Simon Howell

The problem with ‘non-racialism’

Enshrined in the Constitution and serving as a basis for public rhetoric the ANC-led government has repeatedly billed itself and its policies as “non-racial”. I think however that this position is at best questionable and at worst actually makes more problematic the various narratives of race which the country and its citizens have to negotiate…

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The problem with legalising drugs

While the US elections dominated the news for the last week, two US states – Washington and Colorado – took the opportunity to legalise the recreational use of marijuana. For proponents of legalisation and for those who believe that the “war on drugs” has failed, this was seen as a major victory. But having thought…

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How backstreet abortion became mainstream

Many of South Africa’s urban centres have a common and extremely worrying denominator – brightly coloured advertisements urging the public to visit a doctor of dubious origin for services ranging from the reconciliation of relationships, to increasing one’s sexual prowess, to what my local “doctor” advertises as “same-day abortions”. While all of these are worrying…

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The problems of the past and the promise of the future

The concept of the future, in the face of the political and economic worries of the present, has become ever more important to our imagining of a democratic South Africa. How and, importantly, what should we be imagining? How, in other words, do we conceptualise the future in the face of the present? One such…

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Jurassic township tours

In a famous scene from the original Jurassic Park, the private visitors are herded into Toyota Venturesque vehicles from which they depart on a predefined tour of the park and its unknown inhabitants. They stare with awe and mystery through the high-voltage fencing at the dark hinterland beyond, waiting for an unknown predator to show…

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The ‘I’ in ‘I write what I like’

For a number of months now I have followed rather avidly the News24.com site. Not because of the news stories themselves, but because of the comments that follow them. The site itself allows one to comment in almost complete anonymity; one can use various usernames that reflect neither social standing nor direct inclination. And it…

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