Recent Posts

  • Football and other disillusionments

    I’VE supported West Ham ever since I can recall. Most of my immediate ancestors are from London, my father was born a few streets away from the old Boleyn Ground at Upton Park (his father […]

  • How to Steal a Gold Mine: The Aurora Story

    Dianne Hawker, How to Steal a Gold Mine: The Aurora Story (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2023) LIQUIDATION of mines is not unusual. Often, they are bought, rehabilitated and returned to production. But virtually everything about the […]

  • Cleaner’s Boy: A Resistance Road to a Liberated Life

    Patric Tariq Mellet, Cleaner’s Boy: A Resistance Road to a Liberated Life (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2022) BORN in 1956, Patric Mellet grew up in the ethnic melting pots of District Six and Salt River, Cape […]

  • Russian roulette

    READING Peter Fabricius’s ‘Russian roulette’ (DM 168, 8 April 2023) one is struck by the parallels between South Africa’s growing closeness to Russia and Brexit. Both are based on mythology about the past and a […]

  • Of potholes and privatisation

    THE photo that accompanies this piece indicates that whatever their level of current despair, South Africans have yet to lose their sense of humour, often the only protection against absurdity. A number of potholes in […]

  • The Guerrilla and the Journalist

    Fred Bridgland, The Guerrilla and the Journalist: Exploring the Murderous Legacy of Jonas Savimbi (Johannesburg: Delta, 2022) THE Portuguese empire in Africa ended chaotically in the mid-1970s making civil war almost inevitable. This was particularly […]

  • Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

    Max Hastings, Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 (London: William Collins, 2022) IT is generally agreed that the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 was the closest the planet has come in the nuclear age […]

  • Shutting down civil liberties in South Africa

    OVER the years the South African definition of long weekend has expanded. Traditionally, it involved a Monday or Friday public holiday. But nowadays only a rare Wednesday holiday does not create a long weekend. President […]

  • Farm Killings in South Africa

    Nechama Brodie, Farm Killings in South Africa (Cape Town: Kwela Books, 2022) AMONG some white South Africans there is a belief that a genocide (volksmoord) is being perpetrated against them and showing up as an […]

  • Fruit of a Poisoned Tree

    Antony Altbeker, Fruit of a Poisoned Tree: A True Story of Murder and the Miscarriage of Justice (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, new ed., 2022) IN Stellenbosch in 2005 a 22-year-old student, Inge Lotz, was fatally beaten […]