General

Transcendence: The clash of humanity and technology

Near the beginning of the 2014 thought-provoking science fiction film, Transcendence (directed by Wally Pfister2014), one of the main characters, Max Waters (Paul Bettany), walks into and through a deserted house into a little courtyard, bends down next to some sunflowers (the only healthy plants in the garden), thinking aloud to himself that “he” (his…

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Is it time to nationalise the Reserve Bank?

Every time the Monetary Policy Committee announces interest rate cuts, unions and some sectors of the population immediately jump up calling for the “nationalisation” of the Reserve Bank. One wonders if they do actually have a point. The recent appointment of Lesetja Kganyago as the Reserve Bank governor-designate has re-ignited the debate. During my studies…

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Old and unwanted

My home and I have a lot in common. We’re both old and unwanted. Although I will admit that my home is a lot more glamorous than me. And a lot older. Looking for a job and putting your house on the market at the same time can be very testing these days. Especially in…

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Joyce Vincent: The woman who lay dead in her flat for three years

It was the saddest story most people had ever heard of. In 2006, the skeletal remains of a London woman were found in a flat, where she had lived alone, and died three years earlier, unbeknownst to anyone. Due to the body’s advanced state of decomposition, the cause of death was unknown, as was the…

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Education: What’s the point of it all?

A few weeks ago, I read an article to my grade 11 students with the headline “Youth unemployment in South Africa – apartheid is alive and well”. My students are usually opinionated when it comes to certain issues, but not this time. They walked out of the classroom in silence. I noticed their quizzical looks…

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Why Africans cannot tell their own stories

African writing and publishing has been systematised to be an extension of Western or European thinking and imagination about the continent and its people. An African writer is not encouraged to come up with a new variation or interpretation of what happens in Africa. Over-simplistic as it may seem, I will tell you what kind…

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Listening in: An Open Book Festival review

I arrive at Fugard Annex 1 cradling a tumbler of red wine and find an empty seat on the second last row at the back. On stage is the host, Ferial Haffajee (editor of City Press), with her guest Maria Phalime, to talk about her memoir: Postmortem, The Doctor Who Walked Away. The room is…

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Nuclear power carries risks that are simply not worth taking

In the wake of President Jacob Zuma’s recent lone ranger escapade to Russia, evidently to secure Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assistance regarding South Africa’s energy needs — the status of which seems to be uncertain at present because of accusations and denials of him acting unilaterally flying to and fro — the question, whether one…

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There is an Adult World (or three) on my street

I live within walking distance of four Adult World stores. I counted. I find this strange as I do not consider my area to have red light district tendencies, but this is my current reality. A few weeks ago an Adult World opened up opposite Parliament, apparently for the umpteenth time as each time it gets closed…

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Celebrating our heritage beyond braais and traditional outfits

On September 24 we will once again celebrate Heritage Day in South Africa. This is a day on which South Africans across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions. Although the vision of this day resonates with me, in reality I experience it as incredibly superficial….

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