Thursday, December 24, 2009

Malema Madness

I often wonder how plainly unintelligent people manage to gain and maintain any kind of power in the world. Exhibit A: George W. Bush. Exhibit B: Julius Malema etc etc. Because the things they say would have us on the floor laughing if we didn't have to take them seriously.

In the past year Malema's statements have sunk to the lowest of the low- in my opinion the worst was when he called Zille 'a racist little girl' who chose her cabinet because they are 'her boyfriends and concubines, so the she can continue to sleep around with them.' I find it scary that such an immature, pathetic comment has been uttered by a politician and that no one seemed particularly bothered. Tambo and Sisula must be rolling in their graves at what their legacy in the ANCYL has become. And that Madiba has to witness this, after he once lead the youth league.. to pass on his legacy to someone like this is, in my opinion, tragic.

Malema may represent a generation that were failed by the Bantu-education system, and perhaps many people look to him to stand for them. But do we really need "leaders" like this, who perpetuate a shallow and victimized way of being? How can the youth and others have any kind of meaningful, real conversation about this country when Malema continues to make statements such as this? As Chris Roper (editor of The Mail and Guardian Online) says: 'with Malema writing the script, we're veering towards Looney Tunes.' Does anyone else find this worrying?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Human / Dancer

Photo by Orli Barnett

Add 'The Killers' to the blog post below. Definitely something I'm loving right now. Their concert in Cape Town was one of the most phenomenal things I have experienced in a long time, and went way beyond all expectations. I mean, when you are in almost the front row of 15 000 people, and this band explodes into 'Human' as the first song, what more could you want? The energy, magic and pure art of that first song continued throughout the show, in a slick, sensational and stunning showcase of sound.

Brandon Flowers not only has an incredible voice but is a fantastic performer- with charisma, sensitivity and sexiness he captured the audience from the start. His powerful stage presence and talent gave the show that extra edge that left people speechless. Add his multi-talented band, pyrotechnics, lighting and an explosion of stage production, and it was truly a flawless musical experience.

And I watched it all from the third row. Deciding that if we were going to do this we were going to do it properly, we got Golden Circle tickets and were at Val de Vie by about 4pm. We didn't face any traffic on the way in and the Golden Circle queue was well organized. We found a spot at the front easily, where we relaxed in the beautiful surroundings of the wine estate. The mountains, greenery and sunset definitely beat a stadium!

Yes, returning to our our car we faced the chaos of being parked in by cars everywhere. Yet we kept our cool, made new friends and waited it out, still enjoying the adrenalin of the concert pumping through our veins. Parking marshalls and car rows would have been simple ways of organizing things better, and hopefully Big Concerts will take note that such bad organization will always taint a brilliant event. Capetonians should be proud that they stayed relaxed for those 3 hours after the concert, made it to work the next day and did it all with smiles on their faces. I know that even with the traffic, I would have done it all again in a heartbeat.

So, are we human or are we dancer? I think everyone was a bit of both that night, feeling alive and dancing our hearts out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What I'm loving at the moment...

Osumo: I have them on speedial. Amazing, delicious salads, incredible smoothies (and also wraps, sandwiches, breakfasts...). Capetonians are a healthy tribe and Osumo makes our lives easier! They are leading the way with their innovative, fresh and exciting food & brand. "Osumo!" (as the Osumo ladies say!)

Slick: Favourite clothing store for many years. Today I found beautiful summer dresses there. They are great for unique finds and on-trend pieces. With their friendly and warm staff, their clientele are extremely loyal!

Mr Price: For their always-affordable, perfectly fashionable finds. You have to look for the right pieces, but it's worth it! Found my summer gladiators there! and check out their fashion blog for glimpses at what is happening is the fashion world...

Style Guide Cape Town: And talking about fashion blogs, this is simply the best in Cape Town. Enough said:

Summer in Cape Town: Sweet, sexy and sultry, its worth waiting for. I feel so blessed to live in this place- the sun on my shoulders, watching sea and mountains and sunsets (all draped in perfect light), Kirstenbosch concerts, beach days, tanning, swimming in the icy Atlantic ocean, partying, perfection...

Coral: Loving this summer colour- on nails and clothes... it perfectly complements tanned skin, metallic accessories and a summer smile!

Twitter: I still love Facebook, but Twitter is growing on me! It's great for networking, especially in the media industry. Follow me!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Perfection of Coincidence

I recently finished re-reading On the Other Side of Shame by Joanne Jowell. I hardly ever return to a book once I have read it, but something pulled me back to this one. And I read it even more vociferously- inspired by the work, captured by the narrative, drawn into that past, and astounded by the beautiful, perfect coincidences that surround this story.

Says author Joanne Jowell in a BOOK SA interview: “Synchronicity landed this one, fair and square, in my lap. My hairdresser put me together with his client with the amazing story. She turned out to be my cousin – and the bearer of a long kept family secret that I had never heard of.”

The review continues: 'In Cape Town in the 1960s, 17-year-old Lynette Zinn hid her pregnancy for seven months before her conservative Jewish parents discovered it. It’s a ‘shunda’ [Yiddish term for a scandal]. They refused to hear her protests about loving Max- her boyfriend- and wanting to marry him, and forced her to give up the baby for adoption. Some 18 months after the baby was given up for adoption, Lynette and Max married and went on to have three other children. The matter of their first child was never discussed, and was kept a secret.

Forty years later, Anthony Egnal, living in Seattle and working as a family physician, tried to adopt a child of his own. He had never felt compelled to find his birth parents until he came to adopt a child, which brought him face to face with the raw shame that people experience when they give up a child for adoption. That led him to discover how much he wanted to find his birth parents, to tell them that he was happy and grateful for the gift of life.'

Egnal managed to easily find the details of Lynnette and Max Langman, his biological parents. On a quiet Sunday evening in Cape Town, the phone call they had arranged rang out in the Langman's Bantry Bay apartment. 'That's your son', said Max. 'You better go answer it.'

That phone call began a conversation that would blossom into a reunion in many layers and many forms. As Lynette, her husband and her children reconnected with this lost son and brother, they completed a circle of life and living.

This book inspired me in that it was written using Oral History methods. In my studies I learnt about this historical approach and was able to apply it in my own work. Jowell's text is an example of oral history methodology in its element, where what people say and how they say it can shed light on the complexities of the past. Jowell conducts extensive interviews not only with Lynette, but everyone involved in the story, even those on the periphery (such as the adoption social worker and Antony's sister, Mandy.) The result is a multifaceted, nuanced, rich and complex narrative that makes the story all the more intense. It is like looking at a cut diamond in your palm, as its various faces glimmer in the light.

“Lynette Langman wanted me to tell the story to tell the story of adoption because it affects so many people. It had to be a good story, a good read and it had to tell the true story. I used a method of research and writing pioneered by Stubbs Turfell, which involves using the verbatim accounts of the interviews conducted with a range of people.
“The aim is to listen, engage and record without influence and then to sift through the material as a prospector through silt trying to find the diamonds in the rough.” The process involved conducting interviews across the oceans, and distinguishing the gloss of memory from the grime of real life", says Joanne in the BOOK SA piece.

This story also grabbed me because it is embedded in the South African Jewish community- my own community. The narrative is my grandparents' experience- the Muizenberg holidays, the dates and dances, the immigrant atmosphere, the conservative Jewish attitudes, the singular experience of Jewish homes and upbringings across the country. This story is a therefore a glimpse into a past that I relate to in my present and my identity. Further, the story swirls around my contemporary surroundings- Camps Bay, Bantry Bay, Hatfield Street, Charley's Bakery, Jammie Steps. It is enjoyable for a Capetonian to read the book from this angle.

What drew me in the most is the perfection of coincidence that pervades the narrative, as well as the people involved in the book. It begins with the birth of the book, where Joanne hears of the story and discovers that the narrator is her cousin- and it continues with the birth of the baby in the story, and his life. I will not tell you all the startling moments in this silver thread of synchronicity, so read it yourself to discover them. Reading the book reminded me of our place in the grand scheme of the universe- its playful yet perfect patterns that suddenly come together. The universe is conspiring to shower us with blessings, even if this is not clear to us at first.

The book flows and is well-written, and you will not put down until you've finished it! Taking a real-life story and shaping it into a gripping page-turner shows that the author is extremely talented- and that truth really is stranger than fiction.

The cover artwork of the book captures its essence. It is designed by Kim Lieberman, an established South African and international artist. She 'explores the invisible energies that travel between people and the impacts these currents have on our world. Investigating concepts like The Butterfly Effect and 6 Degrees of Separation, she has created artworks exploring the interconnectedness of human experience.'