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

Tag: Cliche

Zuma’s speech-making: Grasping in the dark


FEATURE: President Jacob Zuma’s speech-making has, for some time now, been the source of much criticism. Not only is it dull and dreary but the content – particularly when it comes to matters of state – is so generic and vague as to render it almost meaningless. In a nutshell, he says nothing and he says it in painstaking fashion. I wrote this article in response to the President’s 2010 State of the Nation address, one of many lowpoints. In it I argue this kind of blandness can only be excused as bad speech-making up to a point – if a public representative is deliberately vague, concealing the facts, that is dishonest and the attitude of a dissembler.

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Phiyega’s gallery of gobbledegook


FEATURE: The new police commissioner, Mangwashi Phiyega, has a wonderful way with words. Never before has a senior member of civil service squeezed so many metaphors and idioms into so little content. Is she the police’s answer to Pieter de Villiers? In order to make sure they are all captured for posterity and I am starting a running archive of her best sayings. Here it is.

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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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