Brain Porn; The Best of the Daily Maverick by Branko Brkic. Tafelberg. 2014

Brain Porn is a collection of the best journalistic writing produced by the Daily Maverick’s in recent years. Covering the major events of South Africa’s recent history, from the Gupta scandal to Marikana, the collection of work also exhibits ideas and positions that are unpopular in South Africa, such as defending the lion-hunting industry and fracking in the Karoo. While Time Magazine fuelled my initial interest in journalism, the Daily Maverick and particularly Brain Porn sparked my real interest in writing within and about South Africa.

My appreciation for Brain Porn and the Daily Maverick was founded in the ability of it’s writers to convey a sense of the South African narrative in a single event. Nothing happened outside of a context. Everything had a cause and every South African story had roots in it’s history. The writers at the Daily Maverick knew this, and they exhibited a great knowledge of South Africa country in their ability to see connections between past and present, between economics and sociology, between politics and psychology. To this day, the Daily Maverick continues to produce some of the best investigative and analytical journalism in the South African media.

The relevance of this book to my work as a writer lies in it’s superb quality. It represents the benchmark for what South African journalism is capable of looking like, and hence a benchmark for the writing I can produce about this country. Seeing writing of such a caliber not in Time Magazine and about foreign politics and social issues, but in and about South Africa, is one of the foremost reasons I decided to study journalism and to perform the function of a journalist in South Africa. Brain Porn did not only make South African journalism interesting for me. It showed me that the New South Africa was part of a historical narrative. That everything that happened therein was implicated in the struggle to realise the promises and ideals of democracy and which had only been realised to certain degrees.

The Daily Maverick, for me, established that it was the job of South African journalists to interrogate the degree to which the new South Africa could be considered a success. Brain Porn, more than anything, developed in me an appreciation of the importance of realising of a truly liberated South Africa. With an interest in writing and a deep belief in the importance of realising a truly liberated South African, it felt almost natural to commit myself to South African journalism.

Reference: Brain Porn; The Best of the Daily Maverick. Tafelberg. 2014

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