The ANC invents a sixth stage of grief

In 1969, Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified the five stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Fifty or so years later, Eskom added one more stage, six, to the national misery index through load-shedding, though our government remains stubbornly stuck in stages one (denial) and two (anger). On Monday, we were treated to [...]

Festooned with crater-like potholes, Winnie Mandela Drive is a another sad ANC epitaph

Barney Mthombothi, writing in the Sunday Times, decried the decision of the Johannesburg City Council to rename William Nicol Drive in honour of Winnie Mandela. Having tangled with the lady in many jousts inside and outside parliament, I share his view of Mandela’s Janus face: a liberator of note coupled with her role as a [...]

Editing history to escape the truth

A new word, “retcon”, has entered the lexicon, shorthand for “retroactive continuity”. American journalist Lance Morrow explained this week it’s a “literary device in which form and content of a previously established narrative is changed. Retcon retrofits the past plot to suit present purposes.” Retcon is a device for novels (such as when history is [...]

Pay attention to the ticking of the Doomsday Clock

How, in the face of unimaginable horror in the deepest pit of a dystopian nightmare, surrounded by mass death, do you maintain a scintilla of faith and hope? That horror, the Nazi Holocaust and its factories of industrialised human slaughter, featured in several conversations at last weekend’s Franschhoek Literary Festival. The most direct and extraordinary [...]

There’s a mess all right, but unfortunately no Messiah

February’s explosive eNCA interview with former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter sucked all the oxygen from the ailing body politic. Understandably, since his assertions on high-level corruption and criminality were entirely plausible. His claims on the complicity of at least two cabinet ministers, and the connivance of a third who ignored it, in the malfeasance [...]

Illiberal democracy has come home to roost in SA

In 1997, a decade before he became a global media star on CNN, Fareed Zakaria wrote an influential article for the journal, Foreign Affairs. Titled, The Rise of Illiberal Democracy, Zakaria’s article commenced with an observation from the hard-driving US diplomat, the late Richard Holbooke, who brokered a peace deal in war-torn, ethnically inflamed Bosnia. He asked of [...]

The nightmare keeping us awake during load-shedding: Malema in the Union Buildings

In April 1992 Britain’s most read newspaper, The Sun, hit its readers with a vivid front page on election day. Across a photograph of Labour leader and electoral favourite Neil Kinnock, placed in a light bulb, ran the headline: “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights.” [...]

When it comes to cabinet composition, the buck stops with Ramaphosa

Anyone who endures the regime of intermittent fasting or carb-counting (or both) might be interested in the news that there are now two new weight-loss drugs — in advanced trial stages — which by way of weekly injections ensure weight loss of about 15%. This is achieved by stimulating “a feeling of fullness” and by [...]

The ANC has mastered the art of doublethink, doublespeak and double-cross

George Orwell is one of the most influential political authors of the ages. Although he died more than 70 years ago, his words resonate today. In 1946, he penned his famous polemic on political pretence and hypocrisy, in his essay “Politics and the English Language”. Two events this week — the forced ejection of Eskom's [...]

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