Environment

The world has not learnt anything from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s ‘Gothic’ (proto-)science fiction novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, which was published when the author was only 20 years old. It was the fruit of a contest among herself and two other literary figures — her future husband, the poet Percy Shelley, and another poet, Lord…

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The allure of Louisa Punt-Fouché’s poetry

Poetry is alluring. Who is there so insensitive among us that evocative poetic phrases would not move us? Yes, I know – there are indeed such people, but I believe that even they, when given the opportunity to learn from a gifted teacher, would develop a modicum of receptivity to poetry. Blake’s “He who binds…

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Where’s my invite?

Like many people I have not been invited to Jacob Zuma’s forthcoming wedding. I also have not been invited to address the crowds gathering at Jacob Zuma’s court appearances. In general Jacob Zuma and I have been on the outs ever since he said, “We don’t want Winner Take All”. I could have forgiven him…

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The politics of mental health provision in a liberal democracy

By Sipho Dlamini The recent discussion between Eusebius McKaiser and Mazibuko K Jara on the place of liberalism in South Africa sparked an interesting question on mental health provision in a liberal democracy such as ours. In reading these discussions, I was reminded about a simple and yet incisive point about liberalism given by Professor…

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Hey Bibi, Hey Bibi, Hey

Hey Bibi, Hey Bibi, Hey! What do they Say Bibi, Say Bibi, Say? Oh Bibi, Oh Bibi, Oh! So Bibi, So Bibi, So? That you’re crooked like a question mark That you’re dining on public like a lark That you’re turning greased wheels for greased ends That you’re taking gifts from well heeled friends That…

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Optimism vs. realism regarding the future

The TIME magazine of 15 January, 2018, titled ‘The Optimists’, is edited by Bill Gates, one of the two richest individuals on the planet – this alone already (at least partly) explains his optimism, which is understandably not necessarily shared with people in positions of less economic power. Reading it is an object lesson in…

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Please release Ahed Tamimi and Ahed Tamimi’s family

Office of the Prime Minister Israel pmo.gov.il United Nations Amnesty International Re: Ahed Tamimi Dear Prime Minister, My correspondence of 26th January 2018, 4th February 2018, 11th February 2018 and 18th February 2018 refers. Please release Ahed Tamimi and Ahed Tamimi’s family. Yours sincerely, Avishkar Govender Durban, KZN, South Africa [email protected]

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It is time

The time, in the brief recent history of our country, has come for our country to wade into a foreign conflict, choose a side and fight, using our military, for that side. The time has come for our foreign policy to match our constitutional values, rather than the conflicted and corrupt, reflexive “Friends With All”…

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Literature, art, space, and the secret of life

It never ceases to amaze me that the arts – foremost among them literature, sculpture, architecture, music, painting and cinema – are able to capture in their respective medium(s) virtually everything that makes life worth living; in a phrase, the ‘secret of life’. My recent re-reading of all my favourite John Fowles novels is what…

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Mangrove Jungle (Tiger) Survival Expert

The world has gone crazy. So what if a black African parent allowed their child to be called “the coolest monkey in the jungle”, in exchange for money. It’s their prerogative as to what exactly constitutes an insult. It’s not like the child was illiterate, it’s not like his parents were illiterate. That’s not even…

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