Citizen.Speak.Amplify

Why Your Veganism Must Be Intersectional

Let’s talk food. No matter which angle we come at it from: food is political. The way the food you eat is produced, controlled, regulated, inspected, distributed, and consumed has to do with systems of power and systems of oppression. Veganism claims to recognise this - but falls short. Before we confuse being plant-based and being vegan, let’s start with semantics. Veganism and a plant-based diet are often used interchangeably but the two are very different. Veganism is a political choice, and a plant-based diet is a health…

5 Memorable Moments From Malusi Gigaba

It’s just another day of South African politics: the (now former) home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba has finally caved to the pressure from President Cyril Ramaphosa and quit his job... Gigaba has not resigned from his position as a member of parliament though. “Minister Gigaba indicated in his letter of resignation that he was stepping aside for the sake of our country and the movement to which he belongs,” the Presidency said in a statement. The president has asked transport minister Blade Nzimande to step in for Gigaba…

The Kendal Power Station Is Poisoning The Air We Breathe

A plume of thick grey smoke hangs over the Kendal power station, situated 40 km west of Witbank in Mpumalanga. (And about 110 km east of Johannesburg.) A report by Greenpeace released in October found that the Mpumalanga province has the highest levels of air pollution in the world, topping nitrogen dioxide levels across six continents. Greenpeace says the biggest sources of air pollution in the province are coal mines, transport and Eskom’s coal-fired power stations. Kendal is one of them. Thousands of tons of ash is being…

Your Palm Oil Consumption Is Killing Orangutans

This weekend a heartrending video that showed how palm oil growers wreak destruction on a baby orangutan’s rainforest habitat went viral on social media. The video - a repackage of a Greenpeace short film - was to be used by Icelandic supermarket Iceland Foods as it’s Christmas advert but was banned for being ‘too political’.  You won’t see our Christmas advert on TV this year, because it was banned. But we want to share Rang-tan’s story with you… 🎄 🐒 Will you help us share the story?https://t.co/P8H61t6lWu — Iceland Foods…

Sisonke Msimang Gives Winnie Madikizela-Mandela The Complexity She Deserves

When Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away on 2 April this year we, as South Africans, didn’t quite know what to do with her legacy. Opinion was polarised. There were those who wanted Mama Winnie to atone for the dark events that she had a hand in in the 80s. Others had loved and admired up until that point where they believed she had lost her way. Then there was the youth who were determined to uphold her as a hero of the apartheid struggle who never sold out. It is from the juncture that writer and social commentator…

How Iran Discriminates Against The Baha’i Minority

On 2 November international civil society alliance Civicus hosted an event that showcased the persecution faced by the Baha’i people by the Islamic theocracy in Iran. The event hosted IranWire citizen journalist Saleem Vaillancourt, Wits University law professor Salim Nakhjavani and director of the office of public affairs of the Baha’i community in South Africa, Peter Mputle. It featured a showing of the IranWire documentary The Cost Of Discrimination which parallels the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran with apartheid in…

Global Solidarity For Writer Barred Entry To Palestinian Literary Festival

Writers have expressed solidarity with prominent Palestinian-American writer Susan Abulhawa who was detained and then deported by Israel. Israel blocked the writer from attending the Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival held in her homeland of occupied East Jerusalem.  Abulhawa is a renowned literary voice and has penned the books The Blue Between Sky and Water and Mornings In Jenin which tell of life under occupied Palestine. She was expected to attend the Festival, sponsored in part by the British Council, which took…

The Oral Tradition Behind South African Names

Phumzile Simelane Kalumba first started considering the significance of names when she had to name her own children. She and her husband considered the tradition, meaning, and importance of a name both for the name giver and the name bearer. Kalumba started writing a list of names and their meanings when she was expecting her firstborn in Uganda. That list of names evolved into her book called Jabulani Means Rejoice: a dictionary of hundreds of African names in local South African languages, carefully collected, curated and…

Johannesburg Teachers Tired Of ‘Cash For Post’ Corruption

Teachers from a school in the far north of Johannesburg say they are tired of the corruption in the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE). The teachers allege that the ‘cash for posts’ scandal, where teachers have to pay bribes for entry-level and promotional posts, is ongoing. The Daily Vox met with the teachers Jabulani Nkosi*, Phumzile Manyisa*, and Thulani Bhengu* to hear their grievances. Both district officials and school governing bodies (SGB) are involved in the appointment process. Posts are advertised within the…

Mohammed Tamimi’s Father: ‘We Thought He Was Going To Die’

Fadel Tamimi thrusts his smartphone into my face to show me a gory video of doctors removing a bullet from his 15-year-old son’s head. The rubber-coated metal bullet was lodged in Mohammed Tamimi’s skull after an Israeli soldier shot him in the face from close range in December 2017. The video is incredibly jarring. Despite my discomfort, I am unable to look away from the tiny screen. Around us, the Sandton MediClinic smells strongly of disinfectant. It’s midday on a Wednesday, and the clinic abuzz with activity: cleaners…

Why You’re Paying So Much For Books In South Africa

Walk into any bookstore and expect to pay anything from R150 to R1500 for book. But why are books so expensive, or are they not that expensive in comparison to other things? We asked publishers. Are books expensive in South Africa? “The first thing I would like to say is when one asks why books are so expensive is: in comparison to what?” publishing director of Jonathan Ball Publishers Jeremy Boraine said. “Many things are expensive,” he added. In comparison to the amount of money people spend on cell phones, or…

5 Ways The Twilight Film Could Have Lived Up To Our Expectations

Let’s start with a disclaimer: I was a real Twihard. If there was one book series that defined the angst of my teen years, it’s Twilight. I adored Stephenie Meyer’s books: about an awkward teenager falling in love with a vampire and being swept up in the romance and fantasy. (When I grew up I noticed the more problematic elements about the story, but I digress). The same cannot be said of the films, which were quite awful. On the 10th anniversary of the Twilight film, here are five ways it could have been more enjoyable. Get…

Raashida Khan Takes On ‘No-Go’ Areas In The SA Indian Muslim Community

South African Indian Muslims are a conservative bunch: there are some topics that are just not spoken about. So you can imagine the furore expected with Raashida Khan’s debut novel Mirror Cracked: which tackles themes of homosexuality, infidelity, and mental health. Mirror Cracked follows the lives of three Muslim people living in apartheid South Africa and how their lives are entangled. Khan - who also writes poetry, short stories - won the Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Award for her debut novel. The Daily Vox caught up with…

The Dove Self-Esteem Project Has Launched In South Africa

Too fat, too skinny, too dark, too light, too short, too tall: everyone has insecurities about themselves that they carry from their childhood. The Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP) wants to change that by helping  young people, especially girls, develop a positive relationship with how they look. It has reached over 20 million young people globally, and launched in South Africa on October 19 in partnership with the Department of Basic Education. Through the DSEP, free and accredited educational tools and resources that…

Ubumbano Wants To Empower Communities To Tell Their Own Stories

Your smartphone is a powerful tool. It is a basis of a terrible inequality, and one of the reasons that the Democratic Republic of Congo - and various countries in Africa - suffer disruptions. But it can also be used as a tool for change. ACT Ubumbano wants to empower communities to use their smartphones to tell their stories and empower themselves. ACT Ubumbano is an organising tool and enables users to post stories about their communities on it. It was designed to help highlight community struggles and allow communities to…

The Support For Mcebo Dlamini’s Youth League Candidacy Is Gendered

Former Fees Must Fall (FMF) activist and student leader Mcebo Dlamini will contest for the position of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) presidency this weekend. While students support his contestation, political analyst Dr Sithembile Mbete says the support of Dlamini is gendered. Decked out in ANC regalia, Dlamini confirmed his candidacy in an interview with eNCA on October 14. He said he had been approached by various ANC structures to contest for the position and will defer his dreams of becoming an advocate…

FMF Leaders Question The Ethics Of Fasiha Hassan Accepting International Peace Award

Former student leader and current member of African National Congress (ANC) communication team Fasiha Hassan has been awarded the Student Peace Prize (SPP) for her work in the Fees Must Fall (FMF) movement. Norwegian students awarded Hassan the SPP on Tuesday for her “nonviolent efforts towards gaining equal access to higher education and her leading role in the movement #FeesMustFall in South Africa.” 

SA’s Obesity Rates Are Among The Highest In Africa. Here’s Why.

Almost 70% of South African women are either overweight or obese, the highest rates for women in Africa. Among South African men, 31% are overweight or obese. Obesity is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as having abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. This is according to the 2016 South Africa Demographic and Health Survey (SADHS) and is based on the body mass index (BMI) score. BMI is calculated as a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of their height (in…

Lancet Commission Report Shows Young People Suffer The Most With Mental Health

Mental illness is rising in every country in the world - especially among young people - and will cost the global economy $16 trillion (around R235 trillion) by 2030. There has been a collective failure to respond to the global health crisis which is causing long-lasting and preventable harm to people, communities and economies. This is according to a new Lancet Commission report on mental health, which was launched in London by the UK Department of Health on October 10, World Mental Health Day. The 46-page report outlines a…

Here’s Why You’re Paying So Much For Petrol

These days, it seems like every conversation is peppered with complaints about the rising petrol price. And legitimately so. October has been a particularly awful month for the petrol prices. At the beginning of the month, both grades of petrol, 93 and 95 (unleaded petrol and lead-replacement petrol), increased by 99 cents and 100 cents a litre (c/l) respectively. This means Gauteng residents pay R17.08 c/l for 95 unleaded petrol and those at the coast pay R16.49 c/l. It’s a lot. But why is petrol so expensive? We break it…