Suntosh Pillay

Diagnosing Santa Clause

“What if Santa came to hospital?” read my online update. “What diagnosis would you give him?” A team of friends gathered around to deliberate. The options were plenty; but the prognosis looked poor. Friend One went deep. “Terribly low self-esteem, of course,” she quipped, “he does feel the need to buy his friends”. Could the…

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Are we a chronically distracted society?

How often do you have a completely uninterrupted space where you can just sit and think, pondering life’s mysteries in silence? Personally, I lack enough creative pauses. My cellphone, like a battery-powered limb, relentlessly entices me with its flashing red light. A chance for quiet serenity exists only in my dreams. Scott Belksy, author of…

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Uganda and the science on homosexuality

The Speaker of Uganda’s parliament insists the Anti-Homosexuality Bill from 2009 be passed before 2013 arrives. With the apparent goal of protecting society from sexual deviance, the ill-informed targeting of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) people illustrates the old saying that politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing the…

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Did we expect too much from Mandela?

When our Big Five were herded aside a few weeks ago to make space for the visage of our most (only?) loved politician, we began facing daily reminders at every purchase that this country truly is ubiquitously contoured by Nelson Mandela. How will we even begin to explain who he was to future generations of…

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How should we remember Zuma’s presidency?

History is a complex social construction but a few grand narratives tend to stick out. Among other stories we’ll remember Mandela as the reconciliatory president, asking us to throw our “pangas into the sea” and forgive. We’ll remember Mbeki’s poetic appeal to our African identity, an aloof renaissance man and, bitter-sweet, as the statesman who…

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Why is 50 Shades selling?

Like Prof Ron Nicolson, writing last week in ‘Maritzburg’s daily The Witness, I’m hesitant to criticise a book I’ve never (and have no urge to) read. But why has EL James’s 50 Shades of Grey caused pandemonium? Why is it selling so much, asks Nicolson and many others? Forty million copies later, the book’s stirred…

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What is a thought leader?

The idea of having my own column would have, some years ago, sent me into a frenzied panic of mindboggling excitement. Reason 1: My once delusional belief in the transformative power of newspapers. I figured that a written opinion is an official record, and if it’s in black and white, someone, somewhere must take notice,…

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