Aging, Change and History 1

Aging, Change and History
South Africa is not usually an international trendsetter but in one area the country has recently been a world leader, with the United States belatedly following its example. That is in dealing with historical symbols of racism. Nearly 150 years since American slavery was abolished by the Civil War, the US is only now getting rid of ...

Much ado about manuals 1

Much ado about manuals
What is it like to get old in South Africa? It’s okay when the lights are on – but since late last year the country has been experiencing rolling blackouts known locally as “loadshedding”. Every block in the national grid has a 2-hour daily slot without power. So you listen to the radio or check your phone app to find out if loadshedding is on. If ...

Cover Girl at 65 1

Cover Girl at 65
How does a 65-year-old get on the cover of a top fashion magazine? It was Caitlyn Jenner’s Welcome to Womanhood. Do you applaud Caitlyn Jenner because she is brave or because she’s pretty? – transgender writer Meredith Talusan in the UK Guardian. The question could be rephrased: Do you applaud Caitlyn because she is brave or ...

Older women at Cannes 2

Older women at Cannes
Nowhere is the media’s double standard in aging between male and female more glaringly obvious than at that annual glamathon on the French Riviera, the Cannes Film Festival. This year the main Cannes jury was headed by writer-director-producers the Coen Brothers, the first time two people have shared this role. The most lauded film of ...

Happy 21st Birthday, South Africa! 1

Happy 21st Birthday, South Africa!
South Africa’s non-racial democracy celebrates its 21st today so My New Old Self is republishing this personal exhibit of  anti-apartheid badges (or political buttons or whatever you call them) worn by My Old Young Self 30-40 years ago. Those were the days when many of us around the world protested against apartheid in South Africa and campaigned ...

It’s Hard Out Here for a Gogo! 3

It’s Hard Out Here for a Gogo!
My New Old Self decided to find out what it’s like to get old in the countryside. I visited the bucolic Ofafa Valley in South Africa’s province of KwaZulu Natal, described by author Alan Paton in his famous novel. “There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass-covered and rolling, ...

Old lecture young – a fail even when sung 1

This intergenerational thing can be tricky – as evidenced by the negative reaction from French youth to a polemical new song aimed at fund-raising for charity food banks. “You had everything — peace, freedom, full employment, We have joblessness, violence and AIDS.” – young singers’ lyrics of Toute la Vie (All Life Long) ”Everything we have, we had ...

How to sound younger 7

How to sound younger
I ran into an old friend recently and was taken aback at how he had aged. Not because of how he looked, but how he sounded. It was his voice. It was kind of croaky. It’s bad enough to worry about looking old, I thought to myself. Now I’ll have to worry about sounding old. First ...

Way to Go: On the Go

Way to Go: On the Go
The recent passing of South African novelist Andre Brink was a “death in transit”, like historian Jeff Guy’s late last year. Brink’s passing at 79 occurred on a flight from Amsterdam to his hometown of Cape Town. Guy died at 74 on a bus to catch his flight from London to his hometown of Durban. ...

Meditate to make your brain age less?

Meditate to  make your brain age less?
If you meditate, keep it up. If you’ve been thinking of starting, you might give it a try. A new study shows that meditation may slow down brain aging. “While overall life expectancy has been increasing, the human brain still begins deteriorating after the first two decades of life and continues degrading further with increasing ...