Media

No country for Chicken Littles

“The erosion of institutions” has become something of a buzzword. Add to this the “paralysis in crucial institutions”, and “institutional fabric being unwound”, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Mobutu’s Zaire. They’re usually adjectives attributed to the local commentariat: which interpret any event as a sign of the country’s imminent implosion/race war…

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Trevor Noah gets the perfect platform for his humour

March 30 2015. The day Trevor Noah was inducted into the league of American late-night talk show hosts. Diarise it. March 30 2015. Where were you on this day? What did you tweet when you heard the news? The news that he will be given the responsibility of presenting The Daily Show when Jon Stewart…

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Revisiting the Rhodes statue

The recent announcement by the University of Cape Town (UCT) that the statue of Cecil John Rhodes would be taken down has, largely, been welcomed. Although I am opposed to this decision, I am alarmed by the attitude displayed by both sides during this debacle. I have swung between extremes depending on how offensive or…

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Removing Rhodes’ statue would not ‘erase the past’

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” writes George Santayana. In the midst of the argument that the #RhodesMustFall campaign is fuelled by a misguided desire to “erase the past”, it seems to me that it is ironically, but precisely, this argument that is hampered by a deeply short-sighted approach…

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Goodbye Leonard Nimoy, hello Mr Spock!

When Leonard Nimoy, chiefly known as Mr Spock in Star Trek, one of the most famous and long-running television sci-fi series, created by Gene Roddenberry, died recently at the age of 83, millions of Trekkies, including myself, felt a huge sense of loss. This despite the fact that very few Trekkies ever knew Nimoy in…

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Memory and moving forward: #RhodesMustFall is not a shitty argument

If you do not like something, throw poop at it. This was the thinking of some protestors who called for the removal of the Rhodes statue from the University of Cape Town campus citing that the continued presence of the statue was an ode to the white dominance of the past. The calls for the…

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Airbrushing history: Debating Rhodes’ legacy

As the debate raged in Cape Town over whether to remove the statue of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, I found myself in a grand house named after him some 6 000 miles away. Rhodes House is the quaint Oxford-based headquarters of the Rhodes scholarships. Named for and funded by Rhodes, the scholarships are awarded annually…

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Voices of the Drylands?

An academic colleague and I recently took our third-year anthropology students to go see the Voices of the Drylands photographic exhibition by Attie Gerber currently showing at the North West University Gallery in Potchefstroom. The students are taking a course on research methods with my colleague and one on theory and representation in anthropology with…

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Mum and the stolen iPhone – iRest my case

(Continued from here) What I know is this: on January 12 2015 my friend the Diplomat left his iPhone unattended for five minutes, someone nicked the phone and a week later the “new owner” replaced the phone’s cloud data with his own phone book. Whoever is now in the possession of the phone has a…

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Heroes all: EFF and the honourable Julius Malema

This is how social media images of a country inform one’s perceptions, and then stick like glue in this instant-info “Gutenberg Galaxy” of ours. You scroll through Google News, Facebook and Twitter, and powerful impressions of countries impinge on your subconscious without you being able to question them. Then you “form” an unmediated and indelible…

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