Sharp Thoughts

 
  • 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 […]

     
  • A creeping coup in South Africa?

    A creeping coup in South Africa?

    SOUTH Africa is currently run by big fat people with guns and an attitude to match. Seeing pictures of a casspir entering a Cape Town township, an entire wedding arrested in KwaZulu-Natal, and heavily armed […]

     
  • The opiate of rugby

    The opiate of rugby

    A WORLD turned upside down: that was one newspaper’s headline take on the Covid-19 pandemic and for once the media cannot be accused of overdoing the hype. Pictures of European cities tell an eerie tale […]

     
  • Re-opening apartheid-era inquests: Neil Aggett and the quest for truth

    Re-opening apartheid-era inquests: Neil Aggett and the quest for truth

    IT is rumoured that Stephen Whitehead, one of the security branch (SB) policemen responsible for the death in detention of anti-apartheid activist and trade unionist Neil Aggett on 5 February 1982, had a deal with […]

     
  • Historical delusion and ignorance in the land of Brexit unicorns

    Historical delusion and ignorance in the land of Brexit unicorns

    THE THUMPING electoral victory of the Conservative and Brexit (no longer Unionist whatever it might claim) Party has confirmed in power the most reactionary government in modern British history. It was handed to the lying, […]

     
  • In an Age of Unreason

    In an Age of Unreason

    ‘BREXIT means Brexit’; except that for Theresa May it failed spectacularly to do so. It could yet elude Boris Johnson, too. At a superficial level the June 2016 referendum result reflected English nostalgia for a […]

     
  • SONA and the State of the Nation: 'System Down'

    SONA and the State of the Nation: ‘System Down’

    SURPRISINGLY, there was a well-timed reminder by snail mail: my driver’s licence was due for renewal on 29 April. Surprising because officialdom has publicly said it’s not responsible for reminding us about anything and then […]

     
  • Reflections on D-Day after 75 years

    Reflections on D-Day after 75 years

    ‘DESPITE appalling weather conditions, we were given the go-ahead. We left harbour in failing light and picked up our group of landing craft. They fell into line behind us, twelve ships enormous in bulk compared […]

     
  • Which General - Which ANC?

    Which General – Which ANC?

    AT the time of the May 1987 South African general election, when the apartheid government was on its last legs, stickers were distributed reading ‘The trouble … is we don’t know which general we are […]