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01
JUN

The New Underworld: How Covid-19 helps create new kinds of criminals

Lockdown conditions imposed all over the world have succeeded in halting certain types of illegal trade – but also given rise to new and expanded black markets.
And while some of them are relatively benign, others are anything but.

In this episode we’re taking a look at the Covid-19 underworld: how the global lockdown has both disrupted traditional black markets, but also birthed new kinds of criminals. We’re taking a trip to the underbelly of the Dark Web, where the illegal products for sale now include the blood of people who have tested positive for coronavirus; and we’re zooming in on one particular South African black market, the trade in abalone, to see what effects the lockdown has had on this type of illegal trade.

Additional audio:
The Most Trafficked Animal in The World is Probably One You've Never Heard Of, by Fusion Media

Motherhacker podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/motherhacker/id1487213874

Additional reading:

Coronavirus source found in pangolin meat, by Don Pinnock and Tiara Walters on Daily Maverick

South Africa’s abalone black market is being squeezed by Covid-19, by Kimon de Greef on Haika

Poacher: Confessions from the Abalone underworld, by Kimon de Greef and Shuhood Abader
24
MAY

Inside the bizarre world of the Zumas’ new YouTube series

“Zooming With The Zumas” is the real title of a real YouTube series offering the public a front-row seat to intimate video chats between former South African president Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane.

In this episode, we rope in Daily Maverick journalist Marianne Thamm to help unpack the perplexing world of Zooming with the Zumas: fact-checking some of the confounding claims made by the Zumas, analysing what it tells us about their undeniably curious family dynamics, and interrogating what on earth the point of this strange production could be.

Additional audio:
Zooming With The Zumas on YouTube

Additional reading:
Duduzane’s Dubai Lockdown Diary - Everything But The Lost Years, by Marianne Thamm

Parts Two and Three, in which the Zuma Dynasty finds itself a hapless victim of circumstance, by Marianne Thamm
17
MAY

The Big Chill: What lockdown can teach us about the benefits of slowness

The great global slowdown imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic is forcing a slower pace of life on most of us, whether we like it or not. There’s something about hitting the brakes for this amount of time that can feel deeply anxiety-inducing - so we thought we’d use this moment to explore the benefits of taking it nice and slow.

In this week’s episode, we’re investigating the virtues of slowness: learning about the secrets of the world’s slowest mammals, exploring the delights of the Slow Food Movement, and hearing how the annual month of Ramadan brings a moment of calm and reflection to Muslim lives.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger is produced by Haji Mohamed Dawjee, presented by Rebecca Davis, edited by Tevya Turok Shapiro, with original theme music by Bernard Kotze and additional support from Kathryn Kotze.

Special thanks to Muhammad Dawjee for providing this week’s episode with original music from his soon to be released EP: Otherness.
Featured tracks in order of play:
Doublespeak
Neither
Dialect

Additional audio:
This American Life -

Additional reading:
All-Day Venison, a slow-food recipe by Tony Jackman
09
MAY

The White Coat Army: Why is South Africa paying Cuba for doctors?

In late April, Cuba sent 217 healthcare workers to South Africa to help fight Covid-19. A tremendous humanitarian gesture involving heroic doctors? Perhaps. But the deployment looks likely to cost the South African government almost half a billion rand - at a time when South Africa has its own doctors and nurses sitting unemployed. What’s really going on?

Cuba has been lending its doctors to other countries since the 1960s as a gesture of international solidarity, and those doctors have won praise for their work in some of the toughest public health contexts on record.

But as the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Mark Keller explains in this episode, from the 2000s onwards the Cuban medical missions began to serve another purpose too: to make some much-needed cash for the Cuban government.

With the South African state reportedly being charged over R450 million for the Cuban medical mission sent to South Africa to fight Covid-19, the question is whether these doctors are even really needed - and why South Africa would be willing to pay such a high price.

With Mark Keller, we unpack the history of Cuba’s medical missions and why they have on occasion been likened to “human trafficking”. We also hear from advocate Rene Govender, who for years has been fighting an uphill battle to win South African doctors who trained overseas the right to practice medicine here. Unlike with the Cuban doctors, nobody is rolling out the red carpet for these unemployed local medics.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger is produced by Haji Mohamed Dawjee and presented by Rebecca Davis with editing by Tevya Turok Shapiro, original theme music by Bernard Kotze and additional support by Kathryn Kotze.

Additional Credits:

Supporting audio provided by: Al-Jazeera, University of Miami, Redfish Stream and News24.

Guantanamera by Playing for Change.
Is the deployment of Cuban doctors to SA justified?
01
MAY

Tomorrowland: The effects pandemics have on popular culture

On this week’s show, we’re thinking about Tomorrowland: the fascinating connections between pandemics and pop culture. The Bubonic Plague struck Europe more than 650 years ago, yet its impact is still felt in art today. As we face the greatest social disruption since World War II, with COVD-19 killing hundreds of thousands of people globally, we’re asking: What mark will this moment leave on art, fashion, film and literature? To help us explore ‘Tomorrowland’, we’re talking to experts in fashion, film – and to South African author Lauren Beukes, who just spent five years immersed in a fictional pandemic, only to emerge into a real one.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger is produced by Haji Mohamed Dawjee and presented by Rebecca Davis with editing by Tevya Turok Shapiro, original theme music by Bernard Kotze and additional support by Kathryn Kotze.
24
APR

Unintended Consequences

What happens when a country suddenly makes the sale of alcohol and tobacco illegal? It turns out the answer is: quite a lot. Suddenly the trauma units of some of the busiest hospitals in the world are virtually empty, as drunk driving ceases to be such a serious social problem and bar brawls and other forms of interpersonal violence virtually disappear. That’s a great result. But some of the other effects are not so positive. In this episode, we look at the impact of South Africa’s lockdown ban on selling tobacco and alcohol: ranging from the difficulties faced by alcoholics, to the fact that massive criminal syndicates are currently enjoying the payday of their lives with tobacco trade driven underground.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger is produced by Haji Mohamed Dawjee and presented by Rebecca Davis with editing by Tevya Turok Shapiro, original theme music by Bernard Kotze and additional support by Kathryn Kotze.
19
APR

The Endearing Elders of the Eastern Cape

When the regulations for COVID-19 kicked in, Dave Martin actively disseminated information to the community about safety practices and different ways people could practice social distancing - like how to create isolation spaces for the elderly who live in rondawels and assisting spaza shop owners by providing them with Jik to sterilise their spaces. Dave is also the original founder of Bulugule Lodge, so he rushed to get the eco-friendly space ready for the most vulnerable members of the Nqileni Village community - the majority of them are elders who live with diabetes and other chronic illnesses. The lodge is now filled with a generation of people who in the past have had little opportunity to socialise with one another. And in a time of dread and anxiety, there exists a tiny community of a forgotten generation who are making the most of a safe space by enjoying a wonderful selection of music, sharing stories and indulging in their favourite past time - smoking pipe tobacco. In a time of social-distancing, these elders are mastering the art of safe socialising. In this episode, we hear from them. They share inside stories of their experience, tell us how they spend their time and enlighten us on the rare opportunities for joy that can be found in times like these.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger is produced by Haji Mohamed Dawjee and presented by Rebecca Davis with editing by Tevya Turok Shapiro, original theme music by Bernard Kotze and additional support by Kathryn Kotze.
10
APR

The New Normal

Ian Goldin, Professor of Globalisation and Development at the University of Oxford and author of The Butterfly Defect chats to us about the effects pandemics have on global co-operation, what technological advancements are being used and should be used when dealing with global emergencies and how COVID-19 will change our physical landscapes and impact the relationships younger generations have with elders. He discusses how ultimately, times like these are a test of human character while reflecting on Cyril Ramaphosa’s admirable interventions in comparison with other countries; and he shares which developments he hopes to see in the future as a result of this pandemic.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger is produced by Haji Mohamed Dawjee and presented by Rebecca Davis with editing by Tevya Turok Shapiro, original theme music by Bernard Kotze and additional support by Kathryn Kotze.

With special thanks to Arundhati Roy
Resources: The Butterfly Defect by Ian Goldin
02
APR

Love in the time of Corona

The coronavirus pandemic is already taking a significant toll on human relationships. In this episode, we look at the separations between loved ones created by the South African lockdown, and one way people are finding to deal with separation.

Rebecca also talks to a couple whose relationship has survived a situation far more intense than a 21-day lockdown: just the two of them, in a confined space, with limited supplies, at the mercy of terrifying external forces, for six months...

To report domestic violence or abuse contact the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre at 0800 150 150

Don’t Shoot the Messenger is produced by Haji Mohamed Dawjee and presented by Rebecca Davis with editing by Tevya Turok Shapiro, original theme music by Bernard Kotze and additional support by Kathryn Kotze.

Additional credits:
Additional audio from South China Morning Post and Times Free Press
Music by Sandy Pierce and Young Rich Pixies
26
MAR

Covid-19: How Pandemics Give Birth to Revolutions & Dictatorships

It’s now clear that the Covid-19 pandemic is going to have effects that we’ll be dealing with for quite some time afterwards - not just in terms of public health, but also economically and perhaps also politically.

We wanted to know: what does history say about the likely political fallout of this kind of health emergency? Can pandemics foment revolutions, or birth dictatorships?

In this episode, Rebecca speaks to Yale Professor Frank Snowden, who has studied the effects of pandemics throughout history: from the medieval plague to more contemporary diseases like malaria.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger is produced by Haji Mohamed Dawjee and presented by Rebecca Davis with sound engineering and editing by Tevya Shapiro, original music by Bernard Kotze and additional support by Kathryn Kotze.

Additional credits:
Featuring audio from Voices of the First World War (BBC.co.uk)

10 episodes