Thursday night we headed north to that weird Montecasino (where the sky is always blue no matter when the sun sets, and those cobblestones make enemies out of great heels) for the premiere of Material, the movie that made Barry Ronge cry and that has people declaring that we finally have a local film with the potential to rival a Leon Schuster blockbuster at the box office.
While Julius Malema was not celebrating a victory after the contentious hate speech ruling delivered yesterday we were at the Troyeville Hotel dinner and book club listening to Fiona Forde, the author of his biography, in conversation with City Press Editor Ferial Haffajee.
The event was apparently sold out in just over an hour. The room was wall to wall with journalists in whose professional lives Julius Malema occupies a special place. The man is news. He strides across the public stage as if he owns it, and has a way of making even reasonable statements sound outrageous, flanked as they usually are by the spectacle of a tenderpreneur calling for the nationalization of everyone else’s wealth.
#203. Get the T-shirt from Hayibo – the site that’s known for breaking news, into tiny little pieces. Among their range is the UMLUNGU T-shirt and the new Julius Malema-inspired “100 percent for Zuma and 20 percent for woodwork”.
#189. Chip in on the photographs that caused all the trouble with Lulu Xingwana, the Minister of Arts and Culture. If you missed this story you will need to read all about it on Times Live “Minister slams ‘porn’ exhibition”. The short version is that the Minister who was to open an exhibition that included Muholi’s work at Constitution Hill slammed the artist and her work and then walked out. A statement released after the event had the minister saying: “Our mandate is to promote social cohesion and nation building. I left the exhibition because it expressed the very opposite of this.” She called Muholi’s photographs depicting lesbian relationships “immoral, offensive and going against nation-building.”
#188. Listen to one of the other stars of the Flux Trend Review, Sylvester Chauke, marketing manager of Nando’s. Not only did he dance onstage to Beyonce’s “All the single ladies” but he also revealed the essence of the company’s marketing strategy, summed up by: “passionate about South Africa, and taking a stand against the bland”. The chicken brand is determined not to bore its audience, seeking instead to engage their attention in interesting ways, mostly through sharp social commentary and humour. They are keen to be part of the conversation and their ads provoke a reaction because they have a way of bringing to light the country’s zeitgeist. This I like.
A current favourite is their response to Fifa’s tagline: Make sure you can say “I was there”.
Then there’s my other favourite favourite — the recent Valentine’s Day message riffing off Jacob Zuma’s latest romantic misadventures. Continue reading →
#187. Attend the Flux Trend Review, which I did yesterday at the University of Johannesburg Theatre – a little spot of [architectural] light on an otherwise mostly foreboding campus (that was besides for the delicious food from the hospitality and tourism students – 10 out of 10 for the home-made biscuits). Ferial Haffajee, editor of City Press gave the opening talk, a state of the nation address that included lots of ripe bananas, a great soundtrack and even a soccerball giveaway (definitely a 2010 event trend). Maybe JZ should try that. Continue reading →
#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.
#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.
#114. Laugh it Off. Last night we joined close on 4000 people for the Heavyweight Comedy jam at Emperor’s Palace. The mood was good, the audience all warmed up. The jokes kept coming. “We used to drive on the left side of the road, now we drive on what’s left of the road”, said Al Prodgers.
“The Gautrain will have 200 people in each carriage and go 160km an hour. Do you think taxi drivers are worried about that?” And then there were the jokes about South African politics – from Helen Zille and her concubines to David Kau’s riff on Julius Malema’s woodwork grade. Judging by the laughter just saying the name Julius Malema is a punchline in this town. Continue reading →