President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress leadership are becoming really, really exhausting. First, in many self-respecting democracies anywhere in the world (there aren’t that many of those left, sadly) Zuma would have resigned and taken time off...
This is what my journalism lecturers used to call a “man bites dog” story – a happening which is newsworthy because it’s the opposite of what usually happens. Last month student Sibongile Mani became the poster child for the “the...
Last weekend’s rugby Test in Cape Town between the Springboks and All Blacks was one of the most exciting, passionate and talked about in recent matches between the two teams. Okay, so we lost 25-24, which under normal circumstances would...
Political killings are a symptom not of how much this country has changed, but of how much it hasn’t. As each week seems to bring awful news of another killing in KwaZulu-Natal, we are awash with explanations. Most seem to state...
Riley Jacobs* is more anxious than he is angry. Eleven schools in the suburbs rejected his Grade R son’s application for entrance into Grade 1 in 2018. The father’s email to me was really moving: “PLEASE could you assist us...
“I never expected to witness the slow suicide of a country,” writes Joel Hirst in The Suicide of Venezuela. “Let me tell you, there’s nothing epic about it. We who have the privilege of travel, often look down in...
A huge controversy broke out this weekend over what appeared to be a racist Dove soap advert that was posted on social media. The advert seemed to portray the transformation of a dark-skinned black woman into a pale white...
Archbishop Emeritus Bishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu’s 86th birthday today is a good occasion to reflect on the man’s contributions to South African society and global thought. I do so as a philosopher and in the light of ubuntu, the Southern...
THIS is the month when National Senior Certificate (NSC) final exams loom large. The fear factor reaches new peaks and anticipation sets in regarding the results in the first week of January 2018, tertiary education admissions and questions about future...
The Chiels were getting a little restless. Nothing much had been happening in the way of excitement. So we scanned various game reserves on the SANParks website and, bingo, there was a selection of campsites available at Addo Elephant...
This week three eminent scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics for actually observing ripples in space-time called gravitational waves, while another trio of researchers won the world’s most famous award (the Nobel for physiology or medicine) because of...
When the ANC Eastern Cape Provincial Conference turned into a festival of chairs with the breakout of violence to resolve a political impasse and the subsequent departure of over 700 delegates, it stopped being a gathering whose outcomes could...
It has been a decade of decline and ignominy for the ANC. The gap between the ideals of the party and what it has become has never been wider. The qualitative difference between leaders of the past and the leadership...
I watched the Wits University panel discussion on the KPMG debacle last Wednesday with keen interest. On the heels of this massive failure within the auditing profession through the actions of KPMG, here were South African leaders in their...
The outcome of the ANC’s Eastern Cape provincial conference has been billed as a big victory for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign. There is no doubt that the election of Oscar Mabuyane as the provincial chairman gives impetus to...
In a pinch-me-I-am-dreaming moment, Fikile Mbaloser has managed to produce yet another set of remarks destined for Hall of Demagogic Infamy, in which he is already well represented. Because he is a clown, one who thinks politics is showmanship, not...
On the 12th of March this year President Jacob Zuma showed his comrades on the national executive committee of the ANC the finger – and they did nothing about it. Their lack of action then and over the past...
A lot of slick operators make a very good living out of taking advantage of the fact that most consumers don’t pay enough attention to boring admin tasks and can’t be bothered to read the small print. A Durban-based operation...
In A few years, two record-breaking mega-bridges over local rivers will contribute to SA’s growing national and continental landscape and road network. The two bridges, one over the Msikaba River and the other over Mtentu River, just outside Xolobeni south...
A loud bellow of protest is emanating from across the broader Eastern Cape church and echoing nationally against proposals by the state’s religious commission to regulate all religious entities. The commission’s recommendations include passing new laws that will make it...
Mascots in the armed forces are quite common in some countries, Britain in particular. We don’t seem to have many here though, but then we did have the Great Dane, Just Nuisance, who in reality could be claimed by the...
The Daily Dispatch recently published a series of articles regarding the issue of unclaimed benefits to which a large number of former mineworkers are entitled to and which they have not yet been paid. The articles refer both to unpaid...
It took me two weeks to prepare an hour-long lesson on the subject of refraction for Grade 8 science students in a rural township school outside Worcester. Two weeks! Although I have a Bachelor of Science degree, I had...
What is the heritage we should be celebrating? It is an oft-stated fact that South Africa is a complex society. Its complexity is reflected in the tools that have been employed at various times in resolving the key questions...
“I've got the keys. They’re looking for the keys to the big safe.” This was the dire warning of Public Investment Corporation CEO Dan Matjila that there are forces trying to remove him as a gatekeeper of the PIC....
Can the ANC self-correct before losing elections? Can it be salvaged or is it too late in the day? Kgalema Motlanthe, a former ANC deputy president and secretary-general, believes the ANC can only recover after it loses elections if it...
I have said before, and will continue to say that of all the things the African National Congress could have fixed, the basic education system presented the greatest opportunity for success. In fact, my argument has been that the current...
Raiding the coffers of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) should confirm one thing – it’s desperate days in SA. In years past, and, let us just say, before December 2015, access to funding – even for problem children such...
There are no saints in this extremely dirty war that’s unfolding within the ANC. Many, such as former president Kgalema Motlanthe, cling on to the vain hope that the “good guys” will set the party right, but they are...
On this Heritage Day holiday, many South Africans will no doubt be celebrating the fact that the long weekend has coincided rather nicely with pay day. Increasing numbers of consumers feel comfortable indulging in some retail therapy online rather than...
Designated heritage routes, as diverse as the Makana, Sandile, the Maqoma, Phalo and the Nelson Mandela routes; historic sites such as the Commemoration Church, High Street, Grahamstown and the City Hall, Oxford Street, East London, symbolise our collective history,...

Who judges the judges?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who judges the judges? In his children’s book Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky you are?, Dr Seuss (the pen name of the writer Theodor Seuss Geisel) describes how a lazy bee is assigned...
You can sniff it in the air; days are warmer and nights too. Birds are singing, geese are honking and at last we’ve had a fair bit of rain. Spring has arrived, my favourite time of the year, and...
The Eastern Cape is South Africa’s second largest province in land area with a population of just below 6.5million people. The two former homeland areas, Ciskei and Transkei, contribute to its characterisation as one of the country's poorest provinces. Poverty,...
The explosive events initiated by school pupils in Soweto in 1976 resounded throughout the world and had a dramatic impact on the ANC in exile. Within months, events began to escalate. Thousands of fleeing students arrived at the offices...
“I SAW behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come. I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front to see my son, and his...
OUR lives continue from day to day and most people tend not to think about their health, their most precious possession. The naked eye may convince us that all is well, that nothing is untoward. Social life, friends, family,...
Sometimes we make a deal with our consciences. We see something wrong and then pretend we did not see it. In one of our provinces, you can drive within 60 minutes from the most expensive private boys’ school (let’s call...
Hugh Masekela says something hilarious in the documentary film, Amandla. The fondness for song in African life, Masekela narrates, sometimes borders on obsession. He makes an example of African warriors – they sang even when they could just have...
The ANC has missed the essence of true liberation. In spite of countless opportunities in the past two decades, it has refused to move ahead, preferring instead to return to the stale old world of cloak and dagger, betrayal...
There is an isiXhosa idiom which aptly describes African people and their relationship with history: Nilibala msinya. Loosely translated, it refers to “a people with short memories who are so obsessed with moving on that they do not take...
While Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, and Desmond Tutu are rightly venerated for their role in opposing and ending white minority rule in South Africa, another leader of the liberation years has been remarkably overlooked: Bantu Steven Biko, who led...
As hurricane Irma ravages the Caribbean and North America, one thing is clear – the time for climate change denialism is over. The sheer size of Hurricane Irma, said to be the largest storm recorded in the Atlantic Ocean,...
We need to face up to some hard truths, us South Africans. We have lowered our standards – for our leaders, for our children, for ourselves – so much that we keep on saying that we are okay when...
Chocolate is the most craved food in the world. There were many nodding heads among delegates at the South African Association for Food Science and Technology (SAAFoST) in Cape Town last week when Innike Taljaard of North West University...
When President Nelson Mandela declared this month Heritage Month, culminating into Heritage Day on September 24, he said: “When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew...
To principals and teachers in our former white schools, please do not hold multicultural days at your school. I know you’re under pressure to show transformation. After the hair incident at Pretoria Girls, the racist teacher at St John’s and...
The Sherlock Holmes story The Silver Blaze gave us the famous tagline of “the curious incident of the dog in the night”. The curiosity in that tale of the kidnapping of a racehorse and the murder of its trainer was...
In Nigeria‚ in a tiny room at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium ahead of Bafana Bafana’s June Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uyo‚ Stuart Baxter played the local press like a concert violinist. Baxter had the Nigerian media soaking up...
Conventional thought has it that the ANC is in an electoral crisis. The opposition is predicting that the ruling party stands a real chance of losing national power in 2019. Likewise, that suggestion has proven to be a helpful...