News/Politics

Limping from policy disaster to policy disaster

It’s unusual to see a government that is on the face of it so entrenched in power — a solid 62% of the national vote after two decades in office, eight out of nine provincial assemblies — in such disarray. Yet President Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress administration limps from disaster to disaster, full of…

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Homo naledi, Piltdown and a lesson in African prehistory

Professor Lee Berger and his team of scientists caused a huge stir when they unveiled the skeletal remains of not one, but at least 15 members of a previously unknown hominin species they’d discovered at the Cradle of Mankind. While the team had made no claim to have found the missing link between man and…

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#ParisAttacks #NigeriaAttack: Our outrage exposes our bias and that’s OK

I have never been one for the “save the rhino” campaign. Not that I have anything against the beasts, they are majestic and an integral part of wildlife across the continent. I will just not donate much money or any time to the cause. Does that make me a bad person. To some, yes. But…

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Gender violence and environmental injustice in the maquiladoras

Cost-benefit analyses are fairly central to mainstream economics. Even if one sets aside developments in economics of information or behaviour economics, which make room for irrationalities, social and psychological factors or asymmetries in information, economists will insist, and most of us may agree, that “things have to be paid for”. There is, however, a big…

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Paris attacks: ‘My entire body was trembling’

By Marianne Camerer The Paris police said stay put where you are, don’t go out unless absolutely necessary. The streets were starting to empty. My hotel was about a 20-minute walk away from the Odeon restaurant where my Parisian friend, Pierre, and I were having supper. Should we take a back street to my hotel,…

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The rainbow nation needs a paint job

By Franklyn Odhiambo Theorists say race is a representation of social differences in a code that defends interests and conflicts by referring to apparent physiological characteristics and the treatment of fixities from these references as social facts and thus empirical truths. They say too that racism and a race project occur when a group has…

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Dear Facebook, colour me unimpressed

On Saturday night I logged onto Facebook and noticed a curious pattern. Several of my friends (and people that Facebook tells me are my friends) had begun changing their profile pictures to a filtered version corresponding with France’s national flag colours: “Show your support for the people of Paris by temporarily updating your profile picture…

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Paris again: Has Huntington’s thesis been vindicated?

The recent events in Paris (not long after the Charlie Hebdo attacks), which have understandably shocked everyone who values peaceful interaction between people of different cultural orientations, will no doubt fuel renewed intercultural distrust instead. This is to be expected, particularly after reports that one of the attackers might have entered France a few weeks…

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Turkey’s duplicity in fight on terror

Within days following the horrific attacks perpetrated by Isis in Paris, the G20 leaders are meeting in Turkey to discuss a coordinated response to terrorism. As Turkey itself suffered its worst terrorist act in Ankara only one month ago, the security at this meeting will be unprecedented. Turkey, however, also has blood on its hands…

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We shall remember them…or maybe not

9/11. It’s a date seared into the world’s consciousness. Then there is 11/11. Known, variously around the world, as Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, or Poppy Day, or Veterans Day. Call it what you will. Although it predates the Twin Towers by almost a century, World War 1’s official end – the 11th hour of…

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