What’s up in the news?

1. Thanks for the invite

Condoleezza Rice, or Condi to her friends, spend a bit of time in Baghdad this week. Good for you Condoleezza. It is much better than staying in that big white house up on the hill. You know that guy will work your fingers to the bone. Anyway, she spent time shopping in the “Green Zone” I think. Must be. Why else would she be saying something like this? “Obviously, the American forces are here, coalition forces are here at the invitation of the Iraqi government.” WTF? I don’t think so Condoleezza. Remember that you send those big tanks and flying objects called missiles into Iraq? I didn’t see the letter of invitation. Oh, you mean these guys in charge now? The puppets you put in place? With a fake vote that reminds us of Florida style democracy? I don’t think so Condoleezza. Crap stays crap. Whether in DC or Baghdad. Let’s get this straight Condoleezza, you are not invited to my house. With or without a gun in your hand and a tank at your feet.

2. McCain playing the age card

I think McCain might be playing the age card after weeks of playing the race card and the celeb card and the general lies and snake oil card. This time it was all about Russia and the “Georgia incident”. No. Not Atlanta. Anyway. He made another “misspoke” when commenting on the Russian invasion. And I quote, “in the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations”. Huh? Excuse me? Did I miss something? Or is it your age playing up? Did you get a free coupon to invade Iraq? I can’t even say grow up. McCain. McCain. McCain. You are one scary dude.

For McCain

For McCain

3. This man is stupid

I really couldn’t find a better heading for this guy. A guy from Nigeria has been told to divorce his wife. No wait. His wives. He has to whittle it down to four wives and no more. So he’ll have to divorce 82 of them. WTF? Dude! Doos! I don’t know what to say? The four that are staying are asking what the hell did they do wrong that they have to stay with him? Guess how many kids he has? 170. He had just under 2 children with each wife. Lesson? They thought the first time was just a bit of a… hum… problem… anxiety. The second time? They realized it wasn’t. You can fool some of the people some of the time…

4. But he is worse…

It seems as if Mugabe has decided to not continue the talks with Tsvangirai. I am not surprised. Mugabe doesn’t give a damn. And neither does my President. Mbeki. Blood on your hands. Go share what I gave McCain further up. And up yours. If Mugabe is the African Than Shwe (Burma), then you are the African Bush. No. Not the African bush.

A dick and a prick

A dick and a prick

5. Buy at employee price… if you can find one

GM has been taking a pounding in the sales department over here in the US. But they hit back with a brilliant new ad campaign. You can now buy a car at the employee price. Cool isn’t it? We know how much discount those guys get. Should work. Shouldn’t it? It should. If you can find an employee willing to sell you a car. It seems that most of the models just don’t make it to the dealers. And the salesmen doesn’t show up either. Great plan GM. Get the people to come into the showrooms to buy a car that isn’t there from a salesman that isn’t there either. I think Toyota might have a better plan. Sell people a car they want. I know. It is way unorthodox but it might just work.

6. How to kill the American Dream

How do you kill the American Dream? Bureaucracy… We’ve seen it everywhere in America. Little kids learning the rules of making money by selling goodies at roadside stands. Simple stuff. Lemonade, veggies, ice-cream and other stuff the can grow themselves or mix themselves. Just pretty simple stuff. Nothing much. But it teaches them the basics of how to be an entrepreneur. It’s as American as apple pie. But not anymore. At least not in Clayton, California. A little girl and her brother used to sell some veggies they grew in their back yard. Until the cops showed up. And dispersed the illegal merchants. Stupid right? And you would expect the Mayor to back the kids. Think again. “They may start out with a little card-table and selling a couple of things, but then who is to say what else they have. Is all the produce made there, do they grow it themselves? Are they going to have eggs and chickens for sale next,” said Clayton Mayor Gregg Manning. Mayor Manning, go get some of that McCain coffee offer I have up there. Stupid.

Remember to read between the lies… I mean lines.

Advertisements

Am I getting dated? I am sure I am going to lose track of how many I have done but I don’t think I will run out of news soon. Let’s have a look what has been cooking this week.

1. The pot calling the kettle…

President Bush decided to show some global leadership balls. On China. Calling them out on their human rights record. He is apparently not impressed. Good on you President Bush. Stand up against the (next) bully. Don’t let them push us around. Just please don’t invade them. We know how you get all worked up. This one might be a little bit to much for you to handle. Two big guys in the schoolyard getting ready for some “how’s your mother”? Nah. He won’t do much other than bitch a bit and then sit back and run in his Chinese made running shoes, watch Bill O’Reilly on his Chinese made television, and wave his Chinese made American flag. But there is another snag. Calling China out on their human rights record… Two words President Bush… Guantanamo Bay… Sorry, you lost your right to bitch about humans and their rights. Can’t have it both ways. No matter how big and strong you are.

2. I don’t give a flying…

You want a bag with that sir? That will be $15 thank you. Oh, you have two! Hand over another $25. We made you miss your flight and you need to change it? $150 please. Thirsty? A dollar for a cuppa Joe. As if you want to stay awake on this flight. You’ll have to pay for the movies in any case. But better to pay $5 to watch a movie I guess. Better than paying $7 for a blanket and a pillow. Next up? How much for a safety vets? We packed 5 – open bids start just after take-off. No wonder American airlines are going bankrupt. They offer nothing and charge you the world. And still can’t get you off the ground in time. Try this in Africa. Feeding people nothing and charging them for air… Here’s one I don’t get. Why is it that they charge per bag? Weight… It’s the weight that gets to them. Apparently the fuel costs are out of control and one way to save on fuel is by cutting down on the weight. Apparently, people still weigh more than the 400 tonne bloody airplane. Riiight… No, it’s true. They have a real obesity problem over here in the US. But what happens if I go on a diet? Can I get a discount? American airlines… Like the economy. Going down fast. At least the dollar lost value. Or else the airline greed might actually hurt. But not yet. So far it is only really stupid and funny. Their motto? I don’t give a flying…

3. I can’t recall, recall

We can’t afford to go to Disney yet (January maybe!), but we have found another way to entertain ourselves. We go to Whole Foods. It is just one amazing place for us Africans in America. The food so fresh they make Pamela Anderson blush and they use baby bottoms to wipe the apples because they are so delicate. Oh, Whole Foods. They have mist spraying over the fresh fruits and vegetables – it makes me feel as if I am on the farm or in the Amazon somewhere. And they have juices, cookies, hams and fruits to taste all over the place. We take the kids there on a Friday night. We call it “eating out”. I like to spoil my girls. Ah, Whole Foods – the amusement park for Africans. But they have a memory like a leaky watermelon those guys. They forgot to recall the bad meat. And then recalled that they had to recall. You see, they found E. Coli a few months ago from a company called Nebraska Beef. And it is not a Springsteen song. So all those “shops for the less privileged” like Costco and Stop & Shop (where we shop) had to make a huge recall of all the meat. But of course we knew Whole Foods wouldn’t be affected by it all. I mean really they feed their chickens organic Fairtrade corn with mint jelly and slaughter their cattle by massaging them slowly to death. And then it happened. Months later. Whole Foods had to recall the meat. Because they too bought from Nebraska Meat. But they recalled it months later. Only after they recalled that they bought meat from the same dude that Earl’s Meat Palace & Pet Shop bought his meat from. After it was already sold. Nice business plan Mr Mackey. It is at last off the shelf. But rest assured. It might have been E. Coli. But it was organic E. Coli.

How the E.Coli rumor started...

How the E.Coli rumor started...

4. Power less sharing

Crazy Uncle Bob and Tsvangirai are talking. Bah, humbug. Talking about ending the fight between the two of them that has been going on for months. Talking about sharing power. In some way. Sharing power. Was that a joke? Most of the country hasn’t had electricity for ages. Not since Mugabe needed it to keep his food warm and artificial heart pumping. And share what? There is nothing to share. Jack baby. Mugabe has already eaten the donkey and now wants to share the carcass? Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum doing the slow dance. Doing the slow dance to Power of Love or Careless Whisper? I think Bob was listening to I Got You Babe.

5. South Africa takes over England

I guess they had to do something. I mean really. They got their backsides kicked by the South Africans in cricket. Just a few months after getting their butts kicked in rugby. It’s a national pastime in South Africa. Beating the English in anything and everything. Ah, they thought they had the political one in the bag with Gordon Brown. Sorry dudes, our President Mbeki is pulling away in the lame-duck race. But back to the sports. So what do you think the Poms did after losing to us again? They appointed a South African as their captain. A guy who can’t make our team. He’s their best guy… And he is from Durban. It’s a bit like saying he’s from Texas. Minus the silly hats. But they are loud, have funny accents, like to talk about how great they are, but their leaders stink like Sue Ellen’s acting in Dallas. Hey, England! I have one for you. Why don’t you take Zuma? We won’t be able to beat that one.

6. China wins. Next year.

The US better take as many medals as they can at the Olympics in Beijing. Because China is about to take their lunch money. The US economy is going down the dumps. It’s slowing down faster than McCain without a cane first thing in the morning. Or me without coffee. Dropping faster than President Bush’s popularity. Yes. It is pretty bad. But here is the clincher. China will overtake America as the world’s largest producer of manufactured goods. Yes. China will push America off the top spot. A spot they have held for over 100 years. Will someone remember to switch off the lights when the last factory closes its door? The USA. Made in China.

________________________________

Hope to have better news next week. Yeah, right.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

No blog today. I did one for the Mail & Guardian’s Thought Leader Blog. Pretty happy about that. Mail & Guardian isn’t what it was back 10 or 15 years ago, but pretty much still the best newspaper in the world according to my humble opinion. Okay, not that humble.

The piece is similar to my Next Week’s News Today, but with an African flavour. Some of them you have seen, some have been tweaked and some are new. A bit like Africa itself really. Hope you enjoy. So follow the link and let me know what you think.

The African Future Times: Giving you tomorrow’s news today

They say that America is ahead of the times. So I travelled there to see if I can get an insight into our African future. This is what I can report will happen in Africa over the next few weeks. It makes planning a bit easier…

Ja, boet...

Ja, boet...

Note: I even spelled in my old South African way again!

Back from Bucks County. And back with some views on the news. It’s been a weak of news. Backward news. Let’s have a look, shall we?

1. Can’t take my eyes off of you

Poor old man McCain. He just can’t get any attention. It seems as if people, and especially the media, thinks he might be a bit boring. Big yawn. Big surprise. The most exiting thing that happens to him is when the comb-over flaps in the wind or when he puts in his teeth in the morning. Anyway… So McShame decided to show the world, or at least his closet closest friends, how unfair this all is to a senior citizen like himself. And decided to show it in a way that is a bit more hip. You know. To get with this “internets” thingy. Made up a nice clip (two actually) and posted it on YouTube. Showing to the world how unfair the media can be. Nice one. You really showed your age with this one. Or maybe not. My 4-year old won’t even do this. It is way below her standards. She is too grown up for it I guess. But then, she isn’t a Republican politician either. But then he pulled it off the site again! No, it wasn’t the early signs of ADD. Or flip-flopping. I was hoping it was his promise to “fight a good clean fight that will stay on the moral high ground”. Nope, that wasn’t it. He is already playing with the pigs. Remember the Bush man-love hug? Anyway… He pulled it because it was way to popular. And maybe illegal. Yep, the only way he could get any attention was by showing pictures and videos of Obama. Go figure. And then? He had to pull it because one of the songs they used, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, might have a licencing issue… Yep, the more popular the clip the more they have to pay. A bit like oil prices I guess. And now McPain realizes he will have to pay up if he wants to be watched – or at least watch Obama being watched. Hah! Dig a hole for yourself Mac. Come on. Pick the nearest forest and start digging. Or offshore. You might just find enough oil to pay for using that song. Hope it is legal. The song. And the digging. He is going to be really pissed when he hears the European Commission just extended copyright for songs to 95 years. Even he can’t outlive that.

The Obama camps denied reports that they are currently looking at posting two clips of McCain on their YouTube channel. One showing him crying in the rain to “Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd) and another of him throwing a hissy fit to “She Thinks His Name Was John” (Reba McEntire).

I love you so much Big Fella

I love you so much Big Fella

2. McCain knows no shame – dissing the troops

I think that McCain is becoming desperate. Really desperate. He is now willing to shred the last pieces of decency he had. I don’t know if he is losing his mind or whether he lost it months ago already. But the last inch of respect he had is being lost at a rapid pace. Why? Because he is starting to disrespect the troops. It’s fine to throw cheap shots at Obama. That’s politics the Republican way. Cheap. Shots. But playing with the troops is another thing. Using them and abusing them for cheap shots is just… hum… you know… not on. Obama decided not to visit a military hospital in Germany because the Pentagon thought that it might be inappropriate as it might be seen as playing politics. Fair call. So Obama did the right thing. Pull out of the visit. This showed his respect for the troops. Not willing to let them be pulled into politics. Good on you Obama. And then McShame decided to open his stupid mouth again. Calling Obama out for not visiting the troops. He hinted that Obama isn’t showing enough respect for the injured troops. WTF? Are you for real? You want to show some respect for the troops? Shut your mouth when it comes to the military and get the troops out of this stupid war of yours. The troops should be supported. Not your stupid mindless war. You were in the military. But not anymore. It doesn’t give you a free pass when it comes to the lives of Americans. Troops or not. Show some respect.

Oh, and while we are on the war thing. That new ad of yours where you climb into Obama for not being in Iraq often enough. Here is a wake-up call for you. You don’t need to be in Iraq to know that war was the wrong decision. Maybe even illegal. A bad decision based on bad intel. The War on Error. And not one single person who supported that decision to invade is saying they are sorry. No, they are trying to say that it is “working”. Working! Bah! Maybe our definitions of working differ slightly. Working like a bloody band aid on a broken back yes. It was wrong to go into war with Iraq and that doesn’t change no matter how many times you visit.

And Afghanistan? Go read up a bit more. Not only are we losing the War on Terror there, but also the War on Drugs. The poppy’s are blooming. We are losing the war over there because the military is stretched to the extreme. Hope it doesn’t snap. So what do you do? Move the pieces around. Troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan. There is an old South African saying, “Slim vang sy baas.” The bright one catches his master. It means that eventually all you decision will backfire if they are wrong. And you just keep on sticking to those wrong ones baby. So, ¡Ya basta! Stop your whining and start showing some respect for those troops who are fighting your stupid war. Don’t play with them just to try and become President. It’s not on. So get off.

3. Please Mr President, just shut up

Look, it takes a damn lot to make President Bush look sharp and full of wisdom, but President Mbeki isn’t going to give up trying. At least President Bush is doing little to make things worse during the last few days of his reign. No wait. The war is still on, the economy is tanking, he wants to drill for oil no matter what or where, and he is still playing chicken with Iran, North Korea and whoever else said no to the dinner date. Okay… He can do way more damage, but so can Mbeki. Here is a man I used to support and defend. And then he lost me at… hello? Anybody there? First he made a joke of science with his Aids policies. Then he danced on the graves of human rights and logic with his “quiet diplomacy” approach to Mad Uncle Robert Mugabe over there in Zim. Both of these decisions took a special kind of leadership. Special needs more like it. It refined decision-making. Redefined stupidity in leadership. But just when you thought it can’t get any worse… He goes on to say that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should not be prosecuted for war crimes. WTF? (Second one for today.) Come again? The reason? Because it will mess up the peace process. You know, you can’t talk peace with a guy who is in court at the same time. Now hang on in there El Presidente Mbeki. That logic doesn’t work. Say someone breaks into my house and steals everything. Now you are arguing that we can’t charge the guy because it might hinder his rehabilitation. No, no! No, baby, no. You don’t negotiate with someone while they are bus murdering and killing the innocent. You charge them and let justice takes its course. Please President Mbeki. Show some backbone. Stop making President Bush look good. I really don’t need that right now.

4. Not Mama’s Apple Pie

So you are just sitting there having a nice piece of apple pie. As American as can be. Spoiling yourself. At Maccie D’s. And you take a deep bite. You can feel the apple pie squirm against your braces. And then… Wait! I don’t wear braces! What the hell is this piece of metal doing in my apple pie? Screw them. Metal screw in the apple pie. That’s what happened to this poor woman. But that’s not the news. Bad food at McDonald’s? What’s new. No – the real news is further down the article…

“Her nephew had also eaten an apple pie, but there were no foreign objects in his dessert.”

Haha! Come on! You ate an apple pie at Maccie D’s. Of course there were foreign objects in your dessert. It just wasn’t metal.

While we are on the fast food topic. I see The Governator Schwarzenegger banned trans fats in restaurants. Good. Right? One thing has always bugged me about banning trans fats at fast food joints. Do you really think of any health issues when you go buy a donut from Dunkin’ Donuts? Do you stop for a minute and think, “I wonder how many calories in this Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese?” I don’t. I know it is bad. I think everyone knows that eating crap food is bad for you. This trans fat debate is a bit too nanny state to me. Too English. Not American. Eat crap and die.

5. Stop Press! Money to Democrats!

Those slightly crazy right wingers at NewsBusters and American Thinker really got their backs up this week. Because they just “proved” that the media is biased. You see, the media is giving more money to Democrats than to Republicans. And about 235 journalists gave money to the Democrats compared to 20 to Republicans. And who said the media is stupid? It isn’t a lot of money. About $225,000 compared to $16,000. But still. Why are they doing it? NewsBusters and the stupidity gang argues that the media is biased. But even Fox gave to the Democrats and not to the Republicans. So that can’t be right. I mean NewsBusters and American Drinker Thinker adore and pray at the feet of Fox. So what’s the reason then? I have an alternative theory. The media is giving money to the Democrats because they are sick and tired of getting screwed for nothing by Bush and the Repugnants Republicans. They are arguing that if they are going to get screwed they might just pay for the more entertaining lot. And better looking as well. I mean really. You don’t know where those Republicans have been before. Apart from airport toilets that is. Also, you pay for something that is worthwhile. Will you pay to watch a re-run of Gigli or the Adventures of Pluto Nash? You know what the Republicans are all about. Been there and done that. No reason to pay for it and see it again. It was aweful the last time around and you know it won’t be better the next time either. Not when you have the real blockbuster coming right up – the Democrats are the movie for next summer. You don’t know if it will be any good, but you know it will be a damn lot better than the bad show of last years and yesterday. No it isn’t the media being biased. It’s the media deciding that it is better to pay for hope than get screwed for nothing by dope.

___________________________________

See ya’ll later.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Here we go again…

1. The world growing bigger?

The only problem is that not everything else is expanding with it. I know it is disturbing. But don’t worry. We are. Humans. And other planets. And animals. At least until we slaughter them and turn them into burgers and steaks. Even our measurements are expanding. And no, I don’t mean our waistlines. Okay. Not only our waistlines. Also our waste-lines. No idea what that means, but it sounded good when I wrote it. Anyway… I thought the world must be growing while our food and drinks stay the same size. Why? Because everything is getting smaller. Bought a salad the other day and realized that it is smaller than what I remembered from the last time I bought a salad. But then I had a closer look. Damnit. Can you believe it. Even salads are being reduced in size. No – not because of obesity. Rather because of profits. With “raw” materials and overheads going up they had to cut cost somewhere. Why not start with the portions they sell? No problem. Right? Well, I don’t have a problem with it. But it would have been nice of them to tell me. I felt a bit cheated. Dirty. And looking at the smaller packet made me feel all grown up and bigger than what I feel really comfortable with. I felt a bit like Alice for a minute. But, as you might know, I am not a big salad eater. So it didn’t faze me. But I lost it when I realized that they are doing it to beer! Bloody hell people! That’s a line you should never, ever cross. Do what you want with us, but leave our beer alone. You thought President Bush got all pissed at Iraq trying to kill his daddy. Don’t mess with an African and his beer. But they did. Selling us 14 ounce beers but passing it off as a 16 ounce beer! Sacrilege! But the trend continues. Cars are getting smaller. Which is a good thing. My ego can fit into a Mini. But those guys with the big trucks and girls with the big SUV’s. Not sure if their ego can fit into a Ford Focus. I mean really, they only just manage to squeeze into a Hummer. Yeah. The world is shrinking. No, you aren’t getting fat. It’s the clothes shrinking… We’ll all look like Lance Armstrong soon. Tights everywhere. Okay, maybe with two… hum… you know. Oh, I was lying about the salad. It is shrinking, but I am African. We don’t do salad. A good salad is anything not meaty – like chicken.

2. Getting ready to be arrested

I am off to China this weekend. But I’ll tell you about that later. Once I am back. Still waiting for my visa, but hopefully that will be sorted today. There is a reason why I use the name Angry African you know… Anyway. I have been talking to my IT guy about staying connected while I am over there. Apparently it won’t be a good idea to blog from there. Not only do they sometimes “relieve” you of the burden carrying your laptop around, but don’t like bloggers speaking out that much. Not much at all. You see, China, Burma, Iran and Egypt heads the list of countries arresting people because they blog about their political views. I am safe then I guess. I don’t do political views… What I write is nothing but an impartial view of the world and what is happening around us. So I should be safe. But many bloggers are not. 334 got arrested in Burma alone. But thanks to their “somewhat” restrictive government, these could not be verified. When you drop of the face of the earth… 

3. No workers, no problem

Biofuels are held up as either the answer to all our problems or the next disaster to hit us. I don’t have much of a view on this one. I think biofuels could be part of the solution (not the solution), but the current approach sucks. Using corn and sugar just don’t make sense. it pushes food prices right up and we cut down forests meant to protect us from emissions. Sounds like stupid economics to me. And Brazil has a huge problem. They are cutting down the Amazon rainforest faster than you can say “Hummer”. I mean really. 1,123 square kilometers were cut down in April alone… So Unica, the Brazilian ethanol lobby decided to go on the charm offensive. They invited a few journalist around to show them all the good stuff they are doing. Apart from the cutting down of trees that they forgot to mention, most of their ideas are just fine. Like going all mechanical in the cutting of the cane. Less pollution because they don’t have to burn them anymore. But there was something else that caught my eye. The reporter only mentions it as a “by the way”. But it struck me that Unico might still need some more PR training. Unico said that companies are going all mechanical on us because it addresses two challenges. One, the pollution. Check. Secondly, it will get rid of the cane-cutters and therefore also get rid of any labor problems and labor critics. Hum. Maybe you shouldn’t have mentioned that one. Keep spinning the “we chop down trees to be green” line. It’s not only more believable, it also makes the “little people” go away.

4. The two stooges

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are meeting as we speak. I mean Mbeki and Mugabe are meeting. In Zimbabwe. Not sure why. Maybe to discuss the weather. Or the latest fashion. Or what curtains to pick for their new houses. Or fining new and more spouses. Bloody idiots. Look. I have supported Mbeki through thick and thin. Defended him wherever I could. I even defended his initial position on HIV/Aids in South Africa. And justified his initial approach to the Zimbabwean crisis. But it has gone too far. People are dying in South Africa because of his idiotic HIV/Aids policies and lack of action. And people are dying in Zimbabwe because of a tyrant that has gone bonkers. Mbeki and his “quiet diplomacy” just sounds like “staying quiet”. Sorry you two idiots. Time’s up. You are not welcome anymore. Just take your stuff and go sit in the corner. And be quiet. We have a name for people like you. It starts with an “m”. “Moer-something” in Afrikaans and “Mother-something” in English. Just go. Don’t hang your curtains. Hang your heads in shame. Or just hang your heads.

5. McCain inspiring old white men in Europe

I don’t think so. Okay, maybe he does if you include the arms dealers. But other than that, McCain inspires people outside the US about as much as Osama Bin Laden inspires tolerance. yes, there might be one or two out there who would fall for them. But they are loonies and at the fringe. But Obama. Now that is another story. He isn’t even President (yet) and he is already inspiring people across the world. telling them to break out of their racial stereotype and that anything is possible. That you can do it – no matter where you come from. France is going through some tough times right now. Race is at the forefront of so many debates. And they have violence on the streets of Paris. Because people feel hopeless. That in the land of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Well educated blacks have to compete with 15-year old white kids for a job at McDonald’s. Nothing wrong with working at McDonald’s. But when the color of your skin stoops you from aiming higher, then you have a problem. But all of a sudden Obama is making people talk about race in France. And what it means. And how it can be overcome. And how it can inspire people to continue to fight the good fight for equality. Real equality. Not just a French word. That is inspiring. That is Obama. McSame? Well, apparently the old people in France likes his comb-over. It is so provincial.

See ya later.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Yes, South Africa is failing us. No wait. Not South Africa. The ANC. The ANC is failing us. Our government is failing us. Us – the people of South Africa. And it has nothing to do with Apartheid.

Let’s get this straight – their failure has nothing to do with Apartheid. Apartheid was a despicable oppressive system. There was nothing good about it. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. Okay, maybe for the white South Africans it was a holiday camp. But for the majority of South Africans it was an oppressive system who gave them no rights – a concentration camp. No political rights outside of a failed red-herring joke of a homelands system. Ha! 13% of the land for 80% of the population. No right to ownership. You want land? Go and eat dirt. In your homeland. No right to economic wealth. The best jobs were reserved for whites. Ever wondered how all the top jobs were occupied by white faces? Now you know. Reserved parking only. South Africa was covered by one single sign that we saw on the benches and doors and busses every single day under Apartheid – Whites Only.

Oh I can go on and on about how bad Apartheid was. But I won’t. You should know that. If you don’t – go read the TRC document or any decent and recent history book. Or pull the bigot stickers off your eyes. If you liked Apartheid stop reading now. You won’t like the rest of this piece either. But neither will the ANC.

Make no mistake, we can blame Apartheid for many of the problems we experience in South Africa today. The legacy of Apartheid lives on. And the chickens are still coming home to roost. Only problem is that these bloody chickens don’t know the farm is under new ownership. But here – have a few of these on the side.

The education system in South Africa sucks. No surprise there. Under Apartheid the per capita expenditure for white schoolkids were 5 times more than for black kids. Oh, and the ratio between white teacher and white kids were about half of the ratio for black schools. Yes, they had separate schools, separate authorities and a separate curriculum. No surprise there. And due to the lack of adequate financing and training, teachers in black schools were generally less qualified than white teachers who had some of the best universities in the world. So what the hell did you expect to happen when Apartheid ended? That everyone will all of a sudden get the same education as traditionally white schools? A system change was needed and that takes time. Make the per capita expenditure the same, but you still had to rebuild the infrastructure of the traditional black schools and retrain many of the teachers – white and black – to get up to speed to a non-racial curriculum. And merge all the different education departments in South Africa and those in the homelands. No easy task hey? Imagine the largest corporate merger in the world – and instead of two make it about ten or more companies merging into one. So stop bitching. The education system is much better than under Apartheid for the majority of South Africans.

How about policing? Yeah! Under Apartheid the primary function of the South African Police Service (SAPS) was the suppression of political dissent. Stopping criminal activity, beyond that which directly threatened the white minority, was a much lower priority, and there were almost no tradition or expertise in criminal investigation in South Africa. Between 80 and 90 percent of criminal convictions were gained on the basis of confessions, obtained by what was called the “choke and talk” technique of police intimidation. Oh yes, and in 1994 they had to consolidate eleven Apartheid-era policing agencies into one. So, reform was needed while at the same time show the public it can actually reduce crime as well. Or, as a senior SAPS officer once said, “Police reform is like rebuilding a ship while it is in full sail during a hurricane”. No problem, hey Sherlock?

Okay, let’s see where to go next – last one. Healthcare. On the one hand we had a system that provided first-world healthcare to a small minority – provided by a well-resourced tertiary system. I mean really, we had the first heart transplant done in South Africa. On a white South African. Because only they had access to this level of healthcare. The rest? Let’s just say that they had very little health to care about in the first place. There were no basic or essential services provided in any structured way. So come 1994 – what did you expect? To continue to live the life of luxury while the majority remain dying from bad water and weather?

Wait – let’s do just a last few. Basic services like water, housing and electricity. Except for a few toilets build in the middle of nowhere, the Apartheid government did jack shit for black South Africans. Don’t tell me about the single line of electricity that ran into a selected township under Apartheid. One swallow doesn’t make a summer. It’s like saying that anyone can now sit on the bench in the park – but only whites are allowed in the park. Or that anyone can now swim in the sea – but only whites are allowed on the beaches. Sorry to disappoint you. The Apartheid system sucked. And nothing good came of it for the majority of South Africans. And we still live with the failure of that system. The sins of our fathers…

The end of Apartheid wasn’t just a change from one government to another. That would have been easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. No sweat. No problem. ‘n Boer maak mos ‘n plan. Geen probleem broe. Daasie kakkie want daasie kossie. It was a revolution. It made the fall of the wall in Berlin look like a walk in the park. And we had no money compared to them. The fall of the USSR – no problem. Here? Each and every law had to be rewritten (yes – we wrote more laws between 1994 and 2000 than any other country in the world). We had to merge ten to 15 departments into one for each group under Apartheid. We had to retrain people to serve and not kill. We had to reallocate budgets when South Africa was already an emerging market with extremely limited funds – comparable to Argentina and Egypt and India. Not the US or UK – that was the life of the whites in South Africa. We had to change from a limited healthcare system to one that provides primary healthcare to all South Africans. We had to change an economic system from inward looking to export-oriented. And all of that isn’t even half of it. We still had to get rid of institutional racism and go through the rebirth of a nation (thanks TRC – you got us closer). So don’t think it was a change in government. It wasn’t. It was changing from Nazi Germany (without any money or a world plan to finance rebuilding) to a free society overnight. Like that – “Snap!”. Now you see Apartheid – “Snap!” – now you don’t. Gone. Welcome to freedom – now let me turn your world upside down.

But still. I blame the ANC for failing us. Because they are. They are failing us. I don’t give a damn about how tough a job they had and have. I know the legacy of Apartheid. I know that it hasn’t been easy. I know what shit they inherited from the Apartheid regime. I don’t blame them for not building enough houses. I don’t blame them for not creating enough jobs. I don’t blame them for the violence and crime. I don’t blame them for the kids failing school. I don’t blame them for not building the clinics fast enough. Because all of those things are better than under Apartheid for most South Africans. But I do blame them for failing South Africa. And failing us – the people of South Africa.

I blame them for creating a false hope. I blame them for promising us a better government than what they have become. They are not a bad government. They are just a government. Making bad choices. And making good choices. A mix bag of some good stuff and some bad stuff. Like other governments.

The arms deal and corruption? Nothing special. Bloody hell, they actually dealt with it better than others. Finding Tony guilty and sending him to jail! The Chief Whip of the ruling party! Can you imagine the UK or US doing that? Here Dick and Halliburton was so closely linked but no one blinks an eye – never mind investigate. Or Blackwater and their backhanders. And the UK? The UK government refuses to investigate the bribery that took place in the arms deal with the Saudis. Why? Because it will “threaten national security”. So, sorry people, the ANC is no worse than other governments. They all fail foreign policy. You think Mbeki and Zimbabwe is bad? Have you heard anything from the US on the Saudis who have one of the worse human rights record in the world? No, sorry people, the ANC is no worse than other governments. They are just like them. And that is why they are failing us.

We believed naively that the end of Apartheid meant the start of a super-government. That our government is above other governments. More just than any other. They are better then the best. The most human of all humans. The fairest of them all. They lied to us – without saying a word. They made us believe in a world that is better than any other.  We somehow believed that we are the chosen people. And our government who gave us our freedom will somehow give us the freedom of our souls.

And when we had Mandela we actually entrenched that belief. A South Africa where miracles happen when Madiba snaps his fingers. Our “Special One”. The one who brings hope, love and peace to all. We love him. We truly love him like no President or leader is loved. And that is right. Because he is like no other. He is our Madiba. But still they failed us.

They failed us because they made us believe that we are somehow better than others. That somehow they will be better than others. They failed us by being just another bloody typical government. Like all others. That is their failure. For being too normal. And we were the suckers for falling for it in the first place.

Sorry South Africa – welcome to the world. You are now just as normal as the rest of the world. With a government that sometimes fail and sometimes succeed. Nothing special. Not what the ANC promised us. But still – just a government like all governments. And just a country like all countries. We are not special. We are just people. Just a country. Just South Africa. Like anyone else. Just normal. Normal. Normal at last.

Free at last…

___________________

Note: We still have biltong, Simba chips, Stoney, boerewors, Liqui-Fruit, mopani worms, afval, Marina braaisalt, Marmite, putu, bobotie, sosaties, Top Deck, Cream Soda, Castle, koe(k)sisters, beskuit, vetkoek, pannekoek and Peck’s to name a few – okay, drop the afval and mopani worms. And I haven’t even started on the Rugby World Cup or Kaizer Chiefs (I am an Ajax CT supporter but acknowledge power). If we lose that we are stuffed. Then we won’t be able to even brag about the bloody food or sport anymore. And then we have nothing but a cute accent, good looking people, Table Mountain and crap music. Hey wait. Apart from the music the left-overs aren’t that bad either. I’ll just blame the music on Apartheid or the ANC. You pick boeremusiek or kwaito – blame it on the boogie… man.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by RSS

Add to Technorati Favorites
Digg!

Let me be honest here. I am not a fan of Mandela. No. It would be an understatement to say that I am a fan. He means way more than that to me. So much more. He is Madiba. He is the “father”.

The father that inspires me. Inspires me to be the best I can be for others. The man who showed me that one person can make a difference. A difference that is good for others and oneself.

He is the father that made us a nation. A flawed nation, but a nation nonetheless. Like any good father he loves us for who we are and who we can be. He disciplines us when we are wrong, but he loves us unconditionally. We might rebel every now and again, but we know we are his children. We know because he served us for 27 years while in jail. Never waivering in his belief that we can and should be better than what we were. And we don’t always know why he loves us and cares for us. But he does. He loves us warts and all. Like a father should.

He reminds us of our place in the world. He made us part of a larger family. Reminded us of our place in this world. Our responsibility to others in this world. Told us to take his family motto of love to the world. To never be quiet when we see injustice done. No matter what the consequences might be. And the world loves him for this. The world that believes in love, peace and responsibility.

He is ubuntu. Believing in others more than himself. Serving others and caring for others not because he has to but because it is what makes him Madiba. Like breathing. He just does what should be done. No hidden agenda. He is because others are. He is us – the us we want to be.

To call me a fan would be an understatement. Get it?

So why do I even start comparing Obama to Mandela? I don’t know. I have been watching him and listening to him. And something in him spoke to me. I couldn’t put my finger on it. But I think it is because he reminds me of my own father – Madiba.

And not just because they look alike. Yes they do and it has nothing to do with them both being black. They have the same shaped head and thin long jaw. No wait, it’s the mouth and the eyes. Those mouths are the same – just look at those lines next to their mouths. It is a carbon copy of each other. It comes from easy laughs and smiles. And the eyes. Notice how they look at you when they talk to you. They look at you and you can see in their eyes that they actually believe what they say. Of course it helps that they are also build the same. Lean and tall. But I think the younger Mandela would take out Obama in a fight though – just look at those early boxing photo’s. But they look the same.

Make no mistake – not everyone will like Obama. And that is a good thing. Mandela wasn’t liked by everyone. Not everyone in this world saw him as the peacemaker. They kept him in jail dude. How could they like him when he told them that what they did were wrong? People have ego’s and self-interest to look after. And Mandela challenged those. Of course you can’t find those people anywhere now. They just don’t exist anymore. Denying that they ever disliked him – except behind closed doors. They are gone – just like those who hated Kennedy and MLK when they were alive. They just hated Mandela for what he stood for. Someone who asked them to be better than what they were. Asking them to change and get out of their comfort zone. And those same people will hate Obama and what he stands for. Asking people to change and be better than what they are. And many of those people who hated Mandela were those in power. Those who benefited from the system. And those would be the people who will hate Obama most. People who benefit from the system. And those who are trying to tell people that the system benefits everyone. Of course they are wrong. Some people benefit more than others. And some people have more power than others. And those in power will hate Obama the way that Mandela was hated by the Apartheid regime. They don’t want change because they are happy where they are – in charge and in it for their own benefit alone. You watching Washington? But great leaders don’t waver just because people don’t like them. Mandela didn’t and Obama shouldn’t. Stick to the plan. Stick to what your heart and mind tell you are the right things to do. Those who hate you today will be quiet tomorrow.

Don’t expect Obama to be perfect though. Mandela wasn’t. Mandela made some huge mistakes. Just look at his original position on HIV/Aids. That was a big mistake. And Obama will make mistakes. Who doesn’t? Show me a leader and I will show you mistakes. But great leaders will overcome this and learn from their mistakes. It is not the mistakes that counts, it is how you respond once you realize that you are wrong. Leaders make mistakes. Great leaders learn from them and work through their mistakes.

I don’t get the “Obama is a great speaker” bit that Hillary is trying to sell people. He isn’t. He stutters and don’t have an easy flow. But he is great at saying the right things. That’s why they care about what he has to say. That’s why they listen. Because he doesn’t talk to them, but with them. People can sense that when he talks. He means what he says and it matters. Mandela was the same. He was the worse speaker you can think of. Same stuttering and lack of flow. But people listened because they knew that what he said mattered. Because he was talking with them. And they could feel that he meant what he said. They knew that they were in the presence of something great. They knew that they were in the presence of someone who will make them better than what they are. That was Mandela and that is Obama. They talk with us and about us. In the same fallible way we talk.

Great leaders lead. They are born to do this. They didn’t decide one day to become this leader. They just lead because it is their destiny. They will tell you that it will be difficult to go where they want to go, but that the end would be better. They don’t try and tell people about every policy and every detail of how they will govern. No. They paint people a picture and tell them to follow. And the most difficult part is when they have to take people to places where they don’t want to go. Outside their comfort zone. Mandela did that a few times. When popular leaders tried the populist routs and targeted the white communities. They shouted slogans like “kill the farmer, kill the boer” and “one settler, one bullet”. And Mandela stood up and berated them in front of everyone. Asking them who is the leader? Who will lead people to a better place? That it is easy to shout slogans, because it spoke to our worse fears and thoughts. But that real leaders go forwards and take people with them – sometimes kicking and screaming. I know. I was at some of those rallies. And Obama does the same. He berated the Clintons because they were starting to do the populist thing – insulting Obama and trying to drag him into a bit of mud slinging. And he almost fell for it. He almost got involved in their fight. But he remembered what this was all about. It’s about America and the future, not about Obama and the Clintons. And he berated them because that is not the way you lead. That’s the way you herd cattle, not the way you lead.

Mandela always put people first. He told us that South Africa is about the people in South Africa. No matter where they come from or the color of their skin. It was always people first. And we could sense that. We could sense the way he cared was something we have never experienced before. That he cared more for his people than he cared about himself. That it was about you and not him. And I hear that and see that in Obama. That this is about the American people. No matter where you come from or who you are. This is your time. This is the time for Americans to take America back. To take it back to the place that we all love. Yes, we all love. Because no matter where you are, people across the world loved America and what it stood for. But we haven’t had that America since Kennedy died. It’s been all politics since then. Every President trying to leave a legacy. And the easiest way that those Presidents got their legacy was through wars or paying people off through tax breaks or aid. They forgot what America stood for. And in Obama we see the opportunity to take America back to the place that we all inspire to become. The land of the free.

A land of hope. Mandela gave us that. He gave us hope for a better tomorrow. A better tomorrow for us and our children. He showed us that we can be better than what we are. That we can have a better tomorrow. That it won’t always be easy. But that we can have a better tomorrow through hard work and a steadfast vision. Mandela gave us hope for a better South Africa. And we are better. Better than at any stage in our history. Not perfect. Just better. And that’s the hope. We are not stupid. We know that life will never be a walk in the park. That’s life. We live and learn. And hope we have more enjoyment than struggles. But it is a hope of a better future we can believe in. Not a false hope of a perfect future. And that’s what Obama is giving America. Hope. That is the most powerful thing that he is giving America. Hope for a better future. And the difference is that it is not only a hope we can believe in, but a hope that we know he believes in. Politicians always try to give us hope. But we are not stupid. We can hear in their voices that it is a hope they are trying to sell us. Not a hope they believe in. But Obama gives America a hope he believes in. He is painting a picture, not trying to sell an empty hope.

And of course Mandela was all about change. Change in the type of leader we had and change in the type of government we had. Obama won’t have to change a whole political system. But in a way his challenge is even more difficult. He doesn’t have the opportunity to get rid of all the old dead wood in government. No, they will remain in power. But he has to fight them day in and day out. Get them moving – kicking and screaming. But he can do it as long as he stays true and he remains open and honest with the American people. But change will come. The real benefit of change in Washington will most likely only come after he has left office. When the new breed of leaders come through. Those who saw this path of Obama and decided to take change to Washington. But Obama will plant the seeds and we will continue to eat the fruit when he leaves.

And like Mandela Obama will have very little experience in running a country. Leaders don’t need experience. They just need to employ the right people to make it happen. They paint the picture and others will make it happen. Mandela had no experience. 27 years in jail does not give you any experience to run a country. But he is the greatest leader the world has seen since Ghandi. And talk about Ghandi – what experience did he have? A bit of traveling in South Africa? And Churchill? He was a journalist in South Africa before he took up politics. And the same with Kennedy – not a lot of experience for such a young man. Great leaders are born, not made. Experience is needed for a Vice President and the Generals. Not for those who must lead a country.

In a way experience can be counter to what we really need. It muddies the water and creates white noise. You want someone to have experience in Washington where all the problems are? That just makes them part of the problem. Not the solution. Did you want experience when you got married? No, you just wanted someone to love you and help you figure out this complex world. Love was the only experience you wanted. Obama has just the right amount of experience in Washington to know that it doesn’t work. And that he should do this before he gets sucked into that system as well.

Obama is America’s Mandela. He speaks with us and not to us. He gives us hope we can believe in and not a packaged hope ready for a quick sale. He gives us a future we can believe in and that he believes in. He gives us back our rightful place in the world, not one forced upon us and them. He gives us leadership to take us where we need to go, not always where we want to go. He gives us belief in us as people because he believes in us. He gives us the experience of leadership, not the leadership of the status quo. He leads us, but don’t herd us. Most of all. He gives us the inspiration to be better than what we are. He inspires us to be better than what we are and better for each other. He has shown us a future we can believe in. A future where America is free. And an America we and the world can love again.

We used to shout slogans whenever we saw Madiba. It was our way to honor him. Viva Mandela, viva. Long live, Madiba, long live. Viva Barack, viva. Long live, Obama, long live.

Note: If Obama is Mandela does it make Hillary Mbeki? Yes. Like Mbeki she will be loved by some and hated by others because of her ideological bias and political baggage. She will divide people more than bring them together. And like Mbeki she will reflect the old school politicians. Those with ties to the past leadership and ties to the political system. Those with the experience of doing nothing. Those who the system say they hate, but love because nothing will really change. But like Mbeki she will be a good manager of government. But it will be a government of limited change. Only change around the edges. A few policies and practices. But not change of the system that created the problems to start off with. And like Mbeki she will not give us hope or inspire us. She will manage the country and do no worse than other Presidents. But you won’t look back and remember her in the same way you will remember Kennedy, Ghandi, Madiba or Churchill. Your children will look back and learn about her. But as a President that did good things and bad things. Not as a President that defined who we are and who we can be. But with Obama you might. You stand a chance. With Obama you might actually make the world believe in itself again.

Add to Technorati Favorites
Digg!