Zuma’s Travails: A Cynical Viewpoint

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In a surprising inastute move, the ANC used Jacob Zuma as the face of its Local Government Election campaign – literally its poster boy if you will. If anything, his visage signalled a reason amongst the traditional ANC supporters why they should NOT vote ANC in the Local Government Elections. For the opposition, Zuma was and is the gift that keeps on giving.

 Given this fact, should the opposition not be pleading with the ANC to retain Zuma as President, rather than lambasting them for having such a feckless, fatuous, venal leader who is clearly out of his depth?

Main picture: The frontline against corruption and “state capture” is manned by Pravin Gordhan

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Celebration of the work of Laurent Schwebel

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Laurent Schwebel was an internationally renowned nature photographer. At 8am on 8th February 2012, he was stabbed to death in Plaza San Martin, a main square in Buenos Aires while taking picture of a memorial statue. When a thug attempted to garb his camera, Laurent tackled the thief who stabbed him repeatedly.

Main picture: One of the many evocative photographs by Laurent Schwebel

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The Rescue of an African Pangolin

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Like the rhino, an uncomfortable parallel can be drawn with this most elusive creature. The pangolin is being poached due to its perceived medicinal properties. Incalculable damage is being done to the pangolin population due to the mistaken belief that their keratin scales possess rejuvenating properties. Due to its nocturnal nature, many people – despite having been on many safaris – have never experienced the pleasure of seeing one in the wild.

This is just one of numerous stories relating to the rescue of these most unique looking creatures.

Main picture: Note the posture of the Pangolin whilst walking. It holds the front paws up in the air as it is unable to walk using them

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Incompetence of the Labour Department: A Personal Odyssey

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Finally after 45 years working I retired. A new obstacle was in my path: incompetent government departments. First in the queue was an attempt to claim from UIF. As a verdict, I can claim that the Department has no more than a passing acquaintance with organisation efficiency and customer service. As incompetence triggers my pugilistic instincts, would I be able to restrain myself sufficiently and not be frog-marched off the premises?

 

This is the chronicle of that frustrating odyssey.

Main picture: A series of photographs on the theme “Now they Tell Us”

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Minority Government: Is it a Poisoned Chalice for the DA?

Mmusi Maimane with his wife Natalie

Stating the obvious, the easy work has been done by appointing the new Mayors. Even that was not as smooth as expected especially when the EFF accused Herman Mashaba, the DA’s candidate for Mayor in Joburg, as being “anti-black.” It is a matter of record that the EFF have been a disruptive influence with incendiary speech and spectacle being their trademarks. Will the leopard change his spots in order to play the coalition politics’ game or will it continually blackmail its coalition partners?

Contrary to the news headlines, the EFF only received 8.2% of the vote nationally. The only reason why the EFF is able to punch above their weight is that they are the kingmaker in most of the “hung” councils. The only glue that binds the DA & the EFF with such divergent policies is their desire to dethrone the ANC.

Nothing more and nothing less.

Main picture: Emblematic of the new South Africa – Mmusi Maimane with his wife Natalie

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How the Olympics Discriminates against the Unfit: A Personal Odyssey

Caster Semenya

In what can only be described as a discriminatory measure, the Olympic Games forbids the participation by the majority of humanity. In the name of excellence, they have wilfully debarred large swaths of mediocre athletes the opportunity to attain their dream by displaying their lack of sporting prowess. It is inconceivable that the genetically unendowered in the 21st century should still bear the stigma of being physically challenged. 

By naming them as such, this is indicative of the disdain that such non-athletes have to endure on a daily basis through the discriminatory exceptionalist dogma perpetuated by the world’s athletic elite. Why should only a Phelps or a Usain Bolt win all of the accolades?

Main picture: Controversy still swirls around South African 800m Olympic athlete Caster Semenya due to being intersexed. To compound it, Caster suffers from hyperandrogenism – a medical condition that causes an excessive amount of testosterone in her body

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Effect of WW1 100 years after it Ceased

Enter the ultimate No-Go Zone

WW1 is still emblematic and notorious for killing on an industrial scale. What is little known outside France is that a huge area has been designated as the so-called zone rouge [red zone in English], where entry is prohibited even a 100 years after this calamitous event.

Certain sections of this demarcated area have been so thoroughly contaminated that, in all probability, they will still be designated as no-go zones in 10 000 years’ time.

This is the tale of that forbidden no-man’s land, no longer protected by stuttering machine guns but by various poisons which have contaminated the ground.

Main picture: Enter the prohibited zone / Zone interdite / Sperrgebiet – pick your language of choice – with me at your own risk

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The Royal Visit to Port Elizabeth in 1947

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In 1947 the British Royal Family embarked upon a world tour. It included an excursion to South Africa, Rhodesia and Basutoland.  Included in this expedition, the duration of which was from 17th February to 23rd April 1947, was a stop-over at Port Elizabeth on the 26th February, five days after Princess Elizabeth’s birthday which was celebrated in Cape Town.

Main picture: Brigadier Arthur Coy with the Mayor of PE, Mr Neave, inspecting the Ex Servicemen with the King and Queen at Crusaders ground, St. George’s Park in February 1947. The princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were in attendance. There was a garden party in Victoria Park afterwards.  Continue reading

Port Elizabeth of Yore: Horse Drawn Trams

Port Elizabeth tram, one horsepower, in the 1880s. Not suitable for Whites Road

Horse drawn trams possessed manifold limitations foremost amongst them was the fact that the CBD has been built at the foot of an imposing hill which was impassable for these vehicles. Notwithstanding this, the Port Elizabeth tramway network was opened on 14 May 1881 operating with the available technology: horse-cars.

Main picture: Port Elizabeth tram, one horsepower, in the 1880s. They were not suitable for hilly terrain such as Whites Road

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Trinder Square

Trinder Square 1867

As a young child I had an aversion to trees; most trees but not the Wild Fig tree. There was something enchanting even mystical about their giant protruding roots. Perhaps this affinity arose due to playing in Trinder Square with its veritable forest of wild fig trees. This arose due to my cousins staying in Pearson Avenue which is no more than a block away.

Main picture: Trinder Square in 1867  Continue reading