You can keep Mr Huntley

Part of me wants to write a scathing commentary on how much of a tonsil I think Brandon Huntley is, but there’s no point in beating a dead horse so I’ll just say it once. Brandon Huntley is an a-grade, raging, super massive ass hole. There, I’m done.

Canada is a lovely country, it’s so lovely it gets boring. When I was living there they had a shooting in Alberta. For two days the news covered this shooting, which is entirely reasonable until you found out that nobody actually died; in fact nobody was even hurt… actually, nobody was even shot at… it was just a guy shooting his gun into the air to show how much of a man he was. For two days they covered something that probably happens on an almost hourly basis in the Cape Flats. When a Canadian says their car was hijacked they actually mean it was stolen…. when they weren’t around, stolen… because in Canada the idea of someone actually forcing you out of your own car at gunpoint is just too far fetched for them to comprehend. Keep that in mind.

Canadians are also lovely people, they are friendly and helpful. I didn’t meet any racist Canadians while I lived there, but I also didn’t meet many black people. Canada has a much better reputation for “knowing about other countries” than the Americans, but the truth is that a lot of them, while *knowing* full well that we have cities and suburbs etc, still have a very romanticised, sleeping in tents in the bush with the lions roaring in the distance, idea of South Africa.

In contrast, South Africa is a pretty scary place at times. We have levels of crime that are unbelievable. Babies getting raped, people getting shot for the cars etc, just insane… and it’s published internationally.

Enter Brandon Huntley. He went to De Villier’s Graaf High School in Villiersdorp, an Afrikaans boarding school about 100km outside of Cape Town. This is a school for kids who had been expelled from other schools or wanted to get as far away from their parents as possible, a school where the machismo and racism run side by side. The boys are tough; disputes are resolved in fist fights where the loser can walk away covered in blood, and the winner, a hero. Kids go through initiations that involve being caned repeatedly for no reason. The idea that any boy who attended De Villiers Graaf High School could end up as the repeated victim of racially motivated attacks is very very hard to believe. And I should know; I went to school with Brandon Huntley… I only stayed for a year. He was 1 year ahead of me.

I don’t remember Brandon clearly but his face seems familiar and based on what people who knew him better have said about him, he fits very neatly into a stereotype that existed in the school. Hard, tough and mean. He did martial arts and played rugby.

Brandon claims that he was attacked multiple times, by black people, who attacked him because he was white. To put this in context, I have never been attacked by a black person. I know a few people who have been mugged by black people, but they knew, just as their attacker knew, that the attack wasn’t motivated by the colour of their skin, but merely because they had stuff worth stealing. When Lucky Dube’s attacker pulled the trigger it was because Lucky was driving a luxury vehicle… No other reasons, No racism needed.

Brandon claims to have scars on his body from all the times he was stabbed by black people who were attacking him because he was white. I find it so incredibly far fetched that a tough white kid who went to the school he did, and subsequently lived in the suburbs he lived in, ever got attacked by anyone… without provocation. I think that it’s far more believable that Brandon went around looking for shit, picking fights with people in night clubs and occasionally came off second best.

There are really two issues here.

1. Brandon lied in order to stay in Canada. There are some unforgivable lies. Lying about being the victim of racially based attacks in South Africa is one of them. Brandon has perverted the most painful element of South Africa’s history to his advantage and in doing so has brought about a world of pain for himself. I’m sure he never thought that we would find out what he’d said, but now he has made himself unwelcome in two countries… one of them being the country of his birth. We legally have to take him back… pity.

2. The Canadian authorities believed his lies. The individual who processed Brandon’s application is definitely a racist. Brandon’s story seems unbelievable, even to most Canadians. To be in a position within government responsible for dealing with foreigners on a daily makes this official’s ignorance unbelievable… ie. I don’t believe that he really believed Brandon, I think he just wanted to help Brandon get away from the savage and vengeful blacks that both believed in. The part of this story that is so incredibly sad to me is this: The officer responsible for approving Brandon’s racist lies is also responsible for approving, or denying, the refugee applications from countries like Darfur. What chance do honest, petrified human beings, whose families have been slaughtered and who happen to be black, have of gaining asylum when being interviewed by a man like that?

5 Reasons to Vote

1. Every vote counts.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead.

2. It is irresponsible not to vote.

While you might feel that your life is okay, your vote could be the difference for someone else between clean drinking water and disease ridden rivers, between having a job or living a life of crime, between life and death.

3. Vote for the best candidate, don’t expect a perfect candidate.

I’ve heard people say that they don’t believe that any party deserves their vote. The reality is that no political party will ever be perfect. If you don’t like it, either join the party that’s closest to your ideology or, if you really want to excercise democracy, start your own party and vote for yourself.

4. You don’t have to win to make a difference.

It might not be possible for the party you support to win the election but having a strong opposition in government keeps the ruling party in check.

5. Fifteen years.

Only Fifteen years…  That’s how long ago black South Africans could not vote. That’s a blink of an eye in terms of the history of this country. Thousands of innocent South Africans died in the struggle… a struggle for freedom that manifested itself in the form of a piece of paper with a cross on it. Whether you’re black, white, or any shade in between, not making your mark on that piece of paper now, only 15 years later, would be disrespectful to those people who sacrificed their lives for your freedom.

How stupid are Americans?

“This is what happens when you confuse the free market with a free license to let special interests take whatever they get however they can get it.”
– Obama

My Father asked me the other day who I thought would win the US Election. I’d be mulling over this for a while and had my answer ready.

If Americans are clever they’ll vote for Obama, if they’re stupid they’ll vote for McCain… The real question is, how stupid are Americans?

Obama is a clever guy, but what makes him far more impressive is that he’s made a concerted effort to channel that intelligence towards understanding the problem. No doubt his law degree etc is helping him in this arena, but comparatively McCain looks a bit shell-shocked by all this banks-in-the-poo stuff that’s going on, even though every analyst and his brother in law has been predicting it for years. McCain is actually so out of touch with the problem that he’s treating it like something outside of government, something in private industry where government shouldn’t meddle.

Obama was talking about predatory lending in the housing markets 3 years ago in Illinois on TV. I listened. So when those lending vultures kept trying to goad me into refinancing my home and pulling out tons of money in equity, I wondered why are they so anxious to reassess the value of my home so high? What if these homes don’t keep appreciating at these levels. Then what? I’d have been stuck with the clock restarting at a teaser rate scheduled to ballon on something that wouldn’t be worth what was being paid for it. Then what? Thanks Senator Obama for saving my life. I listened to you. Is there any doubt people? OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT 2008!!!

– Random guy on the Internet.

What happened in the US is really simple. Banks were given the freedom to rape the ignorant public by extending them far more debt than they could ever possibly repay. They reaped great short term rewards but it was a Pyramid Scheme that was doomed from the start. The banks are now paying for that… but the funny thing is that the banks *had* to have seen this coming when they went on their rampant lending sprees 5 years ago… I guess the fat cats got 5 years of great bonuses and will now move on to some other parasitic business practice and start another 5 year cycle.

Is this the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Watch the video:

Yes (they) can.

I am a big Obama fan. I believe he, while being humble of his own ability, sees no end to the ability of the human spirit. I believe that the world will be a better place if Obama becomes president of America.

[This post includes a video. Those people reading this in a aggregated form might have to click through to my site if they want to see the it]

Why Jesus doesn't like art… or want Zimbabwe freed.

Graffiti is and always has been a part of society… go read up about it. We’re talking thousands of years… even before Jesus.

Now obviously my title is rather exaggerated and designed for the express purpose of increasing my readership, but the thing is, I really am starting to get pissed off at those “Jesus Saves” people walking around painting over what they deem inappropriate.

First there was the international graffiti competition held in Cape Town where some of worlds best contemporary artists painted f-ing amazing murals on walls that made you want to stop your car and take a deep breath. 2 days later the Jesus Saves people painted that incredible wall full of art work grey. Not white, grey.

I was willing to tolerate that since graffiti is supposedly against the law… never mind the fact that supposedly these guys got permission from the owner of the wall.

Then there was “FREE ZIM!“, a piece of artwork so poignant and powerful that it made me seek it out and photograph it. It said everything that needed to be said and was a constant, daily, reminder to thousands of Capetonians of exactly what had to happen in Zimbabwe. It was also beautiful, with stencilled birds taking flight reminding me of the phoenix to our north.

Then in the height of the xenophobic attacks against Zimbabweans (and other foreigners) the “Jesus Saves” crew painted over it in a dull grey that angers me intensely every time I drive past.

Which leaves me to say, like some graffiti artists mural’d on a nearby wall: “Jesus must hate art”.

ps. For the kids out there who are going to start screaming about tagging. I am not talking about tagging. I am talking about art. Tagging is the equivalent of taking a shit on the pavement and expecting people to think you’re cool for doing it.

THE WHOLE F-ING POINT OF THE STRUGGLE WAS THAT OUR KIDS COULD GROW UP WATCHING DSTV INSTEAD OF GETTING SHOT IN THE FACE IN SHARPVILLE!

You have to say it and try and sound like a 13 year old:

It’s a democratic country and you can’t make me to do it!

I imagine that would have been my response to my teachers if I was being forced to say an oath every day in school.

And ironically I would have been right… I would have been zit faced and snot nosed, but I would have been absolutely, categorically, right! In a democratic state you can not force anyone to recite a statement of beliefs, especially in the form of a promise to that state, against their will.

Your age does not affect your democratic freedom and I’ll tell you why: The ANC Youth League.

The ANC Youth League was founded on the ideals that the youth of South Africa were powerful and wanted freedom from the oppressive state. Kids are also easily radicalised and will cause untold shit if they all band together and you don’t listen to them.

And so it is unfortunate that we have let those radical ideals of freedom slip away from us to the extent that some people in government think it’s a good idea to institute a compulsory oath to our schools.

Imagine if they wanted to add this compulsory oath to the workplace. Imagine if every morning at 11am everyone in your office had to stand and recite a promise to uphold the constitution and forgive the past injustices… I’m trying not to swear here, but let me just say that most of us would be very very very pissed off and would probably end up rioting on the streets. One of the core precepts of a constitutional democracy is that you have the right to challenge that constitution.

Why should children be treated any other way?. If I had a kid in school today I would tell him that he can recite the oath if he wants, but he could, if he wanted to, recite my oath:

natalie_with_gun.jpg
Hey, when else am I going to be able to legitimately add a picture of Natalie with a gun to my blog?

“We the youth of South Africa, recognising the hotness of Jessica Biel, honour those heroes who shape our porous minds like Tony Hawk, Steve Jobs and Natalie Portman”

“We promise to argue with our parents about music, play video games and score chicks”

“We sincerely declare that we shall eat Nandos, Bunk School, Watch too much TV, Sneak our dad’s alcohol out of the house on a Friday night, Spend way too much time on facebook, Tell our dad’s we love them occasionally, Try our best not to be fat asses and most of all, always be kief to other people.”

Now that’s an oath… These are kids. The injustices of their past is that yesterday the DSTV wasn’t working.

THE WHOLE F-ING POINT OF THE STRUGGLE WAS THAT OUR KIDS COULD GROW UP WATCHING DSTV INSTEAD OF GETTING SHOT IN THE FACE IN SHARPVILLE!

SO why the hell is the government making 6 year olds say “We the youth of South Africa, recognising the injustices of our past…”? I hope like hell that those kids don’t recognise the injustices of their past, because that past is disgusting, filled with oppression, police brutality, racism, exploding packages ripping people’s limbs off their bodies in their own houses, incarceration, children being shot in the back, unfair education policies, segregation, heroes being murdered and a whole lot of other stuff I’d rather my kids learnt about properly, at the right age, than have flippantly wafted in their faces every day.

This makes me pissed off.

Oh, and remember that radical freedom movement, The ANC Youth League? Well, guess what they want to do… Yup, you guessed it. They want to ban the sale of alcohol on Sundays… I shit you not. The descendants of the actual heroes who actually got shot in the face for the implicit freedoms of this country now want to introduce a law that has been proven to only really affect the poor and UCT students, and has nothing to do with morality or alcoholism.

I suggest this. How about the ANC Youth League members, those who joined because they want to uphold the ideals of the group, not buy alcohol on Sundays.

I'm watching you Mr Zuma.

Perhaps this is too late? But it must be said… I’m watching you Mr Zuma.

Jacob Zuma is undoubtedly (short of being found guilty of some or other fraudulent activity, and even then one can’t be sure…) going to become our next president. He will be democratically elected in a free and fair election. He will ride to his victory by being the champion of the people. Well, I’m a people and I have some stuff to say.

I can look past the multiple wives. I can even *gasp* look past the womanising with one of his struggle comrade’s daughters… She was 31, a fact that the media repeatedly seemed unable to report — preferring the phrase “young daughter” instead. Bill Clinton was one of the better U.S. presidents with regards to policy and finance. He too had a womanising problem, but he never led the U.S. into a recession or sent their boys to die in an unnecessary war.

JZ was found not guilty. We have to respect the courts, especially in the political climate at the time… For those South African’s still living in a dualistic, white vs black world, you need to wake up and realise that just because the government is predominantly black, doesn’t mean they all like each other. If Mbeki had wanted to, and our courts were flexible enough with their justice, one could assume that Zuma would have been found guilty… but he wasn’t, and to me that says that he probably was innocent. Bottom line: There were plenty of powerful people who would have loved for him to disappear… but he didn’t. However Mr Zuma, you have said some pretty stupid things; case in point being your statement in court about showering after sex with an HIV positive woman. Now I realise that unlike Mr Mbeki, you didn’t attend fancy universities overseas and learn about how not to stick your foot in your mouth, BUT, that was a pretty stupid thing to say. One that resonated throughout South Africa, and the world, like the sound of a bone snapping in some horrific youtube video of a guy falling off his skateboard. I hope like hell that you realise how much you made us cringe.

I must however admit that my overwhelming optimism is beating a path for you in the bush of skepticism that is my current outlook on your looming presidency.

You did not go to a fancy university and learn how to be calculated and politically correct, and inefficient. You are a champion of the people. (or at least you claim to be). You have spoken out against South Africa’s lack of response with regards to Zimbabwe. You have promised to work hard at eradicating poverty. You are essentially spouting all the rhetoric that is required of the non-incumbent, with one small difference… you might just follow through.

Case in point, Thabo Mbeki. Great guy, comes from a great family but about as politically active and efficient as the Queen Mother. I can’t think of anything he did besides not say stuff… even with your own fraud and rape trials, the very leader of this country spoke in calculated, non-committal terms and never once gave the impression that he actually had a point of view. While this might be the “presidential way”, it’s certainly not something that the “people” want.

South Africa does face a lot of unique challenges, foremost being the gap between rich and poor, which manifests itself in our high crime rate. Sure, we might have corrupt police chiefs and/or corrupt officials, but so do many other countries who don’t have ridiculous murder and rape statistics.

This is a grass roots issue… the average Joe needs to be able to get a job and live a dignified life before we can expect the crime rates to actually drop to reasonable levels.

I hope like hell that you truly are the champion of the people and will be the leader, not of a party, but of a group of knowledgeable South Africans dedicated to making South Africa a better place. I don’t care if you get another 10 wives in the process. This is Africa, we need an African leader. I just hope we’ve found a good one in you. And if the job wasn’t hard enough, you need to put the people first while not pissing off the middle class and the elite.

Ultimately Mr Zuma, history will judge you, not the media. Your term comes at a time where South Africans are still predominantly voting along cultural lines and no true opposition exists. You have, as they say, “got it in the bag”. But as South Africa matures there will be greater pressure from the people for a government that is not dominated by one party. South Africa is evolving… So Mr Zuma, take it as a foregone conclusion that during your term the pressure to govern with excellence will increase, perhaps not to the point where you or the ANC need worry about losing grip, but perhaps enough to highlight any cracks in your stature that might be showing… and if those cracks exist there will be pressure to purge you and appoint the new hero du jour… Mbeki took the safe option, he never stuck his neck out and as a result he can leave office without looking too bad, or too good. I think it is a foregone conclusion that with your charismatic personality you will be sticking your neck out… South Africa will be watching and hoping for the best.

The people might not be revolting, but they are fickle.

Ps. If you need any help with decision making, I’m always available on my cell.

J.