Blessings: On your head and in other places

WHO CAN EVER pooh-pooh the pathos and tragedy of Tevye the dairyman? Living in a small shtetl in an Eastern European place called Anatevka, which is threatened by rising anti-Semitism, this character, penned by the inimitable Sholem Aleichem from 1894 is the profoundly religious father of five feisty […]

Men who are worth your tears

HE COMES INTO the 60th birthday party of his sister Solange, like a violent bull in a proverbial China shop, armed with a gift everyone knows he could not afford. The guests fear and hate him. He has an aggressive almost non-verbal approach which prickles your empathy. This […]

Greta’s value

THE STORY (SO far) of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg is biblical in its hugeness and in the power that the voice of a youngster can have on how the world turns. On paper, Nathan Grossman’s I am Greta could be the biggest jewel in the crown of this […]

Ground control to astro mom

WHAT DO YOU tell your small daughter when you are a brilliant engineer and astronaut, and the opportunity of a lifetime comes your way? Of course, being the mother (not father) to said eight-year-old, throws the whole monster of generations of sexism to the fore. This is what […]

Holy lies, cold truths and black bread

It is 1948 and Lithuania is caught between the tail end of Hitler’s cruelty and the as yet unrevealed horror Stalin’s slippery promises. Unte (Marius Povlias Elijas Martynenko), with his sultry, almost androgynous yet somewhat mongoloid features is the ponderously gentle central protagonist. He’s a son, yet not […]

RIP Queen Linda the Only

THE IDEA OF writing a conventional tribute to Linda Givon, the founder of the Goodman Gallery, who died suddenly on 5 October 2020, at 84, seems trite. This is because she was much more than the pedestrian sum of her parts. She was born, educated, married, divorced, widowed. […]

Bertrams: A love song in academia

PICTURE THE SCENARIO. We’re in the Johannesburg suburb of Bertrams with all its broken dreams, building repair sites and street-based hawkers. It’s Septemberish in 2016. The air is hazy with pollen, but complicated with the excitement of a new entity. And a bunch of people, some of whom […]