Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective.

Excellence as an antidote

ARTICLE: In the piece below Wilmot James makes a fairly profound point: that excellence and its pursuit can be a mechanism through which reconciliation can be achieved. That is, to my mind, an entirely original approach. And quite true too: for a country that suffers low self esteem and over which victimhood has such a strong hold, what can be a better anecdote than setting high standards and then achieving them? Something to think about.

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In conversation about ubuntu

SERIES: Two heads are better than one, or so the saying goes. Jacques Rousseau is a lecturer in critical thinking and ethics, as well as a columnist for the Daily Maverick and, in discussion with him, the series In Conversation will look to explore a key concept or development in a few email exchanges. We start with the idea of ubuntu – a notion that has quickly been elevated to the level of philosophy, although what it actually means remains the subject of much debate. Perhaps more to the point, is ubuntu a liberal idea? Or, at the very, least can it be reconciled with liberalism?

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On humanism

SERIES: The Thing About is a weekly Business Day column designed to discuss democratic ideas, ideals, values and principles from a liberal perspective. Today, a look at humanism and the idea that human achievement and potential is often downplayed in the favour of some supernatural explanation for accomplishment. This might seem beneficial – for one it allows one to abdicate responsibility when it comes to destructive behaviour – but that comes at a cost, including an inability to celebrate the great things of which humans alone are capable.

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