Khadija Magardie

No country for Chicken Littles

“The erosion of institutions” has become something of a buzzword. Add to this the “paralysis in crucial institutions”, and “institutional fabric being unwound”, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Mobutu’s Zaire. They’re usually adjectives attributed to the local commentariat: which interpret any event as a sign of the country’s imminent implosion/race war…

3 Comments Continue Reading →

The convenient democrats

To hear former Cabinet ministers from the salad days of the Thabo Mbeki presidency speaking of the “erosion of democracy” is as rich as a “Save the Angus Cow” campaign run by Ronald McDonald. It’s definitely legacy hour. How else could one explain the sheer size of ego that drives Mbeki-era mandarins (or should we…

6 Comments Continue Reading →

The Arab first lady’s burden

The woman, yet again, has become a political football in Middle-Eastern politics. One wishes the area experts would make up their minds: just yesterday we were being told the Muslim wife was a voiceless, pitiable creature walking five steps behind her husband … Now she’s an assistant secretary of state — directing and manipulating her…

11 Comments Continue Reading →

How the gogos got their groove back

It’s exciting enough to have me scrambling for the number of my old tailor in Oriental Plaza. Granted, those gigantic bib collars are a bit seventies, and the skirts are a bit mumsy. The hint of shoulder pad also needs to go. And that hat will never fit on my ‘fro. But the old green…

1 Comment Continue Reading →

Calling out a koek

One supposes it’s nice to know we aren’t the only ones who dissolve into giggles whenever anyone mentions koek. Only this time, it really is a koek: red velvet sponge by the look of it. Meant to represent and symbolise … well, daai ander koek. Confectionary’s (nudge nudge, wink wink) still big news (or, as…

16 Comments Continue Reading →

Airbrushing the boesman

Just what does a coloured have to do these days — short of knocking out the rest of his teeth or picking up the banjo — to get noticed in South African national debates? One really wishes the government would make up its mind. First they were saying there’s historically been an ‘over-concentration’ of bruin-ous…

68 Comments Continue Reading →

There’s a killer in my family

He’s doing 25 years. Then there’s another petty thief cousin who’s been “inside” for pilfering a bottle of Panache from Clicks — for his girlfriend, when he was down and out a few years ago. There’s also my mother’s cousin’s son, the career criminal and regular beater up of women — who spends his time…

10 Comments Continue Reading →

The brigade for boiling and burning blacks

Just north of here, the tree of liberty is being liberally watered — not with the blood of patriots, but with the blood of blacks. And also unlike Jefferson’s dictum, it isn’t just occasionally, but has been going on for months. The vigilantes have even given themselves a name “The Brigade for Purging Slaves and…

15 Comments Continue Reading →

The bogus war in defence of the Muslim punani

The “charge” seems almost cartoonish. A wild-haired, loony old eccentric with a penchant for buxom female bodyguards — dishing out handfuls of blue pills to his troops with their morning orange juice. Their task: to pillage, plunder and rape. The evidence? Well, none so far. That’s if one doesn’t count the three little bottles of…

13 Comments Continue Reading →

The Bin Ladens of Boksburg

There’s a trim, two-storey house at the end of a cul-de-sac on the East Rand. The facade is ordinary: railway house meets Boere-baroque. If you could see it, that is. The property is surrounded by a 10-metre high wall and laced with razor wire. Behind the walls, in the out-building, the world’s most wanted man…

16 Comments Continue Reading →
Page 112