December 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Mandela was a G.
December 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
This was a poem Thabo Mbeki delivered at the National Assembly in 1999 to Nelson Mandela when he stepped down as president. The last part is truly great and so relevant now.
Uthwel’uthuli lwezitho zabaphambili,
Wadad’emafini nje ngokhozi,
Wadelel’inkunzana nje ngemamb’emnyama,
Lath’izulu liqulath’indudumo nombane,
Ladedel’ilanga nalo lithand’ukubuka libukele,
Azoth’ amazwe onke ngokuthethelwa ngamehlo,
Evulel’ithutyana lwemilozi kubantwana bezulu,
Ndlebe zibanzi ziphulaphul’izingqi zekhehle,
De wavulek’uqhoqhoqho siyinginginya sisonke,
Ngoba namhlanje sifun’ukukhahlela sithi,
Msimbithi we sizwe!
You have walked along the road of the hereos and the heroines.
You have borne the pain of those who have known fear and learnt to conquer it.
You have marched in front when comfort was in the midst of the ranks
You have laughed to contend against a river of tears.
You have cried to broadcast a story of joy.
And now you leave this hallowed place to continue to march in front of a different detachment of the same army of the sun.
Not the comfort of the fond superintendence of the growing stalks of the maize plant or of the Nguni herd with its milk, its flesh or its hide.
Nor the pleasant chatter of your grand-children with mountains to climb which are but little mounds.
Not the pensive silence of the elderly, whose burdened minds cascade backwards because to look too much into the future is to impose a burden on bones that have grown old.
You leave us here not because you have to stop.
You leave us here because you have to start again.
The accident of your birth should have condemned you to a village.
Circumstances you did not choose should have confined you to a district.
Your sight, your heart and your mind could have reached no further than the horizon of the natural eye.
But you have been where you should not have been.
You have faced death and said – do your worst!
You have inhabited the dark, dark dungeons of freedom denied, itself a denial to live in a society where freedom was denied.
You have looked at the faces of some of those who were your comrades, who turned their eyes away from you because somewhere in their mortal being there lingered the remnants of a sense of shame, always and for ever whispering softly – no to treachery! a thing in the shadows, present at every dawn, repeating, repeating, repeating – I am Conscience, to whom you have denied a home.
You have not asked – who indeed are these for whose lives I was prepared to die!
You have asked who am I, that I too did not falter, so that I too could turn my own eyes away from myself and another, who was a comrade.
You have stood at the brink, when you had to appeal to the goods about whether to win a dishonourable peace or to lose the lives of your people, and decided that none among these would exchange their lives for an existence without honour.
You have been where nobody should be asked to be.
You have carried burdens heavier than those who felt it their responsibility and right to proclaim you an enemy of the state.
You have to convince your enemies to believe a story difficult to believe, because it was true, that your burnished spear glittered in the rays of the sun, not to speak of hatred and death from them, but because you prayed that its blinding brilliance would tell them, whose ears would not hear, that you loved them as your own kith and kin.
You have had to bear the mantle of sainthood when all you sought was pride in the knowledge that you were a good foot soldier for justice and freedom.
But despite it all and because of it all, we are blessed.
We are blessed because you have walked along the road of our heroes and heroines.
For centuries our own African sky has been dark with suffering and foreboding.
But because we have never surrendered, for centuries the menace in our African sky has been brightened by the light of our stars.
In the darkness of our night, the victory of the Khoikhoi in 1510 here in Table Bay, when they defeated and killed the belligerent Portuguese admiral and aristocrat, Dom Franscisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese viceroy in India, has lit our skies for ever.
In the darkness of our night, Autshumato, the Khoikhoi leader who was the first political prisoner on Robben Island, shone on our firmament as our star of hope.
And so these and other since, the kings and queens and generals and warriors who resisted Africa’s colonisation, the leaders who, and the movements which fought for African emancipation – these who are, permanently, our heroes and heroines – have come and gone, over the generations, one after the other, each to take his or her place as a star in the African sky.
Among them are our own, whose names we recite to tell ourselves that we are – black liberators, white liberators, human beings, whose only fault has been to strive to live as human beings.
Among these, Madiba, we recite you name, because your fault too, for which your have paid your price, was that you strived so that you, together with us, could live as a human being.
As these human beings, we have, for five years, traversed the rooms and passages that surround us and occupied this theatre of drama and farce and the birth of the new, carrying on our foreheads the title – the law makers!
The sense of wonder still pervades our ranks that out of the tumult and the babble of tongues, the veiled enmities and the bloodless wars, there could have arisen over our devastated land, out of this house, with its own history, the sun of hope.
Though standing like little giants, because we stand on your shoulders and others of your generation, we must proclaim it to the world that here, in these houses of the law-givers, we have striven to do the right things, because to have done otherwise would have been to condemn ourselves to carry, for all time, the burden of having insulted all the sacrifices you made.
Others, before us, who also had the power to decide how each and all shall behave, according to such rules and regulations they were empowered to set, arrived from Europe at the Cape of Good Hope on the 23rd of December, 1802.
These were the representatives of the Batavian Republic of the Netherlands.
As they landed on the shores of our oceans, only a heckler’s shout from where you sit, Madiba, they carried in their heads the lesson they had been taught, on “Methods to Follow when Attending Savage Peoples”. And here is an example of their lessons:
Convey to them our arts,but not our corruption,the code of our morals,and not the example of our vices,our sciences and not our dogmas,the advantages of civilisation,and not their abuses,conceal from them how the peoplein our more enlightened countries,defame one another, and degradethemselves by their passions.
On the 10th of May, five years ago, you stood in front of the Union Buildings in Pretoria to proclaim to the universe that the sun could never set on so glorious a human achievement as was celebrated that day.
Black and white South Africans had, at last, arrived at the point when, together, they could say:
Let us nurture our arts, and not our corruption.Let us communicate morality, and not our vices.Let us advance science, and not our dogmas.Let us advance civilisation, and not abuse.
After a long walk, we too have arrived at the starting point of a new journey.
We have you, Madiba, as our nearest and brightest star to guide us on our way.
We will not get lost.
A Farewell to Madiba by Thabo Mbeki - National Assembly, Cape Town, on 26 March 1999
November 28, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I did stand up comedy about 8 years ago and I sort of stopped because of one reason or another. I was very awkward, well that was the character I was going for. I did stand up for about 3 years and then sort of fizzled out. It was a pretty decent way of making extra cash. I have never been able to do just one thing with my life, there is always something else I do besides whatever 9 to 5 I do. Restricting myself to a single thing would kill me, I need to be always doing something else. This was the reason I did stand – up.My first appearance on TV for stand up is also on this clip.
November 27, 2013 § 1 Comment
*this originally appeared on the Cape Times on August 27 2013
“You are lucky, you have now lived more years in a New South Africa than you have under apartheid. I have lived most of my life under apartheid than outside it.” These were the words of my uncle to me a few months ago. “And for people to tell us blacks to be over it when most our lives are defined by what we experienced for longer is asking too much.” I am still very bitter he said. And it makes me extremely bitter when I hear that we are obsessed with it by people who did not go through what we had to go through.
My uncle is approaching his 70s now. He talks fast and has a very strong voice, to the point of almost being gruff. Ever since I’ve known him, he has had way more confidence than most people I knew. Xhosas are generally very expressive, my uncle is always without doubt the loudest person in any room or kraal, which is where we were when he said what he said to me. As he spoke, the men from the village who were there to enjoy the sheep, which had been slaughtered for some family festivities, nodded in agreement.
He had gone to work in Johannesburg in his 20s to his late 30s. In that time, he was able to save enough money to start a taxi business. This was when the taxi industry was still at its infancy in the 80s. He managed to make himself and his family a lot of money in that time. His one taxi became several, employing his sons and others to drive his taxis. Eventually he had a prestigious shop in his village of Sugarbush.
He did so well that he built himself an enormous house in the village. It was nicer and bigger than a lot of houses you could find in the suburbs. It obviously had no indoor plumbing because this was a village that had no such luxuries. He also had tractors which he use to hire out to teal, plant, harvest and fetch firewood for villagers. His tractors did the work for several villages. He became really wealthy businessman in the village during apartheid. Yet, with the demise of apartheid, so did his wealth but that is a story for another day.
My uncle spoke about how he used to teach new white employees how to do their jobs. Although he taught them, they got paid more. How they acted like they knew even though they didn’t know. They couldn’t bare the thought of being taught by a black man to do anything. He told me how the same people he’d taught to do their jobs would do everything to undermine his intelligence when they had become his boss. He says that he felt as though he was a reminder to them that black people weren’t inferior like they thought.
The other men in the kraal said that there were things they experienced in the hands of white people that they did not want to repeat and reveal to me in case they wash away my idealism. They spoke of how they always had to be invisible to their white bosses. They couldn’t seem too bright or too smart because if they did, they got mocked for trying to be clever and or lost their jobs. How they had to balance between being invisible but being visible and being there when needed. There was a struggle to be invisible even though they hated the idea of not being seen.
One of the men told a story that we have heard many times in South Africa. He worked as a gardener in Johannesburg for a certain family. He talked about how the family dogs were allowed in the house at any given moment, yet he was never allowed to go inside the house. How an animal was more important than a human being was something he never got used to, even though he worked for the family for years. “I don’t hate white people. But for the majority of my life, they have treated me like I was not worthy of being a human being. I can’t trust them, but I don’t hate them. Most of my life has been under apartheid. You on the other hand have lived most of your life outside apartheid. I don’t expect you to completely understand.”
There really was no bitterness in their voices, talking about their experiences felt like a therapy session for them.
November 26, 2013 § 1 Comment
I remember listening to a professor tell a story about a story he’d read in a magazine about Clint Eastwood. I’ve Googled the story to see if it’s real or not but I haven’t been able to find it on the Internet. If the story is true, it’s great. If not, it’s still good.
He’s the kind of guy who has said things like, “I don’t know if I can tell you exactly when the pussy generation started. Maybe when people started asking about the meaning of life.”
“Kids piercing themselves, piercing their tongues — what kind of masochism is that? Is it to show you can just take it?”
Clint was the epitome of cool in his heyday. Yes, even with that death stare. The story I heard from the professor apparently appeared in some magazine in the 70s. The story goes like this:
Clint was being interviewed. Then the journalist asked him, “Why do you think people think you are so cool?”
Apparently Mr Dirty Harry put one of those cigarettes without a filter on the table. Since it had no filter that meant it could be lit from either end. Just over a quarter of the ciggy was over the edge of the table. He flicked it upwards with his thumb and it spun upwards in the air, it descended and Clint caught one of the tips of with his lips. As soon as he caught it, he took a match and lit it under the sole of his shoe, lit the cigarette, inhaled, blew out some smoke and said, “I have no idea.”
November 26, 2013 § 2 Comments
I lost his first job – and used my cleaning skills to secure the next one.
The office is one of those places that no-one wants to go to after waking up in the morning. The bed is always much more pleasant. Unless you are that guy who is having an affair with someone there. Which can make going to work very inspiring.
I was retrenched from my first job, nine months in – like a pregnancy. My boss at the time called me into his office and told me that the agency was going through a really tough time; we had lost a major account within three months of me joining. I managed to survive the first massacre of retrenchments. I didn’t survive when we lost another account in the next six months.
I was then summoned to the owner and founder’s office. I wasn’t upset by the summons because his PA was hot. I had no idea why. His office had a nice couch and glass table. He pointed to the couch and I sat down, and he sat opposite. Although it was comfortable, I felt uncomfortable on the couch. He told me the agency was going through a difficult time. “Although I think you are very talented, unfortunately you are one of the people I must retrench.” Inside, I was very relieved to hear it. I hadn’t thought of the fact that I was now unemployed.
Looking back, I respect that he told me himself; he didn’t get my boss or one of his underlings to do it. As a fan of the Game of Thrones books, I am reminded of the motto of the Lord of Winterfell, Lord Eddard Stark, when he passes a death sentence by beheading. He said: “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword,” although he never took joy in the duty.
He asked me how I felt about being retrenched. Looking back, it would seem I’ve always lacked tact. I paused for a second, thinking of what to say, then said: “I’m glad actually…”
I hadn’t even finished my sentence when he interrupted me with: “Why would you say that?” I told him I felt I wasn’t been mentored; I was being left to my own devices and to teach myself. I felt ignored no matter how much proactive work I did. I felt more like an irritant than someone who was needed.
I still don’t believe I said it because it’s not like I had a job lined up. He looked absolutely horrified and said he hated hearing that. He wanted employees to hate leaving his company – they should never be happy about leaving, he exclaimed as he slammed his fist on the glass table.
He was nice enough to say he would call a couple of agencies to see if any of them had a slot for a younger writer.
A few days later, I got a call on my landline. “Who wants me?” I asked.
There was a stammer on the other side of the line and a voice said: “It’s So-and-So, Executive Creative Director of So- and-So advertising agency.” Had I been a white man, I would have turned beetroot red on the other end of the line.
Fortunately, I am a man of the melanin-advantaged persuasion. He was calling me about an interview because he’d heard that I was retrenched, would I like to come in for an interview he asked?
I met the Executive Creative Director of this particular agency. His office reeked of cigarette smoke. The stench in his office was probably no different from that of Mad Men. He had his Apple MacBook open and there were brown envelopes stuffed with briefs. He rested his elbow on the table with his cigarette hand by his ear. He didn’t care that it was illegal to smoke in the office. It would seem everyone was too scared of him to tell him to stop. His hand would go between his ear and mouth between puffs. He offered me coffee, which I declined, but he had a cup.
The interview hadn’t even been going for five minutes when I accidentally knocked over his mug, spilling coffee all over his desk and the briefs. He had to jump up suddenly because some of it splashed on his crotch. Luckily, I don’t think the hot liquid did any damage to his member. I remembered seeing the kitchen not too far from his office. I thought quickly and ran to get paper towel. When I got back to his office it was quiet and I was convinced I’d lost any chance of getting the job.
I folded the paper towel and started wiping his desk in the middle of the world’s most awkward interview and found myself saying: “As you can see, I’m really desperate for a job, even if it’s a cleaning job”. He suddenly let out a huge laugh. The awkward-ness left the room and returned to wherever the hell it had come from. At the beginning of the interview he had told me that there was a hiring freeze, as they also had to retrench people a month before. At the end of the interview, after going through my thin portfolio, he stood up, shook my hand and said: “To hell with it, rules are meant to be broken, I’m hiring you.” After hearing those words, the smoke in his office didn’t bother me any more.
*this originally appeared on Visi magazine
November 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I suspect I’ll be like these dads. Yes. An embarrassing dad. My kids will be well versed in the art of rolling their at me. It’s going to be fun. I think I’ll have more fun as a dad than they will as my kids. Shem. I pray for my future kids shem.
This dad breaks the news
Dad gives a child his number
November 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Actor David Duchovny on the coach who taught a reserved, scared, outwardly blasé teenager to care
To me, he was always Coach Byrnes. As if his first name were “Coach.” When I heard other teachers call him “Larry,” it rang like a sour note, vaguely disrespectful. Larry may have been his name, but his essence, his true name, was Coach.
I had come into high school figuring I’d play some basketball but also terrified of not living up to academic expectations and loath to let sports siphon away study time. My future was built on a house of cards, the bottom floor of which was a scholarship to a prestigious private school in Manhattan called Collegiate. If I didn’t perform academically, I thought, it would start a chain reaction that would lead to me in the gutter somewhere. I was 14 and scared.
The basketball program was in disarray. My sophomore year, we were 5-18. Our warm-ups, vertically thick-striped orange and blue, snap-button flared at the ankles, looked liked the bottom half of a clown suit straight out of the Tony Manero fall ’78 collection.
I was concerned with how many points I scored. I wore my hair not quite Frampton long and tamed only by a terrycloth headband. I had no idea how silly I looked. I cursed loudly and often when I missed a shot or disagreed with the refs. Off the court, I was quiet and well mannered. On the court, I was an ass. Everything about me said “I don’t really care.” My father had left my mother a couple years before. I guess I had some issues.
My junior year, Coach Byrnes showed up. He was about 6-foot-4. He looked like a man. He told me to cut my hair because I would play better if I could see. He told me to stop cursing and to direct that fury into my desire to win. He told me not to celebrate when I hit an important shot, but to act like I’d been there before. You hit shots at the buzzer—that’s what you do.
Team shot- 1976-77 Varsity Team with Coach Larry Byrnes used in the 1977 yearbook, “The Dutchman” Collegiate School Archives
Coach Byrnes told me I was worthwhile and good and that we could win. He talked to me as if I were someone worth telling a story about, subtly enjoining me to become active in that story. My father was mostly gone by then, and now here was a man who respected me by demanding that I respect myself and a game. I never knew if he liked me. That wasn’t so important. He saw potential in me, and I began to respect myself.
That is what a good coach does. He fills you with a belief that may or may not be justified. As you make the dangerous crossing from unproven belief to actual accomplishment, from potential to reality, a good coach holds your hand so expertly that you don’t even know your hand is being held. I got better because Coach Byrnes told me I was already better. It was that simple—a magic trick. And every success I’ve had ever since has had some of this same magic in it, either at the hands of other skilled teachers or by the generous trickery of the voice inside me that they instilled.
I stopped caring about how many points I scored. I even played some defense (though some still argue that point). I would dive after loose balls, rebound my ass off. I was learning what it meant to want to be good for someone else—to be good for an idea, for a team.
That is why, after so many years, men will tear up talking about a high school team that competed in what Coach Carill, my basketball coach at Princeton, called “the argyle socks league.” It didn’t matter that we weren’t close to the best. We were the best that we could be, and once you have tasted that, anything else is bitter and false. There is no longer any fooling yourself.
I spent just two seasons, a mere 50 odd games, with Coach Byrnes. How is it that he got through to me in such a short time? That’s the genius of a coach. They talk to you between the lines, but then you take them with you outside the lines.
One memory stands out, not of winning, which fades, but of losing, which hurts and lingers. My junior year, we lost an important league game to an arch rival. We could have won if we’d executed perfectly. We didn’t choke; we just didn’t finish the game strongly. It was a respectable but devastating loss.
After the game, all of us were assembled in the locker room waiting for Coach Byrnes. I know I felt like we had let him down. The door to the locker room swung open, and Coach walked in, put his hand over his heart and said, “A pint of blood. Right from here.”
It was a simple gesture—a bit corny but true to the moment. A few of us started crying. He had given us permission to care enough about a game to cry. Now that I have my own family to love, it seems strange to still care about a silly game so long ago, but there was blood in that too. Coach Byrne was still coaching after the buzzer, teaching me—a reserved, scared, outwardly blasé teenager—that men could care like that. No one was to blame, but it hurt like hell nonetheless—like much of life, as we all find out eventually.
I don’t remember, but I think I cried. I hope I did. I feel like crying just remembering it. That’s a coach—a real coach.
—Mr. Duchovny is an actor, writer and director and was the captain of the 1978 Collegiate School basketball team. This essay is the preface to a new edition of “Coach: 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference,” edited by Andrew Blauner.
November 19, 2013 § 3 Comments
That was the question I posed on Twitter last night. The answers were heartfelt, some just heart-breaking beautiful moments. When given an opportunity, Twitter can be a beautiful genuine place, instead of the often cynical one because cynicism is “cool”. I think there is nothing cooler than being sincere and real and raw.
The best memories people shared were the simplest. If these don’t inspire you to be a great father I don’t know what will.
The thing I loved the most is how many people mentioned their dads. You don’t always get that, most people always talk about their mothers. It was great seeing fathers getting some sun. We need more fahters who create great memories for their children.
Below are the responses:
He used to carry my lil sis on his shoulders & hold me with his free hand♥RT@khayadlanga:What did your mom or dad do when you were a child t—
Nkamoheleng (@KamoNkamoheleng) November 18, 2013
I thought this exchange was beautiful
Pour me some of his tea in the saucer! RT@khayadlanga: What did your mom or dad do when you were a child that you miss now?—
Margaret Musekwa (@Ausmasweety) November 18, 2013
November 5, 2013 § 2 Comments
David Ogilvy is generally regarded as the father of advertising. Think Abraham in the Bible, Washington in the United States, Nelson Mandela in South Africa and Jacob Zuma in Nkandla.
On September 7 1982, he wrote this memo and called it: “A memo drafted by David Ogilvy for the management to circulate as they see fit”.
How to write
The better you write, the higher you will go in Ogilvy & Mather.
People who think well, write well.
Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well.
Here are 10 hints:
(1) Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. * read it three times.
(2) Write the way you talk. Naturally.
(3) Use short word, short sentences and short paragraphs
(4) Never use jargon words like reconceptualise, demassification. Attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
(5) Never write more than two pages on any subject.
(6) Check your quotations.
(7) Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning – and then edit it.
(8) If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
(9) Before you send your letter or memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
(10) If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.
This is the gospel according to David Ogilvy. He didn’t say this is the gospel, but you get my meaning. I think David was talking about writing memos and communicating clearly. I wonder what he thought of the Bible because it has way more than two pages.
October 30, 2013 § 1 Comment
October 30, 2013 § 1 Comment
“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they’ll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them – actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can’t give up because if you give up, you’ll never find your soulmate. You’ll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
― Marilyn Monroe
October 24, 2013 § 33 Comments
I got this email from someone who was one, and I appreciate the honesty about it all. I have been given permission to publish.
2009. I was 18. Vibrant, spunky, outgoing. I had just settled in a new town. A new academic venture had just begun – tertiary level.
The first day of lectures, I laid my eyes on who was going to fast become my best friend. She was dark, slim, taller than average. Most interestingly, she looked foreign. Just like me! For 3 sessions per week for the following month, we always made eye contact in class. One day, I finally approached her and asked for her name. It was Vivian*. She had a nice smile. We had a very chatty introduction. The outcome was her inviting me to her hostel room. We ended up laying on the bed and talking for the next 5 hours straight. By the end of the day, it felt like I’d known her my whole life. It was the days when Mxit wasn’t a big joke. We stayed up chatting when we weren’t together.
3 months later, she invited me for a girls-night-out club-hopping mission. I lived at home with absolutely conservative parents, so I sadly couldn’t go. She asked me for my digital camera, I agreed to give it. She later told me not to bother; a friend had lent one to her. The next day, she showed me photos of the fun that was. They dominated the dance floor. She asked me if I could dance. She told me to prove if I could. I did. The slow wind, the booty hop, the Shakira – I showed her all. She recorded it on the borrowed camera, absolutely stunned. She played it back over and over again. She told me that the owner of the camera, Cyrus*, was soon coming to fetch it. She received a call and went downstairs to give it.
Within the next 10 minutes after she returned, she received a phone call. Cyrus was begging to know who the dancer was. She said it was her. He knew it wasn’t. They grew up together. He senior-ed her (and me) by 10 years. He knew her body and motions inside-out. He begged and begged. I left her room that evening with Cyrus still pleading on Mxit to know who the dancer was.
Around midnight, Vivian sent a Mxit message telling me that she’d given my Facebook name to him. I asked her if he was cute. She said I would see.
8am the next morning, I saw a friend request from someone with the silhouette of a built man as his profile photo; with a window pane as the backdrop. It was his name. I refused to believe it was his actual self on the photo. It was just too model-ish. I accepted the request and before the page could refresh, he sent a “Hi” inbox message. I sent a “hi back”. He asked for my mobile or Mxit number. He claimed to detest Facebook messages. We chatted on Mxit till 5pm. He knocked off from work and asked to meet me just for a while. I was scared to. What if he wouldn’t like me in person? I had previously told him I was on campus in the library, so he came anyway. Immediately he entered the lab I was in, I knew it was him. He was all versions of hot. Tall, dark, built, with chiselled facial features.
He located me and just sat next to me and smiled. I blushed. I heard his voice, his accent for the first time – My God! Yesssssss…
Fast-forward to a week later. We had spoken about the basics. Age, education, background, relationship status. Two single people getting to know each other. We somehow flirted to the point it got sexual. I wasn’t a virgin, but I was quite untainted. He was dirty. I was intrigued. Highly.
He said he liked my innocence. He said he liked how he knew I wouldn’t be able to handle him. I told him I could. I wanted to.
One morning, he told me he had a hard-on. Asked me to prescribe something to calm it. I sent him a nude. The first nude I had ever sent in my whole life. I told him to jack off – the hard-on would go. He called me a tease, said he wants to teach me a lesson. I told him pick me up after his work.
5:30pm, we were at his flat. We fucked. It was not sex, it was not love-making. It was intense. I bled. I felt like a virgin over again. From that day on, he became my every desire.
My days became exciting. I’d wake up to messages from him telling me how amazing and mature I was. It made me excited to go to school and get all my work done, so the evening would come quickly and I’d see him. Sometimes I’d sneak off to a toilet to send him photos. It was insane. He would just send a text: “Babe, turn me on. Now”, and I’d do it. Despite the extremely passionate, yet almost sadistic approach he had to ‘loving’ me, I felt it was the best thing ever.
One evening, he reported that Vivian was giving him attitude. That she’s not a very good person when she’s angry. I had unintentionally distanced myself from my bestie. I visited her that day. She was very cold towards me. We had a bit of a spat. I told her she’s a spoiled brat and always pushes people away. She told me I was a bad friend for going after her love interest. She added that I was not even his girlfriend. Someone called Janine* was (by the way, that’s my name too. My middle name). She went into detail about how I’m just his sexual toy.
I felt all kinds of weak. All kinds of sick. I didn’t understand the emotion. I had never been heart-broken. But I was sure that wasn’t it. It was more than that. I felt worthless, then stupid, then angry, then absolutely shattered. I wasn’t yet sure if I was in love with him; but it occurred to me that I most probably was. Or was I just drawn to his sexual kinship? He was the best I ever had. From his looks to his demeanour and all the way to the bulge in his pants. All I really thought was: why didn’t I ever know? Why had I never noticed? There were no hints in his flat. The next hour, Vivian took me through his Facebook. The little hints were here and there. I just trusted him off the bat. Never snooped or felt insecure. The posts from Janine were obvious of affection. His own statuses were too. He fondly called me “J”, I had assumed the “J” references on his Facebook were to me. It was all too easy for him. I threw up. I couldn’t believe how it all affected me.
Vivian apologised. Next blow: she confessed to sleeping with him too. Constantly for over a year. She confessed to loving him. She used to get all the attention I had been getting from him. But it all changed when I started talking to him. He had told her that she shouldn’t behave as if she was his girlfriend. That he just wanted to meet me. He told her he wouldn’t try anything with me. That Vivian was his favourite other female. It disgusted me how she was okay with it. Knowing full well about Janine. I would never – or so I thought.
That evening, I confronted him. He apologised. He kissed my hand and said he thought I knew. I just wanted to erase him from my memory. It was tough, but I stayed away from him – for a while.
Little did I know I would go on to see Janine everywhere on campus. I started to notice things I never did before. I would even see them chill on campus after 5. I had seen him pick her up before. Vivian had Janine as a friend on Facebook and I would read her posts. Once, she gushed “So happy Cy-Cy doesn’t have to stay at work late anymore.” I was that ‘work’.
I had not only found that thin line between love and hate. I crossed it.
2010. Life went on though. I got a post as columnist for the campus newspaper. Janine had a post there too. One day she clashed with a friend of mine, and it made me dislike her more. So I fell back into a bad habit I had been off for almost 3 months – Cyrus the Virus. I called him. Told him to pick me up immediately. He did. We had sex. And that’s how it started all over again. This time I was fully conscious; fully aware of my position.
I started to smile at Janine. I felt powerful. He was hers, but he was mine too. Cyrus even found a way to get us to be friendly. She even admitted once in a Mxit group chat to having a thing for me and admiring my confidence. She had no idea where it stemmed from.
The year was over. He got a new job in another province. He and Janine broke up. I and Vivian fell out completely. I got into a steady relationship. Life went on…
2011. A whole year later, now in the days of WhatsApp. He sent a message quite out of the blue and told me he’s in town for the week for an event and that I have his number. I knew what he meant. I missed him. I contacted him. We did it. I was now a cheat. I later broke up with my boyfriend. Guilty conscience took me over.
I found out a little while later that Cyrus got back with Janine. I was emotionless.
2012. Same time the following year, he was in town again. Same event. Just one week. I was in a year-long relationship. His name is Laki*. He knew about my past. He knew about my addiction to being Cyrus’ sidechick. But he still wanted to be with me. This was the longest relationship I’d ever been in. I cared about him. A lot. But we fought a lot. He said I lacked respect for him. We had a big fight the beginning of that fateful week. Sometimes I think I subconsciously planned for the fight to happen. And happen, it did. I linked up with my guilty pleasure. We did what we knew how to do best to each other. It was always the greatest familiarity that I just couldn’t get used to. I couldn’t get enough of if. Every new time was better than the last time.
I broke up with Laki after that week despite his apologies and pleas to try and sort things out. I was not prepared to tell him what I had done.
2013. Some months later. Laki did not relent. And I caved into his re-advances. I fell in love this time around, and cautiously. He treated me like a gem. He publicised us. He made sure it was known that I was his and he was mine. I initially found it hard to trust him totally, but he eliminated all traces of doubt. He still showed me respect, and I showed him the same. I really had changed. I had grown up. Not only to my credit; Laki made me feel like the only girl in the world. In a healthy way this time. Cyrus was a bad memory. I deleted him from Facebook. I deleted his phone number. The plan was to be faithful.
That time of the year arrives again. The time Cyrus always comes into town. He hasn’t outgrown his favourite event of the year. I hope he won’t contact me, but I wish he would. I want to feel like he actually wanted me because he WANTED me, not just because he could have me. He is still with Janine. Someone told me so.
2 days into the event, I get a WhatsApp message from someone with a silhouette of a masculine body; and the sunset as the backdrop.
HIM: “Hi Miss J”
ME: “Who is this?”
HIM: “Haha. Classic question. It’s Cy.”
He’s still cocky as ever. I play it cool. He does too. After a civil chat, I eventually tell him to enjoy his stay, then roll out. Laki is not impressed. He feels I’m not firm enough. He feels he’s still scarring from wounds Cy left behind. We have a big fight. I’m charged to take control now.
I open the chat again and type away. I pour out 4-years of sadness, emotional turmoil, inferiority of being second-best and ultimate guilt into a WhatsApp message. I make it clear that he is never to contact me again, and that I’m preserving what I have going on with a great man this time around. I press the “Send” button, and my heart starts racing.
The “last seen today at…” bar turns into “Online” and I hold my breath. Few seconds later, I get a new message notification.
That was all he replied. That was all it took for me to feel totally sober. Sane. Powerful.
And that was the end of it.
(* – Names changed).
October 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
If you had 5 minutes to live, who would you call and what would you say to them? Amazing Twitter responses.
October 16, 2013 § 5 Comments
Last night I asked Twitter who they would call and what they would say if they had five minutes to live. These are just some of their moving and genuine responses. Sometimes Twitter can be so mean and ruthless, and then there are moments like these from last night. You guys can be so awesome.
October 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
October 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Originally appeared on my news24 column, 2012-02-23 11:20
Land is a black and white issue, but it doesn’t have a black and white solution. Then we have land issue denialism by the likes of Pieter Mulder, leader of the Freedom Front Plus, who wants to deny black people land by rewriting history. Mr Mulder clumsily tried to deny the “Bantus”, as he called us, claim to the land in the Cape by saying there was no Bantus when the white man came. He said that “Bantu-speaking” people had no historical claim to 40% of the land.
Mr Mulder is trying to use a strategy that was applied very well by his apartheid-loving ancestors. They divided and tried to conquer us as a people. The Xhosas were not meant to like the Zulus, the Zulus must not like the Tswanas and so on and so forth. We were to be suspicious of one another so that we didn’t unite to fight. These suspicions that were so well executed with evil genius that they led to the hostel violence between the Xhosas and Zulus in the 80s and 90s during the height of the struggle.
(Allow me an aside here.) My uncle, who is a priest in the Methodist church, went to these hostels to broker peace between the warring tribes. He told me that one of the most effective ways he employed to stop the fighting was by asking them one simple question. He would turn to the Zulus and ask, “Who amongst you has had his land stolen by the Xhosas?” There would be no answer. Then he would turn to the Xhosas and ask, “Who amongst you has had his land stolen from him by a Zulu?” Again, there would be no answer.
And then he would say, “You should not be fighting each other, but you should be uniting and fighting against those who stole your land. This is what they want you to do, to fight each other instead.” Mr Mulder is trying to decide who is South African enough, therefore dividing the black people of South Africa by saying who has greater claim to the land than the other.
It is not going to happen Mr Mulder. The Zulus, Sothos, Vendas, Khoisan and other tribes all have claim to South Africa before 1652. The land belongs to them. We just didn’t have maps or title deeds. The visitors of 1652 came and claimed the land, which was not theirs, with pieces of paper, guns and laws that were not written by the original inhabitants. But I digress.
Perhaps I should school Mr Mulder a little on the South African history he has so conveniently forgotten.
It was 500 years ago that the Khoisan established themselves as the dominant people in the Cape. Therefore Mr Mulder’s attempt to separate the original people’s of South Africa from the Nguni is rejected and deserves to be treated with contempt. In any case, before the 1600s, Xhosas were trading and intermarried the Khoikhoi in the Cape. Therefore the claim that “Bantu-speaking” people had no claim to the Cape is equally rejected.
Fast-forward to 1905 when the South African Native Affairs Commission recommended that certain areas be reserved only for Africans. In 1910, Parliament proposed legislation that included limits on African land ownership, which restricted blacks to only 7.5% of the land. Then in 1913, a Bill that would be known as The Natives’ Land Act was passed, which restricted 68% of the population to 7.5% of the total landmass of South Africa. In 1939, Barry Hertzog increased this to 13%.
The Natives’ Land Act meant that blacks could only buy land from blacks. They couldn’t buy anymore land than had been restricted to them; this meant no black could buy land from a white person.
South Africa’s economy was growing and needed cheap labour. In order to force blacks to leave the rural areas to go work and service white industry, land shortage was orchestrated. With too little land to graze and forced to reduce the livestock they had and not enough land to cultivate, people had little choice but to leave their reserves and service white industry for little money.
In proposing this land restriction for labour, the South African Native Affairs Commission recommended that labour from the black reserves should always be male, single, regarded as temporarily employed in the “white” areas and paid at a rate mining and agriculture or country could afford.
And I haven’t even touched on forced removals.
For a very long time, black people were not allowed to buy land outside their allocated 13% of the land even though they formed an overwhelming majority of the population. These historical imbalances are what resulted in the paltry black land ownership we find ourselves in today. There are millions of people who are alive today, who remember the forced removals, who remember being forced out of their land to make way for white people to move in. These people were moved to much smaller pieces of land – which they could not even harvest.
Therefore we cannot continue to sweep the land issue under the carpet. It is real for many people. The land issue is important and complex. It is not something that can simply be solved by employing the same techniques the apartheid government applied. So Mr Mulder needs to sit down.
October 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
This video is a tad hilarious. Ok, maybe more than a tad.
If you loved Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, you’ll love this more.
October 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
October 12, 2013 § 3 Comments
Let me yack on for a minute before you see a couple of extracts I’ve put down below from his Interview. You may think he is a jerk but he has some great points, but one thing he has is courage to be the kind of creative person he is. A lot of creative people lack the courage to stand up for that they believe. But not everyone must stand up for themselves the same way. You have to stand up for yourself in a manner that suits you. Kanye doesn’t mind going out there and speaking his mind. When MTV wouldn’t play Michael Jackson’s videos, he didn’t take it to the press or the public, but he fought them with his work and even collaborated with MTV and got the president of his record company to threaten MTV. He demonstrated his courage differently to Kanye West. I think Kanye’s courage is different to that of Michael Jackson, which was quieter but had a tremendous impact. Courage is courage no matter how it manifests.
Here are my favourite extracts from his interview.
“That’s the improper way to do it. I refuse to follow those rules that society has set up and the way they control people with low self-esteem, with improper information, with branding, with marketing. I refuse to follow those rules. It’s about truth, it’s about information, it’s about awesomeness, and the only luxury is time, the time you spend with your family. The concept of luxury is foreign to me. With Nike, with Apple? Did you know there were phones that cost $4,000? There are people who spend $5,000 on this bag, $10,000 on this, to say what I said before, to say, ‘We’re better than you.’ I mean, taste, culture, art, just the quality of life, this is what I’m here to do. So when I compare myself to Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Howard Hughes, David Stern, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Jesus, whoever it is, I say these are my heroes, these are people that I look up to, this is the type of impact I want to make on the Earth.”
This is whas my favourite part, you can see the passion as he says it. “People don’t stand up and protect their dreams, people are too scared of getting spoofed in a way. The irony of it is, think of a creative person at school, when you picture them you’re picturing someone all the way back of class, sketching and maybe getting beat up. And this is the reason why I did this, because creatives got beat up my entire life, and there was moments I stood up to drug dealers in Chicago, I said you can’t have my publishing, come and kill me, do what you’re gonna do but you’re not gonna bully me, you’re not gonna stop me, because my mother made me believe in myself… No matter how many people tell me, ‘Stop believing in yourself, stop saying what you can do, stop affirming what you can do and completing that in real life.”
“No matter how many people tell me ‘stop believing in yourself, stop affirming what you can do and then completing that in real life’ — I refuse to follow those rules that society set up in the way that controlled people with low self esteem. It’s about truth, information, and awesomeness.”
“fashion isn’t always practical, it’s about emotion and swag.”
Kanye is upset that the fashion world hasn’t embraced him, saying: “There’s no black guy standing at the end of the runway in Paris.”
Kimmel perfectly responds, “What about the Steve Harvey collection?” And Kanye responded, “There’s no Steve Harvey Collection, no extra buttons on jackets or anything.” I thought that was pretty funny.
“Michael Jackson had to fight to get his videos on MTV because he was considered to be “urban”! This is Michael Jackson!” Urban was code for black.
“I could care less about any of these cameras. All I care about is my family, protecting my girl, protecting my baby, and protecting my ideas and my dreams.”
“I feel like media does everything they can to break creatives, to break artists, to break people’s spirits.”
Here is my favourite part from YouTube
October 7, 2013 § 2 Comments
If you are from East London and you’re Xhosa speaking, you would have heard of the word igali. It is what our brothers and sisters from KZN and other such northern parts call umkhukhu and what our melanin disadvantaged brothers and sisters call shacks.
Where on earth did the word igali come from? During the apartheid era building a shack was illegal. When they popped up, police would be sent to break them down. Many people had to watch as authorities broke their homes down. Even though the government of the day never made provisions for them to have homes, they still destroyed the ones these struggling people made for themselves.
Anyway, when the policemen came, as expected in the day, they were white and would dismantle the homes. Most of the people were uneducated and could not speak English. When the cops were about to break down their properties they would say, “This is illegal!”
Sometimes people would come back from work to find that they no longer had homes. They would wonder what happened. Those who were there to witness as their own homes were destroyed would respond by saying, “Athe amapolisa ligali kaloku,” “The police said that ligali.”
When the cops said, “illegal,” what they heard was “igali”. This is where the word igali (shack).
And here is something extra, if you want to know where the term towning comes from, click here.
October 3, 2013 § 7 Comments
Sinead O’Connor Wrote Miley Cyrus a tough letter. The letter is honest and speaks about the music Industry. Those of you who may not know Sinead O’connor, google her. You might remember her song, “Nothing Compares to You”. She says to Miley in her open letter that the music business will make her think that she wants to do the things it is making her do, “let the music business make a prostitute of you.” Miley said that her hair cut and latest song, Wrecking Ball were inspired by O’Connor. Then O’Connor wrote this blistering tough love open letter to Miley. This is not just relevant to Miley, it’s relevant to many people who aren’t even in the music or entertainment business.
I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares… So this is what I need to say… And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.
I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.
Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.
I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.
The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.
None of the men oggling you give a shit about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a fuck about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself.
Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them pray [sic] for animals and less than animals (a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and the associated media).
You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Don’t be under any illusions.. ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty.. which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.
I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money.. we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.
You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age.. which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.
Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question.. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. Its really not at all cool. And its sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.
As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image.. whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now.. Not because you got naked but because you make great records.
Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted.. its so not cool Miley.. its dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. we aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers.. that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.
October 3, 2013 § Leave a Comment
After Andraka’s uncle died of pancreatic cancer, he decided to go ask some cancer experts for help. Of 200 hundred he asked, only one doctor of oncology was willing to provide him with a lab he could use after school. After spending many hours in the lab, Andraka successfully developed a test for pancreatic cancer that is 168 times faster, 400 times more sensitive, and 26,000 times less expensive than the medical standard.
He looked beyond the experts and did his own thing.
Inspiring and so incredible. Here’s to Andraka who beat the experts. What a champ. He is only 15.
Well done to Intel for doing this.
October 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
This one is my favourite. This was brilliant without being controversial like normal. It drove a great point home
Pick one. Loved this.
Originally appeared here
September 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment
This is terrifying. How this guy decided to just stand there even though he knows that it could be tickets. Damn.
September 27, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Oh man, I can’t stop laughing at this ad. Nice job Mercedes. Nice job. Good old advertising as it should be.
September 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
September 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
I actually exclaimed in horror when a certain part came on. You’ll know when you see it. And no, it’s not the most shocking one either. The ad is by BBH London
Fortunately the site, “Save the Boy” teaches you how to save the boy. The ad is accompanied by an online demonstration of basics first aid. The tutorial picks up where the commercial ends.
September 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I don’t know why people are sending me emails they sent to their exes after they broke up, but this the third one I got in a month. The writer has asked to be anonymous and asked me to publish it on my blog. I fear I am becoming Bhuti Dolly.
I wish that Sunday I came to meet you didn’t happen because obviously you were a mistake. I am so hurt and so disappointed in you. I trusted and respected you so much and you turned out to be a liar. I now realize that our relationship was based on lies.
I thought you loved me but you chose her over me and your excuse was that it is because I am venda and venda’s don’t marry other cultures. Daaaah I had already told you that my grandmother was not venda. Why did you even take me to your family when you knew that you are not planning to marry me? What a lame excuse. I don’t understand why you wasted my time. Was it because I’m wife material not coz u loved me because if you loved you wouldn’t have done what you did.
So if I didn’t call your so called fiancé you would have continued to feed me lies. You told me that if I cheated you would kill me but you knew very well that you were doing that. I don’t blame your fiancé for cheating on you so many times because you are controlling. You made me block some of my close friends whom I have to call and cry to now that you have broken my heart. You are so insecure and now I understand why.
You don’t even have the audacity to apologize but you continue to lie over and over again. Please stop trying to call me and sending me messages asking me if I’m already with another man. I am not like your fiancé whom when you guys have a little fight she goes and sleeps with another man. I have dignity and I respect myself. She cheated on you so many times and you still took her back. I feel so sorry for you because she told me she can not trust herself around some men. She is at UJ and UJ girls are fast. So she is still going to cheat on you and I can’t wait for that day to arrive. Don’t you dare come running back like my other ex’s because I’m not a pig I don’t vomit and eat my own vomit.
You ran me parallel with her because I was your back up when she messes up. Since you are now engaged to her why don’t you take her to your family? You have been with her for five years and still your family doesnt know her. You lied to her and told her I’m your ex and I’m trying to run your relationship and you told me she is just your friend. I told you to block her but you continued to stalk her after she cheated on you while you were with me. She obviously has your heart and you are just playing me a fool because I’m not good enough for you. I am glad I found out because I am sure I deserve better. God will provide me with a man of integrity. You will regret.
September 19, 2013 § 3 Comments
A minor disclaimer* This article originally appeared on the Cape Times. I am very much aware of the fact that many people will be outraged by the claim that I make here.
We can deny it as much as we want but we have to face what is really going on. In the last election, the DA admitted that they only managed 6% of the black vote. Even if they increase that by another 1%, it’s still taking away from the ANC and that cannot be denied. While the DA takes little pieces of the young black vote, the ANC is not counter balancing that by taking the white, coloured or Indian vote from the DA. The minority voters are also deserting the ANC. These are facts. I really don’t see the DA taking more than 8-10% of the black vote in the up coming election. But a vote taken away from the ANC is still one too many and the leadership needs to admit that.
A young black fellow by the name Mabine Seabe penned a column for the City Press with the title, “Why I Joined the DA“. He is an influential figure on social networks and those of us who know him were not really surprised by his pronouncement.
He is a very politically engaged and interesting young man. At one point, I called him the encyclopedia of South African politics on Twitter. If I have doubts about who is who or what they did in politics, it is common for me to ask Seabe for input.
I trust he wouldn’t be vilified or called a sell-out for his choice to join the Democratic Alliance (DA) and I applaud him for making it. All South Africans should feel free to make their own political choices without fear. We should not malign people for making known their political choice, just like one shouldn’t question someone for choosing to be Anglican instead of Methodist.
What makes it interesting is how black people feel they need to justify their decision of joining the DA. Mabine felt compelled to do so in his column this past Sunday. Personally, I have a number of issues with the DA, particularly when it communicates to black people in a bid to show that they are in touch. Especially their claim that they fought apartheid.
He began his column with the following anecdote:
“During my high school days, we had a class called divinity [or bible study]. It was during one lesson that the class was introduced to a gentleman who set out to prove that God was nonexistent. Through his travels, reading and speaking to people, he in fact achieved the opposite, in that he came to believe in God. The reason I recall this story is because it is similar to how I was once an uninformed DA critic. For a very long time I was sceptical about the organisation and its agenda.”
Seabe is a talented and smart guy. He is the type of young, future leader the ANC should have been paying attention to but didn’t. Instead, it deems voices like his, that demand some sort of modernisation of the ANC, as belonging to ‘white liberals’. The fact that Seabe considered an alternative to the ANC is an indication of the sense of disillusionment that many young, smart voters are confronted with. I suspect that a few young turks will also be emboldened to join the DA.
The ANC practices archaic politics; the young voters are not bound to the past. Yes, they may bear the consequences of that past, even if they weren’t around during apartheid, but they aren’t attached to it.
The ANC needs to start embracing and trying to understand the emerging, young, black mindset. Young people today were never exiled or in prison. There is a different mindset that the ANC needs to start appealing to now, and it’s the kind that Mabine has. The more the ANC feels irrelevant to them, the more they will find the DA appealing, even if it is reluctantly.
In the US, they have shown that young people’s voting choices usually stay the same throughout their lives.When Ronald Reagan assumed office, he created a generation of Republicans for years to come. The only reason the first George Bush lost the election to Bill Clinton in 1992 is because of billionaire Ross Perot’s entry into the election, which took many of the Republican votes.
And right now, Barack Obama has built a new generation of Democrat voters.
Unfortunately for the ANC, President Jacob Zuma does not really appeal to the ANC. In fact, a great deal of how the party does things does not appeal to the Seabe mindset, but many voters stay out of obligation. The ANC needs to wake up and smell the coffee before more people decide to up and leave.
The ANC needs to evolve or the DA will eat it up. It’s time the ANC let young blood with new and modern idea lead.
September 19, 2013 § Leave a Comment
They also happen to be photograph.
They say actions speak louder than words and a picture tells a thousand words. Even though Twitter is a word medium (concise words that is), it’s two most popular tweets of all time are not because of the words, but of the pictures accompanying the words.
The most popular tweet of all time is this picture president Barack Obama tweeted after winning the reelection campaign. The words accompanying it simply said, “Four more years.” It has the the most retweets of all time.
The second most popular is by Justin Bieber who tweeted about this photo and simply said, “RIP Avalanna. i love you,” and got the second most retweets of all time. He also has the most Twitter followers, more than 40 million.
Goes to show that humans still love love more than anything. In the midst of all the despair and hatred that is sometimes dished out on Twitter, love and tenderness wins the day. Every time. Keep love alive and show your tender side.
September 18, 2013 § 1 Comment
Write about what you know.
“Being honest is what counts”
“Trying to make the ordinary extraordinary is so much better than starting with the extraordinary.”
September 17, 2013 § 10 Comments
I dropped out of AAA School of Advertising due to financial and other difficulties I had at the time. I had been working as a waiter and decided that I needed to at least try get a job in advertising, my real love, not serving people food. I figured since I had dropped out, I needed to stand out somehow. Secondly, I was applying for a job in one of the most awarded advertising agencies in Cape Town at the time. I really had to stand out creatively. I knew it was a risk. What if it didn’t work?
I detailed all the necessary upfront, education, birthday, ID numbers and so on and so forth and stuff like that. (If you are an accountant or in a rigid industry, I recommend you don’t try this at home). Then I ended the CV off this way:
Khaya Dlanga’s CV
- I live in Pinelands, not Gugulethu
- I can use phones, faxes and computers without breaking them
- Some of my best friends are white
- I can swim (when it’s absolutely necessary)
- I am not a member of Cosatu
Position applying for:
Experience in this field:
I used to write slogans on townships walls like, “Free Mandela” and “One man one vote.” This was a very successful campaign, as you might have noticed.
When I got the phone call from the creative director of the agency at the time, she was still laughing, I could hardly make out what she was saying until she calmed down. She wanted to interview me the next day. I showed her my work. She liked it. She called me and told me that, the founder of the advertising agency said that there was no money to hire new people. Then she said this, “I know that if he meets you, he will like you and if he sees your work he will definitely change his mind. I will convince him to meet you.” She convinced him. I met him and got the job. The founder of the agency is Matthew Bull and the creative director who convinced him to meet me is Fiona Walker. I am eternally grateful to them for giving me a foot in the door. Thanks.
September 10, 2013 § Leave a Comment
September 8, 2013 § 2 Comments
This has to be the mother of the year.
Her teenage son, Zach Gibson, came out on Facebook as gay. She wrote him the note below. It became a huge sensation on the internet about three days ago. Then she wrote a to a blog giving the reason why she wrote the note, “I knew I wouldn’t see Zach before I left work that morning, so I didn’t want him to start his day without knowing I support him 100%, even though I was sure he already knew. I posted the note on my Facebook page knowing my friends and family would think it was typical of me to end with a joke since Zach and I share the same sarcastic wit. I had no idea it would become such a huge sensation on the internet.”
September 6, 2013 § 9 Comments
I got this email from another girl who also wants to remain anonymous. (The second break up email sent to me by a girl to an ex) She asked me to publish it as well. Man, it seems that we hurt these girls as guys. We need to do better.
I’m so angry with myself for being so vulnerable on Friday. Being so weak, crying like a child, being so transparent. I wish that conversation had ended at the part where I called you an asshole and declared that I never want to see you again.That would be a better place than being here.
I once had the utmost respect for you. Admiration. Trust. I thought I knew you, I thought I knew you this time around. After all these years I still do not know you, this is witnessed by your actions. You have been/done the following:
2. Disrespected Me
3. Hurt Me
4. Disappointed Me
You did not tell me about your new ventures .Yes, so we had been in conversation about “us”, I had asked if this sudden thought to end things was inspired by having met someone else, and you said NO. Repeatedly .Meanwhile back at the ranch you were already boyfriend.I asked you twice. You spoke hypothetically. Looking back I feel like a fool. All this time painting her as a friend when you were in pursuit. You were pursuing her while you strung me along.You lied to me and deceived me. You ran me parallel with someone else!!
You have disrespected me. Spat on my face. You now have a GIRLFRIEND. What a hypocrite. It’s so sweet how you two already have pics all over Instagram and Facebook, groping one another in public..so into each other.setting up house! I despise you for this. You knew I wanted this experience with you.. 7 years of knowing one another, and 1.5 years of pouring my heart out to you and within weeks you give that to someone else. A complete stranger – I applaud you.
You knew how I felt and I thought we had a level of maturity about handling things. I trusted you with my heart, I was open to you. You have actively violated that.
If you want to be a dog and piss everywhere do it but TELL ME. Don’t come across as a good guy when all you want to do is bitch around.
The crap you feed me that she is not your gf/not dating makes me sick when the whole world can attest to you officialising things. Your girlfriend had the courage to call me in the midst of all this drama to confirm certain things. Upon that discussion I gathered that this new relationship of your was built on a series of lies. So apparently I broke it off and I’m with someone else now leaving you heartbroken? Really? You victimised yourself to get with her? Pick up your game and try honesty next time. You lied about me to her for your own selfish gain. You care not for my honour. Makes me sick.
What we have as people is a connection I have never experienced with anyone else. You have helped me grow and I am a better woman than I was a year ago.You manage me in a way that no man has, you have compelled me to grow.I am disappointed because I have never felt this disrespected/disappointed/hurt/under appreciated/humiliated before. I cannot allow myself to have you as any part of my life
However, I stand today as a much wiser woman and I have learnt a valuable lesson. As echoed by Brenda Fassie “ umuntu ngeke umconfirme” and as well articulated by Maya Angelou “ When a person shows you who you are believe them the FIRST time.”
This is final. I want nothing to do with you. I wish you and your gf and the other chick at work and all the woman you are yet to explore the very best.I hope and pray that in your pursuit of your own selfish ways you take time to consider other peoples feelings and the hearts you break along the way.
You have not cared about me ENOUGH. You have not appreciated me ENOUGH. I am not valuable ENOUGH to you. If I was we would not be here . Its not about what you want to do but about how you did things. It’s never the right time to say goodbye but there is always the right way to say goodbye.
And you know that’s the ENTIRE point in all of this. You just had to tell me, that was all I could ever ask for. The respect to be told.
September 6, 2013 § 10 Comments
This is intense. This was sent to me and the writer of the email has asked to remain anonymous. This lady wrote this email to a guy she discovered was dating someone else the whole time they were together. She’d been dating him for two years, oblivious to the fact that she was in a polygamous relationship, if you may.
It’s funny how you always went on about your disgust of your father’s cheating ways and how he was partly the reason your mom fell ill.
In the past couple of days you have shown me through and through that you are YOUR FATHER’S SON.
I often prayed for you and wondered why you were going through such twists of fate, when all this time karma was working on you full time. Every bad thing that has happened to you has just been karma reminding you gently that NOBODY IS ABOVE KARMA.
I DON’T KNOW U! The irony of it all, two years and all u were was a stranger.
I pray your that son grows up to be nothing like youu because Lord knows the world DOES NOT NEED another SCUMBAG!
I pray that you never have a daughter because one day she will grow up and meet evil men like you in the world, though I doubt anyone can ever be more evil than you!
And if you and that other girl ever get back together, I hope for your sake that she does not move to Jhb for you, only to meet the man of her dreams here and leave you and your love stranded. Nobody has lived until they’ve seen Jhb and the guys to girls ratio at Rhodes is low, she is still to meet real men!
You did not even have the audacity to break up with me face to face. I haven’t seen you since Sunday but your cowardly ways have not let you see me. Two years and the best thing you could do was break up with me via SMS! Really? How old are we?
I don’t know who you are but in the past few days you’ve shown me five things about you! Deep traits entrenched in you:
1. You are a pathological liar
2. You are an evil a psychopath
3. You are a coward
4. You are selfish
5. You are a thief, you stole two years of my life where I could have met the man of my dreams
I’m so glad I went through this because I don’t think I will ever encounter anybody so cruel in life! Ever!
You have taken no ownership in the damage you’ve done! All you’ve done is try justify why you were using me! All you’ve done is write lousy poetry to paint yourself as the good guy! Love is not a decision my ass! Anyway, what do you know about decision making in life???
If I were you, I’d get down on my knees and repent, if you think karma is done with you, you have no idea bra! All this is gonna come back to you 10 times over!
Nobody who’s played with a heart has gotten away with it and believe me you will be no exception!
August 28, 2013 § 3 Comments
Let me let you in on something
The year was 2007 and I had been making YouTube videos for a few months. I was one of very few black video bloggers at the time. I felt very safe to make them at the time because there were no South Africans on YouTube back then. What I started noticing was that black video bloggers always got vicious racist comments all the time, so I made I Have YouTube Dream “speech” (see below). I had never seen such pure hatred in my life. The things said to me were beyond shocking.
Luckily, I rarely ever had to respond and users who followed my videos would respond on my behalf and attack the racists. I wrote my own version of the I Have A Dream speech, I fumble every now and then as I tried to remember what I had memorised. When I made it, it also happened to be Black History month in the US. The video became popular fast. So, one early morning in February when I woke up, I saw that YouTube had actually featured this video on it’s front page. I was the first South African featured on YouTube’s front page. I even got an email from the co-founder of the site, Steve Chen. I nearly died. Below is the email from Mr Chen.
Back then, YouTube looked after the little guys, we were a community. As consumption patterns on YouTube changed, so did the site. The community sort of vanished. I made a great friends on the internet I had never met and will most probably never meet most of them. It was my first social network. YouTube opened a lot of doors for me. If you watch the video, please see it in the context I have described above, it was not meant to demean Dr King’s work at all, it was a response to the racism that was happening on YouTube at the time, and YouTube had recognised it as a problem as well, I suspect that was the reason the video was put on the front page.
August 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
Wow. I made this video five years ago when I still regularly posted YouTube videos. This is stop motion off my Apple Mac’s Photo Booth. I must have taken over 500 photos to make the movements match. And then editing the whole thing into a video took even longer. But that was a lot of fun. I never want to stop doing things that seem to be a waste of time. We spend too much time wanting to be serious. When I grow up, I never want to be grown up.
August 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
This is the greatest brand vs brand tweet of all time in my books. I saw it earlier this year. Every now and then I and myself thinking about it. It didn’t leave you hating Audi for the jab at Lexus. It left me with a smile, thinking, “nice job Audi, nice job”. I don’t drive either car. (Although I went to an Audi dealership when I wanted to buy a car, the service I got was so bad, so poor and disrespectful that I was put off ever buying an Audi. I walked out and went to buy another brand).
But having said that, it doesn’t take away from this genius Audi North America tweet. Winning on charm.
August 21, 2013 § 6 Comments
originally appeared on the Cape Times 03-26-2012
I am an average South African student, meaning that last year I was in matric and am now in a prestigious university. I studied and worked hard in order to leave my school in the rural areas in the Eastern Cape so that I can study in a university, so that I can get a good education because I’d like a great job, which will be a first for my village.
Let me give you an idea of the school I come from. Some of the classes have broken windows and that means that we either cover the broken windows with cardboard or hardboards. But that does not prevent the cold from coming in during winter, or the wind from blowing papers all over the classroom. When it rains, the classes get wet.
Some new buildings have been added to the school but it’s the administration building and not much new with the classrooms themselves. Sometimes the teachers don’t come in class to teach and there is very little discipline in the school. My school has no library. The first time I saw a library was when I came to university. I’d seen pictures of libraries in magazines and when watching tv from one of the neighbour’s houses.
There aren’t enough textbooks for all of us to go around. We share them. A lot of the pupils who should be able to read properly cannot read as well as they should. I was lucky because my parents were involved in my schooling and they forced me to read my books. I did not just rely on what I was being taught at school. I passed very well and even got a distinction. Unfortunately for most of the learners in the village, they can’t get help from their parents because their parents are often poorly educated, if they have any education at all.
Despite the advantages I had compared to the other children in my village, I was met with great disadvantages when I finally made it to university even though I passed well, significantly better than a lot of my peers who went to much better schools.
One of the major disadvantages I had was that I had never used a computer in my life. Suddenly, I was expected to submit assignments using a computer. It was not a matter of choice, but it is an expectation that I should be able to do so. First of all, I cannot even type. It takes me a good half hour just to type a paragraph.
The country is meant to equip me in order to make me a model citizen which will contribute in development of the economy. But I, along with millions of students in the schooling system, am disadvantaged from day one and I don’t know what the government is doing to fulfill its obligation to myself and other children who actually do want an education.
Many times our teachers are also badly trained. We have teachers who didn’t really study certain subjects teaching us subjects they themselves are not very proficient in. The classes are filled with too many students and it doesn’t help that teachers strike as well. Of course students don’t mind a couple of days off because it’s like a holiday, most kids like not going to school. But that doesn’t mean we don’t understand the consequences of not going to school.
It is no wonder then that many of my peers back in the village did not take their schooling very seriously, in their minds, there was no way they would be able to get to an institution of higher learning with the level of matric they would receive. They are not stupid, they are just hopeless.
Instead of giving children hope, this level of education we’re receiving achieves the opposite, it leaves many in a state of absolutely despair, and some even wondering why they have to go in the first place if their education isn’t good enough to give them an advantage in life anyway. We need to do something.
Yours truly, an average South African student.
August 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
August 16, 2013 § 1 Comment
This Jimmy Fallen skit reminds me of a skit I wrote with Spike, we then roped in a few of our colleagues to sing with us.
Below is our very low budget skit.
August 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
*originally appeared in the Cape Times
I wrote a column recently about where I was born and how I was fortunate enough to have a better education than the kids in my neighbourhood in the village I grew up in. This week, I write about how where I grew up forced us to dream small, if to dream at all.
I was born in a village which had major traffic about once a week, as that was when we got to see a car – just once a week. Traffic was caused by cattle being taken to graze in the field by boys. The village is near Mount Ayliff in Transkei. Dutyini is a place where time has stood still for many decades. Few things change as years go by. Those that do change are barely noticeable. History and time pass it by.
When I read Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, I was struck by how similar his life almost 70 years before was similar and almost identical to the one that I had lived in the village. This is what I mean when I say time had not moved on. Only people’s faces showed any sense of time. They grew older but their lives never caught up with the modern trappings because they were not there, nor did they even know them.
Dutyini is surrounded by mountain ranges, almost hidden from the world. It is picturesque and the real estate there would cost millions had things turned out differently. It would be paradise for millionaires willing to pay millions for a great view. For the longest time when I was a boy, I believed that the world did not go beyond those mountains.
But as I got older I realized that there were things and places and people beyond them. The village had no young men. It was full of children, women and old men. The only thing I knew about the places beyond the mountains was that that was where men went. They went beyond the mountains and left their wives and children and the elderly behind in the village. They got on buses and taxis which took them to a place called Johannesburg so that they could work in the mines underground. There was a company with a yellow logo called Teba which organized for them to go. I also knew that when I grew up and came of age, I too would grow up to go work underground to become a miner. That was not only my biggest ambition but of those who were around me.
The men went to the big city for jobs. Their jobs were to dig for gold or whatever minerals were underground. I didn’t know what gold was or what it looked like back then, but I knew that it was underground and it was important enough to be dug out, even if cost people’s lives, because every once in a while we would hear that someone’s husband had died underground. The gold was obviously important enough to take men away from their wives and children for six months at a time. The men would come back once every six months for a week or two; to plant mielies in December and to harvest it in April – and to make babies with their wives.
When I was a little boy, whenever an older person saw me lift a heavy object, they would exclaim, “You are so strong! Soon, you too will be strong enough to work in the mines.” Hearing that would feel me with great pride and I would try to get even stronger because it meant I was closer to going to work in the mines, like the young men who were absent from the village.
Many of my uncles were miners in Johannesburg. When they came back they were called amajoyini. I assume that came from whoever ran Teba, a white man who probably spoke to the illiterate men in the village and said, “join” the company so that you can become a miner and feed your family. They didn’t get paid much because their wives and children still remained poor. There is a man in the village who was in Lonmin when the shootings happened. He was lucky enough to have survived. He didn’t get shot. He is a few years older than I am. Had things turned out differently for me, I might have become ijoyini and been one of those men who got shot at in Lonmin.
When you are expected to have no expectations, you have none. This was the environment I grew up. It was an environment designed for low expectations. The most worst thing about oppression is how easy it is to get used to it. How normal it becomes. How ordinary it seems. We become used to and became uncomfortably comfortable with what should never have made us comfortable. When you set someone low standards, they meet them. And I know many people who have met them. I was lucky enough to escape the bondage. Today, Dutyhini is slightly improved. There is running water on the sides of the road and some families have electricity, but people’s dreams are still no bigger. And I believe it has a lot to do with what I wrote about, luck
August 13, 2013 § 30 Comments
*this is where I was born. Literally. I was not born in a hospital or clinic. I grew up here for the first 10 years of my life. The caption on the picture may seem to contradict what I have written, but I think it captures the point I’m making about hard work after the luck.
How can two people who started off in life from the same place, same village and school end up leading such completely different life styles? It is not always our brilliance that takes us out of poverty. Good luck and parents who saw further than others – only then does hard work come in to play.
In December of 2012, I went to my birthplace in Dutyini, just outside Mount Ayliff, in Transkei. December in Dutyini is a hot month, with crisp clear air in the mornings. In the nights, one can see all the stars one never gets to see when living in a big city like Johannesburg. The beautiful and imposing mountain of Ntsizwa stands proudly an hour’s walk to the base of the mountain, and another four hours to walk up to the top. I know this because I used to have to walk up that mountain when I was younger looking after my grandfather’s cattle.
I was standing outside my late uncle’s mud hut, which I had slept in. I was standing next to the door to catch the early morning sun; it was something I used to do as a young boy in the village. A young man walked past and greeted and I greeted back. He stopped suddenly in his tracks and said, “Khayalethu?” I knew he knew me because he said my full name. I also realized that he was probably someone I grew up with if he also said my full name. Sadly, I could not even fake recognizing him. I replied and I said yes I am Khayalethu. He was wearing black gumboots to protect his feet from the early morning dew, which tended to gather itself around the long summer grass which was just below knee high. His jacket was the overall-blue-coloured kind. He had been walking with purpose before he stopped in his tracks after recognizing me.
He said that he recognized me by my hairline because, as he said, I’d always had a distinct one. I believed him. Then he pointed to a silver German luxury brand parked up front of the house and asked if it was mine. I nodded and said yes. I was embarrassed when I realized that I had no idea where to place him even though it was clear he knew who I was. He talked about how we were in class together in standard three in the village, he also remembered that I had been two years younger than anyone else in the class. Something I have to admit had nothing to do with my intelligence, it’s just that my mother sent me to school when I was really young.
I remembered as we spoke that his name was Mongezi. He congratulated me on how well I was doing. I suppose he made that judgment call based on the car, as some people are prone to judge people by the material possessions they hide behind. Sometimes I feel that the more we feel like moral failures the more material possessions we adorn ourselves with. Yes, me included.
We spoke for a while. He told me that he has a wife. I do not. He told me that he has two children. I do not have any. Then he told me that I had been lucky to live in a home that understood the importance of education. I thought about what he said as he was saying it. He was right, I was lucky. Lucky to have left the village to go study in a good school, Little Flower Junior Secondary School, supposedly the best school in the Transkei at the time. A school my mother could scarcely afford. When Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, I went to a white school the following year, a school my mother could barely afford.
The white schools I went to had libraries and swimming pools and all sorts of things that I didn’t know schools could have. The village school I’d gone to didn’t have a library. In fact, I don’t think the town of Mount Ayliff had one. The school had no running water and no electricity.
I remember going to the village during my school holidays as I often did with my sister. By then, we were both going to white schools. We got on a bus in the village to town (stop it), Mount Ayliff. My former standard three teacher in the village, whom we had all feared, got on the bus. She sat in front of us. Then my sister and I spoke English in the bus. We were children and we knew that it would impress the villagers. Of course, looking back, it was a childish act. There was a great deal of fascination, two black children speaking English. For the first time in my life, I realized that even though I was only 15 at the time, I spoke more and better English than the woman who had taught me in standard three. She spoke to us in English, it was not very good. That made me sad.
That thought made realize that that was one of the reasons Mongezi led the life he was leading – that all he could do was to make passing and deep insights about my life instead of being equipped to live the life he had hoped for as a child. His parents had told him to drop out of school and told him start working after standard six. They never saw the value of an education, all they wanted was the benefit of his work now, not later. Worse, the standard of teacher he had in the village was not great either.
When I left the village to go to better schools, he was left with ill-equipped teachers anyway. No wonder his life never turned out any better than that of his parents. Even though Mongezi wanted to have a better life, the odds were against him, plus, he didn’t have what he called, “your luck” of being born into a family that knew the value of an education, even in apartheid South Africa. Unfortunately, my village is still the same way it was when I left. The kids will have no better opportunities than Mongezi, but we can help one child at a time.
The luck Mongezi spoke of rings true. When I was nine-years-old, I had been smoking weed. It grew all over the place. I was bunking school with the older boys and smoking with them. Had it not been my mother’s intervention, my life would have turned out to be exactly like Mongezi’s. I would have been walking with him wearing my own black gumboots, probably forgotten a lot of the English I had learnt in school too. Mongezi is right, I am a very lucky human being.
Even though some may look at where I was born and where I grew up as the perfect ingredients for bad luck – I was very lucky to come from the family I came from. They gave me the opportunities and skills to succeed in life, there after, luck followed hard work. I’ve had to work hard to be lucky. The luck of my birth had a lot to do with how things turned out for me. This is why I can never blame the poor for their poverty. Only those who have never known it, seen it and experienced it can blame them.
August 7, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I was invited to speak at the TedEx Soweto three years ago. My talk was called Power to the Participant.
August 5, 2013 § 1 Comment
I love this ad. It’s simple. No tricks. Straight to the point.
It points fingers at the parents and blames them for their children being fat. I like that it is not a knee jerk reaction by governments which tend to try to legislate themselves out of a problem instead of affecting and changing people’s mindsets. I think that the British Department of Health is on the right track with this ad. It reminds parents to be better parents. Cook for your kids, let them be active so that they might live. Although I think that the scare tactic at the end with the coffin might be OTT, I think the message is on the right track. Maybe the next ad will be more hopeful and inspirational as opposed to a scare tactic. But well done, government departments make horrible ads, this is not one of them. Hope our government advertising takes a page out this. There is no government minister in the ad. What is important is the message, not who is saying it.