Friday, May 28, 2010

An interesting... and great South African feeling

I am feeling so good about SA at the moment, and surprisingly, none of it has to do with the World Cup.

How's this for a good progressive week?

1) The rugby in Orlando

Not only did we have the allegedly Afrikanerdom team playing the allegedly Afrikanerdom sport being played in the allegedly Afrikanerdom-hating Soweto, we got great results! If, 15 years ago you'd told people that the spierwit Blou Bulle supporters would flood to a fixture in Soweto, the Boeremag would have bleksemmed you. But do you know what? It happened. And once again folks across a bunch of races got on like houses on fire - and proved again that it's the political leaders who foster race issues. Not us folks who actually live here.

2) Reaction to Zapiro's cartoon

Did you all see Zapiro's cartoon last week? Well, the Mail and Guardian ran a cartoon depicting the phophet Muhammed and there was a bit of a shitfest. The M&Gand Nic Dawes (editor of M&G) met with Muslim leaders and other folks and thrashed out the issue. You can see Dawes' and M&G's response here. What this meant is that once again we showed that South Africans still have the ability to exist together across many different cultures. In Europe this Islamaphobic fight is carried out every day. In South Africa we found a resolution and learnt. This is good progressive thinking! They haven't managed that in First World Washington or London. But we managed it in Jozi.

3) ANC loses by-elections

The DA won two-by elections in the Western Cape yesterday (ANC lost another ward to an independent candidate in Limpopo too). I am not really a Darkies Aside sympathiser, but am hugely in favour of anything that moves us further away from the one-party state we are. I don't want any political party having such a firm grip on power. The fact that this was won in a predominantly black area (from what I understand), also means we might, as a nation, be moving away from voting along colour lines - if that's not healthy politics then I don't know what is.

So, all in all, I'm pretty chuffed.

What do you reckon?

Monday, May 24, 2010

An interesting... and neverending-noise

On Sunday evenings, the bells at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town city centre are rung. And run and rung and rung. Then they stop for about 5 minutes. And then some dickweed rings them again. And again and again.

I do not appreciate this stroke-inducing contribution to my Sunday evenings. I couldn't give two shits that St George's is there. I couldn't care less who or what people do in that cathedral. BUT WHY DO I HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT IT?!

There are a few issues here.

1) I do not want to hear them. It has bugger all to do with Christianity. It has to do with them being incredibly annoying, and being run for an extensive period of time. If they were rung for 3 minutes once, I could cope easier. But nooooooo, we need to hear a few sessions of annoyance.

2) It is a residential area. People live in the centre of Cape Town. Although it is not a late hour, would I be able to go and have myself a small rock concert in suburbia at 6pm on a Sunday night? May I interrupt your American Idol by ringing twenty giant fucking bells outside your house in Rondebosch or Fourways or Umhlanga, for three or four session of five minutes? The answer is no.

3) Noise pollution leads to other pollution. In this day and age of discussing the green impact of everything, this constant ear-sore makes me close the window to try and stem its attempt to make me cut off my own ears with a breadknife. This means that the airflow in the flat stops and I am required to use electricity to use a machine to create ventilation. Yes, Christians, YOU are making me stuff up the environment and are contributing to global warming.

3.1) I also have to take pain killers as that clanging gives me a headache - and you know that the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals is bad for the environment. So well done. Kill the world with your bells, why don't you?

3.2) That eardrum-heammoraging delinquency of tune stemming from the St George's towers also scares the birds away.

3.3) And, in an extreme situation, I might have to drive away from the building in order to retain what's left of my sanity, contributing to that fuck off big hole in the ozone layer.

4) Before anyone tells me that Christians are easy targets or whatever gunk is usually written under columns about religion, I would have the same issue with any other window-permeating geraas at that volume - religious or not - at 6pm on a Sunday. Whether it's Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Zionists, Sikhs, Hindus, Rastafarians or Helen Zille's bloody birthday party, I DO NOT CARE, and do not wish to know about it for that extended period of time.

How's about a compromise, St George's? Why don't you ring them for one session of three minutes? That way I know it will end (currently it's a complete lottery unless you know the schedule of the church) and can plan my evening around trying to escape it. Is that reasonable? I think so.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

An interesting... Saturday

Really, I just had the kiffest day ever yesterday.

I was reviewing the Cape Royale on Friday night so myself and my boyfriend woke up in a swanky hotel room. The sun was shining and Cape Town was being beautiful, as it is when it is not foggy and you can actually see it.

I bounced down to the Promenade to kick off the day with some exercise. We headed back to the hotel to fill ourselves up with breakfast and, after a complimentary 20-minute mssage, we checked out and headed off to Fish Hoek to watch my sister play hockey.

It's a stunning drive through leafy Rondebosch, down the M3, up and over Ou Kaapse Weg, weaving among hills with the Atantic glittering ahead of us, separated from the green land by the white beaches of Noordhoek and Kommetjie...

Laden with wine, we watched her tear up and down the field while we drank wine and smoked and blew a vuvuzela in support of her team - the the amusement of some, and the chagrin of others. They got drilled, so we were forced to sit behind and "commiserate" afterwards... in the glorious African sunshine.

On our way back to the highway, we decided to stop and have a squiz at Muizenberg Beach as neither of us had been there before (I know... and I've been living here for like 8 months or something). And we just sat and spoke kak for a bit. But good kak.

A good conversationalist is hard to find.

And we sat there on a pretty empty Muizenberg beach, talking about the world, South Africa, relationships, family, and how it all fits together. We spoke about important things. unimportant things, clever things. We laughed at dumb, funny and silly things. For ages.

While we chit-chatted away, people passed us walking their dogs, children ran past squealing and throwing sand at each other. People, sea-wet up to their ankles, kicked up small amounts of sand as they moved their feet.

And then the sun started going down, so we brushed the sand off us and went home.

Pretty cool day, if you ask me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An interesting... weekend in the Winelands

My boyfriend and I spent last weekend in the Winelands, sipping wine, eating good food and generally just being happy. Here are some pics.

It's just beautiful everywhere, isn't it? This is taken from Graham Beck.

This is the entrance to Moreson.

Ok I know there are clouds everywhere, but these ones were just so pretty.

How stunning is this? I nearly creamed myself with excitement when I saw it.

You should all go to the Winelands. It's fuckin stunning. You can get packages there for R999 at the moment with Kulula. Just putting it out there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a group of dwarves who lived in a forest in a land far far away from any ash cloud. They kept themselves fiscally active by mining after nationalising them a few years earlier than this story. On the way to work every morning they would sing "hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work we go" (to the tune of Dubula iBhunu) or Awulethe uMshini Wam'.

There they would happily take the gold out of the ground and sell it and give the excess proceeds to the people living in the forests (after all the mortgages, champagne funds, watch and CLK car payments had gone off).

One day as the miners were driving back home, Grumpy Shivambu spotted a shoe in the middle of the road so he stopped and looked around. And there, lying face down on the ground, sobbing her eyes out was the beautiful and well-known Princess Sonono Khoza of the Orlando Empire. Dopey Malema, who had stopped just behing Grumpy Floyd ran up to help and shouted "quickly, put her in my Jeep - it's that white one with no number plates. We can take her home and help her." Then Dopey Malema phoned the cops for a blue light escort home so they got there faster.

Upon arrival, it became apparent that Princess Khoza was pregnant. Then she gave birth to a boy which she called Happy Sindane. "Please", she begged of the dwarves, "Don't tell anyone I am here. My father, King Irvin of Orlando must not know I had this child out of wedlock." What Princess Sonono had not told them was the identity of the father of the baby.

It was the evil King JZ from the neighbouring kingdom of KwaZulu - the homeland of AmaZulu, the Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United. Sonono did not want her father ever knowing.

However, the (Sunday) Oracle got wind of the story and set about investigating. She dressed up ike Khanyi Mbau and headed for the forest. She found it easy to find the dwarves house as she followed the sounds of hoop-la at the chapmagne party. As she neared she saw one of the dwarves being thrown out, and someone shouted "BASTARD, TAKE THAT TENDENCY SOMEWHERE ELSE". The Oracle ran up to the ejected dwarf, and it was none other than Bashful Lehlogonolo Masoga who was so pissed off and told the Oracle everything.

The next day, the Orace told the kingdom and all hell broke loose, and there were tears and gnashing of teeth. King Irvin declared war against King JZ and the armies readied themselves singing "we will kill for Zuma" or "bring me my machine gun" or "dubula fokken anyone".

Behind the scenes, though, JZ knew how to win the war. He phoned King of the World, Sepp Fatter and asked if he could have the World Cup. If so he would allow him a nice blue-light convoy through the Kruger Park - twice. Fatter agreed immediately and all of a sardine, JZ controlled all the soccer in the world, weakening King Irvin's kingdom. "Boo-ya!" said King JZ as he had won the war easily.

Then, in a complicated deal, organised it so King Irvin got R500 million rand so they became friends again. And no one knows what the hell happened to Sonono because she hasn't been in the news since then.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

An interesting... change has already come

I live in oddly the most racist city in South Africa, but also boasting some of the most chilled subjects when it comes to race integration. This utter anomaly that is Cape Town was on full display at Assembly just off Buitenkant Street last night. Freshlyground launched their new album there, so there were a lot of black folks in the place ("a lot" being relative - probably 80% white and 20% black - more than you see in the average Cape Town establishment). I only arrived afterwards when Freshlyground had gone and some odd, yet interesting, Eastern European dancy music was playing.

After about an hour, people began dribbling out and it got to a point where there were only about 60 of us left there - the averages were now probably around half black folks and half white folks.I was drinking so my maths may be off.

The DJ eventually got over his Eastern European obsession, and started pumping out some local tunes. And we danced to a few of them. Out of the blue, he started playing Vuli Ndlela by Brenda Fassie, and simultaneously, the dancefloor all became excitable. I shrieked like an excited schoolgirl because it is one of my favourite songs, and then I realised that my friend's new boyfriend was also amped that it had come on. It is not often I come across other white folks that know any Brenda Fassie songs, let alone are able to sing along with them phonetically (I know it's lame - I have fokol idea of what the song is about, but I know how the words sound, so I sing along).

Straight after Vuli Ndleda the DJ played Weekend Special (also Brenda Fassie) and the mood on the dancefloor carried on. Now, I have no co-ordination whatsoever, and it is just not a nice thing to look at when I begin throwing myself around during a song. I can't dance to save my goddam life, but what I lack in ability I make up for in effort and enthusiasm. And my enthusiasm was directed to some like organised dance movement thing by other people - we threw ourselves in and tried to copy (some more successfully than me) and all danced together.

Yup, the white folks and the black folks and the coloured folks and old folks and young folks and gay folks and breeder folks all danced together. If Nelson Mandela had seen it he would have orgasmed.

South African folks, dancing together, to classic South African music.

Really, this divisive shit we like to espouse all day gets over-ridden by what happens when we all get together with a few drinks and some tunes and just fucking chill.

Christ, I love living in this country.

If you go out looking for some happiness here, you'll find it. Easily.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

An interesting... exploitation of men

I just read an excellent piece about Lolly Jackson and the hero he temporarily became in the news.

In this piece, the writer notes: That women in strip clubs, and naked in tatty newspapers, are objects to be ogled at, and worse, is a fact of life. If any of those women want to take part in those activities of their own free will, of course, it's up to them. I am sure that there are women stripping out there who do so happily and because they want to. But at the same time, I am certain that the strip clubs of our country are filled with many more vulnerable women who have no other option, or who can do nothing else.

We have seen this debate go on and on and on - does the stripping industry (if I can call it that) objectify and degrade women? Many groups think so - some fairly forcefully.

But I have always wondered why this care and emotional reaction does not extend to male strippers and rent boys etc. Why do feminists only care about the objectification of women, and not men? Generally, men, particularly white ones, aren't exploited as a group, but it would be folly to think that exceptions aren't there. Why are the feminists only bleating about the exploited women working in these crappy bars in possibly the most degrading job, in the most uncontrolled legal industry, of all time?

It makes me wonder - is it because there is solid reason that men who take their clothes off and shag people for a living aren't exploited, and do this all of their own free will? Or is it a case of protecting only those one can relate to, instead of human rights as a whole?

One might think of the ANC as very pro-black rights, and on paper, that's true. But let me tell you - as a homosexual, they protect my rights too. As hard as it may be to believe, they protect the language rights of Afrikaners as well - otherwise we wouldn't have it in any educational institutions. Martin Luther King championed a HUMAN rights movement, not a black rights one. Many civil rights organisations have a focus, but bang on about HUMAN and CIVIL rights, and mean it.

Compare that to an organisation like Afriforum, as S'Thembiso Msomi does in this excellent column. In it, he says "Afriforum has led a spirited campaign against ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's ill-considered decision to continue singing a struggle song that features the phrase "shoot the Boer".

"Its campaign, however, is severely undermined by the fact that the organisation hardly uttered a word of protest when it was revealed that a security company manager had played a racist song at a Sun City event late last year. In that song, former president Nelson Mandela is called the "k-word"."

There was also no word from Afriforum when a group on facebook was calling black folks "houtkop" and "k-----" on facebook, which hit the news a year or two ago. It is an example of a movement labelled "civil rights" but meaning "Afrikaner rights".

Why is it then, that human rights groups say that women are degraded when they dance around in skimpy or no clothing, but say nothing when men are doing the exact same thing? I can't see why an audience appreciating naked men rather than naked women would be any less leering or dirty or exploitive.

Or are we falling back onto the thought that men should protect themsevles while women need help? If that's what people think, then aren't feminists correctly going bollock them for picturing women as reccessive and needy and unable to help themselves?

Or is it a single focus womens' rights movement, under the guise of human rights?

Perhaps the male stripping industry isn't huge in South Africa, but there is certainly a huge market for it internationally. So it is not a case of it happening so rarely that it's negligible.

And human rights are not negligible for any one person, even on one occasion. That's the entire point of them.

Don't think I am pissing on feminists or the movement they have carried out. I am certainly not. But I think it is worth fighting the full human rights battle, not just one. Focus on women, absolutely. But don't forget that what happens to women often happens to men too. Maybe not as a group, but certainly as individuals. And attack the source of the problem which fuels both exploited peoples.

Disclaimer: I am a feminist at heart, I know feminists and I don't think they do bad work or anything. Look at what they have achieved throughout history in terms of equality for women. I applaud them. I am NOT sitting here hating on feminists.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


On Friday my car got broken into. They smashed my passenger window in and hakked my iPod (which was hidden away) inside. I got into a bit of a strop about it and had a good whinge and was just pretty fucked off.

Saturday night come, while I was whinging in someone's ear about my car being broken into and the loss of one mere possession...

While this was going on my sister was on her way back to town from the burbs. She was going about 60kph and she swerved to miss a dog that ran across the road. The island between the roads is at about 60 degrees, and in no time at all she lost control ads her car went up it. She smashed into a lamp post, scraped the complete shit out of the underneath of the car, and then drove into a tree which finally stopped her - she thinks her foot got jammed onto the accelerator during this whole shebang. Every air bag in the car went off, the bumper came off, mirrors broken off. She hit the tree so hard that her rear-view mirror fell off the windscreen. Cops at the scene said it is virtually impossible to have her accident and not roll a car there.

Somehow, she's fine.

All she has is a busted knee and a mark where the seatbelt caught her.

But it just goes to show you that a broken window ain't really that big of a deal, innit?