Artisanal gold mining in South Africa is out of control
Artisanal gold mining is highly organised and rule-bound. Men, women and even children participate a hierarchy sustained by buyers, sponsors and customers.
Mozambican unions hit snooze on a national strike
Mozambique’s trade unions have not been a strong force in society – which has left a space for others to fill.
Is there really a paradigm shift in US/Africa relations?
The strategy outlined by the US Secretary of State marks a fresh beginning in US-Africa relations.
Defending democracy the greatest cause of our times
Challenge for young people is to democratise every aspect of life in society.
Don Mattera knew the love SA deserved from the start
The poet practised love wholeheartedly and saw from a mile away leaders who pretend to love their ‘people’.
Oil refinery closures, cleaner fuels and security of supply in South Africa
Refinery closures in South Africa are shots fired in the long running contestation between the oil refiners and the government.
SA’s entire infrastructure is on the verge of total collapse
South Africa now does not have a functioning integrated public logistics infrastructure anymore, with roads, rail, and ports all in disarray.
Tanzania’s undemocratic constitution is a template for disaster
The country’s one-party cadre system will continue to stunt economic development and growth as long as it’s allowed.
Epitaph for a baobab: remembering South African poet and activist Don Mattera
A true African poet, Don Mattera was at the centre of public life, an advocate for change and an enemy of elitism.
Rising food prices: a close look at inflation in South Africa
Periods of high food inflation affect poor households the most. This is because they spend a higher percentage of their income on food.
4IR - a seductive idea requiring critical engagement
The narrative of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is more aspiration than reality.
South Africa’s epochal 1976 uprisings shouldn’t be reduced to a symbolic ritual
The students who marched on 16 June 1976 did more than simply register a political opinion.
Fish in a major South African river are full of microplastics
The Vaal River, which serves more than 11 million people, is considerably polluted with microplastics.
Digital labour platforms subject global South workers to ‘algorithmic insecurity’
Digital platform work is often seen to suit workers’ skills, interests and schedules. But it comes at a cost to their economic security and control.
Amazing ting: South Africa must reinvigorate sorghum as a key food before it’s lost
Known as ting or amazimba, indigenous sorghum is resilient and rich in cultural and health benefits – yet crops are declining.
A referendum on electoral reform in South Africa might stir up trouble
There are calls for a national referendum on the electoral system to define the way forward, and liberate it from the clutches of party barons.
Covid vaccines and pregnancy: a review of the evidence shows they are safe
In all the research reviewed, none found any safety concerns regarding COVID vaccines during pregnancy.
Digital migration: court delay upholds information rights of poor South Africans
The decision further delays migration to digital broadcasting and places strain on the urgently needed bandwidth for mobile data.
How the music of an ancient rock painting was brought to life
Sometimes archaeologists can “hear” the ancient past using acoustic methods.
Children’s mental health and the digital world
The benefits and risks of the digital environment on children’s mental health should be balanced. How to get it right.
Queen Elizabeth II: the reign that ended the British empire in Africa
The decolonisation process was to take place rapidly during the reign of Elizabeth II.
No more holy smokescreens: churches must lead the anti-corruption crusade
They should also clean their houses, then call out corrupt ‘leaders’ to make churchgoers aware of the damage they cause.
How to prevent maternal deaths
For every maternal death, there are about an additional 20 women who suffer serious injuries, infections and disabilities related to pregnancy.
African sci-tech could drive future black hole discoveries
Astronomers have revealed the first image of the black hole at the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Politically US-Africa relations can be bumpy, but on the right track economically
Relations between African countries and the US are bumpy on political issues but much better on the economic front.
Inflation should be viewed as public enemy number 1
Inflation is bad for any country’s economy. It also hurts the wealth and financial well-being of individuals and households.
Community dialogue can show the way to meeting water needs
Evidence suggests that involving marginalised communities in setting priorities and designing collective action can lead to improved health outcomes.
The problem of funding SA students can be solved
SA’s private financial sector should fund all students, no matter their means, with loans underwritten by the state.
For the love of books - what reading to our children teaches them about the world
Reading expands the knowledge, fosters empathy for others and builds healthy, loving and trusting relationships between children and adults.
Former South African president predicts the end of the ruling party: history is on his side
Any ruling party in South Africa has found it hard to maintain internal coherence and unity over an extended time span amid wide national diversity.
New forms of urban planning are emerging in Africa
Master planning has served the entwining interests and ambitions of international as well as local actors in Africa.
How Africa can respond to the seismic changes in the world
Fundamental changes are taking place in the world: what are the implications for Africa?
From pandemic learner to successful student
'Gateway to Success' programme: Creating a holistic, seamless transition from secondary school to university
Fresh signs of mosquito insecticide resistance in South Africa
Insecticide resistance is a growing threat to malaria control efforts globally.
KZN floods - the cost of “loss and damage”
COP27 — the next battleground for climate justice and damage compensation.
Both big and small farms are important for food security
The farming sector is arguably the most important economic sector for SA’s development as it is directly linked to food security and poverty reduction.
Race and class fears amplified on Twitter when Covid-19 hit
Study of tweets in Kenya and South Africa shows online rage towards white communities and privileged classes can be read as fatigue with the postcolonial state.
SA legal profession threatens to become as corrupt as the state
Law firms need to come together to agree on an anti-corruption stance and shame those who are unethical.
Covid-19 risks remain
At this point it’s pragmatic to integrate COVID-19 management into routine health practices.
R54,000 a pop for anti-HIV injection
A new HIV prevention medicine could work even better than daily pills, but if nothing changes it costs more than R300,000 to treat one person for a year.
SA scientists have a duty to speak out on Ukraine invasion
As an academic body, we should be appalled by South Africa’s less than stellar performance on Russia’s war against Ukraine.
African countries showed disunity in UN votes on Russia
The unwillingness of African governments to forge a unified position on the Russian invasion has damaged the credibility of their pan-African commitments.
The 100-year-old story of South Africa’s first history book in the isiZulu language
Magema Fuze’s book was a radical act of publishing. It contained histories of chiefdoms and kingdoms - from the Zulu to the Ngcobo.
Rising vigilantism - the fruits of misrule
Ending violence against foreigners can only happen by first recognising – and addressing – the hazards of South Africa’s crumbling system of indirect rule.
How language plunged Cameroon into deadly conflict
Anglophone grievances run deep and have remained unaddressed for a long time.
SA should pay whistleblowers to combat tax evasion
South Africa should start offering whistleblowers monetary compensation in cases where they help identify tax evaders.
Introduce mandatory labelling for fast foods
South Africa should introduce regulations that mandate the nutritional labelling of fast foods. This will help consumers make informed dietary choices.
Accountants should take the lead in fighting climate change
Incorporating climate change accountability into integrated reporting can trigger a global change in climate change thinking.
Netflix and the African dream
The new reality series Young, Famous and African, released in March 2022, has been the centre of conversation among South African viewers.
New Covid-19 regulations are the real state of disaster
The incoherent and illogical new government Covid-19 regulations are the real state of disaster
Sustainability in higher education: clean water
In this series, QS has been exploring the innovative and inspiring work being done by higher education institutions to address UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Scientific diplomacy and cooperation in this time of war
Scientific diplomacy must be given a chance to help enhance mutual understandings across political divides.
Academics condemn silencing of scientists over Russian invasion
Professor Lynn Morris says universities 'value independent inquiry, intellectual excellence, integrity, and academic freedom and institutional autonomy'.
The relevance of American studies in African universities
Africa needs to study America for a balanced engagement across public policy, civil society, corporate sector and at personal levels.
Omicron doesn’t need its own custom vaccine
The Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was discovered in South Africa and emerged in November 2021.
Tracking symptoms of respiratory diseases online can give a picture of community health
This is not an alternative to traditional disease surveillance, but a complementary tool.
South Africa has arrived at the recovery stage of the pandemic
South Africa is in a new phase of the COVID pandemic. But vaccination remains crucial.
Child care centres in South Africa need more support
The sector was ill-equipped to withstand further shocks and impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
God and illness: in SA there’s more to healing than medicine
It is not uncommon for people to believe that the cause of their illnesses is a result of curses or punishment from a deity or witchcraft.
Reimagining journalism training
Journalism has become ‘post-industrial’, entrepreneurial and atypical.
What it means to live a good life, a flourishing life
Words about mental health need to align with people’s understanding of well being.
Rick Turner and the enduring necessity of utopian thinking
Utopian thinking, revisiting the ideas of Rick Turner in the current political context.
SA'a fiscal squeeze: warning signs ignored for too long
The sums aren’t adding for South Africa on either the spending or revenue side. It’s a problem that’s developed over time with no action being taken.
Why America's Black History month is important for Africans
Since its 1926 inception, Black History Month every February has been a celebration of "Africanness" beyond the confines of US borders.
Basic income support in SA: what it will take
Basic income support is not a question of government “being generous”. The money will be taken from employed citizens and the affluent.
The inside story of discovering the Omicron variant
The Conversation Weekly podcast: What South African scientists' experience offers the world about future variants.
Census 2022 - the most important yet
The census will focus everyone on the core challenges the country faces, where they are, and who is most affected.
South Africa is in a state of drift
The danger is that the ANC turns the way of Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF.
Snowfall in the Sahara desert
In order for snow to form, two distinctive weather properties are needed: cold temperatures and moist air. The Sahara can tick these boxes.
The cornerstone of good science
Covid-19: Scientists without quality data are like unarmed soldiers in a war zone.
The limits of “lawfare” as a political tool
Covid-19 in South Africa shows the limits of using courts to fight political battles.
The Gender Commission has failed women
Scientists say the Commission’s statement against mandatory vaccinations is offensive, irresponsible and misleading.
Africa's strategy to draw investment needs work
Foreign investment is Africa's best shot at growth, but its share is still pitiful.
The Zuck stops here
It’s time to take on the tech giants to sustain media and journalism - you can use competition laws against the likes of Facebook.
End SA’s national state of disaster
Covid-19: On 15 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
Namaqualand daisies are flowering earlier
The progressively earlier flowering places the daisies at greater risk of failed flowering seasons. This would be a blow to biodiversity and tourism.
South Africa has changed tack on tackling Covid: why it makes sense
The South African government has chosen a pragmatic approach that balances the potential direct and detrimental indirect effects of Covid.
How Nigerian cities can cope better with flood risk
Institutional failures, infrastructure, socio-economic challenges and disaster education influence Nigerian cities’ vulnerability to flood disaster.
2021: Best science or technology-related books
With the year drawing to a close, many people will be wondering what books they may have missed out on in 2021.
Omicron data: more transmissible but less severe
Early data show that Omicron is dominating new COVID-19 cases in Gauteng province.
It's time for green investment in Africa
As climate change alters business and governance forever, there is no time to lament, only to use the power of investment to change the world for the better.
It's for the common good
There should no longer be a debate between the goals of corporate profit and higher education’s knowledge for its own sake.
If steam contains water, what does smoke from fire contain?
Professor Sally Archibald answers this question in Curious Kids, is a series for children published in The Conversation-Africa.
Quantum entanglement: Why physicists want to harness it
“Quantum entanglement” is one of several plot devices that crops up in modern sci-fi movies.
Biden’s summit for democracy
Africa can make important contributions to the issues on the agenda: defending against authoritarianism; fighting corruption; and respect for human rights.
Biometeorology - the possibilities are endless
Are you interested in the weather and its impact on nature? Here’s a career for you.
Children and screens – making it through the holidays
Every small change to promote healthy levels of screen time is a step in the right direction for the health, wellbeing and development of children.
Omicron: five steps to avoid, ten to take immediately
The world needs to learn to live with the virus. And governments must follow the science and don’t distort it for political expediency.
Finding a balance between rural versus metro support
Metros may be a graveyard for political ambition. But if parties or individuals succeed, the rewards are considerable.
The hunt for coronavirus variants
Covid 19: How the new one was found and what we know so far.
Should we trust machines?
Inclusivity and diversity need to be at the level of identifying values and defining frameworks of what counts as ethical AI in the first place.
A slowly worsening chronic fiscal crisis
National Treasury’s strategy to overcome South Africa’s chronic fiscal crisis rests on highly uncertain political and economic foundations.
Why are there so few impact craters on Earth?
Impact craters are relatively shallow, so these bowl-shaped “dents” in Earth’s rocky crust can be easily buried or erased by erosion.
Unpacking parents’ reasons for not vaccinating their children: why it matters
Independent Tanzanian publisher: Walter Bgoya
Books should influence public opinion, contribute to nationwide debates, and stimulate an appreciation of reading and writing.
Let’s just do more with less
South Africa’s health system is on its knees: the 2021 medium-term budget policy statement offers no relief.
Africa heats up more, and faster
Report: By 2030, up to 118 million extremely poor people will be subject to the devastating impacts of drought and intense heat.
Why does cold air go down and hot air go up?
Associate Professor Jennifer Fitchett answers this question in Curious Kids, is a series for children published in The Conversation-Africa.
Contact or online? Moving away from binary approaches
We need to move away from this binary approach, consider our contextual realities, and start with the end goal in mind.
The 10 babies hoax
South African newspaper proprietor Dr Iqbal Survé has long pushed the boundaries of credibility, but recently he crossed the line into full fantasy.
The promise of Damon Galgut
Will white South Africa ever give up part of its privilege? Booker-winning novel probes white South Africa and the land issue
Covid-19: Should South Africa be vaccinating 12-17 year olds
The focus of the government seems to be about how many people can get vaccinated rather than ensuring the greatest protection against severe disease and deaths.
The smoking gun
This tool can identify cause of death by fatal lightning strike in skeletonised remains.
Switching allegiance will bring loyalty to SA
It is important to impress upon those who boycott elections that their votes do count and they can force change.
Religion can be a blessing, and a curse
How religion has shaped the experiences of displaced LGBT people in South Africa.
In 25 years, what has changed for women?
The provision of better health services and social grants has aided rural women’s progress but there are still tremendous needs to be met.
Untreated mental illnesses impact SA's economy, social and family stability
The shame which many South Africans, particularly black communities, place on people who live with mental illnesses are preventing sufferers from seeking help.
No-go zones have no place in a democratic society
IEC must come down hard on parties that refuse to allow others to campaign in what they see as their areas.
Climate change has already hit southern Africa
With mitigation and adaptation strategies and policies driven through COP26, southern Africa can reduce the impacts on local livelihoods.
'Punish or deter outrageously false campaign promises'
Poll chancers: politicians who make false promises must be punished.
Online teaching and learning: Towards a realistic view of the future
The shift to emergency remote teaching and learning enabled academics to start questioning some long-held assumptions about in-person teaching and learning.
Aggrey Klaaste and nation-building
How the South African editor put himself on the line with his contrarian idea.
‘Foreplay’ judgment: problematic judicial views around consent in rape cases persists
In SA it is alarming and legally dangerous to have a judgment that consensual foreplay implies consent for penetration and sex, and thus rape did not occur.
Red tape is choking biodiversity research in South Africa
There are calls for measures to reduce the burden of red tape and promote and facilitate biodiversity research in South Africa.
South Africa urgently needs to update its mental health policy
Mental Health: How are we doing? What do we need to do?
A look at new abortion guidelines
International Safe Abortion Day – celebrated every year on 28 September – marks a woman’s fundamental reproductive right to access safe, legal abortion.
Palliative care and Covid-19: A patient’s quality of life and dignified death are paramount
Calls to permit nurses in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania to prescribe morphine to help ease patient's suffering and give them a dignified death.
Head of UNAIDS unpacks the knock-on effects of Covid-19
Greater urgency is needed in the response to pandemics, to end AIDS and to end COVID-19.
Developing countries should inform global debates on inequality
Greater urgency is needed in the response to pandemics, to end AIDS and to end COVID-19.
Skills survey finds SA ICT not moving to gig economy - yet
Survey shows a shift to the gig economy has not occurred in SA, but it's plausible that this might change in future.
Covid vaccine mandates don’t have to undermine your rights
While South Africa has steered clear of compulsory vaccination for now, the country’s laws do allow such a policy.
Robben Island Museum: The making and breaking
Robben Island Museum aspired to be part of the reconstruction and development of the national soul.
IRR’s current approach does a disservice to the people of South Africa
The Institute prioritises its own ideological predilections rather than devoting itself to the betterment of race relations.
Millions of children miss routine vaccinations amid the chaos of Covid-19
Urgent catch-up plans are needed.
The Expropriation Bill and the 18th Constitutional Amendment process
The cart is still behind the horse
Angola: old authoritarian practices remain
The optimism Angolan president João Lourenço’s election generated four years ago has dwindled as electoral promise after another have failed to materialise.
Work as we knew it has changed. Time to think beyond the wage
Recent developments in the organisation of production have led to the decline of wage employment across much of the world.
Covid fallout: Vulnerability and signs of recovery in Gauteng
There is no doubt about the enormous scale of the shocks South Africa has experienced over 2020-21.
The democratic transition in 1994 did little to undermine the foundations of white economic power
Race and capitalism: no easy answers, but posturing will get South Africa nowhere
How Messenger RNA works in nature and in making vaccines
Thanks to the collaborative efforts, the large-scale manufacturing of mRNA drug products is becoming a reality.
Dung beetle experiment suggests carbon dioxide is bad for insects too
Beetles exposed to elevated carbon dioxide emerged later and smaller and had a reduced chance of making it to adulthood.
How Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai has reinvented the library
With vinyl records, zines and political posters instead of just books, The Library of Things We Forgot to Remember offers a way to reimagine African history.
Finding solutions to complex challenges. For Good.
This article has been published in the print and online edition of the Daily Maverick.
How to build credibility in the agricultural sector
To rebuild lost credibility, the South African government can start by listening to social partners and the business sector.
New lineage of SARS-CoV-2: what’s known so far
We are being cautious about the implications for vaccine efficacy and transmissibility while we gather more data to understand this lineage.
South African shack dwellers show how grassroots democracy is done
Trevor Ngwane shows how structures that emerged in the struggle against apartheid continue in democratic South Africa, now in conflict with the ruling ANC.
Postponing SA's local elections: what the Constitutional Court must decide
The right to free and fair elections may be undermined if political parties cannot campaign due to COVID-19 restrictions by the state.
African Human Rights Court undermined by resistance from states
The court has lived up to its promise in most cases, issuing some progressive and ground-breaking decisions and remedies.
In conversation with Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago
Central bankers must act independently, without fear or favour.
Why building collapses are all too common in Lagos
Private developers, building professionals and the government all share responsibility for building collapses.
South Africa’s bandit slaves and the rock art of resistance
Climate change: South Africa and the latest IPCC assessment
The report makes it clear that climate change is widespread, rapid, intensifying and unprecedented in thousands of years.
South Africa’s basic income versus jobs debate: a false dilemma
Basic income must be embedded within a broader strategy of economic reform, aimed at increasing the social wage and improving working conditions.
Angola’s constitution is under review but a great deal has been left undone
The Angolan political elite lost an extraordinary opportunity to improve significantly the country’s constitution.
Covid-19 herd immunity is not going to happen, so what next?
When politicians and others speak about herd immunity, unfortunately, they are under the misconception that the current tools that we’ve got are adequate.
How a land reform agency could break SA's land redistribution deadlock
An agency could accelerate land reform by removing the process from political and bureaucratic control.
SA's skills problem cannot be fixed outside of the economy
It must be part of the messy process of structural change.
Covid-19: Herd immunity is not achievable
Pasha 118: We need to learn to live with COVID-19.
Six myths about vaccination for Covid-19 put to rest
The circulation of misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine poses the danger of hampering the government’s efforts to control the pandemic.
Human trafficking victims and survivors: Hear their voices
Their lived experiences offer the most authentic understanding and familiarity of this life-changing criminal practice.
R&D are key to resilient food systems in Africa
Stronger agricultural research and development systems will enable agriculture to power Africa’s transformation.
Excluding migrants undermines the success of Covid-19 vaccine rollouts
Failure to ensure access for all to prevention and treatment, including vaccines, undermines national responses to Covid-19.
Leave no one behind: We must urgently address vaccination of undocumented migrants and asylum seeker
We call on Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi to do the right thing to ensure the Covid-19 vaccination programme is inclusive.
Everything you need to know about vaccines — our only viable strategy for living with Covid-19
We are likely to keep being hit by further waves of this virus until at least all adults have immunity.
Covid-19 in children: the South African experience and way forward
Schools are not driving the COVID-19 pandemic and can safely remain open provided people stick to the non-pharmaceutical interventions for COVID-19 prevention.
Building an art gallery in the midst of war in Zimbabwe
Gallerist and writer Robert Huggins and his wife, the artist Helen Lieros, have passed away.
What last week’s vandalising of our research clinic in Kliptown, Soweto, means to science
Despite the critical role of the PHRU as part of the national and international Covid-19 response team, it was not spared during the recent unrest.
TB prevention has relied on the same vaccine for 100 years. It’s time for innovation
BCG remains the only widely available vaccine for TB but the COVID-19 vaccine shows that there is capacity to rapidly create new vaccines.
What drove South Africa’s recent violence and looting and what to do about it
Pasha 117: South Africa's recent violence is a cause for concern but there are opportunities to build a stronger nation.
The vulnerable points in South Africa’s fuel supply chain
The glaring failure by authorities to secure an area notorious for attacks on trucks prompts questions about, at best, utter ineptitude, or at worst, complicity
From the flames of looting to democratic regeneration
Over the past week, democratic constitutionalism and the rule of law have undergone a massive stress test.
South African riots and food security: why there’s an urgent need to restore stability
South Africans should not panic about the food system. But authorities will need to act swiftly and assertively to restore stability.
South Africa in flames: spontaneous outbreak or insurrection?
Corruption thrives in a destabilised state with weak institutions. South Africa cannot be allowed back to that space because there will be no turning back.
Spike in COVID-19 cases points to gaps in South Africa’s response
Preventing new infections and containing the pandemic protects health systems from getting close to collapse.
The Covid gender gap
Women suffered a large and disproportionate effect in the labour market as a result of the hard lockdown, but they’ve also been slower to recover.
Steve Kekana: an 80s South African pop star, and much more
We should remember him as just another ordinary human being who did extraordinary things.
Water, power cuts and neglect are taking their toll on South Africa’s top hospitals
South Africa is quite capable of delivering world-class healthcare to all its citizens. But this is constantly being hampered.
Healthcare in South Africa: how inequity is contributing to inefficiency
Patients shouldn't be treated better simply because they can afford to pay more.
South Africa’s vaccine quagmire, and what needs to be done now
South Africa has clearly suffered the consequences of poor strategic decisions to this point. It doesn't need to continue along these lines.
The Delta variant and South Africa’s vaccination problems
Pasha 113: The Covid-19 resurgence in South Africa is likely to take a heavy toll. It is important for vaccination efforts to be ramped up.
Angola’s peculiar electoral system needs reforms
Angola needs a mixed electoral system. This would promote accountability through the direct election of representatives from constituencies.
Jacarandas in parts of South Africa are flowering earlier: why it’s a warning sign
Climate change is causing jacarandas to flower earlier.
False story about decuplets was a low point for journalism: how to fix the damage
Tighter controls are not the answer; the opportunity should be used to think differently about trust and journalism.
Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown puts spotlight back on vaccination failures
South Africa didn't engage early enough with pharmaceutical companies in bilateral discussions to ensure it could get vaccines early.
Fresh insights into social habits of our non-mammalian ancestors
Finding a fossil tooth embedded in bone is the gateway to some otherwise out-of-reach understanding of the behaviour of extinct animals.
An intellectual love letter to a South African literary giant
For Professor Bhekizizwe Peterson theoretical reflection went hand-in-hand with practice; knowledge had to be made in and outside the academy.
Punitive laws are failing to curb misinformation in Africa
The majority of those punished under the laws to combat false information are opposition politicians or journalists.
Covid-19 resurgence in Gauteng: A crisis that is likely to worsen rapidly
Despite the predictability of the resurgence, unfortunately, Gauteng health facilities are seemingly underprepared to deal with the spike of Covid-19 cases.
Children with hearing problems: why acting early can make all the difference
Unidentified or late identified hearing impairment has significant implications for the speech-language, cognitive and scholastic development of the child.
Why it’s important to improve Africa’s research output
Pasha 111: It is crucial to improve research training in Africa. This can help solve complex issues on the continent.
Small towns are collapsing and affecting farming
The collapse of local government in small towns is beginning to affect investment in farming, and the ability of agribusinesses to operate.
Scottish graveyard in Kolkata reveals untold stories of colonial women in India
The disregarded lives and achievements of Scotswomen in colonial India are brought to light in new research from a 19th century graveyard in Kolkata.
Stereotypes about young jobless South Africans are wrong
Many unemployed young people are engaged in a variety of economic activities. These may not necessarily be recognised as a form of self employment.
Covid-19 has worsened SA's system of developing the skills of young people
The pandemic has heightened existing weaknesses in South Africa's skills training regime.
The sex organs of baobab flowers may solve the puzzle of trees that bear more fruit
Baobab flowers have male and female parts but individual trees appear to be favouring one rather than the other.
Remembering Zim Ngqawana 10 years on, a singular force in South African music
Zimasile ‘Zim’ Ngqawana, died unexpectedly and too soon on 10 May 2011 at the age of 51, leaving bereft a family and a musical community that spanned the globe.
Children are easy targets for exploitation and traffickers during Covid-19
The theme for this year’s Child Protection Week, which began on 31 May, is “Let us all protect children during Covid-19 and beyond”.
We must seize the moment for a global pandemic surveillance and response scheme
No more pandemics—this is the ambitious goal set by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response
Colonial ports, customs and censorship: tracking books from ship to shore
How colonial Customs protocols shaped copyright and censorship.
Current priorities for South Africa’s electricity policy
This summary of a presentation made to a colloquium organised by Capacity Building Programme for Employment Promotion outlines priorities for SA’s power policy.
A tribute to Vishnu Padayachee: South African economist and radical thinker
Vishnu Padayachee’s contribution to economics in South Africa is unmatched.
Book calls for a rethink of capitalism amid the ravages of Covid-19
Rethinking capitalism requires that the primary focus should be on the distribution of economic power as the potential leading causal factor driving inequality.
Remembering Medu, the South African art collective that fought apartheid
Four decades later, post-apartheid South Africa barely recalls the Medu Art Ensemble's contributions to the liberation struggle. But that could be changing.
How South Africa dropped the ball on health communication
Community leaders and outreach community workers are calling on education to enhance their understanding of Covid-19.
Why regional military intervention in Mozambique is a bad idea
The Southern African Development Community does not have a remarkable record of military interventions in civil conflicts in the region.
How pots, sand and stone walls helped us date an ancient SA settlement
We now know that Bokoni Phase I was built as early as the 15th century – before the arrival of European colonisation or trade.
Why forcing disclosure of wages and executive pay in SA is a good idea
Companies being required to go public with information about executive and workers pay packets is increasingly becoming the norm.
Why full dams don’t mean water security: a look at South Africa
Gauteng citizens need to know the uncomfortable truth: for the next six years, their water supplies will increasingly have to be restricted.
The fine legal line between legitimate protest and criminality
A protest which results in a shutdown and interference with the rights of others may delegitimise the cause and allow the government to escape accountability.
Five ways to measure the effects of COVID-19 on women
Women have been affected by the pandemic more than men in many ways. Policies should reflect this.
The link between inequality and power
How power is distributed in SA and how those with power think about wealth and income.
SA sets out to protect cast and crew involved in nudity and sex scenes
Spurred by the #MeToo movement, South Africa's is the latest film and TV industry to introduce intimacy protocols to guide how intimate scenes.
SA must ban sugary drinks sales in schools. Self regulation is failing
A ban on sugary drinks sale and advertisements in schools is likely to hold more promise in improving the diets of children and help prevent obesity.
Former minister’s memoir is a candid critique of South Africa’s political economy
Rob Davies is critical of economic policy. He reserves particular criticism for its macroeconomic policy framework introduced in 1996.
The biggest issue in world press freedom is attacks on women journalists
The online attacks on women journalists are bound to populist politics, disinformation and intersectional discrimination, says Unesco.
Nocturnal dinosaurs: Night vision and superb hearing suggest moonlight predator
By looking at the eye bones and ear canals of extinct dinosaurs, researchers show that a small ancient predator likely had senses good as a modern barn owl.
Hearing loss is a neglected hazard for miners in South Africa
Noise-induced hearing loss is an occupational health hazard. It remains a prevalent condition in the South African mining industry.
How the pandemic is hurting university students’ mental health
Ultimately, these studies will help us to make sense of how the pandemic is reshaping higher education.
Johannesburg is threatening to sideline informal waste pickers. Why it’s a bad idea
Waste reclaimers save South African municipalities up to R748 million a year in landfill space. Without them, the country's recycling economy would not exist.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s food security has turned out better than feared
Government support for farmers, higher rainfall and grain imports have helped sub-Saharan Africa stave off food insecurity - region isn't out of the woods yet.
Precarious power tilts towards Ramaphosa in battle inside South Africa’s governing party
The National Executive Committee brought a crucial tilt in the factional balance of power towards Ramaphosa.
Aim for the sky, but keep your feet on the ground
To fight poverty and promote equality, developing countries should pursue the highest levels of unfettered, open-ended scientific inquiry.
New research shows South Africa’s levy on sugar-sweetened drinks is having an impact
Three years ago South Africa introduced Africa’s first major tax on sugar-sweetened beverages based on grams of sugar.
More health research based on data from Africa will benefit the continent and the world
The global outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic and the race to bring an end to this scourge has thrust the role of genomics into the spotlight.
We discovered that whale and dolphin brains produce lots of heat. Why it matters
We have all heard the mantra that dolphins and whales are highly intelligent animals, on par with great apes and humans – But where does this concept come from?
South Africa bottom of the class for road safety? Here’s why this isn’t true
In South Africa 26 out of every 100,000 people die on the roads – far higher than the global average of 18 per 100,000.
Go to jail, Zuma — and do not pass go
Being a country’s president, or former one, does not translate into immunity from prosecution.
Why South Africa’s HIV prevention programmes should include sex worker clients
Narrow, unimaginative public health responses inhibit reducing HIV, exploitation and marginalisation within sex work.
Malaria risk zones and climate change in South Africa
Malaria kills over 400,000 people a year across the world. Africa carries the highest burden, with 90% of these deaths occurring on the continent.
South Africa is ripe for electoral reform
The existing electoral system has attracted extensive criticism for rendering elected representatives unaccountable to those who elected them.
Nile innovations offers lessons in engineering sustainable futures
Nile communities carefully monitored and recorded the river’s flow. Centuries later these records are still being used by water resource managers.
Extreme temperatures in South Africa
Pasha 101: Two researchers unpack these events.
Removing the technology fear factor from digital transformation
Digital transformation: Technology shouldn’t be a source of fear, but rather an ally and key business tool.
A library changed my life, and books can still change our world
Why libraries still matter and how township gangs teased me about reading.
New study reveals the secrets of an ancient, extinct super predator
Some 260 million to 265 million years ago, a huge creature called Anteosaurus roamed what is today the African continent.
Child malnutrition - women's health must be prioritised
Malnutrition during the first 1000 days of life can cast a long shadow over a person's life.
Not using AstraZeneca vaccine goes against the spirit of what the Health Department espoused
Every additional day of procrastination lends itself to much of the R75m used to procure the vaccine going to waste.
Why South Africa needs a new water agency
The agency will ensure that large water users continue to fund the construction and operation of the large water systems they depend on.
Traditional healers in SA are exposed to infection, but few can get protective gear
An average healer in the rural South African town where the study was done experiences about 1,500 occupational blood exposures in their lifetime.
Local government is broken: but giving the job to residents carries risks
South Africa needs a way to incorporate active citizens within the prevailing constitutional and legal structures, so as to strengthen all levels of government.
South Africans are revolting against inept local government. Why it matters
There has been growing discontent with many local authorities and calls by concerned citizens for the municipalities to be dissolved.
Reasons to be optimistic about sub-Saharan higher education after Covid-19
Tertiary education often carries societal benefits that far outweigh the initial investments necessary to establish a strong and productive system.
Comparing American and African elections
Perspectives from the 2020 polls in the US, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Guinea.
Why the special Covid-19 grant extension is not enough
The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened unemployment and poverty, showing the need for the government to permanently expand income support to working-age adults.
What African countries can expect from Biden
President Joe Biden delivered his first public statement on US foreign policy last week. Africa was not mentioned.
The South African government should buy locally made vehicles for state use
Policy changes that forced government departments to buy locally produced vehicles would be good for the economy.
Why dissecting stories about garbage in popular culture matter
From oil disasters in Mauritius to street artists in South Africa, the story of rubbish in the media helps shape popular culture and environmental change.
Results from Novavax vaccine trials in the UK and South Africa differ: why, and does it matter?
The Novavax vaccine is the first that provides objective scientific evidence that it can protect people against the variant virus circulating in South Africa.
Is Zimbabwe open for business?
The more President Mnangagwa's government fails to engage democratically with its citizens, the more it will negate any prospect of re-engagement with the West.
SA can take on vaccine nationalism of rich countries
South Africa has the legal tools to challenge the vaccine nationalism of rich countries.
Entrepreneurs can help bring about change by putting people ahead of profits
With the rise of non-humancentric business models, empathy-induced altruism can boost wellbeing of employees.
Calling the (behavioural) shots over vaccines
It will take 67% of the population to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity; here is how those still reluctant can be persuaded to join in.
Vaccine nationalism and migration
Implications for the (mis)management of Covid-19 in South Africa.
Covid-19 policy briefs must be realistic: a review by young southern African scientists
African leaders can make strategies to fight COVID-19 more accessible to the people.
South Africa failed to get its act together on vaccines
Critics of the South African government argue that it has done too little too late to secure vaccines, and that it doesn't have a proper roll-out plan in place.
SA's vaccine strategy mistakes
Pasha 91: Blunders that left South Africa trailing in the vaccine stakes
Huge gap between SA's 4IR strategy and what commission recommends
Huge gap between SA's 4IR strategy and what commission recommends
Why the state’s new toys won’t help South Africa’s response to Covid-19
Drones, dinghies and an army helicopter - the new toys are diverting resources, and diverting attention.
Towards herd immunity from Covid-19: Costing a vaccine strategy for South Africa
This article examines and estimates the financial implications of a vaccine strategy with a goal of achieving herd immunity.
Mining's year ahead will demand deep innovation
Mining's immediate future is to be impacted not just by economic cycles or established trends, but by structural issues demanding urgent and deep innovation.
How sub-Saharan Africa can rethink its approach to agriculture
Governments should explore technologies like global positioning systems and blockchain for use in the registration of land rights.
Vaccines for South Africa. Now
It is distressing to hear senior officials increasingly talking down the prospects for the availability and usefulness of Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa.
Higher education reconsidered
Beyond the pandemic and possibilities for new knowledge architectures.
All you should know about where we are with Covid-19 vaccines
What are the urgent steps that South Africans need to take to prepare for a timeous life-saving roll out of vaccines?
South Africa’s electricity supply: what’s tripping the switch
The longer government dithers over how Eskom's debt will be paid, the bigger the problem becomes.
Fake news and misinformation kill
How can you trust what you are told about Covid-19?
Earthquakes in South Africa
Pasha 78: Listen to Professor Ray Durrheim talk about the risk of earthquakes.
Why it’s important to keep diagnosing and treating HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic
To focus purely on combating one pandemic, the effects of other morbidity and mortality on healthcare systems will be seen for a long time to come.
Managing HIV and diabetes together: South African patients tell their stories
Care for patients with more than one disease is fragmented and uncoordinated. This is can cost patients time, effort and lost wages.
Why reading is crucial for economic growth
Reading is a stepladder out of poverty, not only for individuals, but also for entire countries.
Daytime sightings of aardvarks show troubled times in the Kalahari
Aardvarks are nocturnal animals but climate change is altering that and it's a problem.
Study unveils complexity and vast diversity of Africa’s genetic variation
It is essential to add genomic data from all global populations - including Africa. This will ensure that everyone can benefit from the advances in health.
SA’s main opposition party caught in an unenviable political bind
The problem for the DA is not one of policy. There is real substance in its commitment to substituting racial criteria for overcoming historical disadvantage.
How real BEE can help ordinary folk
BEE has only benefited a handful of politically connected black political capitalists, a select group of white-owned big business, financiers and law firms.
Century-old theory disproved
Scientists disprove the theory about animals’ ear canals and posture.
Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu: an exceptional and true civil servant
Makwetu embodied the values of integrity, selflessness, humility and hard work. He steadfastly believed in the South African constitution.
Important breakthrough in HIV prevention
Our findings suggest that cabotegravir is much more effective than Truvada in preventing HIV infection in women.
Diabetes: we need more and better trained nurses
Healthcare providers and governments must recognise the need to invest in diabetes nurse education and training.
Eight ways to get people to be more active
Being physically active is largely not an individual choice, but a result of what funds, spaces, places and opportunities that are available.
Understanding violent protest in SA
There are individual activists and political groupings who believe violent action is legitimate and use the circumstances to actively drive such behaviour.
Can this happen in America?
Why 'messy' elections could be considered a source of soft power for the US.
Real-time data is critical for detecting outbreaks
South Africa is testing digital technology to detect outbreaks of respiratory diseases.
School maths: where do we go wrong
What maths researchers learnt from the mistakes made by pupils in ‘top’ South African schools.
Moribund Council on Higher Education is immobilising academic agility
Quality assurance entities are immobilising the system and hindering the ability of more students to access online education.
South Africa’s waning economic fortunes demand harsh policy adjustments: who will bear the brunt?
Resolution of the fiscal crisis depends on faster economic growth which must be led by private investment.
Human trafficking and the danger of sensationalising belief over fact
We must resist the convenience of labelling every social ill as “trafficking” and radically reducing the militarisation and securitisation of national borders.
What South Africans must do to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections
It is key to continue high-impact non-pharmaceutical interventions that will not impede economic activity, but limit the spread of COVID-19.
New threats to media freedom come from unexpected directions
Journalists need to hold firmly to the ethical standards that assure audiences their work is reliable and credible.
Young Nigerians rise up to demand a different kind of freedom
For young Nigerian protesters, ENDSARS is as much an expression of a will to modernity as it is a yearning to be treated with dignity.
Climate research is critical in Africa: how to make it more visible
The threats of climate change to plants, animals and people in Africa mean that the continent is an excellent place for biometeorological research.
South African community wins right to access mining application. But who will win the war?
Clashes between mining companies and communities are often about the age-old question of whether mining can benefit the many or only a selected few.
Changes in South Africa’s rainfall seasons could affect farming and water resources
Trends across the different rainfall zones can be linked to changes recorded for large-scale climate systems.
Capping executive pay is the key to stop money-guzzling SOEs from ruining SA
Excessive remuneration at failing state-owned entities provides no incentive to become accountable.
Anxiety in Johannesburg: new views on a global south city
Johannesburg is not the most anxious or dangerous city in the world but a valuable site for thinking about how anxiety structures our lives.
Explainer: what’s behind the locust swarms damaging crops in southern Africa
Locust outbreaks are driven by unusual climatic conditions.
Playtime in Soweto: what mothers said about activity for toddlers
The women in our study knew that play was important, although they didn't see it as an independent behaviour to be encouraged or promoted.
The US elections
November 3 will be a test of the US' democratic processes while Africa, and the rest of the world, watches on and weighs in.
Depression and mental health issues skyrocket
Our results show that the prevalence of depressive symptoms seems to have doubled between 2017 and June 2020 (Covid-19 era).
Wave 2 of the Nids-Cram survey shows how women have fared with the gradual reopening of SA’s economy as the lockdown levels are eased.
How social security could make life better in SA after COVID-19
Emergency relief measures were operational for six months and are due to end soon. But the impacts of COVID-19 will be felt long after.
Land reform is central to SA's quest for social justice
South Africa’s land reform policies need to embrace social, economic and ecological sustainability.
Journalism makes blunders but still feeds democracy: an insider’s view
Media self-criticism is not just important to improve journalism, it is a political, professional and moral imperative.
Municipalities have to clean up their acts. If they don’t, post-Covid SA will explode
Local governments must gather the political will to fight corruption, inefficiency as finances dwindle, but they’ll need help.
Southern Africa is anxious about post-Brexit trade talks
Here’s why South Africa and its neighbours are anxious about EU and UK post-Brexit trade talks.
White elephant schools reveal lack of progress
School that cannot be occupied by learners and teachers, and stand out as white elephants in the communities in which they have been built.
We can prevent procurement fraud by deploying 4IR technologies
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore just how endemic corruption has become.
Work from home reserved for the privileged few in SA
Digital divides ensure that only 11% of households have access to the internet.
A keen eye on facts saved this biodiverse wetland for now: threats to be aware of
Court victory by an NGO against municipality has laid bare the red tape and misgovernance that often burdens the process of issuing water licenses.
America’s inflection point: four key things Africa must watch for
Many political issues in the 2020 US election are domestic. But black resistance to white supremacy has long had global repercussions.
Covid-19 policy: Public engagement is crucial
A balancing act between scientific data and health and broader socioeconomic implications is needed when policymakers prioritise interventions and measures.
Why halting the COVID-19 vaccine trial is part of the process
The experience of the Oxford vaccine and the measures put into place are not unusual. Many phase one and phase two clinical trials have holding rules.
A new app helps COVID-19 frontline workers with mental health
Pasha 80: Fighting the coronavirus can put severe strain on a person’s mental health.
The claim that SA’s economy has declined by 51% is a misrepresentation of the facts
South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product has not halved as reported by several publications and commentators over the past 24 hours.
Solid, altruistic global leadership is the only way to face future crises and win
Covid-19 has taught us that investing in health security research, preparedness and responsiveness, nationally, regionally and globally, is critical.
Why Africa needs to be involved in the development of Covid-19 vaccines
Understanding the epidemiology of Covid-19 and moving forward would be critical to determining policy on the need to adopt interventions.
Where have all the flowers gone? A final climate crisis warning
South Africa’s climate science is not an allegory, but an echo of the final warning to all of us about a worsening climate-driven future.
The truth has been captured by corrupt, opportunistic SA leaders
Many public figures increasingly, not only outrightly lie on public platforms, but dress up lies as if these are truths.
Malfunctioning SOEs urgently need citizen shareholder activists
Ordinary citizens, consumers and civil society must play more active roles as shareholders of state-owned enterprises.
Grass on ash: uncovering 200,000 year old beds from South Africa
Before 200,000 years ago, close to the origin of our species, people used ash as layers for broad-leaved grasses to build their beds.
Lessons on cemetery design from Johannesburg
Municipalities are forced to identify new cemetery planning models that are environmentally sensitive and consistent with diverse cultural practises.
African digital diplomacy
Digital diplomacy is increasingly taking centre stage as a game-changing concept and practice of global affairs.
African research support: here’s one programme that’s working
Less than 1% of the world’s research is produced in Africa, and we urgently need to build stronger health research capacity.
Post-Covid Africa will have to save itself. It is a terrifying task
African countries, with their lack of quality leaders, weak states and little fiscal reserves face economic, political and social disorder.
Covid-19 and climate emergency: A painful irony
The coronavirus is a moment to be humble and realise our finitude in a wondrous and infinite natural order.
Child trafficking and child migration
A new discussion is needed to separate myths from reality.
How inequality is produced and reproduced generationally
The story of a working man who lived through apartheid – and his struggles after it ended.
South Africa’s second COVID-19 vaccine trial explained
Pasha 78: Listen to Professor Shabir Madhi, explaining how the new vaccine trial will work
What archaeology tells us about the music and sounds made by Africa’s ancestors
Music has been part and parcel of humanity for a long time. There is scant evidence of music or sound producing artefacts from southern Africa.
How lockdown has affected the health of South Africa's poor
Poor populations bore a disproportionately higher burden of poor health.
Appoint a war Cabinet now to tackle Covid-19 crises
SA should fire the current Cabinet and set up a national “emergency” one with the best talents in the country prevent it from plunging down the cliff.
Covid 19: Scientific excellence will help explore new frontiers
When university resources are scarce, building and sustaining equitable research excellence should be paramount.
Post Covid-19: What would universities look like?
Three South African vice-chancellors paint a post-COVID picture for universities.
Now is the time to lay a firmer school maths foundation
Covid-19's lockdown leads maths scores particularly being badly affected but a return to core concepts could be the answer to a pre-pandemic problem.
Repression in Zimbabwe exposes South Africa’s weakness
The time is long past that Pretoria's admonitions of bad behaviour by Zimbabwe's leaders are backed by a credible threat of sanction and punishment.
Pandemic underscores burden women carry doing paid and unpaid reproductive labour
Women’s extended working days have become normalised, despite the adverse effects on their progression within the labour market and general well-being.
South African policy isn’t connecting child nutrition and sanitation
There is no clear delineation of roles and responsibilities relating to the integration of clean water, sanitation, safe hygiene and nutritional status.
Fast tracking the critical task of building South Africa’s digital economy
South Africa lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to embracing the digital economy.
Plans for a dam across the Nile triggered a war in 1956: will it happen again?
Egypt has long defended its right, under colonial era agreements, to stop nine of the upstream countries from using Nile water.
What drove Asia’s economic success stories, and what should Africa emulate?
The remarkable economic transformation of Asia in recent decades has attracted global attention.
South Africans aren’t wearing masks or keeping their distance. This needs to change
Changing social norms in a short amount of time is difficult, and a one-size-fits all policy is unlikely to have the desired effect.
Africa’s research capacity is growing. That’s good news for pandemic response efforts
Investments are starting to help grow the African continent's science preparedness.
Why one of three African candidates fits the bill as the new head of the WTO
Africa accounts for nearly 27% of the World Trade Organisation's membership and 35% of members from developing countries, but an African has never run it.
Covid-19: Women are bearing more costs and receiving fewer benefits
Even though women have suffered two thirds of the job losses since February, men have received two thirds of Covid-19 grants (65%).
Kenya’s internet balloons could help to bridge the digital divide
Kenya's new internet balloons could help to get more Kenyans online and drive new industry.
On decolonising teaching practices, not just the syllabus
An African literature lecturer shares how embodied teaching can help students feel that their lives and stories matter.
Journalism of Drum’s heyday remains cause for celebration – 70 years later
The magazine grew to be the largest circulation publication for black readers in South Africa, and expanded to include East and West African editions.
Independence is at the heart of the African Development Bank’s ability to be effective
There is concern over the growing influence of non-regional players in decision making at the regional bank.
Opposition parties struggle with how to play a Covid-19 role
South Africa’s opposition parties appear to be confused, chasing shadows or paralysed by the enormity of the Covid-19 crisis.
Covid-19: An opportunity for African knowledge production
Lockdown has become a metaphor for all forms of state-sanctioned and self-imposed restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 vaccine trial in South Africa: everything you need to know
Not enough clinical research is being done in Africa. This has repercussions for when interventions become available and effective in high income countries.
Technology brings change but labour can shape its direction
Increased capital investment and productivity need not result in job losses. Industrial policy can link investment incentives to job preservation and creation.
SA faces devastating multiple social impact
Government urgently needs an integrated Covid-19 response to deal with mental illness, violence and crime.
Covid-19 and the youth
Opportunities in information and communications.
Lockdowns and freedoms
SA had to have a hard lockdown because we don’t trust our government. Little since has made us change our minds.
More money for COVID-19 but SA lacks a spending strategy
South Africa's public health system has been allocated R21.5 billion more to fight the Covid-19 pandemic but there's no strategy to guide how it should be used.
Ideological responses, traditional economic theory won't lift SA out out of Covid-19 slump
South Africa will have to prioritise new business, employment and growth based on the current and new domestic and global needs unleashed by Covid-19.
Distance, Dose, Dispersion: Experts’ guide on Covid-19 risks in South Africa and how to manage them
Understand the three things that can make the most difference to easing the lockdown and reopening South Africa with the least risk.
SA's budget for COVID-19 fails to pave way for more equal society
The budget is one of the key tools that government has to effect meaningful change.
SA needs to block transmission routes to get Covid-19 under control
Testing and tracing has not been at a level needed to suppress the spread and must now focus on containing opportunities for super-spreading and transmissions.
Covid-19: The full economic impact will only be known later
South Africa needs to focus urgently on how COVID-19 will reshape its labour market.
African countries need to seize opportunities created by US-China tensions
African policymakers should safeguard their right to choose from the widest possible range of technologies that suit their countries’ development needs.
Decade-long study shows why South Africa needs to stop stereotyping young black men
Young black men are often viewed through a criminal lens. An 11-year-long study of adolescent men in a South African township upends the stereotypes.
Society is not ready to safely reopen schools and education centres
Government is steaming ahead with the reopening of schools. This is an overly hasty, ill-considered step for a number of reasons.
So you think investing in fever screening can curb the spread of COVID-19? Think again
Detecting fever requires measuring core body temperature. Screening measures the body's surface temperature.
Does alcohol have an undisclosed African heritage?
Until now the search for early evidence of alcohol has fixated on residue analysis.
Learning from South Africa: reconstructing rainfall seasonality in Australia
Examining old vegetation sediments to learn about shifting weather patterns and climate change.
South Africa needs a new governance model post-Covid-19
South Africa’s governance model, the way the country is run, is broken.
Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history
The Indian Ocean provides a new way of looking at world history that has been dominated by European accounts.
What sets good and bad leaders apart in the coronavirus era
It is no accident that those leaders who have responded worst to this crisis have been the main sources of countless conspiracy theories and misinformation.
It’s time to talk about coronavirus symptoms
Pasha 66 - The Conversation Africa's podcast series focus on questions arising from the symptoms of people who have contracted the coronavirus.
South Africa must get ready for an inevitable loosening of trade ties with the US
South Africa should use its remaining AGOA window to find other export markets and retool its economy - as US economic attitude towards Africa hardens.
The false ideas surrounding the coronavirus
Pasha 66 - The Conversation Africa's podcast series focus on "Coronavirus conspiracy theories and myths".
Sub-Saharan Africa needs to plug local knowledge gap to up its anti-COVID-19 game
Africa needs to be better prepared to deal with future pandemics; starting with a re-assessment of how countries invest in – and support – local research.
Lesotho’s new leader faces enormous hurdles ensuring peace and political stability
Moeketsi Majoro’s installation as Prime Minister is welcome. But it does not guarantee much needed political stability in an era of complex coalition politics.
We tracked Soweto mothers-to-be to find out more about diet and obesity patterns
Two thirds of South African women are overweight or obese and their babies are three times more likely to become obese themselves.
Almost 16-million people allowed back to work
New level 3 regulations mark an important strategic shift in the government’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
Stop random Covid-19 testing and sort out the backlog
The testing backlog and proposed testing strategies outside hospital settings are threatening patient management and compromising health care workers’ safety.
The world is flat: Covid-19 becomes the driving force for 4IR
The most profound change is the accelerated of way in which digital transformation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution have moved at warp speed.
Dubious remedies will not decolonise Africa
So-called African solutions that are often uncritically accepted as ‘good’ do nothing for the continent
Economic policy remains hotly contested in South Africa: this detailed history shows why
Book sheds new light on the evolution of the economic policy of the African National Congress, South Africa's governing party.
A new, fairer economy is possible, but that would mean sacrifice
That Covid-19, the lockdown and whatever will come after will have had a lasting and devastating impact on our economy seems indisputable.
Why arguments against quantitative easing hold no water
The Reserve Bank should be allowed to buy more government bonds and securities to support the liquidity of the banking system.
What a bone arrowhead from South Africa reveals about ancient human cognition
The artefact closely resembles thousands of bone arrowheads used by the indigenous San hunter-gatherers from the 18th to the 20th centuries.
Why more must be done to fight bogus COVID-19 cure claims
Authorities around the world can do more to ensure that correct information and messages on the pandemic reach everybody.
The arrival of British settlers 200 years ago continues to cast a shadow over South Africa
It is not hard to see the roots of 20th century apartheid policies in the legacy of the British settlers.
South Africa’s COVID-19 strategy needs updating: here’s why and how
South Africa should base its COVID-19 mitigation strategy on the premise that the pandemic will last for two years unless a vaccine is developed before then.
What South Africa needs to forge a resilient social compact for Covid-19
Ramaphosa's call for a new social compact will fall on deaf ears unless there are some fundamental changes to the way in which the pandemic is being managed.
Choices in a fog of uncertainty: lessons for coronavirus from climate change
The science to policy process that was developed to guide climate mitigation decisions can be applied to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What should South Africa’s coronavirus endgame look like? Here are some options
SA's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was one of 'intervene first and ask questions later'. Now is the time for government say what its strategic endgame is.
Lockdown is riling black and white South Africans: could this be a reset moment?
It is rare for a post-authoritarian society to get two chances to reconcile. This may be just that, for white South Africans in particular.
South Africa’s COVID-19 testing strategy needs urgent fixing: here’s how to do it
Early reports by the National Health Laboratory Service indicated that it had the capacity to do 30,000 tests a day. But capability to do so has not materialise
Health and safety in the spotlight as South Africa’s miners go back to work
Miners face cramped working conditions, transportation in packed cages, and a high incidence of other respiratory diseases, posing considerable risks.
African countries are moving to make masks mandatory: key questions answered
Wearing masks is being introduced in conjunction with maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres; following hygiene measures such as hand washing.
The impact of coronavirus could compare to the Great Depression
And a corresponding rise in nationalism and xenophobia may follow, just as it did in the 1930s.
Why South Africa needs to ensure income security beyond the pandemic
Economic distress was the norm for many before the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic is an opportunity to provide an economically secure future for all.
Let’s talk about ethics and treatment for COVID-19
In this episode of The Conversation - Africa's podcast, Pasha, Wits bioethics researchers discuss the difficult decisions facing health professionals.
Can the philosophy of ubuntu help provide a way to face health crises?
There are lessons for the health sector - the need for more coherent integration is undeniable.
Where there is political will there is a way to work across sectors
COVID-19: There are lessons for the health sector - the need for more coherent integration is undeniable.
Unpacking Ramaphosa’s COVID-19 rescue package
A major step forward, but some warning lights are flashing. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s social and economic rescue package leaves some questions unanswered.
Africa must make sure it’s part of the search for a coronavirus vaccine
To refuse inclusion would prevent Africa’s researchers from being significant players in the universal fight against the virus.
Numbers can kill: politicians should handle South Africa's coronavirus data with care
We’d all love to know more about our neighbours – from COVID-19 data, census data and other official data sources – but we shouldn't.
Toward a risk-based strategy for managing the COVID-19 epidemic: A modelling analysis
Given the protracted nature of the risk posed by the COVID-19, this paper seeks to address the need to match health prevention and a viable economy.
South Africa needs a post-lockdown strategy that emulates South Korea
South Africa cannot afford to embark on a strategy of extended periodic lockdowns. It needs to shift to mass testing and contact tracing.
Coronavirus myths: Lessons from an AIDS study
Attempting to defeat these folk theories with science achieved little; the myth busters of the AIDS epidemic talked past those they were trying to convince.
COVID-19 risks forcing SA to make health trade-offs it can ill afford
South Africa could lose many children due to a measles outbreak which is completely preventable.
South Africa is bent on austerity and should change track
The South African government should be spending more, not less, to boost economic growth and create jobs.
African genetic studies offer hope for preventing a common cause of blindness
Knowing genetic associations in specific populations will make it possible to focus prevention and treatment.
Covid-19: Treatments, but at what cost?
Accessible & affordable medicine: We cannot wait for treatments to be available in high-income countries in order to negotiate prices for the rest of the world.
If you think lockdown is bad, spare a thought for SA’s prisoners
How more restless are those living in prison and confined to a small cell, who are now completely cut off from the outside world and their families?
Debunking 9 popular myths doing the rounds in Africa about the coronavirus
Some of the false claims about coronavirus may be harmless. But others can be potentially dangerous.
The case for a citizens’ basic income grant in South Africa
With Covid-19 and the lockdown there is no room for denial of how large parts of South African society suffer.
South Africa needs to end the lockdown: here’s a blueprint for its replacement
Academics call on government to develop a comprehensive health and economic strategy if it is to prevent long term socio-economic damage caused by pandemic.
There is a dire need to boost SA’s stimulus package
Countries such as the US, Germany, India and Brazil have launched help for all sectors of their economies — South Africa needs to follow.
Tackling gender-based violence during lockdown
Women and children face even more alarming levels of abuse due to COVID-19 lockdown.
SA needs to mitigate the worst of its inequalities in tackling COVID1-19
South Africa won't flatten the COVID-19 pandemic curve unless all citizens have the means to stay at home.
Personal versus public freedoms South Africa during COVID-19
In restricting individuals' movements and interactions during any national disaster, the conflict between public interest and personal autonomy will get messy.
Crowdsourcing: Scale of COVID-19 calls for new approaches to research
Crowdsourcing is a promising approach to biomedical research and development (R&D) and could produce solutions to pandemics like this one.
Covid-19 lockdown needs to protect inner-city communities
In South Africa, the collision of HIV, TB and Covid-19 could be devastating, and radical measures are needed to address the spread of Covid-19.
SAs response to COVID-19 worsens the plight of waste reclaimers
The clock is ticking: in the absence of government support, not being able to work means waste reclaimers don't have money to buy food.
What will happen to Africa after the coronavirus?
It would help if everybody comprehend that the world will not be the same after the dust settles on the pandemic.
Would a Longitude Prize speed production of a Covid-19 vaccine?
To stop economic destruction, we need to refocus vast resources from other productive activity – a truly grand prize might do the trick.
How do we save SA?
The virus has wiped billions from stock exchanges globally. Now is the time to re-evaluate and promote domestic private investment.
Bold programmes are needed to mitigate the economic crisis
The Covid-19 crisis is first and foremost a health and humanitarian crisis is likely to have lasting impacts on how we live.
Covid-19, #ClimateEmergency and Lockdown
The coronavirus is an opportunity to end the war with nature.It’s a moment to be humble and realise our finitude in a wondrous and infinite natural order.
Gag the spreaders of disinformation, not the scientists
In times of a health crisis, such as the corona virus pandemic, health scientists should be encouraged to speak out.
Foreign migrants must be included in Covid-19 response
Why South Africa needs to actively engage all foreign migrants in its response to Covid-19.
Newborns in developing countries need better protection from common bacteria
Streptococcus agalactiae, also known as Group B streptococcus, is the most common bacterial cause of illness in newborn babies around the world.
A tiny bone from Little Foot’s skeleton adds fresh insights into what our ancestors could do
Studying Australopithecus, an extinct hominin genus that represents a branch of our family tree, is a great way to make more sense of our bushy family tree.
Snakes make good food. Banning farms won’t help the fight against coronavirus
The wildlife trade has long been closely linked to disease outbreaks.
Hypocrisy in the time of Covid-19
The sanctimony of moving from blaming foreign migrants to rendering them invisible in a critical public health moment will have implications for our response.
Coronavirus: how big, how bad, and what to look out for
Cases of illness from the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) disease, known as COVID-19, have been confirmed in more than 100 countries.
Africa’s wish list of what might change under a Biden presidency
Africa’s stake in the outcome of the 3 November 2020 US presidential election spiked with the unexpected revival of former Vice-President Joe Biden’s campaign.
Africa’s policies hold key to LGBT rights on the continent: here’s how
Questions of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression have continued to divide opinion across the globe.
Yes, washing our hands really can help curb the spread of coronavirus
Hand washing is a tried and true, scientifically proven preventive strategy that reduces the likelihood of transmitting both viral and bacterial borne diseases.
Dance softly and carry a big voice: understanding Joseph Shabalala
What is our response to the great artistic and spiritual hole his loss has left in South Africa?
Behind Kenya's strange weather
It can be attributed to the Indian Ocean Dipole, the difference in sea surface temperatures between the eastern and western tropical Indian Ocean.
SA's rich bag of big, small and eclectic community radio stations
Most of the community radio stations operate on a survivalist level, and should be seen as struggling small, medium and micro enterprises.
Ramaphosa has shown he understands how to put the energy crisis behind us
President Cyril Ramaphosa has used this year’s SONA to signal that he understands what needs to be done in order to overcome South Africa’s electricity crisis.
Cynical South Africans are unlikely to be moved by Ramaphosa’s next big speech
The challenge to deliver a persuasive speech comes firstly in the context of intense doubts as to whether President Ramaphosa is truly in charge of the ANC.
Many countries regulate e-cigarettes. South Africa should too
The number of users is likely to grow and there are health risks, so now is the time to act.
Donating your body to research
Why you should consider donating your body to research once you die. Listen to Pasha 20, The Conversation Africa's podcast on research.
Messages about male circumcision aren’t clear: why this is dangerous
Difficult to understand communication and the somewhat overstated benefits of male circumcision may lead to increased risky sexual behaviour.
Events in Lesotho point to poor prospects for political stability
Since the demand for resources far outmatches the patronage available, Lesotho’s political arena has become brutally competitive.
The digital economy is becoming ordinary. Best we understand it
The digital economy will, soon, become the ordinary economy as the uptake - and application - of digital technologies in every sector in the world grows.
South Africa risks losing rich insights into an ancient farming society
As early as 1500 the Bokoni people created stone-walled settlements that demonstrate their mastery of farming. But today these sites are under threat.
South Africa’s energy crisis has triggered lots of ideas: why most are wrong
The deluge of opinions and proposed solutions to South Africa's energy crisis reflects corporate and political interests.
Build a capable state, don’t just talk about it
This is an adaptation of a speech given at the BUSA Business Economic Indaba in Sandton on Tuesday 14 January 2020.
How we deduced that our ancestors liked roast vegetables too
The charred remains of root vegetables found at Border Cave help us understand how early humans survived and thrived.
Why this academic got a radio ad banned
Gender stereotyping might be funny, but it's no joke. A public health professor explains why she took action against everyday sexism heard in a radio advert.
South Africa has huge ‘green fuels’ potential but it needs to act now
Opportunity for South Africa to transition from being a key contributor to global warming to becoming a key contributor to global emissions reductions.
Art as a weapon in South Africa’s liberation struggle
A retrospective exhibition displays the key works from the life and times of activist and artist Judy Seidman.
Ancient southern African rock engravings finally find a fitting home
The Origin Centre has added a new wing that's perfect for a visit, the Rock Engraving Archive.
Being darker makes being a migrant much harder
Research in India and South Africa shows life is considerably harder if migrants have a darker skin and come from a poorer country.
What’s needed to fix collapsing coalitions in South Africa’s cities
Successful coalition governance ultimately depends on political maturity and the ability to govern across divisions.
What’s needed to fix collapsing coalitions in South Africa’s cities
Three South African cities run by opposition party coalitions for the past three years have been facing tough times.
Frank review of South African foreign policy over 25 years
The country's national interest and human rights remain the two topics bedevilling South Africa's foreign policy.
The complex story of ‘medical xenophobia’ in South Africa
The experiences of non-nationals in the public health care system are more complex and varied than implied by the dominant discourse on "medical xenophobia".
The social management of HIV: African migrants in South Africa
HIV is a condition that must be managed, not just medically, but also socially, tackling stigma, social anxieties and the risks of disclosure.
South Africa needs to get more young people with HIV on treatment
There's an urgent need for interventions to increase uptake of antiretroviral therapy and improve services for adolescents.
Marx, Buddha and the pursuit of happiness
Maverick Citizen: Transitional Compass 7 focuses on new concepts of value; on 'well-being' and 'happiness' rather than narrow economic ‘values’ such as GDP.
Women’s participation in South Africa and Kerala, India
Maverick Citizen: Transitional Compass 5 focuses on women’s participation in local spaces to examine the state’s engagement with democratic participation.
The different types of drought
Not all droughts are the same and South Africa needs to have a targeted approach to each type.
How WhatsApp groups support Nigeria’s nurse graduates
How Whatsapp supports nurse students in Nigeria and helps them transition into the workplace.
The food sovereignty alternative
Maverick Citizen: Transitional Compass 4 focuses on the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign's response to climate and food inequality.
‘The end of labour’? Revisiting the past to understand the future
Maverick Citizen: Transitional Compass 2 looks at how precarious workers are challenging the practices of the established unions.
Good or bad sleeper? Debunking the myths
PODCASTS: Wits Alumni and UK specialist in sleep medicine, Dr Hugh Selsick, shares insights in what good, and bad, sleep looks like.
How to get to the post-capitalist world
Maverick Citizen: Transitional Compass 1 is shortened essay from a special issue of the journal Globalizations that focus on possible pathways out of inequality
DA's woes signify historical dilemma of SA’s liberals
Liberalism has always been reluctant to grant black people equality unless they achieve certain designated standards.
Mining activities continue to dispossess black families
Mining companies and some heritage consultants don't understand the sacredness attached to ancestral remains, and the meaning of land in African communities.
How the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago resonated across Africa
Marking the end of the Cold War offers the chance to reflect on the changes and continuities in African politics and international relations since 1989.
America’s right is lobbying against South Africa’s sex education syllabus
Lobby group FOR SA is backed by the US Christian right. Its latest target is South Africa's increasingly inclusive sex education lesson plans.
How South Africa can deliver on the right to food
PODCAST: To break the cycle of poverty and malnutrition, the government needs to ensure that children have access to sufficient healthy food.
South Africa’s real water crisis: not understanding what’s needed
The real crisis with water supply is that South Africa doesn't know what it doesn't know.
South Africa is one step closer to processed titanium alloys
Low-cost titanium alloys in South Africa could be used in non-aerospace sectors, such as car parts, medical devices, implants, jewellery and kitchen appliances.
Tropical cyclones in the South West Indian Ocean: new insights
As storm directions change, countries that are outside the usual tropical storm zones need to ready themselves.
Why South Africa’s copyright bill is good for digital archives
Libraries, archives, museums and galleries have finally been included in South Africa's contested new proposed copyright bill.
How Creative Commons works, and why it enables access to knowledge
Open access study material can help reduce the costs of education, improve skills and improve lives for millions of people.
Health professionals and cadavers: the quest for an ethical approach
Dissection is important for developing a range of skills, as well as moral and ethical training and a humanistic approach to patient care.
Science and science teaching are at a global crossroads
We need to think more deeply about how we can develop science more extensively on a global scale for the common good of all of humanity.
Panic over water in South Africa’s economic hub is misplaced
South Africa's Department of Water and Sanitation has plans in place to ensure adequate water supply until 2040 and beyond.
South Africa still has a long way to go on the right to food
Hunger affects people's health. It also affects their dignity and their ability to live full and productive lives.
South Africa’s TV actors have every reason to demand a better deal
South African actors are lobbying government to demand better working conditions and labour protection.
Who takes care of the elderly?
Care facilities are often considered a last resort in South Africa. Personal care is assumed to be provided by family and household members.
What affects people’s brain function as they grow older?
Researchers find the key factors behind poor cognitive function were related to levels of education, being a woman, marital status and being poor.
Tracking the impact of ageing in rural South Africa
Rapid population ageing has prompted researchers to study disease trends in older South Africans.
A centrist political alliance in South Africa? Yes, but hard to get
South Africa's parliamentary system would make it difficult to achieve a fusion of parties.
Want to donate your body to research? What you need to know
Dissection plays an important role in introducing students to death by providing moral and ethical training as well as a humanistic approach to patient care.
Quarter century study on ageing in South Africa offers new perspectives
Research done over the past 26 years provides insights into changes across people's lives, helps evaluate interventions, and provides information for planning.
Study: Unhealthy ageing takes its toll on health and income
It's evident from research that while health influences economic well-being, the inverse is also true, economic well-being influences health.
What lost photos of Blue Notes say about South Africa’s jazz history
A rare set of photographs of South Africa's most famous jazz ensemble, the Blue Notes, has added valuable insights to the music archive.
Literature sheds light on the history and mystery of the Southern Ocean
The Southern Ocean, as artists have uncovered, is also a treasure trove of cultural narratives.
Why Africa can’t afford to be distracted by Trump
Trump’s bad example in the world’s oldest democracy can only comfort autocrats.
Did a large meteorite hit the earth 12,800 years ago? Here’s new evidence
Could platinum-rich dust associated with the impact of a very large meteorite have contributed to major climatic change and extinctions 12,800 years ago?
South Africa is planning more regulators: this is a bad idea
South Africa's independent regulators have failed. Instead of introducing new ones, alternatives need to be found.
Explainer: Why phenology is key in tracking climate change
Monitoring the timing of recurring biological events is key to understanding the effects of climate change.
50 years on: What we learned from South Africa’s biggest quake
There are three important issues to consider when thinking about quakes: what causes them; how to prepare and plan for them; and, how to move on afterwards.
Why corruption killed dreams of a better South Africa
25 years ago, citizens hoped a post-apartheid SA would be a fresh start. Today, political and business leaders stand accused of money laundering and bribery.
New copyright law will benefit South Africans with disabilities
South Africa's new Copyright Amendment Bill could help the country take an important step in tackling its own “book famine”.
How buildings in Johannesburg could benefit from green roofs
South Africa needs to develop low-cost housing solutions that are inherently comfortable and environmentally sustainable.
South Africa: a new narrative could tackle anti-migrant crisis
Faced with the same problem, South Africa is turning to the familiar toolkit to explain a recurrent problem.
Xenophobia: time for cool heads to prevail in Nigeria and South Africa
South Africa and Nigeria need to lead policy debates on long term measures to address migration in Africa.
Robert Mugabe: as divisive in death as he was in life
Robert Mugabe, the former president of Zimbabwe, has died.
Why South Africa’s plans for universal healthcare are pie in the sky
South Africa's planned NHI has no equivalent in any setting in the world. It's deeply flawed on a number of fronts.
The process of anti-patronage reform (Part Two)
Part Two of this series offer a process for dismantling South Africa’s patronage system.
The politics of South Africa’s patronage system (Part One)
Part One of this series describes the mechanics and architecture of South Africa’s patronage system.
Flights of healthcare fancy are for another time
The state is too broken to blunder on with universal healthcare.
The blind spots of ideology and journalism today
If you are confused about what is real, what is true, fact, propaganda or fiction, you are not alone; join the rest of the world.
South Africa’s 2019 poll showed dangerous signs of ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’
The election's result endorses other evidence that trust in South Africa’s constitutional settlement and its political institutions is steadily declining.
Ebola: how to manage in a crisis
Lessons from the West Africa: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is currently grappling with the world’s second largest Ebola outbreak.
Hidden in plain sight
A fossil hidden in plain sight in South Africa turns out to be a new dinosaur.
How population data can help countries plan and tweak policy
South Africa’s data collection is constantly improving and Stats SA does a good job of making data available for analysis and research. Why is this important?
How our African ancestors made sound in the Stone Age
Researchers show how some bone artefacts from archaeological sites in South Africa's southern Cape region might have been used in sound production.
Investors push for positive global change in tailings management
An interesting development emerged from Brazil dam disaster: investors work with mining companies and regulators to improve tailings management systems.
Land reform that unleashes a rural economic miracle should be the goal
Migration from rural areas to cities can be slowed down with integrated agriculture value chains.
There’s a nugget of good news in the latest unemployment figures
The number of workers employed has actually gone up and the numbers of workers trying to find a job has gone up too.
South Africa’s universal man of uncommon passion
Johnny Clegg was a prophet, even if the ideal future he prophesied has not yet come to pass.
Trial in South Africa confirms a new drug, dolutegravir, is an effective and well-tolerated ARV.
Migration and health: what southern Africa needs to do to plug the gaps
Health systems are generally structured around nation-states. Migration, especially across national borders, therefore leads to challenges.
Unique picture of migration patterns helps urban planning
Keeping track of migration and urbanisation is challenging. It's vital for population health that migration and urbanisation is well understood and planned for.
Southern Africa needs better health care for women and girls on the move
Health responses need to take on board the fact that the number of women and girls migrating across borders as well as within countries is growing.
South Africa’s healthcare system can’t afford to ignore migration
It's difficult to keep track of the medical records of patients on the move and some may be lost to follow-up, presenting further public health challenges.
We tracked South Africa’s sardine run over 66 years: here’s what we found
South Africa's annual sardine run is occurring increasingly late, and there have been instances where it doesn't happen at all. Here's why.
Why migrants must be part of South Africa’s universal health plan
Seven years ago the United Nations (UN) endorsed universal health coverage as key to sustainable development and global security.
There are lots of myths about flu: we debunk six of them
Despite the availability of vaccines for influenza – or flu – the virus continues to kill people across the world.
Neglected challenge of the 4IR debate
The roles and practices of companies like Google and Facebook must be investigated.
Mining-affected communities are in a crisis which present law cannot address
At the centre of the demands is the communities’ struggle for the industry and government to recognise the right to free prior and informed consent.
Zuma and Trump: half a world apart, yet similarly paranoid and dangerous
Within the space of a few days, we have been subjected to bizarre but carefully staged performances by both presidents.
Marxist scholar Harold Wolpe’s ideas still speak to South Africa’s problems
Reflections on the recent launch of a collection of essays, “Race, Class and the Post-Apartheid Democratic State”, on Wolpe’s scholarly contribution.
Technology can make collecting and analysing evidence for policy easier
There is more and more research being produced around the world every day. In total, about 3 million articles are published every year.
The historian reminding us we are close to the cliff's edge
The book, 'The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America', helps make sense of the mess the world’s in
We need a social pact to secure the farming industry
Social pacts in agriculture, energy and mining, between business, labour and communities, will be crucial to lift market confidence and growth levels.
Evolution of ANC economic policy sheds light on squabble over the central bank
The recent squabble over the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank has very little to do with real economic policies.
How did elephants evolve such a large brain? Climate change is part of the answer
Elephants have long captivated our attention, partly because of their sheer size and majesty. But we’re also struck by their complex behaviour.
South Africa takes a quantum leap and joins the race
Quantum technologies are exploding and no longer the purview of laboratory experiments only.
People have skewed views on inflation. Why this matters
Countries that use an inflation target to anchor monetary policy pay considerable attention to expectations of future inflation.
The century of the African philanthropists is here, but wise choices must be made
African philanthropists have the capital, influence, local knowledge and moral authority to address pressing challenges that face the continent.
Ramaphosa’s vision needs to be wider than just attracting foreign investment
Unless the government regulates the economy effectively, it will generate growth that accrues disproportionately to those with wealth and power.
Young women in Soweto say healthy living is hard. Here’s why
Data from South Africa has shown that over two thirds of young women are overweight and obese.
South Africa should learn from Brazil about how to tackle ‘hidden hunger’
South Africa faces a double burden of hunger and malnutrition, on the one hand, and obesity with associated non-communicable diseases (NCDs), on the other.
Tropical cyclones are on the rise in southern Africa
Southern Africa has seen a rise in tropical cyclones recently. Why? Listen to Pasha 20, The Conversation Africa’s podcast on research.
Twelve steps to successful land reform
Developing and protecting agriculture-related industries will be crucial to creating jobs and achieving a just new order.
Adherence is delaying HIV elimination targets. What’s needed to break the cycle
As 2020 draws closer, the deadline to end AIDS by 2030 looms large. The aim is to achieve the ambitious targets of “90-90-90”.
Tribute to Raymond Louw: a great SA editor and determined activist
Veteran journalist Raymond Louw (93) passed away recently - a former editor of the Rand Daily Mail and tireless press freedom campaigner and mentor.
Past trends could explain why Senegal scrapped the Prime Minister’s office
Soon after Macky Sall was re-elected for a second, and final, presidential term he signed a decree that scrapped the office of the Prime Minister.
We tested baby food sugar levels in South Africa. This is what we found
South Africa has the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world, with an alarming figure of 13%.
There’s still so much we don’t know about the star-gazing beetle with a tiny brain
Edited extract from 'The Dance of the Dung Beetles', a new book authored Dr Helen Lunn and Professor Marcus Byrne published by Wits University Press.
A change of climate in the media?
Vishwas Satgar, Associate Professor at Wits contributes to a discussion about climate change and the media on Al Jazeera.
Structuring SA’s digital government: the road not traveled?
The potential capabilities afforded by digital technologies should not be ignored in the current stage of design of the future government administration.
In South Africa, unhealthy food choices are everywhere
Diseases linked to obesity are rising rapidly in South Africa. Listen to Pasha 20, The Conversation Africa’s podcast on research.
Ramaphosa’s cabinet: who and what’s needed to end South Africa’s malaise
South Africans recently went to the polls in a national election which the African National Congress (ANC) won by a wide margin.
How the ANC survived Jacob Zuma — and eked out a win in South Africa’s election
Under Zuma, democratic institutions bent but did not break. Just 15 months ago, South Africa’s democracy faced the gravest crisis in its 25-year history.
The struggles of black women in science
Ndoni Mcunu shares her journey of being a black woman in science on Pasha 18, The Conversation Africa’s podcast on research.
Study signals enduring racism in science
Each university and journal must reflect on its assumptions in biology, medicine, natural sciences, anthropology and the social sciences.
Why the Indian Ocean is spawning strong and deadly tropical cyclones
The Indian Ocean has made its mark on the global news cycle this year.
Why restoring accuracy will help journalism win back credibility
How removing senior sub-editors from newsrooms and creating "sub-hubs" have contributed to the rise of misinformation, propaganda and disinformation.
South Africa’s black middle class is battling to find a political home
South Africa’s black middle class is growing numerically – and growing politically restive.
Reporting on China in Africa is too binary. What needs to be done to fix it
So it’s not surprising that this has become an ever-expanding topic for both the media and researchers.
How South Africa ranks in the press freedom stakes
It’s pleasing that the latest World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters without Borders rates the state of press freedom in SA as “satisfactory”.
Heading to a region with malaria? Some simple steps to keep you safe
Every death from malaria is a tragedy. But many infections can be prevented.
2019 Elections: ‘Ramacynicism’ and leaps of faith
Voting for the ANC come the 2019 election will be a calculated but inescapably blindfolded leap of faith for many South African voters.
Electoral systems need urgent reform. South Africa is no exception
Is South Africa’s particular proportional representation system fit for purpose as popular support for the political system is steadily eroding?
Foreign policy priorities South Africa should pursue
South Africa continues to enjoy an unusual degree of international prominence normally accorded to states that are more powerful, or strategically located.
Cyclone Idai is over – but its health effects will be felt for a long time
People in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have started trying to rebuild their lives after the devastation wrought by Cyclone Idai.
Light pollution: the dark side of keeping the lights on
New research show mounting evidence that increased lighting has a range of negative effects on all life on earth.
New fossil find may shed light on how sabre toothed predators evolved
Prehistoric bestiary is full of remarkable creatures and fearsome predators.
South Africa's plan to fight prejudice is full of holes
The South African government has launched a plan aimed at addressing pervasive prejudice in the country.
The legacy of Okwui Enwezor – the curator who exhibited Africa to the world
Over two decades Okwui Enwezor emerged as a dominant and highly influential voice in curatorial practice and contemporary art history.
Poor coverage of floods in southern Africa? Blame the media bosses
Local media coverage of the havoc and destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai has been very poor and shows that traditional media is dying.
Africa cannot afford to take the back seat in one of the most important pursuits of modern science
The continent needs its own experts to harness Artificial Intelligence towards our local challenges and priorities in Africa.
Tropical cyclone Idai: The storm that knew no boundaries
This storm provides a grim prospect of the future of tropical cyclones in southern Africa, a region under continued threat from climate change.
Major battles have been won against TB. But the war isn’t over
We all need to advocate for more resources and better patient support. TB is everyone’s problem – not just the poor and forgotten.
How South Africa can improve community-based HIV services
South Africa introduced a community-based primary health care programme in 2012.
Managing diseases in African cities
Listen to Lenore Manderson, Distinguished Professor in Public Health and Medical Anthropology, in this episode of Pasha 10, The Conversation Africa's podcast.
Local solutions can boost healthier food choices
The crisis in health triggered by cheap food that’s high in fat and sugar is now well documented.
Why corruption in South Africa isn’t simply about Zuma and the Guptas
Corruption in South Africa isn’t simply a matter of bad morals or weak law enforcement.
It’s time to rethink how foreign languages are taught at universities
Many people underestimate the difficulty involved in learning a language. This is because language acquisition goes beyond comprehension.
South Africa must end its coal habit. But it’s at odds about when and how
SA is highly dependent on coal – almost 90% of its energy comes from coal-fired power stations. The urgency of change is clear on both global and local levels.
Cape Town has a plan to manage its water. But there are big gaps
The City of Cape Town – and southwest Africa more generally – experienced its worst drought on record between 2015 and 2018.
Why a guaranteed jobs scheme in South Africa would pay for itself
Among the biggest injustices of the past in South Africa is unemployment.
Religiosity, risky behaviour and young people: a South African case study
Alcohol and other drug use and risky sexual behaviour remain high among adolescents across the globe.
Postponement fuels lack of trust in Nigeria’s ability to hold fair elections
Nigeria has postponed its 2019 presidential elections. The Independent National Electoral Commission made the announcement hours before voting was scheduled to
What a major offshore gas find means for South Africa’s energy future
Many are celebrating that a promising show of natural gas has been discovered in deep water south of Mossel Bay. What is the significance?
New ways of thinking on health, arts and humanities are emerging in Africa
Medical and Health Humanities bring together academics, researchers, practitioners, creative artists, health care seekers and providers.
Curious Kids: how does thunder work? And why is it so loud?
The Conversation Africa's Curious Kids is a series for children in which we ask experts to answer questions from kids.
Eskom: our biggest threat
Explainer: Why South Africa’s energy generator is in so much trouble.
Want to be a woman in science? Here’s advice from those who’ve gone before
Each year on February 11, the United Nations marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
The World Bank needs deep reforms to reflect a changing world order
The sudden resignation of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has rekindled debate about leadership succession and the mission of the institution.
A democracy or a kleptocracy? How South Africa stacks up
Revelations emanating from the two commissions of inquiry indicate that South Africa stands in great peril of falling prey to kleptocracy.
Weighing up the costs of treating ‘lifestyle’ diseases in South Africa
Increasing need to treat people who have diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolaemia to try to prevent their consequences.
Scientists split on South Africa’s winter and summer rainfall zones
South Africa is among a handful of countries that experience winter rainfall in some areas and summer rainfall in others.
Why delays to fixing health care are bad news for South Africans
The release of a final report about the state of competition in South Africa’s private health sector has been delayed again.
Why screen time needs to be limited
High levels of screen time, among babies, children and adolescents, are associated with potential harm.
New research shows lasers can create fractals
Wits researchers prove the long-held theory by making the first direct observation of fractal light from lasers.
Should I be scared of lightning?
Curious Kids is a series for children in which we ask experts to answer questions from kids.
How global warming is adding to the health risks of poor people
There is mounting evidence of the impact of climate change on human habitat and health, on plant and animal life, on water resources and shorelines.
“Weather” and “climate” shouldn't be used interchangeably
To understand climate projections and climate forecasts you need to know the difference between “weather” and “climate”.
Crackdown in Zimbabwe
South African diplomacy on Zimbabwe can remain quiet – but it must get tough.
The Reserve Bank needs stability
Explainer: South Africa’s central bank – ownership, mandate and independence.
The need for real justice
The Central African Republic (CAR) provides hard lessons on what it means to deliver real justice.
The silly season ahead of the 2019 elections
The festive season is well and truly over but another silly season is upon us - election season.
Elections, the ANC and the Suspension of Disbelief
South African voters are cynical beings, but not immune to bouts of political magical realism.
South African journalist, author, militant and prisoner
Hugh Lewin has died in Johannesburg at the age of 79.
Why does malaria recur? Filling in the pieces of the puzzle
Some people suffer from repeated attacks of malaria. These can occur weeks to months or longer after contracting the disease.
Are universities teaching the right kind of economics?
South Africa joins global charge to overhaul undergraduate economics.
The complex reasons for South Africa’s organ donor shortage
At any given time, there are around 4300 people waiting for organ donations in South Africa.
Secrets of an ancient fossil’s brain and inner ear
Virtual images help researchers to present and explore new scenarios about how our ancestors lived and evolved.