Lost Artefacts of Port Elizabeth: Octagon Café & the Bathing Pavillion

Many of the buildings constructed nowadays have little to recommend them. Being merely rectangular blocks, they do not enhance life through their aesthetic appeal. Maybe this is acceptable for industrial buildings but for structures along a beachfront, the bar needs to be set higher. Two buildings of yore met that criterion: the Octagon Café and the Bathing Pavillion. Sadly both are no more.

 Main picture: The Octagon Cafe on the Elizabeth Promenade

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No more walks in the Wood

With the world’s population growing at 200,000 per diem, the world’s children of the 2050s face the very real risk of never being afforded the opportunity of walking through a wood or even playing sport on a grassy field. In Gauteng, the towns of Pretoria, Joburg and Van der Bijl Park have already almost converged into one megacity within the past 30 years. 

Contrast this with early man. Was the impact of these peoples such as the Aborigines of Australia or the Maoris of New Zealand as benign as is supposed? Or is modern man with its industrial scale re-engineering of the topography, the proverbial poster boy of environmental destruction or despoilation? 

Main picture: An aboriginal woman performs the Woggan-ma-gule morning ceremony on Australia Day in Sydney, Friday, Jan. 26, 2007. Australia Day marks the arrival of the first European settlers in 1788. (AP Photo/Paul Miller)

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Were Adam & Eve Monogamous?

Amongst laymen, it is widely believed that Adam & Eve were monogamous? How did mankind arrive at this conclusion? Was it due to their religious upbringing or due to a general assumption that people in the “old days” were more moral or even prudish? 

Let us explore the possibility. 

Main picture: Adam & Eve in the quintessential fashion of the Stone Age Era or was this only one of the pieces that they displayed this day Continue reading

Did Man domesticate Plants or Vice Versa?

 Before the advent of the domestication of plants, man led a carefree existence. They roamed in groups from location to location in search of food. If food was readily available in an area, they might settle for a while but, being itinerants, they carried little. Furthermore, they sought shelter rather than built shelter. 

What happened when they elected to settle permanently in an area and to domesticate plants and animals? Will another orthodoxy be overthrown in this debate? 

Main picture: The false idyll of domestication

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Can Medium Size Countries still afford Main Battle Tanks?

Given the fact that a modern Main Battle Tank such as the basic Abrams M1A2 now costs $10 million [R 150m], even a modest fleet of 300 tanks would today be prohibitively expensive at a cost of R 44 billion. 

If so, how can any self respecting nation with a pretence of having an army still afford them?

If not, what is the alternative?

Main picture:  Stridsvagn 103

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What form will Zuma’s comeback in 2017 take?

Bereft of options, the guilty are at their most disingenuous, duplicitous and mendacious. Even the guile card is now useless. If they are in a supreme position of power, they are especially dangerous as they can abuse their authority and the levers of powers. 

It is instructive to recall that Zuma’s 2016 was an unmitigated disaster. From losing his case in the Constitutional Court to the ANC losing control in three Metros after the local government elections, Zuma has been on the defensive. Then came the most galling of all: an attempted vote of no confidence in his leadership within the NEC. 

As he surely will, what will the wounded Zuma do as a counter strike in 2017?


 Main picture: South African president Jacob Zuma (2nd R), the man with nine lives, poses for photographs with an assortment of his wives:  Sizakele Khumalo (R), Nompumelo Ntuli (L), and Thobeka Mabhija (2-L) after the State of The Nation address in Parliament, in Cape Town, on June 03, 2009. The rest were indisposed.

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Juvenal’s question “Quis custodiet ipsos custodies” applies in South Africa

In his satirical poem eponymously called Satires, the Roman Poet Juvenal raised this existential question, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodies” meaning “Who will guard the guardians themselves.” This scourge now seriously afflicts the Security Cluster in South Africa.   

The latest spat between the Priority Crimes Unit, commonly referred to as the Hawks and Robert McBride, the head of IPID, the Independent Police Investigate Department highlights the phenomenon of the politicisation of the various organs of the Security Cluster. 

Furthermore, there has been the progressive securitisation of the state under Jacob Zuma’s watch. 

Main picture: Robert McBride is the latest victim of the internecine warfare between the components of the security establishment. He was recently charged with treason, fraud amongst other charges

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