Video now up – the first in our series of webinars, Reimagining the world after COVID-19, with Joyce Banda, Johan Giesecke and Sehaam Khan

This event took place on Wednesday 13 May 2020.


Panel 20 May: COVID-19 and the Emerging World Order

Please join us for a panel discussion on COVID-19 and the Emerging World Order, Wednesday 20 May @ 16.00-17:00pm South Africa, W Europe | 10:00-11:00 Beijing | 15.00-16:00 UK | 11.30-12.30 US East Coast. Please “arrive” (log in) 15 minutes beforehand to ensure time for you to be admitted prior to the event as we admit participants individually for security reasons. We start sharp on the hour.


  • Dr David Masondo (Deputy Finance Minister of South Africa)
  • Mr Grant Harris (former Advisor to US President Barack Obama on issues relating to sub-Saharan Africa)
  • Professor Dong Wang (Executive Director of the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding, Peking University)
  • Dr Oluwaseun Tella (Senior Researcher, Institute for the Future of Knowledge, University of Johannesburg)

Facilitated by Professor Alex Broadbent, Director of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge at the University of Johannesburg

You need to register to watch this live, and it will be posted as a recording afterwards. Register here:

This is the second in a series of webinars on Reimagining the World After COVID-19, organised by the Institute for the Future of Knowledge on the initiative of the Vice Chancellor’s Office at the University of Johannesburg.

Our first panelist, Dr David Masondo, is the Deputy Finance Minister for South Africa. He obtained his PhD at New York University and his prior degrees at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has held various political and management positions in provincial and national government. He has an abiding passion for education and has lectured on various topics in political economy at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is founding chairperson of the Topisa Trust, which provides ongoing support to youth to promote education, sport and cultural excellence in villages in Limpopo.

Our second panellist, Mr Grant Harris, is Chief Executive Officer at Harris Africa Partners LLC, Adjunct Professor of Global Management at Kellogg School of Management, Lecturer at University of California Berkeley. Until 2015 he was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at The White House under US president Barack Obama. He was educated at Berkeley, Princeton, and Yale Law School.

Our third panellist, Professor Dong Wang, is Executive Director of the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding, Peking University. He has considerable expertise in US-China relations, and in 2019 addressed the 11th US-China Political Party Leaders Dialogue on the topic.

Our fourth panellist, Dr Oluwaseun Tella, is Senior Research Associate at the Institute for the Future of Knowledge at the University of Johannesburg. He is a specialist in soft power and international relations, especially between China, Africa and the US, as well as within the continent of Africa.

Register here:

A simple and FAST method for identifying existing drugs that may work against COVID-19 has just been published: This deserves to be widely read and tried. #epitwitter

Daughton CG. Natural experiment concept to accelerate the Re-purposing of existing therapeutics for Covid-19. Global Epidemiology 2:1-6.

I’ve got a commentary coming out soon too.


Impressive that the @FT is featuring a prominent discussion of Chesterton’s Fence

“There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

GK Chesterton 1929, The Thing

“Two months later, it has not been the worst-case scenario many envisioned,” says the New York Times (strongly pro-lockdown, as a rule). In other words: what critics of Sweden said two months ago was entirely wrong.

Let’s see whether the Swedes continue to be right, about the advantages of their strategy over a longer time frame.

Chief of Health at UNICEF Stefan Peterson @stefanswartpet tells @Telegraph what he told us weeks ago: that the lockdown will kill children and most likely more people than it saves

It’s important to bear in mind that the appropriate comparison is not lockdown-or-bust, but lockdown vs. some more moderate and contextually feasible social distancing measures in conjunction with protection of vulnerable groups.

The documentary where he told us this to us is below.

7 minute low-res version:


30 minute high res version:

SA government being taken to court over lockdown

Steenhuisen (leader of the Opposition): “The state of disaster we are currently under, governed by the Disaster Management Act, has zero provision for parliamentary oversight. Which means this secretive NCC answers to no-one. Not even a state of emergency, which is a further step up from a state of disaster, has such sweeping powers with no parliamentary oversight.”

Tracing apps are untested medical interventions , says The Economist

The Economist argues that hopes should not be pinned in tracing apps which might not work. Medicine is littered with medical interventions that failed, sometimes harmfully. What is different?

One difference is that this is not a biomedical intervention. However, public health is also littered with ineffective or harmful interventions with dangerous consequences (perhaps the effects of lockdown on mass migration being a case in point). It is interesting that governments should consider giving this potential solution a free pass, so to speak, without testing or an evidence base – perhaps because it hs a technological flavor?