Being There

She was a skydiver. On Sunday, June 22nd, 2003, Elna Botha of Melville, Johannesurg, struggled to open her reserve parachute until about 100 feet above the ground. She hit the ground very hard and died on impact. Elle was one of my best friends. I was standing on the ground looking up at the sky when it happened. I saw her cut away her malfunctioning main parachute, and watched that canopy as it drifted down. When I looked back up for the standard white reserve, the sky was empty.

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Other Wars

I have stopped turning on the television news and started reading more press outside of the mainstream. Escaping incessant coverage of one war and its aftermath only leads to a gruesome kind of variety: the world is full of sideshow conflicts. Many of them rage in Africa, under the radar of international coverage or even humanitarian aid. It becomes difficult when living, as Rian Malan has written, in “a doomed city on a damned continent”, not to see the rhetoric of the Iraq war from all sides as somehow hypocritical by omission.

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