What is autism, and what does it mean to be autistic?

Around one million South Africans are autistic. But what is autism? Perhaps you read A Curious Case of the Dog in the Night Time or watched Rain Man and you might think you know about autism. Autistic people speak strangely, right? You may have seen an awkward kid reject their mother’s hug, and suspected them of maybe being autistic. Chances are, you don’t really know much. Representations of autism in the media are often wholly inaccurate or stereotypical, and give people the wrong idea about what autistic people…

Six reasons why you shouldn’t bother watching Thirteen Reasons Why

At the end of March, Netflix released the series adaptation of the popular young adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why to much enthusiasm. Even though it’s aimed at teenagers and young adults, many older people have enjoyed watching the show and call it a step in the right direction for representations of mental health. While the show does have some positives, like a cast of diverse races and sexualities and open discussions of mental health and sexual assault, the depictions of many sensitive situations have been dangerous. Many…

What Spur should have said about that video

We’ve all seen that Spur video, and everyone has plenty to say about it. On Tuesday, the franchise released a letter on their Facebook page discussing what had occurred and what they were doing about it. Possibly responding to some of the criticism people have posted on social media, the letter states that the Texamo Spur’s staff had tried to intervene but were “pushed away numerous times by the angry male customer.” It doesn’t look that way in the video. In fact, the video shows almost no intervention whatsoever by any…

Spur people – with a taste for white male violence

We’ve all seen that video of a white man physically and verbally threatening black women and children at the Texamo Spur ranch at The Glen shopping centre. The whole country is rightfully horrified at this display of violence and aggression, but should we even be shocked? Black women and children encounter this violence on the regular, and white men get away with this behaviour every day. What makes white men respond to trivial issues in this manner? The Daily Vox spoke to Lebohang Mabuya, a 33-year-old nurse and the woman…

Writer Lidudumalingani Mqombothi on accessibility, writing, and film

Lidudumalingani Mqombothi is the current “cool kid” of South African literature. At least, he thinks so. He’s a writer, photographer, and filmmaker who won last year’s prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story, Memories We Lost. Time of the Writer 2017 featured Mqombothi, among other writers, to discuss the intersection between film and literature, and what the role of the writer and the written is in our world. The Daily Vox caught up with Mqombothi at the festival. On getting started in writing and…

The value of women’s labour: Being a writer, woman and mother in a patriarchal world

The third day of Time of the Writer was an explosion of literary magic as libraries and schools across Durban featured talented writers discussing their work. Thursday morning saw various panels at Durban’s Bayview Library, with schoolchildren and members of the public excited to witness the writers in their elements. The Daily Vox spoke to Megan Ross and Sibongile Fisher, who are both young mothers telling their stories through the written word. What does it mean to be a writer, as well as a young mother and young woman in…

Time of the Writer 2017: On the importance of being a reader

The first events of the Time of the Writer 2017 programme kicked off on Tuesday morning at the Mpumalanga library in Hammarsdale, KwaZulu-Natal, featuring Zakes Mda discussing his journey as an author. The talk included Nakanjani Sibiya and Sabata-Mpho Mokae speaking about language and literature, and Nigerian writer Folu Agoi speaking about his poetry and the process of writing. During the discussion of his journey as an author, Mda spoke about his childhood, growing up as the son of a man who was frequently arrested as…

Remembering the SS Mendi and Shaka the Great at Time of the Writer

The focus of Time of the Writer 2017 is on indigenous languages, the short story and the intersection of film and literature - and two other relevant topics. To kick off its second decade, the festival will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi, as well as the launch of Professor Mazisi Kunene’s poem Emperor Shaka the Great in its original isiZulu. Some changes have taken place between this year and last year, including the festival’s move from townships back to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre for…

20 years and more to come: the past paving the future of Time of the Writer

The Time of the Writer literary festival has entered its 20th year. Last year’s festival featured some of South Africa’s best writers gathered together to flourish under the theme of Decolonising the Book. This year it will continue to run a week-long programme featuring acclaimed writers, poets and academics discussing the theme of “The past paving the future”. The festival pays tribute to the centenary anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi, written about by Fred Khumalo in his featured novel, Dancing the Death Drill.…

No more playing games: five ways that South Africans can tackle xenophobia

This past Sunday saw the final match of the Social Cohesion Games in Soweto, launched in February by Gauteng Premier David Makhura. The tournament, played by football stars from all over the continent, was an attempt by the Gauteng Provincial Government to foster unity among residents in the wake of recent xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Discussing the role of sport in nation-building and social cohesion after 1994, Makhura said at the launch that “through these games, we intend to unite all Gauteng…

More rainfall doesn’t mean the drought is done with us

South Africa’s drought crisis is only getting worse, despite increased rainfall over the past month. Though rainfall provides relief during a drought, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is over, and the water and sanitation department has repeated that dam levels are still low. Though rainfall in the past month has helped the levels increase, it has not made enough of an impact to fill dams to required capacity. Why does the rain not mean the drought is over? Droughts can’t be broken by the occasional downpour, as water…

#SexistSA: “As a woman, l do not feel safe in everyday life”

Living in a patriarchal and toxic world forces women to adapt to and normalise the experience of sexual harassment in order to adequately function. Even when women report these incidents, often very little is done to help them or bring the assailants to justice. For most women, everyday sexism is a daily obstacle to living our lives the way we want to. The Daily Vox spoke to 32-year-old Tina Nyamatore about her experiences of sexual harassment. I often feel powerless against the threat of sexual harassment. It is unexpected,…

Understanding the political – and name – situation in The Gambia

This past week, the international community stood astonished as Donald Trump was officially inaugurated as US president, while the same country that elected him was overwhelmed with coast-to-coast protests against him. However, the rest of us ‘lesser’ nations received a pleasant surprise when The Gambia’s former president, Yahya Jammeh, was forced to step down after being democratically voted out in favour of Adama Barrow on 1 December 2016. Jammeh had initially refused to step down, clinging to the apron of power like a…

Ford SA recalls Kuga over a year after driver’s death

Ford South Africa has finally recalled the Kuga model after the spontaneous combustion of a number of the vehicles - placing the lives of drivers and passengers at risk - and the death of one driver, whose car caught alight while he was on holiday. Holidaymaker Reshall Jimmy burned to death in his Kuga in December 2015, but it has taken more than 40 cases that followed for Ford to make the decision to recall its cars. On Monday, 16 January, Ford South Africa’s CEO Jeff Nemeth stated there have been no injuries related to the…

Palestinian Authority denies Maimane planned to visit

The Palestinian embassy in South Africa has refuted the claim by opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), that its leader, Mmusi Maimane had planned trip to Palestine while visiting Israel, saying it only became aware of the visit through South African media. Last week, Maimane's spokesperson, Mabine Seabe, spoke to Redi Tlhabi on Radio 702, defending (or attempting to defend) the DA leader's decision to visit Israel and pose in that picture with the country’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.…

This is what we know about the South African photojournalist kidnapped in Syria

Johannesburg photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed has been kidnapped after trying to leave Syria through the Turkish border, with members of charity and aid group, Gift of the Givers. According to Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the organisation, Mohamed was taken away to an unknown location after being stopped on the road near the border by armed men on Tuesday, 10 January. The men removed Mohamed from the car at gunpoint after questioning the other members about his identity. They were blindfolded and driven to a different location…

Men are the cause of most accidents on our roads

During the festive season in South Africa, the number of road accidents spike tremendously, with fatalities escalating as well. Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said some days ago that there have been more than 800 road accident deaths since 1 December 2016, an increase of 17% to last year. The majority of these accidents were the result of human error, with jaywalking and speeding and drunk driving being among the main reasons. And this is an old story. For instance, in 2015, more than 700 people died on our roads during…

Media freedom for who? Democracy for what?

Democracies depend on the flow of information to the public. Every dystopian novel ever written has the censorship of information catalyse an eventual degradation of liberty and justice. Earlier this year, when SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng made the decision to censor footage that showed destruction of property, South Africa was outraged. It seemed inconceivable that a national broadcasting corporation could stop showing the public what was going on in their country. Court cases and protests by civil society and journalists…

Rhodes becomes the university currently brutalised by police

Students and police faced off at the university currently known as Rhodes (UCKAR) on Wednesday, resulting in arrests and allegations of police brutality. UCKAR is in the grips of shutdown with multiple demonstrations and marches on and off campus in recent days. The protests have largely been peaceful and disciplined, with tensions forming around the relations between students, university management and the SRC, who have not been leading the protests. The UCKAR shutdown has been organised by various student constituencies…

We can confirm: Lena Dunham IS white feminism

In a chat with standup-comedian Amy Schumer on 2 September, celebrity white feminist Lena Dunham spoke about a conversation she had with herself during an event she attended earlier this year. Yes. But it gets better. Dunham narrated to Schumer how she found herself sitting next to Odell Beckham Junior, an African-American NFL star, at the MET gala in May. She said Beckham sat right next to her the entire evening and didn’t say a word, actions which she interpreted as disinterest in her because she was not the hyper-feminine…