Trying to create good from the past.

29 04 2008

The issue of name change in South Africa worries the public from preachers to politicians, as much as it worries black journalists. Pastors from the Grahamstown East churches are now pushing for the name change.  Sasco invited the Eastern Cape MEC of Agriculture Mr Gugile Nkwinti during the freedom day and he holds similar views about name change. The comments are the same as the reasons behind the formation of Black journalists forum . I read an article from MG about Black journalists forum and I decided to share it with you.

Mr Nkwinti and some Grahamstown pastors believe that changing names can’t be important for the poor people, because they are more concerned about other issues, such as better housing and safe water. However, we also need to realise that the colonial domination left something that can’t be changed such as Settlers 1820 and the only way to honour black heroes is to build the same building as the 1820 to show that blacks and whites are equal. Take Egazini monument for example, you can easily tell that, that monument perpetuate a stereotype that blacks are still inferior, because it is smaller than the 1820 settlers monument. According to the belief the process of name changing is a way of decolonising our minds and the country as a whole.

Similarly, the forum of black journalists seeks to infuse the black community with a new-found pride in themselves, their efforts, their value system, their culture, their religion and their outlook to life. However, poor people from the other side of ‘Grahamstown’ township have a different view, they think that government can use the money for development, because even if you change the name the memories will still remain the same. For example, changing ‘Graham-stown’ won’t change the fact that European people honoured colonel Graham after the good job he did for them, killing a lot of amaXhosa. Can we really create good from the past or we can only create good for the future?





Could the real political leader please stand up?!

21 03 2008

By Jade Fernley

So it seems the more time you have to watch news, the more frustrated you’ll get. After being on holiday for not fewer than 3 days, I saw a story on Carte Blanche detailing a recent police raid at a Stellies club/pub which involved excessive violence on students, including policemen actually punching women, all in the name of a drug raid. I saw a movie about the Rwandan genocide; watched a news bulletin concerning the proposed 60 percent electricity price hike and following that, an insert on how “they’re not sure if we really will be ready for 2010” (but we’ve managed to triple the budget we thought we’d spend). I’m not listing this to tell you how news conscious I’ve been, although it is worthy to note I’m sure; I’m really mentioning these things because of one common theme through all of them. WHY isn’t ANYONE standing UP? And in the case of past events, such as those in Rwanda, why didn’t anyone stand up in time? I know there are various political reasons behind things like this, but more than anything I’d like to know why, if a large majority of us sit at home thinking “Gee, that should really be sorted out”, or “My my, electricity is getting expensive”, then shouldn’t the people in “higher places” be feeling it even more so? Do our rules (as good as rules are) seriously limit someone in parliament or in a 2010 committee saying, “this has got to stop!”??

But even if someone did say anything, will it be taken note of to the extent that things actually change? To the extent that the police are held accountable for their treatment of the Stellies students. To the extent that people who are going to be drastically affected by the electricity price hike stand together and someone speaks on behalf of them and says No. To the extent that someone, whoever really is in charge of the 2010 preparations, stops saying how we’ll never be ready and puts more energy into plans that can combat the probable issues that we may face. We are often silenced by that fear that one person can do nothing but I guess I’d like to answer that with a somewhat cliched, but true, statement: All it sometimes takes is one person, even a handful, and maybe if we all caught hold of that, things may start to change. I’m not saying overnight, and hey powers and authorities don’t always like to listen to the guy who’s opposing what is happening; but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

University of Free State saga: lesson in tolerance

2 03 2008

So drags on the University of Free State saga! I finally watched the video this morning and I was repulsed. There has to be a degree of inhumanity(if there even is such a word) that motivates the kind of behaviour the students in the video show. What troubles me the most is what the UFS administration had done and failed to do before the video was leaked and caused a media outcry. The video has apparently been on the university’s website since September last year- a whole 6 months, which begs a plethora of questions: Did the university condone the gross violations of human dignity prior to the media exposure? I am however, pleased that the University itself is going to be investigated for their part in the whole saga(source: Two of the students have since apologised, saying they were not acting with malice and that it was all play acted(,,2-7-1442_2279832,00.html). I am deeply concerned at the fact that a apology is being expected to suffice but also that treating people as if they were sub human(even in jest) is intended to funny. But this whole incident is a lesson in being politically correct, which is what South Africans are striving to do. You cannot force integration and tolerance on people and integration cannot be applied uniformly in the entire country. Apartheid as a political institution ended 14 years ago but the entire country is grappling with being ‘a rainbow nation’ and getting over the names we called(and continue to call) each other because of the size of our melanocytes(the cells that give skin its colour). No amount of policy can liberate a people, dialogue and honesty and maybe a little more being blunt does that. The students need to learn a hard lesson in human dignity and what is and isn’t funny. The entire university community of South Africa and the world need to examine what kind environments they are creating. The government needs to start approaching integration at all social levels as a process, not a quota on a page.


Don’t FIDEL with the system!

29 02 2008

By Stuart Buchanan

Well, I haven’t started doing anything to this blog yet, so I thought I might just write a little something to justify its existence on the web. We are supposed to be discussing current affairs and things like that, and how they would possibly affect us here in little ol’ Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Well, I’m not sure I can do that, but the recent news about Fidel Castro’s resignation has spurred me into saying a few words about the Commandante.
As a journalism student, I’ve had all those damn lectures (who’d have thought – being a student actually means attending lectures) about how the world’s media is controlled by the West etc etc *yawn*, and yes, we all know that thank you very much. Which is why the coverage of Castro is something worth thinking about. He has been the olive-green uniformed thorn in the side of the Americans for over fifty years, which is pretty damn impressive. The CIA and others has tried to assassinate him several times in the past, but has survived every one.  He has quite successfully run a country which has had an embargo against it for four decades, blocking the possibility of trade from the only superpower and the richest country (…*puts on Jeremy Clarkson accent…*) in the world. The Americans have tried to undermine him so many times since he first came to power, but they don’t want you to know that. They are, however, quite happy to let everyone know he is retiring.
So what? (Journ students will know this is a blog as I have not provided the So What section earlier). Well, I don’t think most people will care too much about Castro’s retirement, or what the future of Cuba may bring. The thing is, Cuba is not like any other country (here comes Clarkson again) in the world. It is not a Communist country like China is, and it’s not a Communist country like Russia was. It is unlike any other South American country, even those trying to role out similar socialist values. So read up on Cuba – if you dodge western news coverage and look for books you will find that Cuba is a unique, interesting and successful country which has managed to outlive Soviet Russia and still not give in the western liberal democratic system. It has its own system, and it’s own values, and perhaps we could learn something from that system.
Castro was the man who said “Up Yours!” to America louder than anyone else, and for longer than anyone else, and in my books, that makes him worth remembering.
A young castro

Fidel Castro