Simon Howell

A little known history of cocaine (Part 1)

The use of drugs, such as cocaine, continue to feature regularly in the news. Drug users, moreover, continue to be condemned by the general media, being regarded as dirty, defiled, and criminal. However, very few people realise that for over 20 years cocaine was completely legal. Indeed, it was at one point described as a…

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Against PigSpotting

Knowing of both the popularity and following of PigSpotter, in writing this article I feel it necessary to begin with an obligatory disclaimer: this is not an attempt to an indict a single person or project, nor is it a criticism of the good work that PigSpotter has done in ensuring that the Johannesburg Metro…

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On asking the right questions

Recently the BBC published an article by Hugh Schofield entitled “Why does France insist school pupils master philosophy?” His answer, seen through paternal eyes, is that it has opened a “world of knowledge” to his daughter. Reading the article in/from South Africa one could ask, as is the liberal trend, whose knowledge is being reproduced,…

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Pandering to apartheid

The DA has recently launched a poster campaign entitled “Know Your DA”. It attempts, I think, to bring to light the “untold” role that some of their founding members played in the fight against apartheid. Typical of South African politics, supporters of opposition parties countered these claims with a series of spoof posters, intent on revealing…

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Boston, media bias and problem with quantifying life and death

Invariably when a tragedy such as the Boston bombing occurs in the US, UK or any other “western” nation, the bloodshed is compared, quantitatively, with the violence in Iraq, Syria, or any other nation that is not in the “west”. Within minutes of the detonation of the bombs in Boston, my Facebook feed was producing…

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South Africa’s culture of mediocrity

South Africa’s primary and secondary education system is breeding a culture of mediocrity and entitlement that will ultimately undermine the growth of the country, both socially and economically. This culture of entitlement is not simply limited to the education system however, but has been surreptitiously reappropriated by our rights-based discourse so that it has become…

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Disgrace

By now much has been written about the tragic tale of Oscar Pistorius. I don’t feel that I can contribute directly to this debate. Until such time as the courts have done their work, we must all reserve judgement. I will say though that I feel that not one but two young people have lost…

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Truth and treason

This is not per se another article on the ANCYL’s comments regarding FNB’s new advertising campaign. If it were, it would probably devolve into an angst-filled rant at the ANCYL’s stupidity and FNB’s corporate power, much like the others I have read. Instead I want to focus on just one word, the word that the…

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Confronting poverty

This festive season I spent a few weeks in a reasonably affluent town in the Western Cape. This in itself is unremarkable. However on returning to the Eastern Cape, and Grahamstown specifically, the contrast between that wealth and the grinding poverty of this town became all the more stark and all the more desperate. One…

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Of cheque cards and stag hunts

This weekend my cheque card credentials were stolen and then used to purchase cinema tickets. This was entirely my own fault. I was not a “victim”, I was not hurt, and can think of no excuse other than I was simply not being observant. As such this is not a whinge against crime in South…

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