Things looking slightly better on this World Aids Day

I heard on the radio this morning that SA’s abysmal AIDS statistics show an improvement from previous years. Apparently there has been an almost 500% improvement in people voluntarily taking the HIV tests since last year. And, according to statistics released by our Deputy President, 200 000 new people have been placed on ARV treatment, which includes about 20 000 pregnant women.

I know that these figures are anything but acceptable and we need much more improvement, but these figures point to the success of organizations who persistently fought our government’s blinkered policy of denialism.

Had a certain beetroot brandishing bitch still been our Health Minister, appallingly abetted by our former President, AIDS would have claimed much more victims in South Africa, than it has. Thankfully that useless Minister of Health ruined her liver and is now resident in the whisky section of that big Liquor Warehouse in the sky, and our former pontificating President has been booted out, perhaps to join her soon in the tobacco section.

Hopefully, our incumbent President will spare some time off from making an ass of himself, to support further efforts to eradicate this dreadful pandemic.

Year of the Potato

How many of you knew that the United Nations had declared 2008, the International Year of the Potato? Well, it’s nearly the final month of the year, and I have to admit, that I for one, only heard about this declaration a few days ago. I have to further admit that I had no idea that vegetables were thus honoured; I mean I know about the Year of the Monkey, Year of the Dragon, and the Year of Living Dangerously, but Year of the Potato? Come on now!

Seriously folks, 2008 is the year of the humble potato and that’s not all. It’s also the Year of the Frog, the Year of the Reef (as in Coral Reef), and, the Year of the Dolphin, 2007, has been extended to 2008 for some reason. 2008 is also being touted unofficially as the Year of the Women. Year of the Women? Could Hilary Clinton losing the democratic nomination, and that astronaut losing her tools in space be considered as setbacks? I wonder! And hey, although not official, this could also be considered as the Year of Barack Obama, but I suppose that could be next year as well. Seems this year which is almost over, is a lot of things that hardly anyone knows about.

Anyway, back to the Year of the Potato. I’ve never really given much thought to the potato, apart from the fact that it tastes great, roasted, baked, fried or mashed, and that it accompanies practically anything. I’ve known for some time that potato’s originated in the South American Andes near Peru, but I had no idea that there are some 200 species, and about 500 different varieties still grown in the Andes mountain area. If you’re interested, you can check out all the facts and myths about potato’s, even try out some recipes at Year of the Potato 2008.

Well, since there is only one month left in the Year of the Potato, I’m off to find some of the distilled variety, from Eastern Europe. I know potato farmer, cum patriarchal evangelist, Angus Buchan wont approve of the consumption of Vodka, but he must surely be pleased with the cash that’s rolling in, in the Year of the Potato.  Who knows, maybe next year will be the Year of the Beetroot; that should put a smile on the ugly mug of disgraced, former South African Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

The New President’s Men

Kgalema Motlanthe has been elected as the new President of South Africa, replacing Thabo Mbeki (until the next general elections at least), and he has chosen his new cabinet:

some old,
some new,
some boring,
some destined to flounder in the stew
Thankfully, Trevor Manuel has been retained as Minister of Finance. He certainly deserves the confidence shown in him. A breath of fresh air has been injected into the cabinet in the form of Barbara Hogan, new Minister of Health and Mohamed Surty, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development. However, some tired and boring old stooges remain, viz. Jeff Radebe, Minister of the non-existent Transport system, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, Minister of (mis)Communications, Naledi Pandor, Minister of (un)Educated kids, and Aziz Pahad, Deputy Minister of sqeeking voices and interminably dull speeches about matters foreign to international affairs.
But the most frightening appointment in President Motlanthe’s cabinet, is the retention (pun intended) of none other than Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, in the new position of Minister in the Presidency, vacated by Thabo’s rottweiler, Essop Pahad. I know, many people are stunned, flabbergasted even. However, the deed is done, and I reckon we have to look at the bright side: the arrogant Essop is now a fable and Manto will no longer embarrass South Africa by making asinine statements about HIV and AIDS and spreading misinformation about beetroots. Indeed, Manto can look forward to an albeit short career, as Motlanthe’s rottweiler in the Presidency, and spreading rabies instead.