South Africa

where is home?

We just got home from a two week trip…ah…home. Yes that sentence, although confusing, is technically correct. This is the eternal problem when you are living as an expat outside of your home country. It gets very confusing when you are visiting said country and then talk about home when you mean the new place you are living, but everyone you are talking to assumes you mean your original home country. Or home-home as we would probably say in South Africa. And so it goes. Even I get confused in the end.

So where is home? Well the old saying goes “home is where the heart is” but in my case I have to say “home is where the cats are”! And so for the meantime it is Dubai. And it was great to get home and see the little monsters, and sleep in my own bed. We spent a few manic days in Johannesburg as we always do, rushing around trying to see everyone and do all the admin type things you can only do at home. And then we escaped to a small town just outside Kruger National Park, and vegged. Ate and drank way to much and caught up on sleep and reading. Heaven.

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get your greens

Today I still feel a bit like Popeye, pre-spinach Popeye that is anyway. We got back from our South African vacation at 2am yesterday morning, after an 8 hour flight. Ok it wasn’t a bad flight, Stu in his normally resourceful and persuasive way managed to get us a row of 4 seats, so we weren’t too cramped. But even so by the time you have dealt with two sets of immigration (thank goodness for e-gate this end), several security scans, the flight itself and then a never-ending bus ride from the plane to the terminal building, not to mention waiting for luggage (ok not long in terminal 3) and the cab ride you are not a happy camper. Well I’m not. I really feel flying brings out the worst in people. Actually it’s not the flying; it’s the airport part that sucks. And why is it that OR Tambo always seems to operate on the bare minimum of staff? Seems now that the world cup is over all attempts at good service have been abandoned. All that remains are high prices (shocked I was) and almost-complete roads. Hmm ok the Gautrain is amazing so not all that spending was in vain. I guess.


[the gorgeous birthday boy]

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it’s Ayoba time

Unless you have had your head in the sand you will be somewhat aware that tomorrow is the opening of the World Cup Soccer in South Africa! It’s the first time the event has been held in Africa, and as you can imagine this has generated immense excitement on the continent and especially in the country. I have been told by friends and family on email and facebook that the “gees” (or spirit) at home is amazing.

Yesterday was Vuvuzela Day and hundreds of people took to the streets in Sandton at midday to celebrate as Bafana Bafana (the “boys”) drove around the area in a bus. I can only imagine how deafening it would have been, as the vuvuzela (vooo-vooo-zeh-lah), or stadium horn, makes A LOT of noise and is always in evidence at soccer matches in SA. If you are attending a game live you may want to take some ear plugs just in case :-).

Here are some pics from yesterday, sent to me by a friend. It looks like a good turnout.




[world cup fever in Sandton, JHB]

Apparently the word “Ayoba” is an exuberant expression of general delight or approval, rather than a word with a specific meaning; but not having been home during this build-up I cannot be sure.

We will be watching the opening tomorrow at Emirates Golf Club, won’t be quite the same but I am sure it will be fun nevertheless. 

Ke Nako. It’s Time.

SpeakZA: bloggers for a free press

Today’s blog has nothing to do with Dubai, but is in fact about my home country, South Africa, and part of a blogging protest (#SpeakZA), so apologies but this is NB to me. Thank you, Catherine.

Last week, shocking revelations concerning the activities of the ANC Youth League spokesperson Nyiko Floyd Shivambu came to the fore. According to a letter published in various news outlets, a complaint was laid by 19 political journalists with the Secretary General of the ANC, against Shivambu. This complaint letter detailed attempts by Shivambu to leak a dossier to certain journalists, purporting to expose the money laundering practices of Dumisani Lubisi, a journalist at the City Press. The letter also detailed the intimidation that followed when these journalists refused to publish these revelations.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the reprisals against journalists by Shivambu. His actions constitute a blatant attack on media freedom and a grave infringement on Constitutional rights. It is a disturbing step towards dictatorial rule in South Africa. We call on the ANC and the ANC Youth League to distance themselves from the actions of Shivambu. The media have, time and again, been a vital democratic safeguard by exposing the actions of individuals who have abused their positions of power for personal and political gain.

The press have played a vital role in the liberation struggle, operating under difficult and often dangerous conditions to document some of the most crucial moments in the struggle against apartheid. It is therefore distressing to note that certain people within the ruling party are willing to maliciously target journalists by invading their privacy and threatening their colleagues in a bid to silence them in their legitimate work.

We also note the breathtaking hubris displayed by Shivambu and the ANC Youth League President Julius Malema in their response to the letter of complaint. Shivambu and Malema clearly have no respect for the media and the rights afforded to the media by the Constitution of South Africa. Such a response serves only to reinforce the position that the motive for leaking the so-called dossier was not a legitimate concern, but a insolent effort to intimidate and bully a journalist who had exposed embarrassing information about the Youth League President.

We urge the ANC as a whole to reaffirm its commitment to media freedom and other Constitutional rights we enjoy as a country.

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