Archive for March, 2008

Review: HIV/AIDS: A Very Short Intro

March 24, 2008

Book Review
HIV/AIDS: A Very Short Introduction by Alan Whiteside
Oxford University Press 2008

Reviewed by Shafinaaz Hassim

AIDS is already having a devastating impact on some countries. In Swaziland, the chance of a 15-year-old boy living to 50 years is 28%, for a girl it is just 22%. Before AIDS, it was 92% and 97% respectively. The UNDP estimated 2004 life expectancy in Botswana to be 34.9 years. Populations in some African countries are projected to decline. Reversing life expectancies and falling populations are events unknown in the past 200 years. Economists question whether economic growth is possible in these circumstances; sociologists and political scientists have not begun to consider the ramifications (Whiteside, 2008, p125)



Works such as these will seek, no doubt, to engage the readership in much debate around a topic that vilifies people. Most are afraid more of what is not known to them.

There still exists a kind of veil over the issue of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases in general. And this may prove to be a contender for writings that reveal, without prejudice, the serious nature of understanding the dynamic of the epidemic.

Whiteside believes that HIV/AIDS will reveal itself to be a narrative for the history books in time to come, just as long as we look to the past for templates as to how previous epidemics were obliterated.

The HIV/AIDS VSI successfully reveals and interrogates the impact that the pandemic has had on people around the world, and the blurb identifies that this thought-provoking and at times polemic book explores how we can and must respond. That it manages to do so in a scientific, yet concise and easy-to-read manner is what makes the VSI range both popular and necessary as pocket-friendly sources of knowledge.


Slice of Life by Quraisha Daya

March 13, 2008

Running on empty? God Bless Neo-liberalism

March 13, 2008


Running on empty? God Bless Neo-liberalism
            by Shafinaaz Hassim


A little over a decade ago, various media voiced the concerns of critics about the state’s decision to adopt neo-liberal policies. While debates have raged throughout this time, dissident voice was, for the most part, hushed as mere skepticism.  

They said it would make us richer.

Now, as we watch our little house of cards slowly tumbling over, one can only wonder about these shortsighted urges to follow so-called global trends.

The evidence is exhausting.



Interview: World Class Cities for all Campaign (WCCA)

March 13, 2008

”Claim no easy victories and tell no lies. Give them practical alternatives”
        by Azad Essa

Is 2010 all about stadiums?

March 13, 2008


Is 2010 all about the stadiums?

by Siyanda Nombika

Reflections on the Tyre Industry Strike

March 12, 2008


Workers still count: reflections on the 2007 Tyre Industry Strike

by Sithembiso Bhengu

Racism illustrates warped power dynamics

March 12, 2008

Racism illustrates warped power dynamics

    by Patrick Craven