Finding hope in the land issue fear

Land Expropriation is a thing we have to deal with in this New South Africa. It’s easy to slip into fear and be alarmist, but it’s a thing we have to deal with. It will slip into a race issue and will be about past sins, dignity, restoration, punishment and our generation is going to engage as avatars of our ancestors and forefathers.
 
BUT There is another conversation, based in sanity that should become the focus. Since all the declarations and moves have happened, there is a specific message our president is pushing that we must hear and ensure does not get lost in the chaos to come.
 
Expropriation without compensation will be implemented, but it must be done in a way that increases agricultural production and improves food security.
 
This is a global concern and needs to be the focus of the sane. This is a cause and a fight which should be a defining aim of our nation. We must ensure the future of our country, our people and our planet.
 
Let’s not let this get lost within the righteous indignation and the hate we as South Africa’s are so good at accessing.
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Defending Madiba

I cannot believe that we live in a time where on the day of Elie Wiesel’s death, the day that Night fell upon the light it produced, that today of all days, I am penning a post entitled ‘Defending Madiba’.

TRIGGER WARNING: POLITICAL COMMENTARY; RHETORIC WHICH CAN BE LABELLED WHITESPLAINING WHICH IS SYMPTOMATIC OF THE WHITE FRAGILITY WHICH WILL BE EVIDENCED BY THE AFORE-MENTIONED ‘SPLAINING THAT IS WHITE…

OH! IT’S A LONG ONE!!! 

I actually cannot believe that I am sitting here thinking about how I am going to construct this post…

I cannot believe that we live in a time where on the day of Elie Wiesel’s death, the day that Night fell upon the light it produced, that today of all days, I am penning a post entitled ‘Defending Madiba’. It has been brewing for a while, this need to say something, to offer a perspective, an admittedly white one which wants to now defend a legacy which is slowly being dismantled and dragged through the proverbial mud.

It commenced with a tweet stream shared on Facebook:


1I do not agree with an approach to a topic in which the achievements of a mere human being; an individual who has stepped into the role of leader during a tumultuous time; a man who took on the role to lead, inspire and direct the course of a damaged country as an ideological proponent and ambassador, can be so flippantly undermined and disregarded, while at the same time an admission to the fact that a civil war was avoided by his choices are so matter of factly stated.

Think about it… The man’s Rainbow Nation unification ideal prevented a civil war. Only a civil war. Only murders, deaths, kills. Bloodshed. Stats really.

A man. Madiba. Any of us could have done that right? A man. What makes a man? Who knows for certain what the burden and thoughts about his actions and decisions meant to his self assessment of his work? Is a man only human?

Was the atrocity of the apartheid legacy lost during that time, whitewashed? I don’t have all the answers. I Believe that yes it was. I imagine that the state controlled news sought to hide and downplay the atrocity of it, kinda like the SABC does today? No longer in Mandela’s control, there have been two full presidencies since his one term “reign” which could have un-whitewashed his terrible contribution to the South Africa we live in today… Did Mandela make concessions? Yes, I am sure he did. I am sure that like any other leader, he was just a man, approaching the problems before him in what he believed was the best way to do so – hmmm… How interesting. Just a man. Not God. A mere mortal. Who inspired a people. Who inspired the globe in a way that his own constituents were not even aware of. Who prevented a war…


2Hindsight. That wonderful space where armchair critics get to operate.

I admit it, there hasn’t been enough done to address the issues that exist as part of the inherent legacy of apartheid. But maybe our Doctors should be focussing on healing, plumbers focussed on drains, pilots keeping aeroplanes in the sky. Maybe parents and teachers were selfishly more concerned about ensuring that their own children got the best chance at a future in uncertain times, that therefore they never actually read the “How to be a Rainbow Nation” handbook…

Oh wait, there is no handbook is there, was there? There was too much practical work done around creating an ideology which a single man believed to be the best approach to ensuring a future for this country. A black man in post-apartheid South Africa. A former political prisoner with full capability to create a nation soaked in the blood of vengence. A black former political prisoner in post-apartheid South Africa who wasted his time and breath and life in trying to steer us away from a civil war… Stupid man…

I must say I have heard it said many a time, in amongst calls for genocide, that “white people were given a get out of jail free card.” Ummm, no they/we weren’t, because get out of jail free implies freedom from the jail which imprisoned us, where was the memo issued to our parents that directed them on where to report to for parole evaluation and community service? The onus was on white people to know that they should do this… How and when? Who said so? I honestly believe that when you hear the majority of white people exclaim in perceived ignorance and surprise that there is and was an onus on them, it’s because they really are ignorant and surprised. Point? Maybe the white person who says “but I have black friends”, is someone who happens to have black friends, and who genuinely believes that they are doing enough in appreciating their friends despite of and because of the colour of their skin, while unblocking drains, performing open-heart surgery and flying terrorists to far off lands.

And as for the idea that Germany is the handbook… Rainbow they are not! They have had seventy one years to rebuild their economy, the rebuild included breaking down a divisive wall which cut the country in half. They also had their get out of jail free card when 17 billion marks of debt was written off (in 1953, 17 billion, that’s alot today), and a 30 year extension on the remaining 15 billion marks was given, allowing them the greater latitude to take better control of their financial destiny and opportunity of investment into building a Germany they could be proud of… A Germany that doesn’t believe in writing off debt. And yes, there is something to be said about the fact that in that there was a space to focus on the human decency in school which teaches them that Nazism, concentration camps and genocide are bad – I also remember learning that in school in History, I’m sure that in our super connected modern world many people know this is wrong…

It’s intrinsic common human decency (except on South African social media), and I can tell you this with unqualified certainty, that the majority of white people in South Africa today do not think that apartheid was an awesome idea, or actively call for genocide and the mass murder of black babies.


3Could we/they, white South Africans, learn and do more? Yes for sure, please step away from your scalpel, put your wrench down, and let go of the steering wheel, don’t you focus on the futures of your kids, they need to be secondary to the lessons that need to be taught but for which no agreed process or handbook exists. We can’t even agree on the validity of reverse-racism, whitesplaining vs blacksplaining, freedom of speech, censorship, the role of satire, how parliament should work, the role of the public protector, the SABC, state funds or the president himself…

What do we know for certain? That if you have the opportunity in your lifetime to steer your nation away from a civil war, think twice, for that may not be the decision which needs to be made, maybe we should relook at the advantages of a civil war, we can get vengence, put people in concentration camps and maybe throw a little genocide into the mix… We are just people after all. We are merely men (and women). It’s only natural for man to engage in war right? One man cannot be lauded with the attribution of merely avoiding that in the pursuit of a greater ideal, could he?

For surely if he did something so atrocious as to lead a country down the wrong path for 5 years, 17 years and two presidents from the same party controlled government ago, he must be solely to blame? It cannot be the same party who has done nothing to correct the false course that crazy man set us on, could it? No, that would be tantamount to white people not accepting their role in getting us to this point, because white people have all the power you know, they are solely responsible for our current state! Average white people, who don’t understand sociology, psychology, philosophy, political discourse and that atonement is more than just an olden day British movie starring Keira Knightley which sometimes plays when there should be other exciting, informative and educational movies like White Chicks to watch; the average white people should have psychically known that it was and is their role to take a stand during and after apartheid, and that being that they are ignorant (which is the root of all prejudice) they should magically discover what there ignorance induced limitations are, and address them. Silly, white, just people…

Perhaps, just perhaps, the same will be said of all South Africans today in the future. A lack of accountability for our actions. A lack of focus. A lack of the kind of idealism and unity that has built great nations. Like a nation united by a leader of substance and idealism. An approach that would seek to unify us, people of all colours, together, like the colours of the rainbow. Together. Standing up and collectively taking ownership of the cause, instead of expecting those who know no better to know better. That as the minority, we must solely effect the kind of change that would be easier for a majority to achieve. Where’s my “I am David” t-shirt, when i wake up tomorrow it’s my duty to take on Goliath… I’m just a man after all, I can do this right? Can’t I? One man can inspire and steer the masses towards unity against the insurmoutable right? Wouldn’t it be great if there was such a legacy to aspire to?


4Because, 20 years ago I thought I had a great leader, and I thought this because he did manage to steer us away from a civil war, but I am sitting here now going that this terribly flawed human being had misled me and an entire nation. So now I must do something about this because as a white man it all sits on my shoulders. I must atone. And as an individual I do, I really and truly do apologise that I am a benefactor of a systemic anomaly which resides within the system (it’s Matrix-y, but really it’s not flippant because); this anomaly has the minority in a position of power over the majority, because being white of skin affords me the financial and social advantages which the majority have been, and are, unable to attain unless I and all like me “atone” – and what does that look like…

Well I should know, I’m white. I cannot ask a person of colour for guidance, I have in fact been told categorically by “learned” peoples of colour (learned because obviously they’ve been through all of this before and they have a handbook I don’t have access to apparently); that it is not the role of black people to hear us, answer our questions, work with us, they’ve given us more than enough. This is a white issue, we must figure it out for ourselves… Hmmm…

Now here is the irony. Our country is in turmoil, and the majority is in power, any action of meaning the minority takes would imply that because we are on our own in this space, we would need to make a movement, a movement meaningful enough to effect change implies a force of power, and we would need to get it right to a standard which would be set on-the-fly by a majority that does not want to engage with us on what said movement should  look like. This force to effect change, uninformed by the input of the majority which is essential to it’s success, could, if it were to not be deemed satisfactory by the majority, result in a civil war (I mean remember what happened the last time the minority white leadership “made a mistake”). Seriously, must this minority shoulder the responsibility and weight and risk (in the face of race-based/historic-based consistent prejudice), to attempt to achieve the insurmountable, so that if it fails they take the full responsibility thereof?

I absolutely do not seek to diminish the atrocities of Apartheid. I hate apartheid. I hate being a beneficiary of apartheid. I apologize for apartheid on behalf of all of mine who can’t. I live everyday knowing that this country I live in is the way it is because of apartheid, and I try in my way to actively address it…


However…

5This country is also in the state that it is in because of a systemic Bush-esque, manipulative and subliminal fear campaign which threatens the security of every man, woman and child which lives on its soil, whose ancestors are buried in its earth. If racism and systemic racism is all about power, and we want to change the society we live in, we should seek to unify, like a nation of all colours, like a rainbow.

If we go the other route, and take a minority and force them to be supplicant to the majority, we thereby endorse the establishment of a system of power based on the idea that because of a persons skin colour they are inherently an inferior class citizen of a nation divided upon racial lines. That because I am white, I must hang my head in shame, and me and my progeny must forever exist to atone for the fact that I was born in a country which was setup amorally by people who kinda looked like me (sans big nose and olive complexion) in a land that was built upon an ideology that was set to divide, and that therefore could not embrace an ideology that sought to unite…


6I know this:

All my life I’ve heard stories about children and people of colour hating on their own skin, chasing an ideal of what is beautiful and what is desirable at the cost of their own personal identity. It is atrocious that we live in a society where people hate on themselves for being who they were born to be – I never want to be one of those people, I never want to view my identity as an affliction, or to view my skin colour as an undesirable aspect of myself – I am a white man.

When I think of Nelson Mandela, I do tend to lean toward the symbolic arena, with a history like ours we deserve a legacy of esteem and pride, something and someone which speaks to the ideals we hope to live by. But I also think of a human being, an imperfect member of this human race. I hear people say “These whites and their Madiba”, what about it? What is so offensive. Do you know what about the man I hold in esteem? If I must not presume to know what goes on in the head of a person of colour, is it not a fair expectation to accept the same level of human regard and consideration. Defensive much? Sorry…

I can’t understand the need to not hold our heroes up high, to allow populist rhetoric to undermine a legacy worthy of its place in history. If he was but a pebble thrown into a lake, the power and force of that ripple has tsunami’d around the world. And it is a quintessentially South African Tsunami.

8For me, Nelson Mandela offered himself as a beacon of light, he became a major icon of a time, the face and voice of a cause that needed a face and a voice. A face and a voice that effected and inspired activation of international involvement in the fight against apartheid… A lot of that was “white” support, in a “white” world. Knowing that he had become to symbolize something greater than himself, he made decisions, often unpopular in hindsight, which fed a legacy that would be sad to be so grossly unappreciated by his own people. A legacy that demonstrated selflessness, forgiveness, humility, triumph, empathy, understanding, hope, inspiration – this is the icon, the man was a black person in South Africa, one of many who took a stand against evil, standing for what you believe in, being prepared to die for it, that alone speaks to a man who is worthy of admiration, and worthy of forgiveness himself if you are that angry.

7There is so much work which needs to be done in this beautiful land. White people holding other white people accountable is one way to do it, but I fear a different kind of divide, especially in a country where, no matter what, people will vote for the ANC, not because they are the best party, but only because of the liberation legacy. A legacy which has been destroyed over the past decade. But one that now shifts the blame to the man that ushered it into a new era. He was a human being with a huge task.  Just a man…


In closing I take it to the core. It’s motherhood week on the blog tag. Let me tell you about just a woman. I love my mother very much, I don’t agree with every decision this divorced mother of two, working four jobs made for my life. In my twenties I was damn resentful of some of those decisions, some memories of tough love still smart, but I can’t ever understand the full extent of her reasons and thoughts during that decision making process – and believe me I’ve tried, and discussed, and theorised. She was just a woman who had to make some decisions in my best interest.

It’s her 63rd birthday this week, some of those decisions she made most probably have contributed negatively to my life path, some of them toughened me up. I love my mommy. I could be angry at her until the end of her days for her mistakes. Instead, I acknowledge she is human. I trust that her intent was genuinely in my best interest. I know sacrifices were made in the hopes for my life. She has taught me in ways and with lessons that are applied, and improved on in light of her imperfections, in my raising of my kids. She set an imperfectly perfect template which I could only but hope to aspire to and improve upon. She is an amazing testament to overcoming and rising above personal circumstance and tragedy. She is a light…

I know it’s been a long one, and if you made it to this point thank you and I hope that it wasn’t a complete waste of your time. This was a free flow, but I couldn’t in good conscience not respond to the twitter thread of someone who like many of us just wants to do the right thing in this time, in this country.

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

– Elie Wiesel

Now, do we really really want to take a genuine South African beacon of light; our Madiba; Nelson Mandela; Father of a Rainbow Nation, and cast him back into the Night?


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Controversy: My Emptying Cup of Give a F–k!

Trigger Warning: Political and racial commentary

Johannesburg, South Africa, 2016…

Well, one stupid post by a stupid Real Estate Agent threatened to overthrow all that is positive about the South African Dream… The South African Dream, and ideal, the legacy of Nelson Mandela, Nelson mandela himself, have all been effectively trampled on for the last couple of years…

Her name was Penny Sparrow, and she made a comparison of the throngs of black beach goers on New Year’s day, and the chaos left in the wake of said masses, to monkeys… Social media picked up on it, and the start of 2016 went spiralling down the proverbial drain, along with almost any consideration of a shared humanity and national purpose between the races in South Africa. Racism it seems is everything that is wrong with South Africa, and the fact that “whites” thought it was okay to air such rhetoric upon an unsuspecting populace was proof of this (and alot of “whites”didn’t, but they are irrelevant apparently). In the wake of this radio personalities and leading national economists were knocked down on by one, as threats of white genocide became acceptable and defensible… Controversial enough?

Lost in all of this madness were the occurrences of the year before, the allowances that have been excused have now rendered action that is currently underway permissible, and our beautiful capital city Tshwane burns tonight… We have a corrupt leadership, a Parliament that has spiralled out of control under a leadership that can only correct itself by accepting the responsibility! And yes, as Tshwane teaches us, where there is smoke there is fire! If our President is not corrupt then pass the tobasco, I have a hat to eat. Just last year we allowed our students to cause chaos and destruction, it was publicized, it was commended, and to those who witnessed the power of the students who are more privileged than they, it demonstrated that if you are angry, then be chaotic. In it’s wake we had a xenophobic catastrophe that cost people lives… People are angry, the actions of the masses which liberated a country and put people in power, is now working against them, and there will be casualties…

Controversial posts? How about not enough time to fully explore the meaning and intention of our fellow humans? I mean, this is high-level and will be interpreted, misinterpreted and perceptions will be impressed upon it. And…

Shocker! I am white! I am controversial, because not only am I white, but I am white and have an opinion… Are you angry? Provoked? Then surely I must be worthy of a death threat?

Do you know Marina Abramović? Check her out, one of the most shockingly provoking artists of the past century, and watch her documentary please – it’s amazing!!! Anyway, the reason I bring her up is because of a certain performance:

To test the limits of the relationship between performer and audience, Abramović developed one of her most challenging (and best-known) performances. She assigned a passive role to herself, with the public being the force which would act on her. Abramović placed on a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use (a sign informed them) in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were a rose, a feather, honey, a whip, olive oil, scissors, a scalpel, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions. This tested how vulnerable and aggressive the human subject could be when hidden from social consequences.[2] By the end of the performance, her body was stripped, attacked, and devalued into an image that Abramović described as the “Madonna, mother, and whore”.[2] Additionally, markings of aggression were apparent on the artist’s body; there were cuts on her neck made by audience members, and her clothes were cut off of her body.

Initially, members of the audience reacted with caution and modesty, but as time passed (and the artist remained passive) people began to act more aggressively. As Abramović described it later: “What I learned was that … if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you. … I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.”

Relevance? As a member of this society in which I have given but a brief glimpse of my perceptions, I have experienced two instances of “controversial” expressions of opinion biting me in the arse…

First: There was a Real Estate agent who left her dog in a company branded car. People were angry and photos were taken after she swore at members of the public who confronted her. I shared the image on her employers FB page and asked if this was okay? I, among others, tried to contact her to say it’s not okay. I then gave her the benefit of the doubt, contacting her, telling her that i was sure she was a nice lady and loved her animals, having just left them there for a moment to buy them some nibbles from the Woolies. But, by the end I had her friends phoning my house and threatening to harass me if I didn’t talk to them. My Mrs was accused of being the person who took and posted the original photo – and in all of this she never once accepted that what she had done was in any way wrong, and that it was her actions that resulted in the situation at hand… Funny that… A Real Estate Agent… Like Penny Sparrow…

Then: In the wake of all the racial tension and hatred flying so venomously around me, I requested to join a prominent Facebook Page (let’s call it A Converstion Whatsit) which advertises itself as the place to be to engage the issue of racial relations honestly. I was eventually kicked off the group as I was confronted by levels of hate I could not understand, and questioned these rather aggressively after being targeted by a specific member of the group. Ultimately all I can say about this is that white people are entitled to a voice, and offence can be issued from both directions.

The idea that reverse racism doesn’t exist is false, you may not like that, but if racism is all about power, and you exist in a domain where power is race-aligned (in a Facebook group, for example), where the colour of your skin renders you not entitled to an opinion; that if you have an opinion it is invalid because of the colour of your skin (if you are white); that if you have an opinion it will be white washed and labelled as whitesplaining; that to be a part of said group you must accept, without comment for the reasons already raised, any offensive propoganda and leftist ideology that is hurled your way; that any relationship you have with people of colour exists as a master/servant dynamic because you do not accept the “fact”, notions or attacks by people on the group; that malicious targeting and provocation on social media is acceptable by people of colour, and that a response by a white person to provocation is proof of “white fragility”, but that if you as a white person challenge or provoke then you are labelled; etcetera, etcetera and so forth…That because of the above, if you don’t align, because the colour of your skin (and only that) has fed your point of view, that because you are white in skin and opinion, well then you are exited by those in a position of power on the group… but it’s not racist (even though racism is about power, but apparently not within a social medium)…

It was rough, because the intention to engage was pure, and when I was ex-communicated and blocked, I struggled with it for a very long time as I dealt with the months of conditioning and the guilt that was flung around in the space like a bag of doo-doo attached to a ceiling fan. And then months passed, and I witnessed a person who I knew to be a member of this group launch into their self-righteous attack upon another uneducated, less-than-human, white person, on a community WhatsApp group. It was then that I realised something, an epiphany if you will,  that in having unpopular opinion, especially in public, is like being Marina Abramović, you welcome the response of the aligned hordes. The problem with aligned hordes is that not a single one can look in the mirror and intellectually quantify unanimously what aligns them, they are just wrapped up in a zeitgeist of unqualified sentiment, and armed with pieces of other people’s appetizing (to them) thinking…

The point! I don’t try to be controversial or offend, but we are how many people on this planet? There is always someone who is going to be offended, and I am always happy to apologise for offending if there is an ability to have a civilized conversation and explore the offence caused. But when it comes to self-censorship, I made a decision last week that I am ashamed by… I was tasked with a creative challenge regarding creating an image around proving Sea Monkeys in the real world, and I started and then stopped for fear of backlash… The opportunity available in the task? (Sea Mankeys, See Monkeys… I had an idea of Zuma’s head open, and where his brain should be would be a bunch of sea Monkeys driving it, Sea Monkeys… Monkeys of the Sea… Our President… Sea Monkeys, which aren’t even monkeys but are shrimp called Sea monkeys… But there’s the possibility of people reacting to the idea of the combination of Monkey, Sea and Skin colour… Our South African President is the leader of the ANC, and he’s black… Sea Monkeys… DON’T DO IT!!! What will other people think!!!), and I went in another direction, even though my response was actually not playing on the monkey aspect, it was intended to play on the idea that our presidents brain is being driven my microscopic shrimp, who happen to be called sea monkeys…

I am not the SABC (or any other government organ), I will not tell a lie. Inevitably it is I who has to look at myself in the mirror and know that I am a good person, sometimes off-sides, but never intentionally hurtful… And well I am prepared to learn and explore other opinions and thought, I care about what I care about, life is an equal opportunity, we can give life, we can take it away, and so we are equally powerful in our ability to effect and affect each other’s lives (directly or indirectly). Man, my actions up to now have had very little to do with the impending Junk Status, but I will bear the effects of it caused by other peoples actions! No matter what your defining circumstances may be, you have the ability to effect my life. So when it comes to self-censorship (even though these days, for purposes of inner-peace these kinds of post will be few and far between), I must declare that My Cup of Giving a F–k, really and truly is running empty

The trinity


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DS106 Daily Creates #tdc1609, #tdc1610 & #tdc1611: The woe of animals…

CkI4hBSWUAAWMPjOn Saturday I tried to make something out of nothing, quite literally, within 5 minutes (more on that here…)

The ironic thing is that I really (for 5 minutes) struggled, and I layered #TDC1609 with subtext, which I actually bought into for my 5 minutes – there is light I tell you (Look what happens if i optimize the shadows and highlights in the image, there is lots of light at play, this simple work is as abstract as they come!!!)!

And there I go again trying to convince myself…

The point is that I was disappointed with the effort, and yet I wasn’t because the layers of meaning are applied…

Yesterday I didn’t post an update for #TDC1610 (so this will be it, and it will be short) although I did meet my self-imposed Daily Create quota :P…

There was not much thought to this one, but it took a lot of time, and so by the time I finally got it up I just didn’t have the energy to write about it!

TDC1610

 

 

Truth be told, there isn’t much to say about the piece itself, it’s a not so tongue in cheek commentary on the most base of subject matter… Except that what I have realised is that the majority of the enjoyment I am deriving from these excercises is in the doing :)! Sometimes they take a lot of time, sometimes they take alot of thought, sometimes they take little of either and sometimes they take much-er!

Today, as a bit of a reprieve in terms of effort from my Saturday entry, I took a hold of the horns of today’s daily create #TDC1611, and went balls to the walls. I studied film when I was 19, at a not so esteemed college, in South Africa, where my skill that I entered the industry with (for all of a couple of months, because I was more inspired with partying, and because the skill I had was not actually related to anything I was actually passionate about when it came to the industry), was editing (in those days, my very expensive Television and Film production textbook, which cost R700, had a chapter on digital editing which was 11 pages long – the world has changed)… and I digress… the point is that I know on some level those projects I worked on back then were at play, even if just a little, here today, because the video editing bit was the easiest bit for me.

FYI – This is not going to be a “How To”, I am unable to adhere to that kind of writing, this is more of a thinking around my approach, as I come to understand it myself – But let me just say now, before I lose you all completely, that I appreciate beyond words the positivity you have given this video on Twitter – It really is encouraging – I really am enjoying these Daily Creates!

I visited the website with the sound effects and from the beginning I had this idea that I would find 5 animals from as far away from each other as I could (the daily create prompt helped there)… Then it was a matter of extracting the sounds, and that wasn’t so easy, but all of us have managed to do that, so we know it is possible and I will just say that I managed to get them all individually. At this point, while I was getting them in mp3, I had decided that I was today going to make a video, Windows Movie Maker would be the tool of choice, having played with it just a little recently, and so it became very much about what the message of it all was going to be…

As I thought on this, and sourced pictures from Wikipedia of the animals I had selected, I decided that silent movie speech cards were going to be the tool of choice, and that there was going to be a poem, but a poem about what? What do 5 animals have to say, that would unite them, and why unity became a theme I do not know, except I think I kinda do…

Today I read an article in which one of South Africa’s greatest satirists Zapiro, has been listed as No2 on a list of the top 10 cartoonists worldwide – it’s a beautiful thing, he has challenged South Africa in his commentary art which has unforgivingly documented our history for the last approximately 30 years – but it’s also a sad event, because the man has fallen, in many eyes, as he compromised his artistic integrity last week when he apologised for a cartoon in which he portrayed a “Black” Minister as a performing Monkey under the control of our shameless President Jacob Zuma (a man who has abused his powers beyond the imaginable, and whose cabinet is a joke – Wiki?). Zapiro has been necessarily scathing of our President for the last 10 years, and sadly the South African climate has deteriorated under his watch, as he has not fostered the necessary progressive environment for this Rainbow Nation to continue upward. It was the depiction of a black man as a monkey which resulted in a racist backlash on social media, as the commentary of the analogy was lost within the remaining anger of a certain Miss Penny Sparrow who in January caused a national crisis when she spewed forth her racist assertions as she compared black beach goers to monkeys – the stigma essentially overwriting the commentary of the piece. Our ruling party loves the racist card, and they milk it for all it’s worth, so that freedom of speech and artistic license are being eroded, even our public broadcaster has made an announcement last week that they will be (without actually using the word) censoring what they show on the news, so as not to incite further anger, and just this week South Africa managed to avoid being downgraded to Junk Status by global ratings agencies… So yeah I kinda think I know how this piece came about…

And there it is, the reason that the animals are speaking so, in various animal languages, for they too have caught wind of what is happening in South Africa, even the most beautiful moments of our day are challenged by the realities of a society which we hope will recover for the second time from what we perceive to be a decline. This was a nation which has had the world’s attention for years, and we rose upon the dreams of a great President Nelson Mandela, only to find ourselves in an arena we are actually not prepared for. It really is a fearful time in South Africa, but hope remains alive, and ultimately I have to believe that every dog has it’s day…

Humour is a powerful device, find the funny to tell the truth, because truth is universally identifiable, especially when expressed through art…

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DS106: #tdc1593 Coming Soon Sign!

Before Nkandlagate…

This is a truly South African issue, but who knows, if this snowball keeps rolling down this hill, it could become a global concern.

South Africa has its issues – always has… We are tearing down monuments of evil, while erecting legacies which may take aeons and bloodshed to undo. What have we learnt, are we as a human race in general able to learn fast enough? Is the legacy of a time that was unforgivable, for anyone in the position to forgive the unforgivable, is it to late in the human trajectory (for our lifetime at least), for the required level of forgiveness to be implemented as opposed to, and before, the unthinkable result of even greater unforgivable legacies are created? Because ultimately, if greater atrocities are created, only as retribution for the previous atrocities which were committed, we will only keep this cycle of vendetta going, in fact escalating to a point of absolute insurmountability!

Through it all, blood will be spilled and the ongoing definition of humanity (as being owned and defined as an esteemed aspect of our collective psyche) will forever be something less than a desirable attachment to the soul. Life is so not a precious commodity these days, and perpetuating the hate that exists between people and their dividing qualities will forever be exploited and highlighted by those so evil that there narcissistic psychopathy will be enabled to feed unquenchingly upon the spoils of the chaos, unless we make the change. As demonstrated by the actions of the leader of this great (but nearly shattered under his dominion) potential that exists in this country, as satirically exploited by my daily create for the day, this man of whom I speak (whose name is not worthy of mention in this symbolic rant) is only the tip of global issues that exist, where men in power take advantage of the positions which could actually impact enough as to contribute to a positive global psyche (as achieved by the great leader who came decades before he who must not be named here), and who do so at the expense of, never mind in the name of, those who blindly fall under their spell of evil. Learn a book! Read some! Never let it will be!

Nkandla people, Nkandla.

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My South Africa Today 24-Oct-15

I am astounded by the black or white of people’s thinking. I am astounded by the greyness of my own.

I am incredibly inspired, proud and awe struck by what the youth of this country have achieved.

I am equally saddened, disgusted and appalled by some of what I have seen this week.

I am incredibly affected and effected, empathetic and understanding of all views and fears and hopes that I have encountered over this week, from all spectrums – I like it when I do that.

I am equally disgusted by the arrogance and inability of people to empathise, to listen, to receive and to so easily disregard, no wait, demean and dismiss those who may not understand a particular view – sadly I do this too.

I am a father of one (he is white, as am I, not that it matters, but apparently it is very important to attach race to your views on everything), and I have concern for his future.

I have parented another two (they are black, they are female, and as much as I have raised them they have and continue to teach me much too), and I am delighted by the prospects at hand for their lives and for what the future has in store for them because of what has been achieved this week.

I am well aware of what systemic racism is and know it is real. I also know that systemic racism is not the only issue at play here, what it is, is the most prevalent and tangible product of our times which befits the argument and most urgent concern of the majority of our people, let alone the greater world. But I know, it is not the only issue at play here.

I am a South African, the bones of my ancestors lie within it’s soil. The dreams of my family are tied to and invested in the dreams of a nation and this place. My definition of family is unique, it exceeds and extends beyond blood and colour, and is mine to own and define. I love as a South African, I mourn as a South African, I worry and fear as a South African, I am arrogant as a South African, my daily mood is effected by the headlines of this land. I have been shaped within these borders, by the history of this country, and my hope is bonded to it’s future. I am Beautifully South African.

I am Imperfectly South African. My prejudices, and I am ashamed to admit them, but I know that I am man, that I am South African, that I have them and that I can own them, they too are uniquely South African – and I challenge them, constantly, I work and live with them, they shape me and those around me.

Today, I am proudly South African, today I am proud of my fellow young South Africans (and yes, it’s worthy of repetition), and hopefully tomorrow I will be equally proud of my fellow South Africans on the Rugby field.

Today I am also a disappointed South African, I am disappointed by a quality of my fellow South African which so quickly dismisses any point of view and declares it invalid simply because it is not populist, or popular, or yours – and it’s everywhere, we are all guilty of it, fighting the good fight or fighting the bad, black or white.

We are South Africa, our thoughts are South Africa. We live South Africa. And so it makes me sad that we can so easily dismiss the views of another, that we are not inclusive, that we foster and continue to perpetuate a divide.

Fact is, there is no “it” to get, there are lots of “it’s”, plural. Me and my South Africa are dynamic and varied, like the people, the creatures, the terrain, the history, the legacy and the possibility of this, my home.

‪#‎FeesMustFall

Full Stop

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