David Willers

David Willers is the former editor of the Natal Witness.

Sudan: The forgotten disaster eclipsing Gaza

David Willers Opinion 2024-04-12

"This always seems to happen nowadays: when wars break out conveniently close and accessible to the world’s press, they get wall-to-wall coverage."

Kruger’s earring

David Willers Opinion 2024-03-06

"So, you can well imagine my absolute delight when a pristine, popular, illustrated account of the Boer War, which had lain unread in a Welsh attic for over 100 years, was gifted to me by a good friend recently. This contained the photo of Kruger proudly and romantically advertising his earring, like a latter day Raleigh, or Drake."

The world at war: Choppy waters ahead

David Willers Opinion 2024-02-15

"It feels a bit unreal putting these words on paper, but a phantom is looming ever larger in the global consciousness. Something is definitely going on; turbulent daily news events describe geopolitical tensions of all sorts – military build-ups and diplomatic stand-offs."

Hero in hiding: Jeff Morphew, forgotten South African in the fight for democracy

David Willers Opinion 2024-01-30

"Democracy is at risk of being replaced in many cases with despotic oligarchies and fascist elites. Our ‘imperfect, but still the best system of government’, to paraphrase Churchill’s definition of democracy, is even under threat in the EU, where right-wing parties with dubious links to history are poised to make electoral gains this year."

RIP Henry Kissinger – influential American diplomat who shaped policy on southern Africa

David Willers Opinion 2023-12-05

"Kissinger arguably saved the world from nuclear war by defusing geopolitical crises on several occasions during the height of the Cold War."

Eyeless in Gaza

David Willers Opinion 2023-11-29

"The grim reaper is everywhere to be seen as these tragic events unfold. Beyond the rights and wrongs, the claims and counter-claims, this war, like all wars, has already resulted in the deaths of thousands of non-combatants ..."

Countdown to socialism by Anthea Jeffery: The ANC’s road to Karl Marx

David Willers Books and writers 2023-09-26

"To read Jeffery’s compelling exposé is to realise that, for the past 30 years, the average South African has been a victim of the greatest imaginable confidence trick."

Everyday Shakespeare: Lines for life by Ben and David Crystal: a book review

David Willers Books and writers 2023-09-12

"I couldn’t put this book down. It now resides at my elbow at breakfast, where I can turn to today’s date and read the relevant quote to my wife. It provides space, as the authors say, to step back briefly from taking part in life, and instead to reflect simply for a while on how we all live. The Shakespearean quotes all strike a chord."

Global warming: Keep calm and carry on

David Willers Opinion 2023-08-17

"Today, we are all metaphorically still afraid of being buried alive, only this time under an invisible cloud of carbon dioxide strangling our planet. The equivalent to our coffin bells are planetary temperature readings that go back to 1940."

Migrants: fear of the "Other" changing the face of politics in Europe

David Willers Opinion 2023-07-27

"Apart from getting sanctions lifted – and the calculation is that the effect of the latest grain shipping blockade embargo will trigger another massive migration crisis in Europe – Putin must also be hoping that the political impact in the EU will speed up calls for an end to the war in Ukraine via a negotiated settlement."

South Africa, Russia and ten days that shook the world: Pretoria’s love affair with Moscow

David Willers Opinion 2023-06-30

"For Moscow, Fischer was to South Africa what Togliatti was to Italy – a loyal communist, through and through, who was majorly responsible for persuading the ANC to emulate the multiracial South African Communist Party and take in other races as members."

An engaging political biography: a review of The long obedience by FA Mouton

David Willers Books and writers 2023-06-02

"Space doesn’t allow for a much longer review than this, but suffice it to say that Mouton’s treatment of Zach de Beer’s career covers all the high and low points."

The past is another empire: the coronation of King Charles on 6 May 2023

David Willers Opinion 2023-05-04

"Seventy years ago, as a boy of six, I attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. And now, decades later, Charles is about to be crowned king, and his mother’s empire is long gone. There is an irony in this, and I wouldn’t be in his shoes for all the tea in China."

South Africa bracketed with China and Russia: Is resentment of the West the real reason for Pretoria’s choice of strange bedfellows?

David Willers Opinion 2023-04-25

"The Ukraine-Russia war drags on, slowly but surely getting more dangerous as Western weapons pour in and the Russian army suffers absurd losses but keeps grinding into battle anyway."

ChatGPT, God and Scotland’s new Joan of Arc

David Willers Opinion 2023-03-06

"What sustains churchgoers then, other than blind faith? What empirical evidence is there for the existence of God? Perhaps if there was something more tangible for this woke and plugged-in generation concretely to put their hands on, then they may come to believe, as Kate Forbes does. I decided to put the question to ChatGPT."