The Island is a wonderful piece of political theatre that moves both the heart and mind. Devised by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, the play is based on true stories collected from prisoners of Robben Island, the prison which held Nelson Mandela.
I got a call on my day off my from a producer at Sky News- who asked if id be willing to come in a talk about that evenings Mercury Music Prize. I jumped in a cab an hour later to go chat to news anchor Dermot Murnaghan about it. The Mercury Prize is one of the most respected music awards in the UK.
Counsellors Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, Sir Bob Geldof, musician and Activist and Ahmed Kathrada, apartheid prisoner and close friend to Nelson Mandela were panelists during the Session.
Our society sends out confusing messages about when young people become adults, what level of responsibility they should have for themselves and what role they can play. You can smoke, join the army, leave school (this school year anyway) and have sex at 16, drive at 17 but you have to wait until 18 to drink alcohol in a pub and vote. Then you hit 21 and that still retains some significance.
As Nelson Mandela lies ailing in a Pretoria hospital, hundreds of miles away in a courtroom in Kirov, Russia, history may have repeated itself. With the conviction of Alexei Navalny under arguably dubious circumstances, Vladimir Putin has cast aside the strongest threat to his presidency. Yet, he may have also unwittingly strengthened the opposition's hand.
I am not competent enough to speak about the legacy that will survive Mandela. Nor am I versed in the study of politics to fully appreciate just how extraordinary Mandela's achievements have been. I am qualified to call Mandela one of the most iconic figures of our time and perhaps the 20th century's foremost actor for egalitarianism and liberation.
The death of the famous person is essentially fictional, one does not experience it personally, but it is a reminder that death is out there, striking at random into normality. Does it really make a difference whether it was James Gandolfini or Tony Soprano who died? No, we are only affected by the fact that death comes out of the blue.
If there had been no Mandela, or if Mandela had been a different kind of man, would South Africa's destiny have been different? How much difference can one man make? These are not, I know, original questions. But I think, for obvious reasons that I don't have to spell out, this may be a good week to ponder them.
What I would see that afternoon would become a moment I'd recall in my mind for years to come and, through the wonders of the Internet, be able to relive over and over again. It would be the day I saw a free man dance with the joy of a fearless child.
South Africa is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode until and unless the ANC and the other political parties summon the courage to resolve the economic injustices inherited from the Apartheid era.
We are caught in a spiral of fear, leading to more violence and not leaving enough room for love. So a big real part of the 'war on terror' is one which takes place within us. It is one where we let our fears lead us to hate. 'Fighting' our own fears then becomes the war worth fighting and the way we can stop this cycle of violence. And we need to start uplifting others along with us.
A veritable credit industry has emerged to help fund these elaborate funerals. Infomercials on weekday morning televisions market funeral policies endorsed by famous South African entertainers.
Last week Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan looked back on the first weeks of peace talks with the Kurds and happily stated that it had turned into an 'extremely resolved journey of hope'. Could this be a true reflection of what's really going on?
What remains for all of us to face up to is her political and economic heritage, for Thatcher might be dead, but Thatcherism is alive and well. And its reach was never more ubiquitous as is it today. In her very own words, Thatcher affirmed individual gain above collective benefit when she said: "There is no such thing as society."
The sun was shining, and Cape Town looked so beautiful from up high. I no longer doubted how much I loved this country, and how much it taught me. For giving me this gift that can never be robbed, I am grateful to the Gladstone Memorial Trust.
It is a wonder how natural Shakespeare's timeless language gushes from the mouths of the "black Romans" in semi-modernised costumes. If Julius Caesar were the only play the phenomenal Gregory Doran had ever directed, he would still contend for the title of the best Shakespeare director ever.