Lifestyle

‘Maleficent’: A sea-change in popular culture

Maleficent (Disney 2014; directed by Robert Stromberg) is a magnificent film, and it almost seems more than fortuitous that the eponymous, powerful faerie is not called Malevolent, but bears a name that rhymes with “magnificent”. Judging by this recent re-imagining of the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, which was rendered in its classic Disney animated movie…

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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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My kids are my retirement plan

I sit here alone wondering what my future holds. Wondering about my days as a grandparent when I’m 70 or so, no longer working. The picture looks like this: I will be an old lump and probably still writing articles, opinion pieces for newspapers (in those days online will have overtaken print). My wife and…

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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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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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Amazing how a year can change a story

It’s August 15. I’m enjoying the Joburg spring weather at a table at one of my favourite haunts, Doppio Zero in Rosebank, typing up copy changes on a client newsletter in between forkfuls of salmon fishcake. On this day a year ago I spoke at TEDxJohannesburg. You can watch the video here. “In the end,…

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African women, we’re not exotic, just hot

Last month I had the pleasure of attending an African Women’s Development Fund and Femrite creative non-fiction writing workshop for African women writers in Entebbe, Uganda. The women I met there were amazing for two main reasons. Their passion, intelligence and drive made me question mine (apparently watching Come Dine With Me is not a…

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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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512 Hours with Marina Abramovic, the Serbian goddess of the Serpentine

It seemed we had picked a good time to visit performance artist Marina Abramovic’s 512 Hours at The Serpentine Gallery in London. It was a bright sunny day, in the early morning and the crowds were sparse. We had been anticipating long and winding queues. Not today. We went straight in. To what exactly? We…

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