General

Why ‘freedom’ sells

Having lived in China for seven years I have my own kind of sorrow, mixed with the tenderness of memory when I see a small Christian community deep inside China harassed for their faith. The leader, pastor Zhang, was imprisoned for 12 years and his family was in danger of losing their lives before making…

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Capitalism: Why we live in a ‘schizo society’

What a pleasure it is to be in Istanbul — probably the most sensuous city in the world — for a conference on one of the most innovative and profound thinkers of the 20th century, if not in the history of philosophy, Gilles Deleuze (whose extensive collaborative work with Felix Guattari makes it imperative to…

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Should we ban boys-only schools?

I’m often accused of making sweeping statements in my writing; as if one were always required to produce a table full of numbers and statistics to underpin one’s thoughts. On the contrary, theory is grounded in thinking – not just numbers and balance sheets and calculations. However, there is often an interesting intersection between what…

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Eben Venter’s ‘Horrelpoot’, fiction and SA’s future

Anyone who has read Eben Venter’s gripping novel, Horrelpoot (Clubfoot; Tafelberg 2006), would know that it is no easy read despite being written eloquently and engagingly. What I mean is that it is a harrowing book to read. I have read the original Afrikaans version but apparently it is available in English too. Furthermore, anyone…

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512 Hours with Marina Abramovic, the Serbian goddess of the Serpentine

It seemed we had picked a good time to visit performance artist Marina Abramovic’s 512 Hours at The Serpentine Gallery in London. It was a bright sunny day, in the early morning and the crowds were sparse. We had been anticipating long and winding queues. Not today. We went straight in. To what exactly? We…

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Should local writers always set their books in South Africa?

Along with spending too much time on Facebook and perusing the sidebar of shame on the Daily Mail website, deciding where to set one’s novel provokes feelings of intense guilt in South African writers. When writers get together, either socially or on formal discussion panels, they often confess to feeling conflicted about where to set…

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Pistorius and the unfinished gun ownership debate

When Oscar Pistorius first entered the courtroom where he stood accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the case raised great interest. It was followed online, on radio and even watched on TV, where it received a lot of coverage. While some see the spotlight put on gun ownership by the trial as nothing but…

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Litter, a social ill with big implications

I cannot count the amount of times I have walked around either at university, at work, or even in shopping malls and have seen people callously, without thought, chuck a piece of paper on the floor. There is not even a hint of resignation. The wrapper comes off the chocolate, cigarettes, or other random item…

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Finding nirvana in the bosom of the mountain spirit

It is our second visit to Korea, less than two years after the first, and my initial (favourable) impressions of the country have been confirmed on more than one occasion already. I have been invited here by a colleague to present a paper at a conference on science fiction, but because we wanted to investigate…

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Vapid political posturing…

We all do it, some more so than others; but everyone has at some point, at least once, googled the name of a person that they haven’t seen in a while. It’s a strange, almost intrusive habit that we of the internet age have picked up. In more primitive times such individuals would have simply…

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