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 […]

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 […]

Afrikaners and Global Rise of ethno-nationalism and notions of purity

13 March 2018 – A week ago, Business Day published a short article I wrote on the global rise in fascism, far-right politics, ethno-nationalism and the search for purity around the world. See the article on my page of work published elsewhere. Anyway, below is a scanned image of the story. After it was published I received a reply from Jared Taylor (for Taylor’s association with white supremacy see here and here) who was advised by an Afrikaner-nationalist and white supremacist in South Africa. I should make time for a more structured response. This is a link to Taylor’s response […]

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, […]

The Hidden hands of Markus Jooste

13 December 2017. The analysis of pictures can be fun. Sometimes it can be a silly pass-time, sometimes not. The semiotics is the serious part. In theory the semiotics of images – the study of signs and signifying practices in a photograph – refers to any particular thing that is purposefully or unwittingly placed within a frame, and that refers to something else, or that conveys particular messages that were not initially intended by the photographer. There are several signifying practices which refers to how, as opposed to what, meaning is produced within a photograph. When viewing photographs, or any […]

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 […]