International street artist ABOVE (Wikipedia; Flickr pool; interview from 2009) convinced diamond traders at Johannesburg's Jewel City to let him paint their exterior wall with the phrase "Diamonds Are A Woman's Best Friend" ... but he didn't mention that he would be adding "And A Man's Worst Enemy" to the adjacent wall.
Out My Window (trailer) is the new web documentary from the Highrise project, one of the world's first interactive 360° documentaries. Delivered entirely on the web, it explores the state of our urban planet told by people who look out on the world from highrise windows. With more than 90 minutes of material, Out My Window features 49 stories from 13 cities, told in 13 languages.
If you need to hail a taxi-bus in Johannesburg, you'll need to know some complex hand signals [PDF]. Taxi hand signs are almost their own language, and artist Susan Woolf has adapted them into an art project, then a booklet, and finally postage stamps. [more inside]
District 9 has generated some discussion here and elsewhere. But, what do South African viewers of the film think about it?.
Out of Africa. As award-winning Globe and Mail Africa correspondent Stephanie Nolen bids farewell to a place she's come to love, she reflects on how it has changed, and how it changed her. [more inside]
Xenophobic violence breaks out in Johannesburg and around South Africa. The victims of these attacks have been primarily poor foreigners living in townships and shack settlements. Durban-based shack dwellers' movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo (previously) have posted an incisive and informative response. More coverage of the events here and here. Photo galleries here and here.
Lucky Dube Shot Dead - Lucky Dube, the South African Reggae musician, has been shot dead by car hijackers in Johannesburg. In front of his son. [more inside]
The City of God (#29 IMDB top 250) is a film about life in Brazilian "favelas" (shantytowns) where poverty, drugs, violence and crime rule the streets. At murder rates of more than 40 per 100,000, one person shot every 30 minutes in the city, Rio ranks as the world's most dangerous places along with Cali, Colombia and Johannesburg, South Africa. Rio has over 600 favelas and the crime and violence is becoming so bad corporations are fleeing the city while the military is under direct assault and the prison system is breaking down. Favela guided tours available or see the movie available now on DVD.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development has come to a close and some say it was not very effective. It has becoming clear we need to act as an international community. But, what is an international community? (And can it work as well as our web community?:)
Constructive Debate on World Poverty ? It's depressing that certain groups seem to think that the only way to get their message across is to jeer and heckle Colin Powell at the World Summit.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development, aka "Earth Summit II," will start soon in Johannesburg, ten years after the Rio Earth Summit. Have things improved at all in the last ten years? While there are some reasons to be optimistic, the data isn't cheerful. Our climate is growing unstable; tens of millions are dying or likely to die, and hundreds of millions more likely to be made refugees, because of environmental pollution and degraded ecosystems; and half the plants and animals on the planet seem headed for extinction over the next century. In short, things are grim. What steps, big or small, are you taking to do your part for the environment?
Rapist speechless after victim bites tongue the victim "then ran off, tongue in mouth, to the nearest police station a kilometre away. Police were shocked when she produced the bitten-off tongue. Moments later, the suspect also arrived in agony, with blood pouring from his mouth, hoping to get medical help. He was immediately arrested. He received medical attention but it was not possible to have his tongue sewn back on. Police said the tongue would be kept and used as evidence."