Isaac Mangena

Press clubs are no places for politicans, period

I was hurt and angry when officials from the ruling party called me and my colleagues the “real opposition” of the ANC. That was a few months ago when ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and other senior officials were at pains to explain why they thought a media appeals tribunal and other oppressive statutes would…

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Gang rape, jackrolling, lepanta: a societal problem

I grew up in a village outside Polokwane in Limpopo. At school and in the community we would always hear older boys talking about lepanta. As a young boy, I knew lepanta to be a Sotho word for “belt”. I soon learnt that it was coined by boys in the street corners to mean “when…

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Water woes: Government must act fast

In an unexpected move by former president Thabo Mbeki four years ago, he apologised for what he knew he could have acted on earlier, but didn’t. It was at the time when the term “load shedding” became fashionable because it was dawning on everyone, including Mbeki, that the country was heading for darkness. Mbeki gathered…

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The ICC: Justice denied to Gaza victims

There was a sense of hope across the world in 1998 when 120 countries signed a treaty that would establish an international court. This court would, among others, follow noble principles to protect citizens from violence and abuse by their own governments, rebels or even foreign nations. The International Criminal Court which was to be…

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Senegal’s democratic leap forward

“Democracy is constructed like an edifice, freedom by freedom, right by right, until it reaches its snapping point.” When Senegal’s former president Abdoulaye Wade prophetically coined this saying years ago, he definitely didn’t have the 25th of March 2012 in his mind as the day when he would unceremoniously “snap”. The 85-year-old was trounced by…

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Sharpeville: Shame on you, ANC

Moving the commemoration of the Sharpeville massacre from its historic base is nothing more than an insult to those who laid down their lives. For the past 21 years, Sharpeville Day, as the day was known, was celebrated in Sharpeville, the place where 69 people lost their lives fighting for the freedoms and liberties we…

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MDG target for water met but our taps still run dry

A United Nations and World Health Organisation report released last week (South Africa’s national water week) has claimed a near victory in achieving one of the most important Millennium Development Goals: making drinking water accessible to millions of the poor. According to the report, titled Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012, “over two billion…

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Licensed to kill: US soldiers in Afghanistan

My colleague Sokhu Sibiya recently said to me that American children are always taught from a young age in their living rooms that they are superior to any other nation in the world. She was responding to the discussion we were having about the recent killing of 16 civilians in Kandahar, Afghanistan. “They watch movies,…

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