Recent Posts

  • South Africa’s economic saboteurs

    PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa reckons that economic sabotage is partly to blame for Eskom’s recent level-six load shedding; eerily reminiscent of Alec Erwin’s loose bolt at Koeberg in 2006. How, then, would Ramaphosa describe the systematic […]

     
  • Le Carré as Historical Commentator

    SOME years back I set myself a pleasant task: to systematically re-read the books of my favourite authors. Without being morbid, approaching late middle age it’s realistic to acknowledge that this is something to indulge […]

     
  • Agent Running in the Field

    John le Carré, Agent Running in the Field (London: Viking) WITH a degree of inevitability, the Brexit novel has arrived. Happily, one of the authors is the 88-year-old John le Carré, an articulate Remainer. There […]

     
  • A House Divided: The Feud that Took Cape Town to the Brink

    Crispian Olver, A House Divided: The Feud that Took Cape Town to the Brink (Jonathan Ball, 2019) CAPE Town has a reputation, based on consistent clean audits and much evidence of administrative efficiency, as the […]

     
  • Permanent Record

    Edward Snowden, Permanent Record (Macmillan, 2019) THE first, and most important, point to make about Edward Snowden is that he is not Julian Assange. Snowden is a whistleblower in the classic sense who identified illegality, […]

     
  • Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe: New Reflections

    Benjamin Pogrund (ed.), Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe: New Reflections (Jonathan Ball, 2019) WRITTEN out of history – that is fair comment on the life of founding Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) president Robert Sobukwe. First imprisoned by […]

     
  • Post-Apartheid Censorship and the Chief with a Double Agenda

    THE early 1990s were a time of acute instability in South Africa – but also of great hope. Structural change was yet to begin, but many of the apartheid regime’s proscriptions, such as censorship, were […]

     
  • 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 […]

     
  • The Enforcers: Inside Cape Town’s Deadly Nightclub Battles

    Caryn Dolley, The Enforcers: Inside Cape Town’s Deadly Nightclub Battles (Jonathan Ball, 2019) RATIONAL people might assume that there is a clear fault line between police and criminals; yet even in the best-ordered societies the […]

     
  • The Stellenbosch Mafia: Inside the Billionaires’ Club

    Pieter du Toit, Stellenbosch Mafia: Inside the Billionaires’ Club (Jonathan Ball, 2019) THE term ‘Stellenbosch Mafia’ was concocted, it seems, by two well-known financial journalists by way of wry commentary. Appropriated by interests such as […]