Sharp Thoughts

  • Lies, politics and history

    Lies, politics and history

    A CONVENIENTLY forgotten aspect of the long, convoluted and unresolved saga of Brexit is the fact that the successful Leave campaign in 2016 was based on a stack of lies and a raft of other […]

  • Disappointments of working lives

    Disappointments of working lives

    A CROWNING moment of a lifetime’s professional work would in the past have been a handing over to one’s younger, competent successor confident that while times inevitably move on values and principles would be carefully […]

  • Driving and the national psyche

    Driving and the national psyche

    LAST July we drove back home from the Eastern Cape via Transkei. Forty years ago this stretch of the N2 was regarded with extreme trepidation by drivers as posing every conceivable danger: hazardous road layout […]

  • The search for a better life

    The search for a better life

    LAND restitution: you will not find a mainstream political party or commentator in South Africa who does not fervently support it as an essential prerequisite of the nation’s future. The current populist cry (and increasingly […]

  • Liberty in peril

    Liberty in peril

    THESE are troubled times globally for pluralism and liberal democracy; and especially in South Africa whose rainbow nation gloss has long looked thoroughly tarnished. In recent weeks the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), third largest party […]

  • A betrayal of epic proportions

    A betrayal of epic proportions

    LAST month we buried our mother. Her ashes lie in a peaceful, but well-frequented, English village churchyard directly under the highest point of the Cotswold hills; close to those of our father. At her funeral […]

  • Massaging history in an orgy of hagiography

    Massaging history in an orgy of hagiography

    ‘POLITICALLY and morally accountable for gross violations of human rights’: the author of this statement is South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC); and its subject is Winnie Madikizela Mandela (WMM) who died on 2 […]

  • In appreciation of Stephen Poliakoff

    In appreciation of Stephen Poliakoff

    STEPHEN Poliakoff is a prolific and highly successful scriptwriter and film director, a Londoner by birth and career and now in his mid-60s. Like so many creative and accomplished Britons he is of relatively recent […]

  • Rescued from the brink?

    THE seventh week of the year proved momentous for southern Africa. First, thief-in-chief President Jacob Zuma was forced to resign by his own party, but not before prevarication had allowed a number of his criminal […]

  • State of the South African nation

    BEFORE, during and since the ANC’s elective conference in December last year much has been made of personalities. This is not without reason. President Jacob Zuma is widely regarded as ‘thief-in-chief’ and Cyril Ramaphosa’s election […]