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/ 22 March 2008

What is ‘the good’?

"What is ‘good’? ‘Good’ for whom? Is there a common good – the same for all people, all tribes, all conditions of life? Or is my good your evil? … Is good eternal and constant? Or is yesterday’s good today’s vice, yesterday’s evil today’s good?" Drawing on Vasily Grossman’s <i>Life and Fate</i>, Drew Forrest argues that organised faiths inevitably oppress and divide.

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/ 29 February 2008

Investors in for long haul

"Regrettably he was buried in Durban," Masterbond campaigner Don Mackenzie reportedly said of one of the collapsed company’s curators. "Otherwise I’d go and piss on his grave." The Masterbond curatorship dragged on for more than a decade amid bitter claims that investors were milked. Its ghost hangs over the biggest South African corporate scandal

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/ 13 December 2007

‘Do I look like I’ve got horns?’

<a href=""><img src="" align=left border=0></a>At his official residence in Pretoria on Wednesday, President Thabo Mbeki gave the first interview of his eight-year presidency to the <i>Mail & Guardian</i>. Looking tired and vulnerable, the president exposed the softer side of his complex personality, which South Africans hardly ever see.

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/ 2 November 2007

Media blamed for personality circus

<a href=""><img src="" align=left border=0></a>Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan fears that the politics of the African National Congress is being "Yankeefied" by a growing fixation on personalities rather than policies. And he blames the media for fuelling the process. "You have to get away from this personalised contest between [Jacob] Zuma and [Thabo] Mbeki," he said this week.

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/ 20 September 2007

Cosatu’s list riles Lekota

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has thrown its considerable weight behind Jacob Zuma as its preferred candidate for the ANC presidency, in defiance of objections by ANC chairperson Mosiuoa Lekota. At its central committee meeting on Thursday the federation also endorsed ANC secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe for the ANC deputy presidency.

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/ 9 August 2007

SA’s Zim exodus plan

The government is dusting off a 2002 plan to deal with a feared mass influx of Zimbabweans into South Africa, amid a growing official recognition that economic migration is snowballing towards crisis. Last week Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told a media conference in Pretoria that the Zimbabwean influx was "a serious problem" and that it was "vital for South Africa to act".

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/ 30 April 2007

Will the self-righteous inherit the earth?

Author Richard Dawkins defines faith as "belief without ­evidence". In fact, faith often seems to involve gymnastic contortions to keep the evidence at bay. Take the outraged letters from some Christian readers in response to the <i>Mail & Guardian</i>’s recent religion edition. Particularly at issue was the statement, in the article "Was Jesus the first socialist?".

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/ 4 July 2006

Thabo Mbeki is not Hugo Chávez

Thabo Mbeki’s intellectual biographer clearly sees it as his job to justify the president’s ways to South Africa. He does this not just by parroting his subject and muse but also by sallying forth to yap, Maltese poodle-style, at the president’s adversary of the moment.

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/ 27 December 2005

A legacy of blood and bronze

"’It would be a good idea,’ Mahatma Gandhi famously remarked when asked what he thought of European civilisation. It is a useful perspective for Europeans, many of whom still tend to think of themselves as God’s gift to the world." Drew Forrest argues that to understand Europe’s unique taste for organised violence, we must delve into pre-history.

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/ 30 July 2004

A titan without a profile

Two of the best-known anecdotes about Wilton Mkwayi, the African National Congress leader who died last weekend, underscore his virtual invisibility outside the movement he served so single-mindedly for 60 years. Although little-known outside ANC ranks, "Bri-bri" stands alongside Mandela, Sisulu and Tambo in the ANC pantheon.

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/ 11 June 2004

‘Treat rich and poor alike’

Just how relevant is the Township Residential Property Markets (TRPM) survey — released last week amid fanfare — to the mass of poor township residents? The survey found the secondary property market in townships was "dysfunctional", with only 8% of houses subject to a secondary transaction over five years.

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/ 1 June 2004

Let’s agree to disagree

"I disagree with what you say, but would defend to the death your right to say it," runs the well-worn maxim, wrongly attributed to Voltaire. Would Smuts Ngonyama or Dumisani Makhaye of the African National Congress defend to the death Tony Leon’s right to speak his mind? Doubtful. It is time for South Africans to outgrow the intolerance, hysteria and ideological hype of the past.

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/ 16 April 2004

And these little piggies had none …

<img src="" align=left>United States senator Eugene McCarthy once remarked that politicians react to the cold in much the same way as pigs — they stand in a circle with their snouts between the hind legs of the pig in front. This is the likely outcome of election 2004 for the main opposition parties, none of which can be overjoyed with the results at national or provincial levels.

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/ 1 March 2004

Expect a ‘shocking’ result

<img src="" align=left>""It would not be possible to ask every job applicant whether he’s a homosexual, but if someone wants to promote the homosexual lifestyle and influence others, we would object to that." Drew Forrest scourges African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe with the cat-o’-ten-tails.

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/ 9 February 2004

‘Numbers don’t mean quality’

<img src="" align=left>"We do have different policies from other parties — on women and child abuse, for example, and on the environment. We’re disappointed there’s no concerted campaign by all party leaders to dispel the myth that baby rape cures Aids." Drew Forrest turns his 10-shooter on Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille.