Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Promenade cricket

Calling all Capetonians!

I declare it that we require a little get-together before winter kicks in and our lives suck for a few months.

It is for this reason that I declare it neccesary to have a cricket match on the Sea Point Promenade with all who feel like joining.

Garden cricket rules will apply. This means:
- one-hand, one-bounce (to facilitate holding of beer can)
- tip and run (so we can get the really good people out)
- electric wickets, but only if we have a few people. If we sort out two teams and have enough players for two batters then this doesn't apply.
- we will be using TENNIS balls

This will be on the 17th of April at midday. The first delivery will be bowled sometime between 12.30pm and 13.00.

You NEED to RSVP so I can see how many people are keen. All we basically need is even numbers. Guys and girls are welcome, as are kids, I suppose.

RSVP here: -- email me by like the 14th of April.


The hashtag on twitter will be #promcricket provided by @6000

By the way, beverages are encouraged. Bring your own drinks and food and stuff.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spot the SA tourist

Back when I lived in Florence (Firenze, to those of us in the know) I used to often walk around the central part of the city because I found it so stunning. My favourite was to walk around il Duomo - the Cathedral - right in the centre of town and listen to the excited batches of tourists raving about the stunning building.

Image from Virtualtourist.

I walked past groups of Americans, loudly exclaiming their wonderment "OH MY GAWD - this is AMAZING!"

British tourists, noses in guidebooks would quietly rave "Goodness Geoffrey, I can't believe it is so beautiful. Look at the ornate detail".

As I rounded the building I walked past a group of three guys, one of whom happened to shout as I past. "Fuck bru, that thing's HUUUGE!"

Yep - we're easy to notice overseas.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Whingy white woman

I spent this morning at home affairs renewing my passport – a slow, yet easy-to-do process. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my form and photos when I got there so I just asked someone and was pointed to the right place. As I was sitting in the queue to get my finger prints done a white woman with a snooty handbag and glitzy fake stone things on her sandals began bitching at the woman behind the till at the cashier line.

In that nasal accent, so prevalent in Sandton City (even though the setting of our story is in Cape Town) she screeched that she didn’t know which queue to stand in - she had obviously reached the front of the wrong one. Admittedly, there was no sign saying “cashier”, but the presence of a giant till was a bit of a giveaway, and all the other queues were marked things like “PASSPORT APPLICATIONS” and “ID APPLICATIONS” which I found self-explanatory. She obviously didn’t.

Instead of asking someone where to stand, or reading the simply-articulate signs, she decided to have a whinge at the home affairs staff, communicate her queue-frustration at anyone within hearing distance and refuse to solve her problem by asking someone where to stand. I looked around home affairs and not one other person was lost, confused or had lost the ability to ask a question along the lines of “where should I go?”.

This Chardonnay-swigging, Woollies-omnivore tart was INCENSED that the queues and arrows were not displayed in, on her terms, a satisfactory manner.

Home affairs sucks. It is a shitty horrible place to be. It is drab, dirty and depressing and a mission. No one wants to be there, particularly on a Saturday morning. And it is like that all the time. Eventually I got to the point where I wanted to ring her pearled (not in the fun way) neck to stop her squeaky rantings which, as she got more frantic, were at a perilous frequency that made the dogs in the Cape Town city bowl begin barking. In fact I think some of the windows in Barrack Street were in danger.

Sit and deal with it! AND SHUT UP!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An interesting... party alliance

I am sure you are all aware of events hapening in opposition politics in South Africa. Recently, the Democratic Alliance, United Democratic Movement, Independent Democrats and Congress of the People all had a chinwag and decided to put up a united front to the ANC. Honorouble in its intentions, but it is unclear what path they are going to take - parrticularly in light of conflicting philosophies.

However, if we can assume for the purposes of this post that the parties agreed on policy - considering Cope have none, that shouldn't be too hard for them - there are a few options for them. One is a solid working agreement against the ANC - but, really, is that any different to what is going on now?

Another is coalition politics - this was key in wrestling the city of Cape Town from ANC control and having Helen Zille take over as mayor, leading to huge success in the Western Cape in the 2009 elections, where the DA now rules.

However, there is a possibility that the four parties will unite into one alliance and play the part of one party. This is what many people seem to be excited about, but I think we should be weary. As much as people may swear for a political party, many South Africans vote against the ANC. And with over 65% of the electorate, nabbing at least 15 of the ANC's percentage points of that is key in making us a stronger democracy.

Here come the mass generalisations...

Should the parties unite, serious questions will be asked as to who will lead it. None of de Lille, Zille, Holomisa or Shilowa/Lekota will want to be the numbers 2-4 in the party. In fact, Cope have been arguing for the best part of 18 months as to who will lead them. I fear that if Helen Zille is the party's number 1, black votes will remain with the ANC and the united effort will look only very slightly different to how the DA looks now, and then where will Cope's 8% of the vote share go?

No matter what happens with this alliance, white people will continue to vote for it. There is no alternative to the DA for the majority of white voters, as the staunchly conservative and right-wing FF+ is in bed with the ANC - who many vote against. Helen Zille is enough of a brand that pale folks will continue to vote for whichever party she stands with. I still think that Cope is the hottest and most underused political hot property in the country right now, and I am excited about what they can do if they ever come up with a policy, differentiate themselves and choose a damn leader - parties need faces - and although I reckon Lekota would initially be my pick, it SHOULD be Mbhazima Shilowa who is far more marketable - and if this alliance becomes anything, he should head that too. Holimisa comes with a lot of baggage - he was top dog of a homeland and turfed out the ANC, and quite frankly, you hardly ever hear of his party - even in the Eastern Cape. I know Patricia de Lille is well-known in SA politics, and I like her, but I am not sure she is enough to boost this party enormously.And her and Holomisa only have 8 seats in Parliament combined... whereas the DA has 67 and Cope has 30.

Fact: This alliance will only ever be a success if it takes black votes from the ANC. But I have a sneaky feeling that Cope have the potential to do that on their own anyway, should they ever sort themsevles out. Their scope for growth in the short-term is huge, wheras the DA's outside the Western Cape is not - their next best performance in 2009 was in Gauteng where they achieved just over 22%.

So if this alliance is going to be a success, it needs Patricia's continual stance on poverty and anti-corruption, the DA's organisation and balls, the UDM's (insert whatever you can think of) and Cope's potential.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

To Cope in South Africa

Twitter was alight this morning with debates about Cope and their attempted, yet very-predictably-doomed-to-failure, vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma yesterday.

Some said that the no confidence motion was a desperate attempt at PR for Cope. This I would agree with - and I don't think anything is wrong with a political party searching for PR and new reaports - that's the way politics, particularly opposition politics, works. The DA does it all the time.

However, the motion was too late. A month ago, the country was crucifying Jacob Zuma because of his affair with Irvin Khoza's daughter - that included senior and junior ANC members and MPs who were criticising him. A week later it came out that he had no declared his financial interests to parliament and he got more criticism. Vavi soon launched into the ANC and the ANCYL ordering lifestyle audits. The SACP began a (nother) spat with the ANCYL who in turn made it clear that they want Gwede Mantashe replaces as ANC Secretary General by Fikile Mbalula. This was when Cope dreamed up their PR stunt - in this midst of this chaos.

However, since then, JZ went to London where he was castigated by that pathetic attempt at a newspaper - the Daily Mail - and all of a sudden people began defending him. Yes, even WHITE people! Cope's no confidence motion laagered the ANC and united - albeit temporarily - the party when it was looking to possibly splinter naturally.

And so the no confidence motion didn't do so well - for more than one reason. (EDIT - I am not saying it would have worked. JZ would never have been sacked, but a "succesful" result for Cope would have been favourable press, and hopefully a few members of the ANC would have turned on their own party)

Cope's biggest problem is that they have so many holes in their party. No matter what Cope says - meaningful, accurate or just made up - anyone can retort with "You still hanker after Mbeki" or "We may have problems, but you don't even know who your leader is". Cope also have no apparent policies, other then the forceful message of non-racialism which has failed dismally as two prominent white politicians have stormed out (ok, admittedly one is prominent because he has represented almost every political party in SA, and the other because she was the first instance of gratuitous white window dressing) . I remember Lekota going on about how BEE should be aimed at currently disadvantaged, not historically disadvantaged people. Well that message has never been communicated properly.

Cope's other major issue is that no one knows who runs the party. Is it Lekota (who has vanished)? Shilowa (who makes more noise than anyone else)? Mluleki George (who asked the offending question in Parly that caused Diane Kohler-Barnard to use the term I emphasise when the Sharks play rugby)? Or Dandala (whose face is on the election ballot, but that's about all)?

Cope's issues can be solved by simple marketing and logic.

- Firstly, stop the infighting and choose a damn leader. Do that today.And then put their face on an election ballot and in newspapers and TV.

- Secondly, there is a niche (more like gaping chasm) for a non-racial alternative to the ANC and the DA. Find it.

- Thirdly, get rid of all the Mbeki baggage. All of it. Dump it now. Otherwise people will point at you and bring it up all the things he did badly forever. The ANC has enough brand power, and political clout, to deal with it. You do not. Stop being the "We lost in Polokwane" party.

- Make your own policies. In many people's minds you are nothing more than the ANC with a different name and a nasty temper-tantrum like demeanour. Start shouting about HOW you are different to them, not just that you are.