Talking and writing

536929_10100984242009918_51119100_nOn Monday 16th December, I appeared on the BBC News Channel’s paper review, discussing the next day’s front pages with the broadcaster David Davies. I’ll be appearing regularly on the show, with my next appearance on 14th January.

During December, I also appeared on BBC Radio Five Live’s Richard Bacon show, discussing the week’s headlines, and on several shows on Monocle radio, discussing the Afghanistan-US security pact, among other topics.

I’ve written a few more blogs for the New Humanist, including this one on gender stereotyping in schools and the assumption that girls can’t do science, and this piece looking at the shifting definition of modern slavery.

Earlier in the month, following the death of Nelson Mandela, I wrote this piece for the New Statesman. It recounts my interview with Mandela’s right-hand man, Ahmed Kathrada, who served 26 years in prison with him in Robben Island. Here’s a short excerpt:

I met Ahmed Kathrada on a chilly autumn day in 2010. A book of Nelson Mandela’s personal papers, including transcripts of taped conversations and letters, was being released. Mandela, even then, was too unwell to travel to promote the book, so Kathrada – his closest friend and adviser – was doing the media rounds on his behalf.

About a decade younger than Mandela, Kathrada was in his 80s and needed assistance to walk. He told me that in the last few years, they had started to call each other “Madala”, or “old man”, a sign of their affection and mutual trust. There was good reason for this trust: they both stood in court at the high profile Rivonia Trial, and subsequently spent 26 years in jail together. After their long captivity and the end of apartheid, they stood in parliament together, too; while Mandela was president, Kathrada was a member of parliament for the African National Congress (ANC).

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