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 […]

The Act of Writing – A Brief Take

This was my column in the Herald on Tuesday. Texts in square brackets were added for this version. The rest is intact. Of course, the ideas in this column can be expanded considerably. Perhaps at another time.   For a while now, I have been thinking about “the act of writing”. This, in my mind, is the process that unfolds without planning or a pre-conceived story line where you know what you want to say, and simply follow a set method. This [my own] conception of the act of writing is a process that takes over, so to speak, and […]

Guilt rests on all our shoulders

I usually do not publish my Herald column on the day the newspaper goes into print. We need to support newspapers. However, because I think it’s an important personal article I have cut and pasted the column, here. I made only a single change to correct a spelling error on my part. I inserted “Felt” in the place of “left”. Immediately after the death of someone we are wont to believe that “now is not the time for finger-pointing”. I wish to disagree … The series of events that led to the death of Professor Bongani Mayosi rests on all […]

What comes after the revolution

This week’s column in The Herald Like many populists and revolutionaries, at whatever end of the political spectrum, there tends to be very little consideration for what happens the day after they get what they want. It is always the “how to” or the “what happens next” that remain elusive. What was it that Shakespeare wrote in A Midsummer Night’s Dream? “The dove pursues the griffin. The mild hind makes speed to catch the tiger – bootless speed. “When cowardice pursues and valour flies.” Beware that moment when you catch the tiger you have been chasing. In politics it’s easy, though. […]

For Trump, a lesson on culture

This is my column in the Herald published on 17 July 2018. I usually wait a while before placing it online, and often provide only a link. I wanted to add a video clip. See below. 18 July 2018. A historicity, or selective amnesia, is an affliction that is probably worse than ignorance. I am trying desperately hard not to use the word “stupid” so as to appear polite. I am, of course, talking about US President Donald Trump. Trump has thrown a band of safety and of eternal innocence around himself that reduces any and all criticism to “fake […]

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 […]