – there are indeed such people, but I believe that even they, when given the opportunity to learn from a gifted teacher, would develop a modicum of receptivity to poetry. Blake’s “He who binds…

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Where’s my invite?

Like many people I have not been invited to Jacob Zuma’s forthcoming wedding. I also have not been invited to address the crowds gathering at Jacob Zuma’s court appearances. In general Jacob Zuma and I have been on the outs ever since he said, “We don’t want Winner Take All”. I could have forgiven him…

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On politicians without humour

In John Fowles’s novel, Daniel Martin (Triad Grafton, 1978), there is a wonderfully revealing passage as far as humourless politicians are concerned – the type that justifiably comprises the butt of comedians’ jokes. Dan and Jane (an old friend and one-time lover who accompanies him on a work-related trip to Egypt) are at a dinner-party…

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