The case for optimism

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Several months ago a colleague of mine challenged me to demonstrate how the United Nations was a positive influence in the world. I remember giving examples of its peacekeeping work, but as soon as they left my lips they fizzled into uncompelling whimpers. We were in the middle of a broader conversation about whether the world has become a better place, in the stumbling, ignorant way lay people are wont to do.

Continue reading “The case for optimism”


South Africa is the greatest country on Earth


In light of the recent racist remark uttered by the president of the United States, I think we deserve to grab a leaf from that country’s book of braggadocio and rah-rah, reverse our humble postures and declare ourselves the greatest country on the face of the planet. To help our indulgence, here are a few, rather random reasons why an African country such as ours is not a s***hole and does not need to make itself great again. Continue reading “South Africa is the greatest country on Earth”

The magic flickers in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’


In the documentary J K Rowling: A Year in the Life, the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter series says something becomes true for her only once she writes it down. Upon reflection, I’ve found that this was also true for me: I always avoided fan-fiction stories based on the second generation of characters because there was no canon that recorded their dimensions from which my imagination could proceed; it felt fraudulent from the first, a misgiving that entirely missed the irony that I write stories based in a universe created by another writer. Continue reading “The magic flickers in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’”