If you have a little time check out Adam Du Plooy's blog. He is a South African expat living in Dubai and he is currently training to run the Marathon Des Sables. The Marathon is a 254 km race through the Moroccan desert.
Adam is running the marathon to raise awareness and funds for the Els for Autism Foundation and the Dubai Autism Center. This is indeed a good cause and one worth supporting.
While land distribution has seen some South African farms being made completely unproductive, the Congo has given Agri SA half a million acres of land on a 30 year renewable lease to improve the country's farming industry. More deals are likely to follow soon.
Land distribution is off course a touchy subject in South Africa, but it is also a very important issue that has to be managed carefully and correctly to ensure peace and stability in South Africa, without causing huge damage to the economy.
It is estimated that nearly a third of the farming land in the Congo is underused and the country is seeking to ensure a decent food supply to its citizens since most food is being imported into the Congo.
The ANC has set a target to distribute 30% of the land to black South Africans by 2014. This will be difficult to achieve, especially since a large portion of the already distributed land in South Africa has not been used productively. The major reason for this is skill shortages among black farmers and little to no help by government to address the problem after the land has been distributed.
Unless cool heads prevail in the ANC government and the skill shortage is addressed, South Africa might just be in a position where they have to start importing food from South African farmers in the Congo.
ZA news is a South African satire site which pokes fun at SA politicians and other public figures by using latex puppets. They have struggled for around a decade to get their show aired on TV, but the SABC is of the opinion that, "SA isn’t ready for satire."
I think it is more likely a case of sate run television not wanting to poke fun at the state. Also, who is the SABC to decide what we are ready for or not?
Anyway, the producers thought enough is enough and now the broadcast over the internet.
The United Nations Human Development Report for 2009 has been released. The report basically deals with why people migrate and where they migrate to. It furthers shows which countries are considered the "best" places to live in and why.
There are many factors they take into account like poverty, gender, democracy, human rights, cultural liberty, globalization, water scarcity, climate change, and mobility. To see the full report and the methodoly click here.
Out of 182 countries, South Africa ranks 129. I found it interresting that South Africa was overtaken by our neigbour Namibia which now ranks 128. The worst place to live is Niger and the best place to live is Norway. The USA only ranks no. 13 and the UK ranks no. 21. A South African expat favourite, Australia, ranks no.2, while another favourite, New Zealand ranks no. 20.
The top ten best places to live according to the report are: 1.) Norway 2.) Australia 3.) Iceland 4.) Canada 5.) Ireland 6.) Netherlands 7.) Sweden 8.) France 9.) Switzerland 10.) Japan
Time Magazine's September 7th edition said South Africa only exports wine that is "crud." No, they didn’t say South African wine is crud. They actually praised SA wines but stated that the best wines are consumed locally while the "crud" is being exported. Personally I think this is a half truth. Yes, some great wines don't get exported but some great wines do.
Shack Dwellers attacked by organized armed hit squad
On Saturday, September 26, about 40 heavily armed men ambushed a meeting of the Kennedy Road Development Committee of Abahlali baseMjondolo, South Africa's shack dwellers’ movement. It was an organized attack and it seems that members of the ANC were involved. The shack dweller movement also states that police were very well aware that the attack was going down and left the area before it happened. At least two people died. Zuma urges police to shoot to kill
Well, a tough stance on crime is very important. I believe police should always use the least force required to combat crime and arrest criminals. A trigger happy police and stray bullets isn’t anyone's friend. Tomorrow they mistake you as a robber or something and blow your head off. I do believe that anyone that even reaches for a gun when the police try and arrest them should be shot. The police should protect themselves and the law should assist them.
South African Airways makes profit
South African Airways (SAA) reported a profit for the year ending March 31 of 398 million rand (53.8 million dollars). Well done SAA.
As an Expat, one tends to hear or see things that are so different from good old SA, it sometimes boggles the mind.
Today I read a story here in our local newspaper that I find extremely...funny. For those of you that don’t know, I live in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
A man was "questioned" by police here in the UAE after he entered a Mosque and claimed to be Jesus Christ. You can read the story here as reported by Gulf News.
In the UAE it is against the law to insult any "recognized" religion.
Strangely enough, the prosecutor mentioned, "In case preliminary interrogations prove that he did claim & that he is a prophet then this suspected act is incriminatory and punishable by law." You see, certain factions in Islam consider Jesus as a prophet.
I think many Christians may be offended on the prosecutor's stance that Jesus is a prophet and not God. Will they charge him?
Personally, I think the guy that claimed he was Jesus Christ, was most probably crazy. You must be to do something so stupid in a Mosque. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.
Do you have any strange stories to share from the respective countries you find yourself in?
I see the press is reporting on Nestle, whom is buying approximately 1 million liters of milk from a farm seized by Robert Mugabe. Strangely enough this farm now belongs to Bob's wife, Grace Mugabe.
This just shows how corrupt Bob is. Taking successful white owned farms for him and thereby enriching himself and his family.
*Nestle defense are that since the collapse of Zimbabwe's dairy industry it has been forced to buy milk on the open market "from a wide variety of suppliers on a non-contractual basis" for its factory in Harare. "This includes milk from the Gushungo Dairy Estate which today accounts for between 10 and 15% of Nestlé's local milk supply," the statement said. "Had Nestle decided to close down its operations in Zimbabwe, the company would have triggered further food shortages and hundreds of job losses among its employees and milk suppliers in an already very difficult situation.
Well, I’m sorry to hear that Nestle. I’m pretty sure that your main concern wasn’t the poor people of Zimbabwe, but most likely keeping up the profits. Don’t try and bullshit us. You are buying stolen milk from a dictator.
I definitely won’t be buying any more Nestle products soon.
I guess I won’t be a true expat, if I don’t take this opportunity to have a rant about the latest crime stats in SA.
Firstly, the stats are terrible, horrendous, dreadful ... add any synonym you wish. South Africa is a dangerous place and sadly the poor suffers the most because of crime. It still boggles my mind that they keep electing officials that clearly doesn’t care. That is part of another discussion though.
For the people out there that say, "It isn’t so bad, people shouldn’t whine about the crime etc." Please tell that to the 36 000 + people that was raped this year according to statistics. Experts say that only about 1 in 9 rapes gets reported so nearly 300 000 women get raped a year. Also tell it to the families of the more than 18 000 people that were murdered last year. We should keep whining and complaining until the day South Africa has the lowest crime rate in the world. Then we can pat ourselves on the back and say well done.
The scary thing is that these are only crimes that was reported and made it to the stats. Thousands of crimes are being committed that are not being reported, or which the police simply don’t record. Things like attempted breaking and entering or small theft seldom gets reported.
When I was in SA a couple of months ago, there was an attempted break in at my brother in laws place in Stellenbosch. The police told them they can’t do anything. This statistic went unrecorded. Also a lady friend got mugged of her cell phone and wallet. The police told her to provide witnesses that this crime occurred, otherwise she may be lying. This also didn’t go into the statistics.
I really hope the government will tackle this problem head on and make South Africa safe for all people. Sexual and violent crime must be the number one priority at this stage.
news.com.au (Australian Newspaper) makes a good point about the whole Caster Semenya affair.
South Africans have been crying about the Australian media reporting that Caster Semenya's test shows she is a hermaphrodite.
I quote from there article:
"It's unfair, cruel, callous and potentially devastating for such a vulnerable young person, they say.
We couldn't agree more - but South Africa has only itself to blame.
South African sports officials have exposed this young woman to the world purely for their own gain.
They selected her for the national team when it was obvious to any rational observer thatthere might be serious questions about her eligibility. They paraded her before the world, in pursuit of sporting success, and now are flinging accusations of sexismand, predictably, racism.
South African athletics president Leonard Chuene has resigned from the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) council and a South African MP, Butana Komphela, has made a formal racism complaint to the United Nations.
How disingenuous. Race, of course, is the one issue on which some South Africans believe they hold the moral high-ground - a safe place to retreat when anyone questions their conduct on any issue whatsoever.
To play the race card in this case - especially against an IAAF that has a black African as president - is pure desperation.
Why did South Africa's sporting "leaders'' not stop Semenya's career as she rose through the ranks?
Even as a junior competitor, she was clearly extraordinary: faster, stronger and bigger than all the other girls. She was a completely different shape. Her voice was different. She had no breasts.
Sporting officials have a serious duty of care to the young, often naive, people they are entrusted to guide. They must help them make the right decisions and protect them from the tough world of international sport.
It's a lesson that some Australian sport officials could learn - like when Australia's swimmers were put into full body suits for the Beijing Olympics, with officials angrily rejecting suggestions that these would damage the sport in the long term.
Those fears have been proved correct and authorities are scrambling to undo the damage the suits have done to the careers of Thompson's proteges and the sport itself.
Semenya cannot be blamed for being encouraged to compete in entirely inappropriate circumstances. She's young, unworldly and suffers a traumatic, confusing condition.
She deserves compassion and understanding - and an apology from the officials who exposed her so shamelessly."
Reportedly Caster Semenya's test says she is a .... well, "the test shows the 18-year-old has no ovaries, but rather internal male testes." (Daily Telegraph)
That is a tough one for athletics to deal with.
Firstly, I don’t care much about athletics, but I do feel little sorry for Caster Semenya. The way she was born is not of her making and I wish her all the best. Clearly she feels she is a woman and I hope that people will treat her accordingly to her wishes. That said, fairness in athletic competitions is very important and should be upheld. Some difficult decisions have to be made by the IAAF, because this surely won’t be the last time something like this will happen.
The handeling of the South African government on this issue was good at times and shockingly bad at other times. I’m very happy the government is supporting Caster Semenya, but that whole racism tirade was really shortsighted and uncalled for. This certainly wasn’t an issue of race but an issue of gender and it pains me that the government has to jump on every opportunity to play the race card. It seems like if they don’t know how to deal with a situation, they try and play the race card.
One also has to wonder, if the athlete was blond and blue eyed Sannie van Der Merwe from Boksburg, would the government have responded in the same manner? (See how I played the race card?) Still, this is a very relevant question.
The fact is, they have set a precedent on how to deal with these issues and we hope they will extent the same courtesy to all their citizens irrespective of race or religion.
Neil Blomkamp may be the talk of the town these days with his directorial debut of District 9, but there is also another famous South African director lurking around in Hollywood.
Remember Gavin Hood? He started of as the Wester Province Rugby fullback in the South African TV series, The Game. This is the same guy that went on to write and direct the Oscar winning Tsotsi. His follow up film to Tsotsi was the critical acclaimed Rendition starring Reese Whitherspoon and Jake Gyllehaal. The movie only went on to make around US $27 million. That is not a lot according to Hollywood standards, but it did deal with some issues that makes the American public little uncomfortable. It certainly wasn’t a mainstream film.
The next movie he directed was none other than X-Men Origins: Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman. He got a little stick from the die hard X-Men fans for it, but the movie still went on to make a whopping US $ 363 million and had a budget of US $150 million.
That is a good profit by any means. It is always good seeing Saffas making it big.
Pieter de Villiers is the head coach of the South African Rugby Union team. Not only does he represent South African rugby, he also represents South Africa.
Every time he runs his mouth of spewing some B.S., I cringe. I simply can’t believe this guy is representing South Africa on the world stage. Unfortunately people have a natural inbred ability to put people in little boxes. We call it stereotyping, racial profiling, whatever. We do it. We speak of the Americans, the Canadians, the Indians, stupid Blue Bulls supporters etc.
Although this practice is short sighted and stupid, it unfortunately does happen. This is why organizations, political parties etc. put there best face forward to deal with the public.
Peter may be a good coach, but can someone please tell him to shut up or at least think before blabbering? He is making us South Africans look bad.
Here is his latest rant. At least he stopped comparing himself to Jesus this time.
There is apparently a criminal on the loose in SA whom is causing huge devastation and tragedy in the community. Senior police officials have identified the man as Mr. Apartheid, whom is described as a bitter white male.
Government officials has blamed Mr. Apartheid as being responsible for the spate of hijackings, rapes, murders and thefts South Africa is experiencing over the past 14 years. He has been seen running around our streets, with a 9mm in his hand committing all these crimes all by himself. Just yesterday he was seen entering a house, raping a woman in front of her husband and children and then executing the whole family. Mr. Apartheid is considered armed and dangerous and shouldn’t be approached by the public.
Mr. Apartheid has reportedly also single handedly screwed up our judicial system from the cops to the courts. He somehow has the power to influence the appointment of total incompetent fools as senior police officers as well as crooked judges.
Further Mr. Apartheid is spreading his sickness called AIDS through the community because he seems to be unable to operate a condom.
Mr. Apartheid has also been blamed by senior black politicians for the lack of service delivery to the poor. It is apparently Mr. Apartheid who gives lucrative government contracts to his friends and family and then fails to deliver on them. It is also apparently Mr. Apartheids whom is stealing himself blind in the government.
Conspiracy theorist has brought up wildly controversial theory that Mr. Apartheid is in fact scapegoat for failure by the current government to do their job. Government officials have labeled these conspiracy theorists as Racist Paranoid Whites, who should shut up because anything they say is racist as holding a opinion that differs from the government is clearly racist.
I see some other international news agencies have picked up on the story of the white South African being granted refugee status in Canada.
The Canadians ruled that he qualified because: 1.) There is clear proof that racial attacks by blacks against whites are happening. 2.) The South African government's inability and / or unwillingness to protect him.
Please take note that these are the findings of the Canadian immigration board. This doesn’t necessarily reflect my views on the issue.
What are my views? Whether black people are attacking white people in SA and whether the government care or not, I don’t know.
My biggest concern is that there are very large portions of the white community that perceive this as true. It doesn’t matter if the perception is right or wrong. It exists and that is dangerous in so many ways. What if these folks start taking things into their own hand? Things can quickly escalate into unpleasantness.
Unless the government addresses this issue head on, this perception will keep growing. Many white people feel oppressed and they feel as second class citizens in their own country. Again, whether they are oppressed or not doesn’t matter. They perceive they are.
Any group of people can only take so much crap until they flip out. Especially if they feel their government doesn't care. In fact, politicians like Malema etc. are just aggravating the issue.
While the above post are focusing on the white minority group to which I belong to in SA, I would suspect other minority groups in SA probably might feel just as disenfranchised.
31 Year old Brandon Huntly has been granted refugee status in Canada because of the "clear and convincing proof of the state's (south African government) inability or unwillingness to protect him."
This is the first time that a white South African has been granted refugee status in Canada on the basis that white people in SA are being persecuted by blacks.
Mr. Huntley was attacked seven times by black South Africans and was stabbed on 3 occasions. The attacks happened with attempted robberies and muggings.
During these attacks the black South Africans called him "a white dog" and "a settler."
This raises a few questions: 1.) Does this pave the way for future refugee claims? 2.) Are whites really under attack in SA? 3.) Is the Government actively turning a blind eye or are they just hopelessly bad? 4.) Is this decision justified?
Despite the health of women and children being a priority for the democratically elected government, South Africa is one of only 12 countries in the world where the mortality rate for our children has got worse since 1990. Each year, an estimated 2 500 mothers die, 20,000 babies are stillborn, another 21,900 die before the age of one and an additional 52,600 die before their fifth birthday, most from preventable and treatable causes," according to authors Mickey Chopra and colleagues.
Reading the intro to the above article by Kerry Cullinan at allAfrica.com, it reminded me of the conversation I had with my cousin, whom is a young doctor, working at a government hospital. It was with absolute shock when he told us how babies and young kids would die right their in his arms, just because of a lack of availability of basic medicine to treat infections etc. These things happen right in the middle of South African cities and are common placed.
As a young doctor, he is already setting his sites on Canada. He says, he just can’t continue working like this. It is a complete mess. The places are dirty and he simply can’t take the horrible working conditions anymore. He also just feels emotionally tired of watching people die unnecessarily.
Some people are quick to "judge" South African doctors and nurses that leave SA. I think that is very unfair. Most of us, in whatever job we do, can only take so much abuse and horrible working conditions, before we say enough is enough and we quit. It is the same for these people. Plus many of them still have huge study loans that needs to be paid back and government doctors doesn’t get paid all that much.
I for one can’t judge people for looking to improve their lives.
Below is funny interview with South Africans, Neill Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley from the block buster movie District 9. There are a lot of interviews with them on Youtube, but I think this was the funniest and most entertaining of them all.
Many of us South African men grew up with a pocket knife or some multi-tool of sorts. We would carry it around and at braais we would take it out and compare size. Lol! Not quite but for many of us, carrying a knife or multitool is just part of life.
I myself have a Leatherman Wave and I recently got a Leatherman Expanse knife from my wife for our anniversary.
So ladies, if your husband, boyfriend or son is having a birthday soon, this is an extremely good item to give as a gift. I don’t know a man that wouldn’t be happy to have one of these.
(This post is a public service to all men out there.)
With South African expat, Kevin Pietersen, injured for the next Ashes cricket test between England and Australia, the English selectors decided to call up another South African expat to strengthen their batting line up. Jonathan Trott has been called up for the final Ashes Test. As I previously reported, Jonathan was called up to be in the squad, but at that stage it was uncertain whether he would actually make the starting 11.
Congratz to Jonathan. I hope you have a good knock!
District 9, written and directed by South African expat, Neill Blomkamp, has topped the box office in the US with a whopping US$ 37 million ticket sales in the first weekend. The movie cost approximately US$ 30 million to make and the way things are going it will surely top US$ 100 million after the world wide release.
Critics say it is the best movie of the year and maybe one of the best sci-fi movies of all time. The South African actor Sharlto Copley that plays the lead in the movie, has been praised with one of the best acting performances of the year.
Before the opening of the movie, there was fears that a two hour movie filled with South African accents, which played of in Johannesburg, will be a little too much for American audiences.
There are already talks of a possible sequel as well as a possible Oscar for special effects. What makes the good box office earnings so special is that the movie is rated R, which effectively keeps out kids. Family films traditionally earn on average much more at the box office.
Well done guys! Also a great thanks to Sony pictures that took the risk on the unknown South African cast and director to make this movie.
The South African expat movie director, Neill Blomkamp, has made his award winning short film, District 9, into a full length feature film. The movie which was written by himself is also being directed by him and is being produced by none other than Peter Jackson. For those of you who don’t know who Peter Jackson is, he is the dude that made Lord of the Rings and King Kong.
District 9 is a action packed movie located in Johannesburg. The underlying theme pokes fun at the South African mindset. The movie deals with Aliens (the space kind) that has landed in South Africa. They are being kept separate (like in apartheid SA) in a location called District 9 (shacks) and are being treated, well, pretty much like black people was treated in apartheid SA.
The Aliens will off course complain about not getting jobs and being oppressed and not getting any service delivery.
The special effects in the movie looks absolutely amazing.
If you have a little free time tonight, step outside and if the skies are clear, have a look at the stars. The chances of seeing a couple of "shooting stars" is very good. This is thanks to the annual Perseid meteor shower, when the earth moves through the debris left by comment Swift-Tuttle. As I write this the meteor shower has already moved past its peak but it should still be pretty good tonight.
South African expat, Jonathan Trott, whom has been playing cricket for Warwickshire for the past eight seasons has been called up to join the England squad for the final Ashes test. He was originally called up to replace the injured Flintoff, but latest news indicates that Flintoff will be ready to play the final test.
The inclusion of Jonathan Trott in the squad doesn’t mean that he will actually play in the next test, but he is surely knocking on the door.
Roxanne Hillier, a 22 year old South African Expat, has been jailed for 3 months in the United Arab Emirates for allegedly having sex with her employer, a 41 year old Emirati.
She was jailed without any proof that they did indeed have sex. Part of the sentence is for "being alone with a non-relative." I do not know all the minor details about this case so I can’t really comment too much on this.
I can go into a rant on how completely stupid such laws are and how repressive it is etc. I could probably write a whole book about it.
The fact however remain, we as SAFFAS should take care when we visit or move to foreign countries. The culture and laws are different and sometimes the justice system is not in your favor. We should therefore take care to educate ourselves about what the culture and laws of the country that we are going to visit is. We should take care to obey such laws, even if you find them strange or stupid.
If you don’t, expect problems.
Anyway, my thoughts are with the Hillier family and I wish Roxanne all the best during this ordeal.
Só kan Suid-Afrikaners in die buiteland te werk gaan om te verseker hulle kan op 15 April stem: (Beeld 13 Mrt 2009) · Maak seker jy het jou identiteitsdokument by jou en besoek http://www.elections.org.za/ om te verseker jy is geregistreer. · Laai die VEC10-vorm af van dieselfde webwerf of kry dit op Beeld se webwerf. ( klaar ge-attach hierbo) · In dié vorm moet jy vermeld by watter Suid-Afrikaanse konsulaat, hoë kommissaris of ambassade jy wil stem. · Stuur jou ingevulde VEC10-vorm na die volgende e-posadres: firstname.lastname@example.org. Of faks dit na +2712 428 5566 of +2712 428 5279 · Jy kan dit ook pos na Hoofkiesbeampte, Verkiesingskommissie, Posbus 7943, Pretoria 0001, Suid-Afrika. · Die vorm moet me. Pansy Tlakula, hoofverkiesingsbeampte, voor 27 Maart 2009 bereik. · Stem by jou naaste konsulaat, hoë kommissaris of ambassade op 15 April.
AS JY EEN KEER VOORHEEN GEREGISTREER WAS AL IS DIT 10 JAAR TERUG KAN JY NOU OOK STEM. JOU REGISTRASIE VERVAL NIE.
Dit vat 5 minute om die boonste te doen. Doen dit asseblief.
I've noticed that there are certain groups of people back in old SA that basically hate our guts for leaving. As if SA needs more hate...
Leaving SA isn't easy, especially if it is for good. The fact remains, when someone left his / her country of birth, which they love, they must have had a reason to do so. To judge someone, without knowing what let them reach that choice is pretty immature and stupid.
Granted, there are scores of white South Africans that left purely on racial grounds. Good riddance for SA, bad for the places they are staying know. However if you are still under perception it is only white people leaving SA, you'll be sadly surprised.
The fact is more and more educated South Africans of all races find it hard to make ends meet in SA. When more than a third of your work forcé are unemployed, they need to do something...
I purely left because of a better work opportunity. I was reaching a stage in my professional career where affirmative action was stopping me from progressing. Although I understand the economic need for affirmative action and redistribution of income, I need to feed myself and my family and wasn’t going to "take one for the team." Why should I, whom had no say in the previous apartheid regime, suffer for the sins of my forefathers? I wasn’t ready to live a life of poverty and constant struggling for the "greater good."
I was also constantly concerned about safety in SA. You all know how it is. Yes, people say, "we should work together to make the country a better place." I agree, we should, but it doesn’t seem the criminals care to much about that sentiment.
I got a good job opportunity in the Middle East with very decent pay. I live in a country where crime is very little.
So if someone want to hate me for providing for my family financial and physical security, I’m sorry to say, "You are a moron."