Should SA universities participate in global rankings systems?
University leaders annually face a conundrum - to participate in global ranking systems, or not, in a context where the playing fields are grossly uneven.
South Africa needs to refresh how it manages by-products from mining
To extract minerals from host rocks, mines grind down rock into fine sand.
Here’s how much kids need to move, play and sleep in their early years
Most of us would agree that we want to encourage children to be physically active, get enough sleep, and keep their screen time at healthy levels.
Taking Africa’s democratic temperature as a dozen countries prepare for polls
More than a dozen national elections will be held across Africa next year.
Why under valuing families is a problem for South Africa’s economy
A country’s wealth goes hand in hand with its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the market value of goods and services over a defined period of time.
South African taxpayers can’t keep bailing out broken airline
R21 billion: that’s how much South Africa’s beleaguered national carrier, South African Airways (SAA), says it needs to keep running.
Why the demise of specialist reporters is a loss for any democracy
The newspaper industry in many countries is in the doldrums.Retrenchments have become the norm with experienced beat reporters among the first to go.
Self-testing: a potentially powerful tool for fighting HIV
Self-screening for HIV has been touted as a disruptive innovation: one that can help to close the HIV testing gap by reaching key and under-tested populations.
Southern Africa must brace itself for more tropical cyclones in future
In the last 30 years, there’s been a progressive rise in the number of high category tropical storms.
Why ‘fair use’ is so important for South African copyright law
Fair use is a positive tool for users and producers of information as it facilitates access and reuse of copyright works without infringing copyright law.
Beware the uncivil and spectacle politics of the EFF
Uncivil and spectacle politics fan ethnic and racial hatred, deepen divides in our society, continuously violates the rights of others, and turn violent.
Muckracking journalists who shaped southern Africa over three centuries
It was a modest, soft-spoken US Catholic nun, Sister Janice McLaughlin, who exposed the “protected villages” set up by the Rhodesian government in 1977.
Mining conflicts multiply, as critics of “extractivism” gather in Johannesburg
The World Social Forum’s “Thematic Forum on Mining and Extractivism” convenes this week in Johannesburg,
A view of Johannesburg through lenses from a different era
Johannesburg was always a much photographed place from its earliest days. It was a city that grew up with photographers and their cameras.
Can the centre hold, or will South Africa get its own Bolsonaro?
Present indications are that South African voters are not gearing up to “do a Brazil” in the face of a mounting economic crisis and high levels of corruption.
Why hipsters could be seen as modern-day colonisers
From Maboneng in Jozi to Bandra in Mumbai, Neukölln in Berlin to Gulou in Beijing, and Crown Heights in Brooklyn to Hackney in London, hipsters are everywhere.
Kewpie: understanding what it meant to be queer in District Six under apartheid
Across many parts of Africa homosexuality is often referred to as “unAfrican” - a western imposition that will undermine a traditional African.
Explainer: lessons from the collapse of a small South African bank
The South African Reserve Bank placed VBS, a small mutual bank, under curatorship in March this year against a backdrop of a serious liquidity crisis.
Universities need to find ways to assist students who are passive in seeking help.
ANC will go to the polls with only one major asset: its president Ramaphosa
It is common cause that the performance of South Africa’s government, led by the African National Congress (ANC), has been worse than abysmal.
Cost of accessing academic research is way too high
In the last week of October each year, libraries and open access activists around the world celebrate Open Access Week.
Bolsonaro’s victory is likely to see Brazil scale down Africa interests
Bolsonaro is a slavery-denialist, who claims that the Portuguese never set foot in Africa and that Africans themselves “delivered” slaves to Brazil.
Democratic Alliance plays populist immigration card
As elsewhere in the world, migration is increasingly at the centre of South Africa’s public and political debate.
Commemorating Black Wednesday/Media Freedom Day
A reflection on the media: consolidation and convergence – or shrivelling and sinking?
Ties between African countries and China are complex. Understanding this matters
The complex relationship between Africa and China has become even more complicated this year.
Lessons from Zimbabwe's failed land reforms
Giving communal land to individual households, rather than mostly corrupt traditional overseers, will unlock real value, energy and entrepreneurship.
The new finance minister must hit the road running
The latest reshuffling of South Africa’s finance minister may have negative origins but it brings with it some positive energy.
What southern Africa needs to do to manage rising temperatures
The climate situation is already worse in southern Africa than in most other regions, the region having crossed the 1.5°C warming level some years ago.
Moral courage and decency irrelevant as SA’s finance minister resigns
If politicians see only personal advantage from other's 'weakness’ – defined here as honesty, seeking forgiveness, repentance – then the future is bleak.
The finance minister merry-go-round
We have a new Finance Minister. Again.Tito Mboweni takes over amidst a recession and with a tricky political tide ebbing and flowing precariously.
Funding research-intensive universities should be a national priority
Protecting research universities is key to growing the higher education sector and making South Africa globally competitive.
SA's electoral system is weak on accountability
We have heard it said many times before: the SA electoral system does not provide a sufficient link between the citizen and the elected representative.
Does sunny South Africa really have an ideal climate for tourism?
This is how TripAdvisor reviews provide insight into tourists’ experiences of weather, from which adaptation plans can be successfully implemented.
#HIVLivertransplant: Making the tough call
The key ethical issues doctors grappled with in the world's first liver transplant from HIV+ living donor to negative recipient.
How the humanities can equip students for the 4IR
An understanding of the interaction of humans with technology and technology with humans are key to grasp the impact of the fourth industrial revolution.
Climate change, water and the spread of diseases
Connecting the dots differently to grasp the impact of climate change on people, and specifically, on public health.
Watershed: Place, policy and environmental crisis
Global water crises, and drought, desertification, water shortage and pollution, in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent, are not new.
What it would mean to decolonise palaeontology
The call by students to “decolonise science” still rings in many South African academics’ ears.
10 ideas for reviving the economy and reducing SA’s dire inequality
Few dispute that the South African economy is in serious trouble but how do we fix it?
Dismantling the state (capture) that Zuma built
It will be a lengthy and costly process to find out just how deep the state capture rot is and what the detritus is that former President Zuma has left behind.
To zero-rate, or not to zero-rate: why the VAT debate is more complex than it appears
The 1% point increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) rate this year has raised important questions about how the tax system can and should address inequality.
Oceans as empty spaces? Redrafting our knowledge by dropping the colonial lens
Google the word “seascape”, and you’ll find pictures of an aquamarine ocean, possibly with a touch of perfect coast line.
Xenophobia in South Africa: why it’s time to unsettle narratives about migrants
Foreign nationals have, yet again, been attacked, displaced and had their shops looted in South Africa.
What Fanon still teaches us about mental illness in post-colonial societies
The contemporary turn towards decolonial thinking is frequently cited in literature from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Research-intensive universities in Africa? A model of how to build them
Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 13·5% of the global population but less than 1% of global research output.
A week of telling snapshots of combat between capture and recovery. The Zondo Commission hearings go to the heart of the answer to this question.
The political mob, the state and accountability
Two events on Twitter in recent weeks gave me the political chills.
How structural flaws contribute to the crisis in South Africa’s municipalities
The dire state of municipal governance in South Africa has been in the news for much of this year.
What changing the ownership of South Africa’s central bank will, and won’t, do
On the EFF's motion regarding the Reserve Bank and the South African Reserve Bank Amendment Bill.
Why South Africa’s main opposition isn’t gaining traction against the ANC
After more than two decades in power, South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) is in severe trouble.
Inquiry on how parts of the private health care sector in South Africa can be fixed
A Health Market Inquiry into South Africa’s private health care sector has established that the market is dominated by a few players.
Kofi Annan understood the limits of diplomacy, as well as why it’s important never to give up
Kofi Annan served as United Nations Secretary-General during a pivotal decade in modern world history – from 1997 to 2006.
VS Naipaul: a man who cast doubt on post-colonial liberal certainties
No author in contemporary times more wilfully damaged his reputation with cantankerous observations as did VS Naipaul.
Government of national unity the way out for Zimbabwe
South Africa needs to intervene to persuade Zanu-PF and the MDC Alliance leadership to secure peace through a coalition government.
Southern Africa’s liberation movements: can they abandon old bad habits?
Until recently, southern Africa’s political and economic outlook seemed to be moving in a promising direction.
ANC expediency is messing up South Africa’s land reform process
If land reform is hijacked by the ANC for the purposes of winning the 2019 poll, South Africa could be on a slippery slope.
Land reform needs a meeting of minds
There are three broad approaches to which the land issue is debated – the instrumental, the functionalist and the symbolic.
A tribute to Winston Ntshona
A pioneer of storytelling and activism in South Africa, Ntshona died on 2 August this year.
Kenya’s public debt is rising to dangerous levels
Kenya is weighed down by swelling public debt and faces the possibility of a debt crisis (where the government can’t repay what it owes).
It's time to talk about tech
Technological advances are reshaping our lives, and our policies should be designed to enhance its creative and empowering potential.
The richest 10% own 95% – products of an economic and social system
How is it possible that we can have a society with so much wealth and so much poverty?
Medical schemes need to change
Explainer: How competitive is South Africa’s private health care sector?
The ANC of 2019
Zebra stripes, leopard spots and the troubled king of the political jungle.
A tale of two Chinas
The story of South Africa’s switch from Taipei to Beijing.
How health workers have adapted to SA’s breastfeeding policy
In the past 20 years there has been a massive global push for mothers to exclusively breastfeed their newborns for the first six months of their lives.
A quarter of a century of democracy: Defects and disappointments
South Africa’s fast approaching 2019 benchmark of 25 years of democracy is one that will be celebrated with circumspection.
Comparing and contrasting Mandela-Obama legacies
What are the connecting threads between Mandela and Obama with regards to their failures and shortcomings?
Obama’s Mandela lecture comes at an auspicious time for democracy
Former US President Barack Obama will aim high with his Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg on 17 July.
NHI promises to overhaul SA’s massively skewed system
Since 1994 South Africa has invested substantial resources in health care services. As a result, it’s has made significant health gains.
Hypertension: More hands are on deck please
In South Africa about 78% of people over the age of 60 suffer from hypertension but only 24% are on treatment.
Case study: The long and short of SA school commutes
Education enables social mobility. This is particularly true in a context of high inequality and high unemployment, such as South Africa.
SA's universal health care plan falls short of fixing an ailing system
South Africa’s Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has finally gazetted the bill detailing an ambitious plan to roll out National Health Insurance.
ANC’s election manifesto moment of truth
As it crafts its 2019 elections manifesto the African National Congress faces a prolonged “moment” of truth.
Malema, the EFF and the politics of hate
I am not a great fan of the EFF. I believe that it is a proto-fascist movement, one prone to racism, militarism and the politics of hatred.
Embrace the power of social entrepreneurs
Following the corporate scandals around KPMG and Steinhoff International, the legitimacy of business has fallen to levels not seen in recent history.
The General behind the scenes in the Rivonia trial
Five things you didn’t know about Rivonia trial lawyer Joel Joffe, lawyer extraordinaire.
Understanding the economic cost of corruption in Kenya
Kenya is perceived as one of the world’s most corrupt countries, ranked 143 out of 180 on Transparency International’s 2017 corruption perception index.
Predicting the World Cup winner: An engineer’s working guide
Using predictions on a regular basis in engineering, as a civil engineer I’m fascinated by predictions of who will win the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.
Africans are not ‘voting fodder’
The prerequisite for successful African decolonisation is to put value on every individual African life.
How media and film can help China grow its soft power in Africa
Some observers of China’s global rise conclude that its influence is limited to military and economic capabilities.
Ramaphosa can help resolve the Gaza crisis
The gunning down by the Israeli army of protesting Palestinians at the Gaza border in May has drawn international condemnation.
The not-so-merry Zuma go-round
“What has changed?” could be the question as Jacob Zuma makes his way towards his next court appearance in the Durban High Court this week.
Why megaprojects to deliver houses in South Africa might not work
In 2014, the South African government announced a new direction in housing policy.
Ramaphosa’s new dawn: much better, but not nearly enough
Cyril Ramaphosa’s rise to power has been greeted enthusiastically by most South Africans.
South Africa needs to box clever in its David versus Goliath duel with Trump
Recent actions by US President Donald Trump’s administration are severely straining relations with SA’s new government led by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Countries must compete for migrant workers to boost their economies
Politicians and the media expend inordinate amounts of energy debating migration, often using nativist, populist and xenophobic rhetoric.
Littering in South Africa is the expression of wider selfish – and costly – culture
It is common when municipal workers go on strike in South Africa to resort to upturning garbage cans and strewing litter around city centres.
How South Africa should tackle the redistribution of land in urban areas
Twenty four years since the advent of democracy, land remains a stark and visible symbol of dispossession and racial and income inequality.
The Mooi River truck protests – rewired citizen revolt
The Mooi River protests could serve as a reminder of South Africa’s vulnerability to arterial occupation protests generally.
Lessons about history by Twitter: two South Africans go head-to-head on slavery
A recent exchange on Twitter between South African TV personality Sizwe Dhlomo and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, is worthy of close examination.
South Africa’s freedom journey shows 1994 was merely a starting point
Twenty-four years into SA's ‘miracle’ democracy, it is clear that 1994 and the constitutional settlements of 1993 and '96 were mere starting points.
Dare South Africans dream again as they celebrate their 23rd Freedom Day?
It was just four and a half months ago that Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa won the presidency of the African National Congress (ANC) that governs South Africa.
It could take 200 years and R600bn to finalise new land claims
The issue of expropriating land without compensation has been hogging headlines but it has pushed other critical dimensions of land reform into the background.
Fossil teeth reveal new facts about a mass extinction
Around 260 million years, the earth was dominated by mammal like reptiles called therapsids.
Contesting the colour of a Just Transition in South Africa
Reliant on heavy industry and coal-fuelled electricity, South Africa is one of the most carbon intense economies in the world.
Why South Africa’s DJ Black Coffee left a bitter taste by performing in Israel
Many internationally renowned artists have faced campaigns to convince them not to perform in Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle.
Mothers in motion: mums navigate cities with their kids’ needs in mind
Women frequently remain the primary caregivers and only a third of children in South Africa live with their biological fathers, research shows.
Gaping wounds and the clamber to contain the Winnie fallout
In the wake of the rush to claim pieces of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the landscape of South Africa’s present has been reshuffled.
The message to deeply indebted African nations is to stop digging
Highly leveraged economies need to change tack and pursue stability and growth strategies.
Why integrity is key to high performance and lasting success
Companies need to escape the circle of having PR campaigns prop up their image until people have an exaggerated expectation of their ethical performance.
In search of the ‘real radical’
To what extent does the Ramaphosa-Zuma contest (and to the extent that it has not been won yet) embody the real radical in South African society?
How the law can help change racist minds in South Africa
Much recent news and public discourse might seem to indicate that South Africa’s non-racial rainbow is fading.
Entrepreneurship is on the agenda again: More hype or real action?
Compared globally, South Africa has an unusually low share of employers and self-employed people in the labour force.
Flu vaccines for pregnant moms protect them against whooping cough
The influenza virus circulates every year and has the potential to turn into global epidemics.
Ancient DNA changes everything we know about the evolution of elephants
For a long time, zoologists assumed that there were only two species of elephant: one Asian and one African.
Steinhoff’s board behaved badly and should be held to account
The behaviour of the Steinhoff board, since the scandal exploded in December last year, confirms my early suspicions. The rot runs deeper.
Winnie’s bridge-building changed South African politics
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s death and departure from South African politics leaves a bridge-building void that will be filled with difficulty.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: revolutionary who kept the spirit of resistance alive
No other woman – in life and after – occupies the place that Winnie Madikizela-Mandela does in South African politics.
Ramaphosa has started the clean up job. But can he turn the state around?
South Africa’s new President is presently receiving numerous plaudits on how he’s handling the transition from the troubled Jacob Zuma presidency.
A Marxist approach appropriate for the climate crisis and the 21st Century
The "Climate Crisis" highlights the importance of advancing a deep and just transition that decarbonises society.
Connecting the dots between the hike in South Africa’s VAT and inflation
South Africa is bracing itself for the first increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) in many years.
We’ve come up with a TB test that’s cheaper, quicker and more accurate
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that kills more people due to a bacterial infection than any other disease in the world.
VAT zero-ratings finely balanced
The most likely alternative to VAT the Treasury would have taken would have been further cuts in expenditure - a move that would have cost the poor a lot more.
Explainer: what happens when a bank is put into curatorship
The South African Reserve Bank has placed a small bank – VBS Mutual Bank – under curatorship.
Ramaphosa makes noises about backing small business. It’s about time
The structure of the South African economy is often overlooked as a factor of small business and entrepreneurship.
How we recreated a lost African city with laser technology
LiDAR, was used to “redraw” the remains of the city, along the lower western slopes of the Suikerbosrand hills near Johannesburg.
How investigative journalists helped turn the tide against corruption
The last year also saw a rise in the intimidation and harassment of journalists in South Africa.
The profound impact of Stephen Hawking
He remains a luminary for those of us who study gravity for a living for his deep physical insights.
Is Ramaphosa's ANC managing the challenge from the EFF?
The EFF may be more politically adept, but its track record is as populist, corrupt and administratively incompetent as the Zuma camp ever was.
Trump should be the trigger for Africa to find common cause with Americans
Three key elements essential to protecting and defending democracy are now crucial in containing Trump’s threats to democracy.
New insights into how southern African pythons look after their babies
Snakes are probably not the first creatures that spring to mind when you think about caring parents.
Why UNESCO’s ‘natural solutions’ to water problems won’t work in Africa
Each year UNESCO releases a World Water Assessment Report, a document that explores potential solutions to the globe’s water problems.
How corporate social responsibility projects can be derailed
Many of these projects fail due to cultural insensitivity and misplaced communication strategies.
Rebuilding trust is Ramaphosa’s next struggle
Ramaphosa will have to take control of the economic, justice, security and intelligence, infrastructure, mining and energy clusters of the cabinet.
Six challenges that impede entrepreneurs with disabilities
South Africa needs to do more to support people living with disabilities who want to run their own businesses.
Shifting ground and quicksand towards Election 2019
Will the new political dynamics of early 2018 still hold by the time South Africa gets to Election 2019, somewhere between April and June next year?
Africa should treat Tillerson visit with scepticism
US President Donald Trump promised in late January that his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would make an “extended” visit to Africa in March.
Are South African universities under assault?
Declining subsidies and fees coupled with increasing demands for higher remuneration could jeopardise the future sustainability of universities in South Africa.
The story of Dr Trudy Thomas, a pioneer of community health care in South Africa.
Very little fact and clear thinking in tax talk
Analysis: Unpacking the tax proposals in the 2018/19 National Budget though publicly available data.
Want to solve complex health issues? Train scholars to think across disciplines
A number of factors affect both the distribution and prevalence of disease and the effectiveness of interventions to prevent or reduce disease.
Consequences of the Zuma regime will linger for a long time
The flood of obituaries to the Zuma presidency are likely to stream in for some time to come.
Africa’s rich fossil finds should get the air time they deserve
Palaeontology, like much else in the cultural landscape, has a strong western influence and bias.
South Africa must resist another captured president: this time by the markets
The ANC has made a dangerous habit of bringing post-apartheid South Africa to the brink of instability and the common ruin of all.
South Africans can’t relax
The country cannot mature into a full-blown democracy until major reforms are undertaken.
Lifting the lid on a VAT increase
2018 Budget Speech: A unilateral increase on the least progressive tax component – VAT – will harm the poor and lower-income earners.
24 hour clinics in South Africa’s busiest city
The City of Johannesburg is planning to provide 24-hour clinics in an attempt to increase access to health care. Why it is a good idea.
Ramaphosa’s moment of hope is built on a fragile foundation
Cyril Ramaphosa’s first state of the nation speech restored dignity and decorum to parliament, and pressed all the right buttons.
Five priorities SA’s new administration should focus on
What the new administration should do as a matter of priority to recover a state damaged by corruption and nepotism.
Growth and inclusive development must be prioritised to move SA forward
South Africa’s young democracy has emerged intact, albeit severely battered, from Jacob Zuma's tempestuous era.
As we ponder the State of the Nation, what do we need to address?
Addressing unacceptably high level of inequality should be the focus of President Ramaphosa’s economic policies.
The Ramaphosa moment
How many Messiahs can one country take? What kind of president will Cyril Ramaphosa be?
How democracies can be held hostage by party machinations
The Conversation Africa asked academics what lessons can be learnt, and how the ANC can redeem itself in the post-Zuma era.
Monitoring populations helps to put the right health services in place
Fourteen years ago SA researchers first picked up rising rates of high blood pressure in the population that led to people dying earlier than expected.
Post Zexit: Lessons for Ramaphosa on building an inclusive state
Cyril Ramaphosa has unfairly been criticised by political commentators for his attempt to negotiate Jacob Zuma's resignation.
Why it would be in everybody’s interests to regulate cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies originated as an alternative payment mechanism to traditional currencies.
Why are there so few black women in science?
Ndoni Mcunu, PhD-candidate at the Global Change Institute at Wits University and founder of Black Women in Science (BWIS), shares her personal journey.
Hope is well and good but effective policy reforms will save the day
Ramaphosa’s rise has sparked optimism, but work must be done to tackle inequality and grow the economy.
South Africa needs good water management, not new water laws
Experience around the world is that, more often than not, water laws aren’t the problem.
Lessons in democracy
President Jacob Zuma's determination to stay put is being widely condemned by a range of South African voices.
Keeping famine weed at bay
A leaf-feeding beetle is one of the most promising agents that help South Africa to control the spread of its worst invader plant.
Why ANN7 won't be missed
Rather than the future of ANN7, South Africans should perhaps worry about Multichoice having so much power, and using it so cynically.
"Mrs Ples" is actually a "Mr"
A study of the tooth sockets of one of the world’s most famous fossil skulls, “Mrs” Ples, has made scientists think differently about “her” sex.
Cape Town water crisis: crossing state and party lines isn’t the answer and no political party should lead a response to an urban governance crisis.
How to restore the humanity stolen by racism
Achille Mbembe's “Critique of Black Reason” illuminates how the world can account for the construction and consequences of race and racism.
Land reform and the law
Expropriation assumptions reflect misunderstanding of Constitution.
How safe are after school clubs?
New research shows after school clubs can be unsafe environments with opportunities for risky sexual behaviour and drug use.
Nationalising the Reserve Bank
Government ownership does not automatically imply government control.
Why shaking up South Africa’s power utility matters for the economy
South Africa’s power utility Eskom has seen a remarkable leadership shake up in the past few days.
Cape Town’s map of water usage has residents seeing red
The latest weapon in Cape Town’s water saving arsenal is a map that exposes private meter readings to public scrutiny.
Why Tunisians are back on the streets
Seven years after the popular uprising in Tunisia to oust President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisians are rising up again.
Playing the West's game
Why countries should break the crippling cycle of hosting big sporting events.
Ramaphosa should end the presidential merry-go-round in South Africa
The large majority of South Africans, including members of the governing ANC, will be glad to see the back of Jacob Zuma as president.
In dealing with Trump, normal protocols are beside the point
Reactions from Africa were appropriately critical of President Donald Trump’s comments about not wanting immigrants from “shithole” countries coming to the US.
Saint or sinner?
South Africans are trying to decode Ramaphosa, and getting it wrong.
The ANC has a new leader: but South Africa remains on a political precipice
Assumptions that the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as the new leader of the African National Congress, will place South Africa on an even keel are misplaced.
Steinhoff scandal points to major gaps in stopping unethical corporate behaviour
A corporate scandal unfolding around one of the largest businesses coming out of South Africa, Steinhoff, has become a major cause for concern.
South Africa needs electoral reform, but president’s powers need watching
The debate about electoral reform in post-1994 SA has largely focused on the system used to elect MPs and their counterparts in the country’s nine provinces.
Cape Town’s water crisis is driven by politics more than drought
Cape Town, South Africa’s second most populous city, is hurtling towards “Day Zero”: the day taps run dry.
South Africa needs approach to inequality
It is widely accepted that SA is one of the most unequal societies in the world.
Is it Cameroon’s turn to be suspended from US trade pact with Africa?
Cameroon has been a member of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiative since it was launched in 2000.
ANC conference: Testing time for journalists
In the age of disinformation and the rise in populism and nationalism, journalists should stick with the Press Code and follow the Constitution.
The ANC leadership race will go down to the wire: here’s why
The suspense is tangible as the African National Congress (ANC) – South Africa’s former liberation movement that’s turned into a tired governing party
Racism, Examination Assessments and the Transformation of Wits University
To advance transformation in our medical school, we changed our admissions processes three years ago, enabling special access for students from rural schools.
Lessons on rolling out an HIV prevention pill in South Africa
Last year SA became the first country in Africa to register the use of a drug that could be used as an oral pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention.
Why traditional healers could have a role to play in fighting HIV
Many cultures and societies throughout the world turn to traditional healers to find out why they are ill and to seek treatment.
Designer proteins, the new generation of HIV vaccines being put to the test
South Africa has made tremendous advances in providing lifesaving antiretroviral therapy for HIV infected people.
The right to work and debarment in the financial market
It is troubling in a constitutional democracy that laws exist allowing people to be deprived of their livelihoods without any inquiry at all.
SA moves one step closer to sugar tax, and healthier lifestyle
South Africa has joined only a handful of countries in the world close to imposing a sugary drinks tax.
Mugabe's downfall: Lessons for Jacob Zuma
Robert Mugabe’s endgame in Zimbabwe holds various lessons for his South Africa's Jacob Zuma as he too considers his prospects towards the end of his presidency.
Philanthropy can reduce inequality
The act of giving by business, and wealthy and skilled individuals can make important contributions to solving our pressing problems.
Two books that tell the unsettling tale of South Africa’s descent
South Africa has produced two must-read thrillers in the past week.
Cape Town water crisis: 7 myths that must be bust
One of South Africa’s biggest cities, Cape Town, is gripped by a rising panic.
South Africa shows why collaboration is key to tackling global crime networks
Professor Peter Hain talks to The Conversation Africa’s Charles Leonard about alleged illicit financial transactions centred around South Africa’s President.
Johannesburg’s inner city: the Dubai of southern Africa, but all below the radar
Over the last 20 years Johannesburg has become an intense wholesale and retail centre for local hawkers and for traders from all over sub-Saharan Africa.
Global developmental institution needs to be accountable on Lonmin
The time to account has come for the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.
Zimbabwe’s financial system is living on borrowed time - and borrowed money
Zimbabwe’s financial system increasingly resembles a house of cards
OR's enduring legacy
In celebrating his centenary, Oliver Tambo’s insights remain relevant for today's ANC and in South Africa.
This is good for science
The theory that humans emerged in Africa is often questioned. And that is good.
How African elephants’ amazing sense of smell could save lives
For 27 years Angola was gripped by civil war. Half a million human lives were lost and wildlife, too, was decimated to sustain troops.
Remembering Black Wednesday
Why media freedom remains fragile in South Africa and the battle is not over.
What’s at stake in SA’s finance minister’s first budget
There’s a great deal hanging on Gigaba's 2017 medium term budget policy statement on 25 October 2017.
How Cape Town can win support for the next round of water cuts
Dams in South Africa’s Cape Town are half of what they were this time last year as the city continues to battle drought.
A new book on Zuma’s rape trial has finally hit home
Two books, a decade apart, get very different public responses. Why?
Teaching French in SA offers lessons in decolonisation
French has been taught and learned in South African classrooms for decades, even though it isn’t one of the country’s official languages.
Shale gas in South Africa: game-changer or damp squib?
Fracking, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, has in the past few decades made available the gas in previously ‘tight’ shale geologies.
Trump’s Africa policy is still incoherent, but key signals are emerging
Africa’s leaders have waited eight months for US President Donald Trump’s administration to explain its Africa policy.
Stark contrast: Britain’s Labour Party and South Africa’s ANC
Compare the state of two political parties which share a close past connection but which today face distinctly different futures.
Why the dream of a prosperous, united nation continues to elude SA
The goal of one united South African nation living prosperously under a constitutional democracy remains elusive.
Tracking media freedom
It is 40 years since Black Wednesday when the apartheid regime unleashed its brutal violence against the press.
From troublemaker to leader
“The struggle for liberty continues to rage, even in a free society,” Adam Habib tells Change/Exchange.
Reputation crisis calls for TRC-type reply
We must have a public discourse on what justifiably is required for redemption.
ANC faces dreadful choices as voters grow more sceptical
The outcome of the December conference will affect the ANC’s subsequent election prospects more directly than any of its six preceding meetings since 1991.
Lessons from KPMG: be on guard, South Africans are on your case
The South African arm of the international accounting firm KPMG has learnt the hard lesson: Don't break the 11th commandment - don’t get caught.
What KPMG’s Gupta imbroglio says about corruption in South Africa
By resigning, the KPMG executives reinforced the principle of executive responsibility.
Forgotten fossils hold clues to how ancestors of mammals cared for their young
The skeletal anatomy of mammals’ early ancestors has been studied for more than 150 years.
Virtual reality breathes new life into African fossils, art and artefacts
More digital avenues are being added to South Africa’s museums – and now the country has its first full VR exhibit.
Blackness, oceans and South Africa’s colonial history are at my family’s core
My blackness is supposedly visible only because I do not “look white”.
Racism is behind outlandish theories about Africa’s ancient architecture
Africa has an extensive archaeological record, extending as far back as 3.3 million years ago.
Bestiality and BS: Lessons from South Africa’s sleazy political climate
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa fell for old usual dirty game of electioneering.
World is witnessing powerful dividing forces
BRICS is being battered by global crises: why this might not be a bad thing.
What Barack Obama’s record breaking Mandela tweet tells us about the world
The former US President's record-setting tweet, surpassing 1.6 million retweets and 4.5 million "likes", has captured the imagination of world. But why?
Central bank case exposes incompetence of SA’s public protector
Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has clearly overstepped the mark with Reserve Bank case.
How ‘Marikana: the Musical’ contributed to cultural amnesia
Commissions of inquiry are often nothing but cynical political tools to reestablish a form of normalcy after a nation’s traumatic event.
Wealth tax: More than just raising revenue in an unequal society
It needs to be a socio-economic policy tool to effect a substantive change in wealth distribution.
NPA’s ‘stolen’ #GuptaLeaks claim won’t stand in SA law
Stolen or not, Associate Professor James Grant says SA courts have discretion whether to admit evidence.
Are SA's opposition-led coalition metros flexing their muscles?
City governments around the world are increasingly challenging nation states when it comes to development, human rights and governance.
Warhol in Africa: contradictions, complications and conflicts
On the evening of 26 July, over 5,000 people streamed into Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg to attend the opening of its latest exhibition, Warhol Unscreened.
New insights into the survival techniques of a prehistoric beast
Imagine a rhinoceros-like beast with a sprawling, lizard-like gait and you will picture quite a good portrait of what Moschops looked like.
Parliamentary conscience and the courage to rebel
Lessons from the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma in South Africa’s National Assembly.
History will judge you
Open letter to MPs on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma taking place in Parliament on August 8.
Zuma no confidence vote: the ANC is the loser, whatever happens
South Africa’s governing African National Congress has got itself into one hell of a pickle.
Global genetic study involving different populations sheds light on glaucoma
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and results in vision loss and irreversible blindness in some people.
Islamic State: the West must embrace local state ownership of the region’s conflicts
Has the Middle East – now beset by inter-nation, inter-Muslim and inter-ethnic conflict – been engulfed in a war without end?
What’s in a name? Towards genuine economic transformation in South Africa
Calling it “radical” is to invite politicking and point-scoring and take our eyes off the ball – the need for real economic transformation.
Historical fiction tells us about today
Fred Khumalo's latest novel, “Dancing the Death Drill”, is also about the present as much as it is about the past.
Hypertension: the silent killer spreading across Africa
Hypertension is a rising global health problem. An estimated one billion people live with what is more commonly known as high blood pressure.
Business must repent for past role and start campaign to repair SA
Economy will continue to flounder without honest reflection and genuine commitment to tackle inequality.
Unpacking the issues around fracking in South Africa
[Explainer] The possibility of “fracking” in the Karoo, an arid part of South Africa that spans more than 400 000 square kilometres, has provoked heated debate.
South Africa needs a sensible debate about its Reserve Bank
Debates on monetary policy in South Africa over the last couple of decades seem to have come from a madhouse.
ANC policy anarchy
The ruling party's leaders are too weak to lead, or too weak to take over.
Water access is a key challenge for urban futures
Water shortages in Cape Town are here to stay. What the city can learn from others.
ANCWL has never had a strong history of dismantling patriarchy
"Thinking of the ANC Women's League as a space for gender activism is a waste of time," says Professor Shireen Hassim.
ANC may be stumbling closer to its most serious split yet
South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) enters its 2017 policy conference riven and weakened.
Africa is high on the G20 summit agenda
When G20 leaders meet in Hamburg in early July they face a problem not on their formal agenda: how to work around Donald Trump.
Why South Africa’s public protector has overstepped her mandate
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane sent shock waves across the country by calling for an amendment to the South African Reserve Bank’s constitutional mandate.
Is South Africa suffering from a case of ‘déjà vu’?
South Africa remains mired not only in corruption or the challenges to it, but also in past injustices and how to address them.
Dangers of the secret ballot
Baleka Mbete does have the power to call for a secret ballot but should she?
Keeping your hat on in Jozi
The changing times of an Indian migrant milliner. Nothing brings together style, history and social organisation more than a hat.
The swagger stick. A 'knobkerrie' is more than just a weapon
"Although it looks very dangerous it is actually not meant to kill anybody," says Professor Hlonipha Mokoena.
Why Lesotho is in such a mess and what can be done about it
In an interview following his recent return as Prime Minister of Lesotho, Tom Thabane has blamed the army for the country’s chronic political instability.
A sex worker’s view on South Africa’s latest plans to beat HIV
South Africa recently launched a five-year plan to improve the country’s response to HIV, TB and sexually transmitted infections.
South Africa will need a government of national healing after Zuma leaves
South Africa’s march into a democracy was greatly helped by a multiparty government of national unity established after the 1994 elections.
Ethical journalism: What to do, and not to do, with leaked emails
In the biggest data dump in South African history, between 100 000 and 200 000 emails have been leaked by an anonymous source to journalists.
How to clean up SA Inc
[WATCH] Lumkile Mondi says the country urgently needs moral leadership that speaks to the values of the Constitution.
The country's economic activity is declining and South Africa is in a technical recession. Here's what it means:
The perversion of palaeontology by apartheid’s advocates still lingers
The victory of the National Party (NP) in 1948’s elections threw palaeontology into a crisis.
How a rare skin disease links South Africa to an 18th Century French seaman
Keratolytic Winter Erythema – more commonly referred to as KWE – is a genetic skin disease affecting the palms and the soles.
How ANC presidential elections trump South Africa’s constitution
South Africa’s Constitution is clear on a number of issues related to the relationship between the country’s parliament and its executive.
France and Africa: Macron’s rhetoric shouldn’t be confused with reality
The 2017 French election was watched with great nervousness by millions across Francophone Africa.
Where Africa fits into China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative
Chinese President Xi Jinping made it clear at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos that the world should abandon protectionism.
Not enough evidence to back Europeans' claim
Scientists who find 7.2-million-year-old pre-human remains in the Balkans makes claim that humankind originated in Europe.
Big alcohol is poised to expand into Africa
Why the alcohol industry's expansion into underdeveloped countries is bad news for health.
Gay university students feel invisible
The Eastern Cape is South Africa’s most conservative province when it comes to attitudes about homosexuality.
Resistance to hydropower is evaporating as science takes centre stage
Dams and related water infrastructures are once again being recognised as key contributors to a prosperous and sustainable future.
Inclusive higher education in South Africa
It is not just a policy project but also an ‘ethical project’ and social mission.
South Africa’s Reserve Bank is in the eye of a storm
Economic scholars quiz Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, about the country's current economic landscape.
It is time to celebrate Africa’s forgotten fossil hunters
There are few things more exciting for a professional palaeontologist than discovering fossil remains.
White monopoly capital: good politics, bad sociology, worse economics
Many would like to consign the polarising debate about “white monopoly capitalism” (WMC) in South Africa to the margins.
We cannot stop technology but we can choose how to respond
The way we work will be ground zero for waves of change, so South Africa must start making plans.
How Boko Haram is devastating health services in north-east Nigeria
Several towns in the north-eastern region of Nigeria have been overrun by Boko Haram militants, who are engaged in violent clashes with authorities.
Reflections on a new activism to challenge a State comprador elite
New activism requires an urgent need to establish a political and socio-economic agenda that addresses inequality in our society.
In the age of the internet, censorship has acquired a new face
Abandon the naive thought that, with the internet and free flow of information, governments are retreating from repression of the media.
South Africa has a new trade union federation. Can it break the mould?
The newly launched trade union grouping in South Africa promises to be a voice for the growing numbers of unorganised and marginalised workers in the country.
Mosquito discovery sheds light on how malaria is spread in South Africa
Across the world there are limited tools available for controlling mosquitoes.
Increasing caesarean sections in Africa could save more mothers’ lives
Caesarean sections have been lifesaving procedures for hundreds of thousands of women across the world who experience complications during labour.
The state of South African journalism: There's good news and there's bad news
Wits University’s Journalism and Media Studies Department have just published their latest State of the Newsroom report.
South Africa needs more than a sugar tax to get to the bottom of obesity
South Africa has been wrapped up in public and parliamentary debates on the value of South Africa’s proposed sugar tax.
ANC military veterans and the threat to South Africa’s democracy
We may look back and say that it was this moment when it became manifest that Zuma’s faction of the ANC would be prepared to resort to violence.
Why Joburg's bike lanes are not well used
When you think of the world’s bicycle friendly cities, Johannesburg probably doesn’t feature. That’s not for lack of trying.
Remembering South African struggle hero Chris Hani: lessons for today
The “what if” game is popular with the media and the commentariat in South Africa.
New survey data shows Zuma cost the ANC dearly in the 2016 election
President Jacob Zuma cost the ruling African National Congress millions of votes in the country’s local government elections in 2016.
Downgrade is a wake-up call for SA to revisit key economic policies
SA is digesting the news of Standard & Poor’s (S&Ps) downgrade of its state debt held in foreign currency following President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle.
Why every generation of students must find, fulfil or betray its mission
Generational rebellion is the dynamic through which societies renew themselves and move forward.
Closer to learning when humans first daubed arrows with poison
Exactly when did human beings start tipping their weapons with poison to hunt prey?
Five wrongfully convicted men, one judge, no compensation from the State
Wits Justice Project and others help release two more wrongfully convicted men after 14 years in jail.
Corruption is an enemy of the poor
Academics pen open letter asking Cabinet, the ANC NEC and Parliament to end “breathtaking” act of political arrogance.
Zuma’s critics within the ANC are vocal. But will they act?
It would seem that a simple vote of no confidence in the president is the easiest to pursue. But what are the chances of success?
Public purse now in Zuma’s hands
SA enters a new political chapter that promises catastrophic outcomes after Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet by firing the Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas.
Ahmed Kathrada: exhibit A of the values imbued in South Africa’s Freedom Charter
Ahmed ‘Uncle Kathy’ Kathrada, an unassuming, quiet man who has left South Africans with a legacy that’s immediate, not historical.
Zille, tweeting and inanity: more reasons for white South Africans to shut up
It’s remarkable how much of a shitstorm Twitter creates when in the hands of politicians – with serious costs for the rest of us.
South Africa: Helen Zille’s folly and the simplicities of debate
It’s remarkable how a South African politician as intelligent as Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape, did something so unutterably stupid.
New study helps crack the problem of diagnosing TB in people with HIV
Diagnosing TB in people who have HIV has been a challenge because they often have low levels of the bacteria in their system.
South Africa is no longer the poster child for providing access to safe water
South Africa was rightly proud of its water supply achievements in the first decade of democracy after the 1994 elections.
Why it’s so important to understand how elephants sleep
Humans and animals need to do several things to pass on their genes: eat, avoid being eaten, reproduce and sleep.
Africa offers a point of cooperation for Xi and Trump
Trump has shown little awareness so far of the history of cooperation between China, the US and Africa.
The needs of the land and the needs of the people can’t be separated
The national conversation about land, always simmering in South Africa, has come to the boil again.
How South Africa’s mining industry can change its ways
Mining industry is increasingly cited as a key sector that must yield “radical economic transformation” and help heal SA's deeply divided and unequal society.
Deafness carries a huge cost burden: economic as well as personal
Services for people who are deaf can be very expensive.
A degree with a difference:using South African sign language instead of the written word
How the first Master of Arts in South African Sign Language was supervised at Wits.
New puff adder behaviour uncovered
Puff adders uses two ways to entice its prey - a new study shows.
African Union’s planned overhaul may affect its ties with China
The AU's latest meeting was different. It showed the organisation is serious about finding practical, lasting solutions to contemporary continental problems.
Some good moves, but not enough to fix mounting problems
South Africa’s budget: Lumkile Mondi and Jannie Rossouw to shed light on the the minister’s speech.
Steering South Africa’s budget between excess patronage and prudence
Rich people should bear a higher burden of taxes, because the “1%” ultra-wealthy have done extremely well since 1994.
Zuma blew his chance to galvanise South Africans
Zuma’s call for radical economic transformation appears more like populist cheap politicking than effective economic policy.
South Africa isn’t budgeting for its care economy
The South African government pays dedicated care workers less than anyone else in its employ - as little as R500 (US$39) a month.
Social grants matter: they support 33% of South Africans
The South African government’s failure to fix a corrupted R10 billion social grant payment contract has caused a crisis.
Why this small continental fragment in the Indian Ocean matters
Far beneath Mauritius’ inactive volcanoes lies an astonishing, important piece of the Earth’s history: a fragment of ancient continental crust.
Fake news as political machinery to tarnish the integrity of journalists
The master signifier in fake news is power and politics.
Barack Obama: an enduring legacy for advocates of democracy in Africa?
Donald Trump’s February 13 calls to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma are his first signals of interest in sub-Sahara Africa.
Rising sea temperatures are shaping tropical storms in southern Africa
There has been a southward shift in tropical cyclones in the region, studies show the last few decades show.
Of love letters and other gestures of romantic love
The form of the love letter is a useful way for us to think about romantic love in Africa.
Zuma’s speech was full of ‘alternative facts’
This year's SoNA was not a reflection of the reality in South Africa.
Technology confirms theory about Earth’s oldest venomous species
Baron Franz Nopcsa, a particularly colourful figure in the history of palaeontology, was right.
SoNA - nothing but farce and fisticuffs
Let’s face it. Over the last three years the annual State of the Nation address in South Africa has become embarrassing.
Urban farming produces more than just food
Social and business networks with other farmers, government and civil society are key spinoffs.
University staff table solutions to the crisis on South Africa’s campuses
A few weeks before classes started, academics and support staff from 19 universities and 10 unions met in Johannesburg to debate solutions.
Better note-taking can help students who struggle with English
Research has shown that the process of writing can be used as a tool to stimulate and encourage deep learning approaches.
South Africa’s child support grant should start in pregnancy
Pregnancy and childbearing reduces women’s income-generating potential and introduces a host of new expenses.
Tough economic times require tough decisions
South Africa’s 2017/18 budget will have to be bold to pull the country out of the prevailing economic crisis.
System failures in mental health
Patient deaths show South Africa’s care for the mentally ill is in disarray.
Systemic racism behind South Africa’s failure to transform its economy
SA's high levels of poverty, racism and inequality can almost entirely be attributed to centuries of conflict between white settlers and indigenous Africans.
Are MPs up to the task of fixing South Africa’s troubled public broadcaster?
South Africa’s public broadcaster, the SABC, is in trouble. It has been for years. But things are a little more dangerous than before.
VC's Welcome Day Speech
Welcome to Wits University, a place to call your own, and your home for the next few years.
Crumbling municipal entities lack oversight, transparency and action
It is no surprise that poorly run municipalities are often home to failing endeavours rife with mismanagement.
The age of humanism is ending
In a world set on objectifying everybody and every living thing in the name of profit, the erasure of the political by capital is the real threat.
A woman president in South Africa?
Sadly the top contender of the country's top position offers more of the same.
Does inequality really matter?
[The Star] Wealth disparities undermine the social and economic fabric of our society.
Smile, you’re on camera!
How selfies and family photos put 300 million years of evolution on display.
Bird flu outbreak in Uganda
An outbreak of bird flu has been reported in Uganda where hundreds of birds were found dead on the shores of Lake Victoria. Some key facts about the virus.
From Berlin to Johannesburg
How night club bouncers police the social order all over the world.
Scientists need more than just luck and chance
The history of science abounds with stories about discoveries made by chance but when it comes to big finds it is more than luck and chance.
Africa needs to manage food, water and energy in a way that connects all three
There is an increasing global demand for food, water and energy. All three are inter-linked and increasingly the focus for policy makers and government.
Dear President Trump: let me share some home truths about Africa with you
Africa has occupied a more or less constantly insignificant position in both Republican and Democratic administrations in the US since the 1960s.
The case for a people’s smart sanctions campaign against Trump’s America
Could this resistance be mobilised into a global movement against Trump, perhaps drawing lessons from the victory against apartheid South Africa?
Trump vs Africa: how the continent can counter destructive policies
The CIA’s Global trends report provides a useful starting point to reflect on what’s in store for Africa over the next five years.
The political theology of Jacob Zuma
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma kicked off the new year by declaring that God was on the side of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
South Africa has work to do to make government more accountable
The South African government completed its term as lead-chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in December 2016.
While you were on holiday, your liver was not
What you need to know about how your sugar intake over the holidays has impacted on your health.
Why caution is called for when analysing South Africa’s matric results
The Conversation Africa’s education editor Natasha Joseph asked Associate Professor Elizabeth Walton to explain the results.
Political turmoil in 2016 can be traced back to the 2008 financial crisis
The Conversation Africa business and economy editor Sibonelo Radebe asked Thanti Mthanti to highlight key events and look at future prospects.
Trump’s threat on climate change pledges will hit Africa hard
US President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the US Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, publicly questions the existence of climate change.
HIV has no borders, but its treatment does. Why this needs to change
Panashe is a 26-year-old Zimbabwean woman living with HIV. She works in a restaurant on the western peripheries of Johannesburg.
Why it doesn’t help – and may harm – to fail pupils with poor maths marks
Many South Africans were outraged by the recent announcement that for 2016, pupils in Grades 7 to 9 could progress to the next grade with only 20% in Maths.
The South African economy will be bolstered if Zuma falls
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma narrowly escaped a call from some senior members of the governing party’s national executive committee for him to step down.
How five vivid arts projects offer up hope for repair and resistance
The Conversation Africa asked contributors to list five books, records, buildings and works of art, in their field that made a difference to them in 2016.
Economies grow when early childhood development is a priority
The first 1000 days of life – the period from conception to the age of two – are pivotal for any human being’s development.
Climate change could leave South African tourism high and dry
Towards the end of each year hundreds of thousands of people escape dark, cold, rainy winters in Europe and North America for a break in sunny South Africa“.
South Africa avoided dreaded junk status. But the economy is far from healthy
Credit rating agencies are dangerous institutions. Their mistakes can be catastrophic to investors and the broader economy.
Trump’s leadership traits are bad news for democrats in Africa
African governments are understandably concerned about how Donald Trump’s surprise election as the 45th US president might affect their interests.
The Politics of Spectacle – reflections on the 2016 student protests
This reflection builds on my earlier analysis of the #FeesMustFall protests and reflecting strategically on the challenges facing higher education today.
Can South Africans be friends across ‘racial’ boundaries? Yes and no.
"We must accept that although the notion of interracial friendship has sometimes threatened to overshadow the importance of black dignity."
South Africa’s water sector: a case study in state capture
A lot of what is being presented as radical economic transformation initiatives in South Africa is simply state capture by a corrupt elite.
Why the DRC needs a two-track approach to fixing its electricity deficit
The DRC is expected to go to the polls to elect a new leader to succeed President Joseph Kabila, whose mandate expires on 19 December.
Leading African academics quiz Bill Gates on HIV/AIDS and the role of philanthropy
Gates answers questions from several African academics, including academics from Wits, about HIV/AIDS on the continent:
The way economics is taught needs an overhaul: a South African case study
Economics is a discipline that ought, at its best, to explain the world and its complexities. Unlike physics, it is not an exact science.
How the search for a national minimum wage laid bare South Africa’s faultlines
The South African government has moved a step closer to introducing a national minimum wage – the first ever in the country.
How SA can beat its sugar-fuelled diabetes epidemic
Four times as many people have Type II diabetes today as 36 years ago, according to the World Health Organisation.
SA is skating on thin ice as rating agencies weigh their options
Rating agencies are shortly expected to announce their decision on whether to retain South Africa’s sovereign credit rating, or to downgrade it.
#FeesMustFall: the poster child for new forms of struggle in South Africa?
During South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, national liberation politics was mass politics.
What more boy births could reveal about South Africa’s health status
There are several ways to find out whether a population’s health is improving or if people in a particular country, city or region are getting sicker.
The school science curriculum needs input from real, working scientists
School science education is important for those who want to pursue a career in the sciences – and for those who don’t.
South Africa needs tougher exchange controls before junk status hits
There was nothing radical or transformative in the medium-term budget announced by Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan last month.
Thabo Mbeki undermined South Africa’s constitution by putting his party first
Mbeki missed a major opportunity to assert the primacy of South Africa’s constitution eight years ago.
What our ancestors’ third eye reveals about the evolution of mammals to warm blood
French philosopher René Descartes believed that the pineal gland, a tiny button of neurons located in the depth of our brain, was the seat of the soul.
Trump’s isolationism: threats and opportunities for Africa
Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the US presidential polls stunned many across the globe.
Why a Trump victory bodes ill for Africa
There is concern about the implications of Trump’s election for international affairs, and particularly for American foreign policy in Africa.
Understanding Africa’s diverse gene pool can help fight lifestyle diseases
Africa is home to about 16% of the world’s population. That’s 1.2 billion people.
Why South Africans should resist an amnesty deal for Zuma
Giving Zuma amnesty to save SA becomes a very bad idea if one probes just a little bit deeper.
Wake-up call for South Africans as Zuma sleeps through budget speech
Recent political events in South Africa show a disturbing lack of respect for ordinary people by those who hold authority.
Finance minister is caught between a rock and a hard place
Pravin Gordhan presented the 2016 mid term budget in a politically toxic and economically challenging environment.
Finance Minister juggles both the books and the politics
South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered his medium-term budget with a lot more than balancing the books on his mind.
The story of how livestock made its way to southern Africa
Much of South Africa has good grazing for livestock. And sheep, goats and cattle have played an important role in the history of the region’s diverse cultures.
What must fall: fees or the South African state?
The polarising effects of #FeesMustFall are now pervasive in the academy, and probably beyond.
Trade can help poor countries cope with water shortages, and food security
Many people believe that water shortages will threaten global food security. That is not true.
Conversing across a century with thinker, author and politician Sol T Plaatje
This year marks the centenary of the publication of Plaatje’s seminal book, “Native Life” in South Africa.
Jo'burg by night: A time for dreamers, graffiti artists, lovers and dancers
For someone who only frequents Braamfontein in downtown Johannesburg during the day, De Beer Street at night would be almost unrecognisable.
BRICS struggles to fashion coherent action due to inconsistent agendas
A Brazilian leader’s faux pas spoke volumes about the state of the BRICS alliance, ahead of the 8th BRICS summit in India.
Mathematics can be decolonised. Here’s how to begin
At a time when decolonisation is dominating debate at many universities, the discipline of mathematics presents an interesting case.
Stigma and empty wallets make HIV positive people carry on despite pain
Up to three quarters of people living with HIV suffer from pain.
The Mandela Foundation’s verdict on the Mandela era: it failed …
In a little-heralded move in 2015, the Nelson Mandela Foundation released a “position paper” on race and identity.
A new twist to whodunnit in science’s famous Piltdown Man hoax
In 1912 it was announced that some remains of “the earliest Englishman” had been found in a gravel pit.
Healthcare for migrants is a challenge
Plugging the knowledge-gap helps.
3D technology brings a lost mammalian ancestor back to life
At the very beginning of the 1960s, a South African palaeontologist embarked on a series of ambitious works.
Why military and market responses are no way to save species from extinction
The arrival of climate change brings with it large-scale habitat loss and unprecedented species extinctions.
The trauma caused by violent protests can be acute, but is largely ignored
In more vulnerable people, such as those who have a more anxious disposition, this might lead to them developing features of an acute stress disorder.
You can thank our pre-mammalian ancestors for your sexy teeth
Next time you’re getting ready for a hot date and pause to flash a toothy grin at yourself in the mirror, thank your ancestors.
Free education is possible if South Africa moves beyond smoke and mirrors
Neither smoke from police stun grenades, burning buildings nor officialdom’s smoke and mirrors will solve the problem.
If Africa grows its universities cleverly, its economies will flourish
The idea of “education for the masses” – rapidly increasing university enrolment rates – has changed the face of higher education in the past 50 years.
Reserve Bank independence
Sobering lessons from India and South Africa.
Fossil evidence reveals that cancer in humans goes back 1.7 million years
Cancer is often viewed as a fundamentally modern and monolithic disease.
Africa is the perfect testing ground for adapting to the Anthropocene epoch
This new epoch will be defined by human domination of earth’s physical and natural environment.
How ANC’s path to corruption was set in South Africa’s 1994 transition
There are suggestions that the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa lost the plot after the ascension of Jacob Zuma as the party’s president in 2007.
Ghana’s ‘Chale Wote’ festival lifts spirits, frees souls
The project invites artists and viewers to reconfigure the coordinates of how we understand our place in our world in ways that are intriguing and liberating.
It’s hard to get rid of the governor of a central bank. Here’s why
State capture: After Pravin Gordhan, is the Governor of the SA Reserve Bank next?
The revolt of South Africa’s metropoles: a revolution of rising expectations
The major metropolitan cities in South Africa rose up in revolt in the municipal elections on August 3 2016.
From slavery to colonialism and school rules: a history of myths about black hair
This fascination with the texture of black hair (please don’t call it “ethnic”), is not new.
Children must be protected from robust marketing if they’re going to eat well
For the sake of future generations, it is critical that we teach our children to eat well.
Secular transcendence for couch potatoes? Why we love sport’s narratives
It seems that the Olympic Games have passed “peak television”, with worldwide viewership numbers for Rio 2016 down substantially from London four years ago.
South Africa’s ruling ANC is facing its sternest test. From the inside
The old world as South Africa knew it, of ANC majorities and policy certainty, seems to be at an end – and all does not seem fine, within the ANC at least.
Podcasts can drive debate and break down academia’s ivory towers
Not all of South Africa’s student protests in the past 18 months have happened in the streets or on campuses.
Business people can make great politicians, but …
South Africa’s economic capital, Johannesburg, has a new mayor, Herman Mashaba. Does a business background matter in public service, particularly in SA?
Questions that need to be asked to save South Africa’s public broadcaster
The problems at South Africa’s public broadcaster have become legendary in the country.
SA's have a sweet tooth, so we shouldn’t say no to a sugar tax
The local food and beverage industry are squaring up against the proposed sugary drinks tax expected to be implemented in April 2017.
The war against the Minister of Finance
SA academics have collectively penned an open letter expressing their outrage at the unseemly attacks on the Minister of Finance and the National Treasury.
The US election: what’s at stake for Africa’s quest to deepen democracy
Should Trump win the election the main lesson for Africa’s democrats would be that no democracy, however old and institutionally strong, is ever secure.
SA must free itself from the burden of owning a national airline
The country needs to accept the reality that the time when national airlines flew as carriers of national pride is a thing of the past.
When universities aren’t properly funded, everybody loses
It seems that South Africa’s universities are on a knife-edge once more. Its students are ready to march again.
South Africa is Africa’s largest economy (again). But what does it mean?
South Africa has toppled Nigeria and reclaimed its status as the largest economy in Africa.
Do The Right Thing - a wake-up call
The Conversation - Africa asks Wits filmmaker about the film that has influenced him the most: Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing”
Local elections show that South Africa’s women continue to play second fiddle
The recent municipal elections do not show that political parties consider women’s issues relevant or important.
Message to white South African voters: Keep calm … and shut up!
We the South African voters have spoken in the local government election, and we said many different things.
Election setback proves that Zuma’s scandals do matter
Unless leaders take the hard decision to remove the president, the party could lose the character that made it one of Africa’s great liberation movements.
Election result will compound South Africa’s economic woes
South Africa’s 2016 municipal elections were held against the backdrop of challenging economic conditions in the country.
Why breastfeeding in South Africa still needs champion
Despite all these benefits, only 38% of babies are exclusively breastfed across the world.
A national minimum wage would cut poverty and boost growth in South Africa
It can also lead to increased economic growth without significant negative economic consequences.
Familicides – how apartheid killed its own
Family murder as a phenomenon was particular to the late apartheid era and developed when it did because it had meaning outside of itself.
Electoral tremors are shaking South Africa’s ANC. How will it respond?
For the first time in the country’s democratic era since 1994, the governing ANC has ceased being an untouchable liberation movement.
How tiny black spots shed light on part of the Homo naledi mystery
Many questions have been thrown up by the discovery in South Africa of a previously unidentified human relative, Homo naledi.
South Africa can expect zero growth
Its problems are largely homemade. What must be done to improve the economy?
Why migration patterns are so important to designing responses to HIV
There is an urgent need to rethink the ways that prevention and treatment programmes are developed and implemented.
Why the International AIDS Conference still matters
More than 18,000 scientists, clinicians, experts, civil society representatives and leaders are International AIDS Conference in Durban.
South Africa’s remarkable journey out of the dark decade of AIDS denialism
HIV changed South African society at a time when it needed no distraction as it battled to rebuild a nation post-apartheid.
HIV, AIDS and 90-90-90: what is it and why does it matter?
Twenty years ago when someone acquired HIV, they would, on average, not live more than 12 years.
Boris as foreign secretary: the good news for Africa is maybe it doesn’t matter
The UK’s foreign policy direction and representation are led by a man who seemingly does not maintain a filter for appropriate comment.
Under the influence of … the Black Consciousness novel ‘Amandla’
The Conversation - Africa asks experts to share what they believe are the most influential works in their field.
What’s needed to take Africa from Third to First World in 25 years
One of the most hotly debated topics in development economics is: what does it take to steer a poor country from Third World to First World status?
Can South Africa’s public broadcaster be saved from itself?
Many media people, politicians (including many in the ANC) and other citizens have literally given up on the SABC, saying it is not salvageable.
Book review: Tales of the reuse of Johannesburg’s modernist skyscrapers
Up Up: Stories of Johannesburg’s Highrises is a slab of a book about buildings and stories from Johannesburg’s original city centre.
What South Africa needs to do to step away from the downgrade precipice
The South African government needs to adopt a servant-governance approach to address concerns about corruption and state capture.
The link between public violence and xenophobia in South Africa
South African media recently published an unsettling interview with Mandla Matikinya, a branch leader of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League.
Nigeria’s move from a fixed to a floating exchange-rate policy
Explainer: Africa’s largest economy has finally floated its fixed currency exchange rate for the first time in history.
How a deep dive into people’s lives helps to separate fact from fiction
Election year. Political rhetoric. Sweeping statements... Separating fact from fiction.
What fossils reveal about the hairy history of mammals’ ancestors
Natasha Joseph, science and technology editor of The Conversation Africa, chats to lead researcher Dr Julien Benoit about their new study.
African exporters face choppy waters in the wake of Brexit
As markets plunged after the UK voted to exit the EU, Africa’s trade relations with both the EU and UK will be affected by the decision.
Flight of corporate profits poses biggest threat to South Africa’s economy
Foreign corporations are drawing away profits far faster than they are reinvesting or than local firms bring home offsetting profits from abroad.
Why South Africa would do well to fire all its deputy ministers
The South African government recently outlined several measures to cut its running cost, such as a R7 billion reduction in the public sector wage bill.
How investors see South Africa: lots of potential, not worth the hassle
South Africa has narrowly survived a downgrade of the rating of its government bonds.
Strategic lessons South Africa’s students can learn from the leaders of 1976
University students of 2015-16 have some key things in common with their 1976 predecessors.
SA's farmers can benefit by reducing their water use
South Africa’s agribusinesses will find themselves at the back of the queue for water in future.
How to take free public higher education from pipe dream to reality
Providing free education to all citizens has inestimable value and limitless possibilities.
Why it’s still worth getting the flu vaccine this year
Influenza, more commonly known as flu, kills between 6,000 and 11,000 South Africans every year.
Terror threats and turmoil: a bad time for US-South Africa relations
There are often disagreements both within and across intelligence agencies as to the seriousness of a potential threat.
Lessons learnt from taking sides as a sociologist in unjust times
What role should sociologists play in situations of large-scale suffering and exploitation?
An SA-African exodus would irreparably damage the ICC
Why should South Africa remain within the International Criminal Court?
South Africa’s EFF: excellent politics of props and imagination
With local government elections coming up in August 2016, South Africa’s biggest political parties recently launched their manifestos at mass rallies.
Internet freedom: why access is becoming a human right
How "free" is the internet in South Africa and the question of cost.
The time ‘the other Kennedy’ visited apartheid South Africa
“RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope” was recently screened at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) with filmmaker Larry Shore.
Why it’s appropriate that South Africans rally behind their finance minister
Advocate Shaun Abrahams, South Africa’s National Director of Public Prosecutions, has stepped into some torrid waters.
Why Africa could do with a dose of punctuality and cleanliness
There are two features of life on the African continent that are fundamentally deadly to socioeconomic development.
Why getting medical information from Wikipedia isn't always a bad idea
Wikipedia’s detractors will tell you that the site is inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable.
The myth of white purity and narratives that fed racism in South Africa
The "End of Whiteness" reveals the pathological, paranoid and bizarre consequences that the looming end of apartheid had on white culture in South Africa.
Debate around sex work in South Africa tilts towards decriminalisation
South Africa may become the first African country to decriminalise sex work.
Protests surge as gap widens between reality and the ‘Africa rising’ narrative
Self-congratulatory rhetoric keeps springing from the lips of World Economic Forum elites – at the expense of reality.
Politics of rage puts our gains in danger
Amid the growing protest turmoil on our campuses and in our towns, SA’s leaders seem to have abandoned Madiba’s legacy of reason in rage.
A blueprint for bringing local economies to life in South Africa
South Africa needs a radical change in its approach to local economic development, to generate medium to long-term revenues.
Press freedom violations undermine African Union’s vision of transparency
One key measure of a country’s levels of freedom and democracy is how the government treats journalists and how free they are to do their work.
Media freedom has come a long way in Africa, but it’s still precarious
Africa, with the exception of North Africa, came second in rankings on the most improved media environment since 2015.
Why it doesn't make sense that all informal mining is deemed illegal
In South Africa, illegal mining as it currently stands covers all aspects of unpermitted mining.
Parenting: why one size doesn't fit all
There are a few established “rules” for being a good parent.
Diet and lack of exercise main reasons for dramatic rise in diabetes
WHO report confirms that the increase in diabetes is higher in low- and middle-income countries.
Why water footprinting should be used with caution as a regulatory tool
How water is used in water-scarce countries is much more complex and requires informative decision-making.
Why developing countries are dumping investment treaties
Bilateral investment treaties have been a source of political controversy in recent years.
Forecast of global trends suggest heavy headwinds for Africa
The mega-trends for the continent that will feature in the 2016 edition of the UN's Global Trends.
Uprooting patriarchy: Gender and urban agriculture on South Africa’s Cape Flats
Women make up the majority of an estimated 6000 urban farmers in Cape Town.
Silicosis: Why African miners' fight for compensation is a just one
More than 4400 miners who contracted silicosis and TB from working on the Anglo American South Africa and AngloGold Ashanti mines will have to be compensated
Dance Umbrella: Johannesburg’s unique contemporary dance festival
An African dance festival that's been one step ahead through the decades.
The harsh realities about South Africa that the World Bank dare not speak
A great deal of detail about poverty and inequality in South Africa remains unspoken.
Progress report on promises made to improve South Africa’s health services
Over the last three years South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has made several promises to improve health care in his annual state of the nation address.
What Zuma would say if he cast himself as a climate emergency president
Post the Cold War and in the age of high finance, the performance of narrow representative democratic politics has spawned three types of presidential politics.
It takes more than bees to ward off elephants
Elephant populations in southern Africa’s national parks have increased dramatically in recent years.
How a centuries-old poem hints at Shakespeare’s herbal ‘muse’
Material unearthed from William Shakespeare’s garden and hometown suggests that the famed British playwright smoked cannabis.
Reimagining the South African university and critically analysing the struggle for its realisation
Professor Adam Habib delivered the “African Voices @UCL”-lecture at University College London on 25 January 2016:
Explainer: Causes, symptoms and cures of typhoid fever
Deputy director of the South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases shares knowledge about typhoid fever.
A sunshade to help southern Africa cope with climate change?
Climate change is a global problem. But local actions are needed to reduce its impact.
Explainer: how currency markets work and why the South African rand is falling?
The rand’s weakening could not have come at a worse time for South Africa.
Consumers fight Eskom hikes - The Star
Wits economist, Dr Kenneth Creamer, says drought in southern Africa and related rising food costs will put disproportionate pressure on poor households.
What #ZumaMustFall and #FeesMustFall have in common and why it matters
There is a rather one-sided, reductive and commonplace perception that South African President Jacob Zuma is a dangerous man.
Why South Africa should undo Mandela’s economic deals
Is South Africa finally maturing to the point that the economic - not just political - compromises of the 1990s democratic transition can be reconsidered?
Paternity tests should become cheaper and more widely accessible
South African women still experience social prejudice around pregnancy and the reproductive decisions they make.
Varsities can bridge research inequality
Universities as producers of new knowledge cannot reinforce the inequality by allowing knowledge production to occur only in better-resourced countries.
All-in-one solution to sexual health
Multipurpose Prevention Technologies, more commonly known as MPTs, are a new class of product in development.
Soft drinks will increase obesity in SA
In 2017 there will be 1.2 million more obese adults in South Africa - study
China-Africa summit: what to look for beyond the hype and hypocrisy
China’s choice of South Africa to host the China-Africa summit underscores the special relationship between the two countries.
Dating Homo naledi
Estimating the age of fossils is important because it allows palaeoanthropologists the opportunity to try to draw up a family tree.
What will be top of mind for Africa at climate talks?
Money will be one of the thorniest issues on the United Nations' Conference of Parties, or COP21, agenda in Paris.
Making initiation safer
Traditional initiation involving circumcision remains an important topic in South Africa for several reasons.
Capitalism's self-regulation to the test
The case of the VW Group shows that this noble goal has failed dismally - it was the result of deliberate deceit.
Time to disrupt education system
It is time we took a long term view of schooling: one that looks at these things across their lifespan rather than just at matric as an exit point from school.
Pikkety's lessons on inequality
Thomas Piketty’s visit to South Africa provides an opportunity to think creatively about what is driving inequality in the country.
With his 300-year-old datasets, Piketty demolishes the Kuznets hypothesis.
Your grandchildren's inheritance
Why SA is primed for political realignment?
SA's tough competition laws
The State of South African Politics
As tension slowly swells up, it becomes ever more important to hold on to the things that truly matter.