Claudia Hirtenfelder

Thank you, Mr Trump!

Dear Donald Trump, Thank you! In the days following the election I have seen numerous articles highlighting the follies of your choices, the irresponsibility of your comments, the virulence of your campaigning and the divisiveness of your words. In spite of all this, I would like to take a moment and say thank you. Thank…

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Rethinking the new visa requirements, an open letter

Dear John, This morning you said, “Tourists are the most important people” because they bring jobs and money to South Africa before calling the new requirements for visas “daft”. You then went on to say that you just don’t understand why we would be tightening our controls and India doing everything they can to loosen…

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Xenophobia: We are a fickle bunch

We are a fickle bunch.   It amazes me how quickly a group of people can forget what it feels like to be the recipient of hatred. I’m baffled by how once the victim of violence because of an unreasonable reduction in identity can flip and do exactly the same thing.   How quickly those…

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Talking ourselves to knowing a new tomorrow

What is knowledge to you? I mean, really, what is it? Is it something that is encapsulated in a document or is it a fractured, partial view of the world? Is knowledge finite and infallible or structured and unchanging? We don’t often reflect on how we know the world but if you were to sit…

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Who do you think you are?  

Who do you think you are? You who drive in the emergency lane, you who turn right from the far left, you who crawl at 60km/h in the fast lane. Who do you think you are? You who speed through orange and red, you who ignore solid white lines, you who stop anywhere you like….

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Litter, a social ill with big implications

I cannot count the amount of times I have walked around either at university, at work, or even in shopping malls and have seen people callously, without thought, chuck a piece of paper on the floor. There is not even a hint of resignation. The wrapper comes off the chocolate, cigarettes, or other random item…

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It’s time to challenge our assumptions about domestic work

Growing up in South Africa I don’t think we realise just how accustomed we are to the sight of domestic workers, nannies and garden workers; people who work for low wages taking care of and cleaning up after individuals that are wealthier than they are. When travelling and experiencing other cultures, this subtle exploitation, which…

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The faceless man

His clean, recently polished shoes face skyward. Their tips slightly worn but well cared for. They are brown and modest but have given him comfort on his long walks. The stillness of his feet is made all the more garish by the silver blanket that now covers his lifeless body. Where was he going? Who…

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I’m exhausted

I’m exhausted by my privilege. I’m exhausted with restaurants filled with primarily white patrons. I’m exhausted that those serving these white consumers are mainly black. I’m exhausted by the ignorance of those in the vicinity to see the difference. I’m exhausted when I climb off a Gautrain bus only to see a man scrounging through…

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