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MAIL & GUARDIAN: Thought Leader

By the dummies, for dummies

If a dummy meet a dummy coming through the rye, are they both stupider because of it?

Why I wear the hijab

''Do you ever get hot?'' ''How long is your hair?'' ''Isn't it awkward?'' These are some of the questions I'm asked when people meet me for the first time. No, actually, it's quite comfortable. I never have to worry about bad hair days and my hair getting wet in the rain. This is the life of a Muslim woman who wears the hijab. She is liberated in her covering.

A double-edged sword of victory

''It's wonderful that we have such a fabulously celebrated, all-embracing Constitution, but sometimes it can work against us women. Like the Recognition of African Customary Marriages Act four years ago, Muslim marriages could soon become legal in South Africa''. A young Muslim woman gives her perspective on life in a modern South Arica.

Love me, love my dog

On the face of it, taking the dog for a walk appears entirely unrelated to affairs of the human heart. Wearing muddy wellies and carrying a poo bag isn't the most obvious of conditions in which to employ your skills of seduction. But a spot of flirtation adds a certain frisson to any dog walk.

Lesbian monsters in the movies

''It's rather depressing when you belong to a minority group whose best mainstream exposure comes through a movie that depicts one of your kind as a serial killer. Somehow my gut tells me that Monster is going to tell people what they think they already know about lesbians,'' writes Jane Rood.

Court to balance policy and rights

''The three-pointed compass that will guide the second decade of democracy in South Africa was on display at the opening of the new Constitutional Court complex last Sunday''. Richard Calland forecasts the direction of the Court in the second decade of democracy.

Ah, look at all the lonely people

While there's much that we know about Eleanor Rigby, there's a lot more that we don't. It is here that Ms Rigby's prospective biographer must pause and ask: What do depressed, lonely, abandoned, socially inadequate people do? Sometimes, on very rare occasions, emboldened to reckless exhibitionism by a satisfying heart-to-heart with the talking clock, they invent new sports.

Miserable state of affairs

An audit of newsroom leaders is about to get under way. It's not the Human Rights Commission (HRC) probing racism, nor the Genderlinks NGO sniffing out sexism. It's an initiative of the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef). A case of the industry examining itself.

Someone rid me of this flirt

There is something quaintly exotic about a woman playing a man's game. Especially if the game entails the ritual of hunting and hooking up with the opposite sex because they are wont to employ that traditional weapon hookers and trollops called flirting.

Sisters, you let us down

''Dear sisters, Happy International Women's Day. The 8th of March is meant to be a day to celebrate how far we have come as women worldwide. But for us, North of your border, we have no cause to celebrate. I am writing to you, woman to woman. Sisters, you are letting us down.'' Everjoice J Win writes an open letter to Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and other women in the Cabinet.

Tony shows his true colours

Swart- en rooigevaar tactics have taken a new twist with the red and black posters strung up by the Democratic Whatever on lamp-posts throughout Mitchells Plain on the Cape Flats. ''The NNP is with the ANC'' is the DW's message specifically for residents of one of the largest coloured communities in the Western Cape

The art of online seduction

Perhaps you thought there could be nothing new in affairs of the heart. Think again. ''Computers have changed not just the way we work but the way we love.'' So declares Aaron Ben-Ze'ev in Love Online: Emotions on the Internet,a study of online amorousness published on Valentine's Day.

Mokoena admits to messing up

South African Football Association (Safa) chief operations officer and acting CEO Albert Mokoena did the unthinkable this week by summoning the media to talk about the problems at Safa. Mokoena said that Safa had messed up ''big time'' by sacking Bafana Bafana's coach just before they left for the African Cup of Nations tournament in Tunisia.

Monkey see, monkey do

New Springbok coach Jake White is a great motivator. He's a student of the game. He's a thinker, a facilitator, a mover, a groover, a philosopher-king. But consider this, in light of the state of South African rugby: Is there anything a modern Springbok coach can do that a trained chimpanzee can't?

Loosen the bra straps of myth

I've never bought the argument, mysteriously embedded in the ''breast is best'' slogan, that ''better mothers breastfeed'', but I'm convinced that this social sub-text has turned discussion on the proposed new regulations relating to foodstuffs for infants into a one-sided rant, blindly supported by the media.

What women really want

George Orwell listed four writers' motives: sheer egotism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse (the desire to record things as they are, for posterity) and political purpose (the desire to push the world in a certain direction). I have a much simpler reason for writing: to be in control.

The good wife –

Pity poor Faieza Desai. On Monday she was at Cape Town International airport to welcome back the judge at the heart of the Mumbai jiggery-pokery and was immediately lauded by at least four daily newspapers for standing by her man.

Meetings of more than minds

''Remember that guy, the one who was married!'' one cried. ''My mother ran into the love of her life at a conference and nearly left my father,'' another friend added quietly. ''I left my bag in his boot,'' someone confessed. And the winner: ''I shagged him in the conference room.''

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