Health

Relax, you’re not going to die of Ebola

Quite a number of things are killing South Africans at the moment. High salt diets. Farm attacks. Tuberculosis. Cardiovascular diseases. Giant rats on the loose in Alexandra. Viagra-induced heart attacks. Oscar … The list is endless. What’s not really a threat to most people, however, is Ebola. Take this from a self-confessed germaphobe like myself…

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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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Tanaquil Le Clercq and the possibility of resurrection

“I’m not a dancer anymore, who am I?” – Jacques d’Amboise When prima ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq (1929-2000) played the part of a stricken polio victim in Resurgence (1944) when she was fifteen, little did she know that she was rehearsing her own sad fate. The biographical documentary Afternoon of a Faun (2013) tells the…

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Let’s talk about suicide

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. About five years ago, as my family and parents and siblings celebrated Christmas Day together, we received a call from the UK. My uncle, my father’s twin brother, a larger-than-life man in his mid-seventies, with a large family of his own, and ostensibly in good health at the time,…

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Ebola lays bare the fragile nature of the ‘Africa rising’ narrative

The “Africa rising” narrative of the past couple of years is emotionally compelling for anyone living here. Not because such a rise would be deserved, but because it happens to be true. Investment in sub-Saharan Africa has been booming and the middle-class is burgeoning. Although not everywhere triumphant, democracy has taken vigorous root. On the…

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Depression never leaves you

By Sifiso Yengwa With Robin Williams’ death still fresh in the minds of many, the issue of depression has once again come to the fore. Nowadays it is generally accepted that depression is a clinical condition that is manageable with drugs and other forms of prescribed treatment. Sadly the majority of people still hold a…

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Beating Ebola in a global village

By Anayo Unachukwu While I was writing this piece, I received a news alert from the Washington Post, about the arrival to the US of Dr Kent Brantly, an American doctor, who was infected with Ebola while working in Liberia with a Christian missionary organisation — Samaritan’s Purse. His repatriation to his country was not…

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When a handshake can kill you…

As a doctor I greet many people, both new and familiar, every week, and inevitably we shake hands. It would feel awkward not to do so. This is the way I was brought up, that a firm handshake is a mark of strong character, part of the process of creating a good first impression, and…

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Black girl desire in a time of hopelessness

I remember very well the first “sex talk” I had with my mother. We were in the rural areas for the holidays when my cousin pulled me aside to tell me that there were red spots on my trousers. What was to follow was a confusing day where I felt my body had betrayed me…

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Medical care or medical cruelty? Time to make gentle that parting embrace

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, with customary forthrightness, recently broke ranks with his own church to plead for a “mind shift” in the “right to die” debate. “I think when you need machines to help you breathe then you have to ask questions about the quality of life being experienced … Why is a life that…

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