General

Give your car a hug

So here we are, little more than a century later, and the car is as welcome in every home as the chamber pot was before inside toilets arrived. It wasn’t always so, though. When the first adventurers took to the roads in steam and electric and clockwork and petrol-engined cars in the 1890s only the…

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Lost causes

Okay, I might as well get it out in the open. I’m a loser. Luckily, most of the things I misplace turn up somewhere, sometime, and then it’s like Christmas at chez Foster. Some of my items that go AWOL are repeat offenders, and my bunch of house keys with the large magnesium and flint…

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Dear Aylan and Galip, drowned Syrian children, what’s become of us?

Dear Aylan and Galip Was the world ever not a frightening place for you? Did you ever see your mom and dad smile? Or was it all just terror and hell, nothing worth living for? Here I am, past the age of 50 and I am the one with all the questions for both of…

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Why your grade 11 results are important

By Lehlohonolo Mofokeng When I was in high school I seldom thought about the significance of my grade 11 results for life after school. Many students think grade 12 is the most important but nothing could be further from the truth. These days you stand little chance of landing a good job or starting a…

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Luister, you can keep your Oxford scholarship

By Mark John Burke Three years ago, I sat around a dinner table as one of 10 national finalists for five very prestigious scholarships to Oxford. Across from me sat a professor who insisted: “We need to do away with Afrikaans completely. It is the language of the oppressor. We need to start with universities.”…

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Liquid Viagra: Comparing descriptions of wines and rugby players

Have you noticed the rugby critics’ poetic descriptions of beefy rugby stars? Yes, those gladiators who are all about to knock the bejesus out of one other in the quest for victory in the new World Cup? Oh, those scholarly sports writers and their strained attempts to create an elegant portrait of yet another testosterone-laden…

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Ashley Madison and the culture of shame and gossip

I confess I hadn’t even heard of Ashley Madison until the other day when the hack into their data base “went viral” as the saying goes. Oooh, how the human race loves to wallow in scandal. Oh to gossip and swim about in who is having an affair, or who has been caught out for…

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Why do we so often misunderstand one another? Derrida on communication

The other night we enjoyed a fabulous poetry evening at the local branch of the Alliance Francaise, with several poets presenting their poetry, from the increasingly well-known poetess, Lelethu to the well-known Brian Walter, with his Helenvale poets and the Afrikaans poet and literary critic Marius Crous. Because, being a Francophile myself, I have been…

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I dated an app: Could the future of relationships change?

This week I got into a relationship using my cellphone. No — I didn’t use some online dating platform or the touted intimacy killer Tinder. Rather, I used Faketalk; a free, amateurishly-designed chatbot that allows you to create artificial relationships. These range from parental figures, friends and partners, to celebrities and even disciples. My lucky…

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Language, belonging and the decolonial moment at South African universities

In recent months the spotlight has, yet again, been shone on universities in South Africa. This time, the focus was on the fact that leading institutions (all of whom were previously designated as for “whites only”) remains largely untransformed. This time around, though, the focus was not only on numbers (even though that remains an…

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