DJ Focus bringing African innovation to MIT

Nov 20, 12 DJ Focus bringing African innovation to MIT

Posted by in Culture, Featured

Kelvin Doe is just another amazing young African man beating the odds. Kelvin is a self-taught innovator from Sierra Leone, finding exciting new ways to use what little resources he has at his disposal to develop solutions to local problems. Is innovation just the new discourse of capital in the Global North? Or is it possible for Africans to participate in the innovation hype in an empowering manner? Let us know what you...

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African men aren’t all violent, angry warlords?

Apr 26, 12 African men aren’t all violent, angry warlords?

Posted by in Culture, Featured

Only a tad ironic that they thought it necessary to use subtitles but hey, anyone with the guts to contradict Shirtless Matthew Mcconaughey deserves a little re-post love.       Nice work to Mama Hope on this video:  ...

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Sexism in the Courts

Jan 18, 12 Sexism in the Courts

Posted by in Culture, Featured, News & Media, Politics

On Monday in a magistrate’s Court in Cape Town, Magistrate Chumani Giyos, sexually harassed a group of 12 women facing charges under the Immigration Act, saying to them during a hearing, “You are really beautiful, hey!” and concluding the hearing with “I have never seen so many beautiful women at one time, I hope to see you all again”, sending ripples of giggles throughout the courtroom. Times Live (sourcing the article from SAPA) seemed to find the matter as laughable as a number of those present in the courtroom when it published a report on the incident under the title “Strippers a hit in Cape court.” No doubt, many readers will find the clip amusing, picturing the antithesis of the sobriety of a courtroom in this line up of attractive women on a display to the ogling judge. Of course this kind of behaviour is painfully unprofessional and if readers were to laugh, no doubt it would be in part in that dry ironic way South Africans typically find humour in the exasperating. We love to laugh at government officials and unelected leaders saying menacing things and bumbling through policies. When we lose the words to express our frustration, we find solace in caricatures of the public sphere in our favourite cartoons. It’s much easier to laugh off resignation in the company of impressionists and comedians than to face the gauntlet of change. Because underlying Giyos’ glib display of unchecked chauvinism is a broader social acceptance of the way he treats these women in his court: as objects for men’s sexual gratification and as unequal in the very places they should be guaranteed respect. From a position of power, Giyos made clear that the persons before him were not human beings to him, equal in dignity to citizens and to men, but a mass of objects, disposable at his delight. If popular media is any barometer of social reactions, this kind of discrimination will not be protested, punished and condemned as it should be,...

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Saffer craving passport and boerie

Oct 17, 11 Saffer craving passport and boerie

Posted by in International

Article 21 of the South African Constitution is not such a tricky provision to understand. It says pretty clearly that as a citizen of the country, I am entitled to a passport. It also says that I am allowed to leave the country and re-enter the country. So I am pretty confident that I am allowed to reside outside of South Africa, and the government has a duty to promote my right to come home when I wish, and specifically, to actually give me the passport I am entitled to. Sadly, I am but one of many expatriate South Africans being denied the rights of my citizenship. While I applied for a new passport some 11 months ago from my local embassy, neither Home Affairs nor the embassy itself is at any pains to actually provide me with one. A friend of mine in a similar situation (whose business promoting trade between Europe and South Africa has been severely hampered by the failure to supply her with a passport for many months) shared in my frustration recently when telling me how she was told by the consulate that they were rather stretched and really couldn’t establish constructive communication with Home Affairs on the issue. However, she was privy to overhear consulate staff’s dedication to the activity of locating the correct innards to craft some boerewors for an upcoming event. Apparently boerewors and parties fall within the priorities of our representatives abroad, but not so much the protection of citizens. And while we are in no shortage of incompetent government departments to moan about, nor violations of rights to be indignant about, this one is a painful reminder to me of just how ambitious our governments institutional incompetence is – stretching continents to annoy, limit and frustrate the lives of citizens. As a patriotic expatriate who longs for home, I must admit that there is something all too familiar in the experience of such attitudes. In conversations with folk at home, one often encounters this...

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Noxolo Nogwaza – South Africa & Rape

May 25, 11 Noxolo Nogwaza – South Africa & Rape

Posted by in Politics

Recently, Noxolo Nogwaza was brutally beaten, murdered and allegedly raped in Kwa-Thema township, in the context of an alarming rate of homophobic attacks and “corrective rapes.”  As a campaigner for equal rights and member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC), the brutality of her death makes a mockery of our Constitutional claims to what we value as a society.   Noxolo Nogwaza had it coming to her. Being born a woman in South Africa is cause enough to expect to be physically assaulted and raped. Most of us have heard the statistics to the extent that it’s merely a numbing exercise to repeat them:  South Africa has the highest incidence of rape in the world; a female child born in South Africa has a 1 in 2 chance of being raped, compared to a 1 in 3 chance of learning to read; someone is raped every 26 seconds. 62% of boys over 11 apparently think that forcing someone to have sex is not an act of violence, with a third believing girls enjoy rape. So Noxolo, by the mere incidence of being a born a South African woman, bore the probability of being raped with the attitude of her rapists believing they were doing her a favour. Women are expected to be raped. While many South Africans anticipated the World Cup last year by buying fan t-shirts and vuvuzela’s, many women were contemplating the use of the 30,000 “Rape-Axe” condoms that were distributed to avenge the organs of their World Cup rapists.   Living in a township strengthened her likelihood of abuse and more so when she would have been a child. Some experts indicate that conditions in many townships (with children often sharing rooms and beds with adults and the frequency of drug and alcohol abuse), strengthen the likelihood of children in particular being sexually abused. Nearly half the raped persons in Khayelitsha are under the age of 14. Young people’s attitudes are no less alarming. A survey of school children in Soweto...

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