Agents Provocateurs

Collection of SA’s funniest columnists irreverent rants

What would Nabokov do?

What would Nabokov do?

The editor of the magazine was apologetic but firm. The column I had just sent him, while containing some good bits, was self-indulgent. “Too many notes,” he added, a politic reference to Amadeus that framed him as the tone-deaf Emperor and me as a misunderstood… Read More →

Die Stem And Other Whiny Voices

Die Stem And Other Whiny Voices

Steve Hofmeyr sung Die Stem in Australia. South Africans were relieved, because if he had sung one of his own classic tracks then the world would truly judge us. Die Stem is back in the news because it’s how EFF get to yank the FF+’s… Read More →

High times in Hound City

High times in Hound City

I had my 21st birthday party at a club in Durban. I hired it for the night. It was dangerously cheap. I don’t remember the name. It was down a side street deep in the noxious belly of the beast. It wasn’t one of those clubs… Read More →

Wimbledon for all seasons

Wimbledon for all seasons

Djokovic and Federer were arguing at the net and it was about to get ugly. The problem was one of identity: both of them wanted to be Federer. “You’re always Federer!” said Djokovic with a disconsolate swish of his oversized racquet. “I want to be… Read More →

Feed a child like a dog: Self-righteousness Inc. trips up

Feed a child like a dog: Self-righteousness Inc. trips up

No “we” should be taken for granted when the subject is looking at other people’s pain —Susan Sontag In the unrelenting bout of industrial electroconvulsive therapy that is postmodern capitalist life, everything—from energy drinks to Julius Malema to breast cancer—everything becomes a product. The selling never… Read More →

An open letter to ANC MP Lindiwe Michelle Maseko

An open letter to ANC MP Lindiwe Michelle Maseko

Dear Comrade Lindiwe, You suggested the other day that the SABC should broadcast the national anthem twice a day – at 6am and again at midday – to foster patriotism. Well done! If there is one thing this country needs, it’s more patriots and fewer… Read More →

The widening gyre

The widening gyre

South Africans bond. The television producer said it with a slightly sheepish smile, as if she was confessing some character flaw, but then she shrugged and said, “It’s amazing. We just.  Bond.” We had been discussing reality TV, a format designed to turn strangers against… Read More →

Juju and the wrong arm of the law

Juju and the wrong arm of the law

The Honourable Comrade Julius Malema has been appointed to the Judicial Services Commission. This is not a drill. Women and children first. When I heard the news, I went into a spin, began drinking heavily, lost it on the dismount, vomited on the cat and… Read More →

There’s No Racist Like a Race-Blind Racist

There’s No Racist Like a Race-Blind Racist

In South Africa the fastest way to get your own TV channel is not by curing HIV/AIDs or saving babies, it’s by “accidentally” killing a white woman. Ask Oscar. Of course this will only work for you if you are already an internationally acclaimed paralympian,… Read More →

Child conceived to 2010 World Cup anthem now screaming its f**king lungs out in supermarket

Child conceived to 2010 World Cup anthem now screaming its f**king lungs out in supermarket

DUBAI, UAE: A three-year-old child conceived to the sound of Shakira’s world unity song, ‘Waka Waka (This Time For Africa), is currently screaming its f**king lungs out in a Dubai supermarket, it was reported today. Three-year-old Jason Newbury, conceived when his parents were overcome by… Read More →

Long and the shortening of it

Long and the shortening of it

You probably haven’t read much by Thomas Dekker but that’s not your fault. He’s been dead for almost 400 years and even in his heyday his writing received mixed reviews, sometimes in the form of over-ripe cats slung at him. I don’t know if he… Read More →

A letter to the Hon. Julius Malema

A letter to the Hon. Julius Malema

Dear Honourable Comrade Commander-in-Chief, Congratulations on landing once again with your bum firmly in the butter. If sheltered employment is what you’re looking for, you could do a lot worse than parliament. Hell, for a million rand a year, I’d also dress up in a… Read More →

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