In South Africa, Anger in a Hashtag

JOHANNESBURG – 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. Their intention: to physically illustrate the economic barriers faced by those attempting to get into the South Africa’s institutions of … Continue reading

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

Confessions of a Walmart Shopper

Confessions of a Walmart Shopper

  I NEVER INTENDED to shop at Walmart. Ever. After all, Sam Walton and family represented all I was raised to sneer at. They are well known for stomping out freedom of speech by snatching “offensive” artists such as Sheryl Crow off their abundant shelves and banning any books they deem unfit for popular consumption, … 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

Certain of my Doubt

Certain of my Doubt

IT WAS NOT UNTIL I READ Life of Pi a few years ago that I realised the extent of my sins. “It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics,” Pi Patel told his creator, Yann Martel. “Doubt is useful for a while. But we must move on. To choose doubt as … Continue reading

DRC: 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 … Continue reading