News/Politics

Alternatives to coal-fired electricity exist but there are no alternatives for water

By Penny-Jane Cooke The last quarter of 2015 saw five out of the nine provinces — KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the North West, including the breadbasket of the country, the Free State — declared as water disaster areas and by extension disaster areas for agriculture. Somehow, the linkages between how the intensive water use for coal-fired…

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‘Decolonisation’, the new ideology

Everywhere one looks today in South Africa you find a new imperative: “Decolonise!” In certain academic quarters it has evidently already attained the level of a new ideology, where academics are expected to “decolonise” the courses they teach (and presumably the articles they submit for publication as well). What astonishes me is that academics do…

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Farewell Cuba

Barack Obama is in Havana tonight. What a sentence. From here in the belly of the beast, surrounded by the army, the army reserve, the navy, the air force, the marines, the coast guard, the national guard, nuclear warheads, stealth bombers, aircraft carriers, attack helicopters, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security, the National Security Administration,…

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Is there a ‘reasonable person’ in charge of SA?

This week President Jacob Zuma went to Parliament to account to the people, as constitutionally a president periodically perforce must. The key issue was the role that his political benefactors, the Gupta clan, allegedly play in ministerial appointments. What a nation agog over a series of revelations from within African National Congress ranks had hoped…

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Please lead ANC NEC, please lead now

Oliver Tambo said “The fight for freedom must go on until it is won; until our country is free and happy and peaceful as part of the community of man, we cannot rest”. Tambo was right. The fight in South Africa was for freedom and for happiness and peace. Since he said those words we…

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We need to break the one sacred rule of the global economy

Scholars are still trying to figure out why the society on Easter Island collapsed, ending the people famed for their construction of towering stone heads. One interesting theory holds that it had to do with the heads themselves. Somehow, the islanders decided that the giant heads represented power and success, so different groups competed to…

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The horror of how our children die, I see it every day

Last week we heard of a teenager who went missing while running with her dog and family in Cape Town and was found murdered a few hours later. It’s a terrible story, the stuff of every parent’s absolute worst nightmare. We have all briefly lost sight of our children in a supermarket, at the park,…

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Men will never stop hurting us

As a child, I thought that grownups weren’t afraid of anything. They killed spiders. They didn’t believe in monsters and ghosts. They weren’t scared of dogs or the dark or the deep end of the swimming pool. Of all the disappointing discoveries of adulthood, the realisation that grownups are in fact very frightened very often…

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Zimbabwe: The triumph of hope over experience

Southern African politics is a rambunctious affair. It’s far removed from the predictable and safe parameters of the established Anglophone democracies against which we surreptitiously measure ourselves. It’s a bit like being slung into a tumble dryer with a sack of razor blades. One accepts that one is going to incur nicks and cuts, with…

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Foucault and the courage of truth

The last course that Michel Foucault presented at the Collége de France in 1984, when he was already quite weak (he died in June of that year, and taught until March), was on The Courage of Truth – later published with that title (Palgrave Macmillan 2011; Kindle edition). Although I cannot do justice to it…

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