Please don’t touch the goat

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the official Nkandla tour! Where we prove that you have nowhere left to hide and we have nothing to fear … Er, wait, let me just put on my reading glasses … Oh. Right. Where we prove we have nothing to hide and you have nothing toContinue reading “Please don’t touch the goat”


I know how West Indian bowlers feel. I tried to pin down AB de Villiers for a week and got absolutely nowhere. My brief was straightforward. Do an in-depth interview with the mercurial middle-order star. Show us the man behind the legend, the bloke behind the scoring machine who reached 7 000 runs in OneContinue reading “2015: A SPACE ODYSSEY”

“What a dust do I raise!”

Once, in certain sweaty parts of the world where the main exports were bananas and refugees, it was fashionable to name infrastructure after ideologues. South Africa has managed to restrain itself – you’re unlikely to find the Thabo Mbeki Glorious People’s Communal Tap – but we do still have a weakness for renaming roads afterContinue reading ““What a dust do I raise!””

Looking through the glasses darkly

The spectacles are enormous. Steel-rimmed and impervious to the summer wind, they lie on the grass of the Sea Point promenade as if left behind by a myopic titan after a picnic. But their placement is not arbitrary. The vast lenses, many inches thick, are fixed on Robben Island out in the bay. A nearbyContinue reading “Looking through the glasses darkly”

No GPS for mourning

In young, white Cape Town, the mourning is directionless. We cling onto scraps of third-hand Xhosa like magic spells – “Tata Madiba”, “enkosi kakhulu”, “uMkhonto weSizwe” – our Victorian penchant for petty shame reducing the words to whispers in case we get the pronunciation wrong. We don’t know the old dances, we don’t know theContinue reading “No GPS for mourning”