Darrel Bristow-Bovey has written a thoughtful and poignant article about the wildfires that ravaged the Cape Peninsula this week, and the relationship between the coverage and attention around that event, compared to the shack fires in Cape Town in December.
Bristow-Bovey, whose most recent book is One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo, points out what many others have stated: that the shack fires did not “attract this degree of media attention and middle-class chatter”. He compares the situation to the infamous attack on the World Trade Centre in America: “If you want the powerful to notice you, destroy something they think they own. Tear down a tower; burn down the mountain.”
Read the article:
We — people like me — feel ownership of the mountain. We feel a kind of ownership of Groot Constantia and the Tokai forest and the tortoises and fynbos. We even feel an ownership of luxury lodges that we ourselves couldn‘t necessarily afford to stay in, and that‘s a little weird, but it‘s not reprehensible. But we don‘t feel an ownership of the shacks or any kinship with the lives inside them. They‘re invisible, except when we‘re complaining that we can see them. The December shack fires destroyed some 700 homes and all the accumulated possessions and history of the 700 families that lived in them. Nearly two dozen people died brutally, in terror and with almost no media attention. The same heroes of this week worked equally heroically then, but the rest of us didn‘t care as much.
Max du Preez, author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy, has written an article for News24 in which he argues that the notion that South Africa is a failed state is “uninformed nonsense”.
South African citizens, Du Preez says, are more free to criticise authority than most. He writes that as a democratic society, openness is South Africa’s greatest asset.
However, Du Preez concedes that concerns about the authoritarian, securocratic tendencies of the ruling party are legitimate and very serious, and this makes citizens’ continuing fight for freedom and openness absolutely essential.
Read the article:
Our openness is one of the most important building blocks upon which our democracy, our stability and our relatively free economic activities are built. This is why South Africa cannot be described as a failing state in any sense of the word. Struggling state, perhaps, state with a multitude of challenges, yes, but not a failed state according to the accepted definition of the term.
Who do we have to thank for this state of affairs? Certainly not the present government or the present version of the ruling ANC. If it had been in their power, we would have been a much more closed society, as their attacks on the press have demonstrated over the years.
Dr Eve, sex therapist and author of Ageing and Sexuality: Your 21st Century Guide to Lifelong Sensuality, has shared a video in which she discusses the myth that married people have less sex than their single counterparts.
There is a popular notion that once a couple is married, the sex stops. But contrary to popular belief, people in fact have more sex when they are married. Dr Eve explains why.
Watch the video:
Darrel Bristow-Bovey, whose newest book is One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo, chatted to News24 recently.
Bristow-Bovey offered his advice for those going through a midlife crisis, and mused on the depressing nature of holidays, which he says are only really enjoyable in retrospect.
The author says the same concept can be applied to life.
“It sucks, life,” Bristow-Bovey says. “Except when you look back and go, ‘ooh, my 30s’. I didn’t really enjoy my 30s, and I think back and go: ‘Ooh, my 30s, that was a good time. That was so beautiful. Look how free I was. Look how slim!’
“So I’m looking forward to my 50s so that I can look back on my 40s and go: ‘Oh, that was a good time.’”
Watch the video:
Luke Alfred recently wrote an interesting article in which he takes a look at the influence of luck on sportsmen, contrasting Australian and South African rugby players and cricketers to illustrate “the emotional and spiritual context in which they play”.
Alfred argues that Australians might seem luckier in sport, but that it is actually down to the untroubled context in which they play the game – as opposed to South African sportsmen who “feel the weight of a troubled past of apartheid” and “have to contend with the context of an unsettled present”.
The author of The Art of Losing: Why the Proteas Choke at the Cricket World Cup (and more recently When the Lions Came to Town: The 1974 Rugby Tour to South Africa) goes on to say that “we are well versed in the art of survival”, arguing that this will count in the Proteas favour during the ongoing Cricket World Cup.
Read Alfred’s interesting take on what the Protea’s performance might be like towards the end this important cricket tournament:
Cricket, by comparison, is more existential and empty. Its very structure — balls and overs, one batsman on strike, the other not — leaves time and opportunity for contemplation. With contemplation comes doubt. Our cricketers, despite impressions to the contrary, have historically been prey to this World Cup doubt and there is no reason to believe that when the World Cup comes round in Australasia in a couple of weeks’ time those doubts won’t drift into consciousness. After all, how can a sportsman not be doubtful if he comes from a society that doubts itself?
This is all being written in the afterglow of the magisterial innings of 149 against the West Indies by AB de Villiers in the Wanderers Bull Ring, an innings which is part of the reinvention of the game itself.
Yes, bats might be bigger, boundaries smaller and the game skewed problematically in favour of batsmen. Still, what we have witnessed since the arrival of the Indian Premier League and Twenty20 cricket generally is a wholesale overhaul and reinvention of the game. Players are doing things with the bat nowadays in limited-overs formats that couldn’t have been dreamt of by, say, Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock, who, to all intents and purposes, played cricket centuries ago.
Dawie Roodt, co-author of Tax, Lies and Red Tape, debated the recent budget speech with Christopher Malikane, professor of Economics at Wits University, on Xolani Gwala’s Talk Radio 702 show recently.
Roodt, who is also director and chief economist of Efficient Group, says Finance Minister Nhlahla Nene’s budget is “a budget of optimism”, and is lacking in transparency. Roodt calculates that debt will rise, and that South Africa is likely to face another ratings downgrade in the next financial year.
Listen to the podcast:
Anni Dewani’s father, Vinod Hindocha, has told The Mirror about his last conversation with his daughter, in which she hinted that she wanted to tell him something that her husband was not permitted to hear.
The author of Anni Dewani: A Father’s Story says that the family has not found any closure and that they still struggle to understand how Shrien Dewani had hidden his sexuality from their “intelligent daughter”.
Hindocha recalls his final phone conversation with Anni, four hours before she died. He said that Anni spoke in Swedish so that Shrien, who was presumably in the room, couldn’t understand her: “She said, ‘Papa I have so much to tell you, I’ll tell you on Tuesday when I come home.’”
Watch the video:
The SABC recently reported that the Hindocha family has launched an appeal for a possible inquest into the murder of Anni Dewani.
Anni was murdered in South Africa in 2010 and last year her husband Shrien Dewani, who was the main suspect, was found not guilty by judge Jeanette Traverso in the Cape Town High Court. Following the acquittal the Hindocha family told the Daily Mail that the justice system had failed them.
The SABC reports that the meeting regarding the inquest has been postponed to a later date. If the inquest is granted Shrien may be called to testify, something he did not do during his trial in South Africa.
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Dawie Roodt, chief economist at the Efficient Group and author of Tax, Lies and Red Tape, has written an article for Business Day explaining a the significance of state debt following Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s budget speech yesterday.
In the article, Roodt explains the different ways that state debt is calculated, what this means for ordinary people in South Africa and how the Finance Minister will handle the matter for the next year.
Read the article:
One of the privileges of being the finance minister is having the power to borrow money on your and my behalf.
Most of us do not realise that our present and previous finance ministers have accumulated debt to the value of about R40,000 on behalf of every individual in the country, which will have to be paid back at some time in the future.
But how much is the total outstanding debt of the state and how is it calculated?
There are a great many theories about why South Africa, one of the world’s strongest cricketing nations, has never won the Cricket World Cup.
In The Art of Losing: Why the Proteas Choke at the Cricket World Cup, according to an article by Gideon Haigh for The Australian, Luke Alfred looks at every possible explanation for the Proteas infamous choking, including a few superstitions.
Alfred also has a theory about the problem lying more with the country the country the Proteas represent than with the team itself.
Read the article:
Alfred’s is a fascinating artifact of South African self-torture, enumerating every potential reason for failure: teams have been too old and too young; too intense and too relaxed; wives and girlfriends have got in the way then not been around when needed; matches may or may not have been fixed.
Is it about South Africa itself, he wonders? “Can a team that represents the nation not function at optimum levels if the nation doesn’t somehow feel itself to be a nation at all?” Alfred asks at one point, albeit without quite chewing what he has bitten off.