Martin Young

Wisdom includes the art of picking the battles one knows one can win

Well done, students! You have done to this ANC government and establishment what years of scandal and maladministration have not. It has taken notice. It is worried. It is addressing the cause of your discontent. There will be no fee increases next year. I applaud your courage and convictions. The wise thing to do would…

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If I was a student today…

I’m not a student, but I pay the university and residence fees for one and another one to come in a couple of years, so I know how much all that costs. As a self-employed professional in the top 1% of earners it is still a difficult burden. So I know the dynamics. I cannot…

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It’s never too late to learn another South African language

Two months ago I decided to learn to speak isiXhosa. This is a big thing for a 53-year-old — some might say impossible. Others might say it is unnecessary. They might be right in strictly practical terms. I don’t need to speak isiXhosa. Very, very seldom do I have to communicate with someone who speaks…

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The long goodbye

I know the face of dementia. I know its slow robbing of personality, of character, of the daily moments of person to person connection that make us human. This was brought even closer to home when I met the father of a good friend who had recently moved his wife with advanced Alzheimer’s disease into…

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Discovery Health wants a picture of your anus

Didn’t your mother warn you to never, ever, ever take a photograph of your private parts and give it or send it to anyone, let alone a complete stranger who asks for it? But this is exactly what happened when Donn Edwards, an old school friend of mine, submitted a claim for specialised wound care…

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Something’s fishy in the state of Sanral

Call SA’s national ANC government nothing but determined! In the face of widespread opposition against the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) and e-tolling, even from the ANC’s own Gauteng legislature, Cyril Ramaphosa has come up with a “rescue plan”. The details of this plan have seen the expected opposition from Outa (Opposition to Urban…

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Dinner with the president

I had dinner with the president last night. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t alone with him. There were about 350 other people eager to hear him speak and who had paid for the privilege, and I was one of those lucky enough to meet him and shake his hand. When I say “president” I…

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Let’s talk about suicide

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. About five years ago, as my family and parents and siblings celebrated Christmas Day together, we received a call from the UK. My uncle, my father’s twin brother, a larger-than-life man in his mid-seventies, with a large family of his own, and ostensibly in good health at the time,…

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Killing in the name of God

No thinking person can escape being horrified by the actions carried out in the name of God by religious fanatics across the world today. Killings, rapes, executions, wholesale slaughter, genocide, torture, and sometimes just ordinary nastiness — a litany of horrors that deny humankind the right to claim ourselves to be a uniformly emotionally intelligent…

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When a handshake can kill you…

As a doctor I greet many people, both new and familiar, every week, and inevitably we shake hands. It would feel awkward not to do so. This is the way I was brought up, that a firm handshake is a mark of strong character, part of the process of creating a good first impression, and…

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