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).

What if there was a war and no one noticed?

10 October 2012

Shortly after our freedom in 1994, cellular telephones using the GSM standard began making their way to our shores.

We soon found ourselves being able to travel the world and still remain accessible on the same phone number thanks to roaming – except for in the USA.

The reason for this was simple: the GSM standard as originally introduced was secure communication. In other words, you could conduct a conversation without your phone being tapped.

Were you really surprised, Pravin?

17 October 2012

Many of you are likely to be familiar with the name Mike van Graan. He is a writer, playwright and artist from Cape Town where he currently resides. Mike and I worked together in 1998 when I was Managing Editor of the Cape Times and we appointed him to run what has now become the Cape Town Festival.

Mike has received numerous accolades for his work. In 2001, he was selected for the Arts and Culture Trust Arts Journalist of the Year.

Tighter belts won’t help, Mr Zuma!

24 October 2012

Reality is an illusion induced by absence of alcohol, a wise man once said.

Truth be told, through the years since I first heard that quote, I never thought him to be wise, merely drunk.

Now, I've had a change of heart.

I was having a pleasant Saturday afternoon chat with friend and fellow writer Ndumiso Ngcobo who commented on how impossible it is to be a political satirical writer in South Africa today because our reality defies absurdity.

One rhino steak, please, well done!

7 November 2012

Do you fancy a rhinoceros steak?

Astonishingly, it's a thought that came to mind directly linked to the US presidential election (which is underway as I pen these words).

You see, the elections are not only about putting a cross (or crescent, if you're Muslim) next to the name of your preferred candidate for control of the world's largest nuclear arsenal; it's also about voting for candidates for the US Senate as well as voting on particular bits of legislation proposed for one's state.

Secret of winning lies in tic-tac-toe

14 November 2012

Do you remember when you were a child at school and you used to play noughts and crosses? (Or, as the Americans call it, tic-tac-toe?)

And then, suddenly, you stopped. Do you remember why you stopped?

The answer, if you have since forgotten, is that you could only keep winning if the other person did not understand the game. Once your opponent recognised the patterns, every game thereafter ended in stalemate.

Neither party could win, so you both stopped playing.

Only victims, no glory in Gaza

21 November 2012

Flashback to the 80s: So Van was watching the 8 o'clock news on TV at a bar and the camera hones in on a guy standing on a building roof about to commit suicide.

"Bet you 10 rand he jumps," says the bartender to Van. "Done," says Van.

Seconds later, the jumper comes to a messy end. Van hands over his ten bucks to the bartender who chuckles and confesses: "I knew it all along because I saw it on the 6 o'clock news."

"So did I," says Van, "but I didn't know he was going to do it again after that."

Written in the stars, before books!

28 November 2012

Peter Falk, whom many of us remember as the taciturn TV detective Colombo, had a memorable line in the fabulous 1987 movie, The Princess Bride: "When I was your age, television was called books," Falk's character tells his grandson. "And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm gonna read it to you."

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