Absolutely loving the reminder and remix (not so sure about that club version) of Miriam Makeba’s Pata Pata by Milk & Sugar “Hi-a ma”. A beautiful day in Joburg – sun shining, sky is blue – and it’s a good way to keep your mind off today’s news which includes the passing of the visionary Steve Jobs, a sad Desmond Tutu whose 80th birthday party has been spoiled by the government’s flawed and ugly decision to not permit the Dalai Lama into the country and the bizarre revelations in this morning’s The Times about in cash-in-transit-heist money finding its way into ANC branch politics. Strange days indeed. Continue reading →
It sounds like a Hollywood script. A Joburg architect on holiday in Cape Town commits a misdemeanour and gets sentenced to three months community service. Not wanting to have to return to Cape Town he proposes to the court that he contribute to a community closer to home. He comes up with the idea to work with a children’s shelter to train youngsters in how to take photographs with disposable cameras. The plan is to work towards an exhibition of their work after three months. “All I wanted was to give them a night they would never forget,” says 35-year-old Bernard Viljoen.
Cue the scene of the judge stamping “accepted” on the proposal. That was the start of the project called “I was shot in Joburg”. Now two years later an end to Viljoen’s “community service” is nowhere in sight. When I contact him for an interview after buying one of the project’s photographs at Market on Main, in Joburg inner city’s Maboneng District, he is on his way to Cape Town to launch “I was shot in Cape Town”. Bloemfontein is next. 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.
#93. Join the call to let in the Dalai Lama and restore South Africa’s good karma. The Times is reporting that Constitutional Court judge Kate O’Regan has come out in support of Health Minister Barbara Hogan who earlier this week was quoted as saying: ‘‘Just the very fact that this government has refused entry to the Dalai Lama is an example of a government [that] is dismissive of human rights… I believe [the government] needs to apologise to the citizens of this country, because it is in your name that this great man who has struggled for the rights of his country… has been denied access.’’
Hogan’s comments were referred to as “unfortunate” by a government spokesperson.
O’Regan added: “I also want to say that, like you, who remembers the years of the 1980s when South Africa was so fortunate to have friends all over the world assisting our human rights struggle, that it is a matter of dismay that human rights does not seem to enter into the picture of some foreign affairs decisions that are made.”
#60. Celebrate. The mood is great. Everybody’s talking. We love Barack Obama. In Australia they are saying it’s the realisation of Martin Luther King’s dream. In Kenya tomorrow has been declared a public holiday in honour of Obama’s “Kenyan-ness”.
Obama didn’t forget anyone in his acceptance speech — he was gracious, inspiring, and even made Jesse Jackson cry. Not since Nelson Mandela has the world had such a “leader”. A man who embraces ideals as he speaks, who talks to everyone, who refers not to “I” but to “we” — as in “we, the people”.
And now for the questions this all raises. Where’s the photo of George Bush leaving the White House with his pot plant from the Oval Office and cardboard box filled with love letters to Condi. What breed of puppy with Obama’s kids choose (I have a spare 3-month-old German Shepherd who prefers Business Day to The Times as a morning meal) and who would probably thrive on some international travel. And then there’s that other question. Can it still be called the White House?