Sarah Britten

South Africans! Beware of the sea

Are you planning a seaside holiday in December? Are you thinking about putting on a swimming cossie and entering the water? Perhaps you should reconsider. I have been reading the Daily Sun since 2006, and amid all the stories about tokoloshes, 4-5s, muthi and sangomas, it was this piece of advice that stood out for…

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Amazing how a year can change a story

It’s August 15. I’m enjoying the Joburg spring weather at a table at one of my favourite haunts, Doppio Zero in Rosebank, typing up copy changes on a client newsletter in between forkfuls of salmon fishcake. On this day a year ago I spoke at TEDxJohannesburg. You can watch the video here. “In the end,…

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They can’t vote. We can. They need our help.

Are you voting next Wednesday? (I hope so.) Here’s something to think about. You’re not just voting for yourself — you’re voting on behalf of a whole lot of South Africans who can’t. Eighteen million of them, in fact — 37% of South Africans are under the age of 18, and they are the ones…

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An EFF beret, Nkandla and Freedom Day

I have mixed feelings about Freedom Day. A sense of relief is mixed with a sense of frustration. Optimism is muddled with ineffable loss of something different, something a little better than what we have now. I think Nomboniso Gasa said it far better than I on Facebook yesterday: Freedom, I think, is never complete….

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New weird adventures in internet dating

It was short and to the point. As was: Yes, I’ve recently had another crack at internet dating and yes, it can be depressing. Though this did make me smile: Right now, I probably know more about internet dating than anyone else, because recently I spent 10 days procuring four consecutive dates on one day….

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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?…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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‘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…

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