31 July 2006

no blogger in east africa

the daladalas are not the only things that take ages to get you somewhere- net access is quite african...
till i return *watch this space:)*

18 July 2006

Only free men can negotiate.

The wonderful sounds of Ghoema once again entertained- still had most of the intricate details fly way over my head, but an entertaining experience nevertheless. In the similar thespian spirit, experienced a more casual presentation of Forever Young! Forever young. How we wish we could all be forever young…

Reminisced down the road to those younger days and soaked in some of that goodness- but the road has way too many potholes! And I mean that in both the metaphorical AND physical sense! To such an extent it forced me to send LSD (aka speed machine) into the realm of the Mighty One (the one and only!) and begin the search for a new lead figure in the next chapter of the journey on roads…

Nelson Mandela, ex-President of South Africa, celebrates his 88th birthday this week. Many of those 88 years where spent in prison, and for most of those years he was considered a terrorist, together with many others who fought against Apartheid, oppression, social injustice and outright tyranny. He once said, ‘Only free men can negotiate.’
Today we have other freedom fighters being labelled terrorists. While their leaders are in prison, their people oppressed, their land confiscated, their mothers and kids maimed and killed; they are being told to negotiate. How can they negotiate? Only free men can negotiate!

The world is really gone mad. The Israelis have killed over 300 hundred civilians in the past few days. The rest of the world is too chicken to do anything about it. Our very own government continues to have political and economic ties with these murderers. Most of us are too busy with our lives to do anything, let alone think about doing anything…

Another Tsunami hits and hardly anyone even knows- the worlds’ attention is on two kidnapped Israeli soldiers. The Israeli media speaks about these ‘young’ Israelis that have been ‘abducted’! Like young soldiers don’t murder young and old Palestinians and Lebanese…
The Tsunami victims need to rebuild once again. May Gods help be with all those that are suffering… What can we do? Can we help?

I now struggle with the question of cancelling my expedition to the eastern coast and attempt to travel to the Holy Lands- something I am perfectly willing to do if the call is made. Suppose that anyway, the environment is too harsh for the green aid I have to offer… Maybe my concentrated efforts on the local fronts will be the best place to start…

10 July 2006

Only from the heart can you touch the sky.

Meet Elliot. He nurses his broken leg, shadowed by the towering white minaret (pillar) of Newtown Musjid. He uses cardboard for warmth- both as blanket and fuel. He moved to Jhb in 1989 from the Eastern Cape. He made lotsa dough as a singer and musician. He speaks about those days of money, happiness and women!
How did he end up on the street? That he is too ashamed to share. But he does talk to God daily. Almost everyday for the past six years that he’s lived on the streets; he has been talking to God. He wakes up with the call to prayer from Newtown every morning.
“They pray early. Before the birds wake up. Only after they pray, do I hear the birds making noise.”
‘The birds pray as well..’
“Yes. I pray as well. I ask God to look after my daughter. She lives with her mother in the Eastern Cape. Thank you for this lovely food.”
‘It’s a pleasure. It is my duty to help you. And it is the Methodist Church that buys this food.’
“Tell me, how many people are there in the world?”
‘Hmm, I think about 6 billion. I’m not sure though.’
“No, there are only two- man and woman. You are a man and I am a man. We both have hands, feet, a face. There is no difference between us! All man is the same and all woman is the same…”

Moses says that his friend is the devil- he is just making trouble while the rest of the community (homeless community that lives at the CBD taxi rank) is trying to get in line for a nice hot meal. His friend, aka devil, buys homemade drink from a lady in the community. Without drink he cannot sleep coz its too cold. But with drink he conks out and doesn’t even feel the cold!
But Moses doesn’t like drink- he sleeps during the day when the is out and it’s warmer. At night he keeps the fire burning to stay warm.

Kortboy- a recently published book about a typical resident of Sophiatown. From the authors description of Sophiatown, at the book launch, I learnt that it was a viby interesting place back in the days of Aparthied. One of the few places where people got together and had fun. Come to think of it, probably the place where Elliot first found a home when he reached Joburg…

Durban does NOT experience a winter! The sunny east coast has the best beaches, waves and water in the country. And what’s more- if you happen to be a South African of Indian decent, you can meet every other SAI that you had ever met before in your entire life. Together with their kids, siblings, grandparents, and even cousins from Klerksdorp and other waay out places. Apparently some sage predicted a tsunami at the beachfront this year, yet while we sat on the beach, listening to the wonderful African sounds, under the moon and star lit sky, we were felt secure knowing that we had just completed a disaster management course:)

Speaking of the disaster course- a good brother, Mohamed Hassim, passed away. I spoke to him only twice- last year before we left for Palestine, and again this year when we both returned from Kashmir. He was young and fit, and a really nice guy. We pray for him. May God bless him and grant his family patience.

I deeply respect Zidane- if he head butted the guy because his mother was insulted, then Go Zizou! That split second pause he took before turning around- what was going through his mind? Did he think of the repercussions to his action, the red card, the media badgering, and still decide to hell with all that- ‘no f&#@er swears my mum and get away with it! Rather my name go down than the name of someone I love..’
But on the other hand, if it was just an action in anger, then it was def a big mistake. Actions in anger often have regrettable consequences and should always be avoided. A justified retaliation to any attack is surely more effective when clearly thought out and then implemented…

04 July 2006

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right!

That plastic bag flying in the wind, doing whirls and twirls, is not ‘so beautiful’, as in American Beauty- it’s stupid! Why? Coz its litter and litter is not beautiful! Litter is ugly and horrible. Often associated with poor areas, (coz they don’t have street cleaners!) litter is what messes up beauty. So the next time some guy in front of you throws dirt out hit window, go road rage on him and teach him a lesson. Not that we want to surpass the extremes set by the Singaporeans or anything- we just want there to be less dirt around us.
Someone usually has to pick it up- and no goofy, you are not creating employment! – you are just making their jobs more difficult…

Menlyn Mall, deep behind the boerewors curtain, advertised a ‘Snow and Ice Festival’- pictured as mind blowing ski slopes and icy white frozen rinks! The reality: a dude with a hose pipe watering an inflatable slope, a frozen corner of the car park and a snow man made of ice cubes! Nevertheless, an entertaining soccer match at the nearest watering hole sufficed to keep all mildly entertained.

The problem with horse riding at a ranch that hires the horses out regularly is that the horses are so bloody confused. They are not used to a particular rider so the signals normally used are not that common to them. The result- a confused horse that is perceived as obstinate! However, a truly breath taking experience as usual! Stirrup Glen, just 30min out of Jhb, offers some quaintly rustic horse trails with intermediate, medium and fast horses- fast being the most fun (or bloodcurdling) of course.
Cited as one of few permissible forms of entertainment by the hard core literalists, the experience is most entertaining and quite energising, so if you have qualms with your standard leisure, be sure to give it a try…

A major relief organisation held an intensive, yet highly informative, Disaster Management Course- it’s not simply rocking up in an area, dropping off blankets and food, and then leaving with a happy conscience- there is a whole science behind properly assisting those afflicted by some calamity or misfortune.
In some cases, supposedly good intentioned acts often cause more harm than good- for example, when a proper analysis of the situation on the ground is not done, a number of things could happen:
- goods that are not needed are procured and distributed, only to find that nobody wants them.
- not enough supplies are acquired for distribution, resulting in stampedes or disruption of already fragile communities.
The Sphere manual, developed by major international NGO’s, UN and the Red C, details exactly how to go about conducting yourself during a disaster or emergency- let me know if you may need it…