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The South Africa Show’s Xmas Special: Somebody please check on Daddy’s little Dudu and her pet RETs

The South Africa Show’s portrayal of a daughter’s love for her father, her Machiavellian machinations to save him from his fate, and her eventual descent into madness, make for one of the most tragically captivating performances ever seen on screen. Brava!!!!
Dear Diary,
I have never been so emotionally invested in a fictional character as I am in Duduzile Zuma, the daughter of the former president-cum-mafia boss on my favourite series, The South Africa Show. Admittedly, the trope of the sheltered daughter of a mob boss is not exactly new, but I love how the show’s writers have really given this would-be princess a voice. She’s out there and outspoken in daddy’s defence, and as a nod to the fantasy genre, the writers have also given her an army of very talented pet RETs to lead in the fight for his freedom.
Unsurprisingly, all of this takes its toll on her, and the show brilliantly uses her tweets as a device to give us an insight into her deteriorating and delusional mental state. Without fail, she makes sure to capitalise the first letter of every word in her tweets, kind of like one would for a book title, or when titling an important work of art. That said, in my opinion, her tweets are indeed works of art that deserve to be typed in title case. Were she a real person instead of a wildly fictional character, I would save each one of them and sell them as NFTs.
Exhibit A: on episode one of the Xmas Special, she and her daddy walked into the governing party’s elective con a bit late, just as the president was going to make a speech, thereby causing lots of commotion and further delaying the troubled billionaire’s long-awaited utterances. Her hair done up in stuuuuning waist-length platinum blonde braids, looking every bit like South Africa’s very own Insurrection Barbie, she grabbed her phone and tweeted in characteristic title case:
“It Really Wasn’t Planned. It Was A Coincidence. It Was God’s Plan.”
It must have been a slow Friday for God; no cancers to cure, no wars to stop, no lives to save, just vibes and planning daddy Zuma’s grand entrance. Over the next few episodes of the Xmas Special, the show gives us an even more intimate look at a paranoid mind increasingly detached from reality.
In episode three, which aired on 18 December, the princess thumbs tweet:
“What We Can Gather ...

A Karoo Graveyard: Thoughts, mist and memories

There are many stories – some sad, some wondrous, others downright weird – to be found at the Cradock cemetery in the Karoo heartland.
It’s one of those misty autumn mornings here in the Karoo, the perfect time to be strolling about the Cradock cemetery.
I can hear the resident harrier hawk, a juvenile by the sound of his hunting cry, as he sails through the grove of pine trees in search of breakfast. Across the Great Fish River, the first train of the morning passes through on its way up to Johannesburg. The massive overnight trucks in the main street begin to ready themselves for the day’s driving, grumbling and growling their way past the fast-food joints.
A true love story
Here in the cemetery, thick mist swirls about the old gravestones and statues, some headless, and I can’t help dwelling on a story from a long-time local.
There was a man who lost his wife and was inconsolable. On most nights after she was buried here, he would take a camp chair, a lantern and a book out to her graveside. There, he would sit and read to her until bedtime, when he would pack up and leave.
Cradock used to have two movie houses in the old days. Every so often, the bereaved man would drive down to the cemetery dressed in his “going-out clothes”. He would “escort” his wife from her grave to his car, help her in and drive off to the movies. There, he would open the door for her, let her out and buy two entrance tickets. During the movie, he would offer her chocolates. And afterwards, he would take her back to the cemetery, open the passenger door and allow her spirit to alight.
Cradock has many hard stories, some of them still in progress. But this one lifts the soul very high.
The Official Timekeeper
Here’s a simple black stone in the ground that only says: “Harry Edwin Wood – Astronomer”.
Mr Wood, history records, was the official Astronomer and Timekeeper for the Union of South Africa. He is also famous for his discovery of a comet recorded as “1660 Wood”.
In 1941, he retired and came to farm in the Mortimer area near Cradock. Legend has it Mr Wood, the one-time National Timekeeper, used to drive all the way in to Cradock (30km) to synchronise his wristwatch with the time on the steeple clock of the Dutch Reformed Mother Church. The ...

Alternative therapies — from magic mushrooms to pawternity leave

In the world of health and wellness, 2023 promises some interesting developments in the world of alternative therapies, as well as in the nutrition and fitness industries.
Magic mushrooms: the rise and rise of psilocybin
Maverick Life contributor Iza Trengove noted that in 2022, “After more than 30 years, during which very little research [had] been done, there is a worldwide revival to find out more about these plants that show the potential to treat various mental conditions.
“These include opioid addiction, Lyme disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, nicotine and alcohol dependency and depression, among many other ailments.”
Read in Daily Maverick: Magic mushrooms: A Wild Coast journey
The use of psilocybin, more commonly referred to as magic mushrooms, has been proven by some studies to reduce depressive symptoms.
“Psilocybin has a rapid, sizeable, and long-term anti-depressive effect for primary (major depression patients) and secondary depressive disorder (depressed cancer patients),” according to the authors of a 2022 study.
Although the authors note that research is still at “the exploratory phase of this drug”, and as emerging studies propose the controlled use of psychedelics to treat mental illnesses, the call to decriminalise magic mushrooms grows. In fact, the therapeutic use of psilocybin is already geared towards legalisation in Oregon, US, on 1 January 2023, while Alberta in Canada will follow suit by also allowing the regulated, therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, mescaline, DMT and ketamine.
Indeed, the drug MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, will be considered by the US Food and Drug Administration next year for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder if the second Phase 3 trial for treatment confirms the findings of the first trial from 2021.
Plant-based diets and food upcycling grow in popularity
A June 2021 study, Transition into Veganism: Drivers of Vegan Diet Consumption, stated that there was, at the time, a “growing demand for organic food” and that “healthier diets are an emerging societal trend”. Dr Lauren Hill, a critical care nutrition consultant at Critical Point, suggests that plant-based diets are expected to become more popular in South Africa as well.
“[Veganism] is generally considered beneficial for reducing cardiovascular and other long-term health risks,” she says, but supervision or diet planning by a dietitian is needed to avoid long-term deficiencies of maintaining a vegan diet.
“Vegans do have higher risks of particular deficiencies (such as vitamin B12 and iron), as well as low calcium and high-quality protein intake,” explains Hill. “In particular vegan diet ...

Three ways to become more resilient to failure

Learning to be resilient can help you cope with failure and get past setbacks more quickly in the future.
Failure may be an inevitable part of life, but that doesn’t make it any less painful when it does happen. It can be particularly hard facing setbacks in your 20s and 30s, since this is the first time many of us are experiencing major “failures” – from not doing well in uni or missing out on a job you really wanted.
Feeling like a failure can have a major impact on mental health, with research actually linking this feeling to a greater risk of depression. This may, in turn, lead to a negative feedback loop, with people who are depressed more likely to ruminate on their failures and see themselves as a failure.
But it’s impossible to live life without ever failing, which is why resilience is key. Not only will this help you learn to cope and accept these feelings, it may also help you better get past setbacks in the future.
Resilience is the ability to maintain or regain mental wellbeing when facing adversity. Our ability to be resilient stems from three key traits: self-esteem (how we value or perceive ourselves), psychological flexibility (being able to switch our focus from painful feelings to purposeful goals) and emotional regulation (our ability to tolerate and mange upsetting feelings).
While resilience may come more naturally to some than others, that doesn’t mean that it can’t still be learned. Here are three things you can do to build your resilience.
1. Get moving
Oddly enough, physical exercise can actually be really important in helping us build mental resilience.
Research has found that both aerobic and resistance exercise can lead to more positive self-esteem and body image. This is true, regardless of your fitness level.
Other studies have also shown that walking, running and cycling outdoors can significantly improve psychological wellbeing and self-esteem. Daily moderate or vigorous exercise seems to have the greatest positive impact on self-esteem.
Better self-esteem is important, as it’s one of the building blocks of resilience. It’s also been shown to have a significant effect on our ability to manage adversity, and has even been directly linked to life satisfaction.
Even if you don’t like exercising or feel like you don’t have time, something as simple as a brisk walk for a few minutes outside everyday may be enough to improve your self-esteem – and subsequently your resilience.
2. Write it down
Another ...

Simon Nkoli’s fight for queer rights in South Africa is finally being celebrated – 24 years after he died

The activist is today the subject of songs, sculptures, an annual lecture and even a new musical.
Born in 1957, Simon Tseko Nkoli had just turned 41 when he died, in 1998, of an AIDS-related illness. In his short life, the South African activist fought against different forms of oppression. He fought for those downtrodden because of their “race”. He stood up for those ostracised because of their HIV status. His greatest fight, though, was for those persecuted because of their sexual orientation.
Nkoli was born and raised in Soweto, the largest black township in a South Africa ruled by a white minority who enforced apartheid, a system of racial segregation. His activism began in 1980 when he joined the Congress of South African Students, a youth organisation fighting apartheid.
In 1984, Nkoli was arrested and became a trialist in the Delmas Treason Trial. During his imprisonment, he came out as gay to his comrades. This caused much debate in the liberation movement but it was important in changing the attitude of the African National Congress (ANC) to gay rights. The ANC would go on to govern the country with the advent of democracy in 1994, helping shape the first constitution in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. Nkoli was responsible for setting up diverse projects including organising the first Pride march in Africa.
There has been a growing wave of interest in Nkoli’s life. South African musician Majola sings about queer love in isiXhosa, one of the country’s most widely spoken languages. His 2017 album Boet/Sissy has a song dedicated to the activist. Also noteworthy is the South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga’s sculptural work on Nkoli. A new South African musical production by composer Philip Miller called GLOW: The Life and Trials of Simon Nkoli is set to launch in 2023.
The annual Simon Nkoli Memorial Lecture is another event that celebrates the legacy of the late activist. The ninth edition was held in November 2022, co-organised by the Simon Nkoli Collective, where I gave the keynote address.
I argued that Nkoli’s activism highlighted the intersectionality of systems of oppression. Intersectionality refers to how multiple social struggles are interlinked. It recognises the interconnectedness of various systems of oppression such as racism, sexism and homophobia.
Nkoli was acutely aware of how these were interrelated and this article considers what can be learnt from his activism today.
Intersectional systems of oppression
In a compelling speech in 1990 ...

‘Whitey: The Rise and Rule of the Shoprite King’ – on takeovers and turnarounds

James Wellwood Basson, known as ‘Whitey’ built the Shoprite group to become the biggest retailer on the continent and one of the 100 biggest in the world. Financial journalist Niel Joubert tells his story.
For this authorised biography, financial journalist Niel Joubert was given access to the Bassons’ archives and interviews with Whitey and his inner circle; here, he “recreates Whitey’s story in rich detail: from his childhood on a Porterville farm to his mentorship at Pep Stores (under the renowned Renier van Rooyen), achieving his lifelong target of eclipsing Pick n Pay, and conquering Africa.” Read the excerpt.
A smallish clothing boutique chain called Papillon was the first struggling business Whitey had to turn around. But the attempts to transform this caterpillar into a butterfly would soon suffer their first setback. ‘The first step in turning the business around was to close its head office in Johannesburg and move it to the Cape,’ Whitey recounts. ‘We found premises that were within walking distance of Pep’s headquarters in Kuils River, and that worked well.’
The move to Cape Town entailed a huge furniture removal truck having to pick up machinery, fabrics and the patterns for the season’s fashions in Johannesburg and transport the goods to the Cape. ‘The youngster who drove the truck then decided to pay a visit to a girl he knew near Potchefstroom,’ relates Michael Lester, a colleague of Whitey’s at Papillon. ‘Along the way, the road changed into a narrow gravel road that ran over a very narrow single-lane bridge. Needless to say, the truck with all our supplies tumbled off the bridge, and our fabrics and patterns went down the river.’
Whitey and Leon van Niekerk, who had been appointed to help bring about the Papillon turnaround, hurried to Johannesburg and went with Lester and every available Pep regional manager to the accident scene. ‘We spent hours on the bridge trying to sort out the mess, and almost everyone got sunstroke,’ Lester recounts.
Back in Cape Town, Whitey had his work cut out for him because Papillon had been underwater even before the season’s fabrics and patterns had gone downriver. According to Whitey, he had been overseas when Renier had acquired Papillon, and the latter had only told him about the purchase on his return. ‘And he said I’ll be happy, because it was bought at the NAV (nett asset value). But when we did the sums properly, we saw ...

Harry & Meghan – what the first episodes reveal about Meghan’s reputation within the royal family

An expert in contemporary British monarchy analyses the first three episodes of 'Harry & Meghan', the headline-grabbing Netflix show from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
As an expert in the contemporary British monarchy, I watched the first three episodes of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, closely.
What came across most was how Meghan’s gender, race and class intersected in her treatment both by the media and by “the Firm” (an unofficial nickname for the British monarchy and its staff that describes the institution as a business) itself.
As with their 2021 Oprah interview, this documentary is a forum for the couple to account for their treatment by the Firm. These kinds of royal confessionals risk damaging the monarchy, as they cast a light “behind the scenes” of an institution which relies on magic and majesty to maintain its image.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “‘Archetypes’ by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex — redefining womanhood”
Patriarchy and women’s bodies
Princess Diana’s traumas in the royal family have been well covered over the decades, including by the Panorama documentary she used to tell her own story in 1995. Like Meghan, Diana spoke about her mental health and a lack of support from the Firm. Harry & Meghan also makes comparisons between Diana and Meghan, claiming that both women were hounded by the paparazzi throughout their royal lives.
Meghan talks about “men sitting in cars all the time” outside her house, waiting for her to leave. In any other situation, she says, this would amount to stalking. As Meghan mentions, gender matters here. Celebrities like Britney Spears have spoken out about the unique pressures women face from tabloid intrusion.
The economy surrounding these women encompasses multiple industries, from cosmetic surgery to fashion brands, who benefit from paparazzi exploitation. Britney Spears’ body became an economy in itself as paparazzi pictures of her were worth so much money.
For royal women, this takes on a new imperative. The monarchy is reliant on women’s bodies for its reproduction – literally, the reproduction of heirs. Royal women’s bodies are fetishised as reproductive of the nation, as they birth the next “symbol” of Britishness. This also accounts for the hidden meaning behind those questions from within the royal family about the colour of Archie’s skin – they are asking how “British” (or rather, how white) her baby might look.
It is not just about clothing and branding, but about how royal ...

Koos Prinsloo: the cult Afrikaans writer has been translated to English – here’s a review

Challenging myths about heterosexual white South African men, Prinsloo published four books of short stories in 12 years.
There are some writers you wish you had encountered years ago. There are some authors you only discover – for many reasons – years after their death.
The Afrikaans writer Koos Prinsloo is one such, for me. He wrote during the last violent decade of apartheid – a system of forced racial segregation implemented by the Afrikaans-speaking white minority rulers of South Africa. While the country was undergoing states of emergency and increasing internal revolt, Prinsloo wrote from deep within the dominant white patriarchal culture. But his work spoke directly back to this domination by representing a maligned and repressed aspect of it. And this is of interest for us today.
Before his early death, of HIV-related causes in 1994, Prinsloo had published four groundbreaking collections of Afrikaans short stories: Jonkmanskas (a term for a clothes cupboard) in 1982, Die Hemel Help Ons (Heaven Help Us) in 1987, Slagplaas (Place of Slaughter) in 1992 and Weifeling (Hesitation) in 1993.
Place of Slaughter and Other Stories, published in October 2022 by Fourthwall Books in Johannesburg, is the first and most comprehensive translation into English of his work. The collection is translated by the University of the Witwatersrand academic Gerrit Olivier. Place of Slaughter includes all Prinsloo’s stories from Slagplaas and a significant selection from his other books; a total of 24 stories.
This collection represents a powerful voice that upends the long-held Afrikaner myths of heterosexual male identity, and speaks bravely for alternative identities.
Who was Koos Prinsloo?
Prinsloo was an Afrikaans journalist and short story writer, renowned for writings that blurred the line between fiction and autobiography, and that dared to depict gay sex and intimacy in a very frank, sometimes brutal, manner. (I am reminded of the paintings of the British painter Francis Bacon.)
Prinsloo was born in 1957 in Eldoret in Kenya. When he was five, the family moved to South Africa. His family settled at Ingogo, outside Newcastle, where his father got a job at the power station at Ingagane, and where Prinsloo matriculated at Newcastle High School. He completed his national military service in 1976 and thereafter enrolled for a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Pretoria.
Such facts we glean from the stories themselves – along with photographs of his father, known as Daan, the obituary of his grandfather, and detailed, often rambling footnotes.
Life ...

How to pack your bag like a digital nomad (hint: light)

Two content creators, who have been digital nomads for the past five years and have each travelled to about 11 countries, share their tips on how to best pack for travel.
In early 2022, Maverick Life reported that, “after the changes that disrupted the professional and corporate worlds, many people, armed with their luggage, passports, laptops, a good WiFi connection and flexible work conditions, (could) now work from just about anywhere while travelling — they are called digital nomads.”
A 2021 report titled The Digital Nomad Search Continues, by independent workplace consultants MBO Partners, also quoted in our previous story, noted that, “some digital nomads travel for years, regularly moving across countries and continents. Others are nomadic for shorter periods, taking “workcations” and working sabbaticals lasting from several weeks to many months. United by a passion for travel and new adventures, digital nomads enjoy the ability to work anywhere they can connect to the internet.”
Now, should you be ready to take the road as well, you may wonder what to pack for your travel. Joanna Jewell, content creator, podcaster and online English teacher, and Luke Olsen, an entrepreneur and content creator, who have been digital nomads for the past five years share how to best pack for travel.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Working on the road: How digital nomads have the best of both worlds”
Bring your work bag along — but keep it compact
While the purpose of living as a digital nomad is to allow for more flexibility and enjoying life outside the traditional brick-and-mortar office, it also means you might need to bring your personal office with you — think, resistant, light, and practical backpack.
For Jewell, who needs her cabin bag for equipment (laptop, a lightweight tripod, a lapel mic, a camera, hard drives) picking a bag that is lightweight but durable is essential. Olsen suggests ditching a laptop bag and instead using a multipurpose backpack that not only stores all your essential devices but can be used as a daypack, shopping bag or even for extra luggage should there be a need.
There’s a plethora of channels on YouTube that focus on the art of travelling, and include detailed reviews of backpacks — but the general consensus seems to be that one should look for material that is durable and waterproof, strong zips that can resist being opened and closed regularly, in all weather; a safe pocket (usually hidden between your ...

The peaceful departure of a soul – Nelson Mandela’s very last day

This is an extract from the revised second edition of Dennis Cruywagen’s book ‘The Spiritual Mandela’.
On the last day of Mandela’s life, 5 December 2013, following a long and painful illness, it was the presence of his grandson, Mandla, by his side that helped to ease his passing. That day, Mandla, who was in Qunu at the time, had a deep conviction that he had to fly to Johannesburg to visit his grandfather.
When he entered Mandela’s Houghton residence, Mandla went up to the bedroom where Mandela was lying unconscious, as he had been for weeks. Just a few moments later, Machel joined them. She came in quietly and sat in a chair near the two men, listening as Mandla talked to his grandfather.
Mandla spoke to Mandela for about an hour and a half, recalling his memories of their time together, and emphasising how significant Mandela had been ‘in shaping the person that I’ve become. Without him, I would have never been able to achieve half of the things that I [have],’ Mandla says.
Mandla wanted his grandfather to know that he had done everything that was necessary to make him a man capable of taking care of himself. He then began naming members of the family who had already passed, including Mandela’s children, siblings and parents, and concluded with a call to Mandela to join his mother, Nosekeni, in the afterlife.
‘Today I release you to your mother,’ Mandla said to his grandfather, ‘for she brought you into this world. I send you back to her. That umbilical cord that was cut, let it today be joined so that the ancestors of this family can welcome you into the next life and the superior being.’
Attempting to reach out
When Mandla uttered these words, his grandfather started to stir, surprising Machel. She watched as Mandela nodded and tried to say something, his lips moving silently, before attempting to reach out for his grandson’s hand. Mandla held onto Mandela’s hand, feeling ‘really satisfied because I felt that I had done what I had come to do on that particular day’.
He shares the memory of this special occasion with his Aunt Graça, who – along with the doctors present in the room at the time – was visibly moved by the exchange between the two Mandela men. Soon afterwards, her husband’s organs began to fail.
Mandla had already left the house at this point, but he received ...

Social media’s here to stay – and the fight to get our attention is only going to get more fierce

Social media platforms have traditionally been marketed as a way to stay connected with the world. In recent years, these platforms have also become a force in news, marketing and sales, taking up a greater stake in the social, commercial and political spheres.
Social media platforms – Meta’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or the original Snapchat – arose as a means to stay in touch with friends and to keep updated on trends and the comings and goings of celebrities and influencers. Since their creation, though, much has changed, with added functionalities and digital tools and an increasingly competitive market fighting for a share of our digital attention.
In fact, driven by tense competition (trading in billions of eyeballs), social media platforms have and continue to capitalise on innovations – while dominant platforms continue to adapt, others are now seeking to make their mark.
What are the developments you should know about and what has been planned for 2023? We explore.
What’s trending?
In terms of popularity, Facebook continues to hold its spot as the local favourite social media platform, with 22 million South Africans telling Ornico that they have used the platform within a seven-day period.
Instagram reportedly has 1.5 million daily users, while TikTok was found to have the fastest rate of growth, with a tenth of the local population accessing the app on a daily basis.
Though Instagram and Facebook remain dominant forces in the South African social media sphere, these platforms have experienced their lowest levels of usage in the last five years, with the former experiencing a decline from 96% to 81% locally, and the latter experiencing a drop from 86% to 68%.
Meta-owned messaging service WhatsApp continues to dominate with 23 million users, outperforming its major competitors Signal and Telegram; however, further competition has arisen in the form of MoyaApp, a local messaging app which has reached 10 million downloads and hosts four million daily users.
Twitter has also seen competition in the form of Mastodon – an alternative, and not a clone, of the former app. Mastodon users choose a server on which their account lives, grouped by location, topic and common interests. The app reached over a million active users in November.
Read in Daily Maverick: What is Mastodon, the ‘Twitter alternative’ people are flocking to? Here’s everything you need to know
Social trade: a world of digital shops
Social commerce is online selling that takes place on social media, where users are able to ...

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