On hot summer days, the deep furrow between the potato plants at the bottom of my grandmother’s vegetable garden was my favourite spot to lie down, stare at the sky and contemplate the state of the world.

My other childhood hideout was the coal shed, where shards of sunlight through the holes in the tin roof created an ethereal glow around my bed of stones. My grandmother’s fury and the severe scrub-down I got when I emerged from my filthy sanctuary were sometimes a deterrent to my contemplative interludes.

During the festive break, I realised how little time people actually spend thinking because of the deluge of information coming at us, particularly via smartphones. Information is empowering — I simply can’t get by without a GPS, the weather app and googling what the ANC’s chaplain-general said to get him booted off the party’s anniversary programme. But what use is there in reading Donald Trump’s every inane tweet, monitoring Tito Mboweni’s Rwanda crush or watching Jacob Zuma troll President Cyril Ramaphosa by trying to reinvent himself as something between a policy sage and a creepy uncle? Why also do Helen Zille’s tweets still trend and why are people like Hlaudi Motsoeneng still able to gain traction? The biggest waste of time is to attempt to counteract social media trolling. Unfortunately, too many people still believe that bot armies are reflective of societal thinking and get lured onto fake news sites designed to manipulate public perception. Last year was a political rolle...

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