Busker by-law? There is no busker by-law

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This started out as an admonishment of Cape Town residents for our tardy outrage and showboat sense of civic responsibility. We turned up in huge numbers, I was going to say, when city law-enforcement officers publicly assaulted and arrested Lunga Gooodman Nono, but where were we when the laws and regulations he supposedly fell foul of were made? Public participation in law-making, after all, forms one of the key pillars of our constitutional democracy. It’s on us if unjust laws make it into the statute books. Continue reading

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Beware the boy who cries ‘Zulufication’

This post originally appeared on M&G Thoughtleader.

In Aesop’s fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf, a shepherd boy alone on a hillside tending to sheep called on people in a nearby village to help him chase away a wolf that was attacking his flock. There was no wolf of course. He was just doing what bored shepherd boys are tempted to do for kicks when bored. When the villagers arrived, pitchforks at the ready, the boy yelled, “Psyche, y’all just got punk’d!” Or something like that. Continue reading

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Book review: Thoughts on the New South Africa, by Neville Alexander

I used to believe that if you did not know history and how our societies came to be as they are, the world must be infuriating and scary. But from observing ease of those afflicted by the contagious South African moveonism, partly owing to the poor education system, partly from memory’s natural degeneracy between generations, partly from the convenience of forgetting, partly from the various ideologically driven projects to induce forgetting and misremembering, I’ve had to reconsider. Those with that knowledge and understanding are a minority amid a multitude of people who start each new day as though the previous had not been. These few are the only sane people in a room of amnestic madmen. As such, I’m now convinced that it’s only for them, these few who understand the past, its effects on today and what must be done to create a better future, that this world full of forgetting is a maddening place.

Neville Alexander’s collection of essays, Thoughts on the New South Africa, published posthumously in February, six months after his death, bristles with annoyance and a heavy undertone of frustration, understandably so, given that he was among the few I’ve described.

Adding to Alexander’s frustration, I glean, is that his thinking was, no, is far ahead of our time—and, compelled by the sense of community and humility that drew him into an active role in the country’s liberation movement, he could not reasonably withdraw into the insular existence that many in his position might find tempting and mollifying. Continue reading

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