General

Where were the white people on Reconciliation Day?

Yesterday we held our 21st Consciousness Café event of 2016 at the Joburg Theatre’s Penthouse. We chose this space not only for its floor-to-ceiling views of the city, an inspiring backdrop for a Day of Reconciliation dialogue, but also because it has safe parking and a bus stop outside. It’s accessible to pretty much everybody. When…

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‘The Faith of Christopher Hitchens’ and how ‘intellectuals’ miss the point

It is always an excellent time to write a sensational, controversial memoir about a public figure after his death, not before. The person is not there to defend himself. Larry Taunton is an avowed Christian and his book, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens is elegantly written and immensely readable. But, as compelling and compassionate as the book’s argument…

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(Ir)Reconciliation Day: A call for a more sober reading of December 16

Today, South Africa observes Reconciliation Day with what can only be assumed to be a healthy dose of sobriety. 2016, infamous for its never-ending, unsuspecting and often unwanted surprises, has also proven to be a contentious year in the socio-political economy of the country. With unemployment reaching a 13-year high last quarter, a number of…

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When do intimate relationships work?

I raise this question more as a kind of self-reflection than a hard-and-fast recipe of sorts. The latter cannot be supplied by anyone, for the “simple” reason that human beings are very complex creatures. While the interpersonal areas I reflect on below may indeed be important in all intimate relationships (and I do believe that…

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Are South Africans really all capitalists at heart?

The South African news cycle often is awash with nationalist rhetoric from the emerging and vocal opposition, raging against the African National Congress. These quasi-socialists hold out an image of an economically liberated Southern Africa, a picture of Mzansi at peace on the land – their land. The capitalists too have a vision for South…

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#ScienceMustFall in retrospect: Three lessons to help us move on

I remarked once that, “If the curricula shall be Africanised then, one may presume, we’ll have to find an Africanised version of Newtonian mechanics for the engineers, decolonised theorem proofs for mathematicians and the non-racist equivalent of Maxwell’s equations for physicists, among other things”. I said that this would be to take the call for…

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Why South Africa continues to grapple with the L-word

So there I was, propping up a barn in Sweet Auburn, Atlanta. I was in town for a conference about racial justice (or the lack thereof) with my Consciousness Café colleague Keke. Two days before, Donald Trump had been elected president of the US, and the conference was a churned-up sea of angry, bewildered activists….

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Why the ANC continues to flounder and defend the power of patronage

In my previous contribution in this column “The ANC must undergo creative destruction to re-invent and survive”, the theme of my message was that the task of reinventing the ANC and re-positioning its brand cannot succeed without a leadership overhaul. As the latest events have sadly confirmed, the urge to maintain the status quo trumps…

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Where is the wealth Malema wants to redistribute?

In a conversation about South Africa’s socio-economic malaise with a thoughtful sociologist from abroad, he asked the burning question that is shaping South African politics: “where is the wealth?” We talk often in South Africa about wealth redistribution, black economic empowerment and socio-economic rights. Our constitution at the outset sketches a socially just society as…

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Modern slavery: The beast of our time

Since last week, popular SABC1 soapie Generations The Legacy has been running a storyline on human trafficking. The characters of Xolelwa and Lesedi attended a party where Lesedi’s drink was spiked and the two were then taken to Cape Town, where they were held with other young women and used as sex slaves. I am…

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