Sarah Britten

The affirmative-action Kevin Bacon game

Back in the 1990s, the internet phenomenon du jour, the lolcat or Rickrolling of its day, was the Kevin Bacon game. Invented by a pair of college students, it was based on the premise of six degrees of separation: Kevin Bacon could be linked to anyone in Hollywood on the basis of films in which…

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New Zealand exacts revenge on Australia

In a week in which New Zealanders are still smarting from the defeat of the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup (during which a South African referee officiated), they do get to at least enjoy something approaching revenge. The Gruen Transfer is a popular TV show about advertising, featured, somewhat ironically, on the entirely ad-free…

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South African criminals have so much to teach the world

This weekend, news in Australia was enlivened by

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Where are the limits to free speech?

Jon Qwelane and Richard Catto have at least three things in common. For a start, they’re great at generating insults. So I’m quite fond of both of them from a purely selfish point of view; the more material the merrier. Secondly, they’re both good at pissing people off, and thirdly, neither of them sets much…

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Now here’s something I don’t miss about South Africa

Those readers who always keep a spare pair of undies handy, should they find it necessary to get their knickers in a knot, will no doubt find this post deliciously offensive. I want to state at the outset that this is not an argument, or a justification, or an excuse. It is merely an observation,…

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South Africa’s best PR resource

Living outside of South Africa and reading the local media, it’s always interesting to see what kind of coverage we get. Not a whole lot of news about South Africa reaches Australia; that much is obvious. The only time South African news did make it into the headlines was during the xenophobic violence that wracked…

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When your cellphone stops being your lifeline

I don’t know how meaningful this is. Perhaps it’s Freudian. But these days, I’ve started to forget an item that, back in South Africa, I was seldom — if ever — without. This morning, for instance, I switched on my cellphone after pressing the snooze button for the umpteenth time, and put it out ready…

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Thou shalt not be annoying, or: The pope is in town!

Travelling around Sydney promises to be fun, fun, fun this week. Half the roads in the CBD are being closed to traffic, bus services are being rescheduled and trains will be heaving with the sweaty bodies of both bad-tempered commuters and young Catholics fired with religious fervour. Yes, the pope is in town for World…

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Searching for meaning in a bottle of chutney

These days, it takes me a while to get around to reading the South African Sunday papers. So it was only today that I spotted this article on people going through the emigration application process. One anecdote stood out, an email from someone’s sister in Toronto begging for a few essentials: Please, I beg of…

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The company of animals

I have been living in Sydney for nearly two months now and, truth be told, I don’t really feel homesick at all. But there are times when the loneliness is almost unbearable. I knew that leaving my husband (who will only be able to join me later this year), pets and family would be hard,…

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