In the last few months we have seen the deaths of ordinary people who helped define our heritage by becoming extraordinary: Andrew Mlangeni, Achmat Dangor and George Bizos. These were people whose lives contained South Africa’s raging currents, epitomised its human beauty and witnessed its cruelty and brutality.
“Economists have only ruined the world – the point is to improve it”. (With a nod to Karl Marx) Today is the United Nations International Day of Democracy. At a time when democracy is under attack in so many parts of the world, the day could not be more important. But rather than activists satisfying ourselves with glib platitudes, we should ask deeper questions about what’s going wrong. One obvious area we should look at is the disconnect between democracy and economy.
The media has been under attack for a long time. Sadly though, this is not only from dictators, corrupt criminal networks and those who benefit from obscuring the truth about what is happening in society. This we expect. We can handle our enemies. What is equally threatening now is the pressure from commercial and economic forces, and the shift to digital media, which has reduced advertising revenues that for a century held up print media, and the daily newspaper in particular.
Street Talk is a groundbreaking television series aired weekly on community television. From grassroots to the establishment, our engaging programmes expose the lived realities and uncensored views of ordinary South Africans.
On 2 September 2019, we published the first edition of Maverick Citizen, a new section of the Daily Maverick that would focus on news and views about activism, human rights and social justice. We promised a springtime for social justice journalism.
That was a year ago.
‘Nirvana is a sacred space that we have reimagined for every inner-city girl or young woman so that she may achieve anything she sets her mind to. Here, we support and inspire each other. We develop skills. We align to the values of leadership, focus, purpose and passion. We encourage freedom of expression through the arts. We nurture a sense of compassion for humanity by being of service to our young and old. Here is where we grow.’
A 1995 research paper by Maverick Citizen Editor Mark Heywood reveals how a love affair between Sol Plaatje and Shakespeare left a deep impression on the writer’s own literary and intellectual views.
The launch of the ‘People’s Climate Justice Charter’ this week is important. It is the product of an exemplary campaign, five years of consultation and social mobilisation led by the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign. However, the real challenges to ensure it is taken seriously by society are just beginning.
Politics is pivotal to people’s well-being and existence, yet we write about it in a way that is often predictable and dominated by one-dimensional men. One-dimensional writing disconnects politics from our being and makes us numb. These angst-filled times demand that we rediscover and describe the poetry in politics.
No recovery without redistribution: No ‘social contract’ without meaningful inclusion of civil society
After President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the move to Lockdown Level 2 in his address to the nation on Saturday night, 15 August, South Africa entered a new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. But what will this mean to us in our day-to-day lives?