28 June 2006

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity!



Ghana is out. Bowed to the mighty Brazilians of course. There was hope, I was a supporter. Yup, once again I gave them my good wishes. Still had certain reservations after the apology of the Israeli flag waving, but I am an African so had to support my African brothers!

As the Ghana spokesman said, ‘He was unaware of the implications of his actions, he was just naïve.’

I mean, what does a soccer player need to know about world politics? What does he need to know about anything! He just plays soccer in Israel. In the nice, flashy Israeli side, he sees nothing of the suffering of Palestinians.

He probably has not even seen the Apartheid Wall. The hideous structure that is visible from all over the West Bank is virtually invisible to anyone in Israel. If it was visible, then any decent, human being would be against it!

But no. Not a naïve (aka dumb) soccer player from Ghana.

Inj`emnyaama- Black Dog. A 1982 play about the struggle against Apartheid. Currently showing in the Barney Simon stage at the Market Theatre. Barney Simon also wrote the original play in 1982.

The play, with a new cast, tells the story of the different players 30 years ago at the 1976 Soweto uprising. It looks at the culture of the time and speaks for a lot of people through a few characters. It provides an inside view on what life was like for the different races and groupings- oddly there is no ‘indian’ role.

But then I guess Indians were probably not considered to be part of Apartheid in any big and/or significant way!

They were not ‘that’ affected by it, and neither could they have been mistaken for supporters, so I guess back in 1982, when the play was written, Barney Simon saw no reason to even get them into the picture. Or unless he did have an ‘Indian’ role but there were no Indians to play it!

In that case, things will be changing soon, with some good okes now taking to the arena- as I’ve said before: Indian is the new black, and black is so last season:-)

Where are the African writers? Asked and answered by the legendary African writer Zakes Mda at a book launch last week.
Where are the African writers that are sharing our history with our youth? Asked and answered by a lady at the Apartheid Museum lecture.

The Deputy President gave a lecture there at the inaugural Solomon Mahlangu Commemoration Lecture.

Solomon Mahlangu was a young activist who left South Africa in the wake of the Soweto Uprising. On re-entering South Africa as a militant of Umkhonto we Sizwe, he and a colleague, Mondy Motloung, was captured after a skirmish with the police and white civilians who were assisting them. Two of the whites were killed.

Although the judge found that Solomon had personally played no direct part in killing them (either by shooting or throwing a hand-grenade) he was found guilty of murder through 'common purpose' and sentenced him to death. Mondy Motloung was so badly assaulted during interrogation that he was unable to stand trial due to brain damage.

Solomon Mahlangu was executed on 6 April 1976, the anniversary of Van Riebeeck's first colonial settlement in South Africa. He, and many others, paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We appreciate this and remember them.

The Cradle of Humankind- Maropeng. Where they claim life on earth began. Seemed to take a lifetime to get there and yet there was never reached! Well, not Maropeng exactly, but I could say that a cradle of humankind was reached. The banks of a little river, under the shade of evergreens, on the comfort of rocks, with the occasional passing of a wild, scary beast hungry for the meal of meat primed on a tiresomely prepared open fire - sure sounds like a cradle of human kind. Suppose it could also be called a braai somewhere but nowhere near Magaliesburg!

21 June 2006

It's always the challenge of the future, this feeling of excitement, that drives me.



Israel score 7 on world cup eve- a headline on a website I visit. And those 7 included three women and two children. I am not anti-Jew or anti-Semitic. I believe that all life is precious and should be respected. Palestinians included!
So while some goofs are condemning the World Cup as being Haraam; pro-Israeli groups are capitalising on it by getting players to wave flags and organising protests!

There are five African teams in the finals- Ghana, Angola, Ivory Coast, Togo and Tunisia. I had my hopes on Ghana. But when John Pantsil waved an Israeli flag every time they scored against the Czechs I was upset.
Fine, he and three other Ghanaians play professionally in Israel- they need to earn a living. But supporting a terrorist state that kills women and children is wrong! John Mensah revealed a T-shirt with an image of Jesus holding a lamb- I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with child killers…

Maybe we should have convinced some players to wave Palestinian flags around- anyone know any soccer players?

Pro-Israeli groups have also been instrumental in arranging protests against Iran’s participation. What are they doing? Intermingling politics with sport- maybe we should learn some lessons from them!
The Iranian President rocks! He has topped my list of coolest Presidents followed closely by Huge Chavez!

Political parties tried to capitalise on the 30th anniversary of June 16, Youth Day. It was no organisation or movement that was directly responsible for what is considered the beginning of the end of Apartheid. It was the youth; the youth who had decided that they will fight oppression and demand freedom. Many lost their lives, many sacrificed for what we, here in South Africa, today enjoy. Do we show our appreciation? How?
Back there, where the resistance started, there where those who couldn’t take oppression anymore, right there they claim to now experience a new form of oppression. Many are disillusioned with democracy- for them change is happening too slowly. They see the race struggle as not over, but rather as altered. They now see it as a class struggle.
But change is happening. It’s mighty slow but it is happening. There is a redistribution of wealth, albeit sluggish, but getting there. And Muslims need to strive to establish social justice and equality- is it not a requirement of our faith?

Hector Peterson, Muhammad Al-Dura- few of the many youth who died for freedom. And the list of unsung heroes is mighty long. Let us not forget them.

Meet Thabani. He is 14 years old and schools in the highlands of the Drakensburg. His father, a mine worker, died while he was still young. He earns R40 a day as an assistant for extreme adventures- bungee, gorge swings and the like. He seems to like his job but enjoys school much more.
His elder brother works at a resort in the area where he cleans up and serves the many needs of the guests.
His mother also works at one of the resorts. He is not sure what exactly it is that she does.
Sitting on a rock cliff besides what is a gushing waterfall in the summer, but now just a trickling stream cascading over the rock face, he points into the distance. ‘That mountain over there’, his arm outstretched in the direction of a few huge hills, shadowed by the vast mountain range, ‘that is my house.’
What, your family owns the whole mountain?
‘No, no. We just live on that mountain. We always lived there.’
Thabani now enjoys what his father never dreamt of. He enjoys freedom.

14 June 2006

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.



Soccer fever is upon us once again. Expect to see some super games coming up in the next round- I’m behind any African side that gets through. Most seem to be playing quite well so at least a couple should get through.

Racism is apparently not dead in the game yet, so stick to busy areas if you’re not white and wana go to Germany! Gadaafi calls the world cup a modern form of slavery- the nut may have a point there… We also probably going to hear some conservative beard condemning all spectators to hell for watching semi-clad guys running after a leather ball in a futile exercise- they may also have a point, similar to Muaamar, in that, all those millions that are spent could possibly alleviate world poverty…

The Dunya is a prison for a believer- Interesting idea for a show/play brought up by our good friend Zakp:) Prison Break Dunya- one season only! Any takers?

There’s an old pier on Durban’s South Beach called Vetchi’s Pier (me thinks) that has awesome snorkelling! Snorkelling is awesome but nowhere as good as scuba diving. Just make sure you don’t go on a 2 hour snorkel close to noon on a sunny winters day! But an investment in a good snorkelling set, especially for those on the coast, will be a worthy investment…

Do you need a service for your car, a holiday home on the latest golf estate, jumping castles for your next birthday party or even corporate gifts with your company logo? Probably not, but the guy at the robot needs a job! It may not be his or even your idea of ideal employment but it probably puts food on his table while he tries to get into a more fulfilling role. Take the pamphlet. Accumulate a pile on the floor of you car and empty out weekly. Or you could give the stack to the guy with the bin bag at the next robot together with a few coins…

Istikhara- asking for Gods guidance in a certain matter. The actual process of performing it is up to the individual, I feel, but the essence of it seems to be misunderstood my many quite often. Forget about a dream or some lighting from the sky sign, especially if you have already made a few decisions yourself and decide to ask for Gods guidance at this late stage. Asking for guidance is something we should be doing before any decision made or steps taken. Not that it will ever be too late to turn to God, but it is best that we start every journey, endeavour and resolution with divine guidance. That we ask God to help us and then make the most logical, pure and educated decision we can make. That we know the freedom of choice is still ours but we could be making these choices under the supreme watchful eye…

Jealousy makes one nasty. Or is it envy? I’m not too sure of the exact definitions. Which one makes you bitter about the achievements of others without at all driving you to accomplish yourself? Coz the other one is good if it does persuade one to get off ones butts, study a bit harder, and eventually get a degree to start moving on. Moving away from the small bunch of closed minded, bigoted buddies. Move on to see the world!

Watch what you say- ponder the saying in the subject line…

12 June 2006

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!

Vent your frustrations!
Take a stand!
(p.s For those who are not from Durban, Halaal is a nickname I picked up on campus...)

05 June 2006

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.



A group of really good people meet at the Methodist Church, based in the city centre, every Wednesday night for a blanket or food distribution. They are assisted by Wits students who treat people for minor medical issues. The community they target are those living in and around the Joburg CBD, outside shops like Moosa’s from where my Mum bought those lovely double ply, embroidery, Gold Label blankets, and that shop from where we usually get that sweet, syrupy Jaleebi for Eid!

Last Wednesday over 300 blankets were distributed to these people who were found sleeping in the streets, dustbins and abandoned buildings. A really eye opening experience and sadly shocking as well. At one stop in Newtown, while handing out blankets to about 50 people sleeping in an alley, I found myself looking up at the Newtown Musjid mimbar. Those familiar lights that I see every night after prayer on my way back to my warm, soft bed. Why is it that we don’t see the lights from this side of the Musjid more often? Why can’t we take all these people sleeping out in the open and let them sleep in the warm, soft Musjid? Or if not, then perhaps we should take some of them home at least?

The KZN premier, Sbu Ndebele had an alumni dinner for ‘KZN successful alumni’. The province is spending 5.2 billion on infrastructure development and is trying to coax ‘expats’ into returning to help work on the economy. Very bourgeois event and probably goes to show how desperate they are to stop the brain drain from the lovely coast. But I guess its going to take much more to convince the guys to go back…

Has anyone watched Red Dust? Academy award winner star, tons of dough and yet a major disappointment for the financiers! Think I’m going to try and hire it coz have heard it’s a great story and well made. Movie business is really volatile- if a movie does not make it big at the box office; chances are its going to run into losses even if it does well on dvd and is eventually sold to television as those deals are not as lucrative as the big screen opportunities. Just some arb media and movie production info… If you have a good idea for a movie, I have some willing backers to propose it to!

The cold of the northern natal reminds me of freezing Kashmir- still chills my bones to even think about what people have to endure! Imagine this- at night, on the coldest night we have, try washing with ice-cold water, outside! It’s unbelievably painful- you loose feeling and become numb! Thank God for thermal underwear, indoor heating and ceilings!