Thursday, February 13, 2014

Monday, April 26, 2010

Alan Sillitoe (4 March 1928 – 25 April 2010)

Alan Sillitoe died on the weekend.

What a gutsy real writer he was.

I loved this
excerpt from Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958).

"You followed the motto of ‘be drunk be happy’, kept your crafty arms around female waists, and felt the beer going beneficially down into the elastic capacity of your guts”

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Assassination and lust figure prominently on their minds

My previous post - refers.

So it has finally happened. The country has rid itself of the spectre of navel gazing it was about to endure. It is over - Jacob Zuma has been redeemed and can continue on his merry way.

I wrote in the above post "that if it could be shown that if the commission of a crime could be explained with reference to a political motive then the crime was justified and the perpetrators would be duly exonerated."

Remarkably it turns out too that if it can be shown "that if the prosecution of a crime could be explained with reference to a political motive then the crime was justified and the perpetrators would be duly exonerated."

I am reminded of a comment in that wonderful quirky film "Manifesto" (1988) where crimes are solved even before they are committed. In fact I should entirely revisit this movie in the current context. The NY times comment is follows:
"This film deftly combines black comedy with sharp political satire. Set in a fictional Eastern European town called Waldheim, a place "where nothing is what it seems," the action is centered around a visiting king, in whom many people are very interested for a variety of reasons. Assassination and lust figure prominently on their minds."
Sounds somewhat familiar....

Now I just wish someone would spill all the arms deal beans and clear the slate once and for all.

What a wonderful life it is. C'est la vie.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Another request for amnesty….

Some time back, through the tough negotiated settlement that was CODESA, a Faustian pact was made that has set an irrecoverable precedent for this dear land of ours.

Somehow, through this process it was established that if it could be shown that if the commission of a crime could be explained with reference to a political motive then the crime was justified and the perpetrators would be duly exonerated.

So we were treated to some of the most heart-rending reality TV ever broadcast as atrocity after atrocity was first relived and then with varying degrees of success the perpetrators attempted to justify their actions. If the justification appeared honest and complete then that perpetrator’s slate was wiped clean.

So we have calls now for the slate of Jacob Zuma to be wiped clean so that we can move forward as country and sidestep the political nightmare that currently faces us. The so called “ARMS DEAL AMNESTY”.

When does this stop?

If it is considered expedient to indemnify folk for “justified” past “mistakes” why do we not extend this to all criminal activity?

Why does a political motive, or political expediency have some moral high ground over an economic motive, or crime of passion for that matter?

Is it not perhaps an economic motive (to feed one’s starving family?) that is more noble that a political one. Or for that matter the heartsore feelings and subsequent actions of a crossed lover?

Do we then introduce into a court’s, not a test of right or wrong, but a test of circumstance? If your circumstances justify the crime in any way then thou shalt be kept out of jail.

We can’t stop it.

The pact with the devil has been made, we can’t reverse it.

We did it before, for political expediency and to avert a bloodbath and it gave us 10 years or so of stability, which is a lot to ask of any African land.

Sometime back, I quoted the ANC president’s stance on crime with some admiration:

“In a country without the death penalty, the laws must bite”.

Once in a while, however, that bite needs to be of the toothless kind, a mere shake of the gums that loses its hold. So then, I agree, as much as it galls me, with Max Du Preez: Let us do it again for Mr Zuma, grant him amnesty.

For we need to avert the bloodbath again and let us get on with the more important things in our land. Addressing poverty and violent crime.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lazy and preoccupied

I have left this site unkempt and unmaintained for some 7 months now. The grass is now knee high and full of wriggly creatures. But, when I look at my previous (19 Dec 07) post it is as if time has stood still for the entire period.

Both our state and that of our Northern neighbour are in stasis, stuck it seems in perpetual gyre, like mice on a treadmill.

The only thing that has changed is the oil price, and thankfully that is coming off a little too.

Even though today is Rohlihlala's birthday, he too has been celebrating that for some months now.
It is time to move on, shift gears at least, jump out of the treadmill and embrace a new era. (Whatever it is, bring it on).

Spice things up a bit - like with this real hot stuff.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

“…the trouble with having the vote, is that other people have it too.” JR Lucas

JR Lucas is quite an interesting bloke with a rather convincing argument "proving" free will but that's not the point today. I just like the quote I used in the header.

Today I'm with Steven Friedman in his Thoughtleader column.

"This was not mob rule. In the main, it was active, democratic participation, precisely what the ANC’s preoccupation with public displays of unity has denied its conferences for the past 17 years. If the Zuma delegates are now in the majority in the ANC, and this is how they intend to act at future meetings, the ANC may well be in better democratic health than it has been for a very long time."

I don't know if I know enough about Jacob Zuma beyond the Zapiro showerheaded caricatures and his disconcerting middle name "
GEDLEYIHLEKISA" (the one who smiles at you while causing harm to you). (per Fred Khumalo).

I do believe that there may be better candidates for a future president of the country - but who, and why haven't they shown their hand?

But - while his historic actions are questionable he is currently saying the right things:

On Zimbabwe:
"It is even more tragic that other world leaders who witness repression pretend it is not happening, or is exaggerated. When history eventually deals with the dictators, those who stood by and watched should also bear the consequences.
“A shameful quality of the modern world is to turn away from injustice and ignore the hardships of others,” he charged.“There is no substitute or alternative to democracy, even in instances where we feel that democratic processes threaten our personal interests."
And on crime:

“In a country with no death penalty, the laws must bite”
I have a vision of Foucault style drawing & quartering. (Read the harrowing preface to Foucault's Discipline & Punish here). And even the lily liberal in me may argue for that.

While friends apply for residency or pack quickly for other climes I think I'm in for the ride. Looking forward to it in fact.

In a comment some 20 months ago I wrote this:

1. We are not a normal democracy,
2. Despite this, our democratic and legal checks and balances are far more robust than Russia's were, and
3. We ain't seen nothing yet!

And to close, Evita Bezuidenhout has inimitably chipped in - likening JZ to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Happy Holidays.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Everything bad is not new but it still smells queer

Jonny Steinberg writes in his opinion piece in Business Day.

"Why is it important to remind ourselves of these continuities? Because if yesterday’s illusion was that everything bad would vanish, today’s illusion is that everything bad is new. So many of the black, working-class people I have interviewed recently express nostalgia, insisting that life was more stable in the old days. Their amnesia is destructive. It robs them of the capacity to measure what has changed and what hasn’t, how far we have come, and how little we have moved. Without that perspective, we have no ground beneath our feet; we risk driving ourselves insane."

Please bear this mind my dear ladies and gentlemen who at every turn and around every braai fire are exhibiting renewed and anxious ambitions of packing for Perth. Perspective is a long term game. Hang in there with me.

There seems to be a current buzzing mindset that the book of the South African Dream began with the 1995 rugby world cup win as the opening chapter (the release of Nelson Mandela as a prologue) and has just reached it's finale with the 2007 spoils marking the final chapter and the end of a flirting golden era.I disagree - if anything these events are minor parentheses on a single chapter of the story of this land.

It's complicated living here but I'm a firm believer in the mantra of "The more things change the more they stay the same."

But one has to bear in mind that it is the nature of the place - the country has its own Jungian consciuosness - it cannot be changed to fit in with our own normative view of just what it means to be part of (this) civilisation.

As Carl Jung himself noted on arriving in Africa :
"I kept thinking that the land smelled queer. It was the smell of blood, as though the soil was soaked with blood."