- Daily Maverick Staff Reporter
Pope Francis touched on a litany of international issues including war, nuclear proliferation, drug trafficking, education and slave labour when he addressed the United Nations (UN) in New York on Friday. Unsurprisingly, he spoke of the need to preserve the world’s ecological system and warned that further damage perpetuates “today’s widespread and quietly growing culture of waste.” He gave the thumbs up to the recent nuclear deal in Iran. He urged world leaders to examine their consciences, stop drawing up proposals and act on urgent global issues that need attention. He also appealed to them to set aside partisan and ideological interests to serve humanity. BY RUSSELL POLLITT.
Last week, Amnesty International presented the sobering outcome of 18 months of fieldwork in the area of maternal healthcare to the Third World Social Sciences Forum in Durban. Lack of access, lack of privacy and lack of knowledge remain the great barriers to maternal and child health, and as a result, thousands of preventable deaths occur each year. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
As research has amply proved, there’s an all but un-severable link between institutionalised racism and the historical prohibition of cannabis in South Africa. Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke, the famous ‘Dagga Couple’ who’ll be making the case before the High Court in March 2016 that the continued ban on the plant is unconstitutional, will be leaning heavily on this argument. KEVIN BLOOM sits down with the Dagga Couple, and with their lawyer, to see what else they’ll be throwing at the seven state entities who’ll be acting as joint defendants.
It’s a funny thing about South Africans: when protests turn violent, everyone is horrified – as is, of course, appropriate – but when they don’t, there’s a peculiar sense of deflation, as though someone turned the sound down. Monday’s BDS protest against the Woolworths/ Pharrell Williams concert at GrandWest had been anxiously anticipated, but it ran as smoothly as an airline lunch, leaving a slightly baffled tone in some of the headlines. MARELISE VAN DER MERWE was there with her camera.
In social media workshops with parents and teachers a number of concerning issues normally surface: cyberbullying, porn, online privacy, sexting, inappropriate sharing, loneliness and issues around defamation. The recent case of a young Capetonian girl who was almost recruited by Islamic State online is also often a talking point. Seldom, however, are other health issues, like the effect of blue light from LED screens, mentioned. This can be just as damaging – in the long term. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
Just as the tides move in and out, the Earth revolves and the seasons change, so our bodies follow their own self-regulating cycles until eventually they wilt and die. Sleep, wake, sleep, wake: consistent as a heartbeat. But, while we now know that the seasons arise from the tilt of the Earth, and day and night are thanks to its forever pirouette, why we sleep and age remain partial mysteries. What is becoming clearer, though, is just how important our internal clock is to our health – and how modern life thoroughly messes with it. By ANDREA TEAGLE.
LUKAS B was eight or nine when he was first caught for burglary. By the age of 13, he was associated with the ‘outside’ wing of the 28s gang. By the age of 16, he was serving a life sentence for murder – in an adult prison. He knew, by then, that he didn’t want to be in a gang. But he also knew loyalty was a matter of survival, so he gave it all he had. Within a few years, he would be a high-ranking member. Today, out of prison, he is HIV positive and determined live the last years of his life differently. But there’s a price: an unsheltered life on the street. This is his story, as he tells it. By DAILY MAVERICK STAFF REPORTER.
Pseudoscience or bad science can harm consumers in at least three ways. This harm can be direct, as when herbal preparations result in allergic reactions or unexpected drug interactions. Or, it can be indirect, as is the case with vaccine denialism, which not only exposes the denialist to avoidable risks of serious disease, but also impacts on 'herd immunity', thus threatening his or her entire community. Or it can simply result in wasting money on products that can’t deliver on their promises. Then there is the harm to public understanding of the scientific method, where claims need to be held accountable to evidence, and violations of the trust consumers place in manufacturers that the claims made about their products are accurate. By JACQUES ROUSSEAU for GROUNDUP.
With up to 10-million South Africans either suffering from type 2 diabetes or in the pre-diabetic stage, a wholly preventable epidemic is about to swamp our already strained public healthcare system. KEVIN BLOOM spends a day at the diabetes clinic of a major public hospital, where he learns a brand-new word: 'Coca-Colanisation'.
Most families caring for South Africa's 1.4-million maternal orphans qualify for the government’s Child Support Grant but, at R330, this is less than the $2-a-day poverty line. Many relatives taking care of orphans therefore try to formalise the care arrangement by obtaining a foster care placement to qualify for the R860 foster child grant. The amendment proposed by the Children’s Amendment Bill aims to entrench and increase the use of foster child grants for orphans being cared for by family members. However, the problem is that the system is not coping with the current numbers and therefore will fail to reach additional orphans. By STEFANIE RÖHRS.
Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa was bludgeoned to death by fellow villagers just days nine days before the release of Nelson Mandela on 2 February 1990 for opposing witchcraft. On Sunday, in the small village of Tshitanini near Thohoyandou in Limpopo, Daswa will be declared a martyr. Pope Francis has sent Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect for the Congregation of the Causes for the Saints, to preside over the beatification ceremony. The king of Venda, the premiers of Gauteng and Limpopo and Water Affairs and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane will be among the guests of honour. A further 35,000 people are expected to descend on the area to witness the beatification. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
The extraordinary public announcement, on Thursday, 10 September, of thousands of fossil bones from a new hominid species, Homo naledi, uncovered in one of the sites of the Cradle of Humankind has transfixed the world. J BROOKS SPECTOR takes a first look at what it may mean for an understanding of human origins – and what it may mean to be human.
Wessel Pretorius wrote, stars in and directs the award-winning one-man show Ont-, the story of an Afrikaner boy turning into a man in a country that is also changing. It was translated into English as Undone by Hennie van Greunen, and is being performed in English then Afrikaans on alternative nights at the Market Theatre. By LESLEY STONES.
There appears to be a broadening global consensus that humankind has collectively underestimated the values intrinsic in forests. The theme for the 14th World Forestry Congress to be held in Durban this week – its first time on African soil – is Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future. By EDITH VRIES.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of absentee fathers in the world. But one group of local (present) fathers has designed an award-winning application that will incentivise dads in the rest of the country to be more involved in their children’s lives from early on, stimulating children’s emotional and intellectual development and providing support to both fathers and mothers along the way. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Nowadays, it seems that every second South African is on a spiritual quest to actualise his/her inner victim. As a nation, we appear to run the gamut from aspirant household moaner to fully initiated hierophant of the public whinge. KEVIN BLOOM, in an effort to meet people who really have something to cry about, spends an afternoon in the paediatric oncology unit at one of our most notorious public hospitals.
In June this year, four months after Al-Shabaab militants massacred 148 people at Garissa, South African safari-operator Steve Fitzgerald welcomed the first guests to Angama Mara in Kenya. Fitzgerald maintains there’s simply no comparable super-luxury lodge in the Mara. ‘If Angama is successful, it could do the same for Kenya as the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge did for Tanzania,’ he says. It’s certainly a vote of confidence in the future of the Kenyan tourism industry. By CAROLYN RAPHAELY.
On Saturday 29 August, an exhibition entitled Karoo Disclosure opened at the Iziko South African Museum. Part art exhibition, part scientific discussion, part economic analysis, it was a unique and sobering look at the problem of fracking from various angles. MARELISE VAN DER MERWE left deeply concerned.
A small group of well-heeled rhino ‘farmers’, each sitting atop his own rhino-horn stockpile, has lobbied the South African government to push for the legalisation of the local and international sale of rhino horn. But the mere talk of legal trade seriously compromises a current, cost-effective, proven and far more durable solution to the rhino crisis; demand reduction, or making rhino-horn use socially unacceptable in Vietnam and China, as it has become in places like Taiwan. By PETER KNIGHTS and ADAM WELZ.
Inspired by a belief in making knowledge more accessible – open source education, if you will – combined with a concern for degrading physical materials, a team of researchers and technologists at the University of Cape Town have spent the past seven years working on a massive digital archive of rare physical objects. The result, the Humanitec Digital Showcase, went live earlier this month. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Artist Arlene Amaler-Raviv is exhibiting at the South African Jewish Museum. The exhibition, which is unofficially a retrospective of her work, is an exquisite journey into the soul of one of the country’s most compassionate artists. But don’t be fooled – her critical eye doesn’t miss much, either. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.