- Richard Poplak
A week of robust debate at the Vatican has come to an end, and the official English translation of the report is anticipated sometime soon. There’s been a mixed response to the discussion, with some applauding the progress made and others voicing disappointment that there has not been enough forward motion. Most importantly, are we even looking at all the most relevant issues? Perhaps not. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
A recent survey in the UK has indicated that the ambition of a staggering 40 percent of children in that country is to be rich and famous. Oscar Pistorius’s apparent ability to line up an endless selection of willing girlfriends in spite of his unacceptable behaviour is evidence of this fatal attraction to celebrity and public acknowledgement no matter the cost or the reality. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Yesterday Western Cape Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso gave the strongest indication yet that Shrien Dewani’s sexual orientation could not be considered a factor with regard to proving a possible motive for the murder of his wife Anni. If the prosecution was thinking of arguing along these lines, it has a week to find a more convincing alternative. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Correction supervision now looks like a possibility for Oscar Pistorius, but in the second day of his sentencing the prosecution attacked witnesses suggesting he has been charitable and should only be sentenced to home arrest and community service. But to put the former athlete behind bars, witnesses in aggravation will have to shine. By GREG NICOLSON.
Last week, at the beginning of the Synod on the Family in Rome, Pope Francis told the 190 bishops meeting that they should “speak boldly and listen with humility.” He also said “God’s dream clashes with the hypocrisy of some of his servants” and that “Bad pastors lay intolerable burdens on the shoulders of others, which they themselves do not lift a finger to move”. These are strong words from the Pontiff that suggest he really wants open and frank discussion about real issues affecting the family today and the teaching of the Catholic Church. At the close of the first week, just how open and frank has the discussion been? By RUSSELL POLLITT.
While the highly ritualised performance of the courtroom with its dress code, rules and designated seating for each role player might serve to create a sense of order and containment, the chaos and lies that surround the murder of Anni Dewani swirl palpably below this regimented surface. On Monday, Shrien Dewani’s defence team suggested a fifth conspirator exists and that one of the gunmen had tried to rape Anni before accidentally shooting her. By MARIANNE THAMM.
Finally, a mesmerising film worthy of being called ‘great’ has reached our cinema screens. Forget the listless track of American-made films vying for the Best Picture Oscar award, which really only reflects the sensibilities of Hollywood – for a thought-provoking film which gives even cynics faith in the vibrancy of movies, you can’t do better than the Italian Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, The Great Beauty. By KALIM RAJAB.
The African elephant population is already facing unprecedented pressure on its survival from poaching, so added pressure from the captive elephant industry is the last thing it needs. Reviews by the Department of Environmental Affairs of existing legislation that ensures wild elephants are safe from being captured and placed into permanent captivity do not auger well. By MELISSA REITZ.
Grand. Now there’s a word. Depending on the dictionary you’re consulting, it could mean expansive, luxurious or even ostentatious. In the context of the new Hyundai Grand i10, though, it’s meant to suggest more and better, compared to the more humble, plainer i10. And yes, the Grand i10 certainly looks grander. But does that hold true of the vehicle as a whole? DEON SCHOEMAN gets behind the wheel.
Perhaps the most startling and perplexing admission in the Cape High Court murder trial of Shrien Dewani this week was that he visited gay dating and fetish websites a day after his bride Anni had been murdered. What are we to make of Dewani’s behaviour? Did he, either driven by guilt or anxiety, return to the one place he felt the safest and entirely able to be his true self, the Internet? By MARIANNE THAMM.
A tale of four characters’ perspectives on one life-changing event, Foursight explores the murky terrain of school massacres….only this time the violence hasn’t happened somewhere out there in CNN newsland, but rather right here in the heart of a chillingly recognisable suburban South African community. By CARLA LEVER.
BMW’s heritage is steeped in a culture of producing cars that are entertaining to drive – epitomised, for many years, by the ‘Sheer Driving Pleasure’ pay-off line. If a BMW M3 or M4 is too hard-core, though, there is a slightly milder, but equally striking alternative – and production is limited. By DEON SCHOEMAN.
On 15 September, convicted rapist and murderer Frank Van Den Bleeken was granted his request to be allowed to end his life, in accordance with Belgium’s 2002 Act on Euthanasia. It was a landmark decision. Not only is Van Den Bleeken a detainee – and thus part of a population group considered particularly vulnerable to rights abuses outside of the public eye – but his case was also made solely on the basis of mental suffering. By ANDREA TEAGLE.
The greatest threat to the safety of Africa’s elephants is not the poachers who prey on them for their tusks; rather it’s the governments of many of their homelands who lack the political will to ensure their safety. Indeed these very governments are in many cases complicit in the demise of these great animals. By SHAUN SWINGLER.
A stellar line-up of some of South Africa’s best-loved musicians including Hugh Masekela, Vusi Mahlasela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bakithi Kumalo, Abdullah Ibrahim David Kramer, Dizu Plaatjies, Simphiwe Dana, Toya DeLazy, Pretty Yende and many more will feature in the month-long Ubuntu Festival that will take place at Carnegie Hall. If you’re in New York between 8 October and 5 November, consider yourself blessed. By MARIANNE THAMM.