Sarah Britten

In defence of Oscar’s memory

“I don’t recall, M’lady.” “I don’t know, M’lady.” “I’m not sure, M’lady.” The refrain now familiar from the Oscar Pistorius trial has entered popular culture and found its way into memes. The underlying assumption: that Oscar’s memory loss is very convenient, and quite likely a cover up. Because nobody has a memory that bad, right?…

6 Comments Continue Reading →

Insults and the imagination

This is a short speech I prepared for the opening of the Time of the Writer festival in Durban. My name is Sarah, and I collect insults. I’ve written three collections of South African insults, and I don’t think I’ll ever run out of material for more. In the research I’ve done, I’ve found that…

3 Comments Continue Reading →

Breaking my Bullard silence

Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out I wanna see you be brave. There I was driving along Witkoppen with Jacaranda on the radio — for once, I was a classic shooter curtain cliché — and those words struck home. So here I am, being brave — or stupid — and…

17 Comments Continue Reading →

Sanral’s new best friends

Once upon a time, e-tolls galvanised society. Like no other cause before or since, the hatred of e-tolls cut across class, politics and race. They were a superb nation-building tool, something I reflected on here. But things have changed. When e-tolls were finally implemented in early December, the battle was lost. Quite possibly the war,…

20 Comments Continue Reading →

‘The Giver’ and the listener

“Others pull you down because they’re beneath you already.” Fifteen-year-old Melikhaya Mdubeki explains to the group as we walk up the rutted road in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay. He’s one of the star pupils of the Lalela Project, an arts education programme aimed at children living in extreme poverty. “Oh wow,” says the movie…

2 Comments Continue Reading →

How I got Bert le Clos to sing for me

Last Friday I spent more than R4 500 of my own money to get four seconds of swimming star Chad le Clos’s father Bert le Clos singing for this video. I phoned Bert, booked a flight to Durban, went down the next day, hired a car, drove to Pinetown, missed my turn, found Bert, got the…

9 Comments Continue Reading →

The eloquence of the fake signing man

I won’t lie. A lot of this is bloody funny (read some of the best jokes about it here). The fake sign language interpreter is now a cultural phenomenon, featuring on major US comedy shows and catalysing a new meme. And yet, at the heart of this, is a terrible sadness. I felt tremendous pity…

37 Comments Continue Reading →

Where were you when Madiba died?

I spent most of the day after Madiba died lying on my back watching tributes on CNN and Sky. That’s because I spent the entire day at the dentist, and he distracts his patients from the drilling by giving them TV to look at. I arrived at 8.30am and his work, installing 11 crowns —…

8 Comments Continue Reading →

Are you allergic to debt?

To be allergic to debt is an inconvenient and annoying affliction. It’s worse than being lactose intolerant or breaking out in hives when you accidentally ingest a strawberry. I do have a credit card, and a cellphone contract, but other than that, I don’t borrow money. I’ve just developed a credit education campaign for a…

4 Comments Continue Reading →

A small story of kindness

“My name’s Martin,” he said as we crossed Bree Street. It was around 9.20pm on Thursday night, and dark. In La Parada, the beautiful people were busy eating tapas and enjoying wine. I was neither beautiful nor successful; I had lost my parking ticket and I was a mess. A lost ticket costs R90 at…

26 Comments Continue Reading →
Page 1123...102030...