Aziwe #FeesMustFall

“Inkunzi isematholeni”. Lamazwi aqukethe okuningi uma ulandela okwenzeka eNingizimu Afrika namuhla.

Intsha idlala izidakamizwa kanye nezifo ezingalapheki. Ikati lilele eziko. Imisebenzi ayikho. Abantu abanawo amakhono okuzisebenza. Abanye baziphilisa ngamasenti akhishwa uhulumeni ngenhloso yokulekelela abazali bezingane. Ukuba umuntu onsundu kusayichilo njengoba kwakunjalo ngo-1994.

Amazwi eqhawe lomzabalazo u-Solomon Mahlangu, ebhekwe isigwebo sentambo, athi akanavalo ngesigwebo abekwe sona ngoba uyazi ukuthi igazi lakhe lizoba umanyolo ozokhulisa isihlahla sempumelelo. Iqhawe lentsha elabulawa ngamaphoyisa ngonyaka wa-1977, u-Bantu Steve Biko, uthi esikhathini sempumelelo wonke umuntu uyoba nendawo yakhe yokukhululeka, atanase, athokoziswe izithelo zalesihlahla umfoka Mahlangu akhuluma ngaso. Abafundi abasema nyuvesi kulonyaka bathi leyo mpumelelo abayazi! Ayikafiki! Basayizingela! Bazoyithola ngenkani!

 Ukhongolose unguhulumeni

Ukhongolose uwine ukhetho lokugcina ngomkhankaso obunobuciko, kepha isiqubulo ebesithi “We have a good story to tell” sesiphenduka ihlaya. Ukwenza abantu izilima ukuthi uthi uphethe mese utshele abafundi ukuthi uvumelana nesifiso sabo kepha ungenzi isiqiniseko sokuthi kwenzeke lokhu okucelwayo. Uhulumeni utshele abaphathi bezikhungo zemfundo ukuthi akwande inani labafundi. Izikhungo zikwenzile lokhu. Kodwa uhulumeni uyayinciphisa imali ayifaka emanyuvesi. Kuyacaca ke ukuthi inhloso ukuthi abafundi bangaqedi noma kwehle uhlobo noma ubuchule bemfundo. Imfundo yamabanga aphela kumatikuletsheni ifile. Uma isimo siqhubeka kuyacaca ukuthi iziqu zemfundo ephakeme zingagcina sezi yizeleze njenge sitifiketi sikamatikuletsheni.

Ukhongolose kumele wazi ukuthi uma ungakugobeli lokhu okucelwa abafundi, ukuthi imali ingakhuphuki ngonyaka ozayo, bavumelana nokuthi isizwe esimnyama siqhubeke nokuhlupheka okungasoze kwaphela. Isiphelile manje iminyaka emihlanu abafundi ezikhungweni ezahlukene beteleka unyaka nonyaka ngalo loludaba lokubiza kwemfundo. Isikhathi sokubaziba sesiphelile.

Abafundi bakhombisa ubuholi

Abahlaziyi bezombusazwe sekunesikhathi manje bekhononda ngokungabi khona kwabaholi ongazishaya isifuba ngabo. Uma ucabanga abaholi esinabo uvele uphelelwe amandla, awucabange laba nje: umongameli u-Jacob Zuma, mam’ Angie Motshekga, Faith Muthambi, Gugile Nkwinti, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Dina Pule, Ellen Tshabalala, Thulas Nxesi, Nathi Mthethwa neduku lakhe, Tina Joemat Peterson. Ngingazithola ngihlaselwa iNyala ne White star uma ngibabiza ngempuphu. Kuthi khala uma ubuka ubungane nobuphukuphuku obuqhubeka ephalamende.

Isenzo sabafundi abasemanyuvesi ahlukahlukene sikhombise ubuhlakani nobuholi esingasabazi. Ngesikhathi esincane nje abafundi bakwazila ukudonsa amehlo eningi ngendlela ezokwenza ukuthi sibheke ukubiza kwemfundo ephakeme, sibheke ubandlululo olusaqhubeka kwezinye zalezikhungo, siphinde sibukisise isimo sabantu abaqashiwe kulezikhungo zemfundo abasebenza kanzima kepha behhola amakinati.

Akukho nokumsabisa uBlade Nzimande ngokuthi #BladeMustFall ngoba uyambona nje ukuthi kukhona okuthize okudlula entanyeni okukade kwaqeda ngaye, sekuzisalele igobonga nje.

Okuhle ngokuteleka kwabafundi

Abafundi bakhombise umunyano oluyisimanga. Uma ubuholi babafundi base UKZN-Edgewood bungeneme, obase Westville buyangenelela. Umakuqala i-Wits i-UCT iyalandela, kuthi kusenjalo ubone i-DUT, NMMU, WSU, Rhodes kanjalo… Lokhu kuyinkomba yokuhlangana nokuhlela esingasakwazi selokho kwabakhona i-ANC ya-Mbeki ne-ANC ya-Zuma zibhekene emahlweni. Belwa bodwa. Bengalwi nobubha kanye nezinselelo esibhekene nazo njengezwe. Laba bafundi basebenza ndawonye noma omunye echeme ne-EFF omunye ewukhongolose kanjalo kanjalo. Kuyancomeka lokhu, amagalelo abo mahle. Bakhombisa ubuhlakani ngokuya ephalamende, eLuthuli House kanye nase-Union Buildings ngoba amavoti ethu aphelela khona.

Abafundi bakhombisa isimilo nobuhlakani ngokuteleka okungenadlame. Kodwa ke nalapho udlame luba khona kumele kucace ukuthi uma isimo sesifike kwa ngqingetshe angeke abafundi batshelwe ukuthi basebenzise eziphi izindlela zokuveza ukunganeliseki. Lokhu akuhlukile ekutheni i-PAC kanye ne-ANC kwadingeka ukuthi baqeqesha amasosha (POQO, Umkhonto weSizwe) ngaphambi kokuthi kuxoxiswana nezidlamlilo zamabhunu ezaziphethe.

Abafundi bakhombisa ukuqonda ukuthi impi ayikho mayelana nezimali nje kuphela kodwa kusanenselelo yokulwa nobandlulo kanye nefa lengcindezelo yeminyaka. Okunye okungihlabe umxhwele ukubona abafundi abangaswele  benyathela eduze kwalabo abangazithola bevaleleka ngaphandle uma izimali ezivele zibiza itshe ziphinde zikhuphuka.

Uma sibona abafundi bekhuzana bodwa, becosha amaphepha emuva kokuteleka, begqugquzelana ngokuthi bateleke emini mese bafunde ebusuku  sibona ngokusobala ukuthi banenhloso.

Isixazululo

Abezindaba babethi lapho uma bebuza izinsika zomzabalazo esibala kuzo u-Rolihlahla Mandela kanye no-Bantu Biko ukuthi abantu abamnyama banganikwa kanjani ivoti noma umhlaba ekubeni bengafundile? Lezihlabani ziphendule ngelithi:

Awudingi ukuthi ufunde ukuze ukwazi ukuzikhethela noma ube nomhlaba wokuziphilisa. Lendlela yokuphendula yayingenhlosi yokwenza kube sobala ukuthi akungadidaniswa izinto. Imfundo ibaluleke ngendlela eyisimanga kepha kwakungasona isizathu esiqavile sokuthi abantu abansundu ababambiswe iwa kuze kuyovalwa leso. Ngendlela ethi mayifane ke nginombono wokuthi ubuholi abudlule ekucasheni ngokuthi imali ayikho yokufeza izifiso zabafundi. Ubuholi abuhole bayeke ukuhona. Umsebenzi wabo ukuxazulula indaba yokuthi imali izoqhamukaphi. Kungcono ukuthi abafundi batelekele imali yokufunda kunoku khangezela imali yeqolo. Uma sikwazi ukukhipha izinkulungwane zezigidi silungiselela indebe yomhlaba, sisafuna nokusingatha ama-Commonwealth games akungadlalwa ngathi kuthiwe imali ayikho. Kumele wonke umfundi ophasa kahle akwazi ukuthi afunde imfundo ephakeme!

Viva #FeesMustFall Viva!

#ProtestAndPass

#0%

#AwunyiPerhaps

South Africa’s xenophobia 2.0 : An indictment

I am embarrassed to be a South African. Writing this is actually uncomfortable. Nonetheless it may help to clarify my mind and counter some of the cognitive dissonance that the latest xenophobic attacks bring.

I do not know what to say to my friends, fellow students and acquaintances from Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other parts of this continent. I have no satisfactory responses to inquiries from friends in parts of the Diaspora or South African citizens who are currently out of the country. Whilst all sane South Africans condemn the violence I sense a sense of helplessness. There are a few extremists who go to the extent of beating, looting and shaming fellow Africans who happen to be born further up the continent. These extremists, it must be said, share views that are not as negligible as we would like to believe. That said there are many South Africans who are embarrassed, disgusted, disappointed, dejected and infuriated. Most troubling however is the sense of paralysis that has been induced onto those Africans who do not have the sociopathic urge to kill or steal from people on the basis that they were not born in Afrique du Sud.

Leadership

It is a long established fact that South Africa has a dearth of leadership, the death happened in 2007, the funeral was in Polokwane, the mourning period seems infinite. From the crises at Eskom, Post office, schools, municipalities to the national assembly and the presidency the common factor is a (mis)leadership of gargantuan proportions.  When people were massacring each other in KZN, before the 1994 elections, Nelson Mandela would visit the sites of death and clearly articulate his (and his peers) disapproval and pave a way forward. The current miscreants operate on the level of denial. The current violence has been festering for years, in fact it never disappeared following the 2007/8 attacks. Unfortunately our elected leaders deny, deny and deny again. The tired official line from government blames the attacks on criminal elements. This is a rubbish argument that exposes shoddy thinking. If the criminal elements only target Africans from Somalia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania and not South Africans or people from other continents than these elements are afrophobic/xenophobic first and criminal second.

The leadership is overwhelmingly underwhelming. The lethargically minded Zulu king, who has less relevance than a heater salesman in hell, spewed vitriolic comments that were the direct precipitant of the current violence in KZN. I heard from South Africans caught in the crossfire on Tuesday, 14 April 2015, that the group of South African extremists were singing songs that suggested they were defending the king “sebethinta u-Zulu…”. None of the leaders in government, who give a sizeable portion of our taxes to Zwelithini, have come out and condemned his moronic remarks. Senzo Mchunu, KZN premier’s, pathetic attempt to deflect a question on this matter was disappointing to watch.

Perhaps most disturbing in the leadership front is that the ANC liberators who used to be accommodated in Tanzania, Zim, Zambia and elsewhere on the continent are either treating this matter with nonchalance or worse still making statements that add fuel to the blazing fire. Ministers Nomvula  Mokonyane and Lindiwe Zulu have made questionable and somewhat ominious statements in recent months. The much critiqued VISA restrictions imposed by Gigaba’s home affairs ministry have proven to add to frustrations for students and workers from other parts of the continent. It marks the complete failure of the African Renaissance vision espoused by leaders like Thomas Sankara and our own Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki. For some students from other parts of Africa entry into South African universities is enabled but they cannot do the practical component of their studies in the republic whilst some candidates apply for jobs and are turned down because jobs are reserved for South Africans. It is depressing to think that the European Union enables a German in Spain to be treated with more of the much touted Ubuntu that a Zimbawean in South Africa.

Conflation of issues

The notion that foreign internationals (this includes people from the Americas, Asia, and Europe etc.) are stealing South Africans’ jobs is a misnomer. In fact if it were true the current attack would be directed at the wrong class of foreign internationals. As a country with a scarcity of skills we import labour for technical, business, education and other professions. The people being attacked are largely not in this group. The attacks are happening in CBDs and townships, not at the JSE or in mine house boardrooms.

Related to the stealing of jobs fallacy is the argument that Somalians, Zimbabweans, Pakistanis, Mozambicans are opening small businesses and running locals out of business by selling on the cheap. This argument makes sense at face value but we must not succumb to lazy thinking. We have an entire ministry for small businesses that is geared towards assisting SOUTH AFRICANS establish and optimise small and medium enterprises. Now if a foreign international, who may or may not have legal authority to be in the country, can outperform a South African who has government support and the advantage of knowing the target market then surely there is a systematic problem.  This points to South Africans having a poor culture of entrepreneurship. A young person who can source funding for a degree/diploma suddenly cannot establish and maintain their own small business, in the field that they studied in? If the issue is ‘unfair competition’, find out where the Somalian traders are sourcing their goods from, if these are not SABS approved then deal with this issue.

I can hypothesise that amongst those small business owners from Zim, Somali or China can keep their prices lower by minimising their costs. For instance I know traders from the aforementioned countries who use the same accommodation for business and living. Additionally they may not wear the most expensive clothing and are advantaged by the fact that they would be denied credit by South African lenders. In any case even if the targeted traders were scheming to run South Africans out of business one would expect us as South Africans to be slightly more imaginative than ‘solving’ this dilemma by looting, burning and killing people with the disdain we reserve for mosquitoes and cockroaches.

Psychosocial implications

Sociology students would be better equipped to explain why our xenophobia is taking on a racial stance. It is almost as if the attacker can only feel better about themselves, and their own despised self image, by finding someone who can be seen to be lesser. A Mozambican with a darker, melanin induced, hue and an accent that is not familiar fits the bill far better that a Greek or Jewish trader.

From a theoretical perspective two concepts come to mind. The psychodynamic concept of displacement is noteworthy. Displacement merely refers to transferring negative feelings from an appropriate object to a less threatening object. Metaphorically it is illustrated in the example of the man who is frustrated by his unreasonable boss, does not react to him/her, goes home and takes out his frustration on the wife. Similarly I hold the belief that people frustrated by lack of job/land prospects instead of confronting themselves, the gatekeepers of the economy and our elected leadership are targeting black foreign internationals with the flimsiest of excuses.

The Contact Hypothesis Theory is also relevant. This theory simply suggests that one way of increasing tolerance (and hopefully acceptance) between different groups is to have them come into non-conflictual contact on equal terms. Unfortunately for those foreign internationals who are in a lower social class such contact is virtually non-existent. I have observed that generally those South Africans who work or study with people from other African countries are more aware of their positive qualities and thus less likely to regurgitate the stereotypes of foreigners as drug peddlers who steal jobs. For example students from Zimbabwe generally have a high work ethic. In fact African students who are the cream of the crop in their countries and have benefitted from a superior education system enrich the university experience for all students. The othering and demonization of Africans legitimizes the racist ideologies of the colonisers who constructed the borders that we have now adopted and are willing to kill for.

Way forward

The sense of paralysis remains yet it cannot, it must not, persist ad infinitum. In the heat of the moment refugee camps are being set up and food, clothing and blanket supplies are needed. Those leaders in government, religious leaders and civil society who have taken a stand against the brutalization of one black by another, one African against another, one human being against another human being must be commended. Leaders need to lead the tackling of associated problems used to excuse our appalling actions be it fixing the education system, creating the conditions for fighting unemployment, tackling the drug problem, controlling porous borders or equipping home affairs and embassies with skilled and compassionate staff. The police, as some have been doing, need to do their job as per their job descriptions. We need to be mindful of what our own constitution says and act in accordance. Matters of intolerance to difference require massive moral and educational attention. Today it is xenophobia, tomorrow it will be homophobia, religious intolerance or some other point of difference. Some efforts are indirect but influential, we insist on importing Justin Bieber’s music and neglect to give airplay to talented African artists thus perpetuating our negative view of our own people and glorifying that which is truly foreign. The current excuse of an education system is successfully creating a generation of uncritical and lazy thinking South Africans who are unemployable by virtue of being unskilled. These individuals are frustrated and they can be swayed in any direction. It’s all good and well when the direction is towards a particular face in the voting booth but an unthinking mob can attack whosoever irks it.

maite

South Africa’s education system: Complicating the basics

I have written about this topic before, unfortunately things seem to be going from bad to worse. For the purposes of this article we will only look at the Department of Basic Education’s prerogative, which is Grades R to 12. In a nutshell I argue that Angie’s department is getting the basics wrong and far too little education transpires.

Matric matrix:

South Africans have an unhealthy obsession with matric, Grade 12. Each year we see a gleaming Angie Motshekga proudly bellowing praises for a job well done as the matric pass rate is announced. In January 2015 she was feigning a subdued state to be congruent with the, rather negligible, decline in the pass rate. It decreased from 78.2% in 2013 to 75.8% in 2014. She was, however, quick to point out that the pass rate was still above the 75% her department had set out to achieve by the year 2014.  Some commentators have ominously pointed out that the ‘true’ pass rate is actually 41.7%, with 688 660, out of an initial 1 252 071, learners who started Grade 1 in 2003 having sat for the matric exams. The remaining students either dropped out or were ‘held back’ along the way.

Quality of the matric certificate:

Speak to any first year university lecturer, or read the unrelenting warnings of Prof. Jansen, and you will learn that the standard of basic education is dwindling, as if to imitate St Jacob Zuma’s get-down manoeuvres at Khulubuse’s wedding turn-up. We cannot call the current education system a system! A report card with the following marks constitutes progress in the cataract clouded eyes of the department: Life Skills (LO) 40%, Maths Literacy 40%, IsiZulu 40%, English 44%, Natural Sciences 30%, Business Studies 30%, and Accounting 30%.

There is nothing systematic about offering subjects that are not recognised by your own country’s universities, Maths Literacy and Life Skills are not considered by, serious, institutions of higher learning. The Mail and Guardian revealed that a mammoth 327 schools did not offer pure maths to matriculants in 2014. Teachers at these schools say learners opt to apply for Nursing, and other careers that do not list pure Maths as a prerequisite. Now you know why you encounter nurses who are so devoid of patience you would object to them being tasked with offering nurse care to a mannequin.  Angie has announced an inquiry into the pass marks that are so low a learner can be promoted without knowing 70% of the relevant knowledge in some subjects. I can tell you now that the committee will find that the pass rates need to be revised, quite frankly it really isn’t rocket science. Would you trust an accountant, doctor, architect, nurse, or prosecutor who only knows 30% of his/her work?

Socio-economic context:

The minister of education plays the role of overseer and custodian of policy. Policy is important both in its theoretical and practical form. There are instances when theory fails to translate into practice and the minister is called upon to intervene. The Limpopo textbook debacle of 2012 comes to mind. Similarly there is a gulf between policy that outlaws corporal punishment and what happens in schools where many teachers still buy into the outdated  notion of “spare the rod spoil the child’’, or rather have no idea how to effectively use other forms of punishment in classes where the learner: teacher ratio may be up to 60:1. The ministry continuously fails to take proactive action in this matter.

Occurrences in communities threaten schooling in a manner reminiscent of the dark days of the 1970s. Primary school learners in Manenberg, Cape Town, are accompanied by their parents to school due to the high prevalence of gang violence in the area. Learners were left without a school in Limpopo after the School Governing Body at Luthuli Combined School decided they are changing the school to a primary school to be named Luthuli Primary School in January 2015. This decision, taken without the consent of Angie’s department, taken because a high school promised by the department has not yet been built, is criminal but somewhat unsurprising in a country where learners are barred from attending school during service delivery protests.

In some parts of the country, such as in Kuruman, Northern Cape, where service delivery protests included the community barring their children from attending school for most part of the second half of the year 2014, learners have been informed they will have to repeat the year. The Mail and Guardian reported that nearly 17 000 children in 54 schools were affected. Schools have a bizarre situation where last year’s Grade 1 learners are still in Grade 1 and the schools have to welcome new Grade 1 l earners.

Poverty remains a factor that determines the access to and quality of education a learner receives. It is the poor, most likely black, learner who is at risk of falling to death in a pit latrine at school, or learns under a tree or most recently had to write supplementary exams after missing an exam due to a taxi strike. Matriculants, from Johannesburg, whose sin was not having access to alternate transport on an exam day, that happened to see taxi drivers on strike over e-tolls, cannot register for university in February 2015 but must rather wait to write supplementary exams. Their dreams deferred for a year, at an expense that far outweighs the amount it would have cost the concerned schools to organise buses, or even for those parents with cars to offer to give lifts…

Some positives:

On the 22nd of December 2014 the Mercury newspaper reported that plans were in place to scrap the idiotic policy that says learners cannot fail more than one Grade in a phase. To illustrate, if ‘Steve’ fails Grade 10 he has a free pass in Grade 11 as Grade 10-12 constitute a singular phase. This moronic idea was pushed into promulgation in 2012 amid criticism, needless to say criticism washes off the backs of the current ANC-led government like water of a duck’s back.

Angie must be credited with ensuring we know just how appallingly the system is performing, by insisting on the Annual National Assessments (ANA). Furthermore she has displayed some resistance when the teacher unions have started to act like they run the department. Angie must insist on making compulsory the assessments of proficiency of teachers and promotion of skill development where these are lacking, particularly if the CAPS policy is to have any chance of being better than previous curricula policies.

What to expect in 2015:

The ANA will again reflect that the learners in the assessed grades cannot count or write at a level that is adequate for their level. Miraculously these same learners will make it to matric and pass. Socioeconomic ills will continue to castrate the academic potential of the poorest learners.

The crucial aspects of the system that require change will remain untouched. The quality of teaching will remain below par in majority of schools. The high level of unemployment has denigrated the profession of teaching, much like nursing, into a ‘safe’ career option. Thus average learners, with no passion for teaching are studying education purely for employment purposes. Simply put if Mbali was average or below average in Maths as a learner, chances are minimal that she will suddenly become an excellent Maths teacher.

The department will continue to drag its feet in its duty to ensure access to equal education. It will still be up to civil organisations, like Section 27, to ensure that Angie’s department honours its promise to eradicate mud schools. In 2011 the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) was launched and promised to upgrade 140 schools by 2014. An answer to a parliamentary question, by the Democratic Alliance, revealed that only 17 had been upgraded in the earmarked three year period. This is a 12% completion rate, a fail, even in Angie’s own, partly Hlaudi with a chance of meatballs, reasoning.

Conclusion:

Attacking the triple threat of poverty, inequality and unemployment necessitates an impeccable basic education system and the current status quo falls short of this requirement. At the present moment there appears to be a lack of political will, communities are acting in ways that sabotage their children, the quality of teaching leaves much to be desired and learners feel entitled to matric certificates and entrance to higher education.

In 1977 Oliver Reginald Tambo, addressing the first congress of the MPLA in Luanda, outlined the ANC’s vision and stated

… We fight for a South Africa in which the people shall be guaranteed the right to work, in which it will be the duty of the state to ensure that the doors of learning and of culture are open to the working people…

I suspect he would be depressed by the fact that the custodians of the state tasked with opening the doors of learning do not deem public education good enough for their children, and instead the majority of young people complete basic, and tertiary, education without skills and account for 70% of those who are unemployed. The school system is a microcosm of a nation that is going off course…

zapiro dept of ed textbooks

An open letter to everyone: All protocol observed.

Sale! Sale! Sale!

I hate sales. Not sales as a profession, if you can call it that, but sales the illusory facade of selling goods at supposedly reduced prices. If you suddenly gift me R60 free MTN-to-MTN airtime it tells me you have been relentlessly bankrupting me when you can make a handsome profit at half the cost. Similarly if you suddenly sell 2 litre Coke at R12 instead of R18 it means it probably costs you R5 to produce it and you are an acidic extortionist.

Forthcoming Matric results!

I saw a very cool Matric jacket, in the streets of Harding, with the Whatsapp-esque by-line ‘Last seen .12.2014’. For obvious reasons matriculants from that school dare not fail. After years of deliberations, pontificating, discussions, negotiations and persuasion the powers that be have reached a rather innocuous decision. Grade 12 results will still grace national newspapers, on the 6th of January 2015, but the learners ID numbers will replace the usual display of learner names. No more rolling on the floor while marvelling at the fact that Cijimpi Ngobe obtained As in IsiZulu and History or Doctor Mkhize passed with a symbol that only allows for further study at an FET college. Should we now bribe Home Affairs officials for the ID numbers of our ‘cousins’? Knowing Home Affairs’ unremitting incompetence we will not be surprised if learners from the same school discover they share ID numbers. I recently heard that learners who pass with a symbol H are teased for having merely passed with ‘’amapali eRugby”. President Number 01 must do something about this, wait, what am I saying?  #NVM

!ke e: /xarra //ke

I admire and applaud people who speak their home languages when interviewed. My favourite interviewees in this regard are Mulomowandawu Mathoho, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa (badly needs the good press) Zuma, Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima and Queen Elizabeth.

Food must take a chill pill

I take issue with the food we are sold these days. Milk no longer turns into maas, it lives a long life. Unimaginably some companies have the audacity to sell some substance they call honey. Said substance has an expiry date. Then there is food that comes with instructions. Refrigerate after opening: Makes one want to tell that yoghurt carton to, firstly, stop being rude and say please and, secondly, inform it that you do not have a fridge. Why are you selling me a pack of 64 viennas that dictates “consume within 7 days”. Must I consume 9.143 viennas a day for a week? For some reason this reminds me of the EFF MP who used the word fuggery in parliament. Yazi mina angazi! What are the fighters of the much touted ‘Government-in- waiting’ reading? Karma Sutra: The Hip Hop remake by Snoop Dogg, or Snoop Lion, or whatever creature he is debasing these days?

Welfare state is ill begotten

If one is ‘lucky’ from one month of age to their 18th birthday they will receive a grant purely for existing. A NSFAS loan will support them through the first degree (even if this is completed in a stint as long as Debora Patta’s on 3rd degree). But that’s not enough now we are hearing rumours of cash for hymen intactness. Who is going to be doing the checking? I work at a hospital and I do not think we have the capacity to be checking thousands of young maidens on a monthly basis. If we don’t check fraudsters will be Fornicating Under Consent of King Z#MA and fraudulently accepting the hymen payments. No! Nkandla’s Amphitheatre cannot be converted to a theatre for such checkups. Mama K will get confused by the #Pap_Smear #TuckShop_Pap. Give birth and receive a grant or remain a virgin and get a monetary incentive. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

To the reader

To you reading this hogwash, apparently South Africans do not read. Authors sell 10 000 copies and throw celebratory parties. Here you are, reading. I am so proud of you! I recommend the following books. 1. Mzilikazi wa Afrika’s Nothing Left to Steal. 2. K Sello Duiker’s Thirteen Cents. 3. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Last word

If you read the biblical story of Abraham and stop just before he hears the pietistic voice that tells him to not kill his son you realise that we are dealing with a disturbed man. Before you get angry at me just put yourself in Isaac’s shoes for a minute. Your dad tells you God told him to kill you as a sacrifice, and he agrees. A cool dad is the chap who throws a bash for the chap who returned from self imposed exile, after claiming his inheritance before his father had kicked the bucket. I guess what I am trying to say is you must commemmorate #WorldAidsDay and expand your spirit of humaneness and non abuse beyond the #16DaysOfActivism.

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It is always crucial for angels to be punctual!

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A worthwhile cause. Di Te Ament!

We all know someone

Thoughts on suicide by Sydney…

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

RIP. You fought long and hard and we gained from your fight. RIP. You fought long and hard and we gained from your fight.

This is one of those pieces of writing I have kept away from you because of this incredible pull away from ‘exposing’ myself in public. But I have come to learn that when the writing bug has truly hit youyou, it will create a time and space for you to share even your most intimate thoughts. In the right context. I published this piece online on Medium in June, I got about six readers and was secretly pleased. It wasn’t time.

With the tragic passing of Robin Williams this week I could not help but pull the piece from obscurity onto your world, with the hope that you will read and without judging contribute to the discussion on depression and suicide. I have close family and very dear friends whose lives have been altered permanently by suicide and…

View original post 1,839 more words

Some delayed thoughts on procrastination

“Procrastination is my sin. It brings me naught but sorrow. I know that I should stop it. In fact, I will–tomorrow” 
― Gloria Pitzer

“I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do – the day after.” 
― Oscar Wilde

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” 
― Rita Mae Brown

I have been meaning to write this short piece for a while now. Very rarely do I opine on matters that I have such a wealth of experience in as the subject of this piece. 

The online dictionary, www.dictionary.com, describes procrastinate, a verb, as

To put off till another day or time; defer; delay.

Now I must agree with the categorisation of procrastinate as a verb. Plenty of my neurons have suffered apoptosis while thinking about not doing what I think I ought to be doing. Procrastination is active in the same way that friend-zoning is a verb, or should be.

Procrastination must not be confused with other mental proclivities that are known for having crippling effects. Like tardiness or damning self-fulfilling-prophecies that make you under-perform because you think you are not good enough and so you put in an effort that reflects your perceived ability (or lack thereof). The key to successful procrastination is to get the task done, albeit, behind your ideal schedule.

You will find that reading this, thus far, has been a complete waste of your time. I do not apologise for this, nor do I promise to atone, I am utterly remorseless. I have one piece of advice on this matter. If you are a chronic procrastinator consider what I call efficacious procrastination. If you have task A to do, an important task, but you are in a procrastinating spirit, do not be in denial. Come to terms with the fact that at that point in time you cannot will yourself into doing that task and focus on other smaller tasks that would ordinarily get in the way when you are actually in the spirit (or zone) to accomplish task A. Think of it as clearing your schedule. The next best thing is acceptance.

I have learnt to not berate myself for my procrastination habits, because it doesn’t work. I lack the necessary anxiety to complete activities before the deadline day, and more importantly history has shown me that starting studying a week before exams, typing my curriculum vitae on application deadline day and buying tickets on the week of the game does not do me any harm.

Tailpiece:

20/06/2014- 12/08/2014.

That is how long it took me to write this, for obvious reasons. In the interim I finished reading a book, read over 200 pages in two other books and engaged in a new hobby: meme production (via http://www.imagechef.com)

 SANBS

DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. DONATE BLOOD. Many citizens cannot due to illness and weight (my Physics teacher would say mass) restrictions.

procrastination

I conclude with a quote from my personal favourite intellectual of all time. I would bestow an honorary PhD on this Quote Meister …

Unknown

Privilege

The first thing you must know is that it is in the interest of the privileged to not have discussions on privilege. The Oxford dictionary defines privilege as follows:

A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group: education is a right, not a privilege

Needless to say the example is an idealistic notion, but that is a calamity for another day. Implicit in this dictionary definition is that privilege infers a state of being different, but better. Differently stated privilege infers exclusivity, with those who are excluded being the losers. One person’s point of privilege is another’s disadvantage. On one side of the coin is privilege on the other prejudice. Privilege is both an outcome and a maintaining factor of unequal societal relations. Looking at race, gender, sexual orientation and disability this article will attempt to highlight certain characteristics of privilege. The intention is to acknowledge, critique and scrutinize privilege.

 

Race

As recently as 2013 I watched a theatre production titled “The Black Psychiatrist” at a university-based theatre in Durban. I will not make remarks on the actual show. However, the title is of interest. The implicit message here is that psychiatrists are not characteristically black. Racial privilege (the other side of the coin of racial discrimination) is too fresh in the minds of South Africans to be narrated at length. In this regard an isiZulu idiom comes to mind: umenzi uyakhohlwa; umenziwa akakhohlwa. Roughly translated this means the ‘doer’ of wrong easily forgets their actions whilst these actions linger in the minds of the ‘victim’. This adage comes to mind when debates about affirmative action ensue and certain people state “it has been 20 years, when will we ever move on’’? In their book on difference Rosenblum and Travis illustrate how a genetic construction of race would fail dismally as the San and Chinese, Swedes and Xhosas, and Germans and New Guineans share similarities that would have Hitler and Verwoerd toss and turn in their graves. The processes of construction of race and the near impossible efforts of deconstructing this social construction say much about the human race. When it is the Rwandan Hutus versus Tutsis or Nazi Germans versus German Jews the height of the danger of privilege-peddling is vividly illustrated.

 

Gender

Try to have a serious debate on the advantages and disadvantages of polygamy. Now introduce the prospect of polyandry and observe the reaction of the penis-wielding debate participants. The following is an extract from Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Decolinising the mind. The writer describes an extract from his novel Caitaani Mutharabaini (Devil on the Cross) in which seven thieves are competing to be the cleverest thief:

 …For instance there is the case of one robber who has become so wealthy through smuggling that he begins to resent his wealth. Why? Because though he has got all that quantity of money; he has one heart and one life like all the other humans including his victims. But the breakthrough in heart transplants gives him an idea. He has visions of a huge factory for manufacturing spare parts of the human body including extra penises so that a really rich man could buy immortality and leave death as the prerogative of the poor. But he makes a mistake in telling his wife about the vision. She is delighted at the possibility of the wives of the rich, being distinguished from the wives of the poor by their two mouths, two bellies, two or more hearts and two cunts. When I heard her mention two female organs and say that she would be able to have two instead of one, I was horrified. I. told her quite frankly that I would not mind her having two mouths, or two bellies, or multiples of any other organ of the body. But to have two . . . no, no! I told her to forget all that nonsense.

In a nutshell one Sigmund Freud aptly referred to “penis envy”. Men are undoubtedly privileged on the basis of their sex. The fact that men, on average, get paid more than women doing the same job in 2014 solidifies this point.

 

Sexuality

Gay sportsmen make the news as if your choice in romantic partner determines how one pitches, takes a free kick or crouch before they engage in a scrum. If you are heterosexual you are privileged as your choice in romantic partner has no bearing in your getting a promotion, being a prominent member at church or an ambitious politician. One caller once called to remark on how impressed he was by Eusebius Mckaiser’s not being feminine (with the implicit message being Eusebius is different, unlike other gay people who are annoyingly effeminate). Mpho Makola, an Orlando Pirates Football Club player, saw fit to announce that there are no gays in his football team. How does he know this? I do not know? That however is not the point. The fact that it matters indicates that being ‘gay’ falls on the prejudice side of the coin. If, or rather when, Pirates return to losing ways it would not be blamed on poor tactics or shoddy play but it would be blamed on the players being gay.

Disability

For what good reason do we insist on building steps instead of ramps in public spaces? I think it is a result of the arrogance of the physically able. The subtleties and nuances of privilege and prejudice in relation to disability, congenital or acquired, are too deep to elaborate on fully. I once had a research participant who reported how frustrating it was having a cashier completely disregard him by assuming the person pushing the wheelchair would pay. The cashier could have been you, or me. The disabled as a group are unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) assumed to be less able, less smart, incapable of having sexual urges, deserving pity, and are seen to be lesser people. This is the opposite of the ‘halo effect’ privilege enjoyed by some people without a disability who may in reality be a complete waste of oxygen.

 

Disclaimer

The views constructed in the paragraphs above have been constructed through literature, attendance of seminars that explore psychology of difference, lectures on social constructionism and watching stand-up comedy. If they do not sit well with you I refuse to accept any responsibility for your feelings of discomfort, you can put the blame on the literature, seminars, lectures and aforementioned stand-up comedy. Important to note the complexities of privilege, prejudice and discrimination are not dealt with thoroughly in this piece. To illustrate this point briefly consider Oscar Pistorius being born Phindile from KwaThema. Now picture Phindile, a double amputee running in the Olympics. Our statuses of privilege (and prejudice) act and counteract to define who we are. I am a product of my own privileges on the basis of being male and belonging to a social class in which a member can spend time musing on the matters referred to in this article. Are you mindful of your own privileges?

privileges2club-of-privilege

Are you part of the club?

 

Privilege