Sarah Britten

What’s your booze culture?

It’s Friday, the day on which – Phuza Thursday notwithstanding – many South Africans start drinking in earnest and, if some statistics are to be believed, don’t sober up until Monday morning rolls around. I was reminded the other night of how uncomfortable I feel around drunk people. Now I’m not talking pleasantly tanked and…

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The mystery of the birds with the weird feet

It’s something that’s bothered me for years. Oh, I forget about it and obsess over other things, like why all the women in CSI Miami have uniformly fabulous long hair when they work with evidence from crime scenes (have they not heard of the scrunchie?) and that weird Moroccan dude who walks around Sandton City…

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Dear men, please explain?

I’m a born and bred Jo’burger, so I take security seriously. This also applies to matters of the heart. When it comes to feeling anything for anyone, I have taken comprehensive measures to prevent anyone from getting to me. There’s the boom and the ADT guard, the four-metre wall, the electric fencing, razor wire, beams,…

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South Africa needs a new national myth

I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately. The young tech entrepreneurs and artists I met at Culture Shift. The 40-something filmmaker, writer and consultant I first encountered at an idea orgy (where ideas mate to produce new ideas). The marketing guru inspired by the potential for technology to inspire new social movements. The…

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Why this pain is worth it

Sneezing. Laughing. Also running, yoga and sitting. This is a list of activities made more challenging when one has a bruised coccyx. How, you ask, does one get a bruised coccyx in the first place? Mainly by bouncing hard in the saddle while learning to canter — as I did the other morning. I’ve been…

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Back in my day

Life was simpler in the 1970s. Those were the days when my mother dressed me in brown corduroy and made me eat Jungle Oats, and Maya the Bee was on TV. Things have changed since then. Yes, there is the obvious stuff like no apartheid and iPads and cars that can park themselves. But what…

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12 socially awkward situations

I am a social disaster. Despite my love of speaking (show me a stage and I long to be on it), I am painfully shy. I find social events excruciating. That’s why I have a drink first and sober up while everyone except the designated drivers gets steadily plastered. Sources of anxiety are numerous and…

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The perfect way to celebrate Mugabe’s birthday

This week, there was a significant birthday. Possibly the most significant birthday in the world judging by the amount of coverage it got. The English might have a public holiday for the birthday of the Queen, but no octogenarian’s longevity continues to fascinate the world quite like that of Robert Mugabe. The spectre of Zimbabwe…

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Why I loved Material — and you will too

I hate crying at the movies. Always have. For some reason, I feel deeply uncomfortable about showing emotion, even if nobody else can see it in the dark. And yet the first time I saw Material I cried. That’s the sign of a good movie: a story that can move the audience to laugh and…

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A letter to my Valentine

Weren’t expecting that one, were you? I’m the anti-love, anti-relationship cynic, right? Well, not quite. So here goes: Dear Valentine, To be honest, I wouldn’t say you’re the love of my life. I’ve known you were there, and I’ve known, theoretically, that you meant something to me. When others said you were gay or misguided,…

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