THE BIG READ: Imagine Joburg on steroids

The year is 2040. The rain is incessant, with storms that last for days. And it is hot. The heat comes in waves that seem to go on for longer and longer. It turns out that the climate-change hype was real. The daily failure of the ageing electricity grid makes air-conditioning erratic.

THE BIG READ: The Apocalypse Clown

North Korea might look like a country gone mad, but that is exactly why we ought to take its latest display of hubris so seriously.

THE BIG READ: ANC plays political soccer but without a rule book

It has been almost eight years since Jimmy Tau left Orlando Pirates to join their arch rivals, Kaizer Chiefs.

THE BIG READ: SA punching above its weight

Two years ago, on a bus from Nairobi to Kampala, I sat close to an Indian. Not next to, but slightly behind him, and to his right.

THE BIG READ: Turmoil returns to CAR

The French dubbed it the neglected Cinderella of their African colonial empire; modern observers have called it a "phantom state".

THE BIG READ: Trade winds of change

Though Brics countries are at different levels of development and industrialisation, they have a shared interest in changing international trade relations, and challenging the traditional powers and their monopoly over global governance.

THE BIG READ: Giving bytes of my soul

It was almost quaint: Google's recent apology for privacy violations. Granted, it came in the face of a lawsuit in which the company got its hand slapped for "data-scooping," a wonderful phrase that could be the slogan of our current lives.

THE BIG READ: A revolutionary pope?

When Pope Francis emerged on the balcony of St Peter's on Wednesday, a number of thoughts crossed my mind.

THE BIG READ: Japan still struggling

Two years after the triple calamities of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster ravaged Japan's northeastern Pacific coast, debris containing asbestos, lead, other dangerous chemicals - and perhaps most worrying - radioactive waste from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant looms as a threat for the region.

THE BIG READ: Two not better than one

In the CEO succession stakes, spare a thought for the next in line. Whoever it is hardly ever looks as good or as suitable as the one departing. The board of directors has to manage what turns out to be a fraught process because there is rarely an ideal candidate.

THE BIG READ: Decade of mud-slinging

Angie Motshekga is in an ebullient mood. Last Tuesday, at parliament, she told the media that South African education is on an upward trajectory, characterised by focus, consistency and clarity.

THE BIG READ: Rodriguez's cold fiction

While director Malik Bendjelloul's Searching for Sugar Man argues that Sixto Rodriguez's South African popularity resulted from seething anti-establishment sentiments among the white youth, South Africans know better.

THE BIG READ: It's time for us to make education our business

There is a lot more the private sector can do to support South African education. And, why not?

THE BIG READ: Pope bows to old age

Pope Benedict shocked the world yesterday by saying that he no longer had the mental and physical strength to cope with his ministry.

THE BIG READ: F1 legend aims to put road deaths in reverse

Rory Byrne's job as chief designer for Ferrari's Formula1 team was to make cars go faster. Now the 69-year-old South African's job is to make them go slower - and safer.

THE BIG READ: Can you buy happiness?

In this life one thing counts: in the bank large amounts. That gnomic insight by Fagin (as played by Ron Moody) in Oliver! underlies the bold argument in a column in the business pages of The Telegraph that the richer you are, the happier.

THE BIG READ: Getting a proper send-off

It's not every day that we think about how we want to be buried. This is partly due to the fact that we still treat death as taboo and we hardly ever think or want to think about it.

THE BIG READ: Silver's statistical gold

Nate Silver, who writes the FiveThirtyEight blog for the New York Times, basked in worldwide adulation after his polling correctly forecast the outcome of the US presidential election in 49 states.
A t-shirt features an image of U.S. President Barack Obama during an election campaign rally at McArthur High School in Florida

THE BIG READ: Hope springs leak in US

So Sandy arrived right in the last act, smashing and thrashing, killing and ripping. Has this latest tempestuous eruption been the deus ex machina - or the deus ex Atlantic - to settle one of America's most extraordinary and bitterly fought presidential elections?
A view shows homes devastated by fire and the effects of Hurricane Sandy at the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York

THE BIG READ: Chaos porn, a love story

Like me, you've probably been flipping from the Weather Channel to CNN with one hand and raking the web with the other, searching for scenes of maximum destruction from Superstorm Sandy.

THE BIG READ: The true face of fracking

I stared deep into the photograph of a man who refused to be beaten by industry. The face I was looking at was Fred McIntyre, a water driller from northern Pennsylvania. His eyes cut right through me; green, calm and alive with fury. His expression was bland but each one of the thousand wrinkles flowing towards pursed lips told a story of a man who would not be undermined.
An Occupy demonstrator vandalizes a wall during a May Day protest in Oakland, California

THE BIG READ: Rethinking socialism

Socialism- real, no-private-ownership, state-controlled, egalitarian socialism - has been off the political agenda in most states, including Communist China, for decades. The mixture of gross inefficiency and varying degrees of repressive savagery that most such systems showed seems to have inoculated the world against socialism and confined support for it to the arts and sociology faculties of Western universities.
French Reaction To Arrest Of Dominique Strauss-Kahn

THE BIG READ: Fallacy of cash hubris

Mark Antony, in his oration for the murdered Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare's play, observes: "The evil that men do lives after them." Indeed, in our supercharged world, evil lives with its perpetrator, tearing him down while still in his prime.

THE BIG INTERVIEW: Jantjies' Bok lullaby

Elton Jantjies truly does eat, drink and sleep rugby. The mercurial flyhalf is so determined to play for South Africa that he wears his Springbok jersey to bed every night.

THE BIG READ: When Kate blew her top

This summer I was in a taxi from Cap d'Antibes to Nice, motoring for kilometres along the Côte d'Azur via both the Route du Bord de la Mer and the Promenade de la Plage. I sat on the left in the back, a 15-year-old boy of my acquaintance was on the right, behind the driver.

THE BIG READ: Armstrong shamed

Lance Armstrong's inspirational journey from cancer survivor to seven-time winner of the revered Tour de France is in ruins after he was accused of massive drug-taking and being the ringleader of the most sophisticated doping conspiracy in sporting history.

THE BIG READ: The chasm of ideals

At the height of the fury engulfing US embassies across the Middle East, with one ambassador lying dead and his consulate in Libya reduced to ashes, the leaders at the eye of the storm spoke by phone.

THE BIG READ: Cosatu's season of discontent

Cosatu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi goes on trial this week.

THE BIG READ: Black rugby denied a sporting chance

Zola Yeye is gatvol. The former Springbok team manager believes the South African Rugby Union has reneged on its development pact by giving the Eastern Province Kings only one guaranteed season in Super rugby. And he warns that South African rugby is in a state of denialism when it comes to transformation.

THE BIG READ: Young dreamers

Bantu Mene, 17, leads the pre-game battle songs for Ithembelihle Comprehensive. Today, on a freezing field near Uitenhage, they double as mourning songs. The team's talented centre and skipper, Thabiso "Bull" Mendu, is dead.

THE BIG READ: Of pawns and Kings

Cheeky Watson is no slouch at escapology. As the White Pimpernel of non-racial rugby in the late 1970s, he was smuggled through police cordons to and from township games, sprawled on the floor of taxis.

THE BIG READ: Betrayed by the system

The reports of the savage beating of 21-year-old Tina Mbili, allegedly by her former boyfriend, forces us to stop in our tracks.

THE BIG READ: We are what we write

There are divergent views about the state of South African literature, and probably the strongest of these are expressed in two recent articles.