Archive for People from South Africa

On Nancy Pelosi and Michael Jackson

by on July 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm

South Africans Vote

by on April 23, 2009 at 9:04 am

South Africans voted for party and president yesterday, and though the ANC is going to maintain its 15-year hold on power in SA post-apartheid, it is unclear whether the party will gain a 2/3 majority necessary to change the constitution.  It will also take at least a few days to determine whether the results indicate shifts that may lead to significant change in the 2014 elections and beyond.

There was hope among the many unhappy with the ANC that a breakaway party, Congress of the People (COPE), would offer a strong alternative.  Infighting and poor leadership extinguished that, but there is reason to believe that demographic changes are substantive and point to the future.

More when results are in, but in the meantime there may be stories that report the continuation of one-party rule and highlight the compromised nature of Jacob Zuma, corruption and rape charges and tribalism.  There is truth to this, but the country is only 15 years removed from totalitarian rule, and alternatives are slow to emerge to the ANC, which is still rightfully seen as the deliverer from the wilderness.

On Blogging: A Word From the South Africans

by on April 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Winners of the South African blog contest have been unveiled across multiple categories. The “best blog across all categories” this year is 2 Oceans Vibe.

My buddy Nic, who was on the South African blogging expedition with us last December is listed as the first runner-up although they did win for best group blog. Matthew Buckland who also joined us for part of the tour is included in the runner-up list as well.

Interestingly enough, there have been a few debates raging since the ceremony on Friday night. including disappointment from one of the judges.

2oceansvibe won in 6 categories and although she was a judge, votes were weighted in favor of public votes. According to the rules, that means that ‘in the voting phase the vote weighting will be 30% judges and 70% public’ whereas in the nomination phase it is ‘50% judges 50% public.’

It sounds like she is disappointed with the voice of South Africans, in other words, where they spend their time and what they think about. She says, “I realise that there is a pretty large audience for tits, ass, cars, rugby and surfing, but the fact that this is the blog that we hold up to the world as our national pride and joy makes me want to hurl.”

She encourages the need to distinguish between popular voted blogs and then get the judges together to discuss their choice of winners that best reflects where South Africa is right now and where it is heading. Of course, that model is the old media model where two men decide which movie gets a two thumbs up or three book reviewers can influence whether a book makes it to the NY Times Bestseller List or not.

She talks about brand and the power of brand, in this case, something that stands for quality in the way that perhaps the Oscars do here. Her take: if the blog awards brand doesn’t have any meaning, any vision, any unique take on the world of blogging, then – ‘it becomes just another popularity contest.’

“The masses decide” is where its heading though – no more judges, very few editors (who can afford them now in the new Google economy where everything is expected for free), and less calling for experts, although we’ll return to experts soon enough as quality goes down. We now live in a Digg and Yelp society where hopefully over time, quality will rise to the top and the unauthentic voices and players will drop to the bottom.

The upside: more feedback and discovery than anytime in history. The downside: too much clutter and noise until the next genius brings out advanced filters that make that online discovery process even more efficient, more compelling and more fun.

South African Blog Contest

by on March 22, 2009 at 11:46 am

South african contest The South African Blog Awards is live. Given that I’ve lived there a couple of times and just spent a chunk of time down there late last year into early 2009, I’m a fan of several of their blogs in countless categories and hey, South African bloggers voted for my blog in the PR Week blog contest last summer.

The SA Blog Awards is a showcase of the very best of South African blogs. The goal is to bring South African bloggers to the forefront of peoples attention, both locally and internationally, increasing exposure for South Africa’s great bloggers.

Voting is live and the winners will be announced on April 3rd, 2009. Check out Brand South Africa, SARocks and Matthew Buckland.com. There’s also a great photo blog called Cape Town Daily Photo.

Categories are broad and include: The Best of the Best from South Africa, Best Entertainment Blog, Most Humorous, Best Post on a South African Blog (the one that stood out in 2008 was Moral Fibre), Blogs written by a South African in any foreign country (interesting one – South African Sea Monkey: what a great name), Best Original Writing on a South African Blog, Best Political Blog (there’s some provocative reading here), Best Photographic Blog, Best Food and Wine Blog, Music Months, Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgendered Blogs, Best Design Blog, Best South African Podcast, Best Group Blog, Best Business Blog, Best Technology Blog, Best Sports Blog, Best Blog covering Enviro-Friendly Content, Best African Language Blog (cool, eh?), Most Controversial Blog, Best Travel Blog, Best Personal Blog, and lastly, Best Parenting Blog for the trials and tribulations of dealing with “little people.”

Do some scanning, do some reading, so some digging, do some laughing, and by all means, do some voting.

Does My Teenage Daughter Get the Rihanna/Chris Brown Thing?

by on March 12, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Johannesburg Violence

by on March 9, 2009 at 12:04 am

Below is a recent Jeremy Clarkson letter to the London Sunday Times regarding Johannesburg.

“I dare you to visit Johannesburg, the city for softies – It’s the least frightening place on earth, yet everyone speaks of how many times they’ve been killed that day Jeremy Clarkson

Every city needs a snappy one-word handle to pull in the tourists and the investors. So, when you think of Paris, you think of love; when you think of New York, you think of shopping; and when you think of London – despite the best efforts of new Labour to steer you in the direction of Darcus Howe – you think of beefeaters and Mrs Queen.

Rome has its architecture. Sydney has its bridge. Venice has its sewage and Johannesburg has its crime. Yup, Jo’burg – the subject of this morning’s missive – is where you go if you want to be carjacked, shot, stabbed, killed and eaten.

You could tell your mother you were going on a package holiday to Kabul, with a stopover in Haiti and Detroit, and she wouldn’t bat an eyelid. But tell her you’re going to Jo’burg and she’ll be absolutely convinced that you’ll come home with no wallet, no watch and no head.

Jo’burg has a fearsome global reputation for being utterly terrifying, a lawless Wild West frontier town paralysed by corruption and disease. But I’ve spent quite a bit of time there over the past three years and I can reveal that it’s all nonsense.

If crime is so bad then how come, the other day, the front-page lead in the city’s main newspaper concerned the theft of a computer from one of the local schools? I’m not joking.

The paper even ran a massive picture of the desk where the computer used to sit. It was the least interesting picture I’ve ever seen in a newspaper. But then it would be, because this was one of the least interesting crimes.

“Pah,” said the armed guard who’d been charged with escorting me each day from my hotel to the Coca-Cola dome where I was performing a stage version of Top Gear.

Quite why he was armed I have absolutely no idea, because all we passed was garden centres and shops selling tropical fish tanks. Now I’m sorry, but if it’s true that the streets are a war zone, and you run the risk of being shot every time you set foot outside your front door, then, yes, I can see you might risk a trip to the shops for some food. But a fish tank? An ornamental pot for your garden? It doesn’t ring true.

Look Jo’burg up on Wikipedia and it tells you it’s now one of the most violent cities in the world . . . but it adds in brackets “citation needed”. That’s like saying Gordon Brown is a two-eyed British genius (citation needed).

Honestly? Johannesburg is Milton Keynes with thunderstorms. You go out. You have a lovely ostrich. You drink some delicious wine and you walk back to your hotel, all warm and comfy. It’s the least frightening place on earth. So why does every single person there wrap themselves up in razor wire and fit their cars with flame-throwers and speak of how many times they’ve been killed that day? What are they trying to prove?

Next year South Africa will play host to the football World Cup. The opening and closing matches will be played in Jo’burg, and no one’s going to go if they think they will be stabbed.

The locals even seem to accept this, as at the new airport terminal only six passport booths have been set aside for non-South African residents.

At first it’s baffling. Why ruin the reputation of your city and risk the success of the footballing World Cup to fuel a story that plainly isn’t true? There is no litter and no graffiti. I’ve sauntered through Soweto on a number of occasions now, swinging a Nikon round my head, with no effect. You stand more chance of being mugged in Monte Carlo.

Time and again I was told I could buy an AK47 for 100 rand – about £7. But when I said, “Okay, let’s go and get one”, no one had the first idea where to start looking. And they were even more clueless when I asked about bullets.

As I bought yet another agreeable carved doll from yet another agreeable black person, I wanted to ring up those idiots who compile surveys of the best and worst places to live and say: “Why do you keep banging on about Vancouver, you idiots? Jo’burg’s way better.”

Instead, however, I sat down and tried to work out why the locals paint their city as the eighth circle of hell. And I think I have an answer. It’s because they want to save the lions in the Kruger National Park.

I promise I am not making this up. Every night, people in Mozambique pack up their possessions and set off on foot through the Kruger for a new life in the quiet, bougainvillea-lined streets of Jo’burg. And very often these poor unfortunate souls are eaten by the big cats.

That, you may imagine, is bad news for the families of those who’ve been devoured. But actually it’s even worse for Johnny Lion. You see, a great many people in Mozambique have Aids, and the fact is this: if you can catch HIV from someone’s blood or saliva during a bout of tender love-making, you can be assured you will catch it if you wolf the person down whole. Even if you are called Clarence and you have a mane.

At present, it’s estimated that there are 2,000 lions in the Kruger National Park and studies suggest 90% have feline Aids. Some vets suggest the epidemic was started by lions eating the lungs of diseased buffalos. But there are growing claims from experts in the field that, actually, refugees are the biggest problem.

That’s clearly the answer, then. Johannesburgians are telling the world they live in a shit-hole to save their lions. That’s the sort of people they are. And so, if you are thinking about going to the World Cup next year, don’t hesitate.

The exchange rate’s good, the food is superb, the weather’s lovely and, thanks to some serious economic self-sacrifice, Kruger is still full of animals. The word, then, I’d choose to describe Jo’burg is ‘tranquil.'”

The internet in South Africa: A tale of woe and hope

by on March 5, 2009 at 1:38 am

The tale of doom and gloom about the uncompetitive South African telecoms market is all too familiar. It’s kept a stranglehold on internet growth in this country, meaning the country has performed way below its potential in this sphere in comparison to the rest of the world.
Arguably we are now moving in the right direction, […]

Click on headline link to visit matthewbuckland.com for full article

Rhodes University: My alma mater

by on February 26, 2009 at 6:32 am

I must say, I’m particularly proud that I went to Rhodes University. I have such amazing memories of studying and partying there. It’s an unusual campus, away from the big cities, situated in a small, relatively isolated town called Grahamstown. What this means is that most students live in residences and there is a tremendous […]

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Everything is amazing, nobody is happy

by on February 25, 2009 at 5:34 am

Hilarious… and too true. See myself in this video. (Received via Facebook from a friend.)

tags: crazy

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Click on headline link to visit matthewbuckland.com for full article

Why Obama Needs A Special Envoy to Africa (and not just George Clooney)

by on February 24, 2009 at 2:58 pm
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