Jaco Barnard-Naude

Yes, but do we live human dignity?

Much has been said, is still being said and will continue to be said about the reconstitution of the South African legal, political and, perhaps most importantly, ethical order on the basis of the ideal of human dignity. This reconstitution of course took place and form by way of the adoption of the post-apartheid Constitutions…

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Mandela in reflection: The laws of admiration

In 1986 the French thinker Jacques Derrida published a text in a collection of protest tributes that he co-edited with Mustapha Tlili entitled For Nelson Mandela. The English translation of Derrida’s tribute is titled “The laws of reflection: Nelson Mandela, in admiration”. I have chosen to subvert this title by way of re-ordering its words….

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Protest and phatic communication: An account of a South African conversation

Protest and phatic communication: An account of a South African conversation

“Are you going to write about this week’s protests?”, the writer asks as the waitress takes away his empty plate from the table in the Newlands restaurant where they have been enjoying a sunny Cape Town Sunday lunch. “No”, the professor of private law replies tersely. “What’s the use?”, he thinks to himself, before continuing:…

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In memoriam: Justice Pius Langa

I As I write it, I realise that I have chosen the title of this post deliberately, trite as it may be. In memory. Is that not where we are? And what we are in mourning? Memories. And, moreover, of justice. Those who know, tell us that mourning is the business of memory. In mourning…

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Michel Houellebecq and the dialectics of nihilism

Michel Houellebecq’s monumental novel, Atomised, is one of the most honest, brutal and haunting books of the 21st century when it comes to a consideration of the destructive dialectics of society. Through the main characters, Bruno and Michel, Houellebecq makes his argument that humanity today has arrived at the edge of the abyss, that there…

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The spectrality of Ayn Rand

‘Ayn Rand’s fascination for male figures displaying absolute, unswayable determination of their Will, seems to offer the best imaginable confirmation of Sylvia Plath’s famous line, “Every woman adores a Fascist”.’ With this controversial sentence, Slavoj Zizek mounts his defence of what he calls the “actuality” of Ayn Rand. Zizek reads the above sentence as a…

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‘Racism without races’

In the late eighties French thinker Etienne Balibar wrote an essay in which he considered the question of “neo-racism”, that is, a form of racism that is distinct from earlier models. Balibar’s point of departure is a description of racism as inscribing itself in “practices (forms of violence, contempt, intolerance, humiliation and exploitation), in discourses…

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Contract law, good faith and the Constitution

On November 17, the Constitutional Court delivered its judgment in the case of Everfresh Market Virginia v Shoprite Checkers. The case involved the validity of a clause in a lease agreement between the parties. The relevant clause provided that the lessee would have a “right to renew” the lease if it “faithfully and timeously” fulfilled…

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I am an apartheid beneficiary. I am not proud of it

Background: Last Sunday I published a letter in the Afrikaans Sunday paper Rapport addressing one Dr Marie Heese. Heese had written a scathing attack of my colleague Prof Pierre de Vos’s views on the so-called T-option language policy at Stellenbosch University. De Vos’s commentary was sparked by a motion by a doctoral candidate in law…

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Zuma reignites separation of powers debate

Yesterday, President Jacob Zuma used the joint sitting of Parliament — convened to bid farewell to former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo and welcome newly appointed Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng — to reiterate the ANC’s views on the separation of powers. According to a report in Business Day, Zuma said “we” “wish to reiterate our view…

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