Twaddle & Twak

Rants, Raves and Everything Else!

Flagtastic! June 7, 2010

Filed under: South Africa,Uncategorized — natalian @ 7:38 am
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I only really cry if something moves me on a deep emotional level, emphasis on deep. So the odd movie or book can move me to tears, however this morning it was a flag.

My country has brought me to tears many times due to crime, corruption and the poverty that exists in our society, but this morning I was moved to tears by national pride.

We, South Africa, are about to kick off the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup and although we can boast new stadiums, it is the people of South Africa, that have moved me.

For the first time, in many years, South Africans are uniting with national pride. Yes, we are supporting Bafana Bafana – our national football team, but most of all I think South Africans are proud to be South Africans and want the world to know it.

Driving my children to school this morning nearly every second car and taxi had a South African flag on it and houses have South African flags tied to their fences.

This morning I felt my eyes well up with tears, because today I am proudly South African and can only wish that we, as a country, can continue with this unity from 2010 and beyond.

 

Uncomfortable March 20, 2010

Filed under: South Africa,Uncategorized — natalian @ 4:07 pm
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As a South African there are times where one can experience incredible highs, like watching Nelson Mandela become President of South Africa, the run up to the FIFA World Cup with its  awesome stadiums and marvel at our rich culture and beautiful landscapes .  There are incredible low’s as well, these are generally related to issues of crime in our country, especially when it touches your life or the lives of your loved ones.  These are things that you tell yourself can happen anywhere and in any country.

Over the past week I have started to feel uncomfortable and that has never happened before.

A very vocal youth leader in our countries governing political party, Julius Malema, has at gatherings and social political occasions enjoyed singing “struggle songs”.  Julius has recently sang, what the ANC has tried to placate us with as another hit from way back then, a struggle song with the lyric “Kill the Boers, they are rapists.”

For those who are unfamiliar with South Africa politics, struggle songs  were sung by those oppressed by the white regime that  governed South Africa during the Apartheid years.  They were sung to empower those who were oppressed and had lyrics which spoke of the Whites and Boers of South Africa as well as referring to the war which they were fighting against Apartheid.  The term Boer, which in the Afrikaans language refers to farmers,  is also used to refer to the minority white population of South Africa with Dutch Heritage and who speak the Afrikaans language.

The minority referred to in the struggle song sung by Julius Malema are not pleased, firstly they see this as “hate speech” towards them as a cultural group in South Africa and secondly the farmers in South Africa are unhappy as the farm murders in South Africa are on the rise.

We have been told by our South African government to not take these songs literally but understand that these are the struggle songs that they sung during the Apartheid years, that even their ‘white’ freedom fighters sung along with them.

I have only one thing to say to the South African Government who have been in power since 1994.  The struggle is over.  The Freedom Fighters of the ANC are now the ministers that are sitting in parliament and who should take every South Africans concerns to heart under the banner of the Rainbow Nation that we profess to be.  Those struggle songs were rightly sung in the Apartheid years, the government of the Nationalist Party brought strife and heartache to the lives of many in South Africa, but the ‘war’ has been won, those who were in power and brought Apartheid into South Africa are dead.

In our current Democratic South Africa  do these ‘struggle songs’ still have a place, sung in our present context do they not constitute hate speech towards certain groups in our South African population?  Is racism still being allowed by our current Government?  If we continue to refer to the past how can we possibly move forward?  If we continue to lay blame at the feet of the sons of the ancestors of Apartheid how can we grow as a country? 

This week my father, who is of Anglo ancestry, was referred to as a “drunk Boer” by a Zulu man in his place of business when a disagreement arose.  It makes me question just how damaging these struggle songs are in the “New South Africa”?

Yesterday, the Afriforum Youth tried to deliver a Memorandum to the ANC Youth League at the ANC Headquarters ,Luthuli House, to bring to Malema’s attention that words had consequences.   They were not allowed access and their memorandum and list containing the names of 1 600 victims of farm killings was thrown to the floor. 

Tomorrow, South Africa is celebrating Human Rights Day, it begs the question whose Human Rights are we celebrating? If it is not every South African in the Rainbow Nation and speakers of at least one of South Africa’s eleven official languages then it is a damn shame!  Or is it sham?

 

99 Days And The FIFA World Cup. March 3, 2010

Filed under: South Africa,Uncategorized — natalian @ 11:15 am
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Yesterday, Eldest went off to school with his “Vuvuzela”  and a South African Flag sticking out of his school bag because South Africa has started counting down the last 100 days till the start of the FIFA World Cup and his school was having a special assembly to celebrate.

The stadiums have been built, the merchandise is everywhere and we have been informed, that as parents, we will have an extended school holiday period so that we can all bask in the FIFA World Cup frenzy that is expected to take hold of South Africa! (Note the sarcasm in my voice – pity I’m not getting a rebate on my school fees!)

I don’t like crowds.  During the Christmas period I hit the shops and malls a half an hour before they open so that I can be the first in and out, thereby beating the masses.  So when Hubby suggested applying for Soccer World Cup tickets, I was more than a little reluctant.  He won me over eventually with the “once in a lifetime” argument and how it would be an experience I would never forget.  So I decided to live a little.   We applied for the first game to be held here in Durban, which happens to be Germany against Australia, and a few other matches.  We were successful on only one application and that was  for Germany’s first game.  So it may not be to watch Bafana Bafana, my Country’s team, but its the next best thing. 

Now I  need to brush up on the German National Anthem before June!

 

Fifteen Days! March 12, 2009

Filed under: South Africa,Uncategorized — natalian @ 8:53 am
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I sat glued to my television screen as the Constitutional Court ruling has just been issued on the right for South African Expats to vote.

I am so excited that Registered South African Expats will be allowed to take part in our April Elections!  Those who are registered voters, before leaving South Africa, need to notify the IEC of their intentions to vote as expats by the 27th March 2009.

It was exciting to see our South African Constitution work for the future democracy of our country!  I hope all Registered Expat Voters will take this opportunity and vote in South Africa’s General Elections this year!

Fifteen days and counting!

 

Political Alphabet Soup November 7, 2008

Filed under: South Africa — natalian @ 6:02 am
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The race for “America’s Next President” has ended and the world has embraced the new President Elect – Barack Obama!  I listened to his speech as he addressed the Nation and I must say for a brief moment I wished I was an American.  Americans have been playing the political game for a long time and they make it look good with all the bells and whistles! It was incredible to watch!

Africa can learn from American Politics.  Your Presidential Candidate should inspire a nation, embrace it’s people by putting their needs first above yours and your parties and lastly the biggest lesson, should you not win, be gracious in defeat like McCain.

South African politics in the ‘Demorcratic’ sense is still very young and at the moment the maturity of our governing political party is being put to the test as a breakaway splinter group is about to form to challenge them at the polls in 2009.  

There is concern with what is been cooked up in the political kitchen of the ANC, under head chef Zuma, especially with his assistant chefs of the Tripartite Alliance, Zwelinzima Vavi of COSATU and Blade Nzimande of the SACP throwing in their generous pinches of salt on the way.  Some chefs like Lekota and Shilowa have thrown down their spoons and are currently starting to cook in another kitchen.  They will soon be launching their new party, once they agree on a name!  As the saying goes “Too many cooks spoil the broth”.

This weekend we, as South Africans, are called to ‘register to vote’ for the 2009 elections and I will be queuing with my bar coded Identity Document once again. With a range of political parties like the ANC, DA, IFP, UDM,ID,ACDP and “?” party of “Shikota”, I will have to wade myself through this political alphabet soup before making a decision where I want my vote to count.  My only wish for the 2009 elections is that the political parties will exercise civility towards one another and that voters will respect each others democratic right to vote.

When Democracy is understood and practiced correctly it is a beautiful thing to watch – this week America showed us how it’s done.

 

(Recently announced: The Party formed by Lekota and Shilowa is being called, “Congress of the People”.)

 

Telling it like it is… October 13, 2008

Filed under: Parenting,South Africa — natalian @ 6:17 pm
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Last week saw Eldest having to return to school for his last term of the year and he was having a little whine, while getting dressed, how he would rather stay at home.  So in an attempt to ‘psyche’ him up for his school term ahead I told him that this term was really exciting and that he would be learning about his town.  The school has organised various little outings to the Post Office, the Library, the Fire Station and for my big finale I exclaimed, ” A Policeman is going to come and visit you at your school!”

To which he exclaimed, “A Policeman! A Policeman! I haven’t seen a real Policeman before!”

I looked up at Hubby sitting in the kitchen spluttering into his cereal trying to hold in the laughter.

A few days later, while strapping him into his car seat, he exclaimed, “Mommy, a Policeman and a Policewoman came to visit our school today!”

I asked him if they came in their ‘Police Van’.

“Yes.” He replied disappointingly, ” But their siren was broken!”

In South Africa we have Policemen, but they are kept very busy and are rarely seen ‘walking the beat’.  One may see a Traffic Officer, but they are generally hiding in the bushes trying to catch speeding motorists.  The truth in Eldest’s innocent comment spoke volumes in the general feeling amongst us – we just don’t have enough of a Police presence or Police vehicles and evidently not enough with ‘working’ sirens!

As the saying goes, “Truth from the mouths of babes.”

 

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.