"Perfect for the person who thinks they know everything"


I was sitting around a table with some fellow hacks the other day (the kind, mostly, who like to start sentences with ‘In my day . . .’ – veterans, as we prefer to be called) lamenting the state of the media in South Africa. Then someone said, ‘At least there’s Daily Maverick.’ We all nodded, and ordered another round.

Not long ago, I was chastised by a group of politicians (who, having reached the age of my fellow hacks, call themselves stalwarts) about the way in which the press has been reporting on South African politics. Then I said, ‘At least there’s Daily Maverick.’ They all nodded, and asked me to buy another round.

Yes, at least there’s Daily Maverick. Brain porn, indeed – a dependable weekday offering that lifts my foul mood when the morning papers don’t arrive at my door. In five years, Daily Maverick has shown outfits here and elsewhere – outfits with much better backing and bigger budgets – how online news and opinion should be done. And it’s done this in great style: energetically and with constant innovation.

I get my breaking news and updates from the radio and social media. With my first early-morning double espresso, I don’t need a rehash of what happened yesterday – I want to know how I should understand and make sense of it. I want someone to give me the broader picture, and I want intelligent, well-reasoned opinions about the state of my world. When I’m done, I want to feel prepared to see beyond the inevitable smoke and mirrors of my day.

We’ve reached a point, in South Africa, at which you need to remind yourself who owns the media product you’re consuming so that you can decode what you’re reading or listening to. This is not true of Daily Maverick. The small Daily Maverick team contains some of the very brightest bulbs in the chandelier of South African journalism. I don’t need to agree with everything I read, but I do insist on intellectual integrity and good writing. I demand that reporters have a memory that extends further than the previous decade, even if they were still at school at that time or not yet born.

Every now and then a voice from outside journalism pops up in Daily Maverick’s offering: a bright young voice like Kalim Rajab, or a wise older voice like Jay Naidoo or Raymond Suttner. And, unlike most other online news sources, the comments section is a place where real debate can take place. As its reminder to those who comment says: ‘Here, we don’t pity the fool. We remove them.’

South Africa has become a confusing place to live in. There’s a lot of shouting, too many charlatans, too much posturing, too much obfuscation and not enough reasoning and truth-telling; there’s not nearly enough digging below the surface (read Greg Marinovich’s brilliant piece from September 2012, ‘The cold murder fields of Marikana’, for an example of how this digging should be done). As Phaedrus said to Socrates in Plato’s Phaedrus, ‘Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.’

In five short years, Daily Maverick has become a must-read for all who want an informed and stimulated opinion about their political and social environment. After reading this collection of the best of Daily Maverick, I nodded and said to myself, ‘At least there’s Daily Maverick.’

Long live!

Max du Preez


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CONTENTS

Chapter 1: The Gupta house of cards

  • Exclusive: Gupta nuptials guest memo - Richard Poplak
  • The Guptas and the man called Gedleyihlekisa - Ranjeni Munusamy
  • Message to cabinet: It is not just a wedding - Kalim Rajab
  • The top spooks’ Gupta warning - Ranjeni Munusamy
  • ANN7: Car-crash viewing, but no laughing matter - Rebecca Davis

 

Chapter 2: Reporter’s notebook

  • The lessons no journalism school can teach you - Sipho Hlongwane
  • A thin line between fear and hate - Branko Brkic
  • The day the Cape Winelands burned - Rebecca Davis
  • Julius Malema and the rally that rocked - Richard Poplak

 

Chapter 3: A homestead in the hills

  • An uncontrolled creep – Zuma, busted by Madonsela - Richard Poplak
  • Madonsela: It’s Animal Farm, and the pigs are feeding - Simon Allison
  • Open letter to President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma - Stephen Grootes
  • Goodbye, democracy; so long, accountability; hello, Zumocracy - Ranjeni Munusamy
  • Requiem for a dream: On loving and leaving the ANC - Sisonke Msimang

 

Chapter 4: Thirty-four human beings died that night

  • The cold murder fields of Marikana - Greg Marinovich
  • A film every South African should see, and never forget - Marianne Thamm
  • Twelve-point-bloody-five - Greg Nicolson
  • We’re not in Eden any more, South Africa - J Brooks Spector

 

Chapter 5: People in the news

  • My friend, the war photographer - Greg Marinovich
  • The beautiful mind of Jonathan Jansen - Mandy de Waal
  • Bad cops, assassins, Czech fugitives: The meaning of Paul O’Sullivan - Marianne Thamm
  • Talking ’bout a revolution - Ranjeni Munusamy
  • Walking with Kathrada: A journey to Robben Island - Ranjeni Munusamy

 

Chapter 6: Princess Thuli and Co.

  • Best of Daily Maverick’s illustrations

 

Chapter 7: Think again

  • Karoo fracking scandal exposed - Ivo Vegter
  • Mamphela Ramphele, the future for South Africa? Nope - Vukani Mde
  • To my generation: Listen. Listen very carefully - Jay Naidoo
  • Palin, Malema and the rise of the unread - Kevin Bloom
  • Malema’s manufactured money - Greg Nicolson
  • Lessons from a Zambian vice president - Simon Allison
  • My coming-out story - Styli Charalambous

 

Chapter 8: Lessons from a murder

  • After the media circus has moved on . . . - Mandy Wiener
  • A conversation about violence - Sisonke Msimang
  • What got lost in the Oscar Pistorius frenzy - Rebecca Davis

 

Chapter 9: Our scourge

  • Anene Booysen: The agony of South Africa’s daughter - Ranjeni Munusamy
  • Watch. Pray. South Africa. - Greg Nicolson
  • Thought I’d say ‘Hi’ to a couple of rapists - Anonymous
  • In defence of a lion killer - Ivo Vegter

 

Chapter 10: The R-word

  • Black anger and white obliviousness - Osiame Molefe
  • Racism killed the rainbow nation - Paul Berkowitz
  • Should South Africa’s black people get over apartheid? Hell, no! - Sipho Hlongwane
  • The myth of the competent apartheid government - Ivo Vegter

 

Chapter 11: Madiba

  • Madiba, I let you go - Marelise van der Merwe
  • Open letter to South Africa from foreign media - Richard Poplak
  • A stadium full of truths - Stephen Grootes
  • Fog donkey: The only honest man in a stadium of fools - Richard Poplak
  • My old South African flag  - Ivo Vegter