Sharp Thoughts

  • On a road to nowhere

    FOR many years there has been major excavation and traffic disruption at the junction of Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross Road in London. The reason is the massive tunnel being drilled through […]

  • Just another commodity

    Just another commodity

    CRICKET is governed not by rules, like other sport, but by laws. Famously, there are 42 of them and the law makers have managed to keep this number constant through various editions, including the latest […]

  • Fear and intimidation: censorship and South African post-liberation culture

    TWEETS are clearly a short route to trouble. A couple of years ago Tim Noakes, the highly respected sports scientist and dietician, expressed an opinion via Twitter to a mother that a high-fat and vegetable, […]

  • ‘Indians can’t fly’: the continuing search for justice for apartheid’s political prisoners

    THERE are two plausible explanations for the death of political detainee Ahmed Timol at the hands of apartheid security branch (SB) police on 27 October 1971, both involving defenestration. Either he was suspended from a […]

  • Zille, Maimane and freedom of speech

    WILL Twitter outbursts eventually contribute to the downfall of Donald Trump as US President? Americans must surely be cringing at his remarks via a medium especially suited to the crass and the less articulate. But […]

  • Down with the Establishment!

    TEN and a half million votes and over one third of the total cast: that was the support for the candidate of the far right, Marine le Pen of Front National, in the second round […]

  • Endorsing war criminals

    HULLABALOO: it’s a word often applied to South African politics – and with good reason. In the year in which Jacob Zuma should relinquish the presidency of the African National Congress (and, much of the […]

  • Uncle Kathy’s legacy and South Africa’s second liberation struggle

    Uncle Kathy’s legacy and South Africa’s second liberation struggle

    ONE by one they gradually disappear from national political life. Ahmed Mohamed ‘Uncle Kathy’ Kathrada died on 28 March leaving behind just two fellow Rivonia trialists from 1964, Andrew Mlangeni and Denis Goldberg. And with […]

  • Tearing up the post-war settlement

    IN a modest personal archive I have two particularly prized documents: a British national identity card (discontinued 1952) and a ration book (food rationing ended in July 1954). But as a product of the post-1945 […]

  • Conspiracy theory and truth

    THE beginning of each year raises the prospect of anniversaries, commemoration and appropriate reflection. Amongst many, this one will see the centenary of the sinking of the Mendi (21 February), the fortieth anniversary of the […]