Vadim Nikitin

If climate change didn’t exist, we’d invent it

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like we’re living a low-budget rerun of our parents’ era? They had the Beatles. We got Lady Gaga. They had Paris 1968. We got Occupy. They had Vietnam. We got Iraq. They had Marlon Brando. We got … George Clooney. But there is one thing we’re just as good at as…

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Berlusconi falls: Is Zuma next?

The downfall of Silvio Berlusconi leaves Jacob Zuma the sole custodian of an exclusive club of self-made, charismatic populists with persistent legal issues. Not to mention leaving no-one to send him pyjamas! “There’s not really much difference between Zuma and Berlusconi,” emailed my friend Christiaan. “Both are dogged by allegations of corruption and sexual exploits….

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Incensed by the census: Has classification gone too far?

So the census has come and gone. Now the government knows where I live, that I am a white foreigner and own a DVD player, but no DStv (thanks, freelance journalist salary!) Though I certainly felt guilty ticking the box for “2 bedroom flat” when the first option said “shack”, it felt strangely anticlimactic to…

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The price of no more Gaddafis? No more Mandelas

Gaddafi may have lost his final battle last night, but South Africa lost the war. As the last country to stand with the embattled “father of the nation” in spite of the West’s determination to get rid of him, South Africa’s international reputation was dragged through the mud as harshly as Gaddafi’s bloodied corpse was…

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Blue-light buffoons: When frustrated drivers fight back

Google “blue light VIP” and click the “news” tab. Four stories top the list: 1. The DA’s Dianne Kohler Barnard’s parliamentary question regarding Malema’s alleged use of a VIP blue-light convoy; 2. The trial of VIP protection officer Hlanganani Nxumalo, accused of causing an accident by shooting a gun at a motorist; 3. Testimony by…

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SA’s (infuriating) corruption deficit

My friend Boris was distraught. He was clutching R2000’s worth of crumpled banknotes and muttering to himself. The money, it turns out, was a rejected bribe. He had never heard of anything like it: a driving test inspector — a police official! — refusing to sell a licence for cash! “R2000 is a month’s wages!”…

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Black liberals’ big DA-lemma: Race, ideology and breaking ranks

Who does Lindiwe Mazibuko think she is, running to become the DA’s new parliamentary leader? Let’s face it: the DA is not considered a white party just because of its history. Its liberal, economically right-of-centre ideology is also a large part of the problem. The truth is, if you vote left of centre in South…

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Reed Dance does many things well, fight HIV not one of them

By Vadim Nikitin Last weekend my friends and I lost our Reed Dance virginity. Prior to the deed, my white-liberal squeamishness mingled with a prurient male curiosity. Thousands of essentially naked young ladies having their maidenhood (and much more besides!) scrutinised by an ageing polygamist monarch? Charming, yes, but not generally my idea of a…

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SA, I hate to break it to you, you’re not so special

By Vadim Nikitin Dear South Africa, When I first arrived here, amid your familiar gaggle of beggars and black BMWs, I thought: “Have I landed in Moscow by mistake?” After several years of living away from Mother Russia, it felt like a homecoming. You and my country are like twins separated at birth, with one…

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