Tag Archives | South Africa

Durban South Africa, Friday Night at The Movies: We Can’t Escape The Tensions Around Us

Soweto. Photo: Michael Toft Schmidt (CC)

Soweto. Photo: Michael Toft Schmidt (CC)

It’s Friday night, and the motorways are packed with cars heading for the mall. Here in Durban, the Gateway Mall is the destination of choice. It’s huge, the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s stuffed with stuff, much of it upscale, calling itself a “theater of shopping.”  (It is actually built over what was once a dump.) The parking lots are packed with late model cars, many of them high end.

I have to confess, I was invited there to see America’s latest high culture import, the 3D version of the movie Transformers 3, based on a toy and cartoon, in a modern movie complex with 18 theaters and rows and rows of packed gates where you line up for endless popcorn and soft drinks.

Business was booming; the theater was full. Most of the crowd seemed to be whites and Indians but there were also many blacks now firmly anchored in the consumer life style.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

South Africa’s Cancer Of Corruption

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: Twenty one years after Nelson Mandela walked free, corruption has become the issue du jour in South Africa.

Even president Jacob Zuma who narrowly slithered out of a corruption trial before his election is blasting corruption in the ranks of the African National Congress which came to power as the morally superior alternative to an apartheid regime that shamelessly used the wealth it controlled to benefit Afrikaners and deprive the black majority of services.

“Let’s make a plan,” were the code words members of the all white National Party used to scheme ways of stealing state resources to benefit themselves, a cozy reality overshadowed by the vicious racial policies that outraged the world.

As the ANC prepared to win power democratically, there was concern among leaders that a deprived black majority might feel it was “their turn” and thus, their right to cash in on their political victory.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Mandela Releases A New Book Of Quotations As He Turns 93

Mandela_AuthQuotes_cover1Nelson Mandela, icon-hero of the world, turns 93 this month. He is hanging on despite family tragedies that claimed another great-grandchild in June. The child was born premature and died after just four days.

The man known by his clan name, Madiba, still evokes wonder and admiration and almost god-like reverence, with airport stores selling “We Love Mandela” posters and T-shirts. He is the one South African that most of South Africans take pride in, including the older generation that first knew him as an apartheid government designated terrorist.

He was so feared that his picture could not be shown in the media and his words could not be quoted for 27 years.

Ironically, all these years later he has released a book of authorized quotations (‘By himself”) that cull his thoughts from a life time of public and private utterances in letters, private papers, audio recordings and from generations of speechifying.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

South Africa’s Youth Face A Grim Future

School Children at Imperial Primary School in Eastridge, Mitchell's Plain (Cape Town, South Africa).

School Children at Imperial Primary School in Eastridge, Mitchell's Plain (Cape Town, South Africa).

“Don’t Know Much About History”

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA: I got into South Africa before I got there.

I did so through meeting a young woman whose given name was Pony, in the tradition of South Africans who call their daughters “Beautiful” or “Truth” or some other creative appellation.

She was on her way home to a small country town, after a year spent in Cuba where she was in a course teaching scientific sport. She was one of a number of scholarship students traveling on the plane with me from Madrid. Cuba had adopted the systematic training system, or Sports institutes, used in East Germany and put it to good advantage in its award winning State backed athletic program. Now they are sharing their knowledge with other Third World countries

Pony, in her late teens, was one of a large number of foreign students attracted to the idea, and was selected by the Cuban Embassy in Pretoria for the five year opportunity beginning with a immersive Spanish language course.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Young Children In South Africa Eaten By Giant Rats

article-1393836-0C62598500000578-803_468x286A chilling urban legend from New York City comes terribly true on the opposite side of the globe, as three-foot rats run amok, feasting on human babies. The Daily Mail writes:

Giant rats as big as cats have killed and eaten two babies in separate attacks in South Africa’s squalid townships this week.

Lunathi Dwadwa, three, was killed as she slept in her parent’s shack outside Cape Town and another girl was killed in Soweto township near Johannesburg the same day. Bukiswa Dwadwa, 27, said: ‘I can’t forget how ugly my child looked after her eyes were ripped out. ‘She was eaten from her eyebrows to her cheeks, her other eye was hanging by a piece of flesh.’

Residents of South Africa’s impoverished townships say the giant rats grow up to three-foot long, including their tails, and have front teeth over an inch long. The suspects in the baby attacks are believed to be African Giant Pouched Rats, the biggest in the world.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

South African Thieves Steal Traffic Light SIM Cards To Make Free, Untraceable Calls

traffic_1An impressive slice of outlaw ingenuity: criminals have discovered that SIM cards used in high-tech traffic lights can be harvested and used in mobile phones to make free, untraceable, unlimited calls. Via the Guardian:
Hundreds of lights have been damaged by thieves targeting the machines' SIM cards, which are then used to make mobile phone calls worth millions of South African rand. More than two-thirds of 600 hi-tech lights have been affected over the past two months, according to the Johannesburg Roads Agency, causing traffic jams, accidents and frustration for motorists. The traffic lights use sim cards, modem and use GPRS to send and receive information, a system intended to save time and manpower by alerting the road agency's head office when any lights malfunction. According to Thulani Makhubela, a spokesman for the agency, the robberies have been "systematic and co-ordinated", possibly by a syndicate. An internal investigation has now been launched.
Continue Reading

Survey Says: Over One Third of South African Men Admit to Having Committed Rape

Nastasya Yay reports on the AP via Yahoo News:

JOHANNESBURG— A new survey says more than one in three South African men admit to having committed rape.

A 2010 study led by the government-funded Medical Research Foundation says that in Gauteng province, home to South Africa’s most populous city of Johannesburg, more than 37 percent of men said they had raped a woman. Nearly 7 percent of the 487 men surveyed said they had participated in a gang rape.

More than 51 percent of the 511 women interviewed said they’d experienced violence from men, and 78 percent of men said they’d committed violence against women.

A quarter of the women interviewed said they’d been raped, but the study says only one in 25 rapes are reported to police.

A survey by the same organization in 2008 found that 28 percent of men in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces said they had raped a woman or girl.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

‘Charlie the Smoking Chimp’ Dies from Old Age, At 52

Charlie The Smoking ChimpVia Reuters:
JOHANNESBURG — A chimpanzee once hooked on smoking by visitors offering it cigarettes has died at a South African zoo at the relatively advanced age of 52, officials said on Wednesday. "He appears to have died of old age," said municipal spokesman Qondile Khedama. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death. "Charlie the smoking chimp" used to put two fingers to his mouth to mimic smoking and reach out with his other hand to bum cigarette butts from visitors at Bloemfontein Zoo. But when videos of him puffing away circulated globally a few years ago, zoo officials moved to cut off the supply of smokes. The nickname stuck even though the cigarette habit faded. The life expectancy for chimps in the wild is about 15 years and only 7 percent of wild chimps live past 40, a Harvard University report published in 2007 said.
Continue Reading

Alternative Marketing for Vuvuzelas

With the World Cup finished there has been a deafening quiet without the constant noise of vuvuzelas. To make sure that all those horns don't go to waste we'll have to get creative about different ways to use them. Vuvuzelas make noise, Guitar Hero is a game based on noise, the two seem like a perfect match. Maybe Vuvuzela Hero will catch on.
Continue Reading