Aakash Bramdeo is a former colleague from e.tv news who moved on to the SABC before being offered the editorship of Post in Durban — which was the newspaper which published my first story back in 1980. Before accepting the job, Aakash picked my brain as to what he could do to make the paper relevant to a wider readership. "Get a columnist who reflects the audience you're trying to attract," I said.

Shortly after accepting the position of editor, Aakash called me and asked, "when can you start?"

"View from the Top" ran in Post every week from 1 May 2011 to 9 April 2014 (which coincided with Aakash's departure from Post to edit the Sunday Tribune).

More than a grain of truth here...

11 May 2011

The game of chess is widely acknowledged to have originated in India during the Gupta Empire of the 6 Century AD where it was known as chaturaṅga. Legend has it that the inventor of the game who presented it to the king was asked what he would like by way of reward.

The gamester responded: “I would like one grain of rice for the first square, two for the second, four for the third, eight for the fourth, 16 for the fifth, and so on until all 64 squares are covered.”

Underpaid, at a few billion a year

18 May 2011

How much money do you need to have before you know that you are rich?

I found myself thinking about this earlier this week when reading the New York Times report of the conviction of Raj Rajaratnam, billionaire investor who formerly headed the Galleon Group, and who has become the most prominent target of the US government’s crackdown against insider trading.

When expediency leaves a shadow

25 May 2011

Not so long ago, in a great land, there was a leader who did much good. And he had a wife who came from a noble family. But the leader took it upon himself to lay down with his maidservant, and begat a child, and in so doing split the family apart.

If you have been following the news over the past few weeks, you might well assume that I am talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger, but this story goes back further than that to around 1992. (And I mean BC and not AD.)

What's your frequency, Lotus FM?

22 June 2011

Picture a state larger than Greece with a population of around 72 million people. It has a coastline of around 900 km, It has the highest number of business enterprises relative to the other members of its massive economic community, and is second in terms of total employment. Its language and culture have been relatively unchanged for 2 500 years. Its diaspora has successfully propagated throughout the world, with the language holding official status in two countries and constitutionally protected in at least two others, including South Africa.

I come to bury Kader, not to praise him

29 June 2011

De mortuis nil nisi bonum, “never speak ill of the dead”, said Chilon of Sparta in around the 6th Century BC. It’s a bit of a contradiction for those of us who inhabit the media world because common law holds that a dead person cannot be defamed. One can be as nasty as one likes about a person after they have shuffled off this mortal coil, hence the propensity of many of my fellow journalists to publish posthumous biographies containing scurrilous allegations which might be entirely devoid of truth but cannot be held to account.

Free meals? Or opportunities to learn?

6 July 2011

What makes a nation great? Is it the number of people who laid down their lives to fight for freedom? Is it the number of Nobel Peace Prize winners produced? Is it in the amount of free meals provided at schools? Is it the number of pregnant children receiving child support grants? Is it the amount of anti-retrovirals that get dished out to those who are unemployed or not on medical aid?

Or is it more simply the ability to allow any of its children to achieve whatever they may set their heart upon irrespective of their race or gender?