Archive for category Politics, Economics and History

Dilma Rousseff — the most powerful woman in the world

On 01 January 2011, Dilma Rousseff will be sworn in as the President of Brazil. She is Brazil’s first female President. Rousseff was the candidate of the Workers’ Party and she follows the hugely popular Lula or Lucio Ignacio da Silva who was the first worker who became President. Until late September, I had no [...]

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Profiteering from bread — Landmark Competition Commission case — nearly R1bn in penalties imposed on Pioneer Foods

Imraahn Mukaddam is a small shop-owner in Elsies River, a Coloured working-class township in Cape Town. He sells bread — the staple food of the poorest every day. In dealing with the bakeries, he and other small corner stores learnt that the bakeries fixed prices. Mukaddam was the only shop-owner prepared to lay a complaint [...]

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Cockroaches and Loos with Views: The struggle for dignity in political language

On 16 May 1923, Leon Trotsky wrote a remarkable little article in the newspaper Pravda — “The struggle for cultured language”. This article is republished below because of the debasing of our political language, the dehumanising of political opponents and people. Julius Malema and Premier Helen Zille are politicians. They both clamour for media attention [...]

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Why it is important for Africa and China that Human Rights Activist Liu Xiabo won the Nobel Peace Prize

Treatment Action Campaign and SECTION27 welcome Nobel Committee’s decision Liu Xiabo is Chinese human rights campaigner, a poet and a literary critic. He is one of the authors of Charter 08, a petition calling for freedom, equality, democracy and constitutional rule in China, including a new constitution, an independent judiciary, the election of public officials [...]

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Hypatia of Alexandria: a thinker for our times and a super hero on film

Popular films on historical topics are often scoffed at by historians. Film buffs often dismiss them as “worthy” movies. I confess that I love historical dramas. No matter how distorted the history or biography — they make us think, read, research and even write. Popular historical dramas are also action movies with great costumes. This [...]

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The South African Jewish Board of Deputies and Apartheid

Daniel’s Mackintosh’s article below is a cautious but courageous reflection on the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and their collaboration with apartheid. The article has also been published in the journal Jewish Affairs. This bold step by Jewish Affairs must be commended. Mackintosh locates the South African Jewish leadership’s collaboration with apartheid in their [...]


Burning Bibles and Qurans: Crimes of hate

The fanatics and cranks are having a field day. In the US, the military and government are more concerned that their troops will be endangered by Quran burning in New York than the hate against Muslim Americans, people of Muslim descent or Christian, Druze and other non-Muslim Arab Americans. In Johannesburg, Zehir Omar — the [...]

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Press is not telling us what we need to know — Steven Friedman

Steven Friedman makes a great case for media freedom. (See article below) He tells us that the media is not free enough because it fails to speak to the concerns of the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society. He uses two examples that talks about their failure to hold provincial and national Cabinet ministers [...]

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Bayard Rustin: The invisible civil rights rights leader, organiser, intellectual and gay man

In 1986, I learnt of the American activist and leader Bayard Rustin (17 March 1912 – 24 August 1987). Rustin formed the US Committee to Support the South African Resistance – a forerunner of the global anti-apartheid movement. I only fully realized how significant his contribution to global freedom was when I read an article [...]

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The Republic of Silence – Jean-Paul Sartre on The Aftermath of War and Occupation

Jean-Paul Sartre is known as one of the most important philosophers and writers of the 20th century. He lived through World War II first as a French prisoner of war, then as a professor of philosophy associated with the underground socialist movement. Sartre was a sympathiser (not activist) of the French Resistance to the Nazi [...]

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