- Deon Schoeman
On Monday, Oscar Pistorius learnt that he will know his fate in June, when the court deliberates during a fresh sentencing hearing on charges of murder. Meanwhile, a new book by amateur forensic sleuths sheds new light on the evidence, suggesting that Reeva Steenkamp had sustained several injuries before she locked herself in the toilet of Pistorius’s Silver Woods estate on 14 February 2013. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warned of the danger of the “single story”, and Kevin Bloom and Richard Poplak have taken that warning to heart in their new book on Africa. Continental Shift is full of stories, many of them contradictory, all of them entertaining, and together they offer a snapshot of a continent that defies easy definition. This is essential reading for anyone with more than a passing interest in the continent, but especially for those of us who live on it. By SIMON ALLISON.
These are tough times for art at UCT. Paintings were burnt in a protest in January after an exhibition in Molly Blackburn Hall of events in 2015 was taken down when some students disapproved of it. GroundUp has taken a look at the art at UCT and the work of the Artworks Task Team. By Nathan Geffen for GROUNDUP.
Dr Robert Gallo, best known for the discovery of the link between HIV and Aids as well as the blood test for the disease, is in South Africa to receive his 33rd honorary doctorate. MARELISE VAN DER MERWE spoke to him about the early days in HIV/Aids research, the Mbeki factor, and whether we can really expect to eradicate HIV/Aids by 2030.
A deep scan of the sky in radio waves revealed something completely unexpected to South African astronomers: that somehow, and for some unexplained reason, supermassive black holes in one region of space are all releasing radio waves in the same direction. Could this be a vital clue in understanding how the universe was formed? By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
In a new document on the family, entitled Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) Pope Francis has attempted to redirect the way that Catholics think about themselves. The document is the fruit of two sittings of the Synod of Bishops on the family in 2014 and 2015. Francis has not changed doctrine, but has asked Catholics to embark upon a new process of discernment and dialogue. The Pope does not sew up or propose solutions for issues facing families and the Church’s teaching on family life but moves the question around family life into the pews – and into the consciences of Catholics. The 256-page Apostolic Exhortation is striking for is breadth - and its detail. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
State-of-the-art gene-editing tool Crispr-Cas9 has been widely touted as a means of understanding and eliminating diseases. Recently, scientists used it to successfully and safely delete the HIV genome from human immune cells and to prevent reinfection. But defeating HIV in a culture dish is a little like taking down an opponent in handcuffs. It’s an exciting first step, but there’s still a long way to go. By ANDREA TEAGLE.
British boxer Nick Blackwell’s injury over the weekend will have led some of the sport’s opponents to once more call for the sport to be banned. But the risk that comes with contact sport is one all professional sportsmen take. Why then are we seemingly more tolerant of severe injuries in other sports compared to boxing? By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
It’s perhaps hard to imagine, but 25 years ago there was no bone marrow registry in South Africa. Today, it’s still a costly and difficult procedure for those with leukaemia or other serious blood diseases to get life-saving treatment. Most often it’s a “military operation”, says the doctor who helped make it all possible. When she got a moment, that is, after providing assistance with the first heart transplant and running a tissue typing laboratory. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
For hundreds of murdered South African women, the last face they see is a face they used to love. Almost 60 percent of women murdered annually may die by their partner’s hands – but who is counting the women who die by their own hands when violence at home becomes too much? GARRET BARNWELL reports for HEALTH-E NEWS.
You might not be entirely surprised by the contents of Don Pinnock’s Gang Town, especially if you know something about the Western Cape’s gangs. But if it’s a sensationalist account you’re after, this isn’t the book for you anyway. Gang Town offers a lucid, balanced account of the Cape’s gang structures, and what can potentially be done about it. It makes sense. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Love in the digital age is often preceded by rapid scanning – and all too often, unfeeling rejection – of streams of faces appearing on dating apps such as Tinder. Researchers from the University of Sydney found that aside from obvious markers of unattractiveness, one factor influencing the likelihood you swipe right is the face that came before this one. Here, in short, is why you just swiped right. By ANDREA TEAGLE.
The Coalition of Lesbians (CAL) is lobbying for South Africa not to side with the Africa Group's conservative position on a broad range of sexual, reproductive and health rights and human rights issues being negotiated at the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN headquarters in New York which ends on Thursday. By MARIANNE THAMM.
A landmark case in Botswana has paved the way for lobby groups in other African countries potentially to challenge laws that infringe on their freedoms. The case, brought forward by a civil society grouping fighting for the rights of lesbians, gays and bisexuals, changes the landscape for activism in Botswana and potentially elsewhere. By CAROLINE JAMES.
The autopsy reports of bullet wound trajectories suggest nothing less than extrajudicial executions, sinister echoes of apartheid-era death squad activities. But no summary of what happened at Marikana can do justice to Marinovich’s narrative, nor to the miners, police and security guards who lost their lives while authorities created “plausible deniability” for themselves. By ANTHONY EGAN SJ.
Institutionalised giving in South Africa is more substantial than anyone envisaged. It will be interesting to see how philanthropy responds to the current lack of business confidence and the talk of state capture and whether we will see a resistance to the establishment of new foundations in these troubled times, writes SHELAGH GASTROW.
Something that puzzled Helen Suzman Foundation director Francis Antonie after a brazen, military-style robbery at the foundation's offices at the weekend was that someone would want to steal really old computers.The answer might be that the older and more low-tech a piece of equipment, the more difficult it is for spies to hack, so they had to take the hardware. By MARIANNE THAMM.