The decision by the University of Cape Town (UCT) management to disinvite Danish journalist, Flemming Rose, from delivering the annual TB Davie lecture on academic freedom next month, raises important questions about power, about who are given a platform to speak, and what it says about those who make these decisions. It also, admittedly, raises questions about the nature of freedom of expression and academic freedom at a University.

In 1986, as the deputy editor of the Stellenbosch student newspaper, Die Matie, I wrote a column taunting then State President PW Botha, who also served as chancellor of the University (he resigned as chancellor a few months after the incident described here). The column mocked Botha for his habit of phoning up the head of the SABC (who, I kid you not, was called Koedoe Eksteen) and instructing Eksteen to change news bulletins to depict Botha and his National Party in a more favourable light. (more…)


Quote of the week

The transformation of transgender women into goddesses for an annual Hindu festival takes place in an atmosphere of reverent, somber concentration. Laugh lines vanish, replaced by an impassive mask. Skin becomes stone. As they prepared to perform in the Mayana Kollai festival in a fishing village in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, some of the dancers slipped into trances so deep it appeared they might have fainted.

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