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Politics

In/glorious Battle

Jacob ZumaJacob Zuma courted controversy with his fondness for singing the Struggle-era song 'Bring Me My Machine-Gun'. Perhaps it's just a song, and just a metaphor, but in the logic of that metaphor politics is simplified as a winner-take-all battle royale.

 

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Zackie Achmat, Citizen Superhero

zackie achmat‘I often call myself The Incredible Sulk,’ says Zackie Achmat, South Africa’s most famous AIDS activist. ‘I have chronic depression, and I’ve had it since I was ten. My personal struggle to overcome it has been more difficult than my struggle with HIV.’

 

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The Unthinkable

the unthinkableOn September 11 2001 the myth of American invincibility was toppled with inconceivable speed. Stirring in the after-shock is another myth: the end-times notion that history is heading for catastrophe. Time to think about unthinkability.

 

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Ten Reasons Why Mugabe's Critics Should Belt Up

ten reasons why mugabe critics should belt upYou're a meddling foreigner. You're an outsider to the cause. You didn't fight in the war. You're a racist bastard. You've been duped by the Western media (you twit). You're a British imperialist. You're a terrorist. You're a pawn of the Antichrist …

 

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Spirit of the Phantom City

oraniaOn paper Orania looks cut-and-dried – it’s an apartheid town for aging white Afrikaners, and that’s that. On inspection, it’s given to shades of surreal diversity and home to young intellectuals seeing themselves as post-colonialists and nation-builders.

 

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Sex, Media and the President's Holy Body

presidential holy bodyMouths are frothing, eyeballs bulging and embolisms erupting as South Africa reels from its latest assault by the forces of evil: Max Du Preez's remark that President Mbeki is a ‘womaniser’. Once again the news is not in the news: the news is the news.

 

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Tony Leon, Speaker Extraordinaire

Tony LeonAn email interview with Tony Leon, leader of the official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). Random quote: ‘I do not collect much. In fact, I am the opposite – I am great at throwing out and destroying redundant paper.’

 

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Plot, Counter-Plot

media plot to overthrow south africaTrust no one. South Africa’s bursting at the seams with conspiracies, and you'll never guess who's behind it all: the vile media. According to a group of intellectuals, the media are abusing free speech in ‘a campaign of apartheid-style disinformation’.

 

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Debora Patta, Avenging Angel and Zulu Princess

Debora Patta Third DegreeAn email interview with Debora Patta, the journalist who heads up e.tv’s 3rd Degree. ‘After a show on racism at a whites-only resort, I received the most vitriolic hate-mail I have ever seen, including somebody saying, “You deserve to be raped.”’

 

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Holiday in Hell: Surviving the Abu Sayyaf

abu_sayyafIn 2000, Monique Strydom and husband Callie were among 21 holidaymakers taken hostage in the Philippines by militant Islamic separatists. ‘We started every day not knowing if we’d be alive that evening. It’s a feeling so terrifying you cannot imagine it.’

 

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The Amazing Mugabe Man

amazing mugabe man introFaster than the speeding bullets of international opinion, mighty enough to lob a nation into the sewer, he is the Amazing Mugabe Man, champion of the landless. But his most unsung power is his ability to paralyse other superhero presidents into silence.

 

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The Joy of Vandalism

Bamiyan BuddhaThe Western as well as Islamic world condemned the Taliban's destruction of two Buddhist icons. Of course they would – they just don’t get it. What people overlook is that religious extremism has its uses. It passes the time and it's a helluva lot of fun.

 

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The Media: Scum of the Earth

media the scum of the earthAlways drunk and thumb-sucking facts, the media wage a daily war of neo-liberal, capitalist, imperalistic reaction, etc. against South African democracy. OMG: Their latest target for take-down is nothing less than the KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet.

 

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Max du Preez, Hard-Nosed African

Max du PreezWimps don't make good journalists, says Max du Preez, one of South Africa's toughest reporters, but he admits he's not macho in private. When he's not going on about holier-than-thou liberals and corrupt politicians, he likes reading up on spirituality.

 

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Private: Whites Only

members only mateA public outcry followed after a coloured family were turned away from a whites-only church, but this incident is only but one example of wider trend in South Africa: institutions that adopt ‘members-only’ policies to protect an all-white clientele.

 

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Jaundiced Eye: Man behind the Mugshot

jaundiced eyeFamous for his Jaundiced Eye newspaper column, William Saunderson-Meyer is revered and reviled for the withering gaze he turns on South African politics. But how does Jaundiced Eye see himself? ‘Opinionated, boisterous, and frightens little children.’

 

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Trashing the Alliance

trashing the allianceCape Town’s folksy, wisecracking mayor defied the Democratic Alliance and refused to resign for his alleged fat-cat antics. The ensuing game of brinkmanship flushed the DP-NNP tryst down the tubes but another, more important alliance took a worse beating.

 

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Holocaust Denial and Free Speech

Holocaust denialA Muslim radio station calls it freedom of expression; members of the Jewish community say it's Holocaust denial and antisemitism. In a key legal case, the court will have to decide which is more important to protect: critical speech or social harmony.

 

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The Presidential Silence on Parks

Parks MankahlanaThe death of the Parks Mankahlana, suspected to have been caused by AIDS, rates as one of the cruelest ironies of the Mbeki presidency – a presidency that questioned the link between the HI virus and AIDS and earned itself the epithet ‘denialist’.

 

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Holy Herbs and Righteous Rastas

holy herbsMarijuana, cannabis, dagga, dope, pot, weed, herb, bane, doob, zol, ‘aap twak’ ... legalisation hits the headlines. A Rastafarian lawyer wants the Constitutional Court to legalise the good green, but think through the haze before saying ‘Rock on, dude’.

 

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Psychoanalysing the Dreaded White Seff Efrican

dreaded white south africanBritish busybody Peter Hain slated white South Africans as ‘whingers’, but maybe the Uitlander has a point. ‘Whingeing’ is a social pastime that offers perverse, kinky pleasure … otherwise why do it 24/7 despite its ostensibly irksome subject-matter?

 

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