The sad truth is that we have a govt that seems intent on turning corruption into a national sport...
Today the South African parliament, dominated by the ANC, passed by a large majority a media law which will restrict and constrain independent journalism in that country. Indeed, the law seems designed to squeeze, chill or eliminate independent reporting. The state is going to be accountable to the state. [George Brock][more inside]
Cricketer Basil D'Oliveira Has Died. "In 1968 he was named in England's squad to tour South Africa which was then cancelled as the ruling National Party refused to accept his presence." [more inside]
"A momentous and difficult decision for the family which has been in the diamond industry for more than 100 years and part of De Beers for over 80 years" ~ Nicky Oppenheimer, Chairman of De Beers on the recent announcement of selling the family's interest in De Beers to Anglo American and pulling out of the diamond business. The Oppenheimers may have ruled the roost for decades, but the company began with Cecil Rhodes, the English-born politician and entrepreneur who went on to found Rhodesia, which was renamed Zimbabwe in 1979 and the Rhodes scholarship scheme to Oxford University.
The Dalai Lama was prevented from going to South Africa for Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday by visa problems. So they used Google+ to "Hangout" instead.
Tennis player and coach Bob Hewitt is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame who has held all the men's doubles and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. Hewitt, who was born in Australia but became a South African citizen by marriage, also captained the 1974 South African Davis Cup champion team. The Boston Globe reports that Hewitt's lengthy coaching career in the US and South Africa has long been accompanied by allegations that Hewitt sexually abused his female students, mostly adolescents but one as young as 10. Hewitt denies the charges.
An English couple weds in a Colonial Africa themed wedding in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.
"A censor pronouncing a ban, whether on an obscene spectacle or a derisive imitation, is like a man trying to stop his penis from standing up." - J. M. Coetzee
If we have, at the back of our minds, a stereotype of the censor or the censor type, it is probably of some nondescript male bureaucrat who comes to work punctually at 8:30 in the morning, locks his office door behind him, and spends the day going through piles of books, underlining dirty passages in red ink and stamping pass or fail on the cover, or else pouring over strips of film with scissors at the ready, ready to snip out images of breasts and bums, who, when the clock at last strikes 5:00, emerges into the daylight, catches the bus home to some anonymous suburb and spends the evening watching reruns of sitcoms on television before donning his pajamas and falling into a dreamless sleep. Or if we're thinking not of full time censors, people who dedicate their professional lives to the business of censoring, but of part time censors, people who like to do a bit of censoring on the side, then we might imagine that retired teachers, clergymen and moral busybodies in general would be attracted to the craft. But the records of the South African system don't quite fit the stereotype.- J. M. Coetzee, Nobel laureate author, speaks at his alma mater University of Texas Austin about his experiences with censorship in his native South Africa during apartheid. Coetzee mentions this essay he wrote about his time at UT Austin and a book he wrote on censorship, here's the preface to it.
In pictures: the life of a war photographer (There are some graphic images in here; not for the squeamish, though for most would be SFW for most workplaces).
'In South Africa's black townships, being gay can be fatal.' 'South Africa has a liberal constitution promising equal rights for all.' 'In a society that is deeply religious, traditional and highly patriarchal, lesbians and gay men contradict the dominant view of African manhood.' 'Across Africa, gay people are threatened, humiliated, raped, beaten, killed, jailed, outed in front-page newspaper stories, condemned by preachers as un-Christian and by politicians and traditional leaders as un-African.' 'In South African townships there's a crime dubbed "corrective rape," rape to "cure" lesbians, and sometimes gay men and transsexuals. They are told they are being taught a lesson: how to be a real woman or man, survivors say.' [more inside]
"Who knew township occultism and gangs of South African kids shared something of the pulse of post-punk dirges?" Spoek Mathambo covers Joy Division's "She's Lost Control" and sparks a journey into a world of grimey dub, white suits, musical dissemination via taxi cab, and a potential dash of
Black Identity. [more inside]
This is not the South Africa we dream of... (NSFW) "Using a Pentax camera with 35mm focal-length lens, Billy Monk photographed the nightclub revellers and sold the prints to his subjects. His close and long friendships with many of the people in the images allowed him to photograph them with extraordinary intimacy in all their states of joy and sadness. His images of nightlife seem carefree and far away from the scars and segregation of apartheid that fractured this society in the daylight."
Rolf Potts will travel through 12 countries in 42 days, with his current location updated here. He intends to do all this with no luggage, no backpack, no man purse -- not even a fanny pack. [via mefi projects]
The amazingly detailed origin myth of The Numbers, the largest South African prison gangs. Jonny Steinberg details the three largest gangs' (tenuously) shared myth, which accounts for their strangely symbiotic relationships by dictating who may steal, who may rape, and who may judge. [more inside]
Jack Parow is a South African rapper known for the oversized bill on the hat he wears, unlike Die Antwoord (Previously) he raps in Afrikaans almost exclusively. [more inside]
The World Cup Final is almost here, only 24 hours and 30 minutes away: Sunday Night, 19:30 GMT [more inside]
Toothed female condom unveiled in South Africa. South African Dr. Sonnet Ehlers was on call one night four decades ago when a devastated rape victim walked in. Her eyes were lifeless; she was like a breathing corpse. "She looked at me and said, 'If only I had teeth down there,'" recalled Ehlers, who was a 20-year-old medical researcher at the time. "I promised her I'd do something to help people like her one day." [more inside]
Stadiums in South Africa are currently resounding with the riotous blare of the vuvuzela. And while most of the folks making their joyous noise in the stadiums will be doing so in a basically random fashion, this vuvuzela ensemble is demonstrating the funky hocketing technique that is a feature of certain strains of traditional African music, played for centuries on horns very much like these modern-day plastic versions. Well, anyway, like the shoe ads almost say, just blow it.
In his book The Unspoken Alliance, writer and academic Sasha Polakow-Suransky references documents released by the South African government, indicating that Shimon Peres offered nuclear warheads to PW Botha's apartheid regime. Israel strongly denies the claims.
16 years after the end of apartheid in South Africa and one month before the first ever World Cup to be held in Africa begins, Raymond Whitaker writes about his memories of football (not rugby) in South Africa in the 60s and 70s. [more inside]
BBC World Service has over 500 audio documentaries you can download. The subject matter is incredibly wide ranging, for example, internet cafés, the influence of Islamic art on William Morris, South African female AIDS activist Thembi Ngubane, Yiddish, the importance of cows, novelist Chinua Achebe, financial risk management, Obama as an intellectual, the physical and emotional effects of a car crash and many, many more. If the quantity and variety are overwhelming, you can subscribe to a podcast, which delivers a new documentary to you every single day.
"So I called my dad over and about five metres away he started swearing, and I was like 'what did I do wrong?' and he's like, 'nothing, nothing - you found a hominid'."The remarkable remains of two ancient human-like creatures (hominids) have been found in South Africa. Some researchers dispute that the fossils are of an unknown human species, but others say they may help fill a key gap in the fossil record of human evolution. [more inside]
Bongi is a South African surgeon working, as he puts it, "in the notorious province of Mpumalanga." He blogs regularly about the devastating effect of recent political changes on the skill level of the local medical system, as well as the struggles of trying to practice medicine under a system so badly decaying that its infrastructure is collapsing. Sometimes his posts ring with a dark humor, sometimes with wise and intelligent advice. But it's his bleakly frank portrayals of the terrible state of daily South African life that are the most haunting for me.
In March a South African High Court heard a demand to ban the president of the African National Congress Youth League from singing the song Ayesaba Amagwala; the ruled the song unconstitutional hate speech for its incitement to "shoot the Boer", to the disappointment of the ANC, but the Freedom Front Plus were more enthusiastic. Yesterday another Afrikaner farmer was found hacked to death in his bed. This one was more notorious than most.
How much life could you find in one cubic foot? With a 12-inch green metal-framed cube, photographer David Liittschwager (of the Endangered Species Project) surveyed biodiversity in land, water, tropical and temperate environments around the globe for National Geographic. At each locale he set down the cube and started watching, counting, and photographing with the help of his assistant and many biologists. The goal: to represent the creatures that lived in or moved through that space. The team then sorted through their habitat cubes and tallied every inhabitant, down to a size of about a millimeter. [more inside]
Die Antwoord is a "next-level rap-rave krew" from South Africa. Their incredible video, Enter the Ninja, is probably the best introduction to the group. The group consists of a white MC named Ninja, his mulleted wife Yo-Landi Vi$$er, and DJ Hi-Tek (aka Leon Botha), a painter who at 24 one of the oldest living sufferers of progeria syndrome. Further viewing: Zef Side. [more inside]
Neill Blomkamp talks to the LA Times Hero Complex blog about what's next after District 9, making science fiction films and why he is turning down big budgets to make better movies: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
District 9 has generated some discussion here and elsewhere. But, what do South African viewers of the film think about it?.
This past Thursday the Canadian government granted refugee status to Brandon Huntley, a South African who has been living illegally in Canada since 2005. Huntley claimed that if he were to be repatriated back to South Africa he would be persecuted due to the fact that he is white. The South African government is not amused. [more inside]
Welcome to District 9. Director Neill Blomkamp turns his sci-fi short "Alive in Joburg" into a full-length feature film - examining xenophobia in an allegory of Apartheid, set in a slum recalling District 6 of Cape Town in South Africa.
Jacob's Ladder. Jacob Zuma is a former goatherd, a master of traditional Zulu stick-fighting, a resistance hero, a one-time spymaster, a graceful dancer, and the father of some 20 children. He has been tried for rape and indicted for corruption, racketeering, and fraud. He has been called the next Mandela and the next Mugabe, a black Jesus and a crass rube. A profile of South Africa's recently elected president.
William Kentridge creates animation by working into charcoal drawings; drawing, erasing, redrawing, layering, to create stories that frequently link the intensely intimate with the politics of his native South Africa. Johannesburgh -1989 introduces characters that recur through many of his films. [more inside]
Sixto Rodriguez aka Rod Riguez was a platinum-selling urban-poet folk-funk singer in South Africa, a hit across Australia and New Zealand -- and had no idea. He was working on a construction site in his home town of Detroit until his daughter Eva Alicia found a fansite called "The Great Rodriguez Hunt". [more inside]
"If you’re ever looking for a warning sign that you’re on the wrong side of an argument, suing Medecins Sans Frontieres is probably a pretty good clue." Science journalist and blogger Ben Goldacre has released the missing chapter of his book, Bad Science, telling the story of Matthias Rath, vitamins and the AIDS crisis in South Africa. [Previously. Also.]
The Zine Library has hundreds of zines in pdf format for your perusal. They are organized into categories ranging from the common political (anarchism, political prisoners & animal liberation) and identity based zines (indigenous, race & gender) to the more esoteric (anarchist history, primitivism & theory) as well as the useful (cooking, DIY & organizing manuals) and arty (art, comics & music). Now, zines are by their very nature hit and miss but there are some real treasures to be found. I recommend these three: [all links pdf] The Rebel's Dark Laughter - The Writings of Bruno Filippi, Barefoot in the Kitchen and Delivery from Below, Resistance from Above - Electricity and the Politics of Struggle in Tembisa, South Africa. Note: Many if not most zines are set up to be printed out and bound together in chapbooks. That requires a bit of going back and forth when reading in pdf-format, but they wouldn't be real zines if they were straightforward to read ;) Don't know what a zine is? A pretty good overview is provided by zine librarian Jenna Freedman in Zines Are Not Blogs: A Not Unbiased Analysis. [This site has been posted previously but was buried deep in the weeds of more inside]
"Far more is known about...the activities of the secret service in Moscow...than what the England selectors said and did that night": Basil D'Oliveira was a Coloured South African all-round cricketer who moved to the UK to avoid the colour bar that prevented him representing South Africa; representing England with considerable credit, he created a crises for English and South African cricket, with Nazi sympathiser and South African Prime Minister Vorster ordering the British not to select him to tour South Africa. [more inside]
Weavings of War: Fabrics of Memory, an online exhibit of comtemporary textiles created (mostly) by women living in war zones.
A recent series of posts on the web site of First Things magazine looks at what could be described as a reactionary moment on the part of some folk and roots musicians in Québec and around the world... and we're not talking The Goldwaters (Wikipedia). [more inside]
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]
Miriam Makeba, 1932-2008. "Her haunting melodies gave voice to the pain of exile and dislocation which she felt for 31 long years. At the same time, her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us" -- Nelson Mandela [more inside]
African Swim is the newest free album being offered by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. This time the album features South African hip hop groups.
Should Oscar Pistorius be allowed to run with prosthetic blades in the Olympics for South Africa? Current money says maybe.
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.
Given the history of the country and the fact that a huge number of South Africa's black citizens still live in conditions of desperate hardship, a film seeking to draw attention to white poverty in that nation might understandably raise some eyebrows or some suspicions. But Poor Whites - South Africa is worth a view. Perhaps things aren't always quite as, er, black and white as this South African TV spot would indicate. Meanwhile, ANC president Jacob Zuma, visiting poor whites at a shantytown yesterday expressed surprise at the level of poverty among white people. "You have shown me that it exists", he said to Solidarity officials who had invited him. [more inside]
Then and Now presents works from 8 South African documentary photographers - each contributes 10 photos taken during apartheid and 10 made since the democratic elections of 1994. (On display at Duke University through July 27.) [more inside]