New generation athletes

John-Laffnie de Jager’s life story reads like something straight out of D.H. Lawrence’s poem about “never seeing a wild thing feel sorry for itself”.

In defence of workaholics

I once designed a conference on a train in Italy. Travelling through a foreign country with different sights and sounds had turbo-charged my creativity. The kids were sleeping and I wanted to test out the concept before we reached the next stop.

When is appropriation appropriate?

The answer is almost always. Cultural borrowing and exchange are the fuel of human creative progress.

The idea that “cultural appropriation” must be guarded against, and rooted out, is arguably one of the wobbliest ideas that the era of identity politics has given us. Cultural appropriation is a vastly bigger and healthier process than its opportunist edges: in a very real sense, it is the engine of human intellectual progress.

Narcissism and Street Fashion

Fashion designer, Diane Von Furstenberg, once said “everything in fashion begins in the streets”. In the midst of our consumer culture, where fashion trends change quarterly and we feel pressure to adhere, we have become out of touch with the true ingenuity and creativity with which it all began

Out of Control

A sideways glance at the looming loss of a hands-on controlling interest in our means of conveyance, from cars to light aeroplanes, balloons and vacuum loops. Where are we going without a driver, and why?

How ancient trees are becoming a hot new investment asset for the rich

After the financial crisis in 2008, rich people branched out into greener pastures by putting their generational wealth into acres of lands with roots in ancient trees. This global economic event alerted the rich because they saw their assets heavily affected, driving investments in safer commodities that grow in the long-term with a value that isn’t determined by unpredictable highs and lows of stock market forces.

The Secret of Happy Places

“He’s not in a good place”. “She’s in a good place right now.” The terminology of self-help and pop psychology uses place as a metaphor for happiness or unhappiness – and with good reason.

The Emperor Who Crashed Gold

In the dense forests of Guinea’s mountainous highlands, at a place called Tembakounda, the Niger River finds its source. It is about 250km inland and could dash to the Atlantic waters off the coast of West Africa by cutting directly through Sierra Leone.

The story of Malik Ambar

Born in 1548, a captured Ethiopian herdsman is sold as a slave in Yemen, taken to Baghdad and from there to present day India, Malik Ambar not only raised his own armies, but casually replaced kings when they became annoying. A remarkable true story that is not nearly as well-known as it should be.

Private Schooling – is it worth the costs?

Lush manicured lawns, posh accents, and parents with executive positions. Being a private school kid is something I’ve always worn with a badge of honour.

Hackers and Hacking

Why is something so apparently mindless and nasty now rampant? Are hackers just thieves looking for an open window? What is to be done to solve the biggest threat to our sophisticated existence?

What’s the Use of Philosophy?

Sometime when I was in varsity, I was having a conversation with a friend and though I can’t quite recall the gist of the conversation I do distinctly remember one moment.

The recall of the wild city

We’ve seen our owl twice. The first time was during a winter dusk: he drifted across our vista from the balcony of our apartment in Johannesburg.

The future of corporate fashion after lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have sent shockwaves of change rippling throughout the world.

Populism: a human face of technological progress

Populism became one of the most widely used political terms in 2016 after Donald Trump was elected to the White House and the UK electorate voted ‘GO’ in the Brexit referendum.

Central banks of the forest

It recently came as a surprise to learn that the world’s largest living organism is neither a plant nor an animal. Rather it is somewhere in between a plant and an insect.

Humanity on the move

Humanity on the move

Will Chile’s dark history be eclipsed by a brighter future?

For travellers with a taste for history and a curiosity about the future, this is an ideal time to visit Chile.

Stoicism as a business philosophy

Have you read? We have all lived through it. The locations vary, maybe in a boardroom, a cocktail party, a business pitch, even just drinks with colleagues at work.

The big deal about small nations

Are tiny societies happier than big ones? Plucky Cape Verde and many other thriving little nations seem to confirm that hypothesis. But the case for subdividing the world’s broken big countries is much harder to make …

Crowdfunding as a serious business model

An increasing number of large corporates see crowdfunding as a way to bring in extra money to finance innovation and boost their customer engagement.

Meet the African violin

Until very recently there had never been such an instrument as an African violin.

Opinion Polling

Why do people want to know what the future holds before it happens?

In the first place of course, there is a lot of money in it, betting and investing only on certainties, for example, is a sure-fire path to riches.

The new why

WHEN Rassie Erasmus – a man whose obsession with attention to detail could be accused of taking the romance of the unexpected out of sport – began coaching the Springboks, his philosophy was “keeping the main thing the main thing”.

Decadence to decay

Empires rise and most certainly fall. Of most interest to me, though, are the periods between. It is interesting to note, varying from case to case, an almost inverse relationship between the entitled decadence of subsequent generations of heirs


Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.

The ugly truth about ‘pretty privilege

In 1889, legendary Russian writer Leo Tolstoy said, “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness” (Kreutzer Sonata).

The art of dying

I’m not talking about the ‘Eastern Philosophy’ offered by self-styled gurus who present common sense as universal truths to a slew of admirers for a hefty fee.

Rocnation? What’s that in English?

NOT long after Siya Kolisi became the Springboks’ first black captain in 2018, the Gwijo Squad – a passionate and particularly vocal group of young black professionals who revived an old tradition of singing Xhosa songs at sporting events – factored his name into the lyrics of an old favourite.

Controversial? Perhaps

It is virtually impossible to make a non-ideological statement. Phrase an observation one way, and you are a Marxist Vegan ready to wipe the slate and history clean…

The evolution of ‘Woke’

Considering the origins of this activist byword, has it been diluted into mere online slang by mainstream use?

Do you consider yourself to be woke? If you do, you probably know that this term for being enlightened or aware, particularly about racism and social justice, is a political byword of African-American origin.

Humanities vs the Sciences

For those of you into your second or third decades in the working world, think back to a point in time during high school when the conversation with parents, and sometimes teachers, was about future study choices and career ambitions.

Crowdfunding. More proof that everything is hackable. Even money.

Joseph Pulitzer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Alexander Pope and the history of crowdfunding

The collective financing of an outcome is not a new concept. It has been in existence for over 300 years, but the term ‘crowdfunding’ is just entering its teens. And, it seems, has only just begun.

Sharing positive - can good news save the planet?

Albert Schweitzer, a German physician and Nobel Peace Prize winner, coined the phrase “Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it”.

Trivia that will make you seem smarter

It may be a while before we can safely sit down at a dinner party but when we do, we certainly don’t want to be talking COVID-19.

Moral Money Series: Buddhism

“Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts, suffering follows – like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

Pyramid schemes and multilevel marketing

How many people feel completely assured that they will retire comfortably?

Moral Money Series: Christianity

The problem in examining ‘Christianity’ – as with most religions – is that when you use the term, it refers to a wide variety of ideologies and aesthetic expressions.

Determinants of civil war

The last three years have seen a downward trend in deaths from armed conflict. Still, the world has seen 280 distinct conflicts since 1946, with the vast majority being intrastate or civil wars.

The profit made from war and words

It is in documenting our conflicts that propaganda first began.

Moral Money Series: An introduction to faith and finance around the world

Religion affects the lives of adherents and non-adherents in very real, very immediate economic ways.

Wanting to work – the story of South Africa’s labour market since 1994

South Africa has not been experiencing jobless growth since 1994. Rather, it has been suffering from a skills mismatch.

The ethical sources of terrorist power: Understanding asymmetric war

Conventional wars are fought between states. Asymmetrical wars are different, and so are the weapons.