Jon Cayzer

The great white heard my heartbeat

A large ominous shadow loomed about two metres away. Then a roll and the distinct white belly. I was in striking distance of man’s most feared predator. How, you might ask, did I — not known among my friends and foes for a love of danger — end up there? After a sprightly 5am pick-up…

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A bad year for African governance?

Is Africa advancing? This was the crisp question we asked ourselves at the Mo Ibrahim shindig in Dar es Salaam two weeks ago. The Prize Committee had been unable to select a winner this year. Time magazine put it succinctly last month: 2009 has been a bad year for governance in Africa. The prize is…

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Obama, the new JFK?

A funeral attended by presidents past and present. It is Senator Edward Kennedy’s final farewell held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston. A milieu has come full circle in American politics. The “new king” presides over a ceremony rich in symbolism, a king spiritually descended from the noble line of Camelot. America is…

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What drove the Aids holocaust?

A genocide which has claimed more lives than Adolf Hitler’s gas chambers: the 20th century African holocaust. Who is to blame this time? What devil lurks in the background wreaking such ruin on our people? The answer is plain and simple — party politics. A chapter in the long Aids death march has come to…

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‘Green shoots’ of recovery?

On cue, at 12h25, just five minutes before President Jacob Zuma was due to give an economic briefing at Tuynhuys, the wind picked up in the parliamentary precinct and it started to rain. Cold drops in spring. Was the grey, leaden sky, I wondered, a portent from the gods about ill economic news? Had the…

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Zille zeitgeist?

“Premier appoints all male cabinet”, “All male cabinet is a betrayal of women” ranted the headlines in May. I am writing, of course, of the headlines in Britain’s newspapers when Margaret Hilda Thatcher, a grocer’s daughter, appointed an all-male cabinet thirty-years-ago. When Helen Zille was to do exactly the same in May of this year,…

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When the young die

In the last two weeks two young talented men, both in their thirties, have tragically died: Stephen Gately, the former Boyzone singer, aged 33, and Garth Stead, the brilliant Cape Town photographer, aged 37, who literally painted images of lyrical beauty with his Nixon camera. Sadly, it appears that Garth died by his own hand….

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The media invented Malema

Julius Malema is fast becoming a national treasure: the pantomime’s grand dame of South African politics. He is also, unwittingly, a fabulous source of national unity: he draws us all altogether in mirth, condemnation and embarrassment. Yet, I am convinced the media have, largely, invented Malema’s personae with our connivance. It is a shame that…

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Who loves the abuser?

Could I abuse someone? This is a question I have repeatedly asked myself recently after reading the voluminous blogs on this site about abuse and its many grotesque manifestations: child abuse, rape and violence against women, to name a few. As someone who has been physically and mentally abused, it is not an easy question…

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Obama’s nobility clinched the Nobel

Barack Obama, to be candid, probably clinched the Nobel Peace Prize when he secured the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination last year. He has proved that words, not just actions, have power to heal in the television age. His elegant and powerful cadences have reverberated not just across that “arsenal of democracy” called America, but the…

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