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The Death of a Miner
The Death of a Miner

They were Ntsenyeho’s miner comrades and they were angry

Shall we define Blood Platinum, now?
Shall we define Blood Platinum, now?

It looks like war. It is a war. A war of survival, certainly for the miners, and perhaps for the future of Rustenburg’s platinum mines too.

G-d Save the Martians

Eurotrash takes on a whole new meaning here. But boys will be boys, hey?

The Lord’s Children
The Lord's Children

Burnt mud brick huts punctuated the tropical landscape and an eerie silence hangs over deserted homesteads. A flattened patch of tall grass is pointed out as the site of LRA killings.

Lies and Farm Implements
Lies and Farm Implements

the knotted strands of grass that I took to indicate the presence of mines, or was it an absence of mines?

The Prison of Genocide, Rwanda 1995
The Prison of Genocide, Rwanda 1995

Were they so sure of the extermination of their enemies that they thought they were safe from retribution?

A day barely recorded or remembered
A day barely recorded or remembered

The man was, in the aftermath, known as a ‘plafond’. Someone who had survived by hiding in the ceiling.

The Science of Genocide
The Science of Genocide

“When love becomes hate. I met a woman who killed her own kids.”

Let them eat Khat
Let them eat Khat

My team of hired guns included a twelve year old boy in flip flops carrying a fifty caliber machine gun

Novels I want my kids to read

the cracks of my brain

Identity in the Suburbs, Jozi
Identity in the Suburbs, Jozi

Tweet Under shady trees, I pass close by a security gate. A deep-throated bark stirs my adrenal gland. A dog in a Springbok jersey, number 14. Boerboel, muscular, cut. Ray Mordt, I thought without hesitation. Overgrown sidewalk, man in sunglasses and lumber jacket walking towards me, his hands are in his pockets. As he nears […]

Treacherous Currents
Treacherous Currents

We toasted his death with Coca Cola before I pedaled off with a light heart and a heavy bike.

The Cigarette War
The Cigarette War

No war today, the goons have gone away.

The Warm Heart Enraged
The Warm Heart Enraged

It’s clear that paraffin lamps and candles were the common currency of luma here.

When it turns sour
When it turns sour

Tweet The tall lean man spoke around the breakfast he was chewing on, his blue eyes flicked at me, “Human barbeque, it smelt like human barbeque for a year down here,” said the bankrupt doctor in that distinct New York City argot of machine-gun staccato words with unpredictable cadence. I glanced accusingly at Leonie, who […]

Let the Fellaheen Rise
Let the Fellaheen Rise

“Inshallah, we will make it,” he uttered with his broad smile and a crazed glint in his one eye.

The Slippery Slope Appliance Militia
The Slippery Slope Appliance Militia

Tweet New Year resolutions. What a thing. But somehow the spirit has possessed me and one of the things I would like to fix is our impotence in the face of the disposable nature of much of today’s appliances and technology. My mother-in-law’s microwave is 23 years old, works perfectly. I enviously read online about […]

Shopping with the daughter
Shopping with the daughter

Tweet I have been struggling to approach anything resembling work these last weeks, so I took the daughter, M, on a specialist shopping expedition.  As it turned out, the perspex store was more fun than pragmatic, with fun mirrors to multi-coloured thingies.  What I liked most was the set of post-Apartheid presidents on the wall. […]

The bug and the hero
The bug and the hero

I am fearless

Just another taxi ride
Just another taxi ride

Tweet Exiting Dulles airport at dawn after an 18 hour flight, I was happy to plonk into the rear seat of some large American car. My driver was friendly and had a very sub-continental accent. India or Pakistan, I wondered to myself. Maybe Bangladesh? “Where you fly in from?” he asked, thick glasses mostly obscuring […]

Rugby flashback
Rugby flashback

Tweet I know I don’t usually cover sports in this blog, (Editor’s note to self, ‘have I ever?’) but after a lazy, heat-stroke dulled afternoon in Johannesburg I settled down to catch the last half of the hot local rugby clash between the Sharks and Western Province. **Note,  non-sportive readers, please do not wander off […]

soccer soccer soccer, oh Africa
soccer soccer soccer, oh Africa

Tweet “Hey Mister!” I ignored him. I have learnt it is best to ignore the police, usually. “Hey Mister, is this your car?” as I opened the door. Busted. “Yes.” “These, these flags, you must change them,” he pointed to the little South African flags ‘gloves’ adorning the wing mirrors. I stared blankly at him, […]

What really happens behind the khaki curtain ….
What really happens behind the khaki curtain ....

Tweet I have to admit to a startling and disturbing memory that overtook me as I was driving towards Ventersdorp to watch Eugene Terre’blanche be buried.  Thousands of his sad and angry supporters were also driving to that little North West (formerly Western Transvaal) town to bid their white power icon adieu, after he was […]

Sharpeville protests 2010
Sharpeville protests 2010

Tweet Sharpeville. If one word epitomises the history of the South African people’s struggle against malign power, then it is the name of this small township south of Johannesburg. It was in 1960, on March 21, that white police officers opened fire with sten guns on an unarmed crowd of some 5,000 black protesters who […]