Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mak Manaka Offers Free Poetry Sessions in Newtown

Thanduxolo Makopo

Well known South African poet and visual artist, Maakomele “Mak” Manaka, has decided to give back to the community by hosting workshops where he allows young people to share their work and assist in moulding each other into becoming better writers and poets.

The 27 year old says these workshops also help him improve his craft. "On Saturdays I'm usually free and in need of some poetry psychology and I thought a poetry workshop would be a great idea".

Manaka says poetry sessions helped groom him when he was starting out in the industry. He believes such initiatives play a major role in establishing up and coming poets.

"The goal of the workshops is to give them the tools to believe in themselves in order for them to articulate themselves better," says Manaka.

Thandiwe Zidlele, from the Eastern Cape, arrived in Johannesburg to study but dropped out of university due to personal reasons. She says these workshops have helped her get out of the depressing slump she once found herself in and have assisted in her finding her dreams again.

On these workshops he works with other established names in the industry such as Flo, Quaz and Valentine who form the group Likwid Tongue.

Another aim of the workshops is to give young people something to do on weekends rather than sit around with a possibility of ending up as substance abusers or criminals. The free Poetry 101 workshops take place on Saturdays in Johannesburg’s Newtown.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Let's Not Kid Ourselves - New Media Has No Immediate Impact on African Newspapers

Arnoth Mabunda

Wallace Chuma once said that our education has very little to say about the African ways of thinking. As such, we tend to think that whatever affects the west affects the whole world or Africans.

Quite often we just accept western values uncritically. We don’t even look at our immediate environment to see if they really relate to the nature of our society. Now that the new media is affecting many newspapers in the United States of America - they want to make it seem as if it is also threatening our local media and that is totally wrong.

They are busy saying that the new media is affecting our local newspaper companies and some of them might close down, that’s a complete lie. These are the people like Michael Salzwedel (2010 Rhodes Journalism Review, 65) who stood firm and say “in with the new, out with the old”. Salzwadel argues that the 21st century audience is getting tired of the old media system”today, the Internet and the mobile phones are our steam whistles. When we publish a hot story online, we Tweet it and let our more than 700 Facebook fans know about it,” he writes.

His claim has been severely denied by the print media experts, particularly in South Africa, who confidently vow that “no matter how advanced future civilization may become, humans will still enjoy the look and feel of the newspapers in their hands.”(Harrower, 2008,)

Just a simple question, which website do you visit to for some updates on local and national news? Many of you might be going to or; these two companies are the same companies that dominate the press industry in South Africa. In the words of Jude Marthinus, “everything changes, nothing changes.”

In America it is Google versus the New York Times, just to cite an example, but in South Africa it is still the same Naspers, Avusa, Caxton and Independent Newspapers going online. This is what I dubbed NACI monopoly . If you don’t buy these companies’ printed papers, you still Google them. Once again, “nothing changes, everything changes.”

I want you to think

Look at your immediate environment, not in the suburbs where only the petit bourgeoisie live, not even in universities where many students get introduced to new trends - but in your local township or village where the majority of South Africans live.

You will find that many people are still consume traditional media and teachers still store files on walls as computers and all things digital remain the future.

Of course rural people do have advanced phones, but they only use them for making and receiving calls. A small number might even use them for social networking.

Really if we are to think that the internet is the present then I would like to ask why there aren’t many internet journalists’ positions being advertised? How your friends apply for jobs online? The question was about your friends and not you as you clearly have access to the internet since you are reading this.

I will keep on saying this; new media has no immediate impact on Africa as westerners would like everyone to believe.

Some often say the newsroom in Africa is getting smaller because of the new media’s impact, which is wrong. I believe that the news room is getting smaller because contemporary journos are are learning various skills now. These days it is not unusual for an African reporter to cover a story and take photographs for that story as well.

Some newspapers might not want to employ more journalists because they are trying to save costs as young journalists want massive salaries. There are also issues of high taxes being imposed by the state on our newspapers.

I would like to close my argument with a quote from editor of Die Son Mark Herman when he said: “There is still a huge gap left for newspapers in South Africa.”

TUT Students Empowered Through Great Conversation

Katlego Legodi
TUT student, Sinenhlanhla Khumalo (centre),
brought together successful young people to empower
the youth.
TUT has held its second annual Reabua Talk Show with the topic that asked participants what or who they are in the 21st century.
The show was well attended with guest speakers; Andile Ncube from Black Face, Brothers for Life founder Mandla Ndlovu, Vivian Morodi of Johnson and Johnson and Zweli Mahlangu from the National Youth Development Fund; engaging the many youngstersin attendance on the issue.
Former Live Presenter, Andile Ncube, believes young South Africans should seize every opportunity that avails itself to them and says young people should not wait for others to do things for them.
“It’s all up to you in the end on how you make sure that you uplift yourself,” said Ncube.
As many celebrities have alcohol and drug problems, those in the audience asked Ncube how he has managed to stay clean.
“Never in my life have I tasted alcohol or smoked,” a response many were not expecting.
Ndlovu received some questions from people who say his organisation, Brothers for Life, caters for the needs of women and fails to acknowledge that both men and women can be victims of abuse. He didn’t entertain such questions and said they are just an excuse by many male abusers. He continued his usual request of men not to abuse the women in their lives.
Former student leader Vivian Morodi who is now on the marketing team at Johnson&Johnson said she used her position to uplift other students.
Television producer, Andile Ncube, feels
young people should seize opportunities.
She said there is a great need for leadership education of student political leaders so they can stop fighting with each other.
Mahlangu spoke of the work of the National Youth Development Agency in providing the youth with opportunities and advice on how they can better themselves. This, he said, is done through their youth advisory centres and mentorship programmes that happen during weekend mornings.
Organisers say this year’s show was a great success and showed definite growth from last year. It was founded by TUT student Sinenhlanhla Khumalo.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Insults Thrown With Coffins & T-Shirts Burnt During Student Political Campaigning

Portia Mvubu

The gloves are off as Student Representative Council campaigns begin at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campuses.

On 21 October 2010 the main political parties were throwing insults at each other as they were delivering their election manifestos. In 2010 these campuses did not have a representative council after a court order disbanded all political activity at the beginning of the year due to violent student protests, but Thursday shows that insults are still the norm here.

The main two political parties, the South African Student Congress (SASCO) which is a student leg of the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) which is part of the Pan Africanist Congress burnt coffins with each other’s T-shirts on them.

During the manifesto delivery the two used the stage to highlight each other’s previous alleged corruption and failure to lead. Intimidation was used with SASCO singing songs like: “Babekuphi labantu ngomzabalazo?” (Where were these people during the struggle?)

The two giants shared the stage with the Inkatha Freedom Party’s SADESMO, United Democratic Movement (UDESMO), the Student Christian Organisation, the Congress of the People’s COPSSA, NADESCO, and AZAPO.

All the political parties made promises of free education, camera installations to minimise security officers, cheaper cafeteria food and much more.

Earlier in the week students were allowed to wear their preferred party t-shirts, displaying banners and the singing of mother party revolutionary songs. This often takes place from around 16h00 to 22h00 every day.

Some students feel the excitement is a huge inconvenience.Nomsa Siyemela, a first year student says she never thought these events would be this serious and dramatic. She also adds that students who want to lead others often make empty promises just so they can be put into power.

This institution has seen a lot of political drama in its strike ‘subculture’ over the year, but potential leaders say the year 2011 promises to be a good one where everything will be done professionally and for the benefit of all students. Hopefully the 2011 Student Representative Council will be just that.

Love With A Bit of Caution

Lucia Sikhosana

When many friends meet what they initially think is a wonderful man who is a life partner they start going through changes which seem positive at the time. You would see them changing friends, the way they look and everything else the new man in their lives might not want.

This even leads to the woman feeling incomplete when the man is not around. It wouldn’t matter that there could be family members or the room might be filled with loving friends who are wearing the widestsmiles. These women would just feel there is something missing just because the person they have made the centre of their lives isn’t there at the time.

It’s unfortunate that many women would do anything for love even compromising all that they would know and have grown up with.

Loving and caring for someone should not mean someone should change their principles and change who they are. I agree that compromising is crucial for any relationship to work but this should be done within reason.

What I find to be a problem with many relationships is that many women get in them with fake identities. They would observe the man they are interested in from the sidelines, find out what their likes and dislikes are and then work hard to meet their criteria and get their attention. But all of that is a receipe for disaster. When doing so many women might lose a part of themselves and their personalities. They might end up becoming the people they are not only to pelase a man. Soon the truth comes out though as people cannot fake their personalities forever.

So I have come up with a list of things to do in order for women to love without losing any part of themselves.

Be yourself - a woman usually does everything in her power to make relationships last and even get rid of good friends.

Remove baggage from the past - disappointments from a previous relationship or fear being hurt should not be foundation of new love.

Love with caution - women should bear in mind that fear exists in all new experiences in life and when one goes into a new relationship they should remember that they are still to find out a lot about the new man. So while you should take that risk of falling in love, it should be done with caution.

Respect differences – Don’t expect him to like the sme things you like.

These are just a few pointers to my girlfriends, I hope some will help those who want to take risks and get into new relationships.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Movie Shoot Excites Pretoria Township

Tlaki Baloyi

Many came to see the Shoot of Mphephe in Soshanguve.

Township life is often interesting for various reasons and many townships are often seen as busy hubs of entertainment for ills at times such as crime and over indulgence.

That is just one of the reasons youths from two Pretoria communities, Soshanguve and Winterveld, decided to team up and shoot a new comedy called Mphephe. The film is produced by Bongani Magubane who says his inspiration for the script came from the Chinese movies he used to watch as a child.

Those working on the movie are hoping for some success, but they know that working in South Africa's film industry is hard work when the country has produced Oscar nominated and winning gems such as Yesterday, District 9 and Tsotsi.

Bongani and his team were working on a really tight budget. They had to shoot the movie on location in Soshanguve as that was cheap and as he says, it would help children in the community get local role models with people from the community working on the movie in the community. So for three days this poor community was turned into a movie set.

“I have always loved comedy. I chose it because it is easy to make, people enjoy it and it is in demand. I had to overcome challenges such as lack of resources, budget constraints and typical township chaos by minimizing costs and using people surrounding me” Bongani says.

Shooting in the township had its challenges though as he had to maintain discipline with onlookers who would, at times, laugh as the script was hilarious.

One of the kids in the area decided to walk through the set during the shoot, pulled one of the actors by a tie he was using as a belt, but Bongani says that doesn’t faze him.

Sound Technician, Lehlogonolo Masemene, says they are planning to have community centres where kids can practice drama. He says the movie is special because the cast and crew come from different institutions and amateurs were also given the platform. One of these amateurs is Freedom Kubheka who says she started acting in February this year and she adapted quickly because she is used to improvising. She wants to be a professional actress in the future. Her favourite actor is Martin Lawrence and she says she acts because she wants to make people laugh. The DVD will hit the stores in a month’s time and it is good value for one’s money.
Community members used for movie shoot.

Also working on the movie are Innocent Nkuna as the director, Enoch Mabona and Temba as cameramen.
The cast consist of Alfred as the main character, Mpephe, and Bongani as his friend Chini. They act to
gether with Joyce Mbele, Freedom Kubheka, Golden, the famous Xingelengele from Crazy Entertainers, Nomvula Nhlapo and Sibongile Mahlangu.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sosh Residents Woken Up By Bomb Blasts On Sunday

Mohau Ramashidja

Police at the scene after bomb blasts went off.
Sunday the 10th of October will be a day most dwellers of block KK, Soshanguve, will never forget. It was 5am when a blue Golf driving at high speed on a road leading to Soshaguve plaza almost hit a disabled man.

Five ZCC brethrens rebuked the driver of the vehicle, who drove off infuriated by the remarks that were lashed at him. A few minutes later the driver returned to where the five men were standing with a hand grenade in his hand and threw it at a group he had a quarrel with.

”I heard an explosion, when I went outside I saw this your man standing before bodies bleeding to death and I asked what he was doing and he quickly drove off,” said an elderly woman known as Gogo Shongwe.

Four people were injured as a result and were quickly rushed to hospital.

“I quickly ran to my neighbour’s house who is a policeman to inform her of what I had seen,” Gogo Shongwe continued.

Her neighbour, Sis Madonsela, quickly alerted other policemen who rushed to the scene. The suspect was later caught after he confessed to his colleagues and is currently in police custory.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bill Not Passed Yet But Government Already Accused of Refusing to Release ‘Classified’ Information

Tshepo Tshabalala

Print and Broadcast journalists alike will have to keep up with the changing media landscape if the ANC get their way with the proposed Protection of Information Bill. Getting justice will become a challenge.

In an article published by “The Times” newspaper, it is reported that the ‘State Security Agency will not let Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier have a copy of a presentation it made to a parliamentary committee earlier this year and at a meeting that was open to the media’.

The presentation, made by State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and a senior member of the SSA, dealt with the controversial new Protection of Information Bill.

For journalists the classification of information under the proposed bill has broad and unfeasible definitions which allow the classification of commercial information as confidential. Another disturbing matter is that information of private entities that are in government possession could also be classified as confidential. When this information is termed confidential, the journalist no longer has access to this information.

A colossal challenge would be if government had damaging information with repercussions regarding the nation, which could possibly have national interest, the information can be classified as confidential. The state officials are the ones who determine whether a document is classified confidential or not. This would mean that it would be impossible for the media to publish anything regarding corruption and maladministration within governmental departments.

Minister Cwele refused to make hard copies of the presentation because the document was ‘classified’. With the proposed Protection of Information Bill still in the pipeline and not made law yet, a minister has certainly failed to comprehend their own jargon. The presentation was made to the media and an open parliamentary committee meeting. It seems like the proposed protection of information bill has more to do with politics than anything else.

Tony Award Winner At The Breytie

Friday, October 8, 2010

TUT Education Students Say Hotel Accommodation Is a Former Brothel With Blood Stains on Beds

Pearl Nicodemus

The Victoria Lodge turned out to be cheap accommodation
rather than a proper hotel the students had been promised.
Tshwane University of Technology education students have just returned from what they say was promised to be an educational trip with accommodation in a nice hotel but turned out to be a week of confusion with dirty run down accommodation and beds with blood stains on them.

On arrival, the students completing education diplomas in Accounting and Entrepreneurship realised that their residence for a few days was cheap accommodation with leaking ceilings, wet carpets and cracked walls. Some of their beds had blood stains with no blankets. They say the manager of the Victoria Lodge told them he could only provide just eight blankets.

Students found leaking toilets
and big groups had to share showers.
Toilets were also not working properly with six students having to share a room. Later they also heard that the accommodation was a former brothel.

The students say this was a far cry from what they were told when they paid R250 each for the trip as they were instructed not to bring any bedding.

The bus they were travelling on broke down several times before reaching Durban and some say if anything had happened to them on the road there is nothing they could have done because they hadn’t been asked to sign indemnity forms.

When they realised the condition they would be staying under they tried to locate the trip organiser identified only as Mr Makgae but he was nowhere to be found.

An outraged student who doesn’t want to be identified says Mr Makgae “was never available. When we called him he would make appointments and then not pitch. Most of the time we didn’t even know where he was”.

Student representatives had been elected and some say they would be too scared to complain when approached. TUT South African Students Congress (SASCO) President says he became fed up after three days and packed his bags and went home. There were others who followed suit.

Education HOD, Dr Harry Rampa, sayshe is investigating reasons
behind students staying in such conditions.
The Head of the education department, Dr Harry Rampa, says he is aware of the grievances but is investigating and waiting for a proper report from the organiser of the trip who is currently difficult to locate for us.

Students say they even question the educational aspect of the trip. “We went to [a] place where they make sugar and we went to a mall in Durban. There was really nothing educational in our trip,” one student says.
Some students say they demand a full refund of their money and SASCO says they will be conducting their own investigation.

One student sums it up by saying, “I will never ever go on another TUT excursion again.”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Africa Dreams Big Without Proper Solutions

Sibusiso Khasa

Diverse thoughts might help Africa find
the right solutions.
 Famous rappers often insinuate that people who fail to succeed get in those positions because of the choices they would have made.

“Not so many people stood up against the system called life,” are words of American rapper Kid Cudi on his Cudder Anthem In My Dreams.

In the song Dreamer, South African rapper states that people would rather be the worst than the best where he comes from. It has forced me to question whether this could be a part of the reasons most Africans are living below poverty lines or “proverbial breadlines”.

An individual who views the situation facing Africans from a liberal frame of reference might have the belief that apathy, ignorance and laziness are the reasons most Africans are penurious and take epochs such as slavery, colonialisms and apartheid as excuses. While people like Timberlake (1986: 5) describe poverty as “the biggest disaster to strike planet earth since World War II devastated Europe”

Taking the statement made by Timberlake one would argue that slavery and colonialisms played an enormous role in creating the Africa we know and live in today. The reason would be that the two “evil doctrines” tied Africans to the Europeans socially and economically and made them depend on the “evil minds” from the west. As World War II devastated Europe, Africans were not left out, poverty deteriorated in Africa since they were depending on the west as they are now.

As ties still continue today under the banner of Globalisation which is part of post modernism, some argue that this is the continuation of the western domination of Africa and view agreements signed by African leaders with bodies like the European Union (EU) as hegemony being reworked. One may argue that Zimbabwe is an epitome, of the fact that Africa “cannot do much” without the input of the west.
President Jacob Zuma seems to agree with them as he was quoted saying, “lifting of sanctions would give a chance to the efforts we are making there and empower the Southern African Development Community to do more on Zimbabwe,” during his visit to the European Parliament in Brussels on 29 September 2010.

But there is a big emerging eastern super power operating on the African continent and threatening the west. China offers a weaker currency, cheaper products and cheap labour. Their domination has forced the Americans to demand a policy that will compel China to allow its currency to strengthen. Since a weaker currency means more export and a stronger one implies more imports (Stronger currency makes it easy for a country to buy goods) South Africa is left perplexed as the Rand gains more strength.

There is an ongoing debate in this country on whether we should allow our currency to strengthen at it has reached levels that are below 7 Rand to the dollar. Some, like trade union COSATU, are against this saying it might result in job cuts.

The debate of African prosperity is bigger than that of the strength of the South African currecy and the solution for the future of this continent can

If we dwell on the past and spend hours, days, months and years trying to find the root causes of Africa’s current state then we might waste valuable time that could be used to make the continent thrive. This is the time our minds led us to seek better solutions or strategies that will help us alleviate poverty, because reality is that we dream too big when we talk of eradicating it.

International Professional Speaker at TUT