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Recent Posts

  • Blood has a Voice: Stories from the Autopsy Table

    Hestelle van Staden, Blood has a Voice: Stories from the Autopsy Table (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2023) SHE describes herself as a normal middle-aged, suburban woman; but her profession would be regarded by many as highly […]

  • Statues and Storms: Leading through Change

    Max Price, Statues and Storms: Leading Through Change (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2023) THERE’S a song in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance that has the refrain ‘A policeman’s lot is not a happy one …’ […]

  • The betrayal of academic custodianship and the rise of the disciplinary university

    Narcissistic, thin-skinned, unprofessional, threatening, intimidating and abusive on social media; with an inclination to create and exploit racial divisions. These are some of the descriptors used by an independent panel chaired by Lex Mpati tasked […]

  • Eskom: Power, Politics and the (Post) Apartheid State

    Faeeza Ballim, Eskom: Power, Politics and the (Post) Apartheid State (Johannesburg: Jacana, 2023) FOR many years a joke has gone the rounds. Satan is visiting South Africa and is sitting at a bar. ‘And who,’ […]

  • Rhoda: A Biography

    Joel B. Pollak, Rhoda: A Biography: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order!’ (Johannesburg: UJ Press, 2023) CONTRARIAN is the word Joel Pollak chooses to best describe the complex Rhoda Kadalie. Her life moved from […]

  • Confronting the geography of apartheid

    IT was the most banal of events: fifty years ago, in mid-October 1973, two cricket teams met in the local league in Alexandra Park, Pietermaritzburg. But one of them, Aurora, comprised players from different ethnic […]

  • South Africa: moving towards the illiberal

    THE TRADITIONAL categorisation of political ideology and practice occupying a spectrum stretching from left to right is now obsolete. It was always problematic if considered at the point where far right collided with far left […]

  • UDF unites, apartheid divides: the 40th anniversary of a non-racial front

    CONSULT a history book and it will probably tell you that the United Democratic Front (UDF), launched forty years ago on 20 August 1983, was the internal wing of the ANC. It is true that […]

  • Standing up for Science: A Voice of Reason

    Salim S. Abdool Karim, Standing up for Science: A Voice of Reason: South Africa’s Chief Covid-19 Adviser at the Frontlines of the Pandemic (Johannesburg: Macmillan, 2023) OUR first authoritative assessment of the Covid-19 pandemic, autobiography, […]

  • Looking in a Russian mirror

    The mutinous Yevgeny Prigozhin seems to have survived his failed insurrection relatively well. While his Wagner Group fighters in Ukraine have been absorbed into the Russian army, their presence in Africa continues unaltered and largely […]