Recent Posts

  • Student, Comrade, Prisoner, Spy: A Memoir

    Bridget HILTON-BARBER, Student, Comrade, Prisoner, Spy: A Memoir (Cape Town: Zebra Press, 2016) WE are reminded by Timothy Garton Ash, journalist and academic expert on central Europe, that ‘the key to betrayal is trust’. And […]

  • ‘History will absolve me’: death of a revolutionary

    FIDEL Castro was the archetypal revolutionary − beard, military fatigues and cigar were glamorous left-wing symbols of the 1960s. At the age of thirteen he organised a strike amongst his father’s workers and during the […]

  • Empty words and dangerous rhetoric

    TRANSFORMATION has been without question one of South Africa’s most overworked words in the media and public discourse since national liberation. Like every word it has a precise dictionary definition, yet it is a frequent […]

  • Turning their backs on history: a right wing coup in Britain?

    IT is hard from the events of the last five months to avoid the conclusion that without a major change of direction, the United Kingdom is headed for political disintegration and economic decline. Although the […]

  • God, Spies and Lies

    John MATISSON, God, Spies and Lies: Finding South Africa’s Future Through its Past (Cape Town: Ideas for Africa in association with Missing Ink, 2015) THE essence of John Matisonn’s book lies in its sub-title. He […]

  • Fordsburg Fighter

    Amin CAJEE as told to Terry Bell, Fordsburg Fighter: The Journey of an MK Volunteer (Face2Face, 2016).   ANC Youth League president Collen Maine recently called on Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) veterans to defend the […]

  • Burning books: endgame for South African universities?

    FLASHBACK twenty-seven years to September 1989: police had fired on demonstrators on the Durban campus of the University of Natal ahead of the (final) whites-only general election. Pietermaritzburg staff and students decided to march on […]

  • Tale of a tapeworm

    PRIME Minister Hendrik Verwoerd died in the chamber of the House of Assembly from four stab wounds to the neck and chest. His assailant was beaten up by National Party members of parliament while P.W. […]

  • Richard Turner and the power of reason

    TODAY, 38 years ago, Rick Turner was murdered in Bellair, Durban at the age of 36. His killer has never been identified, but it was without doubt someone (possibly a member of the right-wing Scorpio […]

  • Cameras, street names and a police state: Maputo, December 2015

    IT was a blue-light convoy the like of which we had not seen before, though KwaZulu-Natal has a deserved reputation for them. First, there was a personnel-carrier with six soldiers in body armour and heavy […]