Lifestyle

African women, we’re not exotic, just hot

Last month I had the pleasure of attending an African Women’s Development Fund and Femrite creative non-fiction writing workshop for African women writers in Entebbe, Uganda. The women I met there were amazing for two main reasons. Their passion, intelligence and drive made me question mine (apparently watching Come Dine With Me is not a…

8 Comments Continue Reading →

Tanya Poole and the paradox of ‘being-human’

The psychologist William James, brother of Henry James, the well-known novelist, once exhorted people to “Begin to be now what you will be hereafter”. In similar vein, Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed that one should “Become who you are” — a formulation that drives the paradox of being-human home even more clearly than James’s words. At least,…

2 Comments Continue Reading →

JAG: How to leave an impression in Johannesburg

Over a hundred years ago, a visionary couple founded an art museum in Johannesburg that was so ahead of its time, that a century later, its public beneficiaries still haven’t quite woken up to the world-class treasure it contains. For this is neither a private collection nor a visiting exhibition, and never has been. It…

2 Comments Continue Reading →

512 Hours with Marina Abramovic, the Serbian goddess of the Serpentine

It seemed we had picked a good time to visit performance artist Marina Abramovic’s 512 Hours at The Serpentine Gallery in London. It was a bright sunny day, in the early morning and the crowds were sparse. We had been anticipating long and winding queues. Not today. We went straight in. To what exactly? We…

1 Comment Continue Reading →

How much money is enough?

A R12 500 a month salary, much discussed in business, economic and political circles at present, is the wage fought for by striking platinum miners in the longest and most damaging strike in our country’s history. The recent agreement puts that figure within sight. I couldn’t live on R12 500, and I’m sure most readers on this…

34 Comments Continue Reading →

A lesson from the zoo biscuit in declining quality creep

Do you still remember the zoo biscuits of your childhood, as I do? These were special treats, handed out as rewards for good behaviour or on special occasions. There was a ritual around their consumption, first a delicate negotiation among siblings as to who got the lion and who the ostrich. Then there was the…

18 Comments Continue Reading →

Litter, a social ill with big implications

I cannot count the amount of times I have walked around either at university, at work, or even in shopping malls and have seen people callously, without thought, chuck a piece of paper on the floor. There is not even a hint of resignation. The wrapper comes off the chocolate, cigarettes, or other random item…

8 Comments Continue Reading →

Finding nirvana in the bosom of the mountain spirit

It is our second visit to Korea, less than two years after the first, and my initial (favourable) impressions of the country have been confirmed on more than one occasion already. I have been invited here by a colleague to present a paper at a conference on science fiction, but because we wanted to investigate…

43 Comments Continue Reading →

Vapid political posturing…

We all do it, some more so than others; but everyone has at some point, at least once, googled the name of a person that they haven’t seen in a while. It’s a strange, almost intrusive habit that we of the internet age have picked up. In more primitive times such individuals would have simply…

3 Comments Continue Reading →

A sangoma should lead prayer at president’s inauguration

Every five years the residents of Pretoria are treated to the likes of Robert Mugabe and his rather peculiar scarecrow-like amandla fist-pump. Every five years our eyes are trained on that Herbert Baker monument that is the Union Buildings. Every five years we put on an august show that is a representative manifesto of our…

11 Comments Continue Reading →