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 […]

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 […]

Winnie Mandela is Dead: I Cried a Little, Today

  2 April 2018. You were like family. Sometimes more than that. I argued with you. You yelled at me. So many times. You slammed the phone on me. I slammed the phone on you. “Eish,” Bra Moffet, a photographer on Sowetan, told me after one tempestuous phone conversation with you, “You and Ma Winnie!” He shook his head and smiled. I was a journalist. I wanted answers. You could not give me the answers I wanted. I hated you. I loved you. There were times when we laughed. Other times we cried. You were stubborn. You were generous. You […]

Sherlock Holmes and Facts in Fiction

Neels Blom’s column, “On the Water”, published in Business Day, is always a treat – in a much different way from what his company was more than 25 years ago, when I last met him. As colleagues and friends, we went through the ups and downs of the states of emergency in the 1980s. We shared many laughs, tears and probably too much tannins from charred oak barrels… I do suspect, however, that we have drifted apart in terms of our ideas, beliefs and values. Nevertheless, since I believe that there should be no limitations on what should be discussed, […]

PHOTOGRAPHY: Exhibit comes to an end.

  By Ismail Lagardien 19 September 2017. This is an old pic, taken two years ago by Gaia Manco. I am placing it online for two reasons; because the exhibit – Between States of Emergency which ‘honours photographers who risked their lives and freedom to expose the brutality of apartheid in the late 1980s’, has come to an end after traveling the country for two years. I am honoured that some of my work was part of this exhibition by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The other reasons is, well, not for public discussion, suffice to say that nothing can take […]