Friday, August 30, 2013

Joburg Doesn't Accomodate Pedestrians as it Should

Siphumelele Zondi

I never thought I worried about livable spaces until I returned to Johannesburg from my studies in the United Kingdom. On return to Johannesburg, I decided to leave my car at home on several occasions, I would walk in the suburbs to catch minibus taxis and from time to time walk around the city centre as well.

I realised that in 2013, Johannesburg still doesn’t have pavements in many areas. This is clear mostly when I jog as I would have to figure out how to avoid cars in certain places in the suburbs. What I am happy about is that there are more and more people who decide to leave their homes and walk around the burbs. I hadn’t quite realised this about this city as I, like many Joburgers, would hop into my car to drive to malls and friends’ houses.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Saluting Single Fathers Working Tirelessly for Their Kids

Sphiwe Masilela

Have you ever thought of how you would have turned out if you were raised by a single father? There are many kids who have and are being raised by their fathers. While there is no substitute for that motherly love, they say they could have not asked for more given their circumstances.

In January alone, the national office of the family advocate which aids families in legal arguments relating to children opened more than 1400 parental rights cases from fathers wanting greater access to their children. And this is proof that there are good fathers out there who are taking responsibility for their actions. Although there are challenges along the way in raising their children, most fathers say playing both father and mother roles was challenging. But it is a role they would not trade for the world.

Michaelhouse Nearby but Majority of Kids Walk Distances in Cold Weather for an Education

Siphumelele Zondi

Last week I was in the area of Nottingham Road in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and I met an old man who inherited a massive farm in 1990, he has built a hotel in a certain part of his farm, donated a huge chunk of land to the Crane Foundation and has built decent four-bedroomed homes for families he says his ancestors found on the land over a hundred years ago. He also does a great job in ensuring that indigenous ways of the Zulu people are promoted and even has a Zulu traditional healer in his hotel spa. But it’s the land that made me think, it mainly made me think long and hard because I spoke to the man’s son who said he went to the extremely expensive Michaelhouse College which is nearby, he also told me that his sons also go to Michaelhouse. After he had told me this I then observed that a lot of black kids in the area walk for long distances to school. Winter mornings in Nottingham Road are extremely cold. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Two lands, two histories. One story of strategic organizing (Video)

Tshepo Tshabalala

Mkhuseli Khusta Jack organized a consumer boycott in 1985 in the city of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, which helped end racial apartheid.

In 2000, Oscar Olivera was the spokesperson for a popular resistance that stopped the privatization of water in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The resistance was known as the Cochabamba Water Wars, a struggle against the privatisation of Bolivia's water, including its rain water.

The Chattiest Generation has Little to Offer in Public Discourse

Cyril Skosana

We are a generation that chats a lot, but we also lack the knowledge our ancestors had. We live in a time where there is so much technology that provides us with information. Our ancestors didn’t have such luxuries. One need not leave their bed in order to access a library as some have many journals and ebooks available on the internet, the internet that moves with us.

Our elders also hold information that we desperately need, but in our belief that we know more – we tend to not want to breastfeed this information from them. If we feel we have breastfed from them, then maybe we have lost what our forefathers had passed to us.
What our ancestors had that we seem to lack is knowledge. We are a generation that lacks knowledge. We live in an era which is so advanced that it has surpassed our average intelligence. Our forefathers had perfected skills of communication –listening, decoding, encoding and giving a response– which is what we seem to lack. You’d hear of information that was shared around the fire. That information led to medicinal breakthroughs on this African continent as medicine isn’t a new invention that came from the west. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Some Black South African Still See Superiority in Whiteness

Zanele Ngwenyama

From January to March I was privileged to work with an American agency that brings volunteers from the States to South Africa. One of their main goals is to learn about South African culture and we learn from them. I was teaching a group of three the XiTsonga language and working as a translator for them in rural communities of Limpopo. In between sessions we had cultural sessions where we taught them about our way of life and they told us about theirs. I realised that as much as there are differences, it’s the similarities that surprised me more and showed me that humans still respond to human emotions, no matter where they’re from in the wold.

The young Americans would get to stay with host families in the rural areas. African Americans later raised their concern of how white people in the group were preferred over them, simply because race.  It didn’t matter that the young Americans were all bringing similar skills to the area and much needed help. One host parent complained when she realised that she was to host an African American. She demanded that the person that was to stay in her home be switched, just so she could host a white person. African Americans felt degraded as a result of the rejection.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

“A cold war of As and Twangs”

Rudolph Nkgadima

As young a boy growing up in Thokoza, a township in the East Rand, South Africa, I always envied my peers who went to Model C schools in town or the suburbs. This was not because of the beautiful school buildings they had or the wonderful stories they would often narrate to us about sons and daughters of "so and so" they schooled with. What made me envy them was the way they spoke English with that distinctive manner of pronunciation.

Their "English" was the pride of their families. They would often be paraded when visitors came over and would be asked to show off the best possible twangs to guests who would exclaim in all kinds of excitement.

Every parent in the neighbourhood wanted to have kids like that; I also wanted to be that kid. It didn't matter that I was a straight A learner at school - I didn't have the accent and thus wasn't quite like them. According to everyone in the township the British Queen's language was a symbol of status.

Soap Operas Lie, Journalists Aren’t Rich & Glamorous, But do an Important Job

Kgothatso Madisa

Ink that runs through one’s veins is a cliché often used when referring to journalists, but some don’t get into the profession because of the love for writing or because of the passion for chasing a story and the adrenaline that comes with being in conflict zones like Somalia, Mali and places like Marikana when it got heated in 2012. You would get those who get in it because they think there are massive salaries that come with seeing their names as newspaper by-lines, with hearing their voices on radio or seeing themselves on television.

University students often don’t do their research before enrolling into journalism programmes. Some think there is a glamour that comes with the job and that is often perpetuated by television dramas and soap operas that glamourise journalism. Some of the prominent programmes that have done this include Generations, Hard Copy, Isidingo and Scandal. There we see journalists that dress in fancy clothes and live in beautiful homes. They would go to high profile events from time to time and are, especially in the case of Generations, their story often ends up in newspapers too as they are socialites. Well none of that is true and the life of most journalists is a broke life. I started working as one recently and my eyes are slowly opening up.

Monday, April 29, 2013

World Economic Forum on Africa 2013

The 23rd World Economic Forum on Africa, under the theme "Delivering on Africa's Promise", in Cape Town, South Africa, will provide an important platform for regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to deepen the continent's integration agenda and renew commitment to a sustainable path of growth and development by addressing themes including accelerating economic diversification, boosting strategic infrastructure and unlocking Africa's Talent.

The Forum takes 8-10 May 2013.

Violent Society Blocks South Africa's Lesbians From Fully Celebrating Freedom

Thanduxolo Buti

I believe that freedom is a right that should be enjoyed by everyone and not only by a select few. As much as South Africa has worked hard in ensuring human rights, but hate crimes and corrective rape seem to overshadow the many achievements and strides made by government. The LGBTI community continues to be robbed of the chance to fully enjoy their right to freedom. As much as there are other reasons to celebrate this month, I can’t help but think of the society that still lives in fear even with nineteen years of freedom.

Last week I met a young handsome lesbian in Thokoza. Mbali has been lesbian all her life and growing up she would only play with boys because for some reason she felt more comfortable around them. Being a lesbian in a township had never been easy for Mbali and faced hate and discrimination daily in her community. As she grew older she became exposed to the ugly side of being a butch lesbian in the township, she would hear of violence and rape towards lesbians. “You know now as much as I am proud of my sexuality, I constantly live in fear. I don’t even trust the boys who are close [to me], my friends anymore because of fear of what they might do to me when no one is around,” she says.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Mother, Common Story of Black Women under Apartheid – Cleaning People’s Homes; Democracy Grants me Freedom of Choice

Sibusiso Banda

I don’t remember much about days before 27 April 1994, when South Africans of all races voted for the first time. I remember that my parents were excited about going to vote, I just didn’t know why. I was four-years-old at the time.

My story is that of post-apartheid challenges as I was being raised by my mother’s wages from the domestic work she did. She was good at it to and always hard working. Despite her circumstances that were never easy, I don’t remember my mother requesting us to be anything more than ourselves. She never fantasised about lawyers, doctors or accountants in the house. She knew that ours would be a story of freedom of choice that black people didn’t have before and I have exercised this choice by going to Tshwane University of Technology to study journalism. 

Journalists Worrying About Their Names in Lights Kill Good Reporting

Boikhutso Ntsoko

Has Journalism become about a writer's name/by-line or piece to cameras? And no longer about serving the original purpose of disseminating information.

I engaged in an article a few weeks ago about the decline, or "death" thereof rather, in traditional (newspapers, radio and television) journalism and the super incline, or hostile takeover, of the new super power, digital (online) journalism.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Push a Wheelbarrow for 5km to Fetch Water as South Africa Celebrates Freedom Day

Zanele Ngwenyama

I am from the rural areas of Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga and as South Africans in the cities I started living in when I left home for my studies celebrate the various freedoms that came with our democracy nearly two decades ago, I feel areas such as the one I come from have very little to celebrate. People from villages in the area get tricked every four to five years during national and municipal elections as representatives of various political parties would promise the poor a better life, a life where they also don’t have to live in fear because there would be better policing. They often believe these promises that are seldom or never met.

As South Africans from the rest of the country celebrate the milestone of 19 years since our parents voted for the first time, my province of Mpumalanga has announced that two municipalities have been placed under administration. This is the same province that has failed to produce favourable Matric results despite all the tweaking and changes that happen which are done so it is much easier for high school pupils to pass. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tomorrow’s Leaders will either be conquerors or be conquered
LIVEOUTLOUD CE, Mike Eilertson.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity of attending Tomorrow’s Leaders Convention where founder of LIVEOUTLOUD, Mike Eilertsen spoke about how tomorrow’s leaders utilised strategies from yesterday to affect today’s results. Eilertsen used an example of Genghis Khan.

He talks more about how to be a successful leader through applying lessons he learned from Khan. But these lessons remain important, especially for a modern world that is changing at a fast pace. There is a few lessons you can apply in your life outside the journalism career.

Friday, April 19, 2013

We Need to Keep Our Morals in Check as South Africans

Cyril Skosana

Living under such conditions can make some people lose their morals.
If confronted, I’d agree with you that it’s a clichéd question that has trended on social networks and is widely been asked by elders and politicians but it’s one that is surprisingly overlooked by the youth in post-apartheid South Africa. Perhaps the reason is that there haven’t been well-grounded responses to it. There have been projects to try and solve this issue and even before he became president, Jacob Zuma, headed a project that was to try and answer a few questions around this issue. Those questions were never answered and instead people stayed questioning those in power.

This piece is based on three of the many fundamental basis of life; morals, respect and principles. “Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners” once wrote Laurence Sterne, Irish-born English Novelist and an Anglican clergyman. Laurence briefly summarised this piece, noting the importance of respect, morals and principles, and also illustrates how these three key factors interplay in guaranteeing a peaceful life.
A severe lack of the above mentioned key factors in South African communities have surfaced in an unpleasant manner and gives an atrocious picture of this country. Violence against women and children, rape, crime and general violence presented respect and morals deficiency among the citizen. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Are journalism schools still relevant?

At the beginning of this month, a journalist said that J-school's are becoming irrelevant.
" The overriding circumstance which the J-school seems to regard as not its concern is that the news business, which it counts on to employ its graduates — newspapers, magazines, television news, even online news — is shrinking at historic rates. "
The writer further said: The J-school should be disgorging class after class of information entrepreneurs — except for the fact that there is practically nobody at the school who is an entrepreneur. Check the story here
Do you think journalism schools are still relevant? .

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Unemployment Means One Has a Lot of Time, What’s Yours Spent On?

Cyril Skosana

Three years ago, you were a different person, enthusiastic about your new venture. Call it a commencement of hope, not only for you, but also for those who look up to you, especially your siblings. You are their hope after all. 

It was a start of a new life with promises of a brighter tomorrow. However, a year if not few months ago, your dreams met with “the reality” of this world and you felt let down by your hopes, ambitions and passion. Really, this is when you began questioning your decisions. “Why did I choose this course?” You are not alone, and there’s still more who will feel like kicking themselves after a brief moment of self-introspection. My friends do not squirm in despair. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hillbrow, My New Home: Drugs, Prostitutes & Excitement

Kgothatso Madisa

Hillbrow is a notorious Johannesburg suburb that many in South Africa have heard about. Sometimes we dismiss the stories we hear as untrue because people tend to exaggerate the smallest happenings. Some would say Hillbrow is not different from any other place as crime is found on every corner of South Africa. I have been living in Hillbrow for a few months now and have definitely seen things, things that are shocking for my young, innocent Mpumalanga eyes.

On arrival in this part of Johannesburg a cousin took me on a tour of the once plush suburb. It was still day time and the place was packed with hawkers, beggars and joy seekers. It looked as a thriving part of Johannesburg where Africa meets as there were immigrants from Nigeria, Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa – I just couldn’t tell where the rest were from. They all contribute a segment of their part of the continent to Hillbrow. The many accents one hears here are also an exciting part of this cosmopolitan society.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Stay in a South African Town Where I've Been Asked What an Internet Cafe is

Khuliso Nemarimela

Recently I started working as an intern in small town of Kuruman in the Northern Cape. I am from Venda. Growing up I would eat all the fruit that people know that part of Limpopo for. On completion of my schooling I then moved to Pretoria, where I am currently in the final year of my National Diploma in Journalism at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). I never thought my journalism studies would bring me to this part of the world, where I have experienced the biggest under-development area I have ever imagined in South Africa.

Growing up in rural Venda one would expect that we don’t have modern day technologies, but we do. One can still be connected to the internet, there is a university in the area and big cities such as Polokwane and Pretoria are not too far to reach if there is something we cannot find nearby. We even have a football team in the Premier Soccer League. The Northern Cape, where I am working, has no university, Kuruman seems to be a deserted town and in my new home, the village of Maruping, I asked around for an internet café once and one young lady responded by asking me what an internet café is. I realised then that if I didn't have my mobile phone, I would be disconnected from the rest of the world. I also wasn't sure whether there was a lack of education in the area about such things or whether the young lady in question was just ignorant.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

African photographers for human rights

The People's Choice Award for human rights photography recognizes African photojournalists who inspire and change perceptions of life in Africa through the power of photographic storytelling.

Whether published in print or online, photography is a powerful medium and Africa has always been a magnet for the world's leading photographers. But it is African photographers who document life across the continent day in, day out - whether it is breaking news, business, development issues, human rights abuses, conflicts or simply portraying the lives of ordinary people.

For more information about this award, click on this link here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What they don’t teach you in journalism school

While in the process of completing your studies, you reach a stage where you need to start applying for apprenticeship, in-service or internship programmes that would help you get your foot into the door of the industry.

Depending on how good your curriculum vitae or resume looks or how easily you’re able to talk your way in interviews, finding a job after university can be daunting if not a walk in the park. For some it could take a month, while for others it could take months if not years just to get that work experience.