Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I am an African

When the former President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki, delivered the ‘I am an African’ speech in 1996, I was barely in my teens and did not know that over 10 years later, I would be so interested in the affairs of this continent. I also did not know that there would come a time when I would define myself as an African rather than being affiliated to a particular country in the continent. Very often I have been asked by numerous numbers of people where I come from and I always say to them that I am an African after which they look at me dumbfounded. It was not until I decided to understand and confront my identity demons that I realized I was a child of many formations and could not necessarily be affiliated with one country. I am deeply passionate about the African continent, I find myself asking a lot of why questions about Africa’s past, and have so much optimism about the continent’s potential.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Poverty continues to let the African child down

‘I taught in a rural school somewhere in rural Eastern Cape, South Africa, and had a group of learners that were very fond of me and who shared stories about their lives with me. One day, one of my girl learners, who lived with her grandmother and brother told me how they used to actually eat air for supper.’ ‘My grandmother provides each of us with a plate and she tells us to act as though we are eating actual food and we scoop and swallow air with our hands, afterwards, we each have a glass of water and then go to bed. And teacher, we always get full,’ the learner said. This is how an educationist friend of mine told a story, last week, of her experience with poverty while she was teaching many years ago. She went on to explain how she later visited the grandmother of this learner and what she found: ‘I bought some groceries for them and when i got there, i found out that they lived in a very small hut (one-roomed) and that they had nothing except a blanket, reed placed on small rocks as mattresses, tins they used as pots and plates, and a kerosene tin lamp the girl and her brother used as light for studying.’
Is this good for the health of this child?
Courtesy of http://ministry2kenya.blogspot.com/2011/04/kenyans-pay-25-more-since-3-months-ago.html- 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Learning from Juju’s stint at the ANCYL

Courtesy of http://www.housemusicdaily.com 

My first encounter (through TV and the print media) with Julius Malema was when he was elected as the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President in April 2008. I was at the time working towards finalising my career as a postgraduate student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and my love for politics and current affairs was steadily growing. As I watched the ANCYL elective conference, and subsequent election of ‘Juju’, marred by delegate misconduct, I wondered whether South Africa was getting into an era of populism and ‘loose cannon’ kind of leadership by the ANCYL. It turns out that that is exactly what characterised his leadership. And it did not come as a surprise to me that last week, the mother body, ANC suspended him for 5 years and asked him to vacate his seat as President of the ANCYL with immediate effect, spurred (I think) by his utterance to organise opposition political parties to oust the ‘puppet’ government of Botswana (a diplomatic blunder that had implications on the bilateral relationship between South Africa and Botswana). He had been rubbing the wrong feathers for a long time and in fact, had it not been for the ongoing party divisions within the ANC, I believe that this decision would have been effected a long time ago, e.g. when he publicly proclaimed that he would kill for Zuma or when the ANC leadership started seeing that his racial connotations were clearly dividing the country or when he called that BBC journalist ‘a bloody agent.’  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Parys: Paris in South Africa

Sunset from the banks of the Vaal River

This past weekend, a friend and I had the wonderful opportunity to visit and stay in Parys. I must say, before we started planning for this trip, I had never really heard of Parys and so it was surprising that my friend chose this as a potential destination. Me, wanting to be spontaneous and all, decided that I would not question the choice and would go with the flow but I must be honest, I googled the place and got acquainted with it (just to get me to look forward to the trip). What I read on Google and reviews from tourism sites really got me excited to visit this supposed ‘quaint town’ and I must say the reviews do not even do the town justice. It was an absolutely amazing experience and I can’t wait to go back... very soon, if I may!

Friday, November 4, 2011

From Conversations to Rumblings

The original authors of conversations with ourselves, Zar and Dot
As many readers know, this blog started out as a partnership between Zar and I but over the last couple of months, it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that Zar is not yet ready to be immersed into the world of constant blogging/ technology and through all the supposed 'writer's block' that she claimed very often when it was her turn to write something (with all the love Zar), we have decided that i am to continue blogging but under a different blog name, 'rumblings of liberal African.' Zar is one of my very closest friends and colleagues and i will surely miss her lovely blogs (writer's block notwithstanding).