Starting Over

By Ismail Lagardien 3 March 2018. I have been wrestling with the idea of deleting my old blog posts of the past few years, and starting all over. Whenever I considered this there have always been two slight (big) problems, one philosophical (yes, I know…) and one historical. Let me pose them as questions. Have I changed my mind about what I wrote before the end of December 2017, when I “shut down” my website for “maintenance”? Is it necessary to keep an historical record of what I have written over the months and years? Whenever I think about these […]

Implementing Land Expropriation: It’s the how that matters.

Public policy-making usually starts with ideas and ideologies, presented as necessary to correct past injustices, improve existing conditions, or secure future states of affairs or processes. It is in the afterglow of an idea or ideological expression when the hard work starts and when, ultimately, policies are evaluated on the basis of implementation and efficacy. Having said that, what is certain is that South African land reform will start in earnest. What remains unclear is how it will, actually, be done. One political formation seems to be obsessed with racism, ethno-nationalism, rapine and the politics of revenge as the basis […]

WEB Du Bois and Conflict on the Colour Line

In 1903, historian and sociologist WEB du Bois, wrote that “the problem of the 20th century” was “the colour line”. His claim, and its attendant teleology, was distinctly universal, notwithstanding his specific role in the civil rights movement of the US. The problem of the colour line, Du Bois wrote, was “the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea”. It is usually good practice to consider teleological statements with deep caution. There are, however, indications that Du Bois may have been right, but that he […]

A little adventure with a Nikon film camera

A little more than a decade after selling my last Nikon film camera (Nikon F5 – probably the best camera I have ever owned), I am about to “experiment” with film, once again. Going through some old boxes, I found an old Nikonos V I bought several years ago, but never used. I took it on a diving trip to the Caribbean, but realised, when we got there, that I did not pack the rubber seals and grease. The Nikonos went back into one of the chamois leather sleeves (which I hand-stitched myself) I used to have for keeping my bodies […]

Hirschman and Zappa: Shout-out to Business Day

I want to give a shout out to the sub-editors (and leader page editors) of Business Day for keeping a reference to Frank Zappa in a serious column on Economics and Public Policy-making that appeared in the paper this week. Sub-editors are probably the least appreciated professionals in the newspaper world. There are very few young, or even mid-career reporters who have anything nice to say about “subs” or “copy editors,” as they are referred to in North America. As I have grown older, however, I have come to appreciate them more. If only because they fix my mistakes.  Other […]

Democratic Alliance and Diversity (and Thomas Paine)

  20 April 2018. This morning I came across this brief video clip of an old friend, Harvey Kaye discussing Thomas Paine. Harvey is a Professor of History and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. His interview, on Zero Hour with RJ Eskow, has some relevance to my reference to Thomas Paine in this week’s column in The Herald (Published on 17 April). The following is the reference to Thomas Paine in my column, and the interview with Harvey is below that. In its current incarnation, the DA represents something more similar to the smug liberalism of former leader Tony […]