Tag Archives: South Africa

Wizard Of Zimbabwe-The Mugabeman

Once upon a time in the far off land of Zimbabwe there lived a wizard who lived in an ivory tower from which he sent his agents of truth to inform people when they were hungry their stomachs were filled and when they expressed their ideas freely it was a violation of the constitution which only allows free speech to those who speak freely of the greatness of the wizard in the ivory tower of justice. The loyal citizens of the far off land decided they needed a new wizard and voted for the Movement for Democratic Change whose head reduced hyper-inflation and began the process of bringing food to the people. The wizard of Mugabeland decided he had to combat those who spoke the truth that was not his version of the truth. So, he sent his police gremlins to seek out those who opposed him. One was captured for the heinous crime of stealing a cell phone from the man with whom he was having lunch, another committed the capital crime of listening to a song that spoke ill of the wizard.

On the outskirts of the fairy kingdom lay the nation of South Africa whose leader, the Zuma man shook his head in dismay at the wizard but decided as long as the wizard used his talents in Mugabeland it was none of his business.

The moral of this story is if you visit Mugabeland, make certain to deposit your radio or cell phone with the hotel clerk and get a signed receipt.

The Tragedy Of AIDS In Africa

The other day, President Obama said the future of Africa was in the hands of Africans, but what happens when Africans ignore the realities of 21st century life? Rates of HIV infections among gays in many African countries are 10 times those of the general male population. Most experts on the issue blame fear of being stigmatized as gay as well as poverty and lack of ready access to doctors for this figure. A wall of silence, repression, and discrimination face anyone who admits to being a gay or lesbian which compels many to accept illness to the shame of being exposed for their sexual beliefs. A recent story in Lancet notes, “unprotected anal sex is commonplace, knowledge and access to appropriate risk prevention measures are inadequate.”

Hopefully, the Bush era of refusing to support providing condoms and other health measures will assist many males to obtain access to what they must use while engaged in sex. However, personal feelings of shame will not go away until their individual societies begin to make changes.

What Did South African Generals Say About Zimbabwe?

The flow of refugees from Zimbabwe into South Africa continues creating enormous problems for a country which already has a large base of unemployed workers. One could think it advisable for the government of South Africa to assist efforts at restoring peace and sanity to the nation of Zimbabwe, but President Zuma thinks differently. NGOs are requesting that he release a report written by South African generals who were sent to Zimbabwe by former President Mbeki to investigate the situation. It is believed they were highly critical of the performance of President Mugabe, an old buddy of Mbeki. President Zuma insists the generals never sent a report to Mbeki.

There is something rather amiss in the state of South Africa if one is to believe six generals were sent to another nation to investigate violence and they never submitted a written evaluation as to what was seen. As one NGO noted: “to suggest that this amount of money could be spent and the admitted investigation conducted merely for a once-off oral briefing to be made to the president–beggars belief!”

What was reported and what were their recommendations? The people of South Africa are entitled to know–so are the oppressed people of Zimbabwe.

South Africa Leads In Rape Of Women

Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa was on trial for rape and during the trial his supporters marched outside chanting, “burn the bitch, burn the bitch,” referring to the woman who made the accusation. During the trial when Zuma was asked if he worried about HIV replied it was no problem because he took a shower after sex. It is no wonder in such a society one out of four men of South Africa confess to having raped a woman. Most began raping while in their teens and one in twenty admitted to having raped during the past year. According to Professor Rachel Jewkes of the Medical Research Council, “We have a very, very high prevalence of rape in South Africa. I think it is down to ideas about masculinity based on gender hierarchy and sexual entitlement of men.”

The women who are raped are being violated by men who have a high rate of HIV positive and who don’t think anything about raping women to satisfy their sexual desires. Perhaps, step one in South Africa is electing a president who does not shower after sexual encounters with women, but focuses on HIV prevention.

Racism-Sexism At South African Universities

It is now almost two decades since the white apartheid regime was forced to agree to end the hated system of life and engage on an equal basis with black inhabitants of the nation. However, in 2009, a report examining higher education institutions discovered wide spread racism and sexism at universities in South Africa. The report noted that policies had been changed but when it came to implementation of those new regulations there was a significant lack of progress. There was also concern as to whether higher education curriculum had been changed in order to prepare students for a society whose values had changed as South Africans moved towards creation of a multi-racial ethnic society.

Higher education institutions have scant difficulty changing policies to reflect a desire for a more diverse student body. But, universities are still controlled by faculty bodies which have vested interests in protecting their values, their friendships, and their interpretation as to what constitutes academic rigor. There is need for higher education to rethink what is being taught in light of the diversity of South Africa.

South African Helen Zille Stands Up To ANC

Since the African National Congress(ANC) came to power in the 1990s, it has not enjoyed the presence of any opposition groups, particularly those led by a white woman. Helen Zille who did an outstanding job as mayor of Cape Town and just won the premier position in the province has upset President Zuma and the ANC for charging failure to act against the AIDS/HIV crisis. She gained a 51% majority in the Cape province and took it away from control by the ANC. She has made several provocative comments about the attitude of President Zuma whose famous remark on how to prevent AIDS infection was to take a shower after sexual intercourse. Zille was a thorn in the side of Apartheid leaders and strongly supported the ANC and Nelson Mandela. However, the ANC youth group has accused her of being a racist and a loose woman.

There is no question Helen Zille has a loose cannon for a mouth and will blast away at corruption and stupidity at the drop of a hat. She has blasted drug dealers and wants action to end AIDS/HIV which infects nearly a thousand South Africans each day. A new democracy such as South Africa needs opposing voices, that is the hallmark of democracy.

South African Inaction= Zimbabwean Action!

It is estimated there currently are at least three million refugees from Zimbabwe in the nation of South Africa. The prior leader of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, allowed his personal feeling of friendship for President Robert Mugabe to ignore the chaos in Zimbabwe which resulted from corruption, brutality, and anti-white farmer policies to cause a collapse of the economy. The result was a mass exist of millions from their land in search of food and shelter for themselves and their children. The Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) estimates at least two thousand Zimbabwean refugees continue crossing over into South Africa each month. Refugees automatically receive a permit which allows them to remain in South Africa for six months and their children can obtain schooling. They have the right to work and obtain health care. None of these is available in Zimbabwe where the unemployment rate is 94%.

President Zuma must make clear to President Mugabe that freedom must be restored to Zimbabwe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai allowed to organize a cohesive government free from the oppressive forces of the police and army. There must be an end to seizure of farms for a few years in order to restore some semblance of economic stability. If not, South Africa will be shouldering an enormous burden.

Is South Africa Led By Sexist Men?

Helen Zille, leader of the South African Democratic Alliance, charged that sexism and misogyny were part of the society because of examples set by the nation’s leader, including President Jacob Zuma. She cited a recent study which revealed that 27% of youth believe “they could prevent HIV infection if they bathed after sex.” She referred to Zuma’s claim a few years ago that he could not have obtained HIV after sex with a woman who supposedly was infected, because he took a shower after the sex. Zille refused to back down from charging Zuma with behavior that has poisoned the minds of children and created a sense of sexism. The statistic, noted Zille, “explains why a leader’s personal conduct should be subject to scrutiny if it has public consequences.”

Zille has been sharply criticized for only appointing white males to key government positions in the West Cape where she is premier. She dismissed the charges on grounds selecting the best candidates was the most important criteria. Ms. Zille is not a sexist, but her decision to only appoint white males is not the most strategic for someone who is shouting about sexism in society.

Sex, Women’s Rights And Political Nastiness In South Africa

The politics of nastiness is strong in South Africa these days as open clashes occur between Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance and Jacob Zuma, the newly elected president of the nation and his African National Congress. Zille continues to blast Zuma for his record of being blatantly sexist while now herself being charged with ignoring women’s rights in selecting members of her Cabinet. Allan Boesak of the newly founded Congress of the People, (Cope) urges both Zille and Zuma to tone down their political debate. “What South Africa and here people do not need now is political discourse conducted at the level of personal attacks rather than responsible arguments.”

Boesak reminds Zille and other opponents of Zuma that the vast majority of the nation voted for the African National Congress and it was time to end personal attacks and get back to the issues facing society. In many respects, this clash is similar to Republican attacks on President Clinton and his sexual escapades which eventually got out of hand and became caught in impeachment proceedings that tore apart the country.

Jacob Zuma is undoubtedly a man whose past experiences reveal lack of respect for women and their dignity as individuals. Helen Zille is a fighter for democracy, but selecting an all white, all male Cabinet is insulting to both women and black skinned people.

Jacob Zuma Zooming Ahead!

South Africa’s Parliament elected Jacob Zuma as the new president of the nation. Zuma was born in poverty, self educated himself, and slowly but surely became a confident leader who could inspire the people of his land. However, his new position raises issues of concern as well as expectation. He has a reputation of being close to militants on the left side of the political spectrum which is on concern to the business community of South Africa. They are awaiting his appointments to key positions of economic leadership in the government in order to receive evidence those individuals will be able to obtain the support of businessmen. Zuma promised, “I hope to lead the country on a path of friendship, cooperation, harmony, unity and faster change.”

The faster change must include evidence that concerns of poor people are addressed in a society which has a huge economic gap between those on the bottom and those on top. The African National Congress just feel short of two-thirds in Parliament which means it can not push through constitutional change without cooperation from other political parties. Zuma has to improve the lives of poor people without upsetting the lives of the middle and upper classes. Can he pull it off?