What's up with the vaccine wars? Plus five highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

03 September 2021 - 06:34 By TimesLIVE
A woman protests against vaccines at a rally in the US.
A woman protests against vaccines at a rally in the US.
Image: Reuters/Jeenah Moon

Covid vaccines have stirred even more emotions and antagonism than abortion, gay marriage, religion in schools and statues. But this should come as no surprise.

The first rumours of a new coronavirus in China had barely surfaced when the political war began. 

Pandemics are highly ideological matters and our response to this one from the start was: how dangerous is Covid-19? Steps to stop the virus from spreading, such as lockdowns, masks and vaccine passports on the one side, and so-called miracle cures and trust in natural immunity on the other, have caused severe tension in communities the world over.

Friendships and family ties have suffered and, as more of us return to offices and other workplaces, the debate about mandating vaccines is intensifying. 

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Both sides of the vaccine war see this as a matter of life and death: pro-vaxxers believe anti-vaxxers and the vaccine-hesitant are selfish and are putting us all at risk, while the anti-brigade believe the vaccines might kill them and are taking away their freedom to choose.  

How does it make sense that both groups are looking at the same information and seeing it so differently? How can one person's proven facts be someone else's conspiracy theory? There are highly educated, highly intelligent people and ordinary people across the spectrum in both groups after all.

We spoke to experts who explain that education and intelligence are not the only factors that matter here. It is mostly about how the human brain works.

Read more on this, and more news, analysis and interviews in this Friday's edition of Vrye Weekblad. 

Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

THE WEEK IN POLITICS | Max du Preez takes a look at Judge John Hlophe's fight for his career, the so-called spy in parliament and Princess Lindiwe Sisulu's strange friends.

THE PSYCHO KILLER | In 1961, Alfred Wanka became the first prisoner in SA to escape from death row. It didn't take long for him to be caught and executed, but first, he told his story to the journalist Gehri Strauss.

HURRY UP AND WAIT | A month-and-a-half after the deployment of SA soldiers to Mozambique was approved, the main force is still in preparation at the training centre at Lohatla.

CAN A NEW UDF SAVE US? | The UDF was formed in Mitchells Plain in 1983. Is it time for a revival? 

THE END IS NIGH, OR IS IT? | The horses have been saddled for the Apocalypse, the heavens are torn, the Earth is trembling and the forces of Darkness and Light are ready for the Final Battle. Is it safe to assume that our time has come?