A country of no consequence

As I watched David Cameron resign, I wondered: what would it take for Jacob Zuma to stand on Plein Street outside parliament and resign? Most of us have asked a similar question but I’m not sure how many have pushed for an answer. In this increasingly gloomy society it’s not so much a question asContinue reading “A country of no consequence”

The revolution doesn’t want to succeed

Raoul was a revolutionary. He’d been fighting for almost ten years. That’s how old we all were. Almost ten. He arrived in my primary school class like a Molotov cocktail through the window of a bank. He made it clear that the rules of polite, bourgeois company were not for him. He swore. He smoked.Continue reading “The revolution doesn’t want to succeed”

We’ve already been hit

Two years ago, the killing started in earnest. Throughout the 2000s, the amorphous monster called “global terrorism” had been a creature of the shadows, stepping out into the world to kill and maim but then slipping away again. In 2013, however, it stepped out and stayed out, illuminated by fire. The number of atrocities surgedContinue reading “We’ve already been hit”

A watchlist

On the weekend the Sunday Independent ran a story “in the spirit of transparency and proper record-keeping” that featured a long list of names. Each name belonged to a Member of Parliament. They had two things in common: they were members of the ANC, and they had voted Yes to adopt the report that absolvedContinue reading “A watchlist”

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”

Miss Congeniality: South African fiction

Authors’ incomes collapse to ‘abject’ levels. That’s what the headline on The Guardian said, and I was frantic to know more. Which authors? Was it me? Were my annual royalty cheques of R250 about to plunge to R50? Less? Usually I read like a millenial, which is to say I base my world view onContinue reading “Miss Congeniality: South African fiction”

Rugby? Thanks, I’ll pass

A winter afternoon under a hard blue sky. Rugby players, panting, scattered across a field. The home team trailing by a single drop-kick. The opposition, a juggernaut in the first half, now looking ragged; rumours of food poisoning starting to swirl. The crowd rolls and roars, an ocean of anticipation, and then it breaks intoContinue reading “Rugby? Thanks, I’ll pass”

Help yourself, Jacob

Heh heh heh. An ugly sound echoing through the silence of our collective shock. A humourless, dusty wheeze, the kind you expect from a cartoon baddie whose villainy has desiccated him. It seems a cruel sound, a pure expression of power mocking the powerless. It’s tempting to project all kinds of evil onto that sound;Continue reading “Help yourself, Jacob”