Recent Posts

  • Signs of civil war in South Africa?

    IN the early hours of a winter’s morning, when the air is cold and still, you can hear the traffic from the N3, the Johannesburg to Durban highway, from our house; mainly trucks changing gear […]

     
  • The Whistleblowers

    Mandy Wiener, The Whistleblowers (Johannesburg: Macmillan, 2020) MANDY Wiener’s book needs no sub-title; and it is a scathing indictment of the state of South Africa. It begins with a lament for whistleblowers amid doubt about […]

     
  • A setback for right wing populism?

    AT last there was some good news for those of us who regard ourselves as social and liberal democrats. The decisive defeat of Donald Trump is a signal to right-wing populists the world over that […]

     
  • Views on the world as lockdown lifts: part six, second wave

    LOCKDOWN 2.0 (to adopt the favoured 21st century label) contrasts hugely with Lockdown 1.0, not only with respect to school closures, air quality and the weather, but also in relation to the ‘rules’. ‘Few seem […]

     
  • Foreign Native: An African Journey

    R.W. Johnson, Foreign Native: An African Journey (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2020) LIBERAL social democrat is Bill Johnson’s self-description; and in this world of rampant and rabid populist nationalism his thinking should be highly prized. He […]

     
  • Seven Votes: How WWII Changed South Africa Forever

    Richard Steyn, Seven Votes: How WWII Changed South Africa Forever (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2020) SOUTH Africa’s decision to go to war against Germany on 6 September 1939 was made a year after the government had […]

     
  • Prisoner 913: The Release of Nelson Mandela

    Riaan de Villiers and Jan-Ad Stemmet, Prisoner 913: The Release of Nelson Mandela (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2020) EVEN trees in the garden of Nelson Mandela’s cottage at Victor Verster Prison were bugged. Only one inside […]

     
  • Views on the world as lockdown lifts: part five, skulduggery

    AS children we learnt the importance of honesty and fairness, and were quick with ‘it’s not fair’ whenever we suspected unequal treatment. No doubt we didn’t always tell the truth, but I remember my internal […]

     
  • The Berlin Shadow

    Jonathan Lichtenstein, The Berlin Shadow: Living with the Ghosts of the Kindertransport (London: Scribner, 2020) HANS Eugen Lichtenstein, aged 12, arrived alone from Berlin at London’s Liverpool Street station in mid-1939, one of ten thousand […]

     
  • Views on the world as lockdown lifts: part four, uncertainty and confusion

    ‘IF you’re not confused, you haven’t been paying attention’ (Tom Peters, rough paraphrase There are, quite suddenly, increasing numbers of new cases of coronavirus in the UK, the R number is now 1–1.2, and a […]