What to do in a lock-down?

What to do in a lock-down?

What to do in a lock-down? This is a question to myself, you'll be glad to hear, not another of those claims to instant expertise, sunny wisdom, righteous outrage or uniquely personal angst or fear that seem to be spreading around the globe with the speed and virulence of, well, a Coronavirus or a Donald [...]

Bird on a Wire

Bird on a Wire

Here's a good one. A prisoner in a Turkish prison goes to the prison library, and asks for a particular book. The prison librarian replies, 'We don't have that book. But we do have the author.' Signs of the times, you might say - the modern dystopia. History has not ended - in fact, it's [...]

A week is a long time in politics

A week in politics is more than a long time, sometimes: it can mark the beginning or the end of an era. It is hard to believe that it was just this time last week that the man who sold his country, former president Jacob Zuma, was flatly refusing to step down from office. By [...]

‘Inxeba’ – Distilled

‘Inxeba’ – Distilled

Bergman-esque in its intensity, the South African film Inxeba - The Wound - has rightly won praise and awards around the world, along with the usual quota, for a film that speaks openly, and painfully, about homosexuality, masculinity, homophobia and 'traditional culture' in an African community, of threats and vitriol. In Cape Town, supposedly a [...]

The President’s Keepers

The President’s Keepers

'The President's Keepers,' by Jacques Pauw, published by Tafelberg, has caused something of a sensation here, not least because of government's clumsy attempts to suppress it - the best publicity that Pauw and his publisher could ask for. Copies of the book have sold like proverbial hot cakes - I had to place a copy [...]

South Africa in the news

For our overseas family and friends: South Africa is in the news again, and for all the wrong reasons. President Jacob Zuma's "night of the long knives," in which he purged a third of his cabinet, including the respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and Gordhan's deputy, Jonas Mncebisi,  has caused consternation and a growing backlash, not [...]

Support the Canada-Mathare Education Trust!

Support the Canada-Mathare Education Trust!

  Charities and non-profit organisations come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are large, established, influential, international. Think World Vision, Oxfam. At the other end of the scale are the small, local operations, driven by the passion and commitment of a founder (or two), a small band of volunteers, a personal connection to [...]

Capitalism and democracy: the strain is showing — FT.com

The big 'isms' - nationalism, socialism, communism, capitalism - of the 19th and 20th centuries have failed or are failing. New challenges have emerged - radical religious fundamentalism, climate change and environmental degradation, populist nativism in the democracies of the west, corruption, inequality on a national and global scale: where is the new and creative [...]