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LAURIE SCARBOROUGH: Too many times have I heard the refrain “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain”. It seems a rather narrow and weakly supported view that is dropped into conversation around election time. And while my left thumb is still stained a henna brown, I thought I’d be the devil’s advocate for a day.

So firstly, as a wise comedian by the name of George Carlin once said, “If you vote, you have no right to complain.” Dear Georgie argues that as soon as you participate in the voting system, you enter into the “game”, if you will. Voting has rules, and one of those rules is that somebody wins. You have accepted the invitation to the game and played it. You legitimise the voting system, even if you disagree with it on some level, by participating. You are then responsible (or collectively responsible with the other 18 million people who voted) for the outcome of the vote, regardless of whether your party wins or not, because you accepted the rules. He argues that someone who doesn’t vote, therefore has every right to complain because they are not responsible for the scoreboard results. 

KATY SCOTT: It sits untouched in the assignments tab on Vula. You browse by every once in a while to check up on it with some vague hope that it may have disappeared. 

Oh would you be so lucky. As the due date draws closer you reassure yourself that there is still time, there is always time. With great reluctance you open it 15 hours before it is due. You start off slowly, handling it with such care. Three hours later you’re 100 words in. Somehow you’re still positive, you’ve got this. Time pushes on. The letters on your laptop screen start to dance about and you take a break from Microsoft to mindlessly scroll down some form of social media. You whatsapp a friend for encouragement, only to be disheartened by discovering that they are 3000 words in. You seek comfort in the contents of your fridge.  

ROBYN AUSMEIER: Press freedom is a crucial part of our democracy.  It enables ordinary citizens to have a say in the country.  The ability to write and speak what we feel in public is a basic human right that should be afforded to all people.  Countries across the world battle with this liberty on a daily basis and South Africa itself has a past riddled with censorship.  On May 3rd, in honour of media freedom, local and international communities celebrated World Press Freedom Day. 

World Press Day was first established by the United Nations in 1993 to reassess the role of the press in countries around the world.  Every year, there is an international conference on this date which hosts various organisations and media professionals from a range of countries. These groups come together to discuss a way forward and debate topical issues relating to media freedom.  The conference is centred on a different theme each year and this year’s theme was"Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the post-2015 Development Agenda".

DEREK BUCHLER: It has taken me a while to respond to the article "Could You Lend Me Some $ugar, Sugar?" for a number of reasons, one of them being that I did not know if it was even worthy of a reply.

The contention that trading for a sugar daddy is "prostitution camouflaged as profitable companionship, but “prostitution” connotes a person offering their body as a commodity for an unworthy purpose" is what raised my hackles. Did the author of this article, slap it together as a form of titillation, a piece of warbled upper class 'gazing' at 'what the rest of them are doing'? Did 'she' even for one moment think about body as commodity and what is 'unworthy purpose'? My dear sista writer, all our bodies are commodified and paid for by whoever makes it possible for us to don our Gucci jeans and tottering heels!

MOISES ANTUNES: Public Protector, Thuli Mandosela  told Parliament in October 2013, “All that I can say to this nation and this committee is: corruption in this country has reached crisis proportions, there is no two ways about it.”

Corruption is one of the main factors crippling the very basis of good governance, social justice, democratic rule and economic freedom of all people in South Africa and in Africa as a whole. It deters the realisation of the African Renaissance.

Jena Ascough: Thanks to my family, I’ve been through it all. I’ve been through periods of carb-loading during Pick ‘n Pay Argus season where we’d have spaghetti bolognaise for four nights a week. I’ve been through dinner conversations about how important it is to cut the fat off your meat. And I’ve been through endless lectures about how important it is to eat “balanced” meals that include carbohydrates, protein and fat (except for fat, of course).

The Paperight Team: Thank you very much for profiling the #textbookrevolution campaign in an opinion piece on the 3rd of April 2014. We’d like to take this opportunity to correct some inaccuracies in the piece.

Paperight is a small, Shuttleworth funded publishing startup with the ambitious goal of putting books within walking distance of every home – starting with educational material. Turning copyshops into print on demand bookshops allows customers to buy books quickly, cheaply and legally. This method of distribution cuts the costs of textbooks by up to 40%. And the business model works with publishers to broaden their reach while still ensuring they make the same profit margins, so everyone wins.

Katy Scott: Female university students struggling with debt and unsatisfactory lifestyles have long been seeking “alternative arrangements” to make money. Signing up to be a sugar baby on a sugar daddy website has become another possible solution.

Tyra Overmeyer: Privacy is a cryptic concept. Many would argue that a person’s personal life should not necessarily define the way others see them because of their entitlement to privacy. The nature of a person’s marriage, whether traditional or unconventional, should not affect their friendships with others or their professional relationships with colleagues because of their entitlement to privacy. If the nature of their marriage becomes a template for a law in which their female friends and colleagues would be disrespected, then privacy is no longer a justification.

Perivi John Katjavivi: Rage and uprising have always been closely intertwined with the mines in South Africa. The mining industry prioritises protection of resources over the protection of labourers. Black workers unionising in the 1970s led to violent repression from the government, which led to corporations putting pressure on SA to adapt its policies towards the black majority.

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