Equality

The dynamics of complex systems: ‘Flight Behaviour’

Most people don’t know what complex systems (the word ‘complex’ is important) are, despite the fact that everyone one is enmeshed in several such complex systems every minute of the day and night. One such complex system is language, which we use more or less all the time, except when we sleep, and even then,…

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Breaking down South Africa?

In 2015, it was reported that Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, speaking to followers at Nongoma, criticised black South Africans for not building further on the country they had inherited from the National Party, opting instead to destroy or break down infrastructure, in this way cancelling out the (economic) progress made during a time when the…

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Ag sies man! They took toilet money!

In India, the caste system controls everything, even with the modernisation that has made parts of the caste system illegal. It regulates occupation, vocation, profession and education by determining who gets what opportunity. It determines association, such that the freedom of association is limited insofar as not enabling cross-caste association. In India it is the…

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What parents can do to make up for gaps in our basic education?

By Lehlohonolo Mofokeng Here is a reality many of us do not want to talk about: our basic education encourages surface learning than deep learning. One of the reasons I encourage my learners to enter for Accounting Olympiads is to show them that our content is weak; by consequence, disadvantages them when they enrol at…

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‘Ubuhle bendoda, izinkomozakhe’ and the trouble with paying lobolo

By Refiloe Makama “Men are never ugly”. Nnu Ego makes this statement in Buchi Emecheta’s novel, The Joys of Motherhood, set during the colonial period in Nigeria. In a scene between two friends, the protagonist Nnu Ego had recently lost her first child, and Ato, her childhood friend comes to comfort her. In a memorable moment,…

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People are not as free as they think they are

Some (older) people may recall the 1983 Warner Brothers mockumentary, Zelig, written by, and starring Woody Allen, together with Mia Farrow as the psychiatrist who treats him for his strange disorder. Lately I have been thinking a lot about this classic portrayal of conformism on the part of a man who manifested his adaptation to…

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Being Cuban and black in post-apartheid South Africa

By Sol Maria Fernandez Knight Growing up, my mother always told me that I was a special child. But then again many parents want their children to feel unique and valuable, to instill a sense of pride in their identity, and to remind them of their heritage. As a child I did not think how being…

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A world in need of redemption

This morning my two sons and I were having a texting exchange on Skype, while all of us were on our computers and online for various reasons — I was working and chatting to them in-between reading a PhD-student’s latest chapter of his thesis, and at least one of them was working while chatting too….

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Why Americans should vote Democratic in the mid-term elections tomorrow

The American midterm elections – halfway through the American president’s term, where voters decide on their representatives in the two houses of American ‘democratic’ government, Congress and the Senate (as well as on some state governors) – take place tomorrow, on 6 November 2018, and all indications are that these will be the most significant…

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Does Philosophy have a function in society?

A doctoral student in philosophy at the University of the Free State, Mark Amaridakis, recently reminded me of the important contribution made to philosophy — specifically the Critical Theory of the so-called Frankfurt School — by Max Horkheimer, one of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research’s early directors. This made me pick up one of…

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