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 [...]

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 [...]

How many ministers does it take to screw in the country’s light bulb?

In the closing credits of the 1988 comic movie masterpiece, John Cleese’s A Fish Called Wanda, the audience is advised of the imagined fate of the lead villains after the film ends. In the film, criminal demolitions expert Otto West, played by Kevin Kline, awarded best supporting actor Oscar for his performance, was described by one [...]

Things fall apart as weak Ramaphosa channels his inner Graaff

Douglas Gibson, veteran combatant of the internecine wars that felled the once mighty, now long vanished, United Party, offered a pithy put-down on the equivocating and irresolute leadership style of its long-serving chief, Sir De Villiers Graaff. “When in doubt, Div would appoint a committee,” he recalls. Cyril Ramaphosa claimed in his state of the nation [...]

Soon there may be no part of SA that’s more Swiss than Guatemalan

SA is obviously a deeply divided country. It is also, bewilderingly, a country which splits itself between what can be termed its large Guatemala section and the small enclave demarcated as Switzerland. In Guatemala, rated one of the more lawless and violent countries in Latin America, it’s the rule of the gangs and the corrupt [...]

ANC should learn about electricity from Lenin

The South African economy will be on life support this year with an anaemic 0.3% projected growth, according to this week’s SA Reserve Bank forecast. More jobs and livelihoods will bleed, the tax base will erode and many businesses will die. Hilary Joffe writing in Business Day on Friday noted ‘’even in the worst of [...]

Go to Top