Chris Waldburger

Author Archives: Chris Waldburger

Putting the ‘Radical’ into Economic Transformation

Not many people know what the word ‘radical’ really means.

When politicians speak about radical economic transformation (or RET for short), they generally mean, depending on their point of view, violent, militant, extreme, or just plain awesome economic transformation. But what does the word truly mean?

Radical comes from the same word as ‘radish’ – the Latin word ‘radix’, which means ‘root’.

Therefore, radical economic transformation should really mean transformation that gets to the root of our problems. And that would therefore imply a kind of shared agreement about what the root of our problems is.

Of course, the proponents of RET have a simple answer for this – colonialism, which to them was the political expression of the evils of capitalism. And so the solution is obvious. End capitalism. Nationalise banks, mines, land. Let the government run it for the good of the people. Continue reading

The Two Greatest Films of All Time?

The two most critically acclaimed films of all time are both about the same thing – love, and how to destroy it in the modern world…

background film wallpaper vertigo movie

For decades, critics and academics have all agreed that when it comes to the art of cinema, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941), in its storytelling and filmic innovation, its sympathetic and withering critique of a semi-fictional American tycoon, is the pinnacle and benchmark of the entire art form.

Yet as the critics, notably the British and American Film Institutes, released their annual lists of the ‘greatest films of all time’, one film kept rising in their esteem, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958). Continue reading

Another Time, Another Place… Another Country, Another State of Grace

In order to understand the South Africa of today, and still live with hope, we must understand at least some of the past – its history and its great literature and ideals…

In the fifth century, Rome was sacked by pagan Goths.

This left the Christian world in deep shock. After having been mercilessly persecuted by the Empire in the early days, by some mystical fashion, the Emperor Constantine had been converted in a dream and had legalised the Christian religion. And there was an end to the constant bloodshed.

Despite the attempt of Julian the Apostate Emperor to re-paganise Rome, the march of Christianity continued, and Rome became the centre of the Church – the place of Peter and Paul’s martyrdom, and thus the home of their successors, the Popes.

But then it fell apart. Constantine moved the Empire to the East – to Byzantium which became Constantinople, and is now Istanbul in Turkey. Rome’s power weakened, and eventually it was conquered and the old Empire of the West fell.

What was the point of being Christian if God’s city on earth could be overwhelmed by brutal power from the north? Many people despaired. Continue reading

The Attack on Helen Zille is Embarrassing

Identity politics and outrage culture are poisoning our country.

Everybody laughs when Robert Mugabe blames his country’s woes on Britain and imperialism. That should scare the hell out of South Africans busy fuming at Helen Zille’s innocuous tweeting.

Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape, recently travelled to Singapore and was perhaps a little bit over-eager to share the obvious lessons you can draw from one the great post-colonial success stories.

Singapore is a tiny little island country with no natural resources that after decades of colonisation and brutal World War II occupation resisted the surging Communism of the region to become a safe, rich, and stable first world country. Continue reading

The Tragedy of Dan Vickerman

What happens to a sports hero when the crowds go home?

Have you ever spent extended time with family and friends and then suddenly you were on your own again, doing mundane things? What did it feel like – that jolt from a kind of elevated communion to sudden quiet?

I think a neglected truth about being human is that we actually battle with transitions.

A few years back, I had two children, moved house four times, changed jobs twice, moved provinces, all in the space of just over two years. In the midst of this, I also had gunmen in my house.

Months later, I was burnt out.

Psychologists say even if we go through a multitude of good or even great life events, too many in too short a space of time will cause major stress in your life. Continue reading

Finding Love in a Romantic Age

Never in the history of humanity has romantic love been so celebrated. But what if all the romance on sale this week clouds a basic and vital truth – in a tragic world, love is meant to be something deeper than happiness and the fulfillment of desire.

When I teach poetry, I’m often struck by how unromantic the Romantic poets were. Most of the time their poems are really just about wandering off to nature and forgetting about everybody else. There is very little mentioned about the actual nitty gritty of love, marriage or raising a family.

Yet they still cast a long shadow over the way we view love in the modern age.

The idea that human beings are constantly filled with majestic desire that must be fulfilled – that a perfect world awaits if we just have the courage to begin it again according to the wonders of our imagination – these are all ideas given to us by the age of Romanticism in the early 19th century.

Suffice to say, I can’t think of one of the Romantic poets who had a happy marriage. Most of them treated women pretty badly – even while they were adored by women.

Rather, if you trace their ideas all the way to the 20th century you can find their ideas lurking behind the social devastation given to us by the concepts of Free Love and no-contest divorce. If our desires are always noble, then nothing should stand in their way.

This is all obviously fairly ironic when you consider how so many people today thirst for more romance in their lives. Continue reading

No borders; no nations?

My generation will have to decide what a country is for…

Recently a group of students at the Berkeley division of the University of California started rioting in protest against a public speech on campus due to be given by pro-Trump journalist, the provocative and very strange Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News.

He was unable to give his speech and now much controversy ensues about the ideal of free speech at academic institutions.

But one chant from the protestors really got me thinking: “No borders, no nations, f–k deportations!” Continue reading

The Top 8 South African Songs of All Time

There is such a thing as a South African sound – indefinable, tragic, with a hint of glory.

Growing up in the ’90s, most South African bands were trying to sound like Nirvana. In short, they were terrible. I gave up on South African music. In my little corner, it seemed there was no swing, no roll with the rock.

Last year, I went back in time and listened to more South African music, and gradually I felt like I got a sense, a taste, of a certain sound characteristic of South African music Continue reading