Category: Issues and Debate

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 Friday, in the State of the Nation address, a new man, President Cyril Ramaphosa, was resetting the tone for the nation, and Zuma was toast. Those who had depended on Zuma’s favours, who had enabled his vices, who had grown fat and arrogant along with […]

Official Obama portraits

Wow! Fabulous! The Obamas show the world what really is great about America (and forget about the little orange-faced turd). via The Obamas’ portraits are not what you’d expect and that’s why they’re great – The Washington Post

‘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 In Cape Town, supposedly a bastion of the arts and enlightenment, the film was withdrawn by distributors Ster Kinekor, in an act of cowardice and betrayal. All of which is to say, there is a moral imperative to see it, and a duty to support the actors and director. But […]

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 on order, and picked it up at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park yesterday. I have hardly been able to put it down since. Apart from anything else, it is damn well written – fast-paced, vivid, more best-selling thriller than sombre analysis. And yet the story […]

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 least amongst members of his own party. The country’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has spoken out openly against the decision, as has the party’s Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe. The South African Communist Party, which is in alliance with the ANC and has a number of ministers […]

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 the cause or the place or the people and communities that their work is targeting. Of course, not all of these small operations are sustainable in the long term, and some don’t survive the initial enthusiasm. So the fact that the Canada-Mathare Education Trust will […]

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 politics that we need? via Capitalism and democracy: the strain is showing — FT.com