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.