Twaddle & Twak

Rants, Raves and Everything Else!

House of Cards September 25, 2008

Filed under: South Africa — natalian @ 1:37 pm
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Have you ever tried to build a house of cards?  It is not very easy as it requires a steady hand, meticulous precision and balance.  Each card is balancing and supporting on another card and it takes one card to fall or a gust of wind and it all comes crashing down.

This is how I view politics in South Africa at the moment.  I think that the relationships within our governing political party, the ANC, have been weak and strained.  It has been a balancing act, with the Zuma trial and the ‘new’ voices within the party, the winds of change have blown over the ANC as we have known it.  They were once united with a common goal, but as time has shown, once power and money is involved it can divide even ‘good soldiers’.

Today is ‘out with the old and in with the new’!  Kgalema Motlanthe is now our new President elect and will be incharge of building trust and stability within his party and address the needs of the people of South Africa.  I hope he has a steady hand and meticulous precision as he rebuilds that which has been broken and neglected both within the ANC as well as the country of South Africa.

 

When you wish upon a star… September 20, 2008

Filed under: Immigration,Uncategorized — natalian @ 6:05 am
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My first introduction to Germany was a wonderful Christmas in 2000.  Although our meeting was brief before we hit the Autobahn to Austria for my first white Christmas, I was in-love with Frankfurt am Main.  True, she was at her best, all her buildings where twinkling with Christmas cheer and the city square was buzzing with people enjoying traditional Gluhwein and Lebkuchen at the annual Christmas Market.

I gushed and reminisced about our brief encounter until my German Father-in-Law decided I should go back and have a proper visit and see the city without it’s lights and cheer and get a ‘real’ perspective on the country.  I flew out two years later to stay with my aunt-in-law and her decision to take me to Berlin just increased my love for this strange and beautiful country.  I was mesmerised!  Three weeks of travelling the Rhine, seeing the Castle of Heidelburg, riding bicycles in the forests and walking the streets of Frankfurt am Main, I returned home to South Africa with a different perspective.

I have had the wonderful opportunity of taking my parents with me on my next trip to Germany and they loved it as much as I do.  I would gush about how I would love to live there, how I think it is such a progressive country who picked itself out of it’s disgrace and ashes in the 1940’s and is now counted by the world as one of it’s equals.

If you have read any of my past posts you will pick up that there is a thread of dissatisfaction that I have with my country.  Don’t get me wrong I love my country  and it’s people but politics can bring a country to it’s knees.  Hubby is talking of going back to Germany for possible interviews with companies who will hire a primarily English speaker although he is attending German lessons to ‘reconnect’ with his ancestral mother tongue.  He is serious and I am petrified.

I am angry at myself for whinging!  I want to shout at myself and say “This is what you wished for!  You can’t stay here in South Africa and whine about it!  The decision is simple if you don’t like it and not going to be positive for your county and it’s people then you need to leave!”  This journey is exhausting and the mental roundabout is frustrating.

Sigh! As the cliched saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for….”

 

Moments. September 17, 2008

Filed under: Holiday,South Africa — natalian @ 3:30 pm
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When in the Drakensberg you have to: –

  • Enjoy the silence.
  • Breathe the mountain air.
  • Embrace the wind.
  • Inhale the scent of dry grass and thatch.
  • Listen to birdsong and crickets at dusk.
  • Watch the mountains change colour.

Tonight, I will sit in front of the fireplace, with my glass of red wine and enjoy the time I have left till I return to “urban-land”.

 

With Red Wine I go! September 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — natalian @ 10:40 am

The warmth of the African sun had lulled me into a false sense of security that Spring had finally sprung!  However, today I have packed my bags for my holiday of rest and relaxation and heading out to my beloved Drakensberg which is currently 9 degrees!!!!

I will also be driving past Pietermaritzberg that is abuzz with excitement as Jacob Zuma has won his court case.  The “JZ Bash” has started and Julius Malema is having his big party.

So armed with my books and my red wine – to the mountains I go!

 

Holding our breath September 11, 2008

Filed under: South Africa — natalian @ 7:49 am
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Yesterday was a day of protests and fighting words.  The  ANC president has a ‘date’ with the courts in Pietermaritzburg on Friday and his thousands of supporters took to the streets yesterday with placards stating “Hands Off Jacob Zuma”. In Durban it was estimated that about 10 000 people marched through the city centre, including our Mayor!  Whoever is printing the “Jacob Zuma” t-shirts must be rubbing their hands together with glee, they must be making a mint! 

The ANCYL, (ANC Youth League), celebrated their 64th birthday, and their president, Julius Malema, voiced his verdict for Friday as he addressed his members. 

As reported on http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/Politics/0,,2-7-12_2391286,00.html

“We are not a group of losers.” he said.  “Every fight we fight, we win.  We don’t fight to lose.  That’s why everybody, every little artist, (must come to) Pietermartizburg – there’s going to be a huge party,” he told his members. 

He also referred to what would happen if the outcome of Zuma’s verdict was not favourable. 

“We’ll never hand over our president to jail without a fight.  We’re going to fight.

“Any force that tries to block our way, we will eliminate. We are on a mission here. We will crush you. It doesn’t matter who you are… even if you are in the ANC,”

I never took political science, so I am not qualified to voice an opinion that is of intellectual substance and I am also not about to defend or support the Zuma trial.  I am, however, worried for the stability of South Africa if Zuma is found guilty.  Thousands marched yesterday and marches here in South Africa can become violent very quickly if angry or incited.  If the words of Malema are anything to go by, a fight is what the government will face if their president is put through the wheels of justice.  It is a scary thought.

Today, we go about our business, tomorrow, we will hold our breath and wait.

 

Reboot, Reload and Recharged! September 8, 2008

Filed under: Holiday — natalian @ 6:52 am
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I don’t know of one Durbanite that doesn’t make a trip to ‘Majestic Drakensberg’ at least once a year, and I am starting my countdown!

The Drakensberg is a mountain range and is known by the name uKhahlamba (the Barrier of Spears).  However locals refer to it as “The Berg”. 

It’s a place we ‘urbanites’ run to so we can recharge our batteries, soak up the silence and sit by roaring fireplaces with glasses of red wine.  We go for hikes, inhale the clean air and if you are really brave you can attempt a ride on a “Berg” pony and not be able to walk for three days afterwards.

The trip up to the Drakensberg is now also made special with the introduction of the Midlands Meander.  A fabulous concept whereby you are able to drive along and stop at various homes and small businesses to sample their organic produce, cheeses and jams or purchase an artists work or crafts.

Basically, it’s a place where this magnificent mountain envelopes you in it’s peace and sends you back to the city renewed and revived!

Deep Breath… 1, 2, 3 …… sigh!

 

“Brain-ipod” September 2, 2008

Filed under: South Africa,Uncategorized — natalian @ 7:20 am
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Have you ever noticed how powerful music can be?  I can listen to a tune and be transported back instantly to that time.  For example, if I hear any songs from the movie “Dirty Dancing” I am immediately transported to the 80’s, to my summer holiday on the Breede River where our family went camping.  That summer every Aunty and her daughter had the soundtrack playing from inside their tents and caravans. 

I also find that if I am in certain situations I start recalling a song that identifies with me.  Right now my brain is like my “iPod” and unfortunately it’s broken.  It is continuously playing the chorus of two songs in particular.

Firstly it’s “Should I stay or should I go” by The Clash.  Every time I read more and more conflicting reports on South Africa and it’s economy – the song starts!  I read that according to Clem Sunter, South Africa has dropped from position 38 to position number 53 on the 55 top ranked industrial nations list.  Apparently we only have Venezuela and the Ukraine beneath us and should we drop further we will no longer qualify for loans and Fitch won’t even bother to give us a rating anymore.  So what does this say for the South African economy, foreign investment and job creation?

My next top hit is “We’ve Gotto Get Out Of This Place” by The Animals.  This song usually starts when I see things that scare me.  I was disappointed at the behaviour of the possible future president of South Africa, who stood on the court steps in Pietermarizburg singing his ‘one hit wonder’  “uMashini wami” (Bring me my machine gun – a revolution song from his days in “Umkhonto we Sizwe”) and sees his current court case of corruption charges aligned with a form of ‘;struggle’.  He condemned those singing his ‘one hit wonder’ while carrying out Xenophobic violence but sang it happily for his supporters.  Mr Julius Malema, our ANC Youth League President, vowing to “Kill for Zuma” is another cause for concern.  Julius Malema, along with Zwelinzima Vavi, (President of COSATU) and ‘new’ ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe,( who is also a SACP chairperson), have been using a very militarised vocabulary, such as “ready to kill” and “prepare for war”. The ANC’s idea of democracy is becoming concerning as statements eluding to them being in power till the second coming of Christ doesn’t show any respect for the democratic process, especially when stating that “the remnants of the counter-revolution must be ‘eliminated’.” (This is in reference to the former constitutional courts and the Democratic Alliance.)  It is as if a ‘new’ ANC is emerging and it appears to have found a new struggle, a new fight but at what cost?

So as my, lets call it “brain-ipod”, plays out these tunes during my times of delusion and fear for my country why is it that when it plays “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” or “Impi” by Savuka, I have tears running down my cheeks?

It’s a strange place to be in.