Whatsapp encryption doesn’t protect you from everything

Even though the FBI finally managed to crack into the iPhone of the San Bernardino killer without help from Apple, the battle over protecting our personal information from third parties has only just begun. On April 5, Whatsapp fired a massive shot in that battle and rolled out end-to-end encryption for all its 1 billion users. But what does that actually mean for you? STUART LEWIS spoke to some experts to find out. Ever since the dawn of the information age, people have been worried about their personal information being…

The mining company behind the Xolobeni conflict has a history of dodgy dealings

The killing of Amadiba Crisis Committee chairperson, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe has placed an Australian mining company and a longstanding mining conflict in the limelight. STUART LEWIS reports that the conflict has a long, violent history and a number of unsavoury players. On the night of 22 March, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe opened his front door for two men who claimed to be police officers. The men had arrived in a white VW Polo with a blue rotating light on its roof. They shot Rhadebe at least eight times in front of his…

Niq Mhlongo on the difficulties of getting black stories published

NIQ MHLONGO is at Time of the Writer 2016 launching his new collection of short stories "Affluenza". He has previously published three novels and been called "one of the most high-spirited and irreverent new voices of South Africa's post-apartheid literary scene" by the New York Times. He spoke to Dana da Silva about his new book and the difficulties of getting black stories published in South Africa. The festival is going well. I’m enjoying it. It’s a new, exciting programme and looks new in a positive way. The theme is…

Eight Books to help you understand what’s up with Palestine and Israel

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has quite generated an incredible amount of literature and if you’re new to the history, it can be difficult to figure out where on earth to start reading. STUART LEWIS has put together a list of eight books that can help you understand what exactly is going on in the Holy Land. 1. A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Mark Tessler (1994) Mark Tessler’s extensive history is predicated on the idea that the contest over land between Palestinian Arabs and Zionist Jews has always been…

I am Malawian who lived in Palestine (and loved it)

SHASSY CHASOWA is a Malawian who moved to Palestine in 2007 after their father got a job in East Jerusalem. The family lived there for three years before they moved to South Africa, while Chasowa moved to England. Stuart Lewis sat down with them to find out what it’s like to be a black African in the middle of the Israel-Palestine conflict. I am pro-Palestinian (this doesn't mean I am anti-Israel). I believe that every being should have a right to live and those in "power" - locking families, towns, villages into small…

The price of sanitary pads is a tax on womanhood

If you happen to own a uterus or have ever been shopping for someone who does, then you’ve no doubt noticed how ridiculously expensive pads and tampons actually are. These are crucial products that many people depend on at least once a month but, thanks to what is known as the tampon tax, are priced through the roof. In South Africa, it is estimated  that around 7 million girls miss school each month because of menstruation. Writing  in 2011, Jen Thorpe calculated to cost of menstuation in South Africa like this: "In her…

5 things apartheid South Africa’s leaders had to say about Israel

Anyone interested in Israel-Palestine will know that pro-Palestine activists have been comparing the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank to apartheid South Africa for many years now. What you may not know is just how cozy the governments of both states actually were, with Israel even nearly selling  nuclear bombs to South Africa. STUART LEWIS rounds up five things the minds behind apartheid South Africa said about Israel. 1) Prime Minister Jan Smuts addressing the Jewish community in South Africa (organised by the…

Why Cell C is fighting for unregulated over-the-top services

Before last week’s parliamentary portfolio committee meetings on over-the-top (OTT) services regulation, Cell C released a statement by its CEO Jose dos Santos that said that “Vodacom and MTN have declared war on consumer interests” in a bid to maintain “their stranglehold on a vital artery feeding ’s economic and social future”. But why is Cell C alone among the major networks on the side of unregulated OTTs? STUART LEWIS tries to figure it out. Founded in 2001, seven years after its two biggest competitors, Cell C is still…

South Africa isn’t alone in feeling the wrath of El Niño

South Africa is in the middle of its worst drought since 1982, millions of households are facing water shortages and the cost of basic food staples like maize meal has shot through the roof. Extreme weather phenomenon El Niño has returned with a vengeance and we aren’t the only country feeling its effects. STUART LEWIS rounds up five other places dealing with the effects of El Niño. El Niño is an extreme weather phenomenon that occurs regularly every couple of years. Some of the worst El Niños on record have also coincided…

Surviving on the margins and “disturbing the robots”

If you’ve ever been to Rosebank, chances are you’ve driven past TELMORE MASANGUDZA, PETER KAZOWA and the display of beaded artworks they’ve sold at the corner of Jan Smuts Ave and Bolton Road for the last ten years. Stuart Lewis spoke to the two Zimbabwean artists about the falling rand, rising inequality and surviving harassment by the Metro police. Telmore Masangudza (38) and Peter Kazowa (39) met in school back in their native Zimbabwe and have been friends ever since. While still students, they learned to make sculptures…

Over-the-top service regulation could hurt South African consumers

On Tuesday, the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services will be holding hearings on the possible regulation of over-the-top (OTT) services. But what are OTT services, how do they affect the average South African consumer, and should we be worried? STUART LEWIS explores. Most South Africans who buy a cellphone expect to be able to make use of services like Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter on their devices. Now, with the number of mobile users of these services continuing to grow and steadily…