originally in Botsotso, no. 16 Velislav Milov started his own religion on the first day of March. Of course he never planned such a preposterous thing. It happened in a fit of pique.  Nevertheless, the signs were there to see. A stomach bug two days earlier all but forced a fast upon Milov. The night before that, there’d been a truly terrible storm, his dogs pissing themselves as thunder banged and rolled. Sitting on his balcony on the first day of March, the wood still soggy after the deluge, Milov pondered the state of his life. He was sixty-six and the first year of his retirement was a disappointment. His health was failing. All the fantasies he had stored up, hoping to act upon at this stage of life, fantasies cherished, taken out from time to time during a working day, like a matchbox car still in its cellophane covering, excitedly considered from all angles, these …

The Life And Times Of Tsietsi (Part 1)

A Portrait of Greatness Beginnings and Antecedents Was Tsietsi born in 1954 as tradition has it, or in 1963 as contemporary scholars maintain? Howard Missy, his most recent biographer, suggests 1954.  The fact is Tsietsi must have increased his age by a few years, either from vanity or to add to his prestige.  It is certain he was born at Zeerust, the son of Sese kaModise and his wife, Cecilia; that from his earliest childhood he showed a leaning towards politics and that, at the age of eight, he was sent with his older brother Tefo to an uncle, to receive political education from a Sharpeville veteran. The two brothers started with John Gumede, an Africanist, who afterwards sent them on to the cell of Reggie Khumalo.  But Tsietsi had little enthusiasm for Khumalo’s “stiff and laboured” style.  He had already singled out the right man for himself: Zacharia Hlatswayo, at whose side he worked …


He had impeccable credentials.  Impeccable even though he missed Seattle but that was for meningitis.  He was in the very front ranks at Genoa where he shed blood with a hundred militants and was deported with a bandage still seeping.  In the camps in the forests preparing for Berlin he fashioned an affinity with twenty-four other comrades.  They came up with a non-violent, anti-authoritarian tactic that was Gandhi 2.0.  With arms taped to their sides, they threw their bodies at the police and Black Bloc equally, and received rather bluer bruises from the latter.  In between these excitements he traipsed between squats, lent money to teenage hackers, wrote pamphlets misleading the cops, cooked collectively and had sex unpossessively on all the northern continents. But it was in the South where he really made his name.  His first visit to the camp-sites of Porto Allegre gave rise in him to an indignation at the luminaries that …

Limits to managerial prerogative

You are a union organiser preparing for a strike at a tyre manufacturer.  The dispute concerns shift patterns, which the employer has unilaterally changed.  Although the total number of hours worked each week remains the same, the difference between the old and new shift patterns is significant.  Workers who never worked weekends must now do Saturday and Sunday shifts every so often.  The beneficial, four-day long weekend that came up during the old shift cycle is also gone.  The way workers have run their lives for years is overturned.  Church, sport and the long-weekend visits of many to their family in the rural areas are disrupted.    They are angry.

Driven to drink

Heinrich Böhmke, Originally posted in HRFuture The festive season has come and gone and it’s back to work for those who have a job in the delicate 2009 labour market.  For employees in the service industry – the smiling waitrons, tour-guides and shop-assistants – December has been all about work. The lady who gave me my Christmas haircut said it is her busiest month. She put in punishing overtime and hardly got any sleep. This was clear in her bleary eyes and distracted manner. I sat very still when she brought out the razor for my side-burns. There are other employees for whom exacting overtime regimens are not seasonal but chronic. So understaffed are certain hospitals, so lacking are millwright skills, that some devoted employees find themselves routinely over-worked. It is too easy to say that this is their choice. In some workplaces just keeping things afloat requires all hands on deck at all times. …

The Benefits and Technique of Fence Line Weaning

Calves are optimally weaned from cows from between four to six months after birth. If this does not happen, a calf will continue suckling until deep into its first year, negatively affecting the condition and fertility of the cow. Farmers with large properties accomplish the separation simply by moving weaners to camps far from their dams. This is not an option for smaller scale farmers. They might sell calves out of hand after weaning with the downside that the animals have not yet put on weight and fetch a poor price. Alternatively, they resort to nose-rings or isolate calves in kraals for weeks on end. These are hugely stressful, drawn-out and visually cruel processes for both generations of animal.

Liquidation, A Stilfontein Story (2005)

A documentary about the devastating economic ripple effected by the closure of the DRD gold mine in the town of Stilfontein in South Africa. Abandoned by their employers and the government, the unions and local residents came together to avert a food crisis. Produced by Heinrich Böhmke of Xalanga Peak Productions. Co directed by Aoibheann O’Sullivan and Heinrich Böhmke. Music: “Skeleton Coast” courtesy of Nibs Van der Spuy, from the album “Lines of my Face” © 1999 Greenhouse Music “Hoekom” courtesy of Disselblom, from the album “Goud en Marog” © 2004 Geblikte Afrikaans. Additional Stills: Reint Dykema Links on youtube: Part 1: Part 2: Part 3: