The biggest laugh in South African politics this year…

Forget the chuckles we had over that Zuma painting saga. Forget the loud guffaws that followed the falling out with Julius Malema, (former) head of the ANC Youth League, and erstwhile bum-chum of Zuma.

Forget every hilarious (albeit tragic) incident involving Jacob Zuma and his bumbling quest to govern South Africa, this year. They all pale in comparison to the latest incident of utter absurdity surrounding the President.

Jacob Zuma, who’s widely known to have had no formal education, has been conferred with an Honorary Professor of International Relations degree by Peking University in China.

Although it’s just a worthless title, the guy is totally undeserving of such an “honour.” He has not achieved anything of significance, both locally and abroad. It’s patently clear that it’s just an astute move on the part of the Chinese to stroke Zuma’s ego, in their pursuit of economic ties with South Africa, which no doubt will be more favorable to them.

The whole affair further sullies the academic world, which is increasingly awarding useless degrees to all sorts of questionable people. However, in the South African context it is a monstrous travesty, considering the Zuma government’s dismal performance in the delivery of Education to the country.

The insult to all the children of South Africa who have been negatively affected by the incompetence of Zuma’s Education Ministry is made all the more unpalatable by this comment by him at his acceptance speech in Beijing:

We are inspired by the value attached to education in the analects of the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, who stressed the importance of education and study as being fundamental to human progress.

There are now many in the country who are absolutely convinced that the only progress, Zuma and his ANC cohorts are interested in, is to do with their own self-interest.

One wonders how long it will be before Minister of Education Angie Motshekga, is invited to China to receive her Honorary Doctorate in International Educational Relations

Freshly Played #9: Stevie Ray Vaughan

Another in my series on great guitar riffs…

Little Wing

The original song was written by none other than the legendary Jimi Hendrix. It has been covered by guitar playing greats such as Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers Band, Def Leppard, Santana, John Mayer, and Pearl Jam, among many others. However, my personal favorite cover is the instrumental version by another legend who has sadly also passed on – Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Watch, listen and be moved with this live YouTube version:

 

The Original by Hendrix

Don’t seek acceptance of your beliefs on Facebook

At some point you may have had the nasty experience of being reprimanded for a status or comment you posted online in Facebook (FB), or drawn into a fiery argument with either one or more other people.

If you haven’t, you’re either very fortunate, amazingly inventive at keeping out of trouble, or just plain boring.

I’ve been very selective about the friendship requests I’ve initiated over the years, which is why they’re probably only a handful – some family and people with a similar outlook on life to my own. All my other FB friends consist of people who have initiated the friendship request themselves, for whatever reason – known friends, family and total strangers. When accepting these friendship requests, I assume that the requester has read my profile and knows what to expect.

At this point I should declare that in total, I have less than 110 FB friends – a number which is likely to dwindle further if they bother to read this post.

Like me, you probably have a fairly large percentage of FB friends who are relatively inactive. I have some who may have fallen off the planet. I do have a core group of FB friends who post regularly, usually about the most mind-blowing stuff. Not surprisingly these are the FB friends who have similar interests, and a similar outlook on life. And even though we don’t agree about everything on a fairly regular basis, we still maintain a modicum of civility in our online discussions and arguments.

Anyway, enough of setting the scene; back to the reason for this rant.

We all post stuff on FB that may or may not be agreeable with the public that have access to our timelines. I’m no less guilty than anyone else. That is a risk we take, especially if we have a collection of FB friends from a widely disparate background. FB is a public platform and the responses you’re likely to elicit, may not all be to your liking. Indeed, to expect acceptance or approval of your post from everyone else would be highly conceited, not to mention delusional.

We live in a world in which our understanding of how things work is far removed from that of our early ancestors, whose primitive ideas, amazingly still persist in the face of this new knowledge. It is commonly accepted by all enlightened people that we should all work to eradicate all the archaic detritus that still fouls the modern world.

So when FB friends get ticked off over world-wise comments I post to their status, it comes as a great big shock to me, especially when they are the one’s who solicited my friendship in the first instance. Let me make it very clear:

DON’T SEEK ACCEPTANCE OF YOUR BELIEFS ON FACEBOOK!

If you can’t handle the response, rebuke, or criticism from your FB friends, take your idea where insular thinking is tolerated. If you’re expecting everyone to rubber-stamp your belief system, get real.

The real reason for this rant:

I’ll admit I may have been a little arrogant…

When was the last time you attempted a jigsaw puzzle?

Jigsaw puzzles! Remember those?

When was the last time you attempted to put together a jigsaw puzzle, if ever? As a kid I loved them, especially those 1000-piece challenges. I still remember spending many hours fitting pieces together, a lot of which was spent wrangling with my brother over which piece fitted where.

The closest I’ve come to jigsaw puzzles in nearly 40 years is when disinterestedly passing by those puzzle boxes on toy store shelves. Oh, there was this one time – can’t remember when – I saw a completed puzzle framed and hanging on a wall in someone’s home. I’m pretty certain they bought it in that condition.

I’m guessing that jigsaw puzzles are not very popular with kids, or even adults, these days. Video games and other err… online activities, have all but killed this pastime that once ruled the roost. It’s not surprising therefore that there is a proliferation of websites that offer online jigsaw puzzles. But I’m unconvinced they offer the same excitement or challenge as the real thing.

I suppose there are avid jigsaw enthusiasts somewhere in the world, maybe even clubs, but it seems they’re keeping it all very secretive.

At my age, I think spending some time away from the Interwebs, working on real jigsaw puzzles may be very therapeutic. In fact, I read somewhere that this activity is useful in keeping both the brain active, and Alzheimer’s at bay.

But just in case you’re not convinced, here’s an online puzzle that will either get you hooked, make you want the real thing, or shun puzzles in disgust. I’m hoping you’ll yearn for the real thing – the 1000-piece beauty that you can touch and feel.

Click to Mix and Solve

[Click on the Play button to attempt this online puzzle]

Bumper charity weekend ahead

The guys and I have a hectic weekend ahead of us as we take on our most ambitious charity project in the 12 or so years we’ve been doing this.

We’ve invited some of the poorest families from an economically depressed residential area South West of Johannesburg to join us for a lunch the guys will be cooking, and we’ll also be distributing food hampers to each family. We’ve secured the assistance of a local school which has kindly allowed us use of the premises, and a few classrooms and the ablution facilities.

The classrooms are for the use of a general practitioner, a dentist and an optometrist who have magnanimously donated their time and services to conduct basic medical screening and checks on all the invited folks who are in such need. The SA Blood Services (SANBS) will also be at hand to perhaps carry out some tests, present a talk, and hopefully collect some much-needed blood from willing donors.

Tomorrow, we’ll finish up some last-minute shopping and spend the day putting together the food hampers which will consist of basic dry provisions, vegetables and fruits. The guys will then spend the rest of the afternoon preparing the meat, vegetables etcetera for the traditional Indian chicken briyani, we will be cooking in two huge pots over an open fire at the school.

The cooking will start very early Sunday morning. Tables and chairs will be set up for the few hundred people who are expected, and some classrooms will be prepared for the health professionals to do their thing.

I’m expecting to be exhausted by Sunday afternoon, but gratified at pulling off this mammoth [for a handful of guys] task.

ANC: The struggle continues?

In their centenary year, the ANC seem keen to make it known that it has been a struggle all along. Even though the last 17 or so years have been spent in charge of South Africa, they will tell you that it has been tough at the top of the pile.

Every failure while governing – and boy does that happen with regularity – was the fault of apartheid, uncooperative Whites, a third force hell-bent on making them fail, and even the Devil himself. Yes, there were successes, a lot of them, but scales are tipping in the wrong direction in the last few years, more especially since Jacob Zuma assumed the reigns after booting out AIDS-denialist, Thabo Mbeki.

The ANC spent the last week, and R40 million (if reports are to be believed), in an euphemistically named Policy Conference. From what we’ve been hearing coming out of that talk-shop, it was nothing more than a very expensive pow-wow to talk utter rubbish about utter rubbish. The only occurrence of note, was when some of the delegates came to actual blows – again if news reports are to be believed.

And while the ANC was yammering inanities at the Gallagher Estate Conference venue, flanked by huge banners reminding everyone of that famous 100-year struggle, it seems that thousands of undelivered school textbooks were being burned in the Limpopo Province, while replacement textbooks had still not been delivered to schools, 6 months into the academic year. The pathetic Minister under whose watch this shambles occurred, seems largely unconcerned. Some of their more pathetic supporters [check out one Dave Harris in the comments section of the blog by William Saunderson-Meyer, referenced above] actually wants us to belive that the late (6 months?) delivery of textbooks is not a biggie.

Now imagine if R40 million (admittedly an exaggeration) worth of catering was not delivered on time to this so-called Policy Conference. I’m willing to bet big dollars that the visibly portly ANC delegates at this talk-shit-shop would have been up in arms.

What an absolute disgrace? The phrase Aluta Continua that the ANC and its struggle allies bandy about so freely, is actually a corruption of the Portuguese phrase “A luta continua, vitória é certa,” which means “The struggle continues, victory is certain.”

In my mind, there is no doubt that the struggle by the ANC indeed continues… the struggle to hide the theft, corruption, incompetence, lies, misogyny, backstabbing, racism, hatred, ignorance, idiocy, arrogance, self-serving, cheating, conniving, bling etc. etc. etc. that so characterizes this fallen organization, after the departure of Nelson Mandela.

And what is certain, is not victory. No, the victory belongs to the ANC only, not to the people…