Opinion

The best medicine for the people

Those worst affected by Aids need much more than anti-retrovirals. If the money is available it should arguably be spent on extending social welfare, basic services and supporting subsistence agriculture as well as boosting prevention programmes if we really want to help those worst affected by HIV/Aids.

Lessons from imperial history

Britain's 1879 invasion of the Zulu kingdom and the looming US war against Iraq have much in common. A closer examination of what happened in the South African past, of how the exercise of imperial violence shaped South Africa, does enable us to understand the present more clearly

For whom has the tide turned?

Policy-makers refuse to acknowledge that the majority live in economic depression. We have turned the tide, but neither the president, who told us this, nor the corporate economists, who enthusiastically agree, offer any positive projections on the economy's ability to create jobs

The appalling silence of Tim Lamb

To describe the behaviour of the World Cup cricket administrators as slimy would be to praise it. Consider only one act: Mr Tim Lamb's cynical decision to withhold from the English cricket team any knowledge of death threats made to them and their families.

Play by the rules

While there is no evidence that any of South Africa's cherished freedoms are under threat, there are signs that we are not paying enough attention to developing the norms and systems that will protect its long-term health.

Heat up Mugabe’s meltdown

In the course of Zimbabwe's painful road to total disintegration, the South African authorities have consistently chanted the mantra that things are getting better.

The secrecy of science

When the former director of a biological warfare facility, in a new incarnation, chooses to establish a sophisticated laboratory where dangerous biological agents are to be kept and analysed South Africans would be justified in expecting vigilance from the authorities.

Time for Buthelezi to own his deeds

Throughout the apartheid era Mangosuthu Buthelezi proclaimed his opposition to the racist ideology even when it was patently clear to even the dimmest cretin that he was in bed with the NP.

‘We do not want to be him’

In his report to the African National Congress's conference in December, President Thabo Mbeki implored members of his party to become the front-line "cadres" in the quest to "defeat the networks of corruption" threatening the reconstruction and development of South African society.

Our quality of life has peaked – it’s downhill now

With the turning of every year we expect our lives to improve. As long as the economy continues to grow, we imagine, the world will become a more congenial place in which to live. There is no basis for this belief if we take into account such factors as pollution and the depletion of natural capital

Misleading from the front

The late Parks Mankahlana, who had an ear for the neat catchphrase, once described President Thabo Mbeki as "a revolutionary nationalist". The problem is that revolutionaries do not make good social democrats.

How to start smoking (again)

I have started smoking about seven times. The best one was the last. It always is. Practice makes perfect, so you have a more textured awareness of what is unfolding. There's the moment of fatal nostalgia, the decision, the dizzy embrace and, between 10 and 15 minutes later, the desire to repeat.

Was Jesus a stoner?

Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties of the drug, according to a study

End this dark ritual

Every year around this time South Africans engage in the macabre ritual of monitoring the road-death body count, exchanging anecdotes about the hell run on the country's highways and relating the latest tales about the record fines being dished out by the traffic police.

Free the ANC from intolerance

During one of those interactions that have become a regular feature among members of the club of Southern African liberation movements, a delegation from Namibia's ruling Swapo posed a question that confounded some ANC leaders: how does the ANC go about grooming leadership and managing its succession process?

Neutralise this pungent smell

The most perturbing aspects of the reaction from those in authority to revelations that Deputy President Jacob Zuma is being investigated by the Scorpions unit have been the contrived silence and egg-dancing. Zuma has glibly declared his innocence and proclaimed his right to remain silent until he is called to stand before a court of law. The National Directorate of Public Prosecutions, under whose wing the Scorpions unit falls, conveniently says it does not comment on investigations into specific individuals and refuses to confirm what is already public knowledge --that it has put written questions to certain individuals about Zuma's conduct and movements.

What went wrong?

The rumour mill has been working overtime during the past three weeks as Wits University employees, journalists and everyone else who can cadge some media space try to figure out what has been going on at the topmost levels of one of this country's academic showpieces.

The vilest of crimes

When South Africa embarks on the campaign named Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence later this month there will be much hand-wringing and pious declarations from across the political and social spectrum.
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