General

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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These Gaza days

Dear Bibi You slaughter my people at your gate like dogs You deny their civility and call them terrorists You claim they are combatants on your blogs You hold up your soldiers as heroes for killing innocents You parade around like you’re not wholly corrupt You shout the odds on Iran like a expert pundit…

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Kingsolver’s narrative indictment of colonisation: The Poisonwood Bible

I have written about Barbara Kingsolver’s (and other figures’, such as Salman Rushdie’s) novelistic art here before and even referred to The Poisonwood Bible cursorily — but recently the effect of colonisation on the inhabitants of certain continents (in this case Africa) has occupied my attention afresh. Hence this post, specifically on Kingsolver’s masterpiece, The…

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Marx at 200: As relevant as ever

Today (5 May 2018) is the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth in the German city of Trier, and all over the world people are celebrating his contribution to our self-understanding through the political, economic and social theories he (sometimes with his friend and colleague, Friedrich Engels) penned during his lifetime. The anniversary celebrations are…

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We want a better quality

Finally it has happened that everyone is trying to hold public representatives to a high standard. Finally government, political parties, civil society and armchair critics are all on the same page. Without specifically mentioning anyone, let us be quite certain of the major features which have been presented: It’s about politicians not doing their jobs…

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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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On politicians without humour

In John Fowles’s novel, Daniel Martin (Triad Grafton, 1978), there is a wonderfully revealing passage as far as humourless politicians are concerned – the type that justifiably comprises the butt of comedians’ jokes. Dan and Jane (an old friend and one-time lover who accompanies him on a work-related trip to Egypt) are at a dinner-party…

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Julian Assange and injustice

Some time recently, someone sent me a WhatsApp message contrasting the political positions of Julian Assange of Wikileaks and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Underneath photographs of these two gentlemen, respectively, they read as follows: “Hi, I’m Julian Assange. I give private information on corporations & gov’t to you for free and the media calls me…

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Inxeba reveals the paradox of our own wounds

I have been gay for as long as memory serves me. I vividly remember  spending the bulk of my formative years vacillating between denial and self-hate; from a young age I somehow knew that acting on my romantic feelings would come at the unbelievably high cost of shaming my family, my friends, and my culture. It…

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