‘Planet Earth II’ balances wonder with grave warnings

Ten years after the breathtakingly beautiful Planet Earth, BBC Earth has brought its sequel to life, and it’s a series that, unlike its predecessor, disrupts the narrative of the so-called beauty of nature in the most subtle way possible. Beyond evoking a sense of awe and wonder, the most impact lies in Planet Earth II making the larger issues of conservation understandable. One sequence shows newly hatched turtles struggling to find their way to the sea because they are confused by the nearby glow of city lights. The…

An atheist fasts for Lent: Week 4 – Learning to have faith

Being atheist doesn’t come without difficulty. It’s like the choice to not have children, or to not get married - or anything that goes against any norm in society. I often get asked things like, “So what do you believe in?” or, “Surely you must believe in something greater?” Contrary to what it may seem, atheism is not the absence of belief; rather it is a rejection of theology as we know it. It’s basically the belief that humans do not need the structures of religion to instil goodness. Atheism is often mistaken to be a…

The day the music died: Whiteness has forgotten the black roots of rock music

Saturday was a bittersweet day as I saw legendary indie band Pixies perform in South Africa for the first time at Rock on the Lawns, and at the same time, the world also bid farewell to Chuck Berry - considerably the father, grandfather, and godfather of rock ‘n roll. Berry had his roots firmly planted in rhythm and blues but in his music, he refined and developed it into the magic that sets rock ‘n roll apart from other genres. His unparalleled style that included heavy guitar solos and flamboyant activity on stage, and the…

An atheist fasts for Lent – Week 3: The art of handling anger and failure

Today I got angry and I broke my fast. But looking at that empty jar of Nutella and knowing that I ate the entire thing doesn’t make my anger go away. It just made me high on a sugar rush and more annoyed at myself than anything. And it did make me realise that failure, no matter in what form it comes, can be a catalyst for success. Yes, I have failed in my attempt to give up sugar. However, instead of being ashamed, I am going to continue this fast, bar this one hiccup, and reflect on what made me open the jar in the first…

Powerful plea sent to Radiohead over Israel concert

A petition and video have emerged online asking British rock band Radiohead to cancel its concert tour to Israel. The Change.org petition, started by the Jewish Voice for Peace South Florida group, asks the band to cancel the tour in opposition to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. The petition reads: “Dear Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien & Philip Selway, We urge you to cancel your performance in Israel this summer in order to bring attention to the decades of suffering and oppression…

An atheist fasts for Lent: Week 2 – big returns on small sacrifices

My very first Lent, I thought it would be a cool idea to fast with my best friend, Greg. He loves coffee to the extent that his coffee machine means more to him than the kitchen in which it resides. He gave up coffee, so I gave up tea. It was difficult. What was more difficult was coming to terms with the broader understanding of sacrifice, and that’s something that has come with time. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ sacrificed himself to save the world from sin. Islam tells us that the Prophet Mohammed sacrificed his…

The orgasm gap is a subtle but powerful form of oppression

Gaps in equality have always been a problem. The gender pay gap, the gap between the rich and poor, and power gaps are decidedly terrible. But there is a lesser-known orgasm gap, which seemingly doesn’t actively seek to oppress women - but it exists. Mostly heterosexual men - the same type who harp on about the non-existent friendzone - assume that vaginal penetration alone can give a woman pleasure, but a recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, gives insight into just how bad the orgasm gap actually is.…

On-screen gay kiss shows 7de Laan is (very) slow on the uptake

Ring the alarms! Celebrate in the streets! Bring milk tart to the party! South Africa’s favourite Afrikaans soapie has finally shown a gay couple kiss on screen! Um, but didn’t Isidingo do this even before gay marriage was legal in South Africa? The popular series, which has been running for 17 years - the same amount of time as 7de Laan - even included a gay wedding just when the country achieved marriage equality back in 2006. Generations followed suit back in 2009. Hell, even Uzalo has an openly gay character. So no. This…

An atheist fasts for Lent – Week 1: Welcome to the Hunger Games

I’ve been fasting for Lent for 18 years. It started as a solidarity thing with my best friend, who has long since lapsed in his Catholicism. It was a time when I was exploring my own spirituality. I kept going, and it’s one of the few traditions I have maintained that reminds me that there is something greater than me. Not in the sense of God, or a supreme being of any kind. No. I am the furthest from that - atheist, in fact - and I have no intention of “finding God” or God finding me (that would be creepy). I mean in the…

NASA discovered a life-sustaining solar system and we’re super excited

Forget a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It’s happening right now and in a galaxy a mere 40 light years away. No, Independence Day isn’t coming true. Star Wars isn’t either. It’s TRAPPIST-1.  An entirely new solar system recently found by the big space guys we all want to be in the US. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. via GIPHY It’s not an entirely new find - the same researchers found the solar system last year, actually. But the…

Dear Qedani Mahlangu: what have you done to our people?

There’s an oppressive nature about the heat in Atteridgeville as we drive in on Wednesday afternoon. It’s dry and dense, and opening a window is like an assault on the lungs with the smell of decay mixed with fumes from broken-down taxis. As we walk into the yard of what used to be Precious Angels, a so-called NGO that housed former patients from Life Esidimeni, the rancid smell of death hangs in the air. This is the place where 20 patients reportedly died. Health ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba says the death toll of…

Why was Lemonade too bitter for the Grammys to take?

It was all very warm, fuzzy, and sweet when Adele apparently pulled a Mean Girls move on Queen Bey at the Grammys on Sunday night. In typical benevolent white lady fashion, she seemingly broke her trophy in two to give a piece to Beyoncé, who everyone - critics and musicians alike - thinks deserved the coveted award for Album of the Year. This included Adele herself. via GIPHY Adele spoke to the press after receiving the award and said: "I spoke to before just to let her know how honoured and privileged I felt to be…

Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean mental illness isn’t real

It was revealed last week that at least 94 mentally ill South Africans died under the state’s watch between March and December 2016. The number of deaths is shocking, and the circumstances in which they happened, most appalling. And yet, it is unsurprising, given how little attention is given to those with mental illnesses, and flawed public discourse remains on the issue. A disaster was only waiting to happen. According to Stats SA, only 0.4% of deaths in South Africa are as a result of mental illness - something that was…

Cages, coffins, petitions, and other fucked up shit black people deal with

Black people are used to getting the raw end of the deal. For centuries black and brown bodies have been beaten, lynched, arrested, tried, murdered, executed and more the world over. Whiteness has sought to crush the black soul, while cynically asked our bodies to stand up. And fight. So it’s neither new nor surprising when we see yet another crime inflicted upon a black person. But damn, Aaron. You guys really outdo yourselves sometimes. Shoving someone into a coffin and then disputing the level of sadism in your act?…

What people don’t tell you about the aftermath of sexual trauma

Trigger warning: This article contains references to rape and sexual violence There are many difficulties one goes through after a traumatic event. We hear all about these; the stages of grief,  decisions of whether to tell family, friends, police, and coworkers - or just your pet goldfish, if that’s the way you roll. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are well documented. But nobody mentions what you go through after the fact, when the family and friends go home, the case file is forgotten, and your…

Love in a time of white privilege

It was a dark and dreary day when I realised I loved you. Your unruly brown hair occasionally brushing over your eyelashes. Your piercing blue eyes looking straight into mine. I wanted to kiss you, but part of me held back. I knew I was looking at everything I wasn’t. You are what privilege looks like. I know recognising your privilege is difficult. Before this recent flood of black pain pouring out of every pore in our bodies translated to words in newspapers and hashtags, you’ve never had to acknowledge your privilege. The…

Ten things privileged kids will never understand

With recent dialogues circulating social spaces dealing with issues of privilege, Twitter users did not hold back in getting in on the action, creating the hashtag, #PrivilegedKids. The internet, being as brutal as it is, pointed out to all those kids out there who don’t understand what it’s like growing up and living without privilege. Not just the monetary kind, but all other types as well. So we at The Daily Vox have drawn up a pretty comprehensive list of things privileged kids will never understand. 1. Bucket baths Even…

Angel shots and Angela: The politics behind safety on dates

You might have seen adverts on social media calling for people (read: mainly women) on bad dates or unsafe situations to go to the bar and either “ask for Angela” or order an “angel shot” to signal the situation they’re in. In South Africa, Mail & Guardian’s Bhekisisa launched a cellphone app in Diepsloot to make it easier for victims of gender-based violence to know where to find help. All of this might seem all fine and well, but many critics say that the message - just like school sex education campaigns that tell…

Editorial: Misogyny, we are coming for you

We’ve been seeing people rant and moan all over the internet about what a terrible year 2016 was. And it’s not hard to see why. The few remaining rock stars died, the US decided to elect the most inconsiderate, reckless, and selfish human on the planet as its next president, and the people of Britain decided that they wanted to go it alone (never mind they still have their fingers all over the globe). Not to forget that goddamn gorilla. For many, it was seen as the year from hell. And although someone changed the Hollywood…