Take it to the limit or take it on the run…

But whichever way you take it, and whatever it is that you take, make sure it’s mostly legal.

I’ll be going away on vacation this weekend, so thought I’d leave you with these two classics which I’ve been playing on repeat in the car this week.

REO Speedwagon – Take It On The Run

The Eagles – Take It To The Limit

Come on now, one more time…

Happy holidays!

Howzit my China!

As I was walking out of a supermarket this afternoon, a White dude coming towards me remarked “Howzit my China!” [A South Africanism which loosely translates into “Hello friend.”]

It took me more than ten seconds to respond with a “Hi.” And that was it. He went on his way into the supermarket and I back to my car, reflecting on my delayed response with an element of shame.

Why did it take me ten seconds to respond?

In that ten seconds, one of the first thought that came to mind was “Okay, what the fuck does he want?” And this is not the first time that I had felt that way, when greeted by a total stranger. But this is the first time I actually contemplated my reluctance to answer.

In South Africa, when greeted by someone familiar, the response is automatic, instinctual and prompt, but why when it’s someone you don’t know, there is hesitance and mistrust?

I remember being equally surprised while visiting Toronto in the 90’s and shopping with my uncle. While standing at the checkout line, I noticed how the cashier just got into spontaneous dialogue with what were obviously total strangers. This kind of thing hardly ever happened back home; I was more acquainted with just getting surly looks from cashiers.

I noticed the same thing on the street and the bus. People in Canada either knew everyone personally, or were quite comfortable with greeting and getting into conversations with total strangers. When I asked my uncle about it, and he answered that it was quite natural in Canada. And I suspected that it could well be quite natural in other first world countries too.

So why is it unnatural in South Africa? I really don’t know the scientific answer, but if I have to hazard a guess, it must have something to do with the harsh South African environment we live in where distrust of strangers is natural.

I recall a study conducted in the USA recently which indicates that people are increasingly becoming mistrustful (or was distrustful) of each other, or something to that effect. I suspect that if the study were to be conducted elsewhere in the world, there would be similar results. Again, it must have something to do with the parlous social, economic and political state of the world at the moment. One can just never be too careful.

But is this a good thing? In the short term, maybe it can save your life, but in the long term it is most certainly not a good place for the world to be in. How is it ever going to change?

Hell, if I knew the answer to that…

Black Consciousness Leader Calls for President Zuma to Resign

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Just when I thought that I was done with politics for the week, things start getting interesting again…

The Reverend Barney Pityana, a former leader in the Black Consciousness Movement with Steve Biko, has called for President Jacob Zuma to resign in an open letter. Pityana who presided over the South African Human Rights Commission between 1995 and 2001, wrote at great length:

I write this letter with a simple request: that you resign from all public office, especially that of President and Head of State of the Republic of South Africa.

I am, of course, aware that you have been re-elected President of the African National Congress, the majority party in our National Assembly. I am also aware that, in terms of our electoral system, that allows the ANC to present you as a candidate to the National Assembly and use their majority therein to put you in office, without much ado. It would also appear that by its recent vote the African National Congress has expressed confidence in your leadership. You can then understand that I am taking an extraordinary step, and I can assure you one that has been carefully considered, in asking for your resignation.

Our country is in shambles, and the quality of life of millions of ordinary South Africans is deteriorating. Confidence in our country, and its economic and political system, is at an all-time low. There is reason to believe that ordinary South Africans have no trust in your integrity as a leader, or in your ability to lead and guide a modern constitutional democracy that we aspire to become. That, notwithstanding the fact that our Constitution puts very minimal requirements for qualification as a public representative including the highly esteemed office of President and Head of State, and Head of the Executive. What is clear, at the very least, is that the President must have the means and the inclination to promote and defend the Constitution, and uphold the well being of all South Africans. I have reason to believe that, notwithstanding the confidence that your party has placed on you, you have demonstrated that you no longer qualify for this high office on any of the counts stated above…

The immediate question in my mind is whether Zuma’s resignation will be enough to arrest the slide this country is currently in? I think not. The rot does not stop with him. It is so deep and pervasive, that a simple excision may not be enough.

The proper thing would be for the entire cabinet to resign en-masse. With the exception of a handful of Ministers and Deputy Ministers, this cabinet is without question one of the most incompetent we have ever had, and I include apartheid era bureaucrats as well. Coupled with incompetence, this administration has been embroiled in far too many scandals involving corruption, cronyism, disdain for the electorate, and gross arrogance.

I believe that there are still enough people of good moral fibre and competence left in this organization to take over the reigns. Oh yes, their will be turmoil for a while, but we as citizens need to bite the bullet for a short while, in the quest for a better country – one that was promised us by Nelson Mandela, who we honour this week after his sad passing away.

More Mandela Memorial Musings

Seems I missed a few things that went down at the Mandela Memorial yesterday.

President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuba’s Raul Castro and some sections of the USA have their panties in a twist about it. Politicians shake hands with rival politicians all the time; it’s no biggie. Hell, I once saw Angela Merkel kiss Jacob Zuma. It’s all a show – I’m pretty certain she loathes the swine and had lip surgery afterwards.

And then there’s this brouhaha over Obama taking a group selfie with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and the UK’s David Cameron. It’s a fucking non-event. Anyway Michelle Obama seems to have sorted it out, if this series of pictures can be trusted.


And finally the one that’s making headlines at the moment: seems the sign-language interpreter (SLI) on stage was bogus. Yeah, according to all those who know about such things, the guy hired to interpret for the hearing-impaired was just waving his hands and arms about randomly. Take a look at this:

I have a perfectly feasible explanation for this whole mix-up. See, the guy was not hired to sign; he was hired to chase the flies off the stage, what with so many rotten politicians from so many different shitholes of the world sharing the same platform and all. He must be pretty embarrassed for being mistaken as the SLI, and he did a pretty good job because I didn’t see a single fly in TV footage.

Anyway, enough about these silly politicians. Here’s something to really smile about. A flash mob paying tribute to the man.

Mandela memorial and the speech that made it memorable


Got the day off today – it was a generous gesture from the company I work for as they meant for us to use it to either attend the Nelson Mandela Memorial Service prior to his burial this coming Sunday, or at least to watch the live international broadcast on television.

See, I had no intention of braving the cold, wet weather, security clampdown, ill-disciplined ANC supporters, and the transport hassles to get to the stadium where it was being held. Nor did I have any intention of watching a bunch of pompous, disreputable politicians from Africa and around the world, blather on for hours about a man whose principles and values they defile on a daily basis. And I had very well-founded suspicions that the ANC were going to use this honourable event to further party political aims.

And so as I was frittering away time on social media, I saw an update about the Memorial. South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma was being roundly booed by the crowds as he entered the stadium with two of his wives, and then again when his image was shown on large screen televisions. This I had to see…

That was the impetus I needed to entice me to tune in to the live broadcast. And I’m glad I did – while still browsing through Facebook on the side off course.

Jacob Zuma is currently reviled in this country for his scandalous behaviour, many indiscretions and is regarded as a cunning scoundrel by many people. This act of booing was the first such indication that his iniquitous behaviour is more widely detested than I’d previously thought. Social commentary on this act of jeering turned out to be quite profound:

Are we burying two presidents today?

After enduring the announcements of the names of the visiting herds of state from Africa and around the world, constant appeals from the master of ceremonies for the crowds to behave responsibly, and suffering through the shallow speeches of dreary leaders, I was simply in awe of the speech delivered by US President Barack Obama. His was the only tribute that was delivered with a sense of honesty, integrity and articulately. It may perhaps go down in history as one of the great speeches from a leader.

That was also a moment that changed what was an insipid event, into something worth remembering. Up to that point, one had the sense that the whole event was being lead in a certain political direction. And to sum up, one of the comments on Facebook from a Black South African:

Obama should have been our President.

Jacob Zuma’s speech was as expected dull and lifeless. His rendition was equally abysmal. I fail to see how anyone could have been inspired by that load of drivel. He is undeniably an embarrassment and burden to this country. It was indeed a great pity that he had to be the one delivering the keynote address at such an important occasion.

And now onto the state funeral. I fervently hope that our disgraceful politicians don’t further damage our county’s reputation in the week leading up to Mandela’s interment.

The end of the long walk… and freedom

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela, Ju...

Nelson Mandela, affectionately known as Madiba, has finally reached the end of his long walk. And what a walk it was.

Every single tribute that I’ve read from around the world speaks with great admiration of a man among men. And truly he was; his minor faults of little consequence in a vast sea of achievement.

Tata, may you finally find the freedom that has eluded you for all these years since your release from incarceration, surrounded by self-serving comrades. Among all the world’s politicians, hardly any one has embraced the values and wisdom you inspired, in becoming a true statesman. But that was never your fault – bad politicians continue to thrive because good people continue to mollycoddle them.

However many ordinary people do take inspiration from your life, and for that we are all thankful. Rest in peace.

Project mismanagement

screenshot of the project management software ...

One of the basics of project management is identifying, sequencing and scheduling your project activities in a logical manner. It’s not that difficult and you don’t need any sort of Project Management qualification to do this; it’s common sense mostly.

Things only start to get hairy when you begin to manage resources, time and cost, but even here it requires some skill and a whole lot of luck. I know this because I’ve been in the business for a long time.

I’m writing this because I watched in amazement today, a contractor installing a simple water drainage system at the side of a building in my office block, just weeks after another contractor had just finished painting and renovating that very same building. It was actually amusing to watch these guys mess up that freshly painted wall with unsightly splotches of wet cement.

Now I’m pretty sure that the facilities management company that manages the place, employs project management principles, but for the life of me can’t understand how or why they got the sequencing of their activities so wrong.

I remember around 20 years ago thinking the exact same thing when I was a supervisor of a team installing telecommunications cabling infrastructure in a newly developed town. We’d get to the site, admiring freshly tarred roads separating the blocks of nicely demarcated plots of vacant land, and commence to dig up that road to lay our cables. While still busy with this project we’d watch in sequence as other utilities owners arrived on site to dig up the same roads which we’d only just resurfaced, to install water, sewer and electrical reticulation.

What were the town planning and development guys thinking not getting all these services installed before tarring the roads? It only requires a little bit of project planning to get things done in the right sequence.

I’m not sure if that still happens with new town planning as I’ve moved on and haven’t seen the like since. But I’m still a project manager and I do see it happen with other types of projects in the data networking environment I’m in.

It all comes down to communication and we’re really bad at it, even with the sophisticated tools we have at our disposal.


Way back in 1987, I was one of the fortunate sons of bitches to attend the Black Sabbath concert at Sun City. Fortunate, because every metal head in South Africa must have been jockeying to be there for one of the 6 shows, an SOB since I really should have boycotted the event as it was held in defiance of Artists United Against Apartheid.

But hey, I was young and dammit, it was freakin’ Black Sabbath. If you really wanna hate me, console yourself with the fact that Ozzy Osbourne was not part of the line-up, and that N.I.B. which is one of my all-time favorite songs did not make it onto the set list for the Sun City gig. And at the time I was being payed a pittance, and the trip up North to Sun City damn near bankrupted me.

Ozzy Osbourne (for me) was eponymous with Black Sabbath; their best stuff (for me) features Ozzy on vocals. Although Tony Iommi on guitars remained a constant force, without Ozzy, the band was never the same (for me).

I would dearly love to see them again in South Africa, this time with the original members. So play nice guys, and how about that reunion here in sunny South Africa? You don’t have to play dingy Sun City again, as we have some really huge stadiums standing more or less idle after the Soccer World Cup.