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MAIL & GUARDIAN: Thought Leader

Investing in a hot market

With the JSE Securities Exchange galloping past the 15 200 mark after another meteoric rise of 22% so far this year, one has to question whether it is wise to be investing in shares at the moment. Or is the market reaching the sort of temperature that could cause burns?

Free lunch — and pudding

According to Visdorp mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo, this week's taxpayer-funded R200 000 makietie for women in the city's administration was all about empowering the fairer sex. Empowerment is a crummy job but someone's got to do it, and luckily our Nomaindia's been empowering people for years.

Burn, baby, burn

I was watching a programme on Ghengis Khan recently, and with Women's Day having just passed, it made me realise that at least in some societies women have made tremendous advances. In Khan's day, 800 years ago, women captured in battle were part of the spoils of victory. Khan's first wife and mother of three of his sons was one of these spoils of battle.

Saint dad

A recent British Equal Opportunities Commission survey found that four out of five working men would be happy to swap their jobs for the role of main child carer. Fair enough, and clearly a step in the right direction, but -- and I hate to break the news, guys -- there's a catch, and it's halo shaped.

Life industry in for an overhaul

The Pension Funds Adjudicator recently ruled on three types of cases with regards to retirement annuities . The first relates to the value of paid-up policies, which currently involves six separate cases. One that made headlines was the Da Sousa case against Liberty Life's Lifestyle retirement annuity fund where, after fees, the paid up value fell from R37 983 to R5 439.

Bracing for the comedown

''South African rugby is feeling rather buoyant at present, and there's good reason for this. Apart from the usual management scandals and a little car trouble, it looks like fair weather and plain sailing -- unless you count the fact that the All Blacks are waiting at Newlands on Saturday,'' writes Rob Davies.

Colour, class and culture

It's okay for Marc Lottering, to trade in coloured stereotypes, but, if outsiders make jokes or generalise about that group, they run the risk of being taken to the Human Rights Court, writes Mike van Graan.

A searing experience for SAA

My always reliable mole in high places has told me that South African Airways is about to introduce what is described as an ''unavoidable'' 10% levy on all air tickets. This levy has become necessary in order to fund the lifestyle and management needs of SAA's chief executive officer, Khaya Ngqula, and also to pay for all future enormous double-page SAA apologies in the Sunday newspapers.

Obi Wan Majola

As Gerald Majola demonstrated this week, the trouble with Jedi mind tricks is that you need to be a Jedi master before you can pull them off. Otherwise you just end up looking like a chubby bloke in a suit wafting your fingers across people's faces. Groping in vain in his cassock for the reassuring feel of his light-sabre, Majola said that media predictions of financial disaster in the sport were ''absolute nonsense''.

The making of a murderer

Once again, much of the media have been milking the Leigh Matthews story. Nothing wrong in that. It's been a gripping saga, made important to many of us. The recent narrative resurrects and then builds on the emotionalism of last year's coverage. Back then, we had frenzied reports on the search for the abducted university student.

Nedbank talks, who is listening?

Recently, Nedbank took time off to ask black customers to accompany it on a rather interesting journey. The bank launched its client empowerment share scheme, Eyethu (Zulu for ''ours''). Starting in August, the scheme will see the bank sell 2,17%, or 9,5-million shares, of its issued share capital to black -clients.

Constant craving

My French teacher was 50, short and wore thick glasses. He had a shiny pate, suits to match and smelled so strongly of garlic that kids would swoon when he leaned over to correct a subjunctive. The weakness in my own knees was something different. I was 13 and totally smitten.

Getting into Google and Microsoft

South Africans, by and large, have been reluctant to invest offshore while the South African markets have been relatively strong and the rand staged an amazing recovery, making it one of the strongest currencies in the world over the past three years. Recent rand weakness will have tempted some investors to look offshore again, but investing offshore is not just about hedging your rand bets.

Relics, racquets and rackets

When I was last in Budapest (this is going back some years now -- before the Coca-Cola signs went up) I was drawn into the extraordinary world of relics, icons and iconography. Hungary had gone through several revolutions by then -- some successful, some not. I am not talking about revolutions that followed the Russian Revolution of 1917, nor necessarily of the Hungarian Spring of 1956.

Fat and fatuous

If you are bored with being the irregular dependent of a funding agency and want a secure future with a suburban subsidy and medical aid to cover the costs of garlic, the department of Arts and culture is the place for you, writes Mike van Graan.

New adventures on the Highveld

''In rugby, like in business, location is everything -- something all South African rugby supporters are well aware of, given the poor record local sides have when travelling. Happily, the reverse is also true,'' writes Rob Davies, who predicts the Springboks will be more dangerous this weekend than last.

Enter the (friendly and humanitarian) Dragon

Democracy is a ­lascivious cad. An incorrigible dandy, he struts through the poorer neighbourhoods of the world, ­twirling his moustache and hopping deftly over cowpats, all the while sizing up the blushing, naïve ­daughters of dictators and tyrants, until he spies one who watches too long, smiles too widely. Come with me, he whispers up to her window, and I will give you the world.

SA’s tabloids rise in the ranks of journalism

After strong debate, South African editors last week embraced the rise of tabloid journalism in the South African newspaper industry. This unusual step came at the annual general meeting in Cape Town of the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef). A press statement described the tabloids as ''a vibrant element of the changing media landscape''.

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