Sunday, 23 December 2007
1)South Carolina's education might not be that much better than SA's,
2)Mbeki should've taken a lesson from Obama on how to do party-political infighting properly,
3)It's funny to see people get electrocuted,
4)The Philipines may have the solution to the lack of reform in South African jails, and
5)Kanye sucks, Daft Punk should never have anything to do with him again and they should rather opt to deal with anime characters and a pair of hands.
Saturday, 22 December 2007
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Deputy Prez: Kgalema Motlanthe (Mr Moderate; will be our next state prez if Zuma goes to jail)
National Chair: Baleke Mbethe (Speaker of Parliament, apparently only nominated because they were concerned about gender representation. Tokyo turned down his nomination for this position)
Secretary General: Gwede Mantashe (Former NUM leader; avowed Marxist; the 'new Netshitenze')
Dep Sec Gen: Thandi Modise (daughter of Joe Modise, former defence minister who presided over the arms deal)
National Treasurer: Mathews Phosa (former Mpumulanga Premier)
Of course now we wait and see what happens with the corruption charges. If he does go to jail all eyes on Motlanthe, whom we seem to know rather little about. Other than that he is yet another former union man and economic lefty, who likes Cuba.
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
Anyway there are plenty of fascinating side-shows going on. In last week's mail and guardian, ferial haffejee interviewed mo shaik on the future of south african politics. mo is shabir's brother, long-time shady-ass mofo, and of course senior bureaucrat (mainly in the department of defense. arms deeeaaaal).
Mo was remarkably arrogant, describing in great detail what a zuma presidency is going to look like, where the major challenges lie, and most remarkable, how some of the more senior figures in the mbeki government will "serve" in the new one. Remember, Mo is nowhere near being a senior ANC member. He has never been on the NEC. He is just an enigmatic power-broker who became famous when his brother got drilled in court.
Trevor Manuel, one of the people whose future Mo plots, took exception, and wrote this open letter, which appeared two days later... Makes for a fascinating read, and it quite reassuring in many ways:
Open letter to Mo Shaik
Trevor Manuel, Sunday Times and Sunday Independent, 9 December 2007
I observe from the comments you made in an interview with Ferial Haffejee (Mail & Guardian editor) that you said of me, "I see a great role for him. It would be great to have Manuel stay on as finance minister, but the challenge is this: When you have been part of the macro-economic stabilisation programme, do you have the right mind-set for a period of heightened implementation? Would he have the flexibility of mind?"
I suppose it is incumbent upon me now to say: "Thank you for the mention, bwana." But, of course, I will not.
Mo, like you, I have the ANC in my entire being. The privilege of serving this movement in any capacity has always been a part of that commitment. Being elected to serve as part of the collective of its National Executive Committee since 1991 has been a tremendous opportunity for learning and for my political development. And, the joy of being called by its two successive presidents in state, Mandela and Mbeki, to serve as South Africa's Finance Minister is unsurpassed.
The emphasis, Mo, is on service. Service to my country and people becomes an act of love - it is clearly not a job, nor could it ever be an undertaking for notional power or the salary. And yes, the assignment as Finance Minister is one that I draw great pleasure from. But be assured that the opportunity I speak of is not something I will grovel for, nor do I ever wish to be beholden.
So, I observe that I might not have the qualities of flexibility that you are looking for - I am sorry that I fail you so. I also see that you see a great role for me - that is wonderful. But who asked you? You would know that your comments are exceedingly arrogant and gratuitous - but how do you claim this right?
I was so struck by the force of your attitude, I thought that I had missed a trick. I then checked the published list of nominees to the NEC - your name should have been in position 139, between Shabangu and Shiceka - but it was not there. So what is the source of your raw power?
Your conduct is certainly not something in the tradition of the African National Congress. It is obvious that you have no intention of becoming part of any elected collective within the organisation, yet you arrogate to yourself the role of determinant. Despite your glib references finding "synchronicity between the government and those in Luthuli House", you, quite frankly, act to undermine both the government and Luthuli House.
My plea to you is simple - it has taken 96 years of the most unimaginable toil and sacrifice to build the ANC into this formidable movement, it could be destroyed in five days at Polokwane - don't do it!
The ethos of the ANC over all its life has been Umfutho Kubantu, a movement of the people at its service. You have no right to turn this organisation into something that serves your ego. The task of building a deep and durable democracy that impacts on the lives of all South Africans is incomplete. Do not destroy the only vehicle capable of delivering that democracy.
PS. The same message goes to the other self-appointed recent spokespersons for the National Democratic Revolution such as Patrick Craven, Fikile Mbalula and Jeremy Gordin.
Friday, 7 December 2007
It's now the last day of my first week of employment. I say that in the sense that articles was not employment but actualy senseless torture (the CIA destroyed those tapes too)... but i digress.
I am now an equity analyst. Apparantly that means that soon I'll be a very clever person who tells people what share prices should be, but for now I'm not asigned any companies, so it means i spend my day looking at news on the internet and debating whether Tito will add another 50bps in February. Actually I don't know if that's what I'm supposed to be doing but everyone's being very kind to me because I'm new and they're all too distracted with holiday plans so I thought I'd take advantage of the situation while I can.
Here are two articles that I came across in my extensive and somewhat side-tracked research that are pointless but worth sharing.
Time rips off the Grammys
The Economist takes on American Cars
Hope you enjoy
And another late entry..
Lolly jackson predicts doom for SA as strippers plan to leave our shores. A plot worth of a Van Damme film...
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Sunday, 2 December 2007
Saturday, 1 December 2007
Part 1 :
Friday, 30 November 2007
ALMOST 80% of primary school pupils did not reach the lowest benchmark in an international test comparing the reading skills of children.
And between 86% and 96% of children who speak African languages did not reach this mark, a Pretoria University academic said yesterday.
SA scored the worst out of 40 countries that took part in the international reading literacy study, in which an average of only 6% of all children tested did not meet this benchmark, Sarah Howie, director of the university’s Evaluation and Assessment Centre, said.
The centre conducted the tests in SA in 2005 for the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, which is best known for a similar study, called the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, in which SA pupils also came last out of the 46 countries that took part in 2003.
In SA, about 30000 grade 4 and 5 pupils from 400 schools were tested in all 11 official languages. Internationally, 215000 children at grade 4 level were surveyed across the 40 participating countries, with the Russian Federation, Hong Kong, Canada (Alberta and British Columbia), Singapore, Luxembourg and Italy getting the highest scores.
The study is the first and most significant baseline study of reading literacy in primary schools in SA, across all 11 languages, and that also includes international comparative data and international benchmarks .
Howie said education department deputy director-general of further education and training Palesa Tyobeka, due to speak at the launch of SA’s results — the international results were released in Boston on Wednesday — sent apologies and said the department was studying the report and would issue a statement later.
The pupils in SA were tested in October 2005, just months after Tyobeka wrote an open letter to primary school principals admitting many South African children could not read “at all” and instructing principals to get teachers to teach reading. Since then the department had implemented a number of initiatives aimed at improving reading prowess, and a new study should be conducted to assess whether these had had any effect, Howie said.
SA needed a thorough strategy, involving parents and teachers, in which more was expected from schoolchildren and in which textbooks were delivered to every child, Howie said. “In fact, what we need is proper implementation of the curriculum in its current form.”
SA’s grade 4s scored 253 points, while grade 5s scored 302 — children from the top scorer the Russian Federation scored 565 points and the international average score was 500. “We perhaps were expecting to be below the international average, but not 250 points below it,” Howie said.
In an analysis of all 11 languages, those who wrote the test in Afrikaans, regardless of their home language, scored the highest points at 427, with English coming second.
English-speaking pupils who wrote the assessment in English were, however, the best-performing group overall, with grade 4s scoring 458 points and grade 5s 513. Second came Afrikaans-speaking children, who scored 364 in grade 4 and 430 in grade 5.
While the international test looked at pupils who had had four years of formal schooling — SA’s grade 4 level — SA was one of a small group of countries that tested children in grades 4 and 5, Howie said.
This was because of concern grade 4 was a “transition phase” in schooling, and out of a desire to check progress in knowledge between the two grades, she said.
Pitiful comedy from my white baas
I REALLY, really wanted to, and had planned to, write about how the floors of the houses of African National Congress (ANC) deputy president Jacob Zuma must be sparkling with the sheen of victory after his supporters wiped them with T-shirts bearing the face President Thabo Mbeki.
Then — skande of all skande — the ANC Women’s League somehow forgot that all women are programmed to think in the same way and voted for a man — Zuma — after they had been warned not to vote for “criminals” and “rapists”.
As you can see, my column this week would have been quite interesting indeed had a letter from the land of the kanga, no, kangaroo, great cricket and bigots from this part of the world not landed on my messy table.
The letter in question, which was addressed to “Kaffir Matshiqi”, helped me to realise that dedicated readers of this column needed some comic relief and a holiday from the ANC’s succession battle. So, I decided to share this epitome of erudition with you.
The author (no name was given), who refers to himself as “Your White Baas”, must have been quite miffed when he wrote, “I wasted two minutes of my life reading your piece in the Business Day on Monday, August 6 2007. At first I was tempted to dismiss it for the kaffir arrogance it palpably is but after a while I was driven to respond.” And what a response it was!
What provoked my “white baas” was the column, Seventeen years later, De Klerk stands at another crossroads, of August 3, in which I asked: “As was the case on February 2 1990, De Klerk finds himself at a crossroads. Is he going to seize the moment and rise to the challenge of true and meaningful reconciliation as he did 17 years ago? Will he give meaning to Mandela’s declaration that he is “a man of integrity” or will he choose the path of PW Botha by refusing to embrace fully the implications of his 1990 speech?”
As you can see, I was my usual polite self, but my kaffir civility did not have the desired effect on my white baas.
His contention is this: “While it is true that the apartheid whites did murder blacks in order to further their (whites’) goals, I would like to know the absolute numbers involved. I’m certain the above-mentioned murders will pale into insignificance when compared to the number of whites killed by kaffirs since 1994.”
Even apartheid architect Hendrik Verwoerd must be turning in his racist grave.
Oh, but there is more my friends. The white baas cannot understand why the excesses of Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe in Matebeleland did not receive the international media attention they deserved.
Well I lie, the man has a very convincing explanation. He says that “the media hasn’t grasped the fact that a kaffir is by nature a lazy, lying, stinking, thieving primate that has only three thoughts in his brain: 1. Can I eat it? If not, 2. Can I f** k it? If not, 3. Can I break it?”
No one must tell me that black people are not a multiskilled lot in the face of such overwhelming evidence.
And now, here comes the coup de grace all the way from Australia. My white baas concludes by predicting that “Africa will be ready for recolonisation in 25 years time!”
If your stomach is not sore with laughter, you are going to need to get more airtime for your sense of humour.
And if you think I made up this letter, I swear by the souls of all dead kaffirs that the views expressed in it are indeed a figment of the imagination, but not mine.
If this outpouring of racist nonsense makes you angry, keep your hat on, because I needed some comic relief after what has been two years of really bad comedy in the succession battle of the ruling party.
Furthermore, I am certain that there are white people in this country who think in the same way as my white baas.
What should comfort us is the fact that the success of our nation-building project is not dependent on the participation of all white people. There are enough white people with whom we shall undoubtedly give effect to the dream of a rainbow nation.
As for my white baas, anyone who is this intellectually challenged deserves our pity, not our condemnation.
n Matshiqi is a senior associate political analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies.
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
A couple of pics:
The Smoothie Brigade
Gift of Music for a Gift Smoothie
The Machine at work!
Giant Hamster wheels - A little tricky at first, but then lots of fun
Unfortunately the pics from "The Burn" at night are on Chloe's camera. So you will have to wait for those ;)
Saturday, 24 November 2007
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Monday, 19 November 2007
Please help me. The roots are starting to stangle me. And god forbid we acidentally forget to invite someone. Someone, anyone who actually wants to put money in our bank account. Two people have already tracked me down asking why they haven't received a treemail...
so I ask, i beg and I stand proudly aside DR Gibbon on stage and ask you to do a devotion (or anything that else that creates a shudder) please extend roots, leaves, branches and any other parts of your tree. and help us SEEK and SAVE the lost ones.
Please don't let me suffer in silence.(or let the tree die) I know that I have dug my own grave, but this is when friends really pull together. Isn't it? Isn't this, our friendships that have blossomed over all these years, the product of just that. SCHOOL. mmmm. Think I need to go water my plants. and do some weeding. Jou ma se tree
They were and they arethe lost ones(in no particular order...):
Nil nisi optimum? I have forgotten what it means.. Higher and Higher/ or was that maybe Greenfield Girls? something about a Lark flying high in the sky.. more green and more nature. mmm.
Hail to you all. Thanks Ken.
y'all are a really, really popular bunch. so here be an early punt for lake of stars next year. this year was awesomebutawesome but could've done with more of a westerfordian presence.
10/10/08 - 12/10/08
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Sunday, 11 November 2007
This morning, me mate Dan (from Soufefrika) took me fishing in his little tinnie in Sydney Harbour. We caught lots of little snapper, and some fugly fish, but nothing of legal size, but that wasn't the point. The point is that even if your hand stinks like rotten squid for days after, FISHING ROCKS, and might actually be more fun than reading, studying, or exercising.
Dan in aforementioned tinnie:
Sydney harbour bridge:
Me and one of my catches:
Thursday, 8 November 2007
Police nab Parktown suspects
Three men were arrested in Johannesburg on Wednesday in connection with an attempted armed robbery.
"The suspects were arrested in Braamfontein and they fit the description of the suspects that were spotted at Pick 'n Pay in Jorissen street while fleeing from the police," said Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini.
Early in the morning, the provincial crime intelligence unit reacted to a tip-off about a planned robbery at a printing business in Parktown.
"On arrival members noticed a green Nissan bakkie fitting the description of the one that was to be used by the suspects. When they approached the vehicle, it drove away," Dlamini said.
The three men fired shots at the police and drove off. The vehicle was later found abandoned in Jan Smuts Avenue.
Three weapons were found - two revolvers in a vegetable crate inside Pick 'n Pay, and an R5 rifle in a dustbin in a parking lot.
Dlamini said the bakkie was hijacked in Linden.
The three will appear in court on Friday facing charges of attempted murder, and possession of stolen property and illegal firearms. - Sapa
Saturday, 3 November 2007
Thursday, 1 November 2007
1. Babies are illogical
2. Nobody is despised who can manage a crocodile.
3. Illogical people are despised.
Therefore babies cannot manage crocodiles.
This is a for real thing that Mr Carroll wrote. He was a wise man, no doubt. And probably also a paedophile. Almost certainly, in fact, if below is any indication :D
So maybe the TM-JZ race is tighter than we thought, and it isn't "JZ's to lose". But I don't know if nominations accurately represent overall support, or indeed how the branch representation works at the electoral conference (not all 650,000 members trek to Limpopo to vote you see). Do provinces vote in blocs? Or do individual branches vote however they like? Hmmm - maybe Andy Faull can help!
AS PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki told media in Namibia yesterday that the African National Congress (ANC) would reject leaders who sought political positions by campaigning publicly, businessman Tokyo Sexwale was taking an early lead among candidates seen as providing a “third way” in the ruling party’s presidential race.
Mbeki, who was on a state visit to Namibia, told the SABC yesterday it was against ANC tradition to campaign openly. He said that leaders who were doing so would be rejected by the party at the elective national conference next month.
He also repeated his willingness to stand for re-election as leader of the ANC if the party asked him . “If, in the nominations process, the membership of the ANC says we want Thabo Mbeki to continue to be president of the ANC, you can’t say no,” he said.
“Indeed, if the membership of the ANC feels that I should be the president of the ANC, I’m saying it’s within the culture and traditions of the ANC, and I understand them very well.”
Business Day independently verified that Sexwale ha d secured more than a dozen presidential nominations from branches in the party’s Waterbe rg region in Limpopo. Sexwale was on a whirlwind presidential campaign trail in the run-up to the ANC’s conference next month.
A Sexwale lobbyist in Limpopo said yesterday he had managed to gain support in the region by “weakening” an already “disillusioned” Mbeki support base.
“The simple fact is that TM (Thabo Mbeki) has not done enough as ANC president — the party is on its knees, as the country’s president — our people are still living in poverty. They have bought into the Sexwale dream.
“He told us to hold our leaders to account,” the source said.
But the race continues to be dominated by Mbeki and the party’s deputy president, Jacob Zuma.
Steven Friedman, a political analyst at the Institute for Democracy in SA (Idasa), said although Sexwale “needed” an entire ANC province to support him before “being considered” for a presidential nomination, the more nominations he got “the more seriously” he would be taken.
In Eastern Cape, the ANC’s strongest province, 345 of 468 branches had finalised their nominations for the party’s presidential race. A senior ANC leader in the province told Business Day that of the branches that had voted, 80% favoured an Mbeki third term.
“Seventy-three percent of the branches have completed their branch general meetings.
“Mbeki has about 270 nominations for president and Zuma about 80 nominations for president. That is how it stands. We have the big picture but not the full picture,” the source said.
Although Zuma only had about 20% support in the province, he had made inroads into what had traditionally been an Mbeki stronghold. Of the ANC’s 2700 branches, 468 were in Eastern Cape.
Friedman said Mbeki’s support among Eastern Cape ANC structures gave the “first indication” of how the province’s 906 delegates would vote in the party’s poll.
“This indicates that Mbeki’s support in the province is stronger than we have been led to believe up until now,” Friedman said.
He said this posed the question whether Zuma’s Eastern Cape support was real or had “all been hype” .
However, branch nominations are more public declarations than the secret ballot that would be used should the ANC’s presidential seat be contested.
In such an election, Eastern Cape would have 906 votes, KwaZulu-Natal 608, Limpopo 400, Gauteng 354, Free State 363, Mpumalanga 325, North West 280, Northern Cape 220 and Western Cape 219. With Reuters
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Veels geluk met jou verjaarsdag! Die spingbokkies sal lekker vir jou speel, die son skyn in Ostralia en dit is al die taal vat ek kan praat! Maar die koek is 'n bruin en blue een, jou ginstelig kleure.... Ek weet nie hoe dit smaak, ma Tannie Ina het dit gebak - natuurlik!
Sunday, 28 October 2007
My first post in a long time.
Sorry guys, FB (or rather facebook) has taken over for a short while. But I'm back!
And with that, I'd like to find out if anyone else has seen the movie Blackbook? I did tonight with Helen. And I have mixed feelings. Mixed because I feel there was an agenda for having this movie out.
And that's all I'm saying for now.
Onto other things.. Franny, looks like you're having an excellent time! nice one sister!
I've got one more week to go and i'm back in Melbourne. It's been a bumpy, rollercoaster, fabulous, mad, confusing, joyous and unsettling time being back in the land of the cape.
A beautiful city with so much going on. And then at the same time, the same stuff that's been going on for years. Same same but different.
I look forward to coming back here one day and having my kiddies. But don't you all get worried, that's a long time in the future...!
I'm signing out now.
cheerio, tot siens, sala kakuhle
Friday, 26 October 2007
Thursday, 25 October 2007
Please may I have some more bread?
No Mr Swan, you go away and ask Kate for some bread.
Hmmm, bread! I am so starving I might even eat a pigeon!
Help! They are so hungry that I have to hide behind a bench!
And the moral of the story is that "A full swan is a happy swan."
God forbid I get evicted by the meglomaniac who is running the blog! Sorry I have been super busy - student life is hard, but have been finding time to explore the city with Paula.
Kate, Paula and I went for a walk up Aurthur's Seat last Saturday, fed the very hungry and friendly swans and came to the conclusion that we were all very unfit.