Proudly South African


Nelson Mandela

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others

Mandela…

To the world his death is the loss of a leader. Someone that remembered and lived for the people. Someone who fought for the rights of everyone no matter who or what they were. Someone who stood for peace first but with an iron fist and voice when needed. Someone who knew that to lead was to take a journey no one else was brave enough to take.

To the world his death is the loss of a friend. Someone who loved all people big and small, rich and poor. Someone who cared for everyone no matter who or what they were. Someone who knew that his love came with both a warm embrace and a stern word when we lost our direction. Someone who led from the front and guided us on the journeys we had to take but were too scared to take.

To the world his death is the loss of an inspiration. Someone who showed us how to love every single person in this world even those who don’t deserve it. Someone who taught us how to care for every single soul whether they needed it or not. Someone who inspired us to fight for peace when love couldn’t get us there. Someone who made us brave enough to take those journeys we were too afraid to face on our own.

To the world his death is the loss of an idea. Someone  that stood for everything that is good in this world. Someone that stood up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. Someone who refused to be quiet when he saw a wrong.  Someone who knew to be a man was to stand for something good. Someone who stood up and protected us against the nightmares of this world. Someone who made us want to be better than what we really were. Someone who comforted us even when his own pain was too much.

To the world his death is the loss of Mandela. Bigger than anything else that walked this earth. A giant amongst men. A giant amongst all people. The giant who carried us on his back when the road was too tough. The mother who carried us in his arms when we needed just a little comfort and love. Mandela. King of kings. God amongst gods. Nelson Mandela.

To the world he is all Mandela.

To us South Africans he is Madiba. Our father. Our soul. Our Ubuntu. We are because he was. No, because he is. Our daily inspiration. Our voice of conscious. Our everything. Our South Africa. We walk in his shadow. We strive to be the people and nation he saw. We try to love the way he loved all of us. We try to be a little bit of him.

To me he is Tata. Father. Dad. Papa. Respect, honor, love, duty, responsibility and everything I have been taught about being me. The man I want to be is a reflection of him. Who I am to become. He is me and I am him. Because of Tata I am.

Goodbye Tata. Stay warm, Tata. Stay with us just a little longer. Just a little longer until we are brave enough. I love you. I miss you. My Tata.

Rest, my Tata. Sleep well, Tata. Tomorrow is coming. We will make you proud. I will make you proud.

Viva Mandela, Viva. Amandla Madiba, Amandla. Long Live Tata, Long Live.

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The three shot latte has kicked in. So has the third eye. Here is next week’s news for those who won’t have time to read the papers next week.

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Burma Myanmar announces name change

Myanmar has decreed a new name change. Again. Since the win by Win, Ne Win, in 1962 over the government you know as U Nu, Myanmar, taken from the short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw, or Myanma to be literally correct, has changed it name once from Burma, or Bama or Bamar as it is known colloquially, to the Union of Myanmar, pronounced pjìdàunzṵ mjəmà nàinŋàndɔ̀, or WTF for short.

The leader of the artist country previously known as Burma, Senior General Than Shwe (the man with the tan), announced the new name at a special event at the capital of Rangoon Yangon Pyinmana Naypyidaw. Senior General Than Shwe, also the Minister of Defence, Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, Commander and Chief of the Defense Services, and Super Duper Admiral Main Big Dick with the Stick, announced the name as Nothing, or Nṵjəmàntàiŋɔ, or just nothing. Meaning “nothing”. Best way of spelling is ”                      ” and pronounced ”                       “.

Big Dick Shwe made the announcement at a large public execution celebration held at the capital Shitty City of the kings. Big Dick Shwe said that having no name will liberate ”                  ” as it is impossible to declare sanctions against nothing. And even more difficult to invade. A journalist who asked whether this nothing is also related to morality of the government, freedom of people and economic growth of the country could not be reached for comment. Or be reached at all. He disappeared into ”                    “. They dig deep graves in ”                    “.

Big Dick Shwe did disclose that the Military Junta (pronounced åşsħΦļəś) did consider changing their name to the United States of America but that it did not believe that it would be a major move forward under the current global political climate. His exact words were, “Why would I swap my Lada for a Trabant?” He continued by saying that they also prefer to attack their own people without any reason and don’t need to invade other countries to achieve this desired outcome. A collective roll of the eyes could be seen across the whole of Southeast Asia.

North Korea to have multi-party democratic elections

North Korea shocked the world today when it announced the first multi-party democratic elections to be held in North Korea in centuries. If not forever. Chairman Kim Jong-il made the announcement during the Mass Games glorifying his life as the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It was attended by his 100,000 most fearful loyal subjects. The elections will be contested by three parties – or as Chairman Kim Jong-Il said, “One more than the Americans”. It is unclear whether he was aware of the Libertarians and the Green Party. Or if Americans are aware of these two parties.

The three parties to contest the elections are The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Party, The Democratic Republic of Korea People’s Party, The People’s Party of the Democratic Republic of Korea. Together they will be known as the Three Socially Trivial Organizations Of Generally Exploited Societies (or the 3 STOOGES). All North Koreans will have the option to vote for any of the three parties. They also have the option to not vote. And they get a free prison sentence with option 2.

In a move that Chairman Kim Jong-il calls “a major leap forward in the evolution of democracy”, a minor deviation from traditional democracies will be part and parcel of the Korean democratic elections. All three parties will be represented by the same people. Each party will receive the same list of people from the Fatherland Accreditation & Representation Team (FART). The parties can decide where they put them on their electoral list. As long as they put them in the same order provided by FART. They can change the header. Almost. As long as it is the same header as provided by FART.

Chairman Kim Jong-il also announced that he will from now on be known as the Uber Chairman, seeing that his now very dead father already took the name of Eternal President. The word “damn” could be heard right after he made this announcement.

Mugabe says he is sorry

From the official Zimbabwean government controlled news agency – the Zimbabwean Information Panel & Intelligence Trust (ZIP-IT): President Robert Mugabe today said that he was sorry. It wasn’t clear what he was sorry about, but is it newsworthy that he said it in any case. We think it was because he forgot to water the plants.

My President kisses this ass 

In a separate development, the Zimbabwean police today arrested Zimbabwe on charges that it is undermining the President of Zimbabwe, Robert “Dick” Mugabe. Police spokesperson, Pa Pitt, said “It is much easier to just arrest the whole of Zimbabwe than continuing with our current practice of indiscriminate arrests. Our police farce, I mean force, is already stretched and we just can’t arrest people fast enough.” Pa Pitt said that the new Constitutional Rules and Accreditation for the Police (CRAP) law “will help cut down on bicycle use as we can’t afford the tyres anymore”. The new law was first mentioned in the Presidential memo known as My African Dictator (MAD). Chaos ensued right after the CRAP law came into force as the police kept on arresting themselves as part of the arrest of all Zimbabweans. President Mugabe introduced a new law to release the police through his ROBERT MUGABE law – Real Oppressive Bastard for Early Release Time: May U Get A Bloody Ending. It declared all military and police personal as non-Zimbabweans and above the law. Presidential spokesperson and brother of Pa, Stew Pitt, said “The puppets of the Big Dick is above the law. And that isn’t too difficult with the law being trampled in the dust”. Journalist were shocked that Stew Pitt actually made sense.

New UN study find Russians to be least corrupt

The UN released their latest study regarding the state of the world economy. The yearly report analyses the latest global development challenges and this year focused on the general health of the world economy. The 2008 report was titled International Trade – Society Under Constant Knowledge & Economic Depression (IT-SUCKED). Apparently the global economy is not doing well.

In a surprise development, Russia was ranked 1st out of 205 countries as the least corrupt country in the world. They were ranked at number 205 in 2007. Russian President Medvedev, not a tennis player, said that it was proof that Russia “is the best country in the world”. Commentators noted that he wasn’t as eloquent as Putin.

In an unrelated story, the UN Research and Empirical Agency for Learning (UN-REAL) was caught in an oil-for-food oh-the-fool controversy. The agency was researching the state of the world economy when they allegedly accepted bribes to influence the research findings. The agency was alerted to irregularities when they noticed that the Russia section included too many unscientific statements such as “wow”, “awesome”, “best ever”, “gnarly” and “wickedly cool”. The intern who wrote the piece, a surfer from Australia, have been suspended until further notice.

US Congress saves US airlines

In another bail-out plan, The White House and the US Congress announced drastic steps in an attempt to rescue the flagging US airlines industry. The steps were outlined in a new report called the Congressional Report on Airline Sustainability Hearings (CRASH). The hearings were initially delayed after most Representatives couldn’t attend the first meeting due to flight delays and cancellations. A number of Congressmen also didn’t have the $25 to pay for their extra baggage. Representative Do Nafin said that it was unfair to charge Congress extra for baggage as “we all carry baggage already and those cash envelopes aren’t that light you know”. Another Representative, Sting Kerr, was overheard saying that “the gravy train is so much quicker”. The new plans outlined in CRASH included charging passengers for landing, planes loaded in commuter rail instead of flying, pay-as-you-breathe slots for oxygen masks, and auctioning safety vest before take-off. The airline coalition, Airline Sillyness Strategy for Humongous Overheads, Legal Excuses and Stupidity (ASSHOLES), said that “it’s about time that politicians listen to us. They should remember who controls their luggage when they fly. And who cleans the toilets before foot tapping at airports.” A spokesperson for passenger rights, New Airline Institute for Luggage and Experience Deficiency (NAILED), responded by saying that “it’s just hot air meeting thin air”.

Republicans lays out deficit plan

In a bold move to try and be relevant again, the Republican Party denied that it was developing a new economic policy that will include the US changing its name.  GOP leader Michael Steele (pronounced My-Kill Steal) said that, “we are a proud nation and won’t do something silly and stupid like that”. He chuckled when reminded of the 2004 Presidential vote.

Mr Steal did acknowledge that they considered various options, including a name change, to be able to finance the budget deficit under a new Republican Party plan to get rid of the deficit. Apparently they realized ignoring it won’t do as it just won’t go away no matter how much you laugh at it or roll your eyes. Steal said they were under the impression that the US won’t have to pay back the debt to China or the Saudis if they changed the name. “How can they make us pay if the contract is under the name of the USA and we are known as something else like America or The Mighty One?”, he said. He said that Uncle Dick Chainy Cheney told him it won’t work. His idea of going under a new name and under the witness protection program would also not work. He is, however, considering this as a personal option after he leaves his current employment as the first African American leader of the Republican Party.

Steal said that they have instead come up with a much better plan that takes the best of the free market and mixes it with the land of the free. “A bit of freedom for all can go a long way,” was the specific words he used. Instead, he said, the Republican Party has decided to sell the naming rights of states to the corporate sector in a similar way that the NFL runs their stadiums. The initiatives will be led by the GOP-led State Technical Under-secretary of Property and International Declarations (STUPID). Early state name changes include T-eXxon-ASs for Texas, Ben & Jerry’s Taste of Vermont and Kentucky Fried (Virgina is being sought after by a cheap South African wine producer). Steal said that they have already told Mexico that New Mexico is not for sale. They also turned down the Chinese offer for naming the whole of the US “Little China Market”. Steal confirmed that they have yet to receive a single enquiry for either New Jersey and Utah. Not even when they offered to pay for someone to take them.

In another leaf taken from the corporate sector, the Republican Party’s new policy include changing the current Federal system to a Franchise system. The initiative has been dubbed the Federation – Working On Renaming Designations (F-WORD). Each state will be sold as a franchise. Steal said that they have yet to figure out the finer details of what people can do with the franchises, but that they might be able to “sell donuts or hamburgers or maybe even name a potato or orange after each franchise”. A collective roll of the eyes could be seen across the whole of the Americas.

The Republican Party also announced a new financial plan for when they take over again, the New Order: Monetary Obligations for National Economic Yield (NO MONEY), to stimulate* the economy. The NO MONEY plan include drastic measures to increase the budget income without too much of a burden on the expenses side. Some of these measures are:

1. A collection box at the White House. A collection box next to the visitor’s comment book at the White House. Heads of State visiting the White House will be asked to make a donation to their favourite White House charity. They can choose from the White House International Treasury Executor: Government Utilities Yield (WHITE GUY), Dick Cheney’s charity the New Objective: Here Everybody’s A Real Terrorist (NO HEART), and Backhanded Independent Gains: Overt Increased Liquidity (BIG OIL).

2. Dick Cheney to be switched off at night to save on electricity. Steal was especially proud of this step as he called it the Republican Party’s “green legacy”. They strengthened their environmental credentials when they mentioned that the Republican Party head office will also be powered by wind power (hot air) from now on and can’t do any environmental damage (or any damage for that matter) while being “switched off”.

3. New drilling concessions to oil companies. Steal announced that new concession will be given to selected oil companies to drill for oil in the Rose Garden at the White House. The first concession was given to a little known company called Go West: Big Utilities for Social Humiliation (GW BUSH). Ownership of the company is unclear at this stage and only list Real Objective Voice Enterprise (ROVE) as the PR (Political Relic) company handling GW BUSH communications. They could not be reached for comments.

4. Refocus on military spending. Military spending will be tightened under a new plan put forward by the “Shadow” Secretary of Defence, Ivino Eyedee. The plan, named National Obligation: Government Earnings And Redistribution (NO GEAR), will focus on the military equipment for soldiers in the field in Iraq. Eyedee denied that troops will not get the equipment needed to protect them and called the measures “a reversed increase in the procurement procedure for the acquiring of protective garments and other miscellaneous products, goods and services”. Journalist were seen working until late in the evening trying to figure out what the hell that meant.

5. Changes in election procedures. Steal, with rare support from the current Democratic powered Congress, announced drastic changes to the election process that will save millions of dollars – if not tens of thousands. Or “lotsa money honey”, as he called it. Steal and Speaker Pelosi released a joint statement that said the “two-pronged approach makes it easier for people to participate directly in the democratic process and bring some much needed cash into the economy”. Journalist were stunned by the clarity of that statement. They could almost understand it.

Firstly, at a Congressional election level, seats will be sold on a lottery basis at $100 dollars a ticket. Anyone can buy a ticket as long as they are an American citizen or if they have loads of cash they can buy a ticket at a premium price of $1 million per ticket. The national draw will be done on the first Sunday of each November – after church services but before Desperate Housewives. This was a compromise between Steal and Pelosi that threatened to derail negotiations.

The second improvement in the election process relates to the Senate elections. Or better stated – ex-elections. There will be no elections. US companies will participate in a bidding process for the right to nominate their own Senator. Steal said the “removal of the middle man will make the whole system much more efficient and open”. The middle man being the American voter. But the public will still be able to show their support for the Senators by buying products with the Senators faces on it. For example, milk cartons will have the face and name of the Senator on it with the slogan, “Have you ever seen your Senator?”. Although in principle only US companies can bid, Saudi Arabian and Chinese companies have been given permission to participate as they already own half of the US.

* Certain Republicans were seen giggling whenever Steal mentioned the word “stimulate”. Apparently some female White House interns were seen rolling their eyes.

Uzbekistan to privatize corruption

The Uzbekistan state department dealing with corruption, the General Regime of Accounting for Fund Transfers (GRAFT), announced today that all government corruption will be privatized. Minister of GRAFT, the Honorable Itaka da Muni, announced the decision at the yearly Banquet for Respected International Buy-off Executives (BRIBE).

Minister Itaka Damani at the announcement

Minister Itaka da Muni at the announcement

Minister Itaka da Muni said it showed the willingness and commitment of the Uzbekistan government to clamp down on uncontrolled and rampant corruption. He continued by saying that, “this is the end of tax-dodging corruption as you know it. We will be able to tax corruption as it should be by organizing corruption into a single department”. A key part of the policy is that all corrupt officials and the public at large will have to register to practice corruption in future. No corruption will be allowed without a government approved licence. Of course, they could take the option of paying GRAFT a bribe to be excluded from the registering process. Minister Da Muni acknowledged that there were still a few wrinkles that needed to be ironed out.

UK crime down sharply

Crime in the UK has dropped sharply over the first few months of the year. Minister of Police, Weir Pafetik (Welsh), said that the government policies introduced at the end of 2008 is starting to show some real results. He said that, “We kept these policies secret, but it proves our hard work is finally showing results”. He unveiled the policy, the highly confidential State Taxes Utilized for Fighting Felonies and Economic Depression (STUFFED), at a ceremony at Downing Street. (Recently renamed Down Street to cut back on letters and highlight the general health of the economy). Minister Pafetik said the policy had loads of stickers on to show how secret and confidential it was. He also acknowledges that he was forced to unveil it after Prime Minister Brown left it on the London Underground while visiting his gran.

The STUFFED policy was based on the very simple principle of supply and demand. Minister Pafetik said that, “We knew that if we can cut the supply off then there will be no demand and therefore no crime”. The supply in this case is the wealth and goods the average citizen owns in the UK. By slowly but surely strangling the economy to death, the government was able to make each and every UK citizen so poor that there was nothing left to steal or kill for.

Prime Minister Brown released a statement saying that this is more proof that his “tax-them-to-death” strategy when he was Treasurer is at last showing results.

The downside of the success of the STUFFED policy is that millions of criminals will now go on state benefits. Prime Minister Brown shrugged when asked about this and said, “We are what our policy says we are”. He refused to explain any further.

Prime Minister Brown did admit to rumors that he is currently considering removing himself as Prime Minister. He said that he is doing it “for the good of the country”. He went further by saying that there will not be a direct replacement as the government is currently considering outsourcing the role of government to either India or China. “The UK just can’t compete anymore and we have to be realistic that we need to make changes to ensure we remain competitive in the world political market.”

Tony Blair could be seen rolling his eyes, but most of Britain did notice as there was footie on the telly and the announcement was done on a Thursday when they are all in the pub anyway.

Zuma in hospital

Just in: President Zuma has been taken to hospital for urgent lip surgery. Presidential spokesperson, Gota Noklu, said that President Zuma developed a serious infection after kissing the asses of both COSATU and the SACP in “such a very short period of time”. Noklu said that it was serious as the President can lose the use of his lips and that the President will not be kissing any more asses until fully healed.

In an unrelated development, there were general celebrations in the streets all over South Africa with slogans such as “Read My Lips – No More Blades” and “From Your Lips To Vavi’s Butt”. Celebrations quiet down when people were told that President Zuma might still be able to lip read and blow kisses.

In a seperate political health update, All Most Health or Care hospital announced that the operations on Zuma and Zille went without a hitch. Known as the ZZ-Top operations, Zuma successfully had a brain implant and Zille a personality transplant. Doctor Ai Kutya, said that it was unfortunate that Marthinus Van Schalkwyk was not as lucky. The recent backbone transplant and morals implant both rejected Van Schalkwyk.

New sports announced for 2012 Olympics

London used the hype created by the less than recent Beijing Olympics to announce the new sports that will be introduced at the 2012 London Olympics. London Olympics for Special Entertainment and Recreation (LOSER) spokesperson, Sir Moannallot, said that “the new sports will show the world the true British contribution to sport and the world. We know that we are the world champions in these sports and we hope to build on our medal success at Beijing 2008”. The new sports include long distance queueing; breakfast swimming in fat, oil and lard; wrestling with bad breath; beach volleyball without a ball but with long socks and a rolled-up newspaper; diving like the influence of a lost colonial power; canoeing the flooded streets in a bowler hat because it always rains; sprint for the dole; and the semi-modern pentathlon to include M25 gridlock dodging gymnastics, hunt the immigrant, and knife fencing with a yob. Some of the events will take place at the Superiority Complex. London did consider bringing cricket and rugby into the Olympics but Sir Moannallot said that “we just couldn’t find any Englishmen who are good enough and we are really sick and tired of losing against the South Africans and Aussies”. Sir Moannallot said that Great Britain is proud to bring their own “unique flavor to the Olympics. This will be as exciting as our cooking”.

Painless circumcision

Scientists today found a new method to bring smiles to the faces of millions of young boys and tears to the eyes of grown men – painless circumcision. Russian researcher Ayi Kutof from the Observatory for Unilateral Circumcisional Health (OUCH) said that he believes that the old method “is just a rip-off”. He said that he can’t take all the credit and a special “thanks for the tip” to prof. Klippion the new method. When asked to go into more detail on what the new method might be, Ayi Kutof said that they are still trying to “cut through the” red tape and “that’s a sore point” but that the new procedure is “cutting edge”.

Nigerian 419 scams surpasses oil income

Nigerian 419 email scams has officially overtaken oil as the single largest export product. Minister for Socio-Political Order and Outside Finances (SPOOF), Taika Kash, said that “it is crucial for the Nigerian economy that we diversify our BOGUS* income streams. We can not rely on oil providing us with the only opportunities to RIP-OFF* foreigners”.

Minister Kash said that the new diversification of exports is part of the Nigerian government strategy to reduce their environmental impact. “Every email scam makes us less dependent on oil from the Niger Delta.” When asked what he meant, Minister Kash responded, “have you ever been to the Niger Delta area?” Minister Kash also announced plans to provide training courses for unemployed Nigerians to start their own small scale scam operations. “We will provide them with the training, computers and internet access to start their own scams”. Ministers Kash’s brother-in-law runs the training operations, but Minister Kash denied that he favored his family or that there is any truth in the rumors that people paid for training but never received any training. He said, “my brother-in-law, Runna Wey, is an honorable man and his business, Lessons for African Universities and National Direct Education in Refocusing International and National Graft (LAUNDERING), is known for the hard work they do all over the world. I just received an email from him telling me how hard he is working and that he requires another advance to complete the curriculum. It just shows how hard he works as he always needs more money”.

*After further investigations and pay-offs it was clarified that BOGUS stood for Buy-Off, Graft and Underhanded Strategies and RIP-OFF for Real International Potential: Overseas Financial Felonies. Both these strategies were identified after Minister Kash answered an email from a dying wife of the ex-President of the African Developmental Bank in Bamako. He apparently paid $500,000 to help the woman transfer $24 million dollars to his account. A letter from his bank informed him of the BOGUS transfers and that it was just a foreign RIP-OFF. But only after he paid the bank clerk for the information. Another transfer of $100,000 for the clerk to redo the transfer is currently in process. The clerk, Ura Sukka, told Minister Kash that the transfer is needed to implement the Bank Alliance Strategy for Transferring Accounts and Reversing Dollar Services (BASTARDS). Minister Kash then received a call from a branch manager, Cilli Naimes, informing him to come and pick him up the check in the Niger Delta area. Without any police involvement. Minister Kash said he hasn’t had the chance to pick up the check yet.

Shocking 20/20 religious expose

A shocking expose of religious groups in the US was done by 20/20. The first expose investigated a break-away Mormon sect in Utah that believed in monogamy. The sect leader, Wan Wyfe, denied allegations that he only had one wife and that he preached religious tolerance, respect for individual right and racial harmony. Wan Wyfe said “I deny that we are some group of happy people living normal lives. This is the type of rumor that gives sects all over the world a good name and we won’t tolerate that.

20/20 also showed a evangelical church where the Minister, Nou Maani, asked his congregation to not give him any money and that he was doing God’s work not for personal gain but because of his belief in God’s word. He denied the allegation when approached by the 20/20 team and said that “I have a responsibility towards my own life and greed and will not stand for the false allegation”. He also denied rumors that he is happily married and that he does not pay for prostitutes. “It is a disgusting rumor and I will not stand for these type of attacks on the evangelical right-wing churches”, he concluded.

In their last story on alleged religious mavericks, 20/20 investigated a radical fundamentalist Muslim cleric, Iluva Busch, who runs a Mosque that preaches love to Americans and all Westerners and who condemns terrorist attacks in any form. Imam Iluva Busch is alleged to have called off all jihads against Christian countries and Israel, and to have preached tolerance and love towards all religions in secret meetings at the Mosque where he teaches. Imam Busch refused to answer any questions, but a spokesperson for Imam Busch, Ilah-Ava Peece, said that the Imam has always been a radical and will not stand for the vicious rumors spread by the Western media. He refuse to respond to photo’s showing Imam Busch swimming in swimming trunks that looks like an Americans flag, having a laugh with woman wearing two-piece bathing costumes on the beach and Imam Iluva Busch reading The Satanic Verses.

20/20 stands by their allegation that “there are some pretty normal people out there in religious circles”.

This is a little bit of bragging. I am sorry for that. (No, really!) But I am really proud of having been part of this team. And I am proud of the role that I played. Most of all.. I am Proudly South African.

proudlysa

How do you get people to buy South African goods when they have this perception that something made elsewhere is so much better? Well, Nelson Mandela wanted a campaign to get people to support South African goods and services. And what Madiba wants Madiba gets. At least in my books. The question was – How do we get people to support South African made goods and services in such a young democracy still redefining what being South African means to us? With difficulty… And I was asked to get this off the ground. It wasn’t as easy as you would expect! But it was fun…

Nelson Mandela got everyone and his dog (government, business, civil society and trade unions) together back in 1998 to get them to agree to a joint effort to create jobs in South Africa. His Presidential Job Summit was a breakthrough. Getting everyone on the same page was key to moving us forward in more or less the same direction. It didn’t come up with too many tangible things, but just getting everyone to share thoughts was huge for us. Hell, we were tearing each other apart a few years earlier so we had to get our heads together if we were going to make it together as the new Rainbow Nation. So we got together around the virtual campfire and agreed to many things that should be at the forefront of this new “partnership”. One of the things they agreed to was a short little paragraph about initiating a Buy South African campaign. Doesn’t sound like much does it? Should be easy to get off the ground right? But nothing happened until 2000. Yes, we work in African time…

The problem was that business hated it, government was indifferent and the trade unions were split. But I worked for one of the key supporters of this idea – Ebrahim Patel. Ebrahim was a genius. A hard man and difficult to please, but still a genius. And I loved working with this guy no matter how difficult it was. But I’ll leave him for another day.

Ebrahim was the reason why I joined COSATU and because of him I was made Convener of the Trade and Industry Chamber at NEDLAC. NEDLAC was where all these “stakeholders” (government, labour, civil society and business) negotiated almost everything that had something to do with the economy and social development before it goes to parliament. And the Trade and Industry Chamber negotiated and developed anything from trade deals to competition policy. You name it we negotiated it, wrote it and did it. NEDLAC is light years ahead of anything I have seen in any democracy in the world. The only institution actually making people part of government policy decisions and processes. Imagine that. By the people and for the people. That is a novel idea…

So it was only logical that this Buy South African idea would eventually land up in our laps. And it was my job to make this argument. Well, at least according to Ebrahim. So I made the arguments and threatened and threw my toys until they agreed. Not because they wanted this, but because they thought it would be best to humor me instead of facing a possible mass action (read protest) against them. And they really did not want to face Ebrahim when he was pissed. But they had something up their sleeve as well.

They were pretty sure that this thing will never get off the ground. There were just too many people against it. And the then new President, Thabo Mbeki, wasn’t that eager for it either. It would be a legacy of Nelson Mandela and he was trying to get away from under the shadow of this great man. So they decided to set up a task team that would get this campaign off the ground. Knowing that it would never happen – not if they had anything to do with it. You know – the best way to get rid of something is to create a committee to deal with it! And who better to lead this task team then me. Yep, I pushed so hard that they thought the best way to get back at me is to set me up for failure. So I was the “lucky” one who got selected to lead this campaign. Thanks Ebrahim…

They gave me total freedom to include anyone in the team that I wanted. They were sure that I would fill it up with unionist who would be supportive of the idea. But no. i knew that wouldn’t work. I needed those who were against the idea even closer than those who loved it. Keep your friends close and enemies even closer. Or the tent and the pissing story – you know the deal. So I selected key people from government and business who were totally apposed to the idea. I had to convince them if we wanted any chance of this actually getting off the ground.

They also gave me an almost unlimited budget to work with. And like anyone with too much money I hired a few consultants. Rupert Barnard and Kaiser in Cape Town were perfect. They didn’t give a damn who liked it or not. Their aim was to make it work. And get paid a bucket load if they could pull it off. But the opposition pulled out their first trump card at our first meeting – World Trade Organization (WTO) requirements.

As a member of the WTO, South Africa agreed that the government will not do anything that supports South African companies above foreign companies. All should be treated equally. But we needed the support of government because they had the money. And they could influence business. And we needed business to implement it if we wanted it to be viable.

So we came to standstill almost immediately. We couldn’t move until we knew whether it would be allowed under WTO rules or not. We argued this way and that way. We did research and more research. And still we couldn’t come to an agreement. Four months went past and we still didn’t get any closer to an answer. And then it hit me. A piece of genius. A tactic out of this world! I picked up the phone, called the WTO in Geneva and asked them if we could do this campaign under WTO rules. They said it would be fine and even put it in writing for me. Needless to say, but the other guys were less impressed with my tactics. It was a bit underhanded to contact them directly! To actually ask them. The audacity. Imagine that. I am such a rebel… Not. Wow! The reaction from some of the others were less enthusiastic. Or maybe they were just pissed at the answer that I got. But they had to go ahead with it – they were part of the team. Now we had government on our side – and their money as well. One down, one to go.

We blew money left right and centre to convince everyone that this is a good idea. We benchmarked similar campaigns in Australia, US, Canada and even Indonesia. Our problem was that none of the other countries included environmental and social standards to their campaigns. We wanted the products to not only be of good quality and be made in South Africa, but we also wanted it to be done in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Yes, we were way ahead of everyone else at the time. So we just made it up as we went along.

But consumers would be key to this all. They had to believe in the campaign and buy the products in the end. So we blew some more money on consumer studies to see what would drive consumers to support this campaign. And although we didn’t know it at the time, this would be a breakthrough for the campaign. But not in a way we would have expected.

Those in business opposed to the idea found another obstacle they could throw our way. They couldn’t agree on a name. Business wanted it to be called Made in South Africa. But the unions wanted it to be called Buy South African – the original name they agreed to in 1998. But business was adamant. They would not go for the Buy South African name as it was to prescriptive and they wanted it to say more about the product – that it was Made in South Africa. And the unions refused to budge. They wanted people to buy the stuff. Stuck again.

We used this in our favor for a little while. Getting other key things passed like the budget, management structure and marketing plan. But we knew there would be no campaign if we couldn’t get them to agree on the name. And time was running out.

And we struggled. Again going this way and that way. Trying to convince each side that they should just go with the other name. But no one was willing to budge. Then one night I was reading through some consumer research when it hit me. What was the number one reason people would support this campaign? Easy. Over 80% of people said they would do it because they were proud to be South Africans. We had a name – Proudly South African. They couldn’t fight it. They would not be very proudly South African if they didn’t go with this. They caved in and we had a name. Business was on board.

The rest was easy. We removed one obstacle after the other. And more and more people came on board. And the name was a killer. It just captured the “Madiba magic” in a way no one thought we could. A few more twists and turns and we had everyone on board. We were ready to rock and roll.

That was the most difficult time for me. We had to employ people to run this. My job was only to get it to the launch stage. It took 18 months of my life. It consumed me and took everything out of me. I had to out maneuver opponents and overcome obstacles every day. It drove me crazy, but I loved it. And we had a great team backing it and working on it. But it was time to let go. My little baby has grown up and was ready to leave home. So we let it go. And the rest is history.

I was proud. I was Proudly South African

You know you are proudly South African when…

Huh... Upside down?

Prisoners go on strike.

You call a trunk a “boot”

You call an elevator a “lift”

You call a hood a “bonnet”

You call a Barbeque a “Braai”

You call a traffic light a “robot”

You call a pickup truck a “bakkie”

We sing “Ole’ Ole'” before we’ve won!

You travel 100’s of kilometres to see snow.

You paint your car’s registration on the roof.

You call a bathing suit a “swimming costume”.

You know the rules of Rugby better than any referee.

You can do your monthly shopping on the pavement.

You have to prove that you don’t need a loan to get one.A bullet train is being introduced, but we can’t fix potholes.

You know what Rooibos Tea is, even if you’ve never had any.Why wheels?

To get free electricity you have to pay a connection fee of R750.

More people vote in a local reality TV show than in a local election.

“Now now” or “just now” can mean anything from a minute to a month.

You know someone who knows someone who has met Nelson Mandela.

You get cold easily. Anything below 16 degrees Celsius is Arctic weather.

You know a taxi can move twice it’s certified number of people in one trip.

Travelling at 120 km/h you’re the slowest vehicle on the highway/freeway.

The employees dance in front of the building to show how unhappy they are.

You have to take your own linen with you if you are admitted to a government hospital.

The SABC advertises and shows highlights of the programme you just finished watching.

You produce a R100 note instead of your driver’s licence when stopped by a traffic officer.

The money or the ticket?

You go to braais regularly, where you eat boerewors and swim, sometimes simultaneously.

You’re genuinely and pleasantly surprised whenever you find your car parked where you left it.

You can sing your national anthem in four languages, and you have no idea what it means in any of them.

The last time you visited the coast you paid more in speeding fines and toll fees than you did for the entire holiday.

You continue to wait after a traffic light has turned to green to make way for taxis travelling in the opposite direction.

And…

You get emails like these from friends and post it as a blog.

What ya lookin' at?
What ya lookin’ at?

You’ve heard me say it before – hear me roar. I’m a Lion! No. Not really. I’m a Zebra. White with some black stripes. Or is it black with some white stripes? It doesn’t matter. I am South African. I’m a bit of both. That’s the great thing about being from South Africa. You stand a damn good chance of having a bit of everybody in your family tree. I am damn proud of it. A bit of everybody. 100% pure South African. A little bit of everything. A buffet of blood running through my veins.

Now, like I said, it shouldn’t be a bad thing. And it isn’t. It works most of the time. For most of us. But sometimes it doesn’t work out so well. It doesn’t always work out all that well for me. My problem is that I got the short stick on both sides. The bits that’s bad is really bad. And the good bits are missing. Well, mostly. 

The problem is that sometimes I am way too white. So white it’s scary. In way too many ways. And not in any good way. Look at the music I listen to. Bruce-Bloody-Springsteen. Cold-Flippin-Play. Pearl-Damn-Jam. David-Hum-Grey. I mean really. Couldn’t I get some blood with a bit of beat in it? I even listen to Toto’s Africa when I miss home too much. Really. It’s so sad. Just plain sad.

Wait. The Toto song reminds me of that Castle Lager ad of the South Africans watching sport on the roof of a New York apartment. Drinking Castle Lager. That’s why I listen to Toto. Castle Lager. Hmm… Charles! Somewhat dry, somewhat bitter, never sweet.

Anyway… I am getting off topic.

I am so bloody white I was born with two left feet. I can’t dance to save my life. Really can’t. It’s not a pretty sight. I have seen grown men cry when watching me dance. And not for any good reasons. The pain it causes will leave an everlasting mark etched into your brain. You will wake up screaming in the middle of the night sweating and shouting, “Just don’t dance please! Just not that please!” I make Freddy Krueger look like the ideal prom date for any close dancing. Let’s just leave it at me not being a great dancer shall we? The white blood is strong when it comes to dancing. Too damn strong.

And to complete my whiteness? Singing. You don’t want to hear me sing. Really. It’s been banned under the Geneva Convention. I can peel lead paint off walls with one rendition of Roxanne. Or, as my lovely wife always says, when I go busking people pay me to shut the hell up! I think I might not be gifted with a strong voice.

But I can live with this part of my whiteness. I can bob my head up and down instead of dancing. Or in my case, look like someone who is really disagreeing with the person standing next to him. You know – with all that head shaking. Because I can’t even keep a head beat. And with an iPod on my side? I can listen to my music and no one will know that it’s some skinny white dude singing. Well. With the singing? No problem. I just follow my loving wife’s advice and shut the hell up. Or sing softly to myself while taking a shower. With the extractor fan on – full blast. Yes. I can hide the whiteness most of the time. At least the scary bits.

But now I am being hit with my bad black blood.

I got away with it in South Africa. I played soccer like a maniac and ate my putu with pride. I got away with it most of the time. Except for my dislike of the beach. Hated the sand sticking to my body. And the awful salty water. The sun baking while you are lying on a towel doing nothing. Nothing! And if God wanted me to swim he would have given me gills and webbed feet. The Big Four S’s of bad taste. Swimming, sand, sun and salt water. Don’t like it. It’s bad. And it makes me look even worse when standing on the beach squinting and spitting out sand.

But I got away for it for most of the time. Until I got to the US. It caught up with me. My bad black blood. Another “S”…

Snow…

It looks nice. When it is mixed with a strawberry or two to make a daiquiri. Oh, wait. That’s way too white.

Snow. Nice to look at. Even nice to shovel. Almost. But when it comes to those sports. Man. Man, man, man. It’s not made for these legs and this blood. Talk about a frog in a blender. Just arms and legs everywhere. And a trail of blood following. That’s us Africans. Can’t do snow. Won’t do snow. It just ain’t on man. It’s meant to be a mix and not a sport.

And let us run out in the veldt. No problem. We can run for days. Or at least a minute or two. But snow. How the hell do you even walk in snow? With all those layers of clothes on? I look like the Abominable Snowman on steroids stuck in quicksand. The more I move my legs, the less I move forward. And I slowly sink away into the snow. Never to be seen again. Until summer when they find the lone body of an African with a permanent frown on his face. Bloody snow.

Yes. I am a Zebra. A little white and a little black. A little scary and a little bad. Just a shame I got the pieces all mixed up. But hey, that’s South Africa for you. That’s South Africans for you. We always get the pieces mixed up.

So why am I telling all of this now? In the middle of summer? Because I know that it is waiting for me. It’s coming – the snow. I can sit here and drink my daiquiri. But the crushed ice is a reminder that my days are numbered. The snow waits for no man. And no Zebra. It’s coming and I am scared. And there is no place to hide. My true colors will show in the snow. And it’s gonna be bad baby.

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I am ashamed. Ashamed of being a South African. Ashamed of the behaviour of my countrymen. Ashamed of South Africans. Ashamed of South Africa. And every South African should be. Be ashamed.

I have never been ashamed of being a South African. Well, not since 1994 anyway. Before that – I was very ashamed. But for all the right reasons. We were fighting against the most corrupt and violent system in the world. Against Apartheid. Against oppression. Against discrimination. Against the violence they committed against our people. Against murdering the innocent. Against killing those who can’t protect themselves.

But now I am ashamed. For the first time since 1994. I am deeply ashamed. Because we are doing to others what the Apartheid regime did to our people. To us. And we are doing this to those who already suffer the most. Who have already suffered at the hands of their own people. Their corrupt and violent regimes. Their Apartheid regimes. And now we do it to them here in our own country. Against those who have been hunted down in their own country. And tried to find a bit of safety in the townships. In the streets. And you turned on them.

Like cowards. In numbers. Because you think you are so tough with your tyres and your matches. And your pangas and machetes. But you are cowards. Cowards. Because you kill from behind the safety of your numbers. Killing their dream. And killing my dream.

The dream is being shattered by a group of cowards. Bastards. Traitors. You don’t deserve to be called South African. You are not worth the dirt on our streets. You are not worth the spit on my shoes. You are dead to me. Dead to me.

You don’t do that. You don’t kill other people. You don’t murder them because you hate foreigners. Don’t blame the immigrants. You don’t blame them for being without a job. You don’t blame them for being without a house. You don’t blame them. You just don’t blame them. And you don’t take it out on them. Never.

Look in the mirror you bastards. Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are worth it. Worth the breath that I take. Worth the words on this page. Because you are not. You are nothing. You are animals. Not even. You are nothing.

How you forget. How you forget how these same people housed our people when they were hunted down in South Africa. Zimbabwe. They housed you. They housed your people. Our people. When we were in exile. When we were hunted down like animals. And now you do it. Like Mugabe did it to them in their own home. You are no better than Mugabe. The mad one. You are no better.

You are no better than the perpetrators of Apartheid. You are no better than them. You are no better than the animals that did this to our people. Look at this picture and ask yourself. How are you better than the people that did this to our people? I tell you how. You are no better. You are no better than Craig Williamson. No better than Ferdi Barnard. You are Eugene de Kock.

You spit on our people who died at Sharpeville. You spit on the killing of the Guguleto 7. You spit on the deaths at the Bisho Massacre. You spit on the 27 years Madiba spent in jail for people like you. You spit on the murder of Biko. You spit on the memories of Braam Fischer. The memory of each and every South African who died and suffered for you to have freedom. Every mother. Every father. Every wife. Every husband. Every sisters. Every brother. Every child. You spit on their suffering.

No. You are not just as bad as those perpetrators of Apartheid. You are worse. Because you should know better. This has happened to you. How could you? How the hell could you?

You are dead to me. You are not South African. You are animals. You deserve nothing. You fight for your country. You don’t fight the oppressed. You don’t fight those who have suffered like our people have suffered. You comfort them and protect them. You don’t hunt them down and kill them. You are bastards. And you deserve nothing. Not a crumb of bread. Not a drop of water. Not an ounce of sympathy. Not an inch of understanding. Not a second of analysis. Nothing. Because you mean nothing.

You bastards. You traitors. You animals. The blood is on your hands. You are dead to me.

And my dreams are dead.

____________________________

Note to my government: Mbeki. Be the leader we need. Be the strong and just leader we need. Be a President in action and not only in name. Lead us. Right now. I have always stood up for you. Defended you. No more. Now is the time to show me why I believed in you. show me it wasn’t just empty words. Time to show what you are made of. The burden is on you right now. This is your hour. A defining moment in your Presidency. Will you fail or will you succeed? Show no mercy to these murderers. Be a leader. Lead. Zuma. Shut up and be the leader we need to know you are. Show us what we can expect. Have no sympathy. Because these dogs deserve no sympathy. None. But most of all. Protect those who are being hunted down. Hold them tight and tell them it will be okay. And make it okay. Because they are our flesh and blood. Not the bastards who are traitors to our country. Those who try and call themselves South Africans. They are dead to us. Show them they don’t deserve our great country. They are not South African.

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Just heard the great news that Oscar Pistorius – the fastest man on no legs – will be able to run at the Olympics! The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that he is eligible to race against able-bodied athletes, overturning a ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations. Here is the story I wrote about him a few months ago. He is one amazing guy. An inspiration to us all. And a proud South African. Run Oscar! Run!

Run , baby, run

Get ready for the big race. This is the finals baby. An Olympic medal awaits. This is his chance. This is the Olympics. This is his Olympics. He is a racing machine. He is ready. This is what he has been working for. This is what he has been training for day in and day out. Come sun or rain, he was there. Training and training and training. Eating his pasta when he wanted a burger. Nibbling a salad when his body wanted sweets. And then some more training. Training and running until his lungs burnt and his legs hurt.

No wait. At least the part of the legs that he does have will hurt. You see, he doesn’t have legs that goes all the way down. He was born with a few key bones missing. And they had to chop off his legs just below his knees. But just a few years ago he decided he wanted to run. And boy could he run. Run like the wind. He broke every record for those without legs. He became the man amongst big men. He was the superstar amongst heroes.

He ran on blades made just for him – the Blade Runner. And he ran so fast they called these blades “cheetah” blades. He was as fast as a cheetah on the hunt. And, well, the blades looked a bit like cheetah back legs. But now they are saying that his “cheetah” blades make him run like a cheater.

Let’s stop there for a minute. He is too fast running on his sticks? Are they are worried that he might be too fast for those with only two working legs? Are you serious? Have you actually seen this guy running? Here, have a look. Notice how he is about 10 meters behind the other guys when they start off? His “legs” hold him back because there is no thrust to push back. No calf mussles to help him jump at the start. Did you also notice that he has to swing his legs out a bit because he does not have the natural swing of the other guys with their luxury knees and legs? Doesn’t look that comfortable does it? Doesn’t look like he has the smooth running style of the “leggies”, does it?

But who are you going to believe? Your own eyes or science? Some mad German scientist (weird hair an all I assume) decided that our man Oscar Pistorius runs better than the “leggies”. That he has an advantage over them. The swing is the problem you see. According to the German punk professor our man has an advantage over “leggies” when he makes this swing as it gives him a bigger stride. And the problem is? The other athletes can swing their legs as well, can’t they? They know that it might save energy and give them a bigger stride. But they also know that it is as uncomfortable and unnatural as hell. And not the best way to achieve speed and rhythm. You can’t run like that if you want to be a world class athlete. (No, I wasn’t an athlete, but I have a friend who ran the Olympics and won a silver. That’s bragging if you didn’t catch it).

Or can you be a world class athlete without legs? Maybe, maybe not. We might never know. The Olympics held up their much loved values (like with China) and decided that this is not in line with the spirit of the Olympics. (But China is). Scared an umlungu from Africa might beat your steroid enhanced, human growth hormone injected druggies that call themselves athletes? Scared we might beat their sorry arses? Scared the “leggies” might be leggless by the time we are done with them? Yes, I am calling you chicken.

You will let guys who were caught cheating with drugs run, but you won’t let our boy run. Shame on you. You and your rules will let Dwain Chambers run, but the Brits had to bring in their own rules to stop him from running at the Olympics. Your history is littered with cheats who won in a blaze of glory only to go down in the fire years later because of drugs. Johnson and Gatlin and Jones – when do you want me to stop? You held them up as champs and the epitome of the “Olympic Dream”. A nightmare now, hey?

Let our boy run. He is the real deal. He is the Olympic Dream. He is the fastest man on no legs.

Oscar – run, baby, run.

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