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A New Yorker from Albany, Jacob Glen Cuyler, played a role in a relatively "minor incident" on the Estern Frontier of the Cape Colony which became a founding myth of Afrikaner nationalism
Fortyfive years ago the man who was almost solely responsible for turning the policy of segregation into the ideology of apartheid was assassinated in the Lower House of the South African Parliament. Dr Verwoerd died on...
The neo-Gothic Commemoration Church in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa is a remarkable site of memory and devotion for Methodists.
Rather uncommon visitors to my suburban garden, green pigeons give a wonderful show amid bright cotoneaster berries.
A rant about white male exceptionalism
Smuts continued to dominate South African politics and began to be seen as a leading figure on the international stage as well.
Is beauty possible after the horrors of Auschwitz? Is it barbaric to create art after the massacres and genocides of the 20th Century? This essay explores some of these issues by looking at the art of composer Henryk...
A critical look at the concepts and history of nationalism and patriotism and a brief examination of the effects of these on society
Looking through a camera's lens at some of the interesting wildlife in a suburban garden
The term "psychopath" is frequently used in the popular press and even by professionals in the field of psychology. The term is usually used for sensational purposes, in the sense of the definition given by...
The agonising story of how racial categorisation in apartheid South Africa tore apart a family and almost ruined a young girl's life. It is also the story of the endurance of the human spirit to negate the...
I followed De Greek's orders in writing this Hub. Now please do the same and read this!
Is this a philosophy? It is a view of the world which denies metaphor and irony and seems to elevate blind faith above reason.
Jan Smuts played a huge role in South Africa, imprinting on the young country his vision, not always uncontroversially.
A look at the history of assassinations by guns. A gruesome history of violence and intolerance gone crazy.
The story of the most unusual Able Seaman ever to volunteer for duty in the Royal Navy. AB Just Nuisance was a Great Dane who won the hearts of sailors from around the world and was feted as a celebrity in greater Cape...
For 200 years policy in Afganistan ws determined more by factors outside of the country than within it. And this policy, right up to the present, has been an expensive failure. Butcher and Bolt (Hutchinson,...
The movement to unify the four colonies in South Africa proceeded almost as though blacks had no interest in the outcome. The myth of the "white man's country" was given concrete form in the Union of South...
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The last armed rebellion by blacks against the encroaching colonists in Southern Africa was put down with great cruelty by the colonial militia, leaving bitterness and a mutual lack of understanding.
South Africa is my home, my birthplace, and in spite of many problems and issues that still exist in the country I would not change it for anything.
Sammy Marks left the impoverished Lithuanian shtetl where he was born and came to South Africa via Sheffied England. He made a fortune and left an amazing legacy. This is a part of the story of his house and legacy.
In an awesome life of role-playing Dr James Barry managed to keep his real identity, Margaret Bulkley, a secret until his (her?) death. For more than 50 years Barry duped the military and medical authorities of Britain,...
Psychology is a rich field in which many thinkers over centuries have added to our knowledge of ourselves. This is a very brief and necessarily somewhat superficial overview of the complex field and its history.
After the abortive Jameson Raid in January 1896 the Transvaal government realised the need to protect Pretoria militarily and so built four forts in defensive positions.
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Indians arrived in South Africa as indentured labourers in 1860. This Hub celebrates 150 years of their contribution to South African culture.
Pertoria's wonder tree is more than 1000 years old and is rich in history.
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Melrose House in Pretoria is a historic home preserved almost exactly as its builder and first owner left it. A place of fascination and historic drama.
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A personal view of the important characteristics of an educated person. My response to a question asked by Weblog.
Venice, the great city of romance, has an eternal charm, a charm perhaps enhanced by the somewhat precarious nature of the city's position, threatened by flood waters and having experienced earthquakes in the past....
Some old postcards set me on a search for some interesting poems about Rome. A short trip around the Eternal City guided by these rather charming postcards.
Steven Bantu Biko was a charismatic person who eloquently articulated the aspirations of blacks in apartheid South Africa, especially of the young people. He was murdered by police on 12 September 1977 after incredibly...
Rare sightings of the Burchell's Coucal are always exciting and we have been privileged to see some in the past few days.
A poem of longing and the loss of exile. An attempt at a translation and understanding.
A review of two novels which paint in stark yet moving details the dreadful evil of racism, its effects on ordinary people trying to live their ordinary lives, and the extraordinary things that racism imposes on them.
A tour of South Africa illustrated by cigarette cards. These cards are very pretty with coloured drawings by South African artist Charles Ernest Peers
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To tour through the Cape Floral Kingdom is to experience a wonderland unequalled anywhere in the world in terms of the floral diversity which flourishes there. In terms of floral diversity the fynbos biome exceeds by...
An Afrikaans poem which awoke me to the power of words and to a love of Afrikaans poetry. It also helped me understand other poetry better. I offer my own humble attempt at a translation of it.
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Empathy is an attitude and more than that, it is a skill that can be used to deepen all kinds of relationships - at work and at home.
The world seems crazy and dangerous sometimes. How can a person respond creatively and positively in the face of change and the inevitability of death? Some thoughts about empathy and responsibility in the context of...
The 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup has resulted in more than a new champion team - it has done much to change South Africa for the better.
"Oom Bey" Naudé came from deep Afrikaner Nationalist roots to become a champion of human rights in South Africa. This is an overview of that remarkable "Pilgrimage of Faith"
Apartheid was evil not only because it was racist, but because it was deeply and violently anti-freedom. The apartheid ideology kept white and blacks in a form of captivity. The struggle against apartheid included many...
Experiential Learning is a model and theory of learning which has implications for individuals and society. This Hub explores some of these.
A brief and personal look at the history of a great political concept.
A tour of some cities from various countries that have been given the title or nick-name "City of Roses."
A place of quiet beauty i the heart of Pretoria's eastern suburbs, the Struben Dam Bird Sanctuary offers peaceful walks and stunning sights
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The historical city of Bloemfontein, due in part to its position in the heart of the country, played a pivotal role in the development of South Africa.
Explanations of the 8 National Symbols of South Africa, soon to be the host of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.
Ending hatred and prejudice starts with us - but it's a risky business and we need to support each other in ridding the world of these scourges.
Two of my favourite poems by South African poet Lionel Abrahams with some of my thoughts about them.
Does capital punishment still have a place in modern society?
The celebration of Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is a celebration of love and a challenge to all of us to show love in the world, especially to the lonely, the outcast, the depressed, to those who are troubled in any...
Jazz was born out of the pain of slavery and the clash between the cultures of West Africa and the Protestant ethos of the Southern states of the United States. This is a first article in a series looking at the history...
South Africa offers a great deal for visitors, not just sunny skies and beautiful beaches, but a rich multi-cultural experience and traditionally warm welcomes. Here are some quintessential South African things to look...
Antjie Krog's latest book strips the choices facing white South Africans to the bare bones. She faces the choices with honesty and and eloquence, making for a deeply absorbing, though not always easy, read. A must for...
John Keats's famous poem paints a vivid picture of obsession and death - a warning for our time, perhaps?
Jan Smuts was a politician and statesman, philosopher and writer. He is still much misunderstood and under-appreciated in South Africa, 60 years after his death
Nelson Mandela, Madiba to his millions of followers, was released on 11 February 1990. This Hub celebrates the 20th anniversary of this historic day
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A simple song has danced its way around the world and into the hearts of millions. This is a celebration of Elder Joseph Brackett's simple little song "Simple Gifts" which has outlasted the Church for which it...
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The art of Mati Klarwein has graced the covers of albums by artists ranging from Miles Davis to Carlos Santana and many more. This is a brief introduction to his visionary art
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi lived in South Africa for 21 years and his legacy there is remembered on the anniversary of his assassination.
How relevant are the English Romantic poets in today's world? They help us keep a sense of proportion and rootedness. They help us see the wonder of nature with clearer eyes
A celebration of the great Robert Burns and his poetry of love and laughter.
Artist David Stone Martin made the sound of jazz visible through his amazing, rhythmic drawings which graced the covers of many great jazz albums.
How Transactional Analysis can help you communicate better, Part Two - the OK Corral and warm fuzzies
In the second part of of this Hub on Transactional Analysis we look at some basic concepts of Transactional Analysis, including strokes, the stroke economy, pastimes, games, and the underlying philosophy of the model.
Transactional Analysis is a powerful model which can help people understand communication, why it sometimes goes so wrong, and how to make it better.
A vicious man is sentenced to life in prison, leaving behind children and other family members to cope with the aftermath of his crime spree
Steam trains were iconic in days gone by, but now the steam experience is mostly reduced to excursions with steam train preservation enthusiasts.
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Exile was a two-edged sword for the South African musicians who left their homeland for the freedom of Europe and the United States. This is a selection of some of the finest albums to come out of the greaat South...
The magic of jacaranda blossoms in Pretoria. the beauty of a beautiful but threatened "invasive alien" tree brings spectacular colour to the city in October
Cycling is good for your health and for the environemnt. This article looks also at the history of the bicycle
The Hadeda Ibis has become a familiar, if not exactly widely-loved, sight in the urban areas of South Africa
An interesting card game that helped my children learn arithmetic early
On a cold, foggy morning in February 1917 more than 600 members of the South African Native Labour Contingent died as a result of the collision of their troopship, the SS Mendi, with another ship.
A young girl's prophecies decimated the amaXhosa in the mid-19th Century, leaving deep traces to this day. Nongqawuse's story of meeting some men at a mystic pool led to mass cattle-killing by the Xhoisa people - a...
Caster Semenya is being exploited again - this time by a glossy gossip magazine
Hunger and starvation are human-made problems, not the will of God or chance. That is why it is so obscene that starvation continues, and especially that children bear the brunt of it.
I still regard a book as a minor miracle - the amount of information and entertainment contained between the covers of a book is really amazing when you think about it.
Gandhi landed in Durban, in what is now kwaZulu-Natal Province, in May 1893, a newly-qualified barrister sent to do some legal work for a Bombay legal firm which had some interests in South Africa.
A very personal reflection on the struggle of women for dignity and freedom in South Africa
The eviction of people from their homes has many rationalisations - economic, racial, social, historical and even biblical. But the main result of removals is human pain and suffering, wherever they occur and whoever...
This is a simple introduction to the important skill of facilitating groups, teams or meetings to achieve their tasks most effectively.
In the early hours of the morning of 19 July 1965 a lovely young woman walked into the sea at Three Anchor Bay, Cape Town, and drowned. Her lifeless body was found by the police in about three feet of water at about...
In 1993 a disheveled man walked out of the Salvation Army Men's Home in downtown Johannesburg and was never seen again, as far as anyone knows. This not too unusual event would be unremarkable, except that the man in...
How to form and grow a team for optimal performance using Tuckman's forming, storming, norming, performing diagram
The Tuckman model of group development is applied to team development and management
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Feedback is an essential skill in interpersonal communication and the quality of an individual's interpersonal communication can be a determinant in their success or lack of it, in all kinds of relationships.
We are all philosophers. This is a very personal answer to the question asked by Ryan Hupfer about the 10 philosophy books it is essential to read.
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A historic dam is threatened by pollution and a remediation project is launched to save it
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How to create a Performance-Driven Work Environment in a successful organisation with effective communication
In a country such as South Africa poor service can be a lot more than just irritating. It can be something that threatens even the stability of the society in which we live.
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According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Revised Edition 2006) jazz is "a type of music of Black American origin characterised by improvisation, syncopation, and a regular rhythm, and typically played on...
I became aware as I drove home along Umbilo Road and bought, as I did every afternoon, my copy of the Daily News from a street vendor. Only when I got home and opened the newspaper did I start to get an inkling of just...
Do walls and fences really increase our security, or are they an expensive way to fool ourselves into feeling more secure without really providing any real security?
The link between sex and racism is explored, using the story of Sarah Baartman as a case study
I was fascinated by the pictures themselves but even more by the thought that these pictures were direct links to people who had lived in this rocky place a very long time ago, as my father explained to me.
Reflections on apartheid and the legacy of wounded people, people with thick emotional scar tissue that hampers learning to know and love one another
The Guildhall in London has been the scene of many festive banquets and national events, but also of trials for treason. It has survived fires and bombs.
One of my all-time favourite songs is "Guantanamera" because it is an almost ideal combination of real poetry with a great piece of music.
A bunch of 22 old postcards of various scenes in Cape Town gives a fascinating insight into what Cape Town looked like about 100 years ago.
Mercy is the name of a young woman who would seem, on the face of it, not to have too much to be grateful for herself. One thing she does have to be grateful for is the kindness of Amos Sibanda, the beggar whose life...
Back in late 1963 when I was home from my first year at University, during the end of year vacation, my parents and I went for a long walk one day along what was known as "The Old Chief's Road", the...
Savoury mince can be pretty boring. This is my recipe for a really tasty and interesting savour mince with some South African flavours
In the midst of the darkest days of apartheid, when the mostly white troops of the South African army were permanent features in the black townships outside the major cities of South Africa, when black anger was...
I love to cook – maybe because I love eating and maybe because I like to get the praise of others when they like what I cook. Whatever! I have been cooking for many years, mostly on Sundays, so I guess you could...
One original copy of “The Charter signed at Runnymede” on which much of the concept of human rights is kept in the chapter house of Salisbury Cathedral in the county of Wiltshire, in the ecclesiastical...
The footsteps in question were discovered by geologist Dave Roberts in 1995 on a beach at the achingly beautiful Langebaan Lagoon, which lies about an hour-and-a-half's drive, or around 100 kilometres, north of Cape...
South Africa is heading towards its fourth democratic general elections, which will be on 22 April. They are crucial elections, perhaps the most important faced by the electorate since 1994.
It is the end of another Sharpeville Day – now known in South Africa as Human Rights Day – and my thoughts are full of issues around human rights.
Beggars are a common sight all over the world, and South Africa is no exception. Almost every intersection in every city in the country has its population of people begging.
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Strand Street in Cape Town runs from the Castle of Good Hope on the Grand Parade to the foot of Signal Hill. On the way it passes many historical and interesting places, including what used to be called Boeren Plein...
Cape Town is full of historical buildings, and since my family were connected to the city for many years, many of these buildings have personal interest to me, including this beautiful old house.
Here are three short poems which I hope will find resonance with my readers.
A collection of photos taken during an hour long stroll around Cape Town's city centre. Cape Town is the Mother City of South Africa
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I love old photographs. Perhaps it’s because they give us a glimpse of what people thought was interesting or important at the time they were taken. They pique our curiosity and perhaps evoke a nostalgia for a...
A mentor of poets and a powerful, very human poet himself – that was the great South African poet Lionel Abrahams who died in 2004.
The story of a beloved minstrel song in Cape Town and the Confederate ship that inspired it
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky. - Tagore
A look at what contributes to personal growth and balance on our journey through life. This Hub is the first of a five-part series that looks a some personal growth books and techniques that can help us on our path of...
Blythswood Missionary Institution in the former Transkei, South Africa, was unique in that the people it served asked for it and contributed to the cost of setting it up.
Obama is celebrated by a frequently-acerbic South African cartoonist, Zapiro.
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Zita Park in Garsfontein, Pretoria, is a great place for children to have fun in a really safe environment
Fascinating Union Castle memorabilia in my collection give glimpse of life at sea in the early part of the 20th Century
Cape Town's history and present have produced a vibrant city full of interesting places to see and things to do. From the poingnant reminders of the past to the ultra-modern technologically-advanced industry and places...
"Bantu Education" was the system of education introduced by the Nationalist Party in South Africa in 1955 especially for black children. It was designed by Dr Hendrick Frensch Verwoerd, then Minister of Native...
According to the official website of the Owl House Museum the number of visitors to this fascinating place has reached more than 15 000 annually. This begs the question, Why? What is it that people look for there?
Nuclear weapons have not gone away. They are still in the arsenals of combatant countries around the world, some acknowledged, and some unacknowledged. And that fact alone is extraordinarily scary.
On 22 January 1960 six of the top jazz musicians in South Africa went into the Gallo Studio in Johannesburg and recorded one of the truly great South African jazz albums: Jazz Epistle Verse 1.
A life coach can help an individual achieve the full, rich life which is the birthright of every person. What such a life might look like depends on the individual – we are all different and each of us has our own...
The reason for my being born in Cape Town rather than in the then Transkei where my father was a teacher, was Hitler. He overshadowed my life from the start and in some ways still does.