Tag Archives: history

The lost sense of community: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’

Christopher Nolan’s recently released feature film Dunkirk not only fills a long-existing gap in cinematic coverage of important historical (particularly wartime) events; it also highlights something of contemporary significance: the glaring difference between the world of the 1940s and that of today, namely the strong sense of community that animated people back then, and which,…

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The age of anger

A friend of mine – Avril Gardiner, art-fundi and owner-curator of the Liebrecht at gallery in Somerset-West – recently reminded me of a piece by Bryan Walsh in TIME magazine of 20 February (2017: pp. 15-16), in which Walsh talks about what he calls “this age of anger” in the context of the claim that…

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The power of dissent

At certain times in history, sometimes protracted events have occurred that demonstrated the power of dissent – that (as far as we know) uniquely human capacity to express strong disagreement with some or other aspect of the political, social or cultural status quo, whether this is done peacefully or, in some cases, violently, in a…

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The fatal hermeneutic divide in South Africa

Many people are bound to have thought of Alan Paton’s novel, Cry the Beloved Country, in the wake of recent events in South Africa. And everyone who have thought of it as a suitable response to these events may be forgiven. But there’s a saying, that people get the government they deserve, and it is…

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The actress who should have won the Oscar this year

Although I have come across quite a few people who dismiss the richly ambiguous La La Land as an unsuccessful attempt at a musical – no doubt implicitly comparing it to traditional musicals like My Fair Lady or The Sound of Music – I do not share their view. It is an outstanding film that…

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The biggest cover-up of all time?

After seeing the film based on Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and not having read the novel, I was somewhat prejudiced against his work as being just another kind of thriller, spruced up with a high-art context in which the action unfolds. Until I read his novel, Inferno, named after the first part of…

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The unbelievable cost of South Africa’s bloated public sector

South Africa would be significantly more economically viable if it did not have to carry a civil service sector that far exceeds the country’s needs in numerical terms. This is one of the many things one learns from R.W. Johnson’s candid, if sometimes completely disconcerting recent book, How Long Will South Africa Survive? The Looming…

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The things we do in the name of transformation

I came across the recent cover of Independent Education and I was troubled. It is a picture of a black boy donned in Scottish garb while participating in a parade. The blurb inside the magazine explaining the front cover reads: “About our cover: Grade 10 student Sanele Mboto is the current drum major of the St…

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Losing in straight sets to the truth about Mandela

Just having tea this morning in Illinois, US, checking out the early rounds at Wimbledon on ESPN, one of the American all-day sports TV channels. Turns out it is 40 years since a black man won Wimbledon for the first and so far the only time — Arthur Ashe in 1975. Yay Arthur. Three of…

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South Africa reboot?

In the course of all the hype around “Rhodes must fall”, I started wondering about the logic underpinning the direction in which it has been developing, which seems to indicate that — as some commentators have indicated — nothing less than South Africa “falling” would satisfy those driving the process of destroying all vestiges of…

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