The Immortal Lessons of Henrietta Lacks

Whilst I was watching a particularly harrowing sequence in the new HBO-produced movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (based on Rebecca Skloot's bestselling book), I was reminded of a bit that Chris Rock used to include in his stand-up about race. He would argue that the most 'racist' black people he knew were older black people, … Continue reading The Immortal Lessons of Henrietta Lacks

Nolite te bastardes carborondurum: A Maternal Reading of The Handmaid’s Tale

In anticipation of the forthcoming Hulu dramatization, I reread Margaret Atwood's iconic dystopian, feminist text, The Handmaid's Tale.  Well, only sort of. I have a lot less time and a lot more toddler in my life than I did when I first read the book twelve years ago.  This time, I listened to the unabridged audiobook. … Continue reading Nolite te bastardes carborondurum: A Maternal Reading of The Handmaid’s Tale

Our writing, our selves: Meditations on the ethics of writing

“I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” Joan Didion “Writers are always selling someone out.” Joan Didion David Sedaris published the most beautiful essay on the death of his youngest sister, Tiffany, and how her … Continue reading Our writing, our selves: Meditations on the ethics of writing

White Women’s Stories: A Late Review of The Help

I came to The Help*, the book, late. Long after the movie was released, and discussed ad nauseum, and had its (somewhat successful) shot at Oscar glory, I have finally found it in myself to read the book. I bought the book a solid year ago, from an airport bookstore, on one of the many … Continue reading White Women’s Stories: A Late Review of The Help

What we’re reading, 17 September 2013

https://twitter.com/ZakesMda/status/379123598138834944 Welcome to this edition of WWR, brought to you from a soggy, cold Cape Town.  Are ya just sick of this winter? We know we are! Zakes Mda agrees! - Heard of the first ever woman to become a Maasai warrior? Oh, you haven't? Enjoy! - Sisonke Msimang on heckling as political discourse. - … Continue reading What we’re reading, 17 September 2013

What we’re reading, 1 September 2013

Welcome to September! I hear it's meant to be spring, or something, but the Cape Winter has suddenly become pretty bitter. So much for all that... More time to stay indoors, cuddled up under a blanket, trawling through the internet! Enjoy this week's reading list: - Sophia Wallace wants you to know the truth about … Continue reading What we’re reading, 1 September 2013

What we’re reading, 25 August 2013

UDF leaders (from left) Patrick Mosiua Lekota, Popo Molefe and Trevor Manuel Here are a few things we read and thought about this week: - The UDF was founded 30 years ago.  A few reflections on the movement that changed South Africa: http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-08-22-the-udf-at-30-an-organisation-that-shook-apartheids-foundation/#.UhnAaGR5hXc - In the wake of the Marikana anniversary, Sisonke Msimang reminds us of another … Continue reading What we’re reading, 25 August 2013

The Grief Book Club

  By some strange coincidence, in the 6 months preceding my aunt's death I had worked my way through three seminal 'grief narratives'. I have half-joked to friends that I was sort of 'studying up', without knowing it, in preparation for what was to come. There really is no preparing for it, though. The best … Continue reading The Grief Book Club