Recent Posts

  • 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 […]

  • The Murder of Ahmed Timol

    Imtiaz A. Cajee, The Murder of Ahmed Timol: My Search for the Truth (Johannesburg: Jacana, 2020) AN inquest in 1972 returned a verdict of suicide. The re-opened inquest in 2017 concluded that murder had been […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Terrorist Album: Apartheid’s Insurgents, Collaborators, and the Security Police

    Jacob Dlamini, The Terrorist Album: Apartheid’s Insurgents, Collaborators, and the Security Police (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2020) DURING eight months in 1993, following a verbal command to destroy all operational records, South Africa’s state […]

  • Views on the world as lockdown lifts: part three, authority or authoritarianism?

    ‘AS well as longer-term proposals to reduce the incidence of obesity, government officials are having urgent discussions about how to persuade people to lose weight in the next few months, before an anticipated resurgence in […]

  • Unspeakable: The Autobiography

    John Bercow, Unspeakable: The Autobiography (London:Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2020) THE FORMER Speaker of the House of Commons is often described as a Marmite figure. By that measure (in a frank declaration of reviewer interest) I […]

  • 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 […]

  • Views on the world as lockdown lifts: part two, new behaviours

    ‘AMID mounting confusion over face masks inside takeaways, No 10 confirms once-and-for-all that masks are compulsory in the optional sense, unless you’re eating in, whereby they become optionally compulsory.’ (Have I Got News For You, […]

  • Undeniable: Memoir of a Covert War

    Philippa Garson, Undeniable: Memoir of a Covert War (Jacana, 2020) A CONSTANT presence in this book is the question of the third force. Was it, in the period leading up to South Africa’s first democratic […]