From Barack Obama to persistent inequality in South African society

I have, in following the bizarre spectacle that is the process of selecting a republican candidate for president of the United States of America, come across a lot of material on Barack Obama.   I have seen in him passion, committment, massive intellect and wry humour.  It has become obvious to me why he has succeeded in being elected for two terms as president, but a sense of puzzlement about why he is so vilified by so many of the people he leads.   However, there is one particular clip (it’s long, if you have limited data or bandwidth, be careful) […]

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Do two wrongs make a right?

So sad, so sad for the society of humanity. That some of us see it fit to take the lives of perfect strangers; for what? Vengeance? Religious zeal? Political fervour? By what imperative does the callous slaying of sports fans, concert goers, passers by, and diners right the wrongs, real or imagined, vested upon the attackers’ community? What perverted morality deems it a proper to visit such suffering and death so capriciously? Does it atone for the misery that the victims’ ancestors, leaders, and allies might have inflicted in the past? Do two wrongs make a right? I think not, […]

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Ask not “What can my KPC do for me?”

Here’s a thought, in the context of the theme of “What can Kyalami Park Club do for <name your equestrian activity>?” (call it dressage if you wish). Trudy Marsland makes a point that should perhaps be expanded – that KPC is not a commercial enterprise. Siobhan J Records then asks “What can KPC do for me?” (Yes, I paraphrase, not her exact words, but the meaning was clear, and please forgive me for singling her out; she is not by any means the only one to ask the question). In all of this, lets acknowledge that the Kyalami Equestrian Park […]

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More on the Theme of Home

This little corner of our beautiful land that we call home is truly serving its purpose.  Five years ago we went looking for a place we could move to that could be called home not just to us, but also to my (now late) mother and my stepfather.  The place we found turns out is also capable of serving as a home to our retired horses, to two lovely dogs who we would never have brought into our lives had we not moved here, and to far too many cats.  As our time here has progressed, I have taken delight […]

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Hunting; ethical, unethical?

Stephen Palos, you write eloquently and passionately. You approach an emotive and divisive subject rationally and calmly, and you point out that not all hunting is the same, that some is good, and some is bad, and that the hunting industry is a major contributor in terms of economy, jobs and preserved habitat. But, the images that Jeremy Mansfield is most likely responding to, that of “sportsmen” sitting on raised platforms taking pot shots at animals driven past them is inevitably and unavoidably going to raise the emotive temperature of the debate. It cannot be otherwise. The spectacle of some […]

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New York, New York

Crowded, smelly, busy, noisy. The smell of vomit, sewerage and spilled coffee. Dams of humanity waiting to cross the street, don’t walk, walk, surge across the street from each side, meeting mid-street, swirling eddies and vortexes of humanity. Screaming, wailing, howling, growling cars, trucks, taxis, buses, garbage trucks, ambulances, fire-trucks, patrol cars. Chinese, Spanish, English, French. Office workers, tourists,  ticket hawkers, delivery men, babies in push carts, dogs on leashes, joggers, cyclists.  

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Morality and sex in the office

I just read an article by Liz Ryan ( you can follow the link at the foot of this note, if you like ) on touchy subject of sex in the workplace. Her theme, in the briefest of paraphrases, is that the organisation that can effectively harness the emotions, energy, pressures and frustrations that would otherwise drive people into the dark corners of the workplace, and use it to further the organisation’s own goals, is highly likely an extremely successful organisation. Of course, Ms Ryan uses this topic to illustrate her central theme, which is that it is only by […]

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Shall we kill the killers?

It’s a sadly familiar scenario, a sign of our times, perhaps. Members of a community gather in sympathy of a victim of some senseless act of violence, expressing solidarity with the family of the victim, despair at the lawlessness of the society that spawned the atrocity, and anger at the authorities seemingly powerless in their duty to protect the citizens.  “We are gatvol!” (fed up), they chant, “Enough is enough!”, and inevitably, “Bring back the death penalty!” These sentiments are just some of the many manifestations of discontent that, over twenty years after the end of apaardheid, so many South Africans feel. […]

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Our Home, Her Home

After a week of tap, tap, tapping away, our Cardinal Woodpecker’s home is starting to take shape.  Here she is, cleaning out the wood chips from the hole she made in a monkey-thorn tree in our garden.

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What makes home, home?

Over the weekend Jean confirmed that David, one of her three siblings all of whom have emigrated, and his family, will spend Christmas with us in Kyalami this year. This news pleased me immensely, and as I sit on the stoep listening to the birds ‘ chorus this morning, I realize that much as I am in awe of the physical beauty of the two hectares of this planet we call home, there is something more that makes the place special. It is the community of people whose lives are woven into the fabric of this place that make it […]

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