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Lasting peace not achieved in Hangberg September 22, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Cape Town, Politics.
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Last night, I was privileged to be asked to provide musical accompaniment at the 1 year commemoration service of violence that erupted in Hangberg.


Hangberg is an underprivileged community in Hout Bay, a suburb of Cape Town. Some of the residents had built makeshift dwellings on a firebreak on the slope of the Sentinel, which belongs to the City and SA National Parks. When the city’s anti-land invasion unit moved in to remove the illegal structures, violence erupted. Some people were seriously injured in the ensuing fracas, and everyone was permanently scarred.

One year later, to the day, a peace accord was signed between the Peace and Mediation Forum (representing the community) and the City of Cape Town, led by the mayor, Patricia de Lille.
In the interfaith service, remembering the events that unfolded the previous year, you couldn’t help but feel that Hangberg is a community crying out to be heard. People still are in pain over the terrible events that transpired that fateful day. While the posters that were on display expressed the extremity of the community’s anger
 (And, it must be said, not everyone agreed with the wording of some of the posters), it was clear that, whatever was agreed in the peace accord, does not have this community’s full blessing. The Cape Argus has an article on the accord here.
Whatever the future will hold for this loving, yet broken community, it is clear that the peace accord has not yet provided a sustainable, lasting peace for them. At times during the service, that emotion was so prevalent, you couldn’t help but feel it yourself.
Let’s hope that all the role players in this matter realise the vast potential for a positive collaboration and transformation, and next year, when hopefully I will be asked to play again, the service will be one filled with unspeakable joy.

My New York, Before and After September 11, 2011

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World Trade Centre Twin Towers New York

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We came in for landing for what looked like a glorious late Summer’s day. After clearing through customs, and making my way out of the terminal at JFK, I had finally realised one of my dreams…

I was in New York!

With 12 hours to kill till my connecting flight, I decided to go tour as much of the city as best I could. I wanted to go walk in Times Square, to see the theatres on Broadway, to sit in Central Park where so many of my favorite artists had performed.

Standing at Jamaica Station, I had to decide whether to do all that, or go to the World Trade Centre and see the curvature of the Earth, which I’ve never seen before. As I knew I had another 12 hours connecting time on my return home, I decided I would cap my first U.S. visit with that glorious view.

And walking through all those world renowned landmarks, the city lived up to my expectation of the buzz being electric! It truly felt like a city that doesn’t sleep, and it wasn’t just the jetlag talking! Everybody was constantly on the move, yet they were kind enough to help me with directions, and someone even picked up my camera lens cover. Being a Capetonian, and having despised the odd tourist in my time, I got a sheepish insight into what it is to be a wide-eyed tourist in a foreign city! 

After taking in the Virgin Megastore and Times Square, I sat down in the awesome beauty that is Central Park. Eating my very first chilli dog, Iwatched 2 production crews from Broadway shows take each other on at a game of softball. Oh, I felt like I was in heaven!

So much so that I lost complete track of time! In the mad dash to the airport to catch my flight, I vowed to do the World Trade Centre as a parting shot to what started out as a dream holiday. As my flight (which I caught by the skin of my teeth, literally) took off, I got to see those towers in their splendour from my seat.

5 days later, it happened….

On my return, without having touched down, one could sense that something had irrevocably changed. My flight home was cancelled, and because I now no longer had a valid ticket, I was not even allowed near the terminal. Luckily, I had some friends in New Jersey, who happily directed me to their house where I arranged my new schedule home, and I crashed on their couch for the night.

The trip back into New York felt like I was part of a funeral procession. Suddenly, this city which had been so kind to me 3 weeks ago was scared to look me in the eye, just because I was a foreigner, and it was foreigners that had ripped its very soul from its body. As my bank had been implacated (wrongly, it turned out) in harbouring funds for terrorists, my account was frozen, and I had miscalculated the money I would have needed. So here was this foreigner, lugging a full bag, begging for money to get to the airport. Eventually, a kind soul offered me a lift to the airport. I can only imagine how courageous he must have been to open his car to someone he did not know, with a big bag, the contents of which could’ve been anything.

Inside the terminal, it just got worse. Because there was more than one change to my trip home, I was pulled aside and was interrogated thoroughly by customs officials who were as stoic as I had ever seen.

However, before they even started, I knew how this would end. One of them bluntly requested that a cavity search be done. I knew that to protest would surely mean I would not get home any time soon.

Eventually I got to my seat on my plane. As I sat down, as though my soul was ready to leave my body and never return, I wept. Openly, bitterly, unabatedly. The dear hostess must’ve known how much pain I was in, as she put a caring arm around me, and assured me that we were going home.

As we took off into the New York dusk, I vowed that one day I would return, and when I do, the New York that I arrived to would welcome me once again.

So, as Art Garfunkel put it:

New York, You’ve got money on your mind, and my words won’t make a dime’s worth a difference,

So here’s to you, New York.

 

 

 

 

HootSuite is listed as in a relationship August 31, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Uncategorized.
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HootSuite is listed as in a relationship with Facebook – new features in-dash #HootBook http://owl.li/6fRqw

Why #Seattle is a good partner…. July 18, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Cape Town.
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Pike Place Market in Seattle

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Today I was very privileged to be part of the #mondaythinktank hosted by FUTURECAPETOWN and today the question was which city should Cape Town look to form a partnership with?

Well, I was very lucky to have lived in Seattle, Washington and, being a born and bred Capetonian, of all the cities I have visited, this one best reminds me of home!

The feeling of nostalgia, old world charm yet modern chutzpah one gets when walking downtown is very simliar to the feeling one gets when strolling down St. George’s mall during a weekday lunchtime. And while Seattle is surrounded by lakes as opposed to our oceans, a stroll through Pike Place Market is almost as if you’re back in Kalk Bay or any other place south of Muizenberg.

Seattle has just as rich an arts and culture heritage as Cape Town, with Seattle having a diverse music base ranging from opera and claaiscal music to jazz to grunge rock, and, of course, it’s the birthplace of the legendary Jimi Hendrix.

As far as Sport is concerned, just like Cape Town, mainstream sport is woven into the psyche of the city, with the Mariners, Seahawks and Sonics garnering as partisan a following as the Cobras, the Stormers and Ajax Cape Town.

Seattle also has a well developed tourism industry, with a multitude of festivals happening throughout the year, covering a vast array of sectors within the regional economy.

Finally, Seattle prides itself on the many outdoor activities one can do in and around the city virtually througout the year. These activities change with the seasons. Although we are blessed with more natural abundance, surely we can learn from them as to how we can use our resources to maximise our brand. 

For more on the City of Seattle, please see their Official website

Thanks for the kickstart @futurecapetown ! There are vast opportunities for collaboration here!

Why Strikes would be less frequent in an Open Opportunity Society July 17, 2011

Posted by cmfry in DA, Politics.
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Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyp...

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This past 2 weeks, South Africa has been subject to yet another striker season. In a previous post, I outlined how the use of violence has highlighted the need for greater synergy in the South African market place. This is all to clear, as this the National Employer’s Association of South Africa (NEASA) has now turned to the courts, and have gained and interdict against striking workers to prevent any further damage to property.

Now, as stated earlier, synergy exists in its purest form when effective collaboration happens. Dr. Tim Stagich, in his book , “Collaborative Leadership and Global Transformation”, has noted that the foundations for effective collaboration between any parties would be:

  • Reciprocal benefit (where all parties are advantaged from any decision made)
  • A Healthy respect for one another
  • An Appreciation of diverse contributions to be made 
  • A shared understanding of how these values work in a collaborative process

The absence of these values in the present situation, and to a large extent in many of our communities,  is painfully clear. I would venture to guess that one of  the main reasons that the workers would put forward for the strike would be that they feel that they have lost a significant amount of dignity, through a continuous erroding of resources (Money, power, etc) which has critically eroded their opportunity to maximise their own potential.

But what if we create the platform for them to do just that? What if we create a sustainable environment for people to interact with one another in a collaborative, synergistic way in a way that only South Africans can?

The Open Opportunity Society for All notes three concepts that are critical to creating a sustainable environment for the individual to maximise their potential. They are:

  • Individual Freedom under the rule of law
  • Opportunity with responsibility
  • Full equality for all

Once we have a society where these 3 factors are present, the right to human dignity will become entrenched, and from that space of human dignity, a healthy respect for one another, an apppreciation of divergent views and how these values can work in a collaborative way can be achieved. This, then would form the basis for the transformation of our society into one where the quest for reciprocal benefit would be sustainable. Furthermore, once a lasting sense of  human dignity is achieved, a deeper commitment to achieving a collaborative society is generated.   

A classic example of this technique, as quoted by Stagich in his book, is the peace agreement between Egypt (under Anwar Sadat) and Israel (with Menachem Begin as prime minister) with former US president Jimmy Carter as facilitator. The process moved toward a general understanding between the two parties once a mutual respect was built. This led to differences being transcended, and ultimately, a peace accord signed.

For more on the Open, Opportunity Society, please see a short policy platform here.

In closing, the quest for achieving this level of cooperation will not subvert or diminish the right to strike, neither should  it superceded any right of any individual. However, once we, as a South African society, can learn to resolve our differences without using the tactics of the past, we will truly be on the path to acheiving an even deeper level of greatness than we already have.

What Friends are for… July 13, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Friendship, Life.
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I would normally post my views on something political, or a book that I’ve recently read. But today, it’s different.

Today, I’m going to invest my attention capital with my friend Gershwin Sandberg. He’s just made the long journey from Denver, CO to Retreat, WC with his mother’s body, and now is making the final arrangements for his mother’s funeral on Friday.  Lorraine Sandberg was our second mother, and her passing has felt a deep void in all of us.

Tonight, we’re just going to hang out, like the good old days. Just a couple of guys, playing cards, making jokes, enjoying each other’s company. Strengthening each other to face a very bleak Friday…

Call it Bromance, quality time, whatever…..

It’s his….it’s ours.

Strikes and Synergy July 12, 2011

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National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

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South Africa is dealing with yet another strike season. This time around, it is the National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA) who have led the cause, and are into the second week of the industrial action. They are asking for increases of 10-13%, while employers are offering an average of 7%.

The right to strike is one of the many rights that were part of the overall struggle against apartheid, and no one would deny any worker’s right to strike, provided it is within the confines of the law. However, as outlined by ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete, when the strike trun violent, and in some cases, even deadly, then they lose not only the point of the action, but also the sentiment of the public in supporting their right to the action.

Now one could add that the violence associated with strike can be traced back to the armed struggle and the violent uprisings that marred the 80’s in this country.

The violence, however, highlights a greater divide within the South African workplace. It is alarmingly clear that there is virtually no synergy between employer bodies and trade unions in this country. Moreover, there is precious little desire on both sides to create synergy in this most vital of partnerships. And Synergy, is exactly what we need in the current market conditions. Without it, the South African workplace will not realise the potential that lies within.

So, just how do we create that Synergy? Your comments welcome…

Mind Power into the 21st Century : Honing your greatest asset July 11, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Books, Reviews.
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Before any leadership, or self-help book that was ever written. Before any pop psychology theorem was ever devised. Before you were encouraged that you need not live the same way for the rest of your life. Your mind, both the conscious and the sub-conscious, existed.

In his book, Mind Power into the 21st Century, John Kehoe expertly outlines how you can train your mind to become your greatest asset in attaining your goals.

This book is very easy to read, yet it will poignantly challenge you to re-look at what your present realities are and how they enhance or inhibit your chances at achieving what you set out to do. He covers both the conscious and the sub-conscious areas of the mind, and introduces techniques to harness the power of both.

In the 19 short and easily readable chapters, he meticulously explores various aspects of the mind, ranging from visualizations, seeding and affirmations in the conscious to dreams and intuition in the sub-conscious. He also outlines how big a role beliefs, concentration, self-image and creativity (et al) play in focusing one’s mind on achieving the success that you believe in possible.

 

The greatest point this book conveys, though, is that success is not something that is achieved overnight. Only with the constant, regular renewal of the mind, will you be able to harness the true potential of the greatest asset in the quest for greatness.

Mind Power into the 21st Century by John Kehoe will introduce you to a whole new way of using your mind, both conscious and subconscious, to its fullest extent.

If you want to learn how to harness the untold power of your mind…..

READ THIS BOOK!

Phone Hacking, RICA and why @nicdawes is on to something July 10, 2011

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This week, the dominating story on the world stage was the unceremonial closing of arguably the world’s largest newspaper. This follows a phone hacking scandal, where it’s alleged (and proven) that journalists of the News of the World newspaper hacked the phones of, among others, the victims of the 7 July 2005 bombings in London. This story has significant importance  on two fronts in South Africa.

The first is the act of phone hacking. For a large part of the past 2 years, South Africans were encouraged to have their mobile phones approved according to the RICA Act. The Act is meant to curb the use of cell phones in criminal activities, as well as allowing security agencies within government structures the freedom to tap into one’s phone, should there be reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is happening (this, of course, requires a warrant). The problem is that while the use of monitoring devices by government institutions is regulated by the Act, at present, the database is not completely secure, as was demonstarted last week, when pre-RICA’d sim cards were freely available on the black market. This shows that the application of the Act is far below what is required. Hence, one must wonder whether a similiar scandal is destined to happen in this country, even with the act in operation.

The second point was laid out by Nic Dawes, editor of the Mail And Guardian newspaper in South Africa. In one of his tweets of 8 July, he highlights how the Guardian newpaper’s pursuit of the News of the World‘s nefarious doings shows that press regulation has many forms. This, of course, comes hot on the heels of the launch of the Press Freedom Commission, which, among others, is comprised of Justics Pius Langa and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. The primary goal of the commission is to “Ensure press freedom in support of enhancing our democracy which is founded on human dignity, equality and freedom”. This is in direct contrast to the ANC‘s wish to establish a media tribunal, which is meant to curb press freedom and ultimately make the printed media subject to the will of the executive and the ruling party.

Now, it is clear that in both instances, regulation is required. However, the price of the rlation must not be the curbing of freedom, either of the individual, or the press. Let’s hope that we learn from the News of the World’s demise and ensure that we all remain responsible citizens, as well as vital, fearless, required arms of our hard fought democracy.

The Cape Crusaders ; Why they are needed July 7, 2011

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As we bring the Stormers’ 2011 Super 15 season to a positive, albeit premature close, we can reflect on a season where the team played very well throughout the inaugural season of Super 15 rugby. This year, although the tour was not as big a factor, it is clear that 16 games in the world’s toughest regional rugby competition (including 8 local derbies for every team) tests everyone’s resolve to the utmost.

Off the field though, one of the bigger factors influencing the season was a phenomenon widely regarded as the Cape Crusaders. These are a set of fans who are dominated by a particular racial grouping in Cape Town who, largely because of the baggage of the past, steadfastly refuse to support any top level rugby team with ties to South Africa. Usually, they arrive in droves to support usually a New Zealand based team in the Super Rugby competition, or they get behind the All Blacks (no pun intended, for those who do not understand rugby whatsoever). And because the Crusaders are the perennial favourites in Super Rugby, they normally support this team.

Now Jake White, 2007 Rugby World Cup winning coach of the Springboks gave his thoughts on his blog here, although in truth, he gives his view as a coach.

As a die hard fan of all things Capetonian, on the face of it, one must ask; are these fans needed in the Cape? If they love New Zealand rugby borne out of an inability to reconcile with the past, why don’t they leave and join the many who for other reasons have emigrated to the land of the long white cloud?

The answer came to me on Saturday morning, while rushing to do the grocery shopping. A total stranger struck up a conversation with me, groaning about the long lines everywhere in the store. One thing led to another, and before I knew it we were talking about the day’s big game (read major disappointment!), and how we could beat the Crusaders. But he also went on about the people who supported them who lived in the Cape, and how that was akin to high treason! How people should support a team because they liked them, not just because of past indiscretions.

That 10 minute conversation led me to one undeniable conclusion. Every hero doesn’t always need loyal followers; he needs a villain. The villain exists largely to galvanise support in the fight against the danger the villain purports. And largely, the Cape Crusaders portray what might just happen if we all still hold on to the past and the threats that the past portrays. The very fabric of the life that most of us so love in Cape Town will be forever altered, and unless we continue to fight the demons of the past, we might never be able to again recover from such an injustice.

So yes, although I too despise the Cape Crusaders, I will accommodate them, for they, too, are needed. If they choose to support the Bulls in the Currie Cup, however, they will richly deserve the comeuppance they will surely receive!