Thursday, November 18, 2010

An interesting... flowered irritation

Since Kevin Pietersen came to try and get some form back by playing for The Dolphins, the UK and other international cricket writers keep on saying he went back to SA to play for Natal. Even this morning, 2 months after it happened, Mark Nicholas (who is one of the top commentators in the world) said Natal.

The province is called KwaZulu-Natal.

This is not some contentious name like Tshwane or Mike Sutcliffe's plethora of road name variations. KwaZulu-Natal has been called so since 1994. That's a cool 16 years that cricket commentators have had to get used to it.

I am not talking about your local British person who has never been here. I am talking about professional journalists who have followed the English team here on more than one occasion and been to the province.

If it's too long for their poor keyboards then abbreviate it to KZN like most of us do.

Outside that, I'm so excited to watch Rhodesia make a return to Test cricket with a banging fixture in Salisbury against Ceylon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An interesting... SABC fairytale



Set in the future...

Once upon a time King Jacob had a rather large headache. "Stop consuming the SABC" said Dr Motsoaledi, the royal doctor, "for this is what causes your head to be sore". So King Jacob phoned his friend, Sir Robert Gumede, and asked him to buy the SABC and take it off of his hands. Gumede agreed and purchased it for R120 which, all things considered, was its value to the public.

However, this angered many people and pleased other people.

Prince Zwelenzima Vavi said publically that he was against this happening and he cold have used it to employ another 3 million people by raising TV licence fees, but no one heard his message because of the Protection on Information declaration which banned all of his press releases because they made King Jacob and his friends so uncomfortable.

Princess Helen of Cape Town said she was glad it was privatised but that Gumede was a shit option when it should obviously have been sold to Rupert Murdoch.

Prince Dr Piet Mulder said that he wanted his own public broadcaster but needed his own public in his own country first.

Prince Mike Sutcliffe said that before the SABC was sold he wanted it to be called the Mzilikazi Umqaqazikababaxelitshalala Kahle Umbuzi Mahatmaguevara TV Station of the Republic of South Africa. Prince Zweli Mkhize agreed absolutely.

Minion Herschelle Gibbs said it was sweETV. But he didn't watch it because they took the porn off. Poor oke.

Imperialist Geoffrey Boycott said it was overvalued and wasn't worth a stick of rhubarb.

The Daily Mail got its facts in a twist and reported that Jacob Zuma actually killed Robert Gumede with his machine gun. No worries. They published a two-line apology the next day on page 47, just after the recipes.

Previous-prince Benni McCarthy asked if there would be food available at the launch of the new station. Khulubuse Zuma said he wasn't coming if there wasn't.

Royal Pastor Ray Macauley invited Gumede to host the new station in the east wing of his mansion. He also got Tom Cruise to fly out and bless it. Silly man, it's so easy to confuse Rhema and Scientology.

Princess Diane Kohler-Barnard said " this is a fucking storming success and about fucking time the national fucking broadcaster was put in new fucking hands".

Princess Lindiwe Sisulu refused to confirm if the sale had happened.

Princess Gwen Ramokgopa said that it didn't matter because no one in her constituency could afford TVs anymore because they were spending cash on generators and having their garbage removed by private companies.

The Mail and Guardian's editor, Heathen Nic Dawes, is still in a coma. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An interesting... odd statement from David Cameron

Regarding the hiked-up university tuition fees in the UK which sparked serious protests in Londo yesterday, David Cameron said: "Raising tuition fees will do two things. It will make sure our universities are well funded and we won't go on increasing so fast the fees for overseas students … We have done the difficult thing. We have put up contributions for British students. Yes, foreign students will still pay a significant amount of money, but we should now be able to keep that growth under control."

Let me highlight the important bit here: we won't go on increasing so fast the fees for overseas students

Hi David. Do you know one of the main reasons why the Liberal Democrat hype before the election dampened into the squib which was their portion of the vote? It was their pro-immigration stance that did it.

The people that voted for you? Well they disagree with your lapdog about that particular topic.

And you're from a pretty proud and nationalistic country.

So what did you actually mean? That the British people should pay more to attend British universities but the foreign students won't?

In fairness, Cameron was answering a question directed to him while he is on his trip to China, and the question cold very well have been "Are fees for foreign students also going to increase?" for all I know.

But the Prime Minister should know how that quote might sound to some people.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An interesting...myth buster (long-ass post)

This article was published in Time magazine and managed to annoy me to a fairly large degree. It's by a gay man writing about how and why his relationship ended, and blaming the fact that he is gay, and the structure of gay relationships, as opposed to him taking any responsiblity for how or why his coupledom was removed.

The basic conclusion here is that there are a different set of rules for a relationship in which there are two men, as opposed to a man and a woman. He makes the point that without defined (possibly gender) roles, there is no future possible. Let's take a run through the article with some quotes and I'll show you why he's talking out of his rear end.

I went home with Michael the night we met, and figuratively speaking, I didn't leave again for those 7 1⁄2 years.

It's very important to include this statement to reinforce the fact that gays are all about sex and just bone all the time without giving credence to anything emotional. You know, like how black people steal and Afrikaners are all racists.It's an opening to immediately differentiate the writer from what the reader may be used to.

Things drifted for a while. There was some icky couples counseling ("Try a blindfold") and therapeutic spending on vacations, clothes, furniture. We were lost. The night Michael wouldn't stay up to watch The Office finale with me, I knew I had to move out. Yes, he was tired, but if he couldn't give me the length of a sitcom--Jim and Pam are going to kiss!--then we were really done.

The point is reinforced: you know that gays only care about interior decoration, fashion and showbusiness. Don't you? Same way Americans only care about war and French people stink of garlic. One again, it is the writer forcing upon the reader that he is GAY GAY GAY.

He then has a whole speel about how his life is better because he is now single and the sex is better (ja because that's not a vengeful thing to do, is it?), he went back to gym. Oh, and his evenings contained "moderate drug use" because in case you forgot, he is gay, and a nice cliched gay myth hasn't been in this paragraph yet. Ok, we've finally ascertained that this man is NOT straight and now the article can go on.

Finally I started reading the academic research on relationships, which is abundant and, surprisingly, often rigorous. I wondered whether Michael and I could have done more to save our union. What impact had our homosexuality had on the longevity, arc and dissolution of our relationship? Had we given up on each other because we were men or because we were gay? Or neither? Friends offered clich├ęs: Some people just aren't meant for each other. But our straight friends usually stayed married. Why not us?

Yeh that's it. Some straight people that he knows stayed together but him and his boyfriend broke up. Conclusive evidence in my book. This is also where he begins to ask whether he was personally responsible, or whether it was his gay handicap that prevented him from being together with someone else. Where did he start researching?
Dr. David Reuben's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex. A good modern insight into contemporary sexuality as it was published 41 years ago. Yep, the writer consulted a book published in 1969. You know, back when homosexuality was thought of as a disease. Summed up, this twat's conclusion is that gays cannot have a proper relationship because they are always on the lookout for the next penis. This was in the era where STDs hadn't been discovered yet so excuse my scepticism when it comes to sexual expertise during the hippie era. All of a sardine, after quoting the book,the writer says:

I know now that the book was blithe and stupid, but I think many people, gay and straight, assume gay men are worse at maintaining relationships than straight people are. I needed experts, answers. I was also curious if I should be so upset about my breakup. As a society, we treat single people over 30 with condescension or pity, but maybe the problem was that I had hurtled into a serious relationship too young. I know that in my 20s I had wanted to impress my family and my heterosexual friends with my stability. Maybe I should have waited.

This is where he offers a real morsel of how he's starting to think it's a gay thing: his fwiendy-wiendies didn't think gays could be stable and THAT'S what drove him into a relationship too early. Peer pressure, can't you see? Not love or attraction or chemistry or anything that could apply to heterosexuals too (because they never ever rush into relationships in their 20s which they regret later on). Everyone who gets into relationships too early thinks "maybe I should have waited" but in his case it was because he was gay, not just a person who did something they regret... like everyone else.

Research on gay relationships is young. The first study to observe how gays and lesbians interact with their partners during conversations (monitoring facial expressions, vocal tones, emotional displays and physical reactions like changes in heart rate) wasn't published until 2003, even though such studies have long been a staple of hetero-couple research.

He then goes on to quote that very first study. Not anything that extended from it, but the very first one ever which compared 40 straight couples and 40 gay couples, the conclusion of which said that gays were bad at repairing things that went wrong in relationships and this is where homosexual relationship counsellors should focus.

The therapist Michael and I hired did not encourage us to repair. She didn't have to. Our relationship had become so etiolated and dull that we didn't even have proper fights. We carried an aura of passivity, and the therapist wanted to see passion.

He goes on to say that gay people get off on emotions and tension and straight people don't. So the problem was that this therapist treated them like straight people not that the relationship was already doomed by then. Or dull. Or just a normal relationsip that ended because the twosome grew apart.

For gays, it is apathy that murders relationships, not tension. Straight people more often prefer a lento placidity.

No margins are given here as results of this small study. How many of the 80 couples exhibited this? Was it 22 vs 23? 12 vs 36?

It just sounds like such a generalised statement lifted off a study I don't feel is big enough. Surely all relationships have their own ebb and flow?

Now we get into complete and utter bullshit:
No one is sure why gay men are worse at making up after fights, but I have a theory: it's less important for their sex lives. Probably because they don't have women to restrain their evolutionarily male sexual appetites, gay men are more likely than straight and lesbian couples to agree to nonmonogamy, which decreases the stakes for not repairing.

So, gays fight differently to straight people because to feel better they can just run out of the door and bang someone else. The assumption here that gay men do not give a flying toss about how their partner feels? The assumption that the relationship doesn't matter because we won't run out of people to shag? And on that note, straight people never go looking for others to bone? To say that gay men put so much emphasis on getting a leg over with no regard for emotions and feelings is condescending, incorrect, and a somewhat bitter statement.

Finally, I think gay and lesbian couples may prefer more heart-racing during conflict because of what happens to gays and lesbians as kids. Although the world is changing--more than 3,700 schools now have student clubs that welcome gays--many gay kids still grow up believing that what they want is disgusting. They repress for years, and when they finally do have relationships, they need them to carry sufficient drama into those emotional spaces that were empty for so long. Gays need their relationships to scorch.

By virtue of being gay in a straight world, it is possible that tension could result in later feelings toward and away from certain aspects of life, like relationships. I find it difficult to believe that this transcends the sexual preference barrier though. Surely kids (and adults, I suppose) who grow up under any kind of uncomfortable circmstance could have this kind of influence affect them? I find it difficult to believe that gay men may react differently in later life if they faced serious prejudice and consternation when they were younger. The same way a child with an abusive father may act differently to someone who didn't have that kind of characteristic in his or her life. I hardly believe this is exclusive to homosexuals as a group and is far more applicable on a specific personal basis.

Penutimate paragraph: Today Michael and I are friends. On Christmas Eve, we gathered a group, and I made an enthusiastic attempt at the traditional Italian seven-fishes feast. I'm in better shape now than I was in high school, which fits with psychologist Bella DePaulo's finding (in her fascinating 2006 book on single life, Singled Out) that the period around divorce is associated with improvements in health. Divorced men are also, not surprisingly, happier than men stuck in bad marriages.

Once again, not one thing he mentions here applies exclusively to gays. Once again, I think that the writer and Michael broke up becaue of normal relationship reasons and not because they were gay. The reactions to the break up from the writer are certainly bog-standard for people in general.

And yet if ours had been a straight marriage, I have little doubt we would still be together. We had financial security and supportive families. We almost certainly would have had children. This isn't regret--fighting my homosexuality would be like shouting against the rain. But while the researchers are certainly right that straight couples have something to learn from gay couples, I think the inverse is true as well.

Financial security and supportive families does not a happy marriage make. There are so many aspects to marriage and coupledom - finances and family being two of them - and they don't all have to go wrong for problems to develop. Loads of couples with fiscal security and familes that love them dearly break up. And it's not the pure fact of being gay that drove them to do it. There are a host of reasons that it could have been, and to tie it up in homosexuality is insulting, condescending, and, dare I say it, bitter.

But it's much easier to blame it on something like that, hey?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

An interesting... cabinet

In the spirit of Gwen Ramokgopa being elevated to the second most important health position in South Africa after confirming (by trial and error) that she is the world's worst mayor, I have decided to create my own cabinet.

President: Me
It's my cabinet. So in the game I am the president.

Vice president: Mike
I want a two-income family.

Minister of Sport: Herschelle Gibbs
I would like to pick someone with an honourable past. Someone whose reputation was never questioned, who never took illegal substances, who could always be relied on by his country...

Minister of Security: Lolly Jackson
Such a controversial figure who managed to remain out of harm's way all these years.

Sorry, what? Oh.

Minister of Communications: Floyd Shivambu
Outside spelling, reason and the ability to argue a point, this man was born to write press releases. Number 2 in the Communications Ministry will be whoever is in charge of marketing at Cell C.

Minister of Health: Gwen Ramokgopa
I have decided to promote her. So many people died during the Mbeki years and I feel like I wouldn't be able to match his efforts unless I also put a real nincompoop in charge.

Minister of Ruling until Jesus Comes: Ray Macauley
Seriaas - the amount of money he makes for his church? Imagine what he could make for government. I mean the people.

Minister of Women, Children and the Handicapped: Josef Fritzl
He knows how to keep them happy and reproductive - even with each other. And it wouldn't matter if they are handicapped because they live in a basement.

Minister of Agriculture: Leon Schuster
I know Afrikaners love Leon Schuster. And they love farming. So this appointment is for them.

Minister of Inter-cultural Relations: Sarah Palin
I wanted someone with a real open mind. You know, the type who really just get other people and don't fall back on knee-jerk prejudices. And she's smokin'. This is such a big portfolio though that I decided to hire the entire management of the BMF to work with her. And SASCO. Hahaha ok I'm done now.

Minister of gays Moving Images: Barry Ronge
We do require someone to push the agenda of gays movies, organise great gay movie parties, invite other gays celebrities and get them to strip to music teach us about this popular subculture art while we drink champers eat popcorn.

Minister of Foreign Affairs: Khanyi Mbau
It's a play on words people.

Anyone else you think we should add?

Friday, October 22, 2010

An interesting... thug


Link to news24 article on Bakkies Botha's interview with a magazine.

We're such a big bunch of douchebags because we haven't forgiven Bakkies even though he has asked us numerous times. This is what he said in one of them Christian magazines (that people don't buy from Woolworths): "God is merciful and we need to ask his forgiveness only once. Unfortunately some people don’t accept it that way and they expect you to repeatedly ask forgiveness."

Of course God forgave him. It was God's mistake, remember? Letting him listen to the flesh. God is lucky that Bakkies forgave him, actually.

Luckily though, the Holy Spirit convinced Bakkies how wrong he was: "The Holy Spirit convinced me how wrong it was and I was literally sick with disappointment in myself." So is Bakkies so much of a brick-head that he can't work that out for himself? Did no one ever teach him that headbutting people was wrong?

I wonder if that respectable man and great sporting ambassador for this country, Victor Matfield, has ever had a word with him, and if it just doesn't penetrate that violent skull of Botha's.

At least Bakkies picks on people his own size, like the All Black scrummy, Jimmy Cowan, and Gio Aplon.

Bakkies also claims he was shattered by the incident. Does he get shattered every single time he's gone out to beat someone? If so, the man must be on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication.

He also says that "God is merciful and we need to ask his forgiveness only once". Well, once per occasion, Bakkies. If you had to ask him more than once it would take your entire suspension just to apologise to him, and less time to reflect on why you behave like such a thug on the rugby field.

As far as I know, God only forgives those who repent. Bakkies, if you keep beating, headbutting and throwing people around, then you are repenting with about the same strike rate that a prozzie manages to protect her virginity.

You're such a good player. Stop fucking around.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An interesting... willy nilly flight schedule


Jacob Zuma, in Cairo for a high-level state visit, has publically announced that infrastructure has contributed to holding back development of trade in Africa. He specifically mentioned air travel and the lack of direct flight routes within our continent being a concern:

"If you wanted to reach some countries on the continent, you'd have to go to Europe first, then sleep on the way, wake up in the morning, wait until sunset and then fly back to Africa. That must come to an end." (quote pinched from Fin24's report (and to be fair, he also said a load of other stuff too)).

In doing so, Zuma has made it clear that he has no idea how airlines or air travel works. Firstly (small point), he is in Cairo, from which there is a direct and daily Egypt Air flight to Johannesburg. Ahem, it's our own SAA that doesn't fly to Cairo.

Secondly, airlines run on tiny margins, so routes that don't make money are cut, and cut swiftly. If there is no direct flight between Gabarone and Ouagadougou, it is because the route is not commercially viable. Once cannot expect an airline to make a loss just so we can fly direct everywhere.

One of the reasons Zuma lists transfers in Europe (for some reason not mentioning the Middle East) is because there is commerical traffic between African cities and European ones. There is enough to justfy a route between Lagos and London with British Airways, for example. There is also enough to sustain a route between Durban and Dubai (on Emirates). Frankfurt and Addis Ababa (Lufthansa). Madrid and Casablanca (Iberia). Paris and Algiers (Air France). And so these are the large flight centres we use if SAA or one of the big other African airlines can't deliver us there.

All of these major European and Middle Eastern airlines fly to other African destinations, so the Emirates flight from Durban can link us up with Khartoum. I don't see enough traffic between the Banana Boys and one of the world's worst summer holiday destinations to make that a viable route, but as both sustain enough traffic to make a route to Dubai viable, it works.

If Zuma wants these direct routes he should start by making our perenial somehow-loss-making-even-though-it-has-amazing-and-busy-routes parastatal to start hooking up with African centres.

There is no SAA flight route between Johannesburg and Cairo (although there is codeshare with Egypt Air), or Joburg and Kigali, Abuja, Abidjan, Tripoli, Algiers or anywhere in Morocco. Why do you think this is, Mr Zuma?

SAA only serves about 40 destinations (excluding Star Alliance partners). Kenya Airways (with Sky Team alliances) and Ethiopia Airlines serve about 50 destinations.

Now, compare that with British Airways which serves 370, Lufthansa which operates routes incorporating 202 cities on its own. Emirates flies to over 100. Is it any surprise that decent flight connections to African destinations sometimes involve leaving the continent? Can I hear a resounding NO?

Mr Zuma, if you want direct flight routes around Africa, develop the trade. Set the gound work. Build the relationships. Due to profitability opportunity and gaps in the market, the airlines will follow you.

Do not expect them to lead the way.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An interesting... honoured person


Lucas Mangope, ex President of Bophututswana. Image delightfully grabbed from electionsmeter.com.

Lucas Mangope, is to be honoured by the North West University (NWU) as the student community voted in favour of the campus’ Lost City residence being renamed after him – according to City Press. The ANC, unsurprisingly, has a big issue with this: in case you’re not aware, Mangope was the big dog in Bophututswana; the president of a homeland that only the Apartheid government recognised as a legitimate country.

Yep, one of the homelands to which black South Africans were banished had a president who built loads of stuff but allegedly used the police to quieten those who protested against him, another nice link up with them Apartheid folks (and perhaps Mzilikazi Wa Afrika will attest to more current enforcement of this principle – I digress).

Saki Mofokeng, a co-ordinator for the ANC in the North West said that engagement with the university in this matter had been fruitless. Whatever that engagement might have been, it was hardly ever going to have made a huge impact as this was voted on by the SRC of North West University, and followed all university and democratic specifics.

It’s easy to see why the ANC don’t feel so good about the university honouring Mangope, and to a large extent I can empathise.

But sometimes, dear rulers, people love and worship those you don’t smaak so much, and in this day and age, the ANC can hardly bring up a defence of only maintaining acknowledgement of real heroes of The Struggle. If we’re not permitted a little memorial to Lucas Mangope, then why should we tolerate one of Cecil John Rhodes? Although Mangope and Rhodes both have dodgy human rights records, they made infrastructure strides – for god’s sake: Mangope was one of the founders of NWU.

A South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) press release accused the university council of being “impervious to the sensitivities of the people of South Africa in relation to the role played by Bantustans in the oppressive apartheid system” but is there a formally lodged complaint against the road named after a Nazi-sympathiser, Oswald Pirow Street, in Cape Town? Not far from Oswald Pirow is Barry Hertzog Road – a fan and benefiter of segregationist policies (although he wasn’t quite an Apartheid man as black South Africans weren’t as fully screwed like the NP was to ensure a few years later).

Indeed, there are purported plans to rid Cape Town of these names, but there were pretty much the same plans three years ago too. If an offensive name is that big of a deal, is anyone complaining a great deal about truly verified offensive names and the fact that we still have them?

Other ANC-ratified names like Peter Mokaba Stadium won’t sit well with some people (Dubul’ iBhunu isn’t exactly on the RSG playlist) and neither will the recently-named Andrew Zondo Road in Amanzimtoti (Zondo planted a bomb there which killed five people in 1985). Che Guevara Road certainly isn’t maintaining an agenda which comes up with names that enamour everyone now, is it?

The point is this: if the ANC can change names at their own discretion, through their own protocols, then so can North West University. If (Durban City Manager) Mike Sutcliffe wants to change names he can (although changing 100 in one go is ridiculous if you expect people to be able to get anywhere), but then so can Cape Town change Buitengracht to Helen Zille Avenue, the V&A Waterfront to Queen Elizabeth II & Bees Roux Waterfront and Camps Bay to Fight Back Beach Paradise, as long as it follows due political and legal process.

North West University has not put a toe out of line in this whole renaming structural process, and the ANC, by its own rules, should leave it alone. Government has used certain names in spite of opposition to them, and are merely on the receiving end of this exact principle now. We’ve abandoned the pretence of renaming according to those who are important and memorable to all South Africans, in spite of the decent beginnings of it in Joburg (DF Malan, Hans Strijdom and Hendrik Verwoerd became Beyers Naude, Malibongwe and Bram Fischer respectively).

Now, if this Mangope renaming does come though, who can guess what the next University of the Free State residence will be called...?

Friday, October 08, 2010

To Liverpool, with love from this Chelsea fan,



Since 2005 I have had a personal vendetta with Liverpool – that’s 5 Champion’s Leagues ago when a Luis Garcia shot didn’t make it over the line but was awarded as a goal and knocked us out of the tournament in the semi-finals. They knocked us out fairly the next year. A few years later they ended our 86-game unbeaten streak at Stamford Bridge, and in amongst all this, Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho had words on numerous occasions. There has been no team, nor manager, that has been able to get on my tits more than Liverpool and its (now ex) amigo in the last five or six seasons.

For hours around the braai I would rant about that Garcia goal, about Agger’s goal which went under our jumping defence’s stuffing feet the following year. I would pretend to understand Steven Gerrard’s Scouser accent just so I could bitch about and disagree with what I thought he was saying. A glinty smile crossed my lips every time they lost to inferior (or superior, actually) opposition and would always help assuage my venomous aggression when Chelsea had dropped any sort of points.

Liverpool were the Australia to my South Africa, the Kevin Pietersen to my Graeme Smith, the Newcastle to my Sunderland, the West Ham to my Millwall, the Rugby World Cup to my New Zealand...

For years I have been celebrating their every loss or draw and have been lamenting the club’s every victory. It has inspired the worst kind of passionate swearing in Liverpool-Chelsea clashes, as well as triumphant arrogance in the fixtures we’ve won.

Now, Liverpool have become the Cullinan to my Warne, the Roddick to my Federer, the Stuart Broad to my Yuvraj Singh, the Russians to my local runners in the Comrades Marathon.

Please god, get things back on track. Football misses a strong Liverpool. I miss a strong Liverpool – my sporting life is emptier without the passionate red annoyance provided by you (Arsenal and Manchester United just don’t cut it).

However you need to do it, please just get back up into the top four where you belong.
Accept the Bostonian’s offer if you must, but be weary of people who seem to come in to “save” the club. You are one of the great sporting institutions in the history of sport and can’t continue to flaccidly limp down the Premier League table.

Because all of us, full of love and loathing, miss you.

Love (or loathing, actually) from a Chelsea fan,
Simon.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

An interesting... SAA drops its Cape Town to Durban route


Image from flysaa.com


SAA has anounced that it will no longer be operating its Durban-Cape Town route anymore and will use Mango, its low-cost carrier, to service it instead.

Twitter has already gone mad about it today, as has the comment section beneath the article I linked to above. People find it odd (some find it offensive) that the national carrier won't be flying between the 2nd richest city in the country (Durban) and the third richest (Cape Town) anymore, but there is a case to be made for SAA making this decision.

Firstly, as stated in the article, most of the traffic between the two cities is holiday traffic. Something one will notice, on occassion, is that many holiday destination to holiday destination flight routes fail. If there is not enough business traffic to maintain the commercial viability of a flight route then it has to be pulled. Does anyone remember the failed venture of having flights between Cape Town and Miami? No business travel = fail. Business travel is undeniably important, particularly for a full-service airline (as opposed to low-cost - SAA and BA are full-service airlines, Kulula, 1Time and Mango are low-cost airlines) and it's why JNB-CPT and JNB-DUR are two of the busiest flight routes in the world.

Secondly, we often complain about the excessive wastage of money spent by parastatals. This was a difficult decision made by SAA to concentrate on its more-money-making routes throughout Africa. For the first time I can think of off the top of my head, taxpayers are complaining about a parastatal wasting LESS of their money. We can't just have a flight route because we sommer want one. If, according to the capitalist principles espoused by the readers of the site I linked to above, there is a viable business route between Cape Town and Durban, someone will step in and fill it.

Thirdly, there are four other airlines from which to choose, and if you are a businessman who MUST sit in the snooty part of an aeroplane, then fly British Airways. It's really not that much harder to type in ba.com rather than flysaa.com and it's a tiny bit more expensive, but you're expensing it anyway.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An interesting... gaze toward France

What the fuck is going on in France? As if the French haven’t pissed off enough people in their history...

Not only are they offending the Muslims (who they welcomed into their secular country) by banning the burkha in public places, they are now deporting Roma people (that’s the PC term for gypsies from Romania). Slight problem for Sarkozy the Tyrant though, they are European Union citizens.

Both Romania and France are part of the EU and citizens from their countries can go wherever the hell they like within the organisations’s borders. So these deportations are actually illegal and the EU parliament is coming to shit on Sarkozy’s head.

You know there’s a freak out coming because Viviane Reding, the EU justice commissioner went the classic route of comparing the Roma deportations to the removal of Jewish folks during the Holocaust. People only do this when they are KAK serious.

Sarkozy is just practicing easy politics though. His ratings are plummeting faster than Barack Obama’s and he is doing the equivalent of name changes in South Africa: noticeable political points with no real benefit to the country at large in the face of real problems.

For me, it’s always sad when religious freedom and people’s livelihoods are put aside for flagging political parties…


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An interesting... elitism

Jack Bloom is a DA member of the Gauteng Legislature. He wrote a rant against Cosatu on politicsweb - his point of view is no great surprise (he is not a Cosatu fan - no one saw that coming) and I am not really here to debate unions vs business because we'll bang on endlessly. You can read the article here.

It's a whole debate that can run forever and we've been doing it for 3 of the last 4 weeks.

However, a tiny section of Mr Bloom's write-up caught my eye. He is quoting Mike Schussler, a noted economist, and says this "He calls the public sector "the new elite" as even cleaners in government get R5000 a month."

Yes, he called people who earn R5000 a month "elite".

To be honest, out here in Mzansi, where blue-collar workers are black and poor and the majority of voters, this chap calls them elite. Those who board buses and taxis every morning from Soweto and townships around the suburbs to hike into rich areas to clean things that we're too lazy to, and may be paid more than the extorted cleaning staff who earn fuckall are elite?!

It has long been noted that there is a communications problem between the DA and poor, black folks (and unemployed folks, to be fully honest), and public statements calling R5000-per-month-cleaning-staff elite is an excellent example thereof.

There is a problem when we're happy that someone is earning R5000 a month, let alone ascribing them something with such positive connotations.

This kind of attitude needs to be dropped for the DA to make any notable headway into the electorate. While calling someone "elite", the DA is, ironically, opening itself up to accusations of being "elitist".

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An interesting... and obvious solution


Image lovingly pinched from techcentral.co.za

In case anyone wondered just how pedantic our leaders could get about non-important things forgoing the housing, employment, medical and eating needs of South Africans:

A future indaba between the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) and the ANCYL (ANC Youth League) is going to happen soon to work out just whether Julius Malema was having a pop at Jacob Zuma when he mentioned the YL's one-boyfriend-one-girlfriend policy.

The SABC has gone to great pains to deny ever painting a link between the monogomous and oh-so-moral Malema and the ever-marrying President, as a spokesperson said to the Mail and Guardian "We have gone through all the clips around that story and we can clearly say that there is nowhere in all the clips -- both radio and television -- where we have said that whatever Julius Malema was saying, was in reference to Jacob Zuma" (Full story here).

I have a much quicker way of settling this issue. Read:

Firstly, it is obvious that Malema was referring to Zuma. Whether it is direct or not, Malema is referring to people who practice polygamy, and saying that the Youth League does not do it and prefers monogamy instead. If we referred to criminals affecting our country, would be be implicitly including Jackie Selebi? Of course. If we pushed for a pro-choice stance on abortion, are we speaking against Catholics and the ACDP? Indeedly. In the same way, Malema was speaking against a Zuma principle. This tends to happen when we are not all identical and believe the exact same thing all the time.

Secondly, under the South African constitution, you can practice whichever philosophy you like. If you are a polygamist, marry away. If you are not, then date away before marrying once. Both are totally legal and acceptable in a legal sense. Amazingly, we also have this thing called free speech (for the moment, at least) which means we are allowed to agree and disagree and debate things. Not only is it legal, it's encouraged.

So although Malema aims the odd barb at you, Mr Zuma, it matters not.

People are allowed to - and will - disagree with you.

So if the hesitant and confused session over what or when Julius said could be cancelled so we could fix the lives of South Africans... maybe even if the SABC could work on fixing itself? That would be awesome. Thanks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

An interesting... not enough shock


(image pinched from hevallo.blogspot.com but I think he/she pinched it from the Economist)

Menzi Simelane took over as the head of the National Prosecuting Authority at the end of 2009. We ummed and aahed and shook our heads but no one really gave a fuck.

Why was it important for us to get pissy about Simelane? Because it was the most blatant sign that the government was screwing with the judiciary - basically the people who decide whether to prosecute a crook or not, and then prosecute him if they think they have a strong enough case. Remember the folks who decided that Zuma couldn't be investigated because Mbeki has fiddled with his case? That was them. The people who clobbered Schabir Shaik? That was them.

It is shocking that the politicians are allowed to fiddle in the justice system. And, rightly so, there was criticism from all sectors - including overseas - until we all got bored and realised we didn't feel like couldn't really do anything about it, such is the way of South Africans. We all knew it was the wrong decision. Blatantly.

Similarly, though, Turkey voted in the last week or so in a referendum (with 58% agreeing with the motion) to allow the government to have more control in the country's judiciary. From the Guardian: The outcome presages a transformation of the judiciary, long seen as a staunch secular bastion. It would give the government more control over appointments to Turkey's highest court, the constitutional court, and the powerful Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, which currently appoints most senior judiciary officials. (Click here to read the full story)

And the worst bit? The referendum results give Turkey a far better chance of joining the EU. Said Stefan Fule, the commissioner for enlargement (of the EU I assume): "These reforms are a step in the right direction as they address a number of longstanding priorities in Turkey's efforts towards fully complying with the accession criteria". Bloomberg (the news agency, not the mayor) says that the judiciary will be expanded from 11 members to 17 - with 14 selected by the President and 3 by Parliament.

To be fair, I will mention that the referendum does reduce the military power of the Turkish army which has staged four coups in the last half century. But it must also be made clear that it could impact Turkey's secular society as the ruling party, the Justice and Development Party has faced criticism of pushing an Islamic agenda in one of the Middle East's few secular states.

However, the EU is pushing its own agenda here - backing constitutional reform to join the EU which could impact on other values the EU holds dear, particularly those which mean a lot to members of Turkey's public such as its secular society and independent justice system.

Only politics could twist government interference in the judiciary into a good thing.

We should be shocked.
We might be.
But it won't last long.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

An interesting... sokkie dans

For the first time I went to a sokkie sokkie for the gays - termed a GAT party by the regular attendees.

There are few things more enjoyable than watching people dancing. Hand in hand, cheek-to-cheek, spinning around in rhythmical fashion. The smiles shared between couples waltzing around a dancefloor make me feel great, and I sat a few weeks watching this parade of people swishing gracefully anti-clockwise around the room. It was such a grand, chilled-out evening with few worries, cheap beer and no drama whatsoever. And full of homos.

It is the first time I have ever been at a gay party which came with so little admin, drama and judgementalness, and so much happiness.

The gays are a tricky bunch. Very few of us are the typically screechy queen that popular culture loves to display us as – in fairness, that’s the meaningful equivalent of the hypocritical white liberal, the khakid-up Dutchman with a comb in his sock and the fact that the logo for every single thing in KZN is a badly-drawn King Shaka. I digress.

Although every subculture has its own politicking, (open generalisation) gays have a nasty bitchy streak that’s constantly on show (close generalisation). In fact in our world, being a bigger bitch adds to your brand value. Unfortunately, this manifests itself in our behaviour – becoming the biggest prick (no pun intended) means smashing other people down with your self-confidence rapier. This, in turn, possibly on a subconscious level, means we need behave as if we are impervious to criticism, hence the obsession with highly-crafted bodies, dress sense and other superfluous and expensive crap.

Because of our obsession with keeping ourselves at the top of our game constantly, it is very hard to just chill. Even what we think is a chilled, relaxed evening out ain’t no rugby braai. And this is why the aforementioned sokkiedans partytjie I was at on Saturday absolutely blew me away. Quite frankly, it was a room full of gays enjoying themselves in a very “straight” and traditional way – simply by dancing. Not in a showy-off, check-out-the-junk-in-my-trunk manner, but proper, lekker, classic dancing – I did a (toe-crushing) waltz for the first time in my life there. What could have been a night of personal-worry was actually stress-free fun – like singing alone in your car.

I think that we sometimes forget that fun is a simple thing, and in amongst the showmanship the simplicity gets lost. As ridiculous as it sounds, straight people have a lot to teach us when it comes to enjoying ourselves. I can sense that people may think I am saying that gays don’t have fun or are miserable inside – not so. My point is that fun is not necessarily an extension of judgemental bitchiness, a waxed, contrived body or Dolce & Gabbana. I think that the sooner we realise this, the happier more people will be.

So thanks to the sokkie-dansers. The lesson was good.

Friday, August 27, 2010

An interesting... frustration


Image from iafrica

If anyone is in any doubt that politics is a huge heap of shit and should only be taken seriously in the rarest of instances, look no further than the dog show that is the Tripartite Alliance – the folks allegedly running the country.

I say allegedly, because the cabinet runs the country how it sees fit without giving two hoots to its alliance partners, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

Cosatu and the SACP should bandy together in many respects with the worker-protecting social ideals being reflected in the commies manifesto. But no, as Cronin, Mantashe, Blade Nzimande and Rob Davies all have cabinet and deputy cabinet posts, their lust for power keeps them ANC-aligned while Cosatu carries on complaining about one of SA’s biggest cripplers – corruption.

Add to this: the ANCYL which, together with Cosatu and the SACP, ran a massive movement in Polokwane to get Zuma elected as the head of the ANC, has also changed their tune.

The system has gone backwards. Steadfast allies who kicked out the previous president are all broken in 2 short years.

This is not even the first time this has happened in SA politics. Remember when the New National Party merged with the DP? They were all buddy-buddy until the ANC looked more attractive to Marthinus van Schalkwyk whose political ideals – opposition, remember? – changed on the turn of a tickey.

The UK election a few short months ago resulted in an alliance between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. In case you missed that, it was the LIBERAL Democrats against the CONSERVATIVEs. Competing ideologies sacrificed (by the Lib Dems, not the Conservatives) for positions in government.

These aren’t the only instances. If you dig enough you’ll see more and more of it.

As if anything was required to make us believe politicians less. They sit and wank on about how steadfast their way of running the country is and then sell it out when a teeny bit of inter-political gain raises its head.

It makes me sad.