Environment

Forget ‘developing’ poor countries. It’s time to ‘de-develop’ rich countries

Heads of state recently gathered in New York to sign the UN’s new sustainable development goals (SDGs). The main objective is to eradicate poverty by 2030. Beyoncé, One Direction and Malala are on board. It’s set to be a monumental international celebration. Given all the fanfare, one might think the SDGs are about to offer…

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Negotiating my identity as an introvert in an extroverted society

By Magnolia Bahle Ngcobo-Sithole When someone asks me “Who are you?” I often respond by giving my name and surname. If we keep the conversation going long enough I start talking about the work that I do. I may also mention some of my hobbies. The conversation stays superficial and safe. I never talk about…

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Our diverse cultural heritage defies the stereotype, let’s keep it that way

By Busani Ngcaweni It was January 2000. Heavy rains in the north-eastern parts of KwaZulu-Natal were causing mayhem for rural communities and across the border in neighbouring Mozambique where search-and-rescue teams from the South African National Defence Force were in full force. Apart from the environmental and livelihoods impact of these heavy rains in this…

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Give your car a hug

So here we are, little more than a century later, and the car is as welcome in every home as the chamber pot was before inside toilets arrived. It wasn’t always so, though. When the first adventurers took to the roads in steam and electric and clockwork and petrol-engined cars in the 1890s only the…

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Cecil, the dentist and a mass extinction event

By Darius Guppy Hunting is a passion of mine – and there is no greater place to hunt than Africa – so I understand what motivated an American dentist to pursue a magnificent lion in search of a trophy. Contrary to hysterical and politically correct pronouncements on the part of those who know little of…

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The consequences of a total ban of trophy hunting

By Professor Peet van der Merwe This is a response to the call on a total ban on trophy hunting as a result of the hunt of Cecil the lion. When people and organisations make such a call to ban hunting, it is important to understand the consequences thereof to countries that market themselves as…

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The humanities and the advent of the ‘posthuman’

One of the most promising and exciting developments in recent thought has been the emergence of the “posthuman” as a distinct field within, and simultaneously transcending, the humanities. It comes from within this disciplinary field insofar as thinkers working in humanities disciplines such as philosophy and literary departments have contributed to what can perhaps be…

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What the trees and their friends try to tell us…

The sound of leaves in a wind is my earliest memory. When I was strolled in a pram, the branches above, bursting with leaves, were my first gift: consciousness. I emerged from this moment, long before recognising my mother or sister’s touch or my father’s voice. The moment was electric, a drawn-out hiss as gunpowder…

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‘It’s time to talk about what’s next’

By Monica Davies If you’ve followed the fight against climate change, in the last year especially, you’ll have noticed voices starting to be raised about things outside climate change — “without racial [or gender or food or economic] justice, there is no climate justice” is the most common one, and it’s entirely true. The problems…

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Anticipating reality – Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon

Although the title of Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon (Pan Books, 2001) creates the impression that it belongs to the fantasy genre (not really my cup of tea), one soon learns that you are dealing with science fiction. And you know that you are dealing with a master of science fiction when many of the…

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