Friday, 30 November 2007

Love is all around us

One Wednesday whilst I was driving in the middle of Jozi, my car Clutch cable broke right in the middle of the road. To my surprise when I look outside there were more that ten men pushing my car directing me where to park it safe before I can call my insurance. After parking my car at the Corner of Rissik and market the guys wished me luck and went their separate ways. I was left wondering, “is this Johannesburg I know or am I in the wrong city”? From my experience Johannesburg is the most arrogant city after Nigeria in Africa, people would wait until you ask for help before they can offer to help. To my surprise strangers just decided to offer me help without lifting a finger. I didn’t have words to thank them, that was incredible people risking their lives by jumping into the running traffic to help a stranger whilst they are strangers themselves I still can’t believe it. What I strongly believe in is that people are always willing to help if you ask for help, but this was beyond my imagination. I wish I can remember their faces on the streets and surprise one or two of them, but one of them was wearing Game uniform I suppose he works for Game probably in Pritchard Street.

As if that was not enough the following day Thandi’s friend (Thandi is my wife) borrowed us her car to Mpumalanga, can you believe this Mpumalanga Ermelo to be precise, +_250 KM away. When our car broke down we already had this trip planned and her friend told her that "you are not cancelling you trip I will bring my car to you in the evening"(not her exact words). Talk about luck. How do people choose friends I am sure my friends can do anything but to borrow me a car I am not sure they caold do that. Initially I thought that was impossible until it happened to me. Do you think there is any combination of words that can make up a proper thank you for that? I don’t think so, what would you do if you were me?

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

RSA vs USA

For sometime now we have been singing praises of our not so new coach Carlos Alberto Pereira. Bafana Bafana have played some tough opposition and came second best most of the times. They always show a promise that does not come to fruition. Since 1995 I have never seen press so friendly to a coach. I remember Shakes Mashaba who did fairly well with the team but press was a constant pain in his backside.

I am a bit concerned that our progress is going too slow for my liking. I would love to see Bafana go to the semi final of AFCON maybe even the finals… I know that is far fetched, but it is possible. I would not like to see us playing to lose only to be told later by the coach that he is not concerned about the score line that is a bit of a concern for me.

Remember Carlos Quiroz (former Bafana coach) he once said we must notbe concerned about FIFA rankings because he was not. Immediately South Africa plummeted to the lowest rankings ever. This was after it was no1 in Africa and enjoying the status of being in the top twenty in the World. The media then forgot about FIFA rankings, ironically when we were going to play the USA the media made sure that every South African knows that the US is 60 notches higher than Bafana conditioning us for losing. In the deed that worked because I am yet to hear someone complaining about that game even my most critical friend of mine Rathing is keeping quiet.

Our boys are lazy they can’t even run, they couldn't string three passes together let alone flowing game they were also erratic like amatures. I don’t see us beating teams like Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria or even Tunisia. These are some of the teams, which are likely to go the semis unless they cancel each other along the way. If between now and January the boys can show the sense of urgency in front of goals then we still have an outdside chance.

Proud to be a South African

There are few things that make one feel proudly South African. I lived in Cape Town for 5 years and that city showed me that Gauteng is by far more integrated than any other place in South Africa. May be I stand to be corrected on this one because my assumptions are based on only the cities I lived in like Port Elizabeth, Durban, Bloemfontein, and East London. Back in Jo’burg there is a group of 5 friends that I often see at Capellos, they are black, Indian and white and by the look of things I am the only one who see them that way. Every time when I see them having lunch together I just can’t help to think that this is what Biko, Tambo, Sobukwe, Mandela and others fought for.

What triggered this thought is what I saw in Qwagga centre in Pretoria yesterday. As we were leaving with my wife I heard a song “Sister Bettina”. This was a very popular song amongst the youth the last December (I must add that I hate the song… maybe I am getting old) when I looked behind me I was not prepared for what I was about to see, two young white boys about 17 /18 years were playing the song on their MP3 player or a cell phone and they were enjoying. I am sure they don’t know even a word from that song. I looked at them and for a moment I heard sister Bettina Rocking my world.

This was not for the first time I felt this way. In 1997/98 I was at SABC studios in Auckland Park when I heard Mandoza’s Nkalakatha rattling the roofs of SABC. I look at metro fm studio and the guys were just talking and I looked behind me Darren Scot on 5fm was dancing like crazy alone in the studio. When you look at small things like those it when you realise how lucky are we to be South African. Can you imagine if you were born in Serbia, DRC, Bangladesh or Somali? I don’t want to imagine what their children are going through. South Africa seems to be in the right direction even though the pace could be better. Remember Arno Castens rocking SOWETO? I was not there but for those who did go they enjoyed. I have every reason to believe that despite our differences SA still rock

Friday, 2 November 2007

Woman of colours

I am not a talkative person even though some people dispute that. Sometimes I go crazy and Tuesday morning was one of those days. I was listening to Bad boy T (Thomas these days) and his crew on Metro fm. They always play a feel good classic song just after 06h00 clock. They play nice old songs both local and international. This Tuesday as I was driving towards Jozi they the played Victoria Wilson James’ woman of colours and spontaneously I heard myself shouting oooooohhh umfazi wamabalabala (woman of colours) of course this song reminded me of good times and bad times. The year was 1992 and booze, dagga and all that goes with it (including crime) was the order of the day. Naledi extension and Zola (SOWETO) were the place to be I remember my friends, Rubber, CharlieMingus, Montana unfortunately not all of us made it to where I am now, we use to rule December (Dezemba in township lingo ) When we entered any shebeen an LP or a cassette of Victoria Wilson James “woman of colours” must be ready because it was our song or else we are leaving. That is the year my son was born, it is also the year that I lost my brother and later my best friend. My friend left with Snyman (the guy who sells dagga and drugs) and never came back until his badly decomposed body (to put mildly) was found at the nearby school by druggies who made school their safe heaven at night. 1992 was the beginning of my life because at the end of the year I changed my life around to who I am today a responsible person. But that was the year to remember... where were you?

Is there Justice in Justice

How often do you hear this phrase in South Africa” let the law take its course”? This phrase always live a bitter taste in my mouth because it is not about the law it is about how much can you fork out to buy you freedom. The poor of course can’t afford that, as we all know the law favours the rich who can afford lawyers of their choice. Your Tony Yengeni, Mark Thatcher and other rich dudes can easy elude the law. We as ordinary citizens we are made to believe that Judges execute their duties without bias even where we can see that there are indications of biasness and prejudice. Do we really respect justice in South Africa?

Take these two scenarios 1. A Judge issues a warrant of arrest for Jackie Selebi that warrant. Then the president suspends the head of the NPA as we all know. Advocate Mpshe who took over from Pikoli decides to withdraw the warrant (others say he did it by night nogal). What does that say about respecting judiciary? Clearly that undermines the integrity of the judge who issued that warrant. It is saying he was not competent enough be issuing warrants. Who am I to trust judiciary then?

2. Pius Langa and his judicial commission decide not to punish judge Hlophe because of what they call lack of evidence. Then one Judge Kigler and his whit counter parts run to the media to undermine that outcome and mudslinging began between black and white judges. This is the same Judiciary that want us to respect its decisions. But they can’t even respect their boss decision. They don’t have to agree with him at least. If even Judges go out of their way to doubt publicly the out comes of Judiciary who are we to trust judiciary.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

JMPD

Every time when I am on the road I see metro police pulling cars over and talking to drivers non-stop. I have been asking myself what the hell are they talking about because as far as I know there is no love lost between Drivers and metro police. Every time drivers see a metro police car they check they wallets if they have their driver licence with or wonder if they don’ have outstanding fines. It happened to me right in the middle of Jozi between Twist and Noord streets one afternoon. Driving there in the afternoon is madness to say the least; robots are rendered useless taxi do as they wish. In short driving there in the afternoon is the survival of the fittest.

This afternoon there were metro police to help with the flow of traffic and as I came towards the most often useless robots a metro cop pointed his finger at me and ordered me to pull over. I stop and took out my drivers license and wind down my window. The officer was not interest he just asked me to switch on my emergency lights I thought that was routine until this guy praised my car telling me how he likes it and ask me if I was selling. I got irritated and asked him “is that all sir? I am sorry I am on my way to Pretoria”. Oh do you know I am also from Pretoria? said the officer? It is at that point that I switched on my engine and left. What was he looking for? is it how they do their work? I don’t under stand their job I am sorry.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Personal encounters Part II

What would you do if in the middle of the night you see a light in your bedroom? Cry, Shout or run away? I am not a superstitious person but what happened to me on that hot September night nearly changed my life. It was during September school holidays and I was advised not to come to Johannesburg, as there was fresh black on black violence between township and Hostel dwellers. Fortunately my mum was in Matatiele with me at that time. One night we went to sleep as usual and that was my first night at home. In the middle of the night whilst my eyes were still closed I could feel that there was something strange in the house when I opened my eyes I saw big bright light. Initially I thought it was a car out side just passing, but there was no sound. The light was so close I could easily touch it; I didn’t know what to do because I was definitely sure I personally locked all the doors of this three-roomed house. As the dogs bark outside my thought were taking me to where I have never been before. I thought way be there were thieves who did not know that my mum was not alone that night, but when the light went off there was I could see clearly that there was no one behind it. I began to panic but I remained silence hoping that it will go away. I switched on my Radio hoping to scare this away if it is some spook or something. Nothing changed really as the light kept switching on for a minute or two and off for few seconds again until I dosed off.

In the morning my mum woke up first and came to me looking very worried and ask me “what happened last night” I told her nothing happened. What she had seen was a shock to her system. My clothes that I wore the previous night were scattered all over the place the main door was opened and there was no sign of forced entry yet the lock was still in the locked position even though the door was open and food had been eaten. That was the only time I realised the extent of what happened. I was so scared I was not going to sleep in that house with no assurance that I will sleep peacefully. . (Maybe the door was opened by magic or something I was not sure but what I was sure of was that I needed help A.S.A.P) I had nowhere to go “ this is my home”, but there was no guarantee that what happened last night wouldn’t happen again. We prayed that morning but I knew that God was along term solution and I needed answers soon. We went to a Sangoma (a traditional healer in South African terms) who told us witchdoctors were trying to scare me so that I could run away and never return. I was so vulnerable everything he said made sense.

For a second opinion we went to another songoma who told us the Spook was my late brother and he is in the yard we simply cant see him during the day but by the sunset we will see him again. I freaked out…The third sangoma told us it was my late brother he was now what is called in Zulu “Umkhovu” (Sethotsela inSesotho) a person whom you all believe is dead when actually he is still alive (a lot of bull in actual fact). I am not sure how true is that but people in the rural areas seem to believe that a lot and it made sense to me at that time. I have heard of all this but I never thought it could be happening to me. Then we were told there was a guy in izingolweni in Kwazulu Natal who specialises in these cases, he is not a Sangoma but the leader of one of these charismatic churches that are popping up everywhere. The same day that evening we left for Izingolweni I was not going to sleep in that house again never. It was a two and half trip that felt like a year. When we reached the area it was very misty and the place was very rural.

Everyone knew the Preacher called Sandile. He was so young probably in his early thirties. People came from as far as Northern Transvaal now Limpopo and Gauteng. There was no place to sleep people depended on the generosity of people from the village. It was a relief for me because at last I could sleep if I find the place to sleep of course. I needed help but the kind of help this preacher was offering was scary. He agreed with what the Sangomas and promised to bring my brother back from the dead. I liked my big brother but a thought of talking to him after identifying him in the morgue and buried him was unreal. We spent a week and my mom was asked to come again with clothes for him. I went strait to boarding school, I told my dad about my ordeal and subsequent reaction, he thought we were losing it but he gave us support none the less.

Now that there were no spooks following me I wanted out. I was raised as a Catholic boy and my mother was a Sunday school teacher…seeing my mother believing this s..t broke my heart, but it was the only hope she had of seeing her son again. I was not looking forward to that instead it gave me creeps. When I finished my exams I came strait to Jozi hoping never to set my foot in Matatiele again. Up to today my brother never came back from the dead and that will never happened, but when you are desperate you believe anything that comes your way. For some strange reason or my memory is too short I still don’t believe in African magic, I still visit Matatiele after all it is my home … but I still haven’t figure out what happened that fateful night.

Monday, 22 October 2007

They did it again

Now that we have won the world cup the boys must come home and face real South Africa. We all rejoiced at their win but apart from green one would not tell which teams came from Africa. In 1995 when we won the world cup we had only one black Player Chester Williams and for some strange reason only blacks that speak Afrikaans get the nod in rugby. In 1995 there was hope that blacks will be roped in, but what we saw was rugby Bosses taking Nelson Mandela to court… In 1999 again one player Brayten Paulse who didn’t even play in that world cup represented blacks. Come 2003 again only one Ashwin Wellemse represented the black community.

Jake White to his credit did a good job at a junior level to give blacks chances not only blacks as in Coloureds but blacks as in African as well. Some of the boys that were playing in this world cup actually represented South Africa at junior level but for some peculiar reasons Jake didn’t pick any of the black boys he coached at junior level when he joined the senior team… the question is why? My answer is politics.

White politics are still dominating rugby world. But I must also add that Jake White played more blacks in the national team more than any other coach before him, but when it comes to the crunch white politics dominate and blacks fall on the wayside. When South Africa was demolishing Argentina White (Jake) couldn’t even give Akhona Ndungane 2minutes of play. Maybe he thought Ndungane would claim glory that he didn’t deserve? I don’t know.

Rugby is a funny game if not stupid; Percy Montgomery is the player he is today because he was given a chance when he was showing potential. The Coaches played him even though he was performing below par. Look at him today SA is benefitting. If he was black he would only be in the history books of rugby by now. Why the powers that be not apply the same principle to other players?

It looks like rugby bosses have kept one spot for blacks in rugby team. If you are black you will replace another black in that spot Paulse replaced Chester Williams, Ashwin Willemse replaced Paulse and now we have been upgraded to two spots. Maybe we need to celebrate, does that mean in the next two World cups we will have guaranteed two spots for players of colour? It is obvious blacks are fighting a losing battle… will whites ever embrace the unity like blacks do every time they are asked to. South Africa was green on Saturday if I could I would freeze that day, but I know it won’t be long before we hear stories of blacks that were beaten up by whites for wearing that Jerseys. Oh I heard that the springboks will be taking their trophy to SOWETO good for them and I know most of them if not all of them have never been there before. Blacks are quick to embraces white and most white are so far from doing the same. How is that for a rainbow nation?

Thursday, 11 October 2007

BLACK KNIGHT IS CAUGHT OUT

Yesterday when I was driving home listening to SAfm phone issue topic on Gary Player I couldn't help to realize that only one out of ten callers had something positive to say about him. They were saying things that I have never heard off. Funny enough Most of the callers were white males, probably they know him better I thought. Today I stumbled across a little or not so little piece written by Terry Bell a Business report labour columnist on Gary Player. I thought let me share it with you maybe you like him.

Gary Player’s history has caught up with him again, for the second time in little more than two years. This time it was the involvement of his United States based company with the brutal military dictatorship in Burma; last time it was the exposure of his more than cosy links with and support for the apartheid state.

The Burma connection has once again thrown up the mass of contradictions in Player’s life, contradictions that have seen this “black knight” of the golfing world publicly dubbed everything from a “consummate chameleon” to a “distasteful opportunist”. The only area in which there exists no contradiction is in the assertion that Gary Player, in his trademark black kit, is one of the greatest golfers the game has known.

However, as former human rights lawyer, amateur golfer and now judge Christopher Nicholson made clear in 2005 in his excellent book, From pariah to legend, potentially one of the greatest golfers South Africa produced, Papwa Sewgolum, had his career stymied by an apartheid system Player supported. As Nicholson pointed out, the black knight also did nothing to assist the illiterate former caddy who won the 1963 Natal Open.

In 1966, the year after Papwa had beaten Player in the Durban Open, Papwa was banned from playing against white golfers. There was no protest from Player. In fact, it was the same year that his Gary Player Enterprises rejected a plea to help the impecunious Natal Indian golfer play in the US.

Many of Papwa’s supporters expected this reaction. For 1966 was also the year that Gary Player’s long awaited autobiographical Grand Slam Golf was published. Amid a mass of insensitive and frankly racist comments, Player noted: “I am a man of Verwoerd and apartheid.”

It was not that Player was not confronted about his attitudes and the effects of apartheid. He was. Even in the quite timid local media. Time magazine also joined other overseas publications in warning Player that his support for the apartheid state would soon see him targeted by the growing international anti-apartheid movement.

He was and often had to be provided police escorts at tournaments. He complained that anti-apartheid demonstrators were infringing his civil liberties.

But by then, Gary Player was very much a part of the apartheid state’s propaganda machine. He was not only a member of the misnamed and department of information sponsored Committee for Fairness in Sport, he also played a role in the then government’s sanctions busting campaign.

A frequent golfing partner of President John Vorster, Player invited leading US businessmen to South Africa to play golf with himself and Vorster. Where such appointments caused him to miss out on lucrative overseas golf tournaments, the state ensured that these losses were made good.

Vorster and the department of information realised that Gary Player could leverage greater economic participation by so winning friends and influencing business leaders.

And this is precisely the reason given by NMCF spokesperson, Oupa Ngwenya for Player having “traditionally been invited” to participate in what is the country’s leading charity sports event. According to Ngwenya, Player had, in the past, been called upon because it was thought he would “leverage greater participation” by the business people and celebrities who make the Nelson Mandela Tournament a major fund raiser.

But Player has never been a simple invitee. Ever since the first tournament in 2000, he has been the official host and guest of honour. Even the debacle two years ago when much of his apartheid supporting past emerged, failed to have any effect on his position with the tournament.

But when British polymath, journalist and global justice campaigner, George Monbiot, exposed the fact that Player’s company had built a golf course used by the Burmese generals, the outcry reverberated around the world — and was taken up by leading figures such as Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu.

The protestors were aware that history seemed to be repeating itself: in the first place, the Player golf course was being used by the Burmese generals to do business in very much the same way that Vorster and Player had done in the apartheid past; in the second, Player appeared again to be in the sanctions busting business since the US had imposed sanctions on Burma in 2000.

Tutu versus Player was another case of deja vu. In 2004 when the SABC launched its 100 Greatest South Africans contest, it chose to feature Player, “the black knight”, and Tutu, “the black bishop, on billboards, calling on the country to choose.

Many of Tutu’s friends and supporters were outraged and, amid a wave of protest, Player’s apartheid past and his refusal to apologise for it, received a wide airing. The SABC dropped the project, but Player continued to host the charity golf tournament which is listed as benefiting both the NMCF and the Gary Player Foundation.

For Player makes much of his dedication to South Africa and the “good works” he is involved in. His motivation at all times, he has said, is to “support my country”. He even went on record in 1977 to condemn fellow golfers Sally Little and Brian Henning as “lousy chickens” for emigrating.

However, in yet another contradiction, Player’s major business enterprises are based in the US and his website lists his residence as the very exclusive town of Jupiter Island in the US state of Florida.

This is my opinion

I read in the media that parents will pay a whooping R300.00 for giving their children a hiding. That made me think, ever since we won our democracy we are busy giving rights to the wrong people …criminals, children, fraudsters, and we don’t empower the law enforcement or empower educators on how to deal with the new set of rules. Children as young as 12 are allowed to abort without their parent’s permission. Teachers are helpless as kids go on the rampage raping, filming private parts of girls by force and even killing each other. I watched with disgust the reaction of the three the boys accused of murdering another schoolboy on TV last night. For them it was the sixty seconds of fame whilst the mother of the dead boy was crying her lungs out. By the way what was she doing trying to confront those boys? Some things are best left as they are.

We have criminals roaming the streets committing the same crime that they were supposed to be arrested for in the first place. Now as if the police have not enough on their table they will have to run around on Saturday mornings trying to arrest parents who are smacking their kids who didn’t come without a permission. That will be a mission. Are they increasing the number of police as they increase their scope? No they will have to do with the resources they have now if they do have … we know the story when you call the police station they tell you there is no car available.

What is being done to empower the teachers as children get more rights, what is being done to ensure that the Police have an upper hand to criminals as criminals are increasingly knowing their rights. The government is taking away our rights as parents but when that child commits crime you will be expected to take the blame children.

Monday, 8 October 2007

lost one

On Monday last week our old man at the office opened the basement door for me at around 06h30 and soon closed it again. It is not his job to open the gate but we are both early birds at the office so he made it his duty to open for me every morning. He told me that I must be careful Jozi Thugs could follow me into the basement and hijack me. There was nothing new in that we all know these guys can do anything to get their hands on to our valuable possessions. He also told me that he had some minor pains at his hip. I ask him to request a one-day leave and see a doctor or go to a clinic. On Tuesday morning he was not there to open for me and I thought I knew where he was, but on Thursday I began to be worried and the guy who works with him told me the old man has just disappeared. No one knew where he was even his family in Zola last saw him early on Monday morning. WE had grown so close to each other he was like my father and I still owe him a drink or a cup of tea after a good gesture he showed me sometime ago. My worse fear was confirmed on Friday… my old man died on his way home on Monday evening. His body was taken to government mortuary until his family could identify his body on Thursday. He will be buried in KwaZuluNatal this coming weekend.May his soul rest in peace.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Out to lunch

It is amazing how some commentator’s view 2010 and crime. Crime is a reality in South Africa but it looks like your David Bullard of this world are doing everything possible to scare the hell out of football fans by declaring that they would be sent home as corpses if they dare come to South Africa in 2010. South Africa staged Rugby World, Cricket world cup and recently Twenty 20 world cup. I don’t remember seeing or heard of corpses of fans being sent back in body bags in this crime spree David is talking about. No one warned rugby and Cricket fans of not coming to SA, because they would die in South Africa. why? Is it because the fans of Cricket and Rugby are strait and narrow and Soccer fan are criminals? I am tired of this double standard of reporting. I am a victim of crime like you everyone else but there is no point in creating the impression that it is soccer fans that will be robed in South African not cricket fans.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Communication blunder

Ye-I-yeee..h GCIS! When we were young that is what my sister use to say when I was in trouble ye-I-yeeeh Muuuzi. I couldn’t believe that an Etv reporter asked the president about the Selebi warrant of arrest. Immediately I knew the Government Communications was in trouble. Thabo Mbeki was away since he suspended Vusi Pikoli but up to yesterday Government spokes persons were still contradicting each other. Acting NPA boss Advocate Mpshe said the president was going to bring the nation up to speed with the Pikoli issue which has now become a saga and that only one case will be reviewed. Less than an hour later Themba Maseko said the president won’t entertain the Selebi issue. Remember it is Maseko whom a day earlier said Mpshe would review all the high profile cases. The president came back knowing that he hired the spin-doctors only to find that they have been making noise but no progress. The president was caught by surprise when a young journalist asked him about Selebi warrant. I must say I know that our president is clever and very diplomatic, but that question caught him by surprise he didn’t even have time to think he just jumped into intimidating the lady whom I must say she has got ball that woman… she stood her ground. But seriously was the president supposed to be embarrassed like that? I don’t think so, the NPA and the GCIS should have saved the president from that. I think they didn’t do their home work they kept on referring the media to what the president said and what he did not say with the hope that media won’t have a chance to speak to him now they will have to answer… how did it all happen. I think the Pikoli /Selebi issue could have been handled differently if both offices communicated well to avoid mixed messages. Pikoli/ Selebi was a PR disaster I think the president can’t wait for his term of office to come to an end. What an anticlimax to what I think was a good job he has done for this country. He will be remembered for being trigger happy ask Zuma, Masetlha, Madlala-Routledge and now Pikoli what a drama.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Are we all South Africans?

Do South African Indians consider themselves South Africans? Or maybe Africans as Dr van Syl Slabert put it? I watched Twenty 20 world cup with interest when South Africa took on India.I don't understand the wisdom of supporting another country against your country, I guess that is how things go. Was it really a good advert of South Africa overseas to sea the Indian community supporting the Indian team against South African team on South African soil? Let me also add that I supported India when it was playing against any other team and I am glad they won.

When South Africa was unceremoniously booted out of the competition the Indian community was rejoicing as if nothing happened to what I think is their team. I guess they would be very sad if South Africa won that match. That is where my question is coming from, do they really care about SA sport or do they aspire to go back to India like Jews do? I don’t think so they are South Africans their roots are here. I think it is one thing to be proud to be an Indian but it is a different story when it comes to supporting your country. Most blacks in South Africa don’t like the composition of South African Teams especially Rugby and Cricket but I can’t imagine myself Supporting Zimbabwe or Kenya playing against South Africa because they are Africans and South Africa is still lily white.

I am not sure of their reasons but to me it was a strange behaviour, I think it would be very weird to see African Americans support Nigeria in Soccer at the expense of the USA in America. It is okay for Indians to be Indians no one can dispute that, but at least lets draw the line between patriotism and foreign alignment. I think South Africans who are left now are those who know that we are all South Africans, those who think otherwise have left already (Rathbone, Pietersen and the likes). Good for them, but for us who are left can we stop shooting at our selves?

Friday, 28 September 2007

Is this a joke?

I always thought that SA parliament is joke think of Johnny Delange fighting live on TV politicians crossing the floor with the votes of their parties. What about the shouting session that they open daily, but I never though the United Nations will come down to that level. Listen to the leaders of the United States, Zimbabwe and Iran was an eye and ear soar to put it mildly. I was sitting there thinking how many kids are dying of hunger when world leaders are fighting their battles and defending their corners? How many Palestine kids are being shot at as the verbal diarrhoea consumes our leaders. What about the innocent children in Iraq who were not even mentioned in those long boring speeches really wonder if they even count them as casualties as their leader were trading insults. It so sad those leaders use the UN to settle scores when there is so much to talk about in the world. I hope someone will whisper some sense into their ears just maybe they will listen and face the rally, wars, hunger, global, warming to name but the few

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

SABC Sport

Hey am I on drugs or something? I remember so vividly one of the SABC honchos on MTN soccer zone clarifying the top sport priorities for 2007/2008 season. We were told that SABC 3 would flight English premier league and their promos still say that. We were promised even La liga, bundisliga etc highlights. Does that mean SABC took a U turn without notifying us. I am still waiting they said August but we are heading towards the end of Sept. What is wrong with the public broadcaster or maybe there is something wrong with me? Is there any one who knows better than I do?

Friday, 21 September 2007

Exit

A South Africans choke when it matters most… this is not for the first time they have made it their habit and they are perfecting it now. They played so well and convincing that I thought they were going to beat Australia in the semis little did I know that they still have a fear of big tournament (a big tournament phobia) we must find a name for it because it is here to stay.

Before the start of the game one Indian commentator speculated that the reason why India took a strange decision to bat first when they won the toss was because South Africa was known for choking in big tournaments and I immediately dismissed that theory as stupid…. Oh boy he was so right. They have a tendency of choking spectacularly remember the world game in Durban? When Shaun Pollock fu…d up the Duck Lewis I am not sure if I got it right, but you know what I am talking about.

I heard John Robbie on 702 asking if Jacques Kallis was watching South Africa committing suicide I thought to myself does he think he would do any better. We have choked several times in big tournaments with him present. I think he is one player who is so afraid of Australia and very conscious about the records he wants to make every time he takes the field. He was a liability in our first match with Australia during the world cup. But the positive out of this tournament is that we have seen the likes of Albie and Morne Morkel as well as Vernon Philander and I think they did South Africa proud except that Philander is to blame for his ineptitude that cost us dearly.

My wife didn't enjoy Cricket this time apparently because the hunks left too early. West Indies were hammered and dumped out of the tournament before we can even finish the word T20. West Indies is her favourite team and they didn't do good in this tournament as well and she told she was upset that the guys that are left now are not as hot maybe some women will disagree with her. What is the motivation for women to watch male sport?

Friday, 14 September 2007

Afirmative action

Over the last few weeks the mainstream media have tried so hard to demonized Jimmy Manyi the chairperson of Equity Commission over the white women getting preferential treatment as opposed to black women. Well I am not that convinced even though so many people including the reserve Bank governor, Mamphele Ramphele, the labour minister and most successful women black and white think that is the case.

Everyone says Manyi said that the government must put a stop to white women affirmation but I am yet to hear Manyi say that, that is beside the point, if whites who constitute less than 13% of the economically active population occupy 75% of top management there is something wrong with us as a nation. I know of so many white that I talk to who would love to see the back of BEE now whilst they are still on top and blacks still suffering. They talk of apartheid in reverse but if you can ask the beneficiaries of apartheid as to what have they contributed into up lifting the previously disadvantaged and by so doing fast tracking BEE? The answer is nothing but what they have doing everything possible to frustrate it’s processes.

People who benefit from the BEE are those people in Private sector companies who happen to be white and male. If I had a better plan I would suggest the end to current BBBEE (Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment) because it doesn’t look like it was designed to benefit the poor just like the original like BEE. I think Affirmative action and BEE/BBBEE must have clear targets when those and we all make sure we all strive for that. When we are done they must be scraped.

Are we going to have these BEE/BBBEE Affirmative actions forever? Jimmy Many says they have reached the Target for white women… what is wrong? All of a sudden Solidarity and Afriforum and their quite supporter find themselves having to come out of victim hood and be as convincing possible that this is not true according to their studies. Is it not amazing how blacks and whites come up with different results whenever they have disagreements?

This time around there is not much disagreement according to race. Why is everyone forgetting that white women who were not working were not starving like women in SOWETO because they were privileged they were benefiting from apartheid. They were matrons in hospital because they were white. There was no apartheid law that prevented the women from working or to works to attend plush schools unless that woman is black..

We all know private sector companies are in the business of making money if they can score point by appointing white Meisi at the expense of a black woman they will keep on doing that and UPE, Tuks UCT and the all former white only institutions are producing new pool of women who can afford those institutions unfortunately most of them are still white. If we say let’s give white man a right to pick a white woman over a black woman are we not perpetuating the legacy of apartheid in our time. I would not love to see Zimbabwe happening here in 20 year’s time because by if that happens most whites will simply go to Australia to their buddies. We will be left to starve.

I heard so many white talking about going overseas because of BEE/ Affirmative action… will that girl in Alexander afford to go over seas because of unemployment in South Africa odds are against her. Others are saying they are being punished for the sins of their parents… there is a little bit of truth in that but are we saying lets punish the black chilled because her parents are black. There are more unemployed blacks than whites but the noise the white man is making is so deafening you can swear that we have crises of unemployment in the white community. Whites are used to privileges and when those privileges are shared they view that as a threat to their security. Black have nothing to lose they don’t have security, place to stay even food to put on the table. How are we going to reverse the imbalances of the past? If we have enough white women on top leadership lets give others a chance monopoly won’t help any one.

Monday, 10 September 2007

I've lost hope

I fail to understand why people believe that if they shout on top of their voices Thabo Mbeki will fire Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. We have heard all the reasons why, but there is only one reason that we don’t want to admit. Manto is one minister who is prepared to die for this government stance on HIV and AIDS. Manto is implementing the government policy wrong as they are without question. If we think that Beetroot and what ever Manto is talking about is of her own imagination ask yourself why no one in government is questioning her at least in public. I think people who should be fired are those noisemakers in that cabinet including their boss. Madlala Routledge was fired because she was not executing what The President wanted… we all know his stance on HIV.

Their response to Free Hospital saga was an indication of the attitude of government to public hospital. (The poor deserve those conditions) What they were saying to us is that the situation in Frere Hospital is not different to Bara, Cecelia Makhiwane, Prince Mshiyeni or any other public hospital that you may think of. According to this government what happened in Frere hospital is not a cause for concern. I wonder if the minister can go and tell the parents who lost their children in that hospital that all is well at the hospital. I know the feeling from experience we lost a child due to negligence at Johannesburg Hospital in 2003. I don’t think there is anyone who can come and tell me all is well when I know exactly what led to that painful experience even worse I came agonisingly close to losing my wife too. That is the experience the president do not know Manto doesn’t know it either. Unfortunately not all of us can afford private health, but as things stand the government making show that it is the only option or go and die in public hospital.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Road accidents in South Africa

In a matter of two days South African football lovers are mourning the death of two players to road accidents. The most publicised death of Gift Leremi who died on Monday and Black Leopards captain Fernando Matola who died in a car crash along with his wife and two children. Kick off reported that the accident took place on Sunday morning. This should highlight the importance of sticking to the speed limit, taking breaks and taking energy drinks when necessary. I wonder why arrive alive only release holiday statistics. Only last week on N1 to Pretoria I saw not less that four Accidents, those are the ones I saw and N1 is not the only busy road in Gauteng and the country as well. We only remember when we loose the young lives that road accidents are real and can happen to anyone… Remember the head line that shook the country “Young rugby players die in a car crash” that was after Nardus Wessels and Ashley Mapisa died in a car accident on their way from training. Lets hope the country is learning from these tragic lessons.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Is this gambling or economics at work

I always thought that I am unlucky maybe because I am black in the world that favours pale. but now I have realised that actually I am one of those who are lucky, I have a job, and I have roof over my head. There are people who can’t put bread on the table even though they have the skill and education to match... thanks to this growing economy. In this new South Africa, which we are told, is full of possibilities there are people who are yet to see these possibilities I am one of them.

Since 1994 more and more people lost their jobs due to retrenchment and the government didn’t help the situation by commercialising the state owned enterprises. Thabo Mokoni used to work for telecommunication Giant Telkom. He was retrenched and later recalled as a part time worker and his luck ran out he is now unemployed. He joined more than 35 000 thousand workers that Telkom retrenched since 1997. This is almost half of Telkom workers in 1997.

According to Frans Baleni the General Secretary of the NUM ESKOM and transnet did the same. He says that ESKOM employed 6000 workers in 1999 and now they have 31000 employees. You ask yourself how did this happen? when more people now are getting electricity and new telephone lines one would expect the companies to hire more but no instead they decrease the number. The Para-statals were meant to boost the economy, provide people with training and secured jobs and of course cheaper products, which our new government saw as less important. Is it not ironic to hear over and over again President Mbeki saying South Africa have skills shortage? It is his government that commissioned consultants who recommended that the government commercialise State owned Enterprises.

Needless to say that this backfired and the government was forced to reverse the policy, but the damage was already done. State owned companies were helping to develop the economy and not making profit, but that have since changed. Politically we are free economically we are till far from being free. So how can you tell those people who have lost their jobs that their country is alive with possibilities? You will be speaking Greek to them

Thursday, 23 August 2007

A new TV show in SA

There is this new Soap opera that I saw last night on TV it is called SACP public mudslinging. From a very young age I always like the SACP politics they represented what I wanted to see happen in SA a multi racialism. I didn’t know much about the ANC composition, but I supported them any way because of Mandela and Thambo. After the unbaning of political parties the SACP of Blade Nzimande, Joe Slovo, Philip Dexter, Nozizwe Madlala, Jeremy Cronin was just what the doctor ordered. I was never a communist but I admire the commitment of the likes of Joe Slovo to the course.

The latest developments in the SACP paint a different picture from the SACP I have just described. One Modise is at the centre of it all and the SACP leadership pose as cheerleaders and players. I have failed to understand why the party is using the same trick they condemned during Jacob Zuma rape case. They have accused Willie and found him guilty before we could even hear his side of the story through the media and they are not ashamed. Madisha claim to have some evidence that he gave money to Blade Nzimande, but the question is why is he rubbishing these claims? Blade Nzimande is one of those politicians who are media friendly, but this time he chose to hibernate does he have something to hide this time.

For those who are lucky to be at home around between 06h and 07h00 in the morning when we are on the road had the opportunity to listen to these guys. Madisha is so articulate I am sure most people will find his side of the story appealing. What will the findings of justice? In all fairness Madisha’s story sound genuine. Or am I being biased now? Joe Slovo must be turning in his grave lord have mercy.

Friday, 17 August 2007

U Vlok namagenge

I was in Pretoria High court this morning to see for myself Adriaan Vlok and his gang being sentenced.I must say 10 yrs and five year suspended was just a formality reallythe deal was done way before the court proceedings. I was doing a piece for Free Speech Radio, which is based in Canada. I gave them what they wanted to hear, but these are just my thoughts away from my profession. Interestingly both blacks and whites were outside protesting from different forums of course. There was a victims group called Khulumani having placards that have the picture of Vouter Basson written, “who gave poison to vlok”. This group as you would imagine was largely Black with some whites here and there, just few meters away it was another group of protesters all white with solidarity placards some with a small baby written “ANC killed this child”. Kellie Kriel from the Whites group, which later I was told is Afri-forum, explained their presence. They feel that ANC people including Letlapa Mphahlele of the PAC are having it easy whilst their heroes are being victimised. They were also singing “one justice for all” which was not really clear given the loud toyitoyi, which was coming from the khulumani support group side. Interesting enough Khulumani support group was not there to support the NPA they were opening for the truth that is all. I think this case was hyped up… there was a large contingency of Reporters from all works of life. Tshwane Metro police didn’t even close Vermeulen Street, despite all the traffic jam this case was causing. It will take decades for South Africans to reconcile only because black want to reconcile their way and whites want to reconcile differently. We all looking for the some thing but the strategies are so different because everyone thinks that the other one have an ulterior motive.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Violent protests

I hear the government feels the pressure of nationwide service delivery protests. National Council Of Provinces (NCOP) will be visiting municipalities I am not sure if that have anything to do with service delivery though. These protests combined with Khutsong and of course Matatiele prompted Justice Malala to say “Thabo Mbeki does not like black people”. Maybe he was over the top, but it is true that the president don’t listen to his voters. You may ask yourself why are we having such violent protests these days? In 2005 alone there were more than 6000 protests link to service delivery and less than a quarter of those were violent yet in 2007 almost all the protest marches turned violent. Do our municipalities listen to people? It seems like people are frustrated… they don’t know whom to talk to yet they are told there is economic boom.

When the government is suppose to help the poor out of their misery they tell us that we have two economies one white and rich and the other black and poor. It is true that majority of blacks (as in African) are very poor, but they don’t protest because they are poor they protest because the government treats them like second-class citizens. Unless the government improve service delivery the visits to local municipalities by National Council of Provinces (NCOP) won’t help. People have been patient enough… now they have lost hope they are doing anything possible that will make the government to listen to them even if that means disrupting schools, blockading the roads, stoning motorist etc. Will the visits by the NCOP to the poor communities yield any results? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Madlala Routledge hero or villain?

Thabo does not shy away from controversy isn't he?He Fired Noziwe Madlala-Routledge and I think by that he is telling the ANC that staff your third term. he has obviously given up on aspirations of being the president of the ANC again. If we give him benefit of a doubt he did the right thing to show that he will not tolerate misunderstandings amongst his ministers. At the same time it would be even better if he were applying some sort of consistency. Parliament had been rocked by scandal after scandal and Thibo’s Kept quiet as a mouse. The travel gate scandal, Terror Lekota, Phumzile and a lot more actually if there can be a commission to investigate every Member of Parliament even if they are thought to be innocent South Africa would be surprised maybe not with the amount of corruption in that parliament.

But I also have some unanswered questions about Madlala Routledge. Is she the hero of the poor or another populist. Maybe South African a quick to make celebrities out of nothing remember Willem heath with heat commission he was doing great job but people made him celebrity too soon where is Hearth commission now? Jacob Zuma is another case the less we say about him the better.

Now Nozizwe Madlala Routledge, I have a sense that she was always trying to cross the floor (from Thabo’s camp to who ever takes over after Thabo) ahead of Limpopo Conference. If she is so passionate about the poor why is she only showing that now? Is it because she knows Thabo won’t be the president again? The timing leaves much to be desired. Listening to her on 702 I strongly believed that she was already in a campaign trail for the new president of the ANC. I think the sympathy vote is already in her bag, she will be the minister in the next government. I agree with Rouledge on other issues, and I believe that she is the victim of Manto/Mbeki whom I think planned her spectacular fall long time ago. She gave them the ammunition and Thabo didn’t hesitate to use it since he didn’t know if such a great chance would ever come again.

Who do we blame here… Madlala Routledge antics, or Mbeki’s insensitiveness or dictatorship? I was just thinking why did Sundaytimes wait for Mbeki to fire Routledge before exposing Manto’s drinking escapades ? That is a topic for another day.

Monday, 13 August 2007

SA soccer

On women’s day I did something that I should have done long time ago… watching my son play. I went to a multiracial soccer tournament at Lodium in Pretoria where my Eldest son Siyabonga was playing for the Young Eagles. I should have been with his mom instead we chose to go to the tournament. I have never seen him play because he keeps on changing sport. He used to play cricket and Rugby whilst we were in Cape Town. He never showed me any sign of liking soccer. He doesn’t even watch it on TV but he enjoy live games at the stadium. Back in Gauteng he plays cricket and soccer so I always thought that he doesn’t like soccer, but obviously I was wrong. I decided to start giving him my support. Boy those youngsters play enterprising soccer, we never had theses good tournaments in our days. The Biggest tournament we all looked forward to was Moloi Goodwill games which fortunately played in my township (Mapetla, SOWETO ). Judging by what I saw over this weekend and what expired at the SOWETO tournament, I think South Africa has a better future in soccer provided those Mafias at SAFA headquarter leave the office soon rather than later.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

What happened to a fair play

Why players are not taking their sport serious these days or should I say all the time? I was thinking... why a player would hurt another player sometimes even end their careers in sport if they are doing it for the good of the sport, I recall the guy Called Steve Sekano who used to play for Moroka swallows. He was so ruthless player one would cringe whenever he attacks the ball. I remember he is also the guy who ended Dan Malesela’s career at Pirates (for the record I am not a Pirate fan or supporter or anything) But with years things have gone worse players are drinking themselves to oblivion… any one who can tell me where skpie Malatsi is, when last did you hear about Jabu Pule mesmerising the defence? This is not new even over seas there are cases like these the best know is that of George Best, Romario and Maradona. Do you Remember Tim Montgomery? Marion Jones boyfriend… tested positive for using steroids and Marion Jones went beset when she was investigated for using illegal substances. But I was not surprised her ex-husband CJ Hunter was also a druggy. Jones made millions of dollars for her running but Guess what? She is broke as a church mouse now blames it on drugs. Now is the turn of the cycling world Tour De France 2007 was a substance playground naming people would chow most of your time, but it was the worst in the history of cycling so I heard I am not a cycling fan. What I have asking myself is why players would risk damaging their sport. Was there really a need for people to be tested if they know that they must not use banned substance. Other even have mettle to challenge the powers that be and claim innocence Sorry Hezakiel Sepeng you are one of them. I hope he learnt a lesson from the experience. Keep the passion stop cheating yourself … you worked hard to be where you are or did you?

Friday, 27 July 2007

Hang them

Hands up all those who want death penalty back? for your benefit my hand is up and I know yours is up as well. to Answer this question Neil Matthys a Social activist with Earth Life Africa base d in Cape town said“death penalty is a sensitive issue” . I fortunately had a benefit of listening to Judge Bhekebheke who spent 2 year in death raw and he open my eyes. He said people want death penalty because of a human instinct. There is nothing wrong with people wanting death penalty back. The government have to ensure that people feel safe in their homes and in the streets “I want to go to the shop and buy a packet of cigarette and came back safe” said Matthys . This is the bone of contention... Judge Bhekebheke said if there is almost 100% that a criminal will be arrested and successfully charged more and more people will realise that crime does not pay, but not now. Today Criminals know that there is 80% chance that they will get away with the murder. Some take chances because they know that even if they are caught they will get bail and have another chance to come and make more money. Take the case of Simelane who was out on bail when he hijacked Judy Sexwale and he is currently applying for another bail again. It is any ones guess as to how many people he killed since his last successful bail application.

Death penalty is not popular with people like Bhekebheke because they know that people like simelane Will afford expensive lawyers and always get bail and eventually win their case or their dockets go missing in the hands of the Police. As for the poor they will be hanged some time for crimes they didn't commit.Are we prepared to go that route? it is true that it is a human instinct to look for a quick solution when were are facing ever increasing violent crime, kids missing Cash in transit and the government looking away. Forget about those who play and dance with our emotions and use this for political scoring. I know for sure that if my child is killed tomorrow I can assure you I probably say “kill the bastard” that is human nature. So many things need to be adjusted before we can jump to the bandwagon of death penalty. 1. Our Justice system police incompetence and corruption. poverty alleviation etc there are more social ills in our society we can never finish if we can begin to look into them. I am not sure if I want death penalty or I am frustrated by the system... is death penalty a solution maybe...maybe not

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Soccer legends

Soccer in this country is fast becoming a unifying sport. From what I have seen in Loftus when Barcelona was here, the Vodacom challenge and the exhibition match for Madiba we are on the right track. I am not a great fan of exhibition matches where you see all the has been’s trying to recapture their youth. But I think those old guys gave Madiba a good birthday present, those guys haven’t lost much of their touches even though I must admit that some of them I have never heard of them before.

The only worrying factor for me is that we don’t seem to have enough South African legends playing in these games, every time we have these big exhibition games we have the same people over and over again. With due respect to Lucas Radebe, Mark fish and Philemon Masinga… are they the only ones who played SA football? What happened to the likes of Ryder Mofokeng, Hillary Jooste, Calvin Peterson, Noel Cousins and more? Apartheid prohibited those guys from playing for overseas teams and now the new dispensation is not giving them the taste of what could have been. Mlungisi Ngubane one of the best ball jugglers this country has ever produced raised this issue last year, but it seems like no one cares to listen. Maybe it is time for Butana Khompela known for shooting from the hip in Rugby matters to shoot indiscriminately in matters pertaining to sport.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Let's forgive and don't forget

I have tried so hard to be understanding and patriotic, but it looks like blacks and whites in this country are like oil and water. Why are we so divided?... take a case of Robert McBride… dodgy character though, some blacks think he is a struggle hero blu blu blu on the other hand some whites think he is a criminal that deserve to rot in jail. What caught my attention is how some whites keep on bring in Magoos bar Bombing every time McBride is involved in his shady dealings like gun running and of late the accident cover up in . It looks like white South Africans will never forgive that man yet we are expected to forgive whites for killing our brothers and sisters and oppressing us. They manipulate the situation by playing victim hood yet we can see who is the real victim...for how long will this go on. Why don’t we judge the man according to what he has done not what he did during the struggle? We all have gruesome stories to tell.

Ironically the guys who helped McBride escape the scene of that accident are treated as heroes because they are bringing enemy number one to Book. Maybe just maybe there is third force. All we hear is that innocent people died in Magoos Bar, how innocent were those people? Personally I am not sure if there were innocent whites, I know I might be wrong. They sucked our blood yet we forgive them…. I did long time ago. There was no national party in their private homes where they called our mothers their girls and our fathers’ garden boys and some of them still use those terms toady … that illustrates that they were all part of the system. I wish they can drop this victim hood and build South Africa.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Eco-driving

What do you normally do when a petrol attendant gives you one of those leaflets/flayers? You probably say thank you I don’t need it. Of course there are a lot of flyers all over the place we don’t know which one to take or leave out. In April this year whilst I was filing up at Pretoria west BP Garage an attendant gave me one of those flayers on tips of how to save Petrol. At First I took it because I did not want to disappoint him, but I didn’t throw it away anyway and later I decided to put it to the test There are simple things that we know but we normally ignore like “don’t accelerate just before you switch of the engine, don’t prolong warming up you car, don’t speed start your car, When driving try to be consistent on your speed, don’t accelerate up the hill if there is a need try to accelerate before you start the up hill etc These are the very few that I decided to use and they are doing wonders. Later I was told that this is called Eco driving… man it works. I can’t believe I am still using my full tank on the same km as I did in February considering petrol hikes that we have gone through. Try it you will save

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

What an honour

This morning caretaker of the building brought me a cup of coffee. This is the man I thought I was a pain in his back side all along. I am the first person to come to the building in the morning sometimes the last one to leave, he is one person who wakes up extra early to come to open the basement for me and in the evening he will come to my office and check with me if I will be leaving late. For all his troubles I never considered to buy him a cigarette or something as a token of appreciation. Maybe is because I thought he was just doing his job, but this morning he caught me by surprise. I asked him why? With a very broad smile he said, “Because you deserve it” and that was it. What an honour from the old man.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

The sorry state of the poor post '94

You might have come across the edited version of this piece before, in 2005/2006 The Star published an edited version by Max Du Preeze. This is the unedited version of what Sbu Zikode wrote on the plight of Abahlali base Mjondolo(Shack dwellers)in 2005, up to now their situation is still the same

The shack dwellers' movement that has given hope to thousands of people in Durban is always being accused of being part of the Third Force. In newspapers and in all kinds of meetings this is said over and over again. They even waste money investigating the Third Force. We need to address this question of the Third Force so that people don't become confused.

I must warn those comrades, government officials, politicians and intellectuals who speak about the Third Force that they have no idea what they are talking about. They are too high to really feel what we feel. They always want to talk for us and about us but they must allow us to talk about our lives and our struggles.

We need to get things clear. There definitely is a Third Force. The question is what is it and who is part of the Third Force? Well, I am Third Force myself. The Third Force is all the pain and the suffering that the poor are subjected to every second in our lives. The shack dwellers have many things to say about the Third Force. It is time for us to speak out and to say this is who we are, this is where we are and this how we live. The life that we are living makes our communities the Third Force. Most of us are not working and have to spend all day struggling for small money. AIDS is worse in the shack settlements than anywhere else.

Without proper houses, water, electricity, refuse removal and toilets all kinds of diseases breed. The causes are clearly visible and every Dick, Tom and Harry can understand. Our bodies itch every day because of the insects. If it is raining everything is wet - blankets and floors. If it is hot the mosquitoes and flies are always there. There is no holiday in the shacks. When the evening comes - it is always a challenge. The night is supposed to be for relaxing and getting rest. But it doesn't happen like that in the jondolos. People stay awake worrying about their lives. You must see how big the rats are that will run across the small babies in the night. You must see how people have to sleep under the bridges when it rains because their floors are so wet. The rain comes right inside people's houses. Some people just stand up all night.

But poverty is not just suffering. It threatens us with death every day. We have seen how dangerous being poor is. In the Kennedy Road settlement we have seen how Mhlengi Khumalo, a one year old child, died in a shack fire last month. Seven others have died in fires since the eThekwini Metro decided to stop providing electricity to informal settlements. There are many Mhlengis all over our country. Poverty even threatens people in flats. In Bayview, in Chatsworth, a woman died of hunger earlier this year - she was fearing to tell the neighbours that she had no food and she died, alone.

Those in power are blind to our suffering. This is because they have not seen what we see, they have not felt what we are feeling every second, every day. My appeal is that leaders who are concerned about peoples' lives must come and stay at least one week in the jondolos. They must feel the mud. They must share 6 toilets with 6 000 people. They must dispose of their own refuse while living next to the dump. They must come with us while we look for work. They must chase away the rats and keep the children from knocking the candles. They must care for the sick when there are long queues for the tap. They must have a turn to explain to the children why they can't attend the Technical College down the hill. They must be there when we bury our children who have passed on in the fires, from diarrhoea or AIDS.

For us the most important struggle is to be recognised as human beings. During the struggle prior to 1994 there were only two levels, two classes - the rich and the poor. Now after the election there are three classes - the poor, the middle class and the rich. The poor have been isolated from the middle class. We are becoming more poor and the rest are becoming more rich. We are on our own. We are completely on our own.

Our President Mbeki speaks politics - our Premier Ndebele, and Shilowa in Gauteng and Rasool in the Western Cape, our Mayor Mlaba and mayors all over the country speak politics. But who will speak about the genuine issues that affect the people every day - water, electricity, education, land, housing? We thought local government would minimise politics and focus on what people need but it all becomes politics.

We discovered that our municipality does not listen to us when we speak to them in Zulu. We tried English. Now we realise that they won't understood Xhosa or Sotho either. The only language that they understand is when we put thousands of people on the street. We have seen the results of this and we have been encouraged. It works very well. It is the only tool that we have to emancipate our people. Why should we stop it?

We have matured in our suffering. We had a programme to find a way forward. Our programme was to continue with the peaceful negotiations with the authorities that first started ten years ago. But our first plan was undermined. We were lied to. We had to come up with an alternative plan.

The 16th of February 2005 was the dawn of our struggle. On that day the Kennedy Road committee had a very successful meeting with the chair of the housing portfolio of the executive committee of the municipality, the director of housing and the ward councillor. They all promised us the vacant land on the Clare Estate for housing. The land on Elf Road was one of the identified areas. But then we were betrayed by the most trusted people in our city. Just one month later, without any warning or explanation, bulldozers began digging the land. People were excited. They went to see what was happening and were shocked to be told that a brick factory was being built there. More people went down to see. There were so many of us that we were blocking the road. The man building the factory called the police and our local councillor, a man put into power by our votes and holding our trust and hopes. The councillor told the police "Arrest these people they are criminals." The police beat us, their dogs bit us and they arrested 14 of us. We asked what happened to the promised land. We were told "Who the hell are you people to demand this land?" This betrayal mobilised the people. The people who betrayed us are responsible for this movement. Those people are the second force.

Our movement started with 14 arrests - we called them the 14 heroes. Now we have 14 settlements united together as abahlali base mjondolo [shack dwellers]. Each settlement meets once a week and the leaders of all the settlements meet once a week. We are prepared to talk but if that doesn't work we are prepared to use our strength. We will do what ever it costs us to get what we need to live safely.

We have learnt from our experience that when you want to achieve what you want, when you want to achieve what is legitimate by peaceful negotiations, by humbleness, by respecting those in authority your plea becomes criminal. You will be deceived for more than ten years, you will be fooled and undermined. This is why we have resorted to the streets. When we stand there in our thousands we are taken seriously.

The struggle that started in Kennedy Road was the beginning of a new era. We are aware of the strategies that the police are coming with to demoralise and threaten the poor. We don't mind them building the jails for us and hiring more security if they are not prepared to listen to what we are saying. It is important for every shack dwellers to know that we are aware of what is happening in Alexander in Johannesburg, in P.E., in Cape Town.

We know that our struggle is not by itself. We have sent our solidarity. We will not rest in peace until there is justice for the poor - not only in Kennedy Road there are many Kennedy Roads, many Mhlengis, many poor voices that are not heard and not understood. But we have discovered the language that works. We will stick with it. The victims have spoken. We have said enough is enough.

It must be clear that this is not a political game. This movement is a kind of social tool by which the community hopes to get quicker results. This has nothing to do with politics or parties. Our members are part of every political organisation that you may think of. This is a non political movement. It will finish its job when land and housing, electricity and basic services have been won and poverty eliminated. It is enough for us to be united until our people have achieved what is wanted - which is basic. But until that is materialised we will never stop.

The community has realised that voting for parties has not brought any change to us - especially at the level of local government elections. We can see some important changes at national level but at local level who ever wins the elections will be challenged by us. We have been betrayed by our own elected councillor. We have decided not to vote. The campaign that has begun - 'No Land, No House, No Vote', is a campaign that has been agreed upon in all 14 settlements.

We are driven by the Third Force, the suffering of the poor. Our betrayers are the Second Force. The First Force was our struggle against apartheid. The Third Force will stop when the Fourth Force comes. The Fourth Force is land, housing, water, electricity, health care, education and work. We are only asking what is basic - not what is luxurious. This is the struggle of the poor. The time has come for the poor to show themselves that we can be poor in life but not in mind.

For us time has been a very good teacher. People have realised so many things. We have learnt from the past - we have suffered alone. That pain and suffering has taught us a lot. We have begun to realise that we are not supposed to be living under these conditions. There has been a dawn of democracy for the poor. No one else would have told us - neither our elected leaders nor any officials would have told us what we are entitled to. Even the Freedom Charter is only good in theory. It has nothing to do with the ordinary lives of poor. It doesn't help us. It is the thinking of the masses of the people that matters. We have noted that our country is rich. More airports are being built, there are more developments at the Point water front, more stadiums are being renovated, more money is floating around, even being lent to Mugabe. But when you ask for what is basic you are told that there is no money. It is clear that there is no money for the poor. The money is for the rich. We have come to the decision of saying 'enough is enough.' We all agree that something must be done.

S'bu Zikode is the elected Chairman of the abahlali base mjondolo [Shack dwellers] movement which currently includes 14 settlements in Durban and will march on Mayor Obed Mlaba on 14 November. [This march was later banned and violence unleashed on abahlali base mjondolo members when they tried to march from Foreman Road]

Monday, 9 July 2007

Police stats is it the real truth

The Department of safety and security that ironically does not keep up to its name… announced its edited version of crime statistics. Scary neh… but if you follow the news and the rate of crime report on TV and radio will understand what I mean when I am saying it is an edited version. It is like to expect America to tell the world when ever their soldier is down in Iraq. I believe news cover only a fraction of what is really going on in our streets and homes.

Back to statistics I’ve been asking myself how accurate are these statistics? I doubt they are, to me they sound like a sampling of crime. According to the Institute for Security Studies crime statistics represent reported cases to the police, but not the outcomes of the court ruling meaning the Shower man JZ case is amongst the rape cases the minister announced last week even though he was acquitted. Yes he was acquitted… A student in Durban beat up his friend into a comma and he was a charged with attempted murder. Later his friend died in hospital then the charge changed to murder, but according to the statistics that is not murder is an attempt. So how does one make sure that what we are told once a year is not an edited version of the truth? Can we really trust the police statistics?

Friday, 29 June 2007

O

Yesterday I was busy looking for O magazine all over Jozi, I have seen the previous issues of O on my wife’s bookshelf but I never really had interest in them. It looks like it is meant for carrier women …correct me if I am wrong. The July issue is talking about us Bloggers, but that is not the only reason I want to have it my wife Thandi is one of the bloggers featured in July issue… isn’t she beautiful? I will buy it for keeps I am not sure if I will read the whole magazine though, but any way it won’t be a waste of money because I always buy and keep things that are important to me. I remember my first story that I wrote for Sunday times, I cut it and kept even though that editor changed the by-line, my first letter to the sundaytimes editor is still in my file today. This magazine will also go the same route straight to my archives.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

ANC

I attended an ANC policy conference earlier today, but not as a member or delegate but to do my work. Approaching Midrand the traffic on the road gave me an idea of what to expect in Gallagher estates. Going down the road I could see a sea of executive cars parked inside the demarcated areas and people going up and down. Comrades who seem to have last seen each other in exile hugging like they have magnets. I felt intimidated and I tried to park my car outside of the demarcated areas, but a Metro police told me to park inside if I don’t want them to taw my car. I thought inside parking was reserved for the executive cars… I am telling you ANC people are driving. I saw a number of X5’s Z4, Hard bodies etc you would swear that people who attended the conference were all from the rural areas judging by a high number of 4X4 that were there. I parked my car and approached the entrance… there was a group of about 30 men wearing sleazy leather jackets I mean all of them. There were some whites there that also looked smart considerign what we know them for in fashion. ANC policy conference can make mockery of some fashion parades that I have seen, but my concern was that there no women. I didn’t go there to see women but for an organisation that claims to have empowered women what I saw there is not good enough. I wonder how many director generals are female Director generals that were there were men. Making matters even more difficult were a number of security personnel… almost every second person was a security personnel should I say security man. I am sure NIA also put some male spies. The there thing that I noticed was that KZN and Northern Cape delegates have a different agenda to the programme. They kept on singing about the Zuma presidency and denouncing the present president. The president said there would be no succession debate, but I think he misunderstood the mood of his people.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Soccer in SA

When I heard over the radio last week that super sport international was taking soccer away from us I must admit I was pissed off. I didn’t even know who the hell was Supersport international I know supersport…was that international always there or it is just my ignorance. SABC was doing anything possible to win public sympathy and they won mine and I am not alone for sure. After reading different publications I realised that I have nothing to fear at least for now. I hate Pay-TV not because it is bad but because I can’t afford it hence I complained during super 14 rugby tournament thanks goodness my prayers were heard. Is soccer in South Africa where teams at the top flight don’t even have sponsors deserve R5million? Maybe this is the time to raise the bar… SABC is taking us for granted, for R5million they would put some howlers in the studio as guest week in and week out who don’t seem to know what the viewers want to hear. The same commentators have nothing positive to say about our local football I doubt they if they do watch SABC sport at home either. Let’s give super sport a chance and how they are going to deliver on all these promises. As for SABC they should cut their loses and subcontract with super sport international if they really care about the us. Unlike SABC Super sport is prepared to go live simultaneously. Let hope ETV will buy some of the rights and we can see what they are really capable of. They are not doing a great job on UEFA champions league. Talking about champions league it’s former champions Barcelona is in the country to play Brazilians. They attended a fundraising dinner for Nelson Mandela children’s fund and UNICEF at Sandton last night and stayed for only 15 minutes. Maybe that is what we are going to see tonight 15 minutes of big stars and then play their reserves. Apparently SABC has put its foot in it again, they are not prepared to move that boring generation from 20h00 spot so the game will start at 20h30. You see more reasons why supersport will always have an upper hand.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Are we positive or negative

I was watching Zola 7 one Thursday night helping a young woman unite her baby with the father who was also young I must say. What struck me was how Zola was bragging about having two kids by different women and happy to be part of their lives blah blah blah. I respect Zola for his work, he is one of the very few celebrities who give back to their communities… I mean literally giving back to the poor. Giving back to the community makes him one of the most influential artists amongst our youth. It is a very good thing that he owns up, but that is not enough because it discourages the use of condoms amongst those who look up to him as their role model. South Africa is facing a serious threat of Teenage pregnancy… couple that with the scourge of HIV/AIDS and poverty we have a crises in our hands. Media is promoting sex as a cool thing but real people like you and me are the ones who must lead our youth by example because we are the real people they can relate to not billboards. Everyday we hear of celebrities having kids left right and centre. One who comes to my mind is Hlomla Dandala whom last time when I checked he was married the next thing I hear has about three kids out of marriage and to add salt to the wound these kids are all from different young women. Like Zola he owns up,but is it enough? what kind of South Africa are we building here? Is there any chance of defeating the AIDS epidemic when it is clear that prominent people don’t really believe they can contract HIV if they sleep around without condoms? What is wrong with our society? We are sending mixed massages to our youth let us be consistent and build a better South Africa with no child headed homes. There are celebrities who are doing a good job the likes of Kabelo, Romeo Khumalo, Shoes Moshoeu and others lets build on that.We are a great nation let's not destroy something this beautifull.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Is Pali Lehohla at it again?

President Mbeki is attacking stats SA for the accuracy or inaccuracy of its figures. What a sham… it is a known fact that unemployment especially amongst black youth is very high. Instead of looking at what Mdladlana, and Mastepe Casaburu have done in their departments to reduce this high unemployment.Mdladlana and the Sectorals Education and Training Authorities SETA’s should be the one’s whom Mbeki should vent his frustration with. We always hear of how South Africa has a skills shortage and SETA’s were forned as an the answer to that. What do we a have to show for it? Battered, exploited and disposed off youth who don’t have work experience or eager to go to the SETA’s again. If only Mdladlana can take over SETA’s from employers who tend to treat learner workers as cheap labour. Telecommunication worldwide is the biggest employer of you yet in South Africa we are yet to witness that. Matsipe Cassaburi who proved to be a failure with all the post she had. I am not sure why she is still in that position or it is women empowerment? I am sure there is more than one woman who can do a better job than she is doing.Mbeki is picking on a soft target Lehohla and company because he knows those guys sometime give dodgy stats …we know they are not as competent as we would love them to be, but Mr president look at the real culprits, maybe you are also responsible. What is really hilarious is that Mbeki is accusing StaSA of including people who had just lost their jobs and were likely to get jobs given the nature of the Economy. I hear Vavi shouting again Hitler rhetoric! Are people who are likely to get job employed or unemployed? Some one who understands this language help me. Does it really make sense? If you are likely to get a job therefore you must not be considered unemployed for how long?

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Personal encounters

Friday the 17th 1992 I got a massage from my maternal grand mother that my brother called earlier apparently he was drunk (there were no cell phones then). He was working as a policeman in Umtata. I was from my uncle's house in Naledi extension because that evening I was going back to boarding school after June holidays and I had stayed a week more. But first I had to go to my home in Matatiele for a weekend and leave on Monday. In Matatiele I met my friend Khotso whom we entertained ourselves with booze and weed. It was in the afternoon around 14h00 when I was on my way home from buying another beer when I saw a white car by the gate and there was some one who looked like a priest. You know in townships and in our villages we are used to people who will just rock up and offer a short prayer session … I am thinking of the Witness of God …do you know them? Of course if you are a South African you should know them. I thought it was them offering a prayer I was drunk from alcohol and dagga. Do you know how drunk people like a prayer? So I let them in, but what surprised was that Kgotso asked me not to open the beer even though I insisted that I need just one sip and I won’t be disruptive. Under normal circumstances he would be the one to encourage me. My second surprise was when I saw my sister in law and her husband coming in they are not really churchgoers let a lone some small prayer session. We left everything and joined the priest and people who were accompanying him. My sister inlaw could not even start a chorus for a prayer that is how pathetic she was, but the priest took over. After a very short chorus I guess liquor in me still wanted more singing a priest had a short prayer and afterwards he said “ I am not here with the good news, the son of this house was stabbed last night and he passed away, so let’s have a short prayer for his soul”. I was thinking what is he talking about? Is he on drugs or something? He went on “ Mzoyi family I am from the police department in Umtata. Your son was working with us and last night we received these bad news” Then I knew that I will never see my brother alive. He was not just a brother to me but a close friend. At 26 years of age I thought he was too young to die. I had never cried before for someone who passed away… I guess our family is so small tragedies like these hardly hit us. My dad thought me that tigers don’t cry, but onthat day there was little I could about those tears that were rolling down my face. I tried as much as I could to stop them but that was just too much. I was the only one from the family my dead was in Jozi my mom in Durban to fix her hearing AID but the good news was that she would not go to Johannesburg as Durban is much closer to Matatiele. I was afraid how was I going to handle her.. eventually she came and she was not very impressed with me being at home after a week of schooling. I looked her in the eyes and couldn’t help myself but cried.. The last thing I needed on that day was to hear my mom cry. I thought she was going to die. Sometimes when I look at her now I can still hear her asking God why “ Hobaneng Modimo waka hobaneng, hobane Ramasedi…” When a tragedy like this hit home you try as a family to deal with it and move on, but two months later something very strange happened… next time

Monday, 4 June 2007

What is in a name

What is going on down there in KZN. The ANC is changing names in Durban and the surroundings areas using their majority in provincial parliament and not exhausting the process of consultation with the communities affected. When I saw the IFP in the streets marching, that reminded me of the mid eighties to the early 90’s. Those are the years we all wish to forget very fast in our History. But what is happening in KwazuluNatal can easily take us back. Do we really have to change names like Princess Magogo and Mangosuthu Highway, even some of the colonial names? if we are as positive as the world perceive us we should act in the interest of peace and unity not revenge. I disagree with the politics of Mangosuthu Buthelezi but we can’t deny the fact that he played a role in the struggle against Apartheid, but it look like the ANC is not playing the ball but playing the man. At least Thabo “the dictator” Mbeki is still sane, last week in parliament he asked “if it is necessary and inevitable to change the name of a stadium like that of Princess Magogo.”. From what I hear the man doesn’t get much respect from that province, but I want to hear the response from the top brass of that province this week. Princess Magogo was not a politician, she belongs to the royal family and she should be respected as such. The present government has honoured her for her role in the struggle. From where I stand there is just no reason why the provincial government of the should mention her in the same breath as Hertzog, Swarts etc. To be honest I always question the renaming process, but that is another topic for another day. I would like to know as to how much it costs a country to change the name of an institution.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The more things change the more they remain the same

In april 2006 I wrote in my old blog "2010 are we on track" most people thought that I was being negative. Even today that thought of mine is still relevant. This is what I wrote: So green point is back on track thanks to Hellen Zille's mercy, but is everything ok? Are our roads ready, is Eskom ready is petrol in tune with demand given that we ran out of Petrol in December 2005, will our stadiums be ready, our airports and hotels, but more importantly will Gautrain be in motion? All these draw a very bleak picture of the success of 2010 more than the breaks that Hellen Zille an d companey applied in the Cape. We should pray that Eskom would have their house in order by 2010, the statement of Oom Alec (sabotage) paints a gloomy picture of a way forward. People in the leadership should take responsibility not pass the buck. Travelling from Cape Town to Johannesburg in December is a nightmare, I can’t remember how many times have I lost my luggage in all major airlines and had to wait at the airport until I am told the luggage would be deliverd to my place. Can you imagine what will happen in the airport when Brazil and England have progressed to the knock out stages? their supporters will come in droves. I nearly forgot, will our police be ready to deal with English hooligans. I understand they give police tough time around the world where ever England is playing or English clubs during EUEFA champions league. I think our hotels are good enough for tourist, but I am not sure if we have enough to accommodate abut thousands and thousands of fans plus tourists and business people. Will our Gautrain be ready for the showpiece? We hear conflicting responses, but the one I like most is “Gautrain is not the reason why we got 2010” this is a give away that some of the officials have already given up on having Gautrain ready by 2010.That is our only hope for 2010 because we don't know it, but the rest of the public transport can’t even cope with pick hour traffic let alone additional soccer mad fans. For convenience sake most fans will hire cars they can afford anyway why would they cramp themselves in our over loaded Taxis,buses and trains. This takes us to another problem will our roads be ready to accommodate them. The answer is NO, I don't unticipate any change in that sphere. Parow is 25 minutes away from Cape Town, but in peak hour traffic it takes 1h30 to 2h00 hours, spare a thought for people who travel between Pretoria and Johannesburg daily. Can you imagine what will happen if we can have more cars than our raods can handle n 2010. I am afraid there might not be enough Petrol for them as well. Do you remember December 2005? we were told that a panic led to petrol shortages in a very short period of time and we still don’t really know the story behind that shortage. As I write this piece South African soccer team which is the reason why we will host the World cup in 2010 does not even have a coach. (point of correction we have Carlos Alberto Pereira) I hope we will be in tune with the world when the time come.