Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Dear Friends,

I've been scarce, I know, but there's been good reason...

As concerns about crime and service delivery have been growing across the South Africa, Johannesburg has not escaped. The Joburg metropolitan area, which was formed in 2000 by the amalgamation of five previously independent municipalities, is (officially) home to 3.2 million people living in 1,006,930 households (source: City of Johannesburg). It's also where 70% of the country's businesses have their headquarters, and where the South African Stock Exchange is situated.

Poor service delivery, corruption at local government level and high levels of violent crime have become pressing problems for residents, and many feel helpless in the face of an inefficient, unaccountable and uncaring bureaucracy.

In addition to that, the city faces many serious environmental problems, not the least of which is acid mine drainage, which has been called the single largest environmental crisis South Africa has ever faced.

So I felt it was important to focus more on community work this year than on books (much as I hated to pull myself away from my beloved 'stacks'), and I founded a small civil advocacy group that is running a few projects to try and address some of these issues.

It's been a time-consuming undertaking and, as I also have a day job :), I'm afraid SAbookworm has suffered. I hope to be able to start posting again at some time in the future, even if I won't be able to do so as regularly as I did in the past.

In the meantime, keep up with the 'harder' issues at Joburg Advocacy Group. Join us there and add your voice to the conversation about good governance, social justice and environmental protection.

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