In South Africa, Anger in a Hashtag

Early one morning last year a handful of students gathered to block the main entrance to the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg to protest the university’s proposed 10 percent tuition fee hike.

The Funny Thing About Race in South Africa

It’s 1948 and it’s the first day of apartheid in South Africa. A jazzy tune is playing, the sun is shining and some white people are lying on blankets on a grassy embankment. A familiar sign pops up: “Whites Only.” The camera pans onto a young black man who is taking his place on the lawn as a security officer approaches.

BMW Buyer, You’re On Your Own

When Tanya Pampalone was told her car’s warranty was up five months before it was due, she had a hard time finding out why. That’s when she delved into the world of dodgy motor industry practices where it’s almost impossible to get a straight answer. Unless you’re willing to ask a lot of questions — and put up a serious fight.

Fear and Loathing at South Africa’s Public Broadcaster

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.

Slumming with the Sun

SO YOU DON’T LIKE NASTY TABLOIDS THAT DEBASE OUR SOCIETY with preposterous stories of tokoloshes and gory muthi murders infused with a solid dose of xenophobia, racism and sexism? Well, the Daily Sun isn’t talking to you. Who it is talking to is the people, and the people have spoken. And four million of them are reading Deon du Plessis’s rock ’n’ roll newspaper every single day.

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.

The Full Ponte

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 end of its rope. It’s enough to make you queasy – at least on your first ride. We’re headed for the 51st floor at One Lily Avenue in Berea. We’re going to the top, where the penthouses form a full circle in this 173-metre tower crowned with the blue Vodacom sign. The building’s protective silhouette hovers over Gauteng with an almost motherly hold, the way she proudly dominates this land, though most will tell you – her phallic form clearly supporting their claims – that Ponte is definitely a man. I’m not so sure.

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.