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).

Pondering the future from a rut . . .

21 September 2011

This past Sunday was one of those magnificent perfect Durban days when the sky is bluer than a Disney animation. I was walking along the Esplanade on the harbour side of the railway tracks from Wilson’s Wharf to the yacht mole.

The railway tracks had caught my eye earlier as I drove through Maydon Wharf. Those tracks are predominantly rusted and overgrown telling a story of bygone days when shunting moved the nations goods.

Here's a promise that can _really_ pay

28 September 2011

I turned 50 last week, which in turn has led to a larger-than-usual period of reminiscing. I remember when I was a kid, our country’s money had words emblazoned on it: “I promise to pay the bearer on demand at Pretoria”, signed by the governor of the Reserve Bank (TW de Jongh at the time, as I recall). It was an undertaking that you could go to the Reserve Bank, give in your bank note, and get the corresponding value in gold or silver or something that had real value.

Now to make things really count!

5 October 2011

An interesting email dropped into my mailbox last week. This email, which has clearly been doing the rounds since last year, was headed Naming of very large numbers. I quote: “The Indians of the Sub-continent gave the Zero to the World. … We, the descendants of the 1860 indentured labourers from the Indian Subcontinent, would like to make a small contribution to the science of the naming of very large numbers, … viz, million, billion, trillion etc, because they are not logical and misleading.”

Hurricanes and butterfly wings...

12 October 2011

There’s a concept that well known to those of us who have a passing interest in chaos theory. It’s called the butterfly effect. It was coined around the time I was born by American mathematician and meteorologist, Edward Norton Lorenz. He inferred that the wind generated by flapping of a butterfly’s wings could influence weather patterns sufficiently to generate a hurricane in another part of the world.

Mosheshwe, diplomacy at its best!

19 October 2011

An email last week from a reader, Radha Naidoo, raised the query: “When South Africa became a peoples government in 1994, why did it not negotiate for the incorporation of the "bantustans" of Lesotho and Swaziland as provinces of South Africa? … Which other country in the world has an enclave such as Lesotho which is near the heartland of the country where our major rivers arise?”

So, let us travel back in time to the era of Shaka in the early 1800s and the story of a man I regard as the greatest diplomat in the history of sub-Saharan Africa.

So, which deployee is _your_ surgeon?

9 November 2011

There are some jobs reserved for political deployees and there are some jobs reserved for those that are competent. Not to say that all political deployees are incompetent, but the truth of the matter is that if any of our fearless leaders are to undergo heart surgery, the first question said leader will ask is not “Is he a loyal and disciplined member of the ANC?” but rather “Is he the best we can get?”

Put up or shut up

23 November 2011

We all break laws on occasion. Anyone who buys a newspaper from a street seller is breaking the law by aiding and abetting a jaywalker and conducting commerce in a street without a licence. Anyone who has a computer connected to the Internet at home and has children in the house is breaking the law by providing them access to age-restricted material or to material that is otherwise banned in this country such as The Satanic Verses or Mein Kampf.