Filed under Features

Fear and Loathing at South Africa’s Public Broadcaster

JOHANNESBURG — Sometimes the most acute afflictions present in the simplest forms – like the rusted machine that once spit out parking tickets for visitors to the hulking concrete and steel towers of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s Johannesburg studios, or the escalators meant to glide employees from the ground floor to the lobby. On … Continue reading

The Full Ponte

The Full Ponte

Luxury apartments in the roughest neighborhood in town? One small development group with big plans thinks it’s an easy sell. All you have to do is believe. BY TANYA PAMPALONE The ride up is bumpy. At every floor, the cramped elevator stops and bounces, as if it were hanging from a delicate bungee at the … Continue reading

In a Dainfern State of Mind

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. If you try … Continue reading

Singing for his SUV’s

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 … Continue reading

A Rumble in the Jungle

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. One of the city’s poorest, most … Continue reading

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. It was my first time in Musina and Grace’s* fourth. The first … Continue reading

SADC Tribunal goes on trial

IN NOVEMBER OF 2008 Ben Freeth and a motley crew of white Zimbabwean farmers, who took their government to the Southern African Development Community Tribunal in Windhoek in an effort to win back their land, wept in open court when they heard the judgment passed down. After months of stops and starts, the court unanimously found … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Peddling the American Dream

THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT doing 140km/h on a Jo’burg highway at 4:30pm on a weekday with no car in sight — except for the thousands of poor suckers who aren’t going anywhere, backed up and blocked from every onramp — that screams: hanging out with Michelle Obama is very, very cool. Africa’s economic capital came … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading