deur Odette Schoeman, Kwela Boeke, 2009

Tannie Erna het haarself op ʼn Maandag geskiet. In haar bad, drie weke voor die skool gesluit het vir die Desembervakansie. Die nuus het tweede pouse soos ʼn veldbrand deur die skool getrek.

Death Flight: Apartheid’s Secret Doctrine of Disappearance

by Michael Schmidt, Tafelberg, 2020

The experience of having to strangle the detainees to death had been, he said, “very traumatic. That wasn’t the way I preferred to see my enemy go. It was for me totally unacceptable . . . and it is the last that we ever used it to [kill] people.” This traumatic series of intimately brutal killings outraged both Theron and Kriel, who later strongly recommended that the anaesthetics and/or poisons used were properly effective.

Starlight Memories, Misadventures in Moviemaking

by Dov Fedler, Tafelberg, 2020

I come to the audition like I am wearing a pair of Elton John’s sparkly specs. I see nothing. Reality has left the building. My expectation is of a hall, nay an auditorium, with hundreds of hopefuls lining up outside, waiting to be discovered, while I sit like a Caesar, passing sentence from a plush front-row seat. The auditions for Timer Joe Part 3 are held in a space that has standing room for fewer than ten people. It is the front of Moe’s movie-hire shop, too small to even call a lobby. It is a space divided by a counter. The twenty or so applicants spill out onto the pavement. It is like a school assembly. All that these people have had to do is show up, mumble ‘Present!’, get ticked off on the list and depart. In little or no time, it is over. They are officially featured actors … This is not the group’s first such audition. Mine is the only unfamiliar face. I suspect that they were all here for TJ 1 and 2. I look at the checklist I am ready for this. Like it or not, I have my players.

Lying in wait

by Lauren Slater, Time, June 22 – 29, 2020

Research has amply demonstrated that when we touch one another a hormone called oxytocin gets released in the brain. Called the hormone of love, it is a warm wash that quells anxiety, fear, sadness, depression. It is present in huge amounts right after mothers give birth, allowing them to bond with their babies, but you don’t need to go through labor to get an oxytocin high; hand on hand will do the trick just fine.

Dirty Tobacco, Spies, Lies and Mega-Profits

by Telita Snyckers, Tafelberg, 2020

Indeed, British American Tobacco’s own documents, which date from the early 1990s, suggest that the company may historically have been involved in smuggling in around 30 countries; and suggest that, at the time, as much as 25% of BAT’s profits may have come from selling contraband in China.

When in doubt, just assume I’m smiling

by Belinda Luscombe, Time, June 1-8

Trying to interact with other humans without being able to smile is the facial equivalent of communicating via text message; it’s easy to be misunderstood. Your expression and words lack context, People wonder: Are you winking at me? Are you grinding your jaw? Do you just have a lot of crow’s feet? Was what you said an insult or a joke?

Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Brutal, Dark’ Formula for Saving the World


The next serious problem I see is a food shortage. States are aware of it and I hope they’re getting ready. At the moment, we are living off old stocks. Now it’s the spring harvest, and in Europe they have a problem. In France, for example, most of the spring harvest is done by people from other European countries, but now borders are closed. Who will do the work? The WHO is constantly warning that the pandemic could lead to mass starvation, so we need to reorganize our agriculture and food distribution. Slavoj Zizek

What next for the arts? Rufus Norris and Maria Balshaw swap notes

theguardian.com, May 23, 2020

The silver lining of what we’re going through is that people have been given time back and are using it to make paintings, throw pots, watch theatre, dance and sing. Maria Balshaw

Duty for the dead

by W.I. Hennigan, Time, June 1-8, 2020

Rather than a traditional hours-long visitation service with flowers and clergy, funeral directors are holding “identification services” so a handful of immediate family members can say a prayer or two. Some New York City funeral homes have arranged livestreams on platforms like Skype or Facebook.