Twenty Nineteen

I’m a great believer in being positive. Not to the exclusion of all reason: I’m a realist before an optimist, but I’m very much an optimist ahead of a pessimist. So with that said, I’m both hopeful and not ever so hopeful about the year ahead for South Africa.

Hopeful because I feel that the vast majority of people here are decent, honest and willing to work towards making this a better place.

Not ever so hopeful because the loony fringes of left and right are out to make any meaningful progress harder than ever.
And to be honest, despite their small numbers, they’re still in the pound seats right now. They have a miserable public to speak to, there’s an election coming up real soon now and a clear lack of leadership at the top of the two leading political parties, while the guy in third place – currently holding 6% of the vote – is happily directing matters via a seemingly sycophantic media hanging on his every rant.
The economy is in tatters, with the promise of more bad news to come in the months ahead, unemployment continues to increase, and the government seems unable or unwilling (maybe both) to do anything about any of it.
Our newspapers and news sites are filled with biased, puerile, inaccurate and sensationalist crap and yet still people read and believe every word. There are a million bandwagons lined up like free Ubers just waiting to be leapt upon and an increasingly depressed and desperate population needing a ride.

But despite all this, I still believe that there is hope. We just need to avoid being dragged down by the really dreadful stuff to the exclusion of all of the good things and good people that there are out there.

Clearly, that won’t happen. But it would be nice if it could.

And let’s also look elsewhere before we bury ourselves in self pity. Not that it improves our situation at all, but it’s not as though we’re alone in having struggled through the frying pan of 2018 only to be shown the fire of 2019.

So I completely accept that things are some distance from rosy as SA heads into 2019, but I don’t think it’s the cataclysmic end that so many people seem to believe it will be.

Unless I’m wrong of course, in which case, we’re completely buggered.

Have a lovely 2019.

 

How to save money (for South Africans)

Here’s one that’s going to divide the readership.
Oh, and the way this panned out in my head overnight, it may include some swearing.
So… you know… be warned.

Earlier this week, I saw a lot of people tweeting, sharing and generally acting holier-than-thou online about Black Friday:

“Save 100% this Black Friday by staying at home and not buying anything!”

Which is your prerogative, of course. And I really do understand the sentiment. But if you have been after a flatscreen TV for a couple of months like my mother-in-law has, then why not wait until Black Friday and get the model you want for 30% less?

(She did, yes.)

So, if you need something or if you have planned and saved to buy something, then actually, Black Friday is a very good day to go and buy it.

This isn’t a post about saving money on Black Friday though. This – at least as far as I can work out – is an absolute no-brainer of an idea which will not only save South African individuals a chunk of change, but will also make the world a much nicer place. Which is why it will never catch on.

Yep: we’re back on the concert thing. We have been here before. Often.

We went to see James at Kirstenbosch last night. Here’s them.

Great band, great venue, great gig. Tickets were R545 each. And here in SA, that’s a reasonable price to pay to see an international act. (For reference, Ed Sheeran is coming to Cape Town Stadium next year and prices range from R395 to (eina!) R1360.)

Only the one issue then: once again, many of the crowd talked loudly to one another throughout the entire fecking concert. Not quietly, because that would have been only mildly disrespectful and would have necessitated actually thinking of other people. No. The band played loudly, so they shouted to each other across their picnic blankets about this, that and the other.

Why?

Look, I don’t get it. And [deity] knows I’ve tried to understand. If you want to talk to each other, stay home and talk to each other. If you want to shout to each other, stay home, turn the tele on loudly and shout to each other. If you want to shout to each other across a picnic blanket, why not chuck one down in front of the loud TV and shout at each other across it?

It’s not rocket surgery.

Don’t spend five hundred and forty five fecking Rands each to sit on a dark grassy slope and ruin things for people who – really weirdly – have actually turned up at a concert to hear the band playing and not you shouting to your mate about taking junior to the fecking Constantia Uitsig fecking bike park in the morning.

Stay home.

I just saved you R1090. That’s, like, two overpriced coffees while he’s on the pisspoor dirt track tomorrow. Boom.

Or if you really did pay your Rands to come along to hear the band, then couldn’t your utterly mundane shouty conversation just have waited for an hour and a half?
You bunch of self-absorbed, stereotypical, Southern Suburbs twats.
No wonder everyone hates you.

[deep breath]

Look, I know things won’t change. [narrator: and he was right.]
But they should. [narrator: *chuckles*]

If any of the promoters or venues are reading this (spoiler: they’re not), then please consider designating a section of the audience to be a “quiet zone” like this. Not for people to sit there silently and still, but just for them not to talk throughout all the songs.
An area where people who want to hear the music, who paid to hear the music, can hear the music and not details of the personal experience of one student in last week’s 1st year Economics exam at UCT.
Because I really don’t want to hear that ever anyway. But least of all when I’ve paid 600 bucks to enjoy a concert.

 

Rant over. Until next time, obviously.

Suddenly… Spring?

Not quite. In fact, some well-read experts have suggested that special precautions be taken in view of the iffy forecast for today.

But yesterday was quite Spring-like.

The Boy Wonder had a photography assignment to do, so we went out looking for proteas. Is this one? It’s definitely a Leucospermum spp. I think, anyway. Rupert will doubtless let me know.

Cycling (yeah, I know) around the posher areas of Cape Town, we found several or more. Lots still to come at “that bush” on the corner of Glastonbury and Rhodes Drive, as well.

This one was just up the road from there. Planted outside a big house with a big wall. Probably out of place. Maybe not even a protea at all. But the colours and the intricate design caught our eyes and our lenses.

I’ll get some photos up on Flickr soon enough, but in the meantime, here’s one to brighten up a grey day.

Something to blog about

The South African news has been full of one thing today, and it’s not a nice thing. It’s not something I want to blog about either, and so I was about to wander elsewhere on the internet, disappointed that our local rags had provided naught on the blog fodder front when suddenly  – and brace yourselves here – this:

Not even the horrific kerning on the News24 website could take the shine off a headline like that.
(Although it clearly tried.)

Now, before we go any further, let’s just run through those fourteen words one more time, shall we?

A poet – not just any poet, but specifically a Christian poet… harassed by Whatsapp groups – not just any WhatsApp groups, but specifically porn WhatsApp groups… by a rabbit farmer – not just any rabbit farmer, but specifically a ‘mentally challenged’ rabbit farmer.

Incredible.

Let’s start off by saying that harassment in any form is unjust and uncalled for. In investigating this story, I’m certainly not meaning to trivialise or tacitly justify harassment. Especially not by porn WhatsApp groups – long renowned as one of the worst forms of harassment.

Alleged victim of this alleged harassment comes in the form of Martie Wessels, a published Christian poet who sums up her book thus:

“Maar gaan dit alles tog werklik uitwerk? Niemand van ons kan dit regtigwaar weet nie, want ons is almal maar net grassade in die wind en ons sweef maar net waarheen die wind ons neem.”

“But will everything really work out? None of us can rightly know, because we are just grass seeds in the wind, and we float wherever the wind takes us.”

Powerful.

Anyway, the harassment came about by her being (presumably accidentally?) added to a pornographic Whatsapp group. Now, I am the member of many Whatapp groups, but there’s none of that kind of stuff going on on there. The most racy it gets is perhaps a joke about [redacted] having a small penis. It’s tiny, apparently. But I digress. There’s certainly nothing that would make me go on a witch hunt and publish the names of the other participants in the conversation on Facebook, even if Martie’s assertion is partly true for the Molton Brown boys:

“Everyone involved is surely possessed by some or other devil, because the pictures exposing your bodies indicate to me that you are sick in your brains.”

I’d also never go that far if I knew – as Martie apparently does – that the instigator of the groups was:

“a woman described as ‘mentally challenged’, who is a rabbit farmer and who lives in a caravan in the Pretoria area.”

That’s the sort of person you want to stay on the right side of. Not someone you want to piss off. One night, there’s a knock at your door and the next thing, they’re finding your ribcage – stripped of all flesh, and covered in gnaw marks – in a hutch in Gauteng.

Also, just how easy must this woman be to identify? We’ve got her location, her abode, her employment and her mental state. Oh, and her photo, because:

On Wessels’ Facebook page, a composite picture of this woman, surrounded by several rabbits, can be seen.

I did go and look (well of course I did), but Martie has upped her privacy settings to the max, probably due to being by harassed by porn WhatsApp groups run by a ‘mentally challenged’ rabbit farmer (who lives in a caravan in the Pretoria area).

Very disappointing.

Wessels said she was told by one person that the purpose of the groups was to “raise funds” for the rabbit farmer.
“But to raise funds in this way is ridiculous,” she said.

Look, we all know that rabbit farming isn’t easy. And the uncertainty about expropriation without compensation is a spectre lurking behind every agricultural business at the moment.

But why did they pick Martie to add to their depraved online messaging community? Look, I’ve kept this bit of information to myself until now, but Martie lives in the Northern Cape. In a town called:

Warrenton

It’s clear that when Cyril and Julius come knocking for her land, our erstwhile porn Whatapp group-leading, mentally challenged rabbit farmer will need somewhere new to park her caravan and somewhere new for her leporine charges to live. And if you have rabbits to home, you surely need somewhere with a ton of warrens for them to live in.

How do you think Marties hometown got its name?

Exactly. Checkmate, doubters.

I mean, just do the maths.
It’s pretty straightforward stuff, Sherlock.

But still, I’m with Martie here: exactly how do you raise funds for a mentally challenged rabbit farmer by sending naughty photos to a WhatsApp group? I’ve sold images (no, not those kind of images) on Adobe Stock, and let me tell you, what I’ve earned would barely buy a bag of carrots from PicknPay.

Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong.

So what happens now? Well, since Martie has gone public with this amazing tale, the threats have thankfully evaporated. But that wouldn’t be a fitting end to this sort of bizarre story.

No, what you need to have to finish things off is just a hint of continuing weirdness. Cue the last line from the News24 article:

Wessels made a statement at the Warrenton police station, which was confirmed by a Captain Moleko, who would not provide his first name to News24.

Did they need to know his first name? Why was he unwilling to provide it? Why did we need to know that he was unwilling to provide it? Is it of any significance that the first four letters of his surname make up another burrowing mammal? Haas the world gone completely mad?

I am sure that you are looking forward to the follow-up article on News24 as much as I am.

They are taking the piss

With the (government regulated) fuel price reaching a new record level today, that same government (the one that also imposed a 1% increase in VAT, a 7% increase in the Fuel Levy and a 18.4% increase in the Road Accident Fund Levy just a couple of months ago) tweeted this:

Sure, it might look like they are trying to help us cut our petrol use, but it does seem a bit like the school bully giving you a plaster for your bleeding knee when he was the one who tripped you up in the playground.

They’re taking the piss, right?

I mean, check that incredible starter:

Make Fewer Trips

Wow… Revolutionary.
Thanks, Einstein.

A better way of saving South Africans money on petrol would surely be to revisit all those recent tax increases or tackle corruption and run the economy a bit better so that the currency wasn’t always struggling against the USD oil price benchmark.

But given that neither of those things is ever going to happen, I guess that I’ll just have to “accelerate smoothly” and “close my windows”.

FFS.