In a Dainfern State of Mind

THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO ENTER DAINFERN. One is through the Broadacres gate. It looks much the same as the William Nicol entrance — both have grand white wooden facades with grey roofing and boomed lanes for “visitors” and “residents” — but the Broadacres gate is a more fitting way to arrive.

Singing for His SUV’s

ON A RECENT WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON in Kinshasa we sat on a marbled garden terrace waiting for Werrason, one of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s most famous musicians. There were palm trees and red roses and cactuses and, next to a grand entrance with Greek pillars, an oversized vase filled with light pink and beige nylon flowers topped with red and yellow Christmas decorations.

A Rumble in the Jungle

AS YOU DRIVE INTO KINSHASA, the battle lines become clear. These are not potholes, they are large ponds of water where concrete gave in to time long ago, and cars and trucks and windowless, battered taxis have no option but to exist in a constant state of near collision.

On the Death of the Bookstore

It was the New Yorker cover that started it all. In December last year, the front of the magazine of the chattering literary classes showed a young bookshop attendant in takkies pointing a perplexed older man in a suit towards a two-tiered bookshelf. On it were William Shakespeare and Mark Twain bobble heads, baseball caps inscribed with the names of Tolstoy, Kerouac, Poe and Brontë and a handful of books with indiscriminate titles. The e-readers were on display on another table. Behold, it grimaced: the modern bookstore.

Making a Run for the Border

IT WAS A STIFLING 35 degrees when we arrived in Musina, the kind of dry, dusty heat that makes every movement slow, even when you think you should be in a hurry. But then there is no need to dawdle in a border town.

Rehabs of the Rich and Infamous

THE FIX, an addiction and recovery website run out of Los Angeles, covers subjects such as celebrity sex addictions as well as more serious topics about, say, the state of addiction research. There’s also a section called “rehab reviews” where you can take a look at independent write-ups of various facilities much like you would before going on holiday.

How It Is in Paradise

THIS IS HOW YOU ARRIVE on Denis Island: after bouncing through the air for 25 minutes on an Air Seychelles 19-seater De Havilland Twin Otter Series 300 with a no-smoking sign, a no-cellphone sign, a barf bag and emergency procedures with helpful instructions such as “remain calm” in the seat pocket in front of you, the inky water will finally turn turquoise and a 900m grass landing strip will appear on a blink of an island circled in white sand.

Radio Ramallah

WORLD LEADERS HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING FROM HIGH-LEVEL negotiations to prayer to get some peace in the Middle East. Issie Kirsh has a different approach. He’s going to serenade them. Then, when the Palestinians and Israelis are enraptured with music, he’s going to get the people to talk.

How 702 Got Its Groove Back

THE DIGITAL CLOCK GLARES DOWN IN RED NEON from its position above the Talk Radio 702 news desk. It’s 9.28 on a Thursday morning in early April and Johannesburg news editor Katy Katopodis, long unruly black hair, brown eyes, corduroy jeans and an olive-coloured sweater, is sitting cross-legged on a low slung office chair in the middle of the station’s Sandton news room.

And Now for the Bad News

TSHIVIS TSHIVUADI SITS AMONG PILES OF THIN, tabloid-size newspapers that sprawl in alternating heights across his wooden desk. The general secretary of Journalists in Danger (JED), a not-for-profit group funded by various British, French and Swiss organisations, has a wide face and thick fingers. He sits under the fluorescent lights, shielded from the afternoon sun by dusty blinds that — like many things in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — have seen better days. It has been a rough few months.