Debating, Deliberating and Dinner

Update 1

This weekend saw the Wits Invitational Debating Championships roll through. Consider that my total number of ranked debates number in single figures, to say I was rusty is an understatement of note. No matter, I was speaking with my brother and was thus ably carried through to the finals on his pack like a Coleman backpack. The debating is an afterthought, mind you, whereas the focus of the weekend should be squared around the meeting and greeting of new and interesting people.

All said and done the championship was great fun, and I managed to conduct myself with a slightly more dignified stature at the yakka party this time round. Mostly because I didn’t lose my glasses and nobody’s shrubbery got demolished! Also, trampolines are seriously awesome fun! Pictures shall follow as soon as they are uploaded.

Update 2

I have decided to forsake my meagre extra savings from work and head off to Mozambique for a week (the rhymes!) with some good friends and sibling. Cheap seafood, awesome rum, white sands, blue ocean and an almost mine-free countryside will be awaiting me after Christmas! Personally I’m looking forward to such simple things as stuffing my face full of prawns while swigging rum from the bottle and throwing sand at Jonathan. In all, an utterly admirable and productive pursuit. Unlike Thailand et al, this will be a decidedly more sedate experience, and unlike heading to Tokyo, decidedly small in scale. That’s important. If it was hectic and awe-inspiringly huge in travel plans or size of cities visited, I don’t think I’d be inclined at all. I want to chill out. Maybe snorkel. Maybe laugh at a communist, perhaps even eat something exotic if I feel up to it. We shall see.

Update 3

I’m currently listening to Rise Against’s new album much on the recommendation of one of the debaters who’d inhabited our house. They’d been here since Thursday. There’s an eery quiet in the house now. Like all the kids have left and – in the pristinely clean aftermath – there’s nothing much going on at all.

… before anyone asks, it’s clean because the maid came today, not because we cleaned. No.

Written by admin in: Africa,Pop Culture |

Cyclists in Johannesburg – A Treatise (Watch out, language is used most colourfully)

You cock-juggling assmuppets! Why the fuck must you hog the entire lane with your fat, pot-bellied mid-life-crises spandex behemoths and your tiny-penis-compensating bike which costs more than my university education!?!?!

Why the hell can’t you cock jockies use any road BUT Oxford. Do you need the whole fucking world to see how awesome you are in your bright canary yellow tights while you ride next to your mates at 20km/h?!?! Can’t you ride in a single file and save us all the ballache of having to hoot and shout at you deaf fuckers while you refuse to move aside for the big people in the cars. What the hell is wrong with you people? Are the side roads not public enough? MUST you ride in the busiest fucking street in Johannesburg, and MUST you ride 3 abreast as if you’re some sort of fucking squadron of spitfires?!?!?

I swear, the next time a flotilla of cycling cocktards force me to trail behind them at 20km/h because they’re too fucking stupid or stubborn to move aside for the CARS, WHICH BELONG ON THE FUCKING ROAD, I’m going to start a rigourous regime of driving ahead of them, stopping in front and opening the passenger door as they ride past. I don’t pay taxes for roads so you useless twats can clog it up with your fitness regime. Haven’t cyclists heard of the fucking suburbs!?!?! Go play in there for chrissakes, not on a main arterial road in Joburg.

I hate you all and I want you to die.


Written by admin in: Things Japanese |

Behind the Rainbow

I wrote this for commentary, but I feel it’s suitably pop-culturish enough for public consumption.

While waiting for my errant sibling to pick me up, I went to Rosebank mall and watched the new documentary on the ANC Behind the Rainbow. Aside from reminding me just why I love the beautiful complexity of politics so much, the film provided an extremely fascinating extra layer of insight into the party that rules our country.

The most prominent aspect of the movie which stuck in my mind was the history of the ANC’s top leaders, from Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma to Ronnie Kasrils, Mac Maharaj and ‘Terror’ Lekota. Through interviews with these leaders (excluding poor aging Madiba) and others, the different histories and profiles of the ANC’s top dogs are absolutely enthralling. The deep friendship developed between Mbeki and Zuma during their time in the resistance in Swaziland, including a stint in a Swazi jail, highlights just how much history these two folks have.

Overarching this is the amazing resilience the ANC has proven to possess in actually avoiding becoming just like every other generic failed African government. From the Sunset agreements (the compromises during power negotiations at what I assume was CODESA) through to Polokwane, it’s amazing to see just how the party is able to prevent absolute deviation from relative good governance. The documentary showed the difficulty faced by Mbeki in achieving a compromise at the talks with the old apartheid government, as well as the post-1994 abandonment of RDP and adoption of GEAR as proof of his notion of preventing economic collapse while still achieving the tenets laid out by the Freedom Charter. This is ultimately the undercurrent theme of the documentary; the Freedom Charter and trying to achieve its aims while still steering a new South Africa into prosperity.

It’s no secret that Thabo Mbeki was seen as the highly-intelligent man who seemed to repel any dissenting voices to his vision. All through his career, Mbeki has been faced with criticism for what could easily be perceived as turning his back on the people for the sake of the ‘capitalist classes’. His skill in the CODESA negotiations, through to his insistence on moderations between Freedom Charter and national stability has contributed to the growing opposition to his presidency, both at the state and party level. The rise of Zuma is thus partly attributed in no small way to Mbeki’s recalcitrance.

Zuma is actually portrayed in a far more sober and collected light than what the mainstream media have previously done. It’s quite fascinating to see the origins of [i]umshimi wami[/i] and just why and how Zuma has manipulated his supporters so. The documentary further highlights that there exists no fundamentally conflicting policy difference between Zuma and Mbeki, but rather the absolute polar opposite personalities of the two. Odd to think that these two shared a cell in Swaziland and formed a solid brotherhood with one another.

The ANC as a whole is shown to function as this almost otherworldly entity which is capable of purging itself of leaders who might steer the party towards that spiralling doom of other African presidents and dictators. Much like the Mbeki-inspired Sunset Agreements, Polokwane 2007 was necessary to prevent the president from serving a 3rd term; something rather indicative of a leader holding just a little too long onto power. Make no mistake; the ANC is a far more sophisticated entity than what many external detractors portray it as. And regardless of leader, it has so far maintained this self-regulation. Democracy may be a bit of a joke at a national level, but within the ANC, the party acts in what can only be defined as undeniably democratic. The irony would be delicious if it weren’t so bitter a pill to swallow.

The documentary doesn’t say anything any politically-aware South African wouldn’t know anyway, but it does show it in a very interesting light, and in its own right serves as a potent indictment of Mbeki, Zuma, Lekota and the leadership of our country. It also shows the internal workings of the ANC in an amazingly frank and honest depiction through interviews. Now playing at a Cinema Nouveau near you.

Written by admin in: Africa,Pop Culture |

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