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Congratulations ice bucket people, we’ve raised $90m for animal testing!

Yaaaaay, ice bucket challenge! I’m totes throwing ice cold water over myself right now to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. I choose you, Pikachu, as the next one to do it! Yaaaay! And so the craze…

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Killing in the name of God

No thinking person can escape being horrified by the actions carried out in the name of God by religious fanatics across the world today. Killings, rapes, executions, wholesale slaughter, genocide, torture, and sometimes just ordinary nastiness — a litany of horrors that deny humankind the right to claim ourselves to be a uniformly emotionally intelligent…

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Lindfield House – the place to pause

The beauty of some of the genuine treasures of life, is that they are hidden. They have managed to live out their entire existence quietly, unself-consciously and often quite obscurely, away from the bright lights and polished packaging of the modern media. So rare are they, that we tend to assume they aren’t there. But…

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Times are changing…

It was at a girl’s varsity residence room the morning after we had sex that I read, for the first time, Steve Biko’s I write what I like. I was lying next to her, naked, and she had a handful of books on a bedside table. I read the first few essays, which left me…

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Naming, shaming and drug policy in Cape Town

Approximately six months ago, the City of Cape Town began a poster campaign, explicitly aimed at highlighting the prevalence and social consequences of drug use in the city. The posters all feature a stern-looking local celebrity – most often Chester Williams, Patricia de Lille, and Ian Bredenkamp – with the following bold words: I am…

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Why it’s important for our health to get rid of the neoliberal regime

In his riveting study, What about me? The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society (trans. Hedley-Prôle, J. London: Scribe Publications, Kindle edition, 2014), the Belgian psychoanalyst, Paul Verhaeghe, gives a resoundingly affirmative answer to the question: “Is there a demonstrable connection between today’s [neoliberal capitalist] society and the huge rise in mental disorders?” Many…

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Reimagining dialogue

I used to love going to church. Growing up in a traditional black Methodist Church meant that for each service I knew what to expect. People would arrive 15 minutes before church began, wait in the pews silently or sing a few hymns while we waited for the choir to usher in the preacher for…

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The very ordinary face of racism

Looking at the picture of the two young students from Tuks, one of the things I would like to know is: Does that paint not itch? Sweat and a thick coat of paint, they surely are strange bedfellows. Nevertheless, it seems that even the green Sunlight block of soap will not wash this paint away;…

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Tanya Poole and the paradox of ‘being-human’

The psychologist William James, brother of Henry James, the well-known novelist, once exhorted people to “Begin to be now what you will be hereafter”. In similar vein, Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed that one should “Become who you are” — a formulation that drives the paradox of being-human home even more clearly than James’s words. At least,…

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JAG: How to leave an impression in Johannesburg

Over a hundred years ago, a visionary couple founded an art museum in Johannesburg that was so ahead of its time, that a century later, its public beneficiaries still haven’t quite woken up to the world-class treasure it contains. For this is neither a private collection nor a visiting exhibition, and never has been. It…

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