South Africa

South Africa

Weekend Thing: 20 February 2016

Weekend Thing: 20 February 2016

#SONAdebate take-homes, and Uganda's election day Twitter haitus

“What is needed is for white South Africans to shake themselves out of their complacency… Unless this whole intolerable system is changed radically and rapidly, disaster must follow… because as long as there is oppression of a majority, such oppression will be fought with increasing hatred.” 

 Bram Fischer, 1965. 

This week’s wrap up

#SONAdebate take-homes
Under the circumstances, President Zuma’s comeback to the State of the Nation debate could have been a lot worse. While the EFF and DA wentstraight for the jugular of the man in charge – with the EFF walking out on day one – Zuma stayed clear of the personal. He instead focused on remedial strategies for South Africa’s looming economic problems. Zuma is easy bait, but the country’s woes (and the ANC) are larger than one man; the DA and EFF ignore this at their longer-term peril. Next up: Pravin Gordhan takes center stage with the upcoming budget speech

Fiery protests 
There was too much momentum behind the original ‘Must Fall’ movement for it to just die out. Fires, even those lit with good intentions, can blow in unforeseen directions – as was the case in the Rhodes Must Fall protests this week. The most recent ‘shackville’ demonstrations are a response to a critical lack of housing at UCT. At the hands of students, university artworks succumbed to flames, along with a Jammie shuttle and a car. The symbolism of burning art – depicting white people – has raised a chorus of alarm that may well eat into a cause otherwise-deserving of support. 

Uganda’s social media (and democracy) hiatus
While in the USA, presidential candidates might be embracing social media, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni apparently has a penchant for the good old days. On Thursday, Twitter and Facebook were blocked to ‘avert lies’. Although he retains a measure of popularity, Museveni is facing the toughest competition of his thirty-year presidency. Aside from directing social media blockades, the veteran leader placates himself by periodically throwing opposition candidate Kizza Besigye in jail, most recently on election day. 

Unbearable silence from Lily Mine
Pretty Mabuza, Solomon Nyarenda and Yvonne Mnisi remain trapped underground. In a worsening nightmare, a rescue machine able to drill an escape route has been secured but, due to safety procedures, might only be used in two weeks’ time.

Editor’s Picks

Trainspotter: Enter the Void – a day in the life of Lily Mine

Zuma’s Nkandla fairytale and the taming of the ANC mob

Op-Ed: The Nicholson Judgement was the tool, not the motivation, for Thabo Mbeki’s recall

Mexico: Pope Francis confronts Hierarchy, and Donald Trump

Video of the Week

The Blind Photographer (2011) Winner of Best South African Short Film

Fact of the Week

The all-time best-selling piano album is an improvisation born of a musician’s decision to take pity on a teenager. When Kieth Jarret arrived at the Opera House in Cologne one night in 1925, he discovered that the piano he was due to perform on the following day was in dismal condition. Distraught, Vera Brandes, the 17-year-old concert organizer, persuaded Jarret to perform. During the Köln Concert, Jarret improvised wildly to bypass the shortcomings of the instrument. The result was so magical that the recording became the best-selling solo album in jazz history, and the best-selling piano album of all time. 

Culture Dose

Singing in the Rain is taking place at Monte Casino. A classic’s a classic, but there is the small matter of countrywide water shortages to consider. (The performance reportedly uses some 12,000 litres of water.) We’ll leave the moral judgment up to you, though. Tickets are R300-R500.
A Sound of Silence is an artistic response to SA journalist Kevin Carter’s famous photo of a vulture watching a starving child in Sudan. The opening evening is Tuesday, 6.30 at the Wits Art Museum. 

Cape Town 
The Mother City gets her pride on this weekend with the annual Pride Festival. The weeklong LGBTQI event kicks off with the Pool Party and Ms CT pride on Saturday, and Sports Day on Sunday.
The Cape Town Animation Festival invites Capetonians to explore undiscovered worlds of imagination. Film screenings take place at the Labia (naturally), and at an outdoor cinema at the River Club. Amongst the notable guests is 3D animator at Dreamworks, Eric Lassard.

Edge brings you the tastiest morsels of South African dance. Siwela Sonke choreographers bring you the most daring and original performances in 15-minute dance bites at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Tickets just R20-R50. 

Sporting Weekend


Saturday: ATP World Tour 500, Rio Open, first semi-final, 10.55pm. Sunday: final: 11.25pm.


Sunday: Second T20, SA women v England women, 9.30am. 



PSL: Saturday: Chippa Utd v Free State Stars, 3.30pm; Mamelodi Sundowns v Golden Arrows, 5.30pm; Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport Utd, 8pm.

Sunday:  MP Blacl Aces v Orlando Pirates, 3pm; Bloem Celtic v Maritzburg Utd, 3.30pm.


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