Can Youth Day %$#@-ups unite Malema & the DA?

I always find it interesting how certain things happen at certain times for reasons that reveal themselves at a later stage. I’m a great believer in fate and I always try look for why things happen, when they do.

This youth day our dear Pres. Jacob Zuma was in Mexico standing proud with the world’s leaders at the G20 Summit (seems like there’s always a summit of some kind to satisfy 3rd world leaders wives need for a 1st world  shopping trip).

This is the first time a president of South Africa (after we emerged from the dark ages of course) has not been in the country during the HIGHLY symbolic Youth Day.

If you are not sure what Youth Day is exactly or why it is symbolic maybe you should read here first!

This is probably one of the most significant days in South African history and for the leader of the country not to be there to speak to the youth is beyond disgraceful, in fact it’s more disrespectful. You see so often leaders and governments disregard the youth because they think they have no power. If June 16 1976 has taught us anything it’s that the youth have a voice, a powerful voice, and they will use it to great effect if they are pushed far enough! The youth can topple leaders, government and throw countries into political chaos. If you lose the youth you lose a part of your control to govern the people – never forget that Mr President (although you may have already lost it)

What’s interesting is in the days leading up to youth day both Helen Zille  and the artist formerly known as the head of the ANCYL, JuJu, both criticized the president for his lack of attention to the youth!

Zille blatantly attacked the president’s ability to empathise saying

“We have a president who simply seems unable to understand the lives others lead. Empathy for the other, we know, is the beginning of the sincerest kind of reconciliation.”

This was almost mirrored by Juju’s comments during a rally held in the only place people still think he is worth something – Limpopo.

“But comrades you must know the real man, the man for his own family, the man who has no interest for his own people, the man for his tribe…the man whom we said was a unifier, the ANC today is more divided, what is the legacy of President Zuma? His legacy is that of being interrelate to the youth, is that of expelling those who disagree with him.”

Which got me to thinking about this very interesting proverb . . .

Now we all know that JZ and the DA are and continue to be political enemies but after recent expulsion events I think it’s fair to say JZ has made another powerful enemy in Julius, and the one thing that Julius has control over, is the youth!

If you are a little slow and can’t see what I’m getting at it’s that on this youth day where Zuma has been criticized so many times about failing the youth, has his blatant absence opened the door for two of the most unlikely allies to form a rather powerful political team?

Don’t get me wrong now.

Firstly, I think it’s not possible for a multitude of reasons, least of all that JuJu is too much of a loose cannon and political liability that he is virtually uncontrollable.

Secondly, I don’t think that our Julius is smart enough to understand that the only way he will ever make it back onto the political spotlight is if he reinvents himself, not as a white-hating, land-grabbing extremist, but as a man of the youth ready to fight for whichever leader shows they are focused on our youth (and whose power teet he can suckle on next).

It’s a dream (or nightmare scenario), but wouldn’t it be fun to see JuJu and Helen on the same side?

I think even if I get to hear JuJu respond to ‘Do you hate white people?’ with ‘NO! I love them’ just one more time in an interview it will be worth the political drama!


To live without fear . . .

Its funny when I was living in Joburg I always used to joke with people that Cape Town was a little like Disney World for me. Not because it was fake or not believable (well maybe a little) but because I just find it too nice to live in. I mean it’s a place you go on holiday, you can’t actually live there, life needs to be tougher, cities need to be about dirt and smog and concrete and angry drivers. All this perfect beaches, amazing sunsets and beautiful people is for holiday destinations.

I’ve been to a number of places where kids play on the streets, walk to their friends’ houses to play and can ride their bikes to school. Places where women can walk home late at night, take the subway wherever and whenever and wear as much expensive jewelry as they want without any hint of fear of, well sadly we know all too well of what. I’ve been to these places on holiday!

When I lived in SA I was never the ‘crime whinger’ type. In fact I never felt scared at all. I was cautious and vigilant and just made sure I kept my wits about me as ‘anyone does in a major city nowadays’ – this is what I told any foreigner who argued with me about the crime in my home country. I defended it to the last. Even when I had a gun stuck through my window by some street punk to get my phone or my car or who knows what. I never ever allowed myself to be negative – that’s what big cities are like I kept saying. It’s the price you pay for this quality of life I used to think.

If you had told me you could live in a place where this kind of attitude is termed insane, I would have said those are holiday destinations!

For now i live in Shanghai. Population anywhere between 30-35 million people. There is ‘no’ crime (I use the ‘ ’ because there is crime like pick pocketing etc. I’m pretty sure but certainly nothing I would have termed crime before I got here)

In this city people ARE safe, walking to work, going out pretty much anywhere anytime and wearing whatever they want.

My point is not that this is a better city than JHB (well better run it sure as hell is) but rather that when you move from a place like SA to a place like China you realize why the rest of the world thinks we live in a war zone, because relative to what they experience WE DO!

The bottom line is I will continue to defend SA as I have always done but I must say I’m starting to see their side of the argument. I never realized how good not having to worry about the guy running up behind you, the person walking up to your car and leaving your doors and windows open all day would feel.

The truth is safety is one one Maslows base layers in his hierarchy of needs and now that I have felt the ‘other side’ of the argument for a while i guess I just find it tremendously sad that in an age of such technological advances and progression we still have to live with a dark cloud of crime around us.

For now I miss the adventure of it all to be honest but perhaps one day when I grow up and have some kids of my own I’m not sure how I will justify a life behind tall walls, beams and barbed wire over open parks, bike rides neighborhood soccer games. I’m not sure as a parent if its fair that you have to lie awake at night as you worry if your teenager is safe or if you are going to get one of those devastating calls and you become one of the statistics.

I suppose life will happen wherever you are, or is that just something ive told myself enough times I believe it. I mean sure you can get hit by a car anywhere but if you live in the middle of the highway the chances are slightly higher aren’t they?

Did we dodge a near fatal bullet?

Yesterday marked the end of the long laborious and drawn out expulsion of Julius Sello Malema. He has provided us with every spectrum of the human emotion over the last few years and the sound bites that go with it. He has no doubt been a colorful footnote in South Africa’s rainbow history.

To use a rather juvenile reference to prove my point I watched the movie Men in Black IIIthis past week. In it, is a character that can see every possible future and every past event based on the triggers that do or don’t happen. For example if you were driving to work he sees the reality where you get there safely, or the reality where you get stuck in traffic for an hour, or the reality where you get hit by a bus and never make it there. Every possible reality is happening at every moment (complicated I know but maybe this is just a random pitch for you to go see MIB III)

Grif showing the MIBs an alternate reality

This started me thinking, what is the reality where Julius managed to keep himself in line long enough to see the ANC conference in 2013?

We somehow never learn from the past, from other countries misfortune and misery and somehow malignant narcissists manage to make it to the head of nations all too often. In pre-modern days this actually was a good thing. Leaders like Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great were hailed, and continue, to be so as heroes of their generation and probably correctly so as they managed to conquer and rule half the world!

Then we discovered democracy and we realized it wasn’t exactly fair to kill anyone that got in your way of ruling over people, well some of us did, yet we still managed to get leaders murdering for pleasure and almost taking over the world, people like Hitler and Stalin took a decade to stop. Then the ‘west’ grew up a bit and started progressing just as Africa, as it generally lags behind first world-ers, managed to allow people like Idi Amin, Charles Taylor, Laurent Kabila  and finally, the closest to home, dear Robert Mugabe to commit savage atrocities for decades in the name of freedom.

There is a very real possibility that Julius gave us merely a taste of the kind of leader unlimited power would have allowed him to become. We managed to see the proverbial tip of the iceberg of a classic malignant narcissist who managed to delude himself into believing things that only his twisted brain could have concocted. If this was the reality where JuJu had managed to shut his trap for just long enough that he snuck his way into a senior ANC position and the power that comes with it, I think most of us would fear the worst.

What would have become of South Africa?

Well we have our neighbors to the north to see the worst case scenario. An exporting powerhouse, idyllic homeland and magnificently beautiful tourist destination ripped apart and left to die in pieces by a dictatorial madman who like Malema also started as a young powerful revolutionary (well at very least Mugabe was a revolutionary – JuJu was failing woodwork when the ANC were fighting for freedom)

I truly believe that JuJu would have spent the next generation tearing the heart out of this nation for nothing but personal greed and gain and fooling himself and all of those prospering off his vile legacy that he was giving South Africa back to its people and wrestling it from the clutches of  ‘the oppressors’

If this were that reality I really do think we would have looked back 20 or 30 years from now, most of us forced into leaving to other parts of the world, and found a nation broken, its people living in the worst poverty, hopeless leaking through the streets and hearts shattered after following a maniac for most of their lives who preached words like economic freedom (which I challenge him to spell) and flying the flag of a once proud ANC high.

Yesterday we dodged a bullet, make no mistake about it and like an impala whose herd-mate has just been caught and killed by a pride of lions in the middle of the night I am still ever-so-weary that JuJu may come back to haunt us yet again.

For now South Africa we can count ourselves very lucky that this is the reality where JuJu goes quietly into the night!

Wishing time away . . .

Friday was World Children’s Day.

I did even know this until I saw the now iconic GOOGLE DOODLE that day. I then started noticing more and more empty seats in my office and when I inquired, I found out that almost every mother had taken off work to spend the day with their children.

As I walked home through the park it was filled with parents and children playing and quite simply enjoying each other’s company – it was an amazing thing to watch.

When I got home to find the same collection of parents playing in the garden with their kids it just reinforced for me one of the amazing cultures I’m starting to realize in China. You see for some reason the western individuals have become so focused on the future and progress that we (and I include myself here) have almost stopped enjoying today because we are so focused on tomorrow.

The people here (and again I grossly over generalize) have somehow found a way to progress at the speed of light but all the while ensuring they do not miss out on the importance of enjoying today. Often I walk through the parks on my way home or on weekends and find people singing, playing instruments or doing traditional dancing. They aren’t doing this for money or for any other reason than enjoying every second of the time they have.


This starts to make me think of the brilliance of the Allan Grey adverts (I have written about the unimaginably good KING JAMES agency before) and one advert in particular . . .


You see until I moved half away around the world from my friends and family I often used to catch myself wishing time away.

You know what I mean. Weddings you don’t really want to be at, birthdays of people you don’t really know, events or dinner you are forced into. The truth is you keep thinking there will be more time and more time and so wishing a few hours away doesn’t seem like a lot, doesn’t seem like a major sacrifice. The question you should ask yourself is how would you behave if that party or dinner or event, no matter how annoying, if it was your last one. would you behave any differently?

If the answer is yes, which it most certainly will be, then you need to ask yourself why.

We all have a finite time on this earth and the one thing we know for absolute certain is that we have no idea when it’s up. I’m not going to go into a whole soppy speech about tell those people you love them and every other sentimental line from PS I love you, but just think about it for a minute.

When you wake up every morning and go to bed every night without those people around you who you really care about you start to think about these things, but it shouldn’t take anyone to get to that point before we realize how important enjoying every moment with those people.

There’s a little soppiness for you today – from tomorrow I will be back to my normal self and I think will post some nudity just to compensate 😉