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

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,

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

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

Image from

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 rather than and it's a tiny bit more expensive, but you're expensing it anyway.