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Renaming streets : Why @RyanOConnorSA was partly right July 4, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Politics.
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This morning on KFM’s Breakfast show, Ryan O’Connor and his team began discussing street names, and the changing thereof. They outlined that this process requires a vast amount of money and time, and the implications of it extend across all sorts of boundaries, not just for industries, but for society in general. There was also lots of feedback, among others a tweet from @purringkittykat questioning whether people should rather be honored by buildings being named after them. The main point they were making was that this money and resources could clearly be used on more pressing social issues, like building houses, increasing service delivery and strengthening the public service.

Well, I believe they’re partly right. And by partly I mean about 60% right. In this country, there seems to be an unhealthy fascination with changing street names, and buying flashy cars using state (including municipal) funding, while the rest of the nation is hamstrung by a rapidly declining level of service delivery. And yes, this service delivery decline does not only pertain to the local government sphere. Our public schools are woefully understaffed, and many school buildings are a serious state of disrepair (some children are still being taught in mud huts and und trees!). Many of our hospitals are in urgent need of regular maintenance, and while our medical staff are doing the best they can with what they’ve got, they too are beset by problems associated with understaffing and skilled labour leaving the country. The backlog in the maintenance of our roads has now hit R149 BILLION! This has necessitated the transport ministry to introduce more toll roads on the nation’s more widely used roads, placing more financial burden on the citizens.

But there is another issue that affects human dignity which we would be loathe to understand and confront. The regime pre-1994 sought to entrench apartheid through various means, including covert and overt mechanisms. One of these strategies was the naming of streets and public areas after architects of the system; including Jan Smuts Drive, Hendrik Verwoed Avenue and D.F. Malan Airport among others (this also included the erection of statues of these people in prominent places around the nation). Furthermore, they also named streets after clearly derogatory terms in townships and locations where the only emotion they would stir is rabid hatred eg. Native Yard 1, Boesman Straat etc.

It is this injustice that, too, must be confronted, along with the injustice of not having adequate housing based on the colour of your skin, or not having access to education because you don’t have enough money, because you were previously unfairly disadvantaged. And I would venture to believe that Ryan and his team would agree with me that we are not going to eradicate all the injustices of the past overnight, but we have the power to start dealing with them on more than just one front.

Yes, spending R800 million on re-naming roads while your education system is crumbling is an insult to say the least, and those in charge should be held accountable, but let’s be congnisant of the fact that restoring human dignity also includes restoring one’s environment to reflect our pride.

The Reckoning July 2, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Rugby, Sport.
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So now we know that the Stormers, should they win tonight, will book a flight to Brisbane to play the Reds in Super Rugby’s showpiece game next week.

This is turning out to be another successful season for the team from the Cape, and although there were times when we were our own worst enemy, we have shown signs of excellence throughout this inaugural season of the Super 15.

However, as outlined here in the Weekend Argus today, The Stormers have played most of the season with room for improvement. And what better a moment to produce the perfect game of rugby than against the tournament’s perennial favourites, the Canterbury Crusaders.

The Crusaders’ season has been nothing short of legendary. After the devastating earthquake, followed by an enforced draw against the Hurricanes, they have had to play every game outside of their home base. They have clocked up 100,000 kms in travelling, including a trip to London to play the Sharks to raise funds for the relief effort. They have been without their talismanic captain and rule bender of note, Richie McCaw for a significant part of the season.

But, like all mortals, they are beatable, and if the Stormers are serious about taking over the mantle of South Africa’s champion rugby team, then now is the time to end the fairytale season of the Crusaders. It is very well possible, and they will have the majority of 48,000 FAITHFUL at Newlands to cheer them all the way.

So, on this most auspicious occasion, with our chests swollen with infectious pride, we have but 2 words of inspiration for the 22 that will carry the hopes and dreams of the FAITHFUL on to the field of battle against a familiar yet unfeared foe…

MOER HULLE!!

Branding and Marketing You : Enhancing your greatest advert July 1, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Books, Reviews.
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I am a South African, and very proudly so. There are many places, events, inventions and the like which were born in our land that warm the cockles of my heart.

I didn’t know that the 9 people outlined in this book would make make me an even prouder citizen.

Donna Rachelson has sat with 9 distinctly different, but very successful South Africans, and outlined what has made their respective brands so popular not only in their chosen fields, but in the greater South African psyche. It is without doubt that each of these individuals are not only building their brands, but are already leaving a legacy. They are from vastly different professions ranging of education, research and social media to entertainment, politics, broadcasting and entrepreneurship. However, the values and work ethic are very similar, where integrity, commitment, giving back, and hard work among others are the bedrock of the brands that they have built. The overriding aspect of all these outstanding individuals is that they are immensely passionate about what they do and pursue their goals with a zeal that only a healthy regard for their passion can fuel.

They have used their respective values, coupled with their life experiences to mould examples to all of us of how to determine what our own brands are, how to develop them, and how to cultivate a strong value system that would underpin them.

Donna very expertly draws the wealth of information gathered into a very easily readable book that is not only very enjoyable, but extremely informative and energizing. Once you’re done reading this book, you cannot help but start mapping out your own passions, examining your own values, and start building your own brand!

For more in Donna’s own brand, please visit her website here

If you want to learn from 10 very successful South Africans how to build your brand, and leave a lasting legacy…

READ THIS BOOK!

The Brethren : The CIA at its mightiest June 28, 2011

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Cover of "The Brethren"

Cover of The Brethren

I’ve been reading a heck of a lot of non-fiction in the past 3 years. So it was high time I started reading something that was different, yet just as stimulating. And what better an author to read than John Grisham.

The Brethren‘s plot is based on 3 judges, who through various twists of fate, all land up at Trumble Federal Prison in Florida. While serving their time, they set up court inside the prison and hear all sorts of cases, and dispense justice among the inmates as if they were authorised to do so.

They also run a sideline business of a mail scam using a pseudonym of a gay inmate at a drug rehab facility. This scam seems to be working well, and the money starts rolling in think and fast, with the help of a dead-beat lawyer on the outside who facilitates the mail and collects the wires of money.

Until they net the wrong man.

Inadvertently, they catch the front runner in the race for the President of the United States of America. And Aaron Lake, previously a low-profile congressman, is backed by the CIA and very rich and very powerful organisations, who put him on a ticket of doubling defense spending in an increasingly volatile world. He rises from obscurity late in the primaries, to being virtually assured of the White House in less than 7 months. But his little secret of replying to Ricky threatens to scupper the entire campaign to put him in the Oval Office. Something that Teddy Maynard, director of the CIA and chief architect of world events, cannot afford to happen.

Soon enough, the CIA leave no stone unturned in tracking down the triumvirate, and what ensues is a masterful plot of connivery, suspense, reconnaissance and deception that is truly believable and  makes this book a page-turner of note.

I’m not entirely sure if John Grisham meant this (although I won’t be surprised if he did), but he very clinically demonstrates the might of the CIA in manipulating events anywhere at anytime on the planet to satisfy its own ends. The scene of the terrorist bombing in Egypt is so well written, it would not seem out of place on the front page of a leading news site in today’s age. His portrayal of their might is magnificent as much as it is scary.

If you want to read a well-written suspense thriller that will keep you hooked all the way….

READ THIS BOOK

Democracy as a way of life June 27, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Cape Town, DA, Politics.
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This past Saturday, our family spent some time with my wife Natasha’s colleague and friend, Bongani Mnisi, his wife Lulama and their little daughter, Tisani.

Around the braai fire, Bongani and I had quite an interesting discussion around the City of Cape Town and the relationship between democracy and conservation in the city. The conversation was interesting in that he is a manager within the field, and I, of course, was talking from a DA viewpoint. He was making the point that politicians from both the ANC and DA have made democracy an ideal, instead of a way of life. He was saying that when he speaks conservation, he has to use  different terminology to people from Constantia, as opposed to people from Cafda, but not because they might have different education levels, or interest levels. It stems from the mere point that conservation means different things to people from different areas, yet we all share the bountiful splendor of the natural beauty that is Cape Town. For some of us, conservation is a means towards a better understanding of our city, but for others, conservation might be a barrier in daily survival.

And wrapped up in all of this, the discussion eventually came to the point where we debated whether democracy had just become an ideal, that is building better roads, infrastructure and housing,  or whether we should strive for it to become a way of life. Should we not be striving for our people to be exercising democracy in everything they do, including something as important (especially in the Cape Town context) as conservation? Yes, we should be building houses, bulding roads, improving social infrastructure, and creating economies of scale, but are we doing it to improve the lives of our citizens, or are we doing it to create the illusion of democracy?

Plonker of the Week : Gavin Rich June 26, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Rugby, Sport.
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Stormers

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Come this Saturday, history will be made at Newlands. For the first time in Super Rugby history, the Stormers will play the Crusaders at Newlands twice in one season.

This, of course, will add a considerable amount of fan to the flame surrounding the conduct of supporters of both teams in Cape Town. If you would recall, the Stormers lost a nail biter by 6 in week 12, and the ensuing banter between the two sets of fans degenerated into unneccesary racist overtones across various platforms.

Now that there will be a lot more on the line, you can expect Saturday’s game to be a whole lot more tighter than the previous 2 encounters at Newlands (in 2010, the Stormers routed them by 24), with a lot more nervous fans on either side. Let’s hope all calm prevails.

 

Which is more than what I can sya for Gavin Rich. He had 3 pieces published in yesterday’s Weekend Argus. On the Sport backpage, he ranted on about how the Stormers had overcome a nightmare draw, and how hamstrung they were. Oi! Wake up, Gav. The season was split into 2 even halves, and had it not been for the brain freeze that happened against the Chiefs, and the lack of discipline against the Reds, we would have been top of the log, and been seriously considering a home final for the first time ever! Ranting on about the draw is like like berating a team for going for a try when they should’ve taken a shot at goal, but they get the 7-pointer anyway.

In his second column, and it was his normal column, he questions the Stormers’ ability to win clutch games at Newlands, pointing out that we’ve lost more games at home this year than away. While that might be true, he forgets to note that of the games we’ve lost, they were against top teams (Bulls, Reds, and Crusaders), and for the large part we were our own worst enemy. The major advantage of a bye going into the playoffs is that you have a rest week, as well as a week’s extra planning going into the game. The Stormers have never has this luxury before, and surely Gavin should’ve taken this into account.

 

Just how he gets so much space in the Cape’s premier Saturday paper is beyond me!

Post Comments Using Twitter and Facebook (via WordPress.com News) June 22, 2011

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Here’s an easy way to comment on my blog!

Post Comments Using Twitter and Facebook Starting today, visitors to your blog can use their Facebook or Twitter account to leave comments. This saves everyone a few steps and gives visitors control over which identity they use.  It's a win for everyone. As an important touch, we let you stay logged in to multiple services. This means you can stay logged in to Facebook for convenience, but still leave a comment through Twitter or your WordPress.com account. Just click whichever identity … Read More

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Julius Malema finally debunked in the media June 22, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Politics.
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It was so good to hear Xolani Gwala take Julius Malema to task this morning over the content of his closing speech at the ANC Youth League National Congress this past Sunday in Sandton. Interviewing him on ‘The Forum at 8’ on SAFM this morning, Xolani pushed him in to a rather small proverbial corner, and eventually forced him to backtrack on most of his statements in that speech.

Although there is credence to what Julius says in terms of land restitution being too slow, he clearly has not thought of the consequences of retribution without compensation. Neither is his views on nationalization coherent enough to be taken seriously.

The letter that I sent to theCapeTimeswith respect to today’s happenings can be found below.

QUOTE

Well done to Xolani Gwala on an excellent piece of radio journalism this morning (22.06.2011) on ‘The Forum at 8’ with your interview with Julius Malema. You have shown him up as someone who is unable to back up his wild rhetoric with coherent logic. It is very clear that for most of the discussion, he backtracked on virtually all the comments he made during his closing speech at the ANCYL congress on Sunday afternoon.

His own comrades within the ANC Youth League were calling in to the program to voice their displeasure at the way he represented his organisation and the resolutions passed both at the National congress last week, as well as on the radio this morning.

Hopefully, he will now be further exposed on such platforms, and the nation will see that while he is a populist and part of what he says is true, the way in which he handles himself offers no value to the debate of nation building inSouth Africa.

UNQUOTE

Will we argue against Prof. Tim Noakes AGAIN??? June 21, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Rugby, Sport.
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South Africa national rugby union team (sevens)

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I’m currently reading ‘Branding & Marketing You’ by Donna Rachelson. She takes 9 prominent South Africans from various fields and outlines how they have built their successfull personal brands through various means. (For more on the book, please see the website here)

1 person she profiles is Professor (Dr.) Tim Noakes. He is probably the world’s foremost sports scientist, and a well respected figure in the world of sports medicine. In 2006, very correctly, he enthusiastically cautioned the Springboks against over-playing the experienced players in the year leading up to the Rugby World Cup. Thankfully, his common sense prevailed, and we famously triumphed in Paris.

However, it wasn’t only the fact that we were well-rested going into the tournament that won us the Webb Ellis trophy. Our biggest threats, Australia and New Zealand, were dumped out of the competition at the first knock-out hurdle, while we faced England in the final, who we trounced 32-0 in the pool stages. Furthermore, back then, the Super Rugby competition had 14 teams (which means less matches and less money), and our pool of young talent was not nearly as deep as it is today.

Today, the Super Rugby competition has now 15 teams, with 20 derbies amongst the South African teams, as opposed to 10 in 2007. And everyone knows that the intensity of these matches are monumentally high (just ask the Bulls and Sharks players who played at Loftus last Saturday). This would’ve meant the risk of more injuries.

However, it looks like the core of experienced players were well managed in the pre-season this year, and most of them, save for some the Stormers’ players (read Schalk Burger and Andries Bekker) should be in peak physical condition, come September this year (I say this because, hopefully, they would play at least 2 more games then any other South African franchise, and hence need a proper rest in July and August). The exciting aspect thrown into this year’s mix is that, finally, South Africa has a well of young talent chomping at the bit, ready to make their presence felt at senior international level. I hope that Pieter de Villiers uses the Tri-Nations to blood these youngsters and select the cream that rises from that tournament to tour New Zealand. Our core of experience (John Smit, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Fourie Du Preez, Danie Rossouw), although long in the tooth in rugby terms, look primed to give it one last hurrah, which only bodes well in giving the youngsters the support they need to excel and this level.

Again, although we have seen to manage our players well, rugby is still a collision sport, and anything can happen. But with 80 days to RWC 2011, South African rugby is looking increasingly healthy, and a successful defense of the biggest prize in rugby football, in our greatest opponent’s backyard, might not be a pipe dream.

We have seen to heed the good professor’s call while not diluting our excellent level of professionalism and quality. Might our administration finally have its house in order?

Malema’s Plan : Be afraid June 20, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Politics.
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Julius Malema was re-elected as the President of the ANC Youth League at it’s National Conference held in Sandton over the past couple of days. The delegates were today going to adopt policy resolutions that would put them in direct defiance of the ANC leadership and current government policy. (The Sunday Times‘ article on the same can be found here.)

Now, to those of us who have a hint of common sense and are interested in what happens around us would have no trouble understanding the sheer madness of the resolutions that were passed. To put unskilled labour in charge of farms would place us in the exact samesituation as Zimbabwe, contrary to what Julius would have us believe. Ditto with regard to the nationalisation of mines. Furthermore, it had been proven time and again that more often than not, nationalisation means wage lowering. Let’s see how the ‘ Vanguard of the Working Class’ sells this to their constituents. And while I agree that our foreign policy has been pitiful to say the least, clearly the ANCYL has not learnt from they recent Arab Spring uprisings. People are sick of despots, and supporting African Leaders, most of whom have been in power for more than 2 generations, will prove more disastrous than pulling the contract to build more large military aircraft.

The strengthening of Julius’ hand in the ANC, by being elected unopposed, does not bode well for the ANC, as well as the nation.

It is high time the body politic, including the media, stop romanticising him, and be more vocal in opposition to him.

It’s time for him to know exactly what most of us think of him. Otherwise, bad things might happen, because good people kept quiet.