• Unspeakable: The Autobiography

    Unspeakable: The Autobiography

    John Bercow, Unspeakable: The Autobiography (London:Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2020) THE FORMER Speaker of the House of Commons is often described as a Marmite figure. By that measure (in a frank declaration of reviewer interest) I […]

     
  • Looking back at a South African university

    Looking back at a South African university

    IN the 1980s, as a relatively young staff member on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of Natal, I had occasional encounters with the university vice-principal, Deneys Schreiner. I’ve recently read for pleasure and review […]

     
  • South African cricket stitch-up finally tears

    South African cricket stitch-up finally tears

    SOUTH Africa’s cricket ducks are no longer neatly in a row. Sooner or later there was bound to be a reckoning and the Black Lives Matter campaign has exposed a hidden rawness to the game […]

     
  • Views on the world as lockdown lifts: part two, new behaviours

    Views on the world as lockdown lifts: part two, new behaviours

    ‘AMID mounting confusion over face masks inside takeaways, No 10 confirms once-and-for-all that masks are compulsory in the optional sense, unless you’re eating in, whereby they become optionally compulsory.’ (Have I Got News For You, […]

     
  • Undeniable: Memoir of a Covert War

    Undeniable: Memoir of a Covert War

    Philippa Garson, Undeniable: Memoir of a Covert War (Jacana, 2020) A CONSTANT presence in this book is the question of the third force. Was it, in the period leading up to South Africa’s first democratic […]

     
  • Advantage Play: Technologies that Changed Sporting History

    Advantage Play: Technologies that Changed Sporting History

    Steve Haake, Advantage Play: Technologies that Changed Sporting History (Arena Sport, 2018) PHYSICS and materials science meet sport in a book written with a strong dose of personal experience, a great deal of enthusiasm and […]

     
  • Views on the world as lockdown lifts: part one, race and racism

    Views on the world as lockdown lifts: part one, race and racism

    I UNDERSTAND that I don’t understand, but I stand (Black Lives Matter demo banner) On Saturday 13 June, early afternoon, I turned idly to Twitter to see what was going on ‘out there’ and began […]

     
  • The empire strikes back

    The empire strikes back

    ‘HISTORICAL figures like Rhodes do not really matter much any more’. `Monuments [are] rather meaningless’.[1] Ten years after these words of Paul Maylam’s were published, high-profile protest at the University of Cape Town led to […]

     
  • Academic freedom on the edge in South Africa

    Academic freedom on the edge in South Africa

    EXACTLY how far is the University of Cape Town (UCT) prepared to go in genuflecting to populist thugs in the name of racial nationalism? Further and further, it seems, from the latest assault on academic […]

     
  • Tales from four countries in a time of lockdown: part ten

    Tales from four countries in a time of lockdown: part ten

    Sheffield AS lockdown got underway, with an understandable focus on physical wellbeing, attention also turned to emotional and psychological impact. Quite suddenly, routines were forced to change, ‘real’ social contact was only with those in […]