Paired Reading: Refugees and Displaced Persons in Africa

While on holiday in Zambia I read two absolutely breathtaking books. I bought both of these books myself and was not asked to review them, but I feel the need to share them with everyone.

A prelude: The number of displaced persons in Africa is huge. We have many refugees and many internally displaced persons and in South Africa, the supposed land of milk and honey, many foreigners have been victims of xenophobia. This year especially has seen flares in violence against persons perceived to be foreigners There are a lot of politics underlying the whole story, and it’s not something I necessarily understand well enough to explain in simple terms, but it is tangible in this land.

Abandoned Somali shop, Makause, East Rand. By Richard Poplak. Click for link.
Abandoned Somali shop, Makause, East Rand. By Richard Poplak. Click for link.

Continue reading “Paired Reading: Refugees and Displaced Persons in Africa”

A Story of a Statue

It’s a pretty bad time to be a statue in South Africa. If you’re not from here, a quick run-through: at the University of Cape Town, students have successfully petitioned (to put it mildly) the University Council to remove a statue of Cecil John Rhodes on their campus. Not long after that, a statue of Paul Kruger was vandalised, as well as a memorial for the animals that served and died in the Second South African War.

Click image for reference.

I haven’t really said much about the saga because I can understand, to some extent, the people on all sides of the argument. I did not attend UCT and I feel no particular loyalty to Rhodes. I don’t feel particular affinity for Kruger, either. And animals are awesome, but the real reason I feel strongly about statues being vandalised is because I believe in history. Continue reading “A Story of a Statue”

Ten Things I’d Like To Say To Capetonian Drivers

Due to my lack of foresight (or bravery), I haven’t had my driver’s license for very long, and I would never claim to be a fantastic driver. But I can drive, and I abide by the road rules (usually…) and I do have a bit of road rage. As in, I like shouting into the empty void while driving. [I don’t hoot. I don’t want to get shot at or anything.]

Most of the driving I’ve done has been in Cape Town*, and MAN, do these drivers annoy me sometimes! I feel like I need to install an LED-message bar on my bumper so that I can choose any of a select few messages to convey to fellow drivers. Heh.


Have you driven in Cape Town proper recently? So much traffic, so many cars, so little damn parking. (I’m sure the air pollution isn’t so great either.) Trains may not always be reliable, but there’s the MyCiti system now. C’mon people: it’s affordable and fast and awesome.

Continue reading “Ten Things I’d Like To Say To Capetonian Drivers”

Elective Extravaganza! Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine, Cape Town

It’s alive! (This feature, that is.) Today I chat to Inutti McApple (nickname) about her fifth year elective in Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine, which I know next to nothing about. Inutti is now a final year student at Stellenbosch University and set to start internship in January! I’ll give the rest over to her.

elective diving Continue reading “Elective Extravaganza! Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine, Cape Town”


This will be quick because I have my Paediatric cases tomorrow and I am far from ready. Last night I had the fantastic opportunity to attend an event hosted by the Open Book Festival in Cape Town, where CityPress editor Ferial Haffajee intereviewed Maria Phalime. In case your memory fails you, Phalime wrote Postmortem: The Doctor Who Walked Away, which I reviewed here.

Phalime was kind enough to offer the Safe Working Hours for Junior Doctors group some tickets to her talk, and I was one of the lucky people to grab one. (If you’re interested in the campaign, we still need more signatures! We hope to reach at least 2000 before taking it to Minister Motsoaledi. The petition is here and the Facebook page here.) Continue reading “I MET MARIA PHALIME! *fangirls*”

Mitchells Plain Diaries

This is a recipe for a Township on the Cape Flats:

1. Take one medium-sized residential zone.

2. Pre-heat to levels of Rage and Discontent, using a Past like Apartheid.

3. Grease the pan with a good measure of Hope by Changing Living Standards. If this is unavailable, Promising Change is a good substitute.

welcometomitchellsplain4. Combine the following: Continue reading “Mitchells Plain Diaries”

Book Review: Moxyland by Lauren Beukes

I don’t really know how to describe Moxyland. It is Science Fiction set in Cape Town, and has FOUR POVs – an art-school drop-out, and activist, an “Aidsbaby” climbing the corporate ladder and a Vlogger/Gamer (basically). Don’t run away from the multiple POVs though, I thought it was quite well done. One can clearly tell the difference between characters, unlike some other books (like The Scorpio Races) where it was easy to get confused between the narrators.

The South Africa in Moxyland is basically a police state that favours big corporations. Technology is everything, and your cellphone determines your level of access. Thus, the homeless without cell phones truly are entirely disenfranchised. Continue reading “Book Review: Moxyland by Lauren Beukes”

Elective Extravaganza: Plastic Surgery in CPT

Electives are an integral part of medical education, but choosing and organising an elective can be a major source of stress for students. For this reason I am doing a series on electives of various specialties and cities. (Technically, this series began more than a year ago with Nabeela’s post). If you are student in healthcare and would like to do a guest post about your elective, feel free to contact me. 

Today I am so excited to talk to Lin, a South African medical student about to enter her sixth year. She did her elective in Plastic Surgery in public and private hospitals in Cape Town. Her school allows a four week elective period at the end of the fourth year and the middle of fifth year, and she has also had an elective in Radiology. Lin is a sparkling personality who is incredibly passionate about every rotation, and I am so honoured that she agreed to this post!

elective extravaganza Continue reading “Elective Extravaganza: Plastic Surgery in CPT”

Africa Needs More Books

I was walking through my home suburb (read:village) with my brother the other day. We went to the local library, sampled some books (slim pickings) and as we walked home, I asked about such-and-such a bookshop, and such-and-such a used bookshop. They were all closed down. Anyone wanting to purchase books needs to go to town (literally). A town which, incidentally, has only generic chain bookshops.

And I said to my brother, “This place needs more bookstores.”

And then, “Our country needs more bookstores.”

And then, “Africa needs more bookstores.”

morebookstores3 Continue reading “Africa Needs More Books”

African Penguin Awareness Day: Boulder’s Beach, South Africa

Penguins are one of my favourite animals (I also like geckos, and giraffes, among others). The boy made me get up super early yesterday morning to go to the Boulder’s Beach Penguin Colony. I was annoyed, because I really wanted to sleep more, but what a good day we (he) chose to go.

When we got there early it was really quiet and we got some good face time with the penguins. They are not domesticated, but they are very curious, and would prance around for us and sometimes even came quite close to us. I just wanted to cuddle them. But they’re an endangered species so I would probably get fined for that, heh.

Image courtesy of The Boy

Continue reading “African Penguin Awareness Day: Boulder’s Beach, South Africa”