General

Dear Greece

It is not the best of times. I’m not sure what the problem is over there, but it seems to be affecting everyone. Angela Merkel is angry, your own prime minister looks a little bewildered and the people of Greece, you, are hurting most of all. As far as I can tell your banks let…

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What makes diversity dialogues relevant and meaningful?

By Curwyn Mapaling “We were like best friends and yet we just met that day. It’s so cool that you could come from such different places in the world and still form that kind of connection.” What happens when American post-grad counselling students from Indiana start talking to a bunch of post-grad psychology students from…

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Crime, capital and economic apartheid

In the book Blank: Architecture, Apartheid and After (edited by H Judin and I Vladislavic; David Philip Publishers, Cape Town 1998), Lindsay Bremner’s contribution, “Crime and the emerging landscape of post-apartheid Johannesburg” (pp. 48-63) uncovered the roots of racial segregation in the origins of Johannesburg as a gold mining camp in 1886. During the apartheid…

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Losing in straight sets to the truth about Mandela

Just having tea this morning in Illinois, US, checking out the early rounds at Wimbledon on ESPN, one of the American all-day sports TV channels. Turns out it is 40 years since a black man won Wimbledon for the first and so far the only time — Arthur Ashe in 1975. Yay Arthur. Three of…

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Gardening, religion and the magic of sex

I shove my filthy hands into the soil and claw out roots and weeds, savouring the mess. A waft of mulch, half-dead weeds, decomposed worms and God knows what sweetens the air. Soon this muddle will be in order: scooped out flowerbeds surrounded by clipped squares of lawn which I will lay down on this…

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Wanted: Fathers who can put little boys together

Yehoshua Kurland tells an anecdotal story about a lonely boy who waited eagerly for his father to return from work so he could play ball with him. But dad would arrive late, tired and often with more work to do on his laptop. The boy would persist and pester his father. In frustration one day,…

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The pointless hypocrisy of pretending to be homeless

The eThekwini Municipality recently offered “an opportunity of a lifetime” for residents to sleep on the streets – for a night. Along with I-Care, a non-profit helping homeless kids, the purpose was to give people a taste of the hardships experienced by being homeless. “Participants will spend one evening with homeless people of the city…

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Explaining the DA’s shadow cabinet reshuffle

Last week, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen announced small changes to the DA’s shadow cabinet. Most notably senior DA MP, and Wilmot James’ unsuccessful leadership campaign manager, David Maynier, was moved from defence to finance; while newcomer, Michael Cardo, was moved to economic development. Gareth van Onselen, a fierce critic of incumbent DA leader Mmusi…

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You say I’m not African – but that’s where I’m from?

… And my parents were also born and raised in South Africa? Those were the questions running through my mind during an encounter with a senior member of the English Department, Julia*, at a university here in Auckland where I was studying in 2014. We were pleasantly discussing possible PhD courses I could look at…

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Polarised debate on Charleston hate crime, gun control leads nowhere

By now the story has reverberated around the world, that on the evening of June 17 a 21-year-old white man, Dylann Storm Roof, entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (the oldest black church in the South) in Charleston, South Carolina, and, about an hour later, shot and killed nine of the 12 worshipers gathered there…

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