General

Explaining the DA’s shadow cabinet reshuffle

Last week, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen announced small changes to the DA’s shadow cabinet. Most notably senior DA MP, and Wilmot James’ unsuccessful leadership campaign manager, David Maynier, was moved from defence to finance; while newcomer, Michael Cardo, was moved to economic development. Gareth van Onselen, a fierce critic of incumbent DA leader Mmusi…

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You say I’m not African – but that’s where I’m from?

… And my parents were also born and raised in South Africa? Those were the questions running through my mind during an encounter with a senior member of the English Department, Julia*, at a university here in Auckland where I was studying in 2014. We were pleasantly discussing possible PhD courses I could look at…

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Polarised debate on Charleston hate crime, gun control leads nowhere

By now the story has reverberated around the world, that on the evening of June 17 a 21-year-old white man, Dylann Storm Roof, entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (the oldest black church in the South) in Charleston, South Carolina, and, about an hour later, shot and killed nine of the 12 worshipers gathered there…

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Florence, Siena and the ‘space of flows’

We are in Florence for a conference, in what is to my mind the most enchanting part of Italy, namely Tuscany. Because I have always been interested in art and architecture, and in principle we don’t take taxis, but walk everywhere we go, we have already seen the most beautiful buildings and urban landscapes, framed…

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Con Air: African Escape

We open on SA President Jacob Zuma seeing off Sudan President Omar al-Bashir at Air Force Base Waterkloof. They kiss, but in a friendly way. Al Bashir lifts his robe, boards a plane and takes off. Murder accused Christopher Panayiotou and Zwelethu Mthethwa run onto the tarmac. PANAYIOTOU: What about us? ZUMA: No, not you….

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South Africa and other orphaning nations (Jani Allan Part II)

Even now, a quarter of a century later, here in Auckland, New Zealand, I have mentioned to other South Africans Jani Allan’s newly released memoir Jani Confidential and they respond, “so what was she doing with that idiot ET (Eugene Terre’Blanche)?” “For God’s sake,” I reply, “give the woman a break”. As Jani Allan says…

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What is a ‘rhizome’ in Deleuze and Guattari’s thinking?

People who do a lot of gardening probably know what a “rhizome” is in botanical terms. It is a kind of plant (including the prolific “wandering Jew”) that pops out of the ground over an expanding area, giving the impression that many separate plants are emerging in close proximity to one another, but in fact…

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Jani Allan: Abuse and disgrace (Part I)

“My mother instilled in me from an early age that sex was the inevitable result of a man getting the better of you.” This is one of the many chuckle-worthy lines in “has been” famous South African columnist Jani Allan’s memoir, Jani Confidential. The book has glittering heaps of these verbal gems, which alone make…

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Please, mind your language

By Yolanda Mitchell Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms. This is a core value on which the Constitution is founded. Who doesn’t want to live in a country founded on such a noble base? It sounds like the Promised Land after all — especially to as many…

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Anticipating reality – Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon

Although the title of Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon (Pan Books, 2001) creates the impression that it belongs to the fantasy genre (not really my cup of tea), one soon learns that you are dealing with science fiction. And you know that you are dealing with a master of science fiction when many of the…

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