Brent Meersman

Why learn an African language?

A short version of this article appeared in the M&G print verison on May 24 2013. Every thinking white South African must have at least toyed with the idea of learning to speak an African language. Few however have made the effort. Nor it seems are their children learning. The department of basic education is…

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Zumangaung

After the release of the National Development Plan (NDP) late 2011, the alliterative 2012 seemed to hold much promise. But it became a year of talk shops. For the first time ever, the national policy and elective conferences of the ANC, SACP, and Cosatu all fell in the same year. There was no implementing the…

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The problem with Obama

Most of the world, with the notable exception of the miscalculating political leadership in Israel, is breathing a great sigh of relief that Barack Obama has prevailed over Mitt Romney. The vote for Romney was a negative vote, an anti-Obama vote. Of those voting for Romney many were not voting for the man, since it…

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After Marikana, is it the same country?

Disbelief followed by an irresistible urge to suppress; nausea, then denial. Like most people, I saw the Marikana massacre on television news. Unlike most South Africans, I saw it far away, in a hotel in Rome, and through the frustrating eyes of the foreign media. Suddenly, it seemed my country had turned into Syria. Days…

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Why the ANC will rule till Jesus comes

Perhaps you believe our democratic settlement was merely a ruse to get the old white regime to hand over power. When our living legend, Nelson Mandela, finally crosses the ultimate great divide, the whites will at last be driven into the sea. Perhaps you believe the TRC was a trade-off, and the Constitution an elite…

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White males, naked capitalism and ending economic apartheid

The country watches transfixed as the ANC creaks and groans like a wooden ship trapped in Antarctic ice. The ANC has long kept the lid on things, like some benevolent dictator might have done. But now the ship threatens to break apart. There goes the life boat. People cling to its splintered timbers hoping these…

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Sex and drugs and the Olympic roll

With the Summer Olympics in London approaching, most of the world will soon be captivated by the primitive spectacle of sport. National teams will compete for the irrational glorification of the nation state they represent, whatever their parentage, whether they were born in that country or elsewhere. The well-resourced nations will take most of the…

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Capitalism or socialism? We have no choice

It is not surprising that South Africans have trouble thinking straight. The poor live in a state of anxiety and insecurity, while high crime rates have led to a fortress mentality among the rich. Fear and anger permeate our opinions and shape our politics. The haves persist in the shadow of Zimbabwe’s ruin; the have-nots endure,…

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So let’s rewrite the Constitution

According to Thomas Jefferson, we have four years to go. He wrote to James Madison in 1789: “Every constitution then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years.” He had some funny ideas; let’s leave it at that. Constitution writing has improved since the days of America’s “founding fathers”, the process described in…

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Blade Nzimande, the new Juju

Communism, as formulated by Germans Marx and Engels in their industrialised continent far from the African situation, is seminally Eurocentric. When the South African Communist Party was founded by white, middle class manufacturers and merchants, disproportionately Jewish, Soviet leaders felt blacks weren’t yet advanced enough for Communism. During the 1921 Rand Revolt, the communists were…

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