Originally published in The Kalahari Review (June 2018) “Why don’t South Africans read fiction?” Greg says. He presses his fists into his eyes and groans theatrically so Thapelo knows he is joking, sort of. He already regrets saying it. Generalisations are so obviously untrue (not all South Africans, obviously), but how can he speak without … Continue reading Why Don’t South Africans Read Fiction?
Originally published in Penny (September 2017) Nombulelo watches the darkness. Hours pass before insipid winter sunlight sneaks in between the sheet-metal walls of her shack. Ma’Khumalo said old people don’t need much sleep but if that were the case, why is Nombulelo always so tired? Ma’Khumalo says a lot of stupid things like that. When … Continue reading The King of the Jungle
Mambaonline | 2 September 2015 I’m usually a reluctant and late follower of fashion trends. I remember thinking the cardigan would never catch on again, and I held on to my silver sneakers for much longer than was acceptable. I can never predict, despite six years among the hipsters of Cape Town, what the next big … Continue reading The rise of the bears
Marklives | 11 August 2015 In our globalized world countries and cities compete in an almost-open market for investment and tourism. That makes it as important for them to have coherent and compelling brands as it is in the private sector. But South African cities are struggling to define their brands, pulled as they are between wanting … Continue reading On “world-class” cities and exclusivity
Marklives | 28 July 2015 The Castle Lager ads of the 1990s put forward a vision of South Africa that was far removed from the lived reality of most South Africans then. That kind of footage seems cheesy and cliched now, but seeing a genuinely and happily multi-racial society back then must have seemed like looking into … Continue reading Should brands lead or mimic social norms?
Mambaonline | 27 July 2015 I have disliked dogs, quite intensely, for most of my life. They smell. They have no sense of personal space. Their movements are startling, confusing and sometimes scary. They feel no shame about their bodily functions. While I don’t really feel any compulsion to have a cat in my space either, … Continue reading Congrats! It’s a fur baby
Marklives | 2 June 2015 “A customer that complains is a good customer,” said an entrepreneur while explaining his business idea to me recently. It’s definitely the right attitude to have, and an attitude that would do our politics a huge amount of good. South Africans don’t change their votes much. In the five general elections … Continue reading The gift of protest
Marklives | 26 March 2015 Where does #RhodesMustFall leave heritage brands? Mass protests, a social media storm and the occupation of the administration building have pushed UCT’s transformation record into the national spotlight, throwing up some interesting questions for heritage brands. What do you do if you were the favourite brand of an old generation of … Continue reading Whose heritage is it, anyway?
MarkLives | 3 November 2014 When Vermont legalised same-sex marriage, US ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s celebrated by renaming one of its flavours “Hubby Hubby” with an illustration of two grooms on the tub. A few years later, in support of same-sex marriage in the UK, it changed its “Oh my! Apple pie!” flavour … Continue reading Everything’s Political
MarkLives | 12 August 2014 An obvious marketing objective of the Democratic Alliance is to shift perceptions around race. With a disproportionately high number of white supporters, the DA has long suffered from the ANC pigeonholing it as a party “for whites”. As the marketing wisdom goes, if you fail to position your brand, the … Continue reading Fighting to get noticed