Dirty Tobacco, Spies, Lies and Mega-Profits

by Telita Snyckers, Tafelberg, 2020

I had started out with the simple hypothesis that much of the illicit trade we see in tobacco is not attributable just to tattooed gangsters, but to big, established, reputable tobacco companies, who are only too happy to pin the rise of illicit tobacco on smaller competitors. Along the way, I discovered a few things that are far, far more interesting . . . You’re here to consider the evidence that proves, in my view, just how dirty tobacco’s hands are. To test my hypothesis in the ‘real world’, I rounded up some of the biggest, baddest cigarette smugglers I could find. And so, while much of what I’m about to tell you comes from decades of peer-reviewed research, from investigative journalists and from NGOs, and much of it from big tobacco’s own documents, some of it comes straight from the mouths of smugglers, and some from an incriminating thumb drive that was slipped to me in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

Apart. Not alone

by Jeffery Kluger, Time, April 16-13, 2020

We rarely give our mirror neurons much thought. Many of us don’t even know that we have mirror neurons. But our brains are full of them – and that’s a very good thing. As their name suggests, it is mirror neurons that allow us to fathom one another, to live in one another’s heads. If I see you laugh, I’m inclined to laugh. If you smile, I smile. If you cry – especially if I know you, and certainly if I love you – I cry too. We cry even when actors cry – pantomimed tears; even pretend suffering touches us.

Richard Ford: ‘I didn’t finish a book until I was 19

by Kate Kellaway, theguardian.com, May 9, 2020

In 1982, I had to make a decision to tear my whole apparatus down and start my writing life again. The first books I’d written were OK but I had to devise a way of getting more of what I knew into what I was writing. I knew I wasn’t smart enough – although I was dogged enough – to be a great writer unless I could bring everything I had to the page every single day. I devised draconian clerical procedures. I immersed myself in raw material. I slowed everything down. It worked out better. Richard Ford

The Rise or Fall of South Africa

by Frans Cronje, Tafelberg, 2020

South Africa can be turned, which is why I live in the country ad work for the group I work for. The next couple of years will be tough and the downside risks are great – but the possibility of pulling out of the country’s present dive and growing strongly into the end of this decade, and then into the 2020s, is real. Working to ensure that happens is our chief function. We are putting every resource we have into this – and will not die wondering what might have happened had we done more. It is, however, late in the day and now more apparent than ever that those who told you there was nothing to fear have been wrong all along.

The Coronation

by Charles Eisenstein, charleseisenstein.org, March 2020

Like all fear, the fear around the coronavirus hints at what might lie beyond it. Anyone who has experienced the passing of someone close knows that death is a portal to love. Covid-19 has elevated death to prominence in the consciousness of a society that denies it. On the other side of the fear, we can see the love that death liberates. Let it pour forth. Let it saturate the soil of our culture and fill its aquifers so that it seeps up through the cracks of our crusted institutions, our systems, and our habits. Some of these may die too.

Om tot verhaal te kom: Verwerk trauma en verlies deur skryfterapie

deur Lizette Rabe, Lapa 2019

Vir die getraumatiseerde help krabbels nog meer. Daar is inderdaad gevind dat spontane krabbels help om stres te verlig en konsentrasie verbeter. Krabbels is al beskryf as die brein se “tydreismasjien”. Dit help om stukkies van die legkaart van jou lewe te vind en dit so in plek te kry. My gekrabbel (veral tydens vergaderings; jy kan mos nie help om dit nie interessant te vind nie) begin dikwels met my kind se voorletter, en dan neem die krabbelings hul eie vrye vlug rondom die letter. En so vind stukkies van wat was tog weer in die hede neerslag. Ook selfs al bly die legkaartstuk vir altyd verlore, bly dit steeds ʼn deel van die legkaart. Navorsing het ook bewys dat al lyk krabbelings na toevallige lyne en strepe en vorms, hulle nog betekenis het en nie so “toevallig” is soos jy dink nie. Robert Burns, direkteur van die Institute for Human Development aan die Seattle Universiteit, gebruik krabbels om die emosionele probleme van sy pasiënte te diagnoseer. Hy sê net soos wat ʼn EEG die brein se aktiwiteit op ʼn stuk papier oordra, doen jou hand dieselfde. Ander krabbel-navorsers stem met hom saam.

Kinders wat moor: Wie se skuld is dit?

deur André le Roux, Tafelberg, 2020

Dit is gewoonlik die”gewildste” kinders op skool wat die meeste amok maak omdat hulle deel van daardie gewilde groep wil wees. Dan verhoog risikogedrag, veral wanneer die groep sulke gedrag goedkeur. Dis ook in dié groep dat jy die meeste boelies sal aantref, na gelang van die groep se norme. Wanneer, sê maar, vyf kinders in ʼn groep van ses rook, waarom sal die sesde een nie ook begin rook nie? Die beste aanduiding dat ʼn kind sal begin rook, sê Judith Rich Harris, is wanneer sy maats rook, nie sy ma en pa nie. En die rokers openbaar ook ander probleemgedrag soos om te drink, dwelms te gebruik of vroeg seksueel aktief te raak.

A Childhood Made Up – Living with my mother’s madness

by Brent Meersman, Tafelberg, 2020

From now on I would also hate psychiatrists. They were public enemy number one. Then my mother told me about public enemy number two – nurses. She referred to them as ‘white uniforms’. There was one good white uniform who taught her to smoke. The nurse said cigarettes calmed her nerves while she was at work in that horrible place, and if smoking worked for nurses, it would work for Shirley too. There were a few other white uniforms who showed her a bit of genuine affection, but the rest, she said, ‘treated us as if we were not even human beings’. Her eyes narrowed. ‘Have you ever seen the eyes of someone looking at you as if you are a monkey or a dog in a cage?’ I shook my head. ‘When they spoke to you, they looked right through you or they looked over your head. They didn’t refer to us by name. They were so imperial, like Japanese prison camp guards. I know nurses don’t take the Hippocratic oath, but they must have heard of it!’ She said she and the other inmates were herded around the way she used to herd cattle on the farm in Vryburg. ‘We were herded into a hall for meals and then herded out. We were herded into a concrete courtyard during daytime. We were herded back inside again for lunch. Later, we were herded upstairs to bed. We were herded downstairs for breakfast. They prodded and shoved us like cattle.

Oorlog en vrede, ʼn loflied aan die lewe

deur Audrey Blignault, uit Die eindelose avontuur, ʼn Venster op die wêreldletterkunde, Tafelberg, 1993

Ten spyte van sy morele oortuigings, twyfel Tolstoi nooit aan sy doel as skeppende kunstenaar nie. Aan ʼn vriend skryf hy: “Dit is nie my doel om ʼn vraag onweerlegbaar op te los nie, maar eerder om by mense ʼn liefde vir die lewe in al sy onuitputlike openbaringe te wek. As iemand vir my sou sê dat ek ʼn roman sou skryf waarin ek my standpunt oor elke maatskaplike vraagstuk sou stel, sou ek nie twee uur op ʼn dag aan so ʼn werk wy nie; maar as iemand vir my sou sê dat wat ek geskryf het, twintig jaar nadese nog gelees sal word deur lesers wat vandag nog kinders is en dat hulle daaroor sal huil en lag en meegevoer word deur die waaragtige lewe daarin, dan sal ek al my vermoëns, ja, my hele bestaan daaraan wy.”