Equality

The river runs dry: Gender equality in South Africa

In 1789 France’s Ancien Regime, its monarchy and traditions, were swept away by the tide of the French Revolution — only for these laws and customs to reappear some years later. Struck by this, Alexis de Tocqueville remarked that it was as if a river had plunged underground and resurfaced a distance away, the river…

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Education reform: Raising the floor or raising the ceiling?

“Wealthy parents choose [private schools] for their children, at least in part, as a risk-management strategy. If you look at the list of successful [private school] alumni, you’ll see some impressive names on it … but for a school that has been producing highly-privileged graduates for many years, it boasts very few world changers. Traditionally,…

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The death of international development

International development is dying; people just don’t buy it anymore. The West has been engaged in the project for more than six decades now, but the number of poor people in the world is growing, not shrinking, and inequality between rich and poor continues to widen instead of narrow. People know this, and they are…

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Can we please talk about the sexism on Matt Taylor’s shirt?

So there’s this scientist, right? And he and his team do something amazing. They land a satellite on a comet. How cool is that?! Possibly the coolest thing since Felix Baumgartner decided that skydiving is too mainstream. But that shirt. Eish, that shirt. The scientist, Matt Taylor, wore a shirt plastered with drawings of semi-naked…

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Climate change: We have passed the 11th hour

In 2007, Leonardo DiCaprio — one of the few so-called celebrities in the world who seems to care about matters ecological — produced a disturbing film on runaway climate change called The 11th Hour, directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners. Like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth before it, it was a wake-up call,…

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‘Africans are so simple,’ he said

By Rachel Nyaradzo Adams Not long ago I was in a lobby in a Ghana hotel and overheard a western-sounding white male utter the following assessment to a listener on his phone: “The people in Africa are so simple, I can do whatever I like here. They never challenge me” (paraphrased). Stunned but not surprised…

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The untold history lesson…

I have spent a good two hours writing this exam paper and am relieved to be finally constructing a good response, with just over an hour to go before “pens down”. No later than my relief came, the intercom rings, and with that my answer vanishes. “The school is requested to please stop writing, stand…

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The unfinished business of the TRC

Acting on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), in 2003 the President’s Fund was set up to provide comprehensive reparations programmes for victims of apartheid crimes. It was intended to restore and repair the damaged lives of those who stood for justice against the apartheid regime. This was to be done through…

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On being mis-recognised: Julian Hewitt and the angry black woman

People think I’m an angry black woman. People who know me well, know that this is a misrecognition of me. I’m a nice person. I hate foot-in-mouth interactions: that awkward moment when someone says something they shouldn’t have said, and someone else has to salvage the situation or we all walk away. I save face….

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Gareth Cliff: Who do you think you are?

The funeral of slain soccer star Senzo Meyiwa was barely over when polemic radio jockey Gareth Cliff took to the Twitterverse to ask who was paying for the funeral. Another South African is lowered into the ground after an act of violence, another family mourns, and another story of our failed collective freedom is written…

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