General

Zille and Zuma: A fading star, a black hole and the end of an era

Helen Zille faces a disciplinary hearing from her party as an apparent “litmus test” of its credibility as a champion for the people. President Jacob Zuma, similarly, is facing off with NEC members for his shenanigans, having already navigated the party’s ethics committee, the stalwarts and having subjugated its youth and woman’s leagues. The president, it…

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The essence of neoliberalism

France’s pre-eminent sociologist and social theorist Pierre Bourdieu, who died not so long ago, did not pull his punches when it came to identifying the hegemonic economic system of the present, neoliberalism, ruthlessly as a “utopia of endless exploitation”. In an article titled “The essence of neoliberalism” (in Le Monde Diplomatique, December 1998) he puts…

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The cyber-war(s) being fought right under our noses

Time magazine invariably has very clever, multi-faceted covers, the latest one being no exception. It shows the White House – the American president’s residence and workplace, all in one – being slowly but surely devoured by Saint Basil’s Cathedral, with its red brick walls and colourful onion domes, which stands on the Red Square and…

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10 things Ramaphosa should do in his first 100 days as president

Let’s imagine for a minute Ennerdale and Coligny have stopped burning. The knife-fight in the ANC is over and the 2019 elections have come and gone. Now Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is the fifth democratically elected president of South Africa – and will have inherited a deeply flawed country with a stagnant economy and a…

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The age of anger

A friend of mine – Avril Gardiner, art-fundi and owner-curator of the Liebrecht at gallery in Somerset-West – recently reminded me of a piece by Bryan Walsh in TIME magazine of 20 February (2017: pp. 15-16), in which Walsh talks about what he calls “this age of anger” in the context of the claim that…

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How to ignite growth and return South Africa to investment grade

The theme of the WEFAfrica 2017, “Achieving inclusive growth through responsive and responsible leadership”, could have been an appropriate and founding moral code and political philosophy for the incoming democratic government at the beginning of the transition period in 1994 because it captures, in a simple but profound manner, the essence of what needed to…

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The power of dissent

At certain times in history, sometimes protracted events have occurred that demonstrated the power of dissent – that (as far as we know) uniquely human capacity to express strong disagreement with some or other aspect of the political, social or cultural status quo, whether this is done peacefully or, in some cases, violently, in a…

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ANC’s Radical Economic Transformation is just a convenient diversion

The ANC has consistently promised to develop policies and strategies that will deliver a better life for all in the post-apartheid era. The people have demonstrated their confidence and trust by delivering the party into power until now. However, a break in this trust was demonstrated in the 2016 local elections when the ANC lost…

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Equality and intellectual emancipation

How does one achieve the intellectual emancipation of students, or, for that matter, of anyone, including yourself? The answer most people would probably give to this question, is that it is done through education and learning. To be sure, but what one learns from the French philosopher, Jacques Rancière, is that a great deal depends…

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The ANC must undergo creative implosion to re-invent itself

The long awaited cabinet reshuffle has finally happened. Almost a third of the ministers have been laid off. This is unprecedented. Its rationale according to the president is to promote efficiency and bring about a better life for all South Africans. But what is even more important is the genesis and pathology of this cabinet…

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