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).

‘We have more in common than that which divides us’

9 April 2014

...the thought occurred to me as I navigated through Johannesburg traffic to the office this morning: what if this were to be my last column ever in this publication?

There are some 345 000 readers who browse through Post every week. Of these, about 24 000 people will read these 800 words every week. What would I say to you, dear reader, if I had this one final opportunity to leave you with a message?

It is simply this: We have more in common than that which divides us.

Honking hooters and goofy airbags

2 April 2014

After driving in more than a dozen countries around the world, I'm longing for the not-too distant future when cars that drive themselves will be a reality.

Here's why: people in Durban do not know how to use four-way stop streets; and people in Johannesburg do not know how to use traffic circles.

Global standards are a useful thing. Imagine if the airline industry were not able to agree basic rules about where to fly, when to fly, how to land, which way each aircraft should bank if they find themselves approaching each other head on.

From Parys with love

26 March 2014

Parys. It's difficult to think of another South African town that immediately evokes such a wide range of contemptuous hilarity. Except maybe Pofadder. Or Boksburg. Or Pietermaritzburg. But I digress…

It's about my 5th time in Parys. Most of my visits here have been bleary-eyed drop-ins for breakfast at the break of dawn after an overnight haul from Cape Town en route to Johannesburg. It's barely an hour from here to Lenasia and Soweto with the Jo'burg CBD a mere 15 minutes drive further.

Advocating changes in the game plan

12 March 2014

Dali Mpofu, advocate now turned politician in the cause of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters, was in the YFM studios at Hyde Park on Monday night.

It's the station's weekly election show called The Swing Vote where politicians get to interact with the country's biggest group of young voters. After the show, Mpofu and I gathered briefly in the rain to take a picture for twitter.

“So what do you think?” I asked him. “Do you believe that you will take enough votes so the ANC will drop below 50 percent in Gauteng?”

What made Putin flip a switch?

5 March 2014

UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whatever your feelings about her, was an extraordinary British woman.

She met with China's leader Deng Xiaoping in what was then known as Peking in late September 1982.

Thatcher was flushed with success after a successful war against Argentina in the Falklands.1 No doubt, she was in a winning frame of mind.

Plant a seed, grow the economy!

26 February 2014

Imagine if you discovered a plant that was so versatile that it grows just about anywhere, requires almost no maintenance, could be used for a huge range of products including incredibly strong rope, durable clothing and was also highly nutritious.

The oil from the seeds can be used to manufacture oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturising agent, for cooking, and in plastics.

The seeds can be eaten raw, ground into a meal, sprouted, made into milk (like soy milk), prepared as tea, and used in baking.

Zuma might yet turn out to be a hero

19 February 2014

Tito Mboweni is stepping down as chairman of AngloGold Ashanti.

The mining company said this week that Mboweni would not stand for re-election as non-executive director at the company’s annual general meeting in May, “owing to his increasing portfolio and professional commitments”.

The former Labour Minister turned Reserve Bank Governor is a highly competent business mind in the ANC’s formidable stable of intellectuals. Mboweni's contract at the SARB was not renewed when the Zuma administration assumed power in 2009.

Don't disarm kids in a violent world

12 February 2014

Talking about rape makes me uncomfortable. It goes back to a traumatic exposure in my early adulthood when someone I loved very dearly raped a total stranger.

Torn between fraternal affection and the enormity of his crime, I largely cut myself off from him. I became close to a group of women who worked with rape victims; I became sensitive to the prevalence of gender-based violence; I helped facilitate illegal abortions for those in need of them – rape victims or not.