The Big Read: The river that runs through us

There's something about a river. As we speak I’m on the balcony of my suite on Uniworld’s SS Antoinette, surely the loveliest river boat in the world, cruising up the Rhine towards Basel, with Germany on my right and France on the left and the setting sun turning the water a burnt umber while on the shipside of the bowwave the wave’s own low shadow dances and unfolds like a dark flame, like ink in plasma. It is utterly silent.

Democracy beware: world press freedom is under real threat

The media has never been under as much threat as it is today, according to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, released by Reporters Without Borders this week.

Look a gift horse in the mouth?

Buy near the bottom of the market. That's what investment advisers tell us. By that token, now might be a good time to buy a racehorse.

The Big Read: Bells toll in KZN killing fields

There is no let-up in political assassinations in KwaZulu-Natal, with one more political leader gunned down last Thursday.

The Big Read: In search of the city's soul

We need better tools to measure the quality of life in African streets, writes Lesley Lokko

Consumers ought to have a serious beef with product labels

Do burger patties which contain just 36% beef deserve to be called beef patties?

The Big Read: Don't confuse me with facts

The planets, I learned when I was 11, "dance and weave behind the sun".

Ghost of Nkandla comes back to spook the president

If president Jacob Zuma thought that his R7.8-million payment for security and infrastructure upgrades at his Nkandla home would draw a line under this scandal, he was mistaken - the ghost of Nkandla, it seems, refuses to be laid to rest.

The missing middle rises in France

Unknown to the public until two years ago and initially ruled out as a serious contender, Emmanuel Macron now stands on the threshold of the French presidency.

The Big Read: Wake up! SA has been gutted

One by one the institutions of our democracy have been perverted. Thank God for the courts, writes Justice Malala

Democracy needs the public to watch journalists' backs

Journalism in South Africa is not for the weak of heart. It requires fortitude to survive, but that does not excuse the despicable attack on one of our journalists last week.

The Big Read: All the Alarm Bells and whistles

Big news last week was that the adult toy market is growing three times faster than the children's toy market, previously known just as the toy market.

The Big Read: The power of zero thinking

I never have good ideas in the shower. Wait, that sounds sinister, as though I'm frequently having bad ideas in the shower, as though my shower is a tapeworm or a barking dog, giving me instructions to go forth and murder like Dimitri Tsafendas or the Son of Sam.

Warring cops should heed the rules of the police watchdog

One of the first hot potatoes new Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula wrapped his chops around was the relationship between two important figures in his new portfolio.

The Big Read: We all just want to go home

Earlier this week a man was dragged from a United Airlines flight 3411 between Chicago and Louisville.

Stop the shameless race shaming

South Africa has a long history of race-shaming. It happens when individuals or groups of people are shamed for the simple fact that they are black. Bodies were lined up and hosed down. Heads were inspected for ticks. Pencils tested the spring-tension of hair. Coons were there to be laughed at.

Allow MPs the right to vote with their conscience

The delicate future of South Africa will likely be determined not by the march of thousands yesterday on the Union Buildings but by the more arcane debate over whether a vote of no confidence in the president can be decided by secret ballot.

Claims by Dlamini's underlings raise heat on minister

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini may have thought she was home free when the Constitutional Court agreed to extend the grants payment contract to Cash Paymaster Services last month, but the court's determination to get to the bottom of who should carry the can continues to haunt her.

The Big Read: No country for young men

For many years I loathed South Africans who held dual citizenship. I saw it as a cop out. An easy way to escape the country once things got tough.

The Big Read: Simply showing up is a start

A few people look slightly embarrassed.

A united front, but only when it suits JZ

The various memorial services for struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada became a battleground for the power struggles within the ruling ANC.

'I had no choice but to give away my daughter'

As the village wells dried up and her livestock died in the scorched scrubland of southern Somalia, Abdir Hussein had one last chance to save her family from starvation: the beauty of her 14-year-old daughter, Zeinab.

The Big Read: Civil society is our last hope to save SA from 'thieves trying to loot it'

South Africa is entering a long period of political darkness with, perhaps, a glimmer of sunshine and hope at the end.

Reckless, clueless and damn scary talk by ANC loudmouths

The ANC and its bullyboy leader have no real appreciation of the mess they have got us all into. The bravado and reckless talk of President Jacob Zuma's acolytes following the credit ratings downgrades was most unedifying - and damn scary.

Why I'm the new Bok doc - Brendan Venter

Former American president Theodore Roosevelt said during his most famous speech that "the credit belongs to the man in the arena. It is not the critic who counts."

Contraception the answer to epidemic of teen pregnancies

Alarming research has found that two-thirds of women of child-bearing age have had an unplanned pregnancy in the last five years.

Are we hunky-dory or junky-gory? Let's go with the latter

The ratings agencies could be wrong, of course. Everything could be hunky-dory rather than junky-gory. Malusi Gigaba certainly appears to think so.

The Big Read: Shaky hands on the joystick

New Finance Minister Malusi Gigabi loves fashion shows and dressing up. Two cabinet posts back, he arrived at the opening of parliament impersonating an SAA pilot.

Hard to say goodbye for Big Easy

Ernie Els bids farewell to the Masters this week. But he's finding it difficult to say goodbye.

Make sure that sugar high is worth it

If we're going to eat sugary foods, we owe it to ourselves to make sure we indulge in the best, writes Andrea Burgener

In this crazy place, you can't make up this kind of stuff

Please accept our apologies. Today we have produced a newspaper that falls short of the standards to which we aspire.