Jon Cayzer

The darkness ‘makes us interesting’

At an el fresco lunch, on a warm summer’s day in Cape Town a few years back, I reminded Margaret Thatcher of when a former junior minister had vindictively described former Conservative leader Michael Howard as having “something of the night about him”. “That’s what makes us interesting as human beings dear” she replied with…

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Yes they can! SA’s opposition-led government takes shape

Today President Jacob Zuma will, again, formally unveil his latest party trick: the presidential “hotline”. Our president, we know by now, has the magician’s knack of drawing the eye away from the trick. Should a fraction of his talent for getting himself out of trouble be deployed in some wider national purpose, South Africa would…

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Angels, demons and Benedict’s ambrosia

In the same week that the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict is to visit Britain, the Roman Catholic Church continues to be embroiled in scandal. In a provocative gesture, the Vatican lashed out that sex abuse is rife in other religions as it seeks to contain a paedophilia scandal which has cost the American church…

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The Dalai Lama will trump China — soon

China’s ban this week on tourists to Tibet — in the run-up to a Cold War era style military parade — will further strengthen the resolve of supporters of the Dalai Lama and, at first glance, the unrelated Chinese pro-democratic movement. Every time they restrict Tibet’s freedom, they, ironically, bring freedom’s day closer.    In…

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Good sex for life

I would like to offer my rule for good sex for life. But, first I would like to ask the hard question: why does sex play such a dominant role in South Africa — more than anywhere else I believe — and, more specifically, in our HIV/Aids discourse? (If you are not interested in this,…

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Buenos Aires! Tony Leon and the new(ish) Evita

Next Wednesday, Tony Leon’s friends will be bid him and Michal a fond adios as they depart for wonderful Argentina. I am seething with envy. So is Richard Calland. His M&G column “Tony, I want your job in Buenos Aries” two weeks ago was so full of animus, it demands a response — albeit a…

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McCauley: Zuma’s camerlengo is a threat to liberal democracy

Ray McCauley and the Rhema Church exercise an inappropriate influence over President Jacob Zuma and seek to change South Africa’s liberal democratic Constitution. Though the relationship between Zuma and McCauley is not institutionally formalised, the Rhema founded National Interfaith Leadership Council, as Mandy Rossouw’s rigorous investigative reporting last week reveals, plans to challenge the Constitution:…

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The curious case of the apartheid lawsuits

President Jacob Zuma is, as the cliche goes, the consummate politician. One of his most likeable qualities is that he is an instinctive politician. He feels it in the gut: his political antennae uncannily aligned to the electorate’s bandwidth. Clearly a “people’s person”, Zuma is an eminently likeable, charming, dapper dude. Refreshingly too, unlike most…

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Accountability is on the march

Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s inane giggle (testified to by those who have seen him up close and nervous) came straight to mind when I read the Presbyterian-sounding judgement of Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Secretary. The ruling paved the way for the stomach-churning scenes of Lockerbie bomber Mr al-Megrahi returning to a hero’s welcome in Tripoli….

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Exit Buthelezi? Real change must emanate on the ground

The images of demonstrators brandishing placards along Durban Club Place, the street that runs outside the IFP head office in Durban, evoke the atmosphere of the pre-1994 city and country where so much that mattered to the people on the ground had to be proclaimed on the periphery of the formal decision-making processes. Why do…

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