#186. Share the viral load. It appears that someone out there is having a whale of a time creating Hollywood scenarios for South Africa’s two most headline-hogging (mostly for the wrong reasons) politicians. My inbox is jammed. So here’s another take on the Juliob or Jacobius (our shorter answer to Brangelina) relationship.
First there was Dr Evil and mini-me then there was …
There’s an academic thesis in here about political figures and popular representations, about humour and fear, but I am not going to be the one to write it. Suffice to say it’s all kind of funny in an uncomfortable way.
#185. Share the latest graphic doing the rounds on email. Star Wars fans. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Well at least Darth Vader’s heavy breathing finally makes sense, perhaps a little too much. With apologies to fans and of course to Luke Skywalker.
#184. Enjoy Nando’s take on Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard’s momentary lapse of composure in Parliament (thanks to Matthew Buckland). Kohler Barnard was been suspended for five days after uttering the phrase “Fuck you” in the house – clearly it’s not that kind of house. To read the back story on what made her do it, go here. She also answered Chris Barron’s questions in the Sunday Times.
South Africa’s famous chicken brand and one of the country’s most lucid political commentators was quick off the mark with …
Come to think of it there’s no shortage of chicken jokes you could throw at Parliament involving pecking orders, “Chicks rule”, “It’s cooking in there” and “Parliament – No place for chickens”, a nice variation on the sissies theme.
#183. Plan ahead. The annual Flux Trend Review is a collection of essays brought together by Dion Chang, to put words to the “state we are in”. This year’s edition (the third) is from an eclectic mix of viewpoints on mostly everything under the formerly cloud-laden sky, from our relationship with technology and the social web to our overwhelming desire to slow things down, from the anticipated real impact of the soccer world cup to the world become undone by the global recession.There are big questions asked and answers given on everything from our health to the labels we covet.
There’s talk of the power of word of mouse and lots about what’s shaking up the old media business (Irwin Manoim) and even an essay on how the rainbow nation hasn’t ended with a pot of gold by Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya. I liked the cute piece on soccer players eclipsing rock stars as the new celebrities and the idea that as the world reels from massive retrenchments and job losses there is a trend towards reassessing our working lives and re-crafting them to be less of a wage slave cliche.
So that’s the state we are in and you have to humour a trend consultancy that labels itself Flux. At this point I should disclose that I had a small hand in the book (as a copy-editor on the project). But it’s not for this reason that I am planning on attending the Conference this week (it’s my consolation for not making it to Cape Town’s Design Indaba). It’s an opportunity to have the bones thrown on what the future just might look like.
It all happens on Thursday (February 25) at the University of Johannesburg theatre in Auckland Park and the lineup includes City Press Editor Ferial Haffajee on the state of our nation (If all I know about Ms Haffajee is true then the nation would have got a better deal had they had saved their TV time for her instead of tuning into the more”official” S O N last week) and the “Green Bishop” Geoff Davies on the state of the planet. There is also Mokena Makeka, creative director and MD of Makeka Designs on the topic of “Urban Spaces for Modern Tribes” (he’s also in style bible Visi this month) and Sylvester Chauke, Marketing Manager of one of SA’s cheekiest brands, Nandos SA. There’s something on wellness in the 21st century and lots about living a digital life.
There’s even a bit of poetic license as corporate poet Lebo Mashile rounds off the proceedings. Definitely something to do in Joburg this week. For more or to book a ticket go to http://www.fluxtrends.co.za/
#181. Watch BBC footage of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison (20 years tomorrow) and the day that followed because quite incredibly I can’t seem to find SABC footage of that historic time. I was searching for SABC’s coverage of the day and the commentary from one Clarence Kuiter (I think it was him, and not sure of the spelling) that seems to have been erased from digital memory and in the absence of footage, from mine – that’s one powerful corporation. (Not surprisingly.) I recall much talk of sun and taps filled with water and lots more inane commentary as the hours dragged by (it conjured up at least 20 of the 27 years) and Clarence bravely soldiered Continue reading →
#178. Think I would be remiss in not pointing out that today of all days is not a day to dwell on the Presidential member. Ten minutes ago I was listening to the speech that then President FW de Klerk gave in Parliament 20 years ago this day (being replayed on SAFM). In it he announced the unbanning of the ANC and other liberation movements and the release of Nelson Mandela – who, I would agree with Raenette Taljaard (writing for The Times), we still owe an enormous debt.
The speech is so clear, so concise, so game-changing and completely earth-shattering. It leaves one slightly breathless.
As I listened I was disappointed not to hear the reaction of those around him on that day as he spoke those words aloud. Such powerful words. Such conviction.
If you start to replay South Africa circa 1990. There were bannings, torture, imprisonment. Troops in the townships, political assassinations, States of Emergency. And I suppose that’s what really burns about Zuma’s “nookiegate” — that office so bravely fought for, once filled with leaders that held the world in awe, has now become a big and not-so-funny joke.
#177. Gasp a little as Zapiro gives new meaning to “member” of Parliament. With President Jacob Zuma’s sex life firmly back on the national agenda following Sunday’s revelation (see the original article from the Sunday Times here) that he has fathered his 20th child with Sonono Khoza, daughter of soccer boss Irvin Khoza, it appears that the presidential cavalcade may need some Venter trailers to add to the minibuses that are used to transport the wives club. Travelling with four wives (I hear the sound of wedding bells) is no light matter.
By Zapiro, from TimesLive 2.2.2010
I am a little uncomfortable (call that a lot) about referring to the President’s extra-curricular activities but not so squeamish as to wish that he was keeping the mouse in the house or at least practicing “no glove, no love”. If you are going to put it out there, you can’t blame the nation for noticing.
#175. Think about polygamy and how it’s become part of South African conversation. People talk about it all the time – over coffee, on radio, at the gym. Blame it on the SABC or M-Net. From early on I was gripped by Big Love, the HB0 TV series that used to be screened late at night focusing on the family drama surrounding one man and his three wives and the “cult” they left behind in Juniper Creek.
#170. Wonder what made Manto do it. What made her unravel on HIV/AIDS? I started thinking about this yesterday after I saw the news of her death on twitter and watched as a “robust debate” [early term Manto terminology] was stoked up between the RIP crew and the “Ding Dong the witch is dead” brigade. So far I haven’t joined either.
I interviewed her as she took office as Health Minister in Thabo Mbeki’s Cabinet. As the Sunday Times health correspondent then I also accompanied her and her health department delegation to Uganda to look at how that country was dealing with HIV/AIDS. I was impressed. She seemed compassionate, warm even [when she took office she was the equivalent (in Lord of the Rings speak at any rate) of Bilbo Baggins to her steely-eyed predecessor Nkosazana Zuma’s Sauron] and in Uganda, utterly committed to facing the challenges head on. And then … Continue reading →
#152. Wonder whether walls make us safer? This after 24 hours in which I attended a community meeting with a security company in my area and then spent yesterday at a seminar called cracking walls at the Goethe Institute in Parkwood, Johannesburg. The Goethe is thinking a lot about cracking walls, what with the 20th anniversary of the “fall” of the Berlin Wall approaching, and now so am I. Continue reading →