Have you ever lost someone to cancer? If you have not, count yourself fortunate. I certainly have, as, I suspect, most of you reading this. And as we speak, I have two dear friends who are battling the big C in opposite corners of the globe.
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).
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, says a recent proverb. It's a concept that has since been referred to as "the law of the instrument". Which brings us to the latest shenanigans from the Gauteng provincial government. The province intends banning the sale of alcohol on Sundays
I'm no fan of Iran. Indeed, I'm terrified of all states that set their interpretation of the word of their god ahead of rational discourse.
But Iran has learned, as India and Pakistan and North Korea have, that no one takes you seriously when they have the capacity to nuke you and you cannot retaliate.
It's unusual for the chief of the South African National Defence Force to chair media briefings and issue statements. General Solly Shoke was probably wishing this week that he was doing so under less grim circumstances.
Did you ever stop to wonder why Christmas is always on 25 December but Easter is kind of a moving target? In 2011, Easter fell on 24 April. Last year, it fell on 8 April. This year, it fell on 31 March. Next year, it falls on 20 April…
This thought process kicked in when I was tiptoeing around my home late on Saturday hiding Easter eggs for my soon-to-be 6 year old daughter to find in the morning.
On June 16, 1989, London newspaper The Guardian published a report under the headline "Thatcher 'in plan to force Pretoria deal'".
The substance of that report, strenuously denied by the ANC at the time, subsequently proved to be correct. The process that would lead to the Nelson Mandela's release from prison barely seven months later had already begun.
It's the amazing thing about history – what one believes is true at the time later turns out to be idealist naiveté.
Last week, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille told an audience at Alexandra in Gauteng that she was launching a campaign – a campaign to tell the untold story of the DA.
And I was immediately taken back in time to where the process really started…
February 1997, in Cape Town shortly before the opening of parliament, I was having lunch at the Round House restaurant in the shadow of Lion's Head. Sitting across the table from me was former President, former deputy-President, and now leader of the opposition Frederik "FW" de Klerk.
There's a picture in my office of myself and President Nelson Mandela taken early 1999 when he visited us at the Cape Times where I was Managing Editor.
I have an absurdly pleased expression on my face while his is his familiar comfortable and comforting smile.
A necessary result of being anti-censorship is that one has to be prepared to accept that pornography has a right to exist – along with Mein Kampf, Oh You Hindu Awake, The Satanic Verses, and any other document that some person somewhere in the world may find offensive.
There have been three times since 1994 when I have been truly embarrassed to be South African.
The first time was two years ago when we agreed through the UN Security Council to set up a no-fly zone over Libya.