Friday, 30 November 2007

Yusus this is scary

SA flops in international reading skill test
Sue Blaine

E-Mail article Print-Friendly

Education Correspondent

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.

White people suck (well some of them)

Aubrey Matshiqi's column in today's paper is (almost) unbelievable. Wish it was genuinely unbelievable... No wonder you avoid safas downunder grek.

happy friaday!

Pitiful comedy from my white baas
Aubrey Matshiqi

E-Mail article Print-Friendly

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

Naija Boy! Go whitey.

Thanks be to Kelly for posting this on Facepoop. And apologies to Kerry for trivialising such a rad post on real art stuff in Afrika with this nonsense.

Afrika Be Burning

So I was only there for just over 24 hours but it felt like a week. Talk about madness in the desert: sculptures, gifts, paddling pools, The Pedal Power Smoothie brigade, full moon, heat, cold, sudden little tornado's, dancing in The Saloon, and setting it all on fire - It was amazing!
A couple of pics:

The Smoothie Brigade

The Desert

Gift of Music for a Gift Smoothie

The Machine at work!



Giant Hamster wheels - A little tricky at first, but then lots of fun

Table Tennis!

The Gang:






Unfortunately the pics from "The Burn" at night are on Chloe's camera. So you will have to wait for those ;)
Check it out, my dad's famous....

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Turn the volume up...

... get your insulin ready and listen to this...

Thursday, 22 November 2007

My friend and colleague Romy is zooper famous

Yes that is German Chancellor Angela Merkel in front, and Romy in the background staring lovingly at the camera. The dress cost R3000 apparently, purchased by Sven on her right. But Romes assures me she didn't put out to get it. :P

Monday, 19 November 2007


Thanks KEN - for reminding us where are roots are. yes. The roots of the old chestnut tree.... Hail Westerfordians indeed.

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...):

Adrian Meader
Alex Runciman
Alice Scudamore
Andrew Callanan
Anton Malan
Catherine Young
Chris Pryor
Claire Spottiswood
Craig Bezuidenhout
Craig Rynhoud
David Sharpe
Elinor Spiers
Evan Castle
Fakhrie Hisham
Jayne Hoare
Jo Daly
john Gamble
Julie Kenney
Kathryn Sieborger
Kelly Williams
Kerry AnnPalmer
Kristin Reynolds
Lesibia Montsitsi
Lethu Ncayiyana
Lundi Coetzee
Matthew Lilley
Megan Whitehead
Michael Manitshana
Natalie hurd
Nicole Erasmus
Richard Shephard
Robyn Saddler
Scott Mckenzie
Sherifa Bux
Tony Marks
Yunus Higgs

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.

lake of stars

hail westerford

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


Check this out:

Went to see them last night. So awesome. 30 of them on stage. An yes, they do actually wear those outfits.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

For your happiness - hope you can see it.

Go to if you can't see it. Metallica SUCK!

Sunday, 11 November 2007


Fishing ROCKS!

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

Love the smell of Jozi in the morning

This delayed me lank getting into work yesterday morning. It also prevented me buying coffee on campus, cos they locked everything down while the cops, most carrying R5 rifles, ran around campus looking for these fucks. We had to stay

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

Gregs Eating Tips #1

When the sky looks like this (grey):
You have to have some of this:

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Lewis Carroll syllogisms are cool

A mad distraction for your slow Wednesday:

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

See I know nothing about Sefriken politics. Well a little maybe.

Check this story from Business Day. Thabo has lots of nominations to be ANC president for a third term. Zuma has less. Sexwale has the least.

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