• South Africa: a country of parallel worlds

    SOUTH Africa’s political pundits are forecasting major problems ahead for the African National Congress. Having run the country’s state institutions and its economy into the ground, it is currently mismanaging the Covid-19 epidemic. A string […]

  • Landfill inferno and municipal meltdown

    DAWN on Tuesday 21 July on the old Hesketh motor racing circuit south of Pietermaritzburg. Down below in the river valley was an intense fire that looked like the very definition of Hades. Above it […]

  • Looking back at a South African university

    IN the 1980s, as a relatively young staff member on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of Natal, I had occasional encounters with the university vice-principal, Deneys Schreiner. I’ve recently read for pleasure and review […]

  • South African cricket stitch-up finally tears

    SOUTH Africa’s cricket ducks are no longer neatly in a row. Sooner or later there was bound to be a reckoning and the Black Lives Matter campaign has exposed a hidden rawness to the game […]

  • 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

    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?

    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

    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

    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

    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, […]