Media

The dangerous sentimentality of Alice Mann’s ‘Domestic Bliss’

A photographic series by a white employer on her domestic worker was always going to be problematic, but I didn’t know how problematic until I was presented with Alice Mann’s Domestic Bliss. In her artist statement she says: “This series of portraits depicts black, female domestic workers in the homes of their white employers in…

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Mogoeng: Give truth a sporting chance

You know the ol’ Mark Twain witticism: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes?” Well … I got a lesson in that this week. When I got to thinking about it (and I’ll get to it in a sec), this saying sprung to mind, and –…

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The only clown here is the cartoonist

Everywhere you go, some shit word will collide with you on the wrong side of the road. — Dambudzo Marechera, The Black Insider I have a profound respect for language. Words dream us into being and knit together the world around us. Think of this passage from your trusted King James Bible: “In the beginning…

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Time to have Faith in the ANC’s ‘good story’?

Keep your friends close but your enemies closer, is what the mafia don advised. It’s a Machiavellian strategy that President Jacob Zuma has embraced and is taking to absurd lengths with his new Cabinet. It is now a veritable army of ministers and deputy ministers that oversees South Africa’s government. This week’s oath taking ceremony…

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Lines of privilege

“I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.” These are the words that played over and over in my mind while I was at the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF) this past weekend. Two friends and I attended two sessions on the festival’s final…

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The National Drug Master Plan: More bark than bite?

In August of last year the department of social development released the latest incarnation of South Africa’s National Drug Master Plan, the NDMP 2013-2017. The national press responded with deafening silence. Considering, however, that it will play a central role in both defining and guiding the South African government’s responses to the production, distribution, and…

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Voting is not enough: Beyond the ‘good story/bad story’ debate

It is easy to be an extremist. Taking a blind, one-sided, all-or-nothing viewpoint on an issue allows you to skip the nuance, texture, and blurry greyness of debates. South Africa’s “good story/bad story” debate has politicians locking horns as the extremities in political speeches now surface. Poet Maya Angelou once mused that, “all great achievements…

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Semantic sorcery: Using words to bewitch, conjure and transfigure

For 21 years the writer Alan Moore has been a practicing magician. He says in this interview  that on his fortieth birthday, “rather than bore my friends by having anything as mundane as a mid-life crisis, I decided it might be more interesting to terrify them by going completely mad and declaring myself to be…

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Accusation and failure: The JM Coetzee – Paul Auster correspondence

In the correspondence between the writers JM Coetzee and Paul Auster in Here and Now (Letters: 2008-2011) we encounter a Coetzee largely unfamiliar to readers. Coetzee converses, even chats, in letters with another writer arguably of the same stature (certainly in Europe) in a manner sometimes bordering on the confessional. Coetzee is famous for his…

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The real face of violence in South Africa

By Dariusz Dziewanski Violence in South Africa is nothing new. Both the devastating effects of violence, and the risk factors underlying it, have existed before the Oscar Pistorius trial and will continue to exist after it. What will cease to exist is a media and public fascination with violence. As interest wanes, violence will no…

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