I Lagardien

Voting is not as simple as it is made out to be

So, I have registered to vote in South Africa for the first time. Who, then, shall I vote for? Sometimes the simplest questions are unbearably difficult to answer. The easy part is, of course, entering the polling booth, a domain situated behind a veil of secrecy, and enact perhaps the most atomistic ritual in liberal…

8 Comments Continue Reading →

Short story of the electrician and his apprentice

Sometimes, in this fractured and fractious society of ours, things actually work. When they do, I often pause to think: Why? How? What is it that makes some things work, all too infrequently, it should be said? Why can’t we make more things work, and other things work better? For now, I have no conclusions,…

12 Comments Continue Reading →

Madiba, this is why I am a public servant

I posted this on my Facebook profile, today. I figured I would share it widely on this worst of days. He held my hand for twenty minutes and told me of the vision he had for our country. No, I said, I was a journalist. It is all I ever wanted to be. I loved…

5 Comments Continue Reading →

In captivity, in life and approaching death, we stalk Mandela

In a previous incarnation (what seems like a lifetime ago in a distant land) I worked as a journalist; as a reporter, a news photographer, a sub-editor and then as a political correspondent. The brief period that I worked as a news photographer coincided, loosely, with some of the darkest days of the late apartheid…

5 Comments Continue Reading →

On systemic lawlessness in South Africa

What we have in South Africa today is systemic lawlessness. The parking meters around the mall I often visit have not worked in more than two months. The last time I visited, everyone seemed fully aware of the malfunction, but nobody seemed to care. Some people were quite gleeful about there being free parking. Others…

9 Comments Continue Reading →

US election 2012: Reconstituting a plutocracy

For the first time in more than three decades – since at least the election of Ronald Reagan – I have absolutely no interest in the outcome of the US presidential elections. This decline in interest has to do more with the fact that there is little difference, today, between Republican and Democrat candidates. The…

21 Comments Continue Reading →

Student radio not what it used to be

In many parts of the world student radio stations are bastions of progressivism and staffed by active, engaged students who lead discussions against injustice and stand up for persecuted and vulnerable groups and communities. In the US, where I spent several years teaching at university, radio stations typically get involved in progressive causes: LGBT issues,…

18 Comments Continue Reading →

Pantomime of the parvenu

South Africa is a particularly fractious society. Rarely does a week pass without something stirring the country’s intellectuals from their silences. The noise generated by this fractiousness says more, perhaps, about South Africa’s collective neurosis, than it does about anything else. What is amusing to behold, though, is the theatrics of intellectuals that play out…

23 Comments Continue Reading →

Too Much Information: Where does it all go?

In an age where identity theft is rife, it is increasingly difficult to reconcile the fact that almost everywhere you go in the country, one is expected to provide detailed and quite crucial information about yourself. Moving between the National Library and a university library, over several weeks recently, I had to provide my identity…

8 Comments Continue Reading →

There’s something odious about academic publishing

There is something terribly wrong about peer-reviewed scholarship and about academic publishing in general. It resembles an exclusive club of knowledge production where new knowledge is circulated among an elite group of scholars who confirm each other’s prejudices and biases and then pat each other on the back. In some ways, once new knowledge is…

47 Comments Continue Reading →
Page 1123...