Sarah Britten

Boob envy and Jamie Oliver

I remember it with startling clarity: the first time I experienced boob envy. Not in the aesthetic sense (many’s the time I’ve seen a shapely pair and thought, idly, that it would be nice if mine were more like those). No, this sort of envy was much more functional. At the time, I sitting with…

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Zapiro, monkeys and red herrings

Editorial cartooning must be one of the most difficult jobs out there. Not only must the cartoonist be technically adept when it comes to caricature, he or she also has to find the humour in situations that often, on the surface, aren’t especially funny. Day in and day out, cartoonists have to generate ideas and…

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What it feels like to be a mother

“Sorry, you can’t pick her up. She vomited up her feed so it’s better to leave her.” The nurse in the neonatal intensive-care unit is polite but firm. I nod numbly as I look at my daughter, lying in her incubator and waving her arms like a sea anemone in a tank. Three days before,…

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February 26 2016

February 26. Not a day I’ve ever associated with anything significant. It’s my niece’s birthday and it’s the day that Thriller first hit number one on the charts, but that’s all. February 26 this year seems no different from all the others. I wake up, scroll listlessly through Twitter, check my mails and think about…

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A non-Valentine’s post

Love doesn’t get much of a look-in on Thought Leader. Politics, race and power interest the readers here. But Valentine’s Day is upon us, and the shops are full of heart shaped chocolates and glutinous messages, so I hope you will indulge me. I used to write a lot about love here – the absence…

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Malema, curry and casual bigotry

Two weeks ago, a journalist sent me a list of questions about racism and parenting. “Do you often think about how to protect your child from racism?” was one of them. “Is it important in your parenting approach?” This is still a theoretical question for me right now, though in years to come I will…

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27 Weeks

The gestation period of the human being is conventionally held to be 280 days. Nine months to get used to the idea, which is a good thing, because some of us, like me, have a lot to get our heads around. Those of you who’ve read my previous musings on the subject of children will…

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Thank you Penny

A preamble: just as Penny Sparrow does not speak for me, I do not speak for any of you. But I am hoping that some of you will at least listen, and think, and reflect. As a white South African, I’d like to say thank you to Penny Sparrow. Without her, we wouldn’t be having…

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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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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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