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Shedding the Maggie look

Could we possibly be saying goodbye this week to the common caricature of Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel as Trevor Thatcher and do we have comrade Trevor back? Has the ruling party returned to the left-of-centre political stage it must occupy in a country like ours? In many senses, yes.

In spirit of the times

Artists are often called upon to donate their creativity to some worthy cause. Yesterday it was a benefit concert for those who failed to get a 4x4 out of the arms deal. Today it will be poetry evening for people living with spies. In the freebie charity stakes artists must be the most called upon professionals, writes Mike van Graan.

The time is nigh

The days are rushing past, and so are the minutes and seconds before Bafana Bafana national coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba is set to announce his final 22 players for the Nations Cup in Tunisia in January next year. But will he have enough time to make them gel to take on the Nigerians, Morocco and Benin?

The show is on the road

The race is on. The gloves are off. The challenge for control of the South African National Assembly has definitely kicked in, if reports in the press are to be believed. Everybody (or a few enlightened somebodies -- which is not much, considering we are a Third World and largely illiterate country) knows that there is going to be a serious national election in 2004.

Louis and Di: The missing letters

Signed World Cup rugby balls, the Judas in the Lays ad on television, Prince Philip falling asleep in a scone, the chins of Marlon Brando, the hair of Napoleon, and the smell of a damp Labrador some weeks dead. These are just some of the horrors that await in the secret letters of Princess Di and Louis Luyt...

Folly of vote boycott

The <i>Mail & Guardian</i> is committed to deepening and defending democracy in South Africa. This is perhaps why we fail to understand the eagerness of the leaders of the Landless People's Movement (LPM) to disenfranchise the millions of poor and landless they claim to represent. This week the LPM called on South Africans not to register for -- or vote in -- next year's general elections.

A licence to loot

Tom Devine is a decent American. A fighter for what he calls "free speech dissent" -- whistle-blowing to you and me -- he conceals the steel of a lifelong professional commitment to whistle-blowers beneath a gentle, soft-spoken exterior. It seems like he could not hurt a fly. But when he talks about Executive Order 13303 a quiet rage gathers about him.

Defending the rights of alleged criminals is the law

When the alleged Boeremag members return to the dock in the Pretoria High Court on Monday they will have with them an unseen and uncharged co-accused -- the right to be presumed innocent and to have a fair trial.

How Essop Pahad was suckered

I must admit feeling a touch nervous as I dare to question the analytical powerhouse that is Essop Pahad, minister of no defined portfolio in the Presidency. I hope, nonetheless, he will forgive me my audacity in telling him that in the matter of the bitchy little spat that, for the last few weeks, has been going on between him and the serried ranks of Pieter-Dirk Uys, he's been hopelessly wide of the mark.

Who is listening to whom?

Is the country's long-term educational and economic future about to be sacrificed for the short-term political interests of one bristling moustache? In a hectic week Minister of Education Kader Asmal announced the new names of tertiary institutions due to merge in January next year (and of more to merge a year after that).

Rein in the snipers

As tasteless and unseemly as the Hefer inquiries proceedings may be, it is welcome. It will allow us as a nation to remove the red herrings and diversions that powerful individuals have placed in the way of legitimate investigations into their affairs.

Southern Sudanese demand equal rights

Three themes continuously emerge during discussions with the articulate and determined people of southern Sudan. The first is that they are victims of a double apartheid: of race, because they are Africans not Arabs, and of religion, because they are infidels or "kafirs" to the Muslims.

A blow for the little guy

Some of our Justice System's most watershed and exciting decisions have ended up as mere legal jargon that Joe Average could not be bothered with, unless he found himself in a sticky situation. That is why this column will start off by celebrating decisions that the taxi passenger, the law professor and the quadriplegic should all be able to relate to, writes Fikile-Ntsikelelo.

Let the showponies prove their worth

Despite their prevalence we know very little about suckers. All we know is that since one is born every minute, there are 1 440 more suckers in the world than there were yesterday. That is until M-Net started screening <i>Idols</i> last year -- which should be watched very carefully by the king-makers of sport.

Pointers cry out for hefty rate cut

It may be early days, but it is now safe to say South Africans can look forward to riding the wave of a global recovery on the back of an economy that has weathered storms better than most. This week three sets of figures supported a case for a radical interest rate cut, at least 2%, before the year is out.

The world, the text and Edward Said

On his death in the morning of Thursday September 25 Edward Said was Professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University in New York. Said was a towering figure in a number of fields: in literary criticism, cultural studies and Middle East studies, specifically the question of Palestine.

Jumping ship

The Proudly South African campaign is also about creating sustainable local jobs. Yet so many of our country's top dancers, choreographers, opera singers, visual artists and others are plying their trade abroad, unable to sustain a living for themselves here. Let us export our art, not our artists, writes Mike van Graan.

Twisted sister state

What has happened to the tribe that gave us the imposing Voortrekker Monument? The Taal Monument with its seemingly Viagra foundations? Somehow, the koeksister monument, which would come in at a mere 2m in a rugby line-out, just doesn't have the same ring to it, writes Mike van Graan.

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