Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Political Cartoonist par Excellence

In our Sunday Newspaper

This was the cartoon in our Sunday newspaper last week-end.  How marvellous to have such a consistently fertile imagination and the talent to put it into pictures week after week.  The funeral of our great hero has spawned a number of interesting repercussions! I took a photo of the pic in the newspaper - 'mentioning no names'.  Ironically, all of our hero's dreams have thrown into sharp contrast the short-comings of our current President and Government. It will be interesting to see what the future holds. History has discovered that when a Liberation Movement is voted in to replace the previous regime (in Africa), it takes about 30 years to get them out again. So our current lot have theoretically another ten. Still one is tempted to feel that this week's events might shorten that forecast a bit.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Rain - Boo - Nation

 African tradition, rain is a lucky sign at funerals - luckily

Such was the apt headline in one of our dailies yesterday, after Nelson's massive Memorial service the day before.  Very long indeed - some 6 hours if you count from when the dignatories started arriving, even longer for those disciples who braved the torrential rain which continued all day and left their homes as early as 4.00 am. to get to the venue. Oh how boring were the speeches, except for Mr Obama's - his was as brilliant as always (remember we are not used to charismatic speakers over here). A fascinating day in many respects. Some of the foreign guests were clearly taken aback at the jubilant mood and in many cases, colorful dress of the crowd. But South Africans were in a mood to celebrate rather than mourn. Then some of the visitors relaxed, perhaps too much - witness the 'selfie' posed for by Mr Obama, Mr Cameron and the (very pretty) Danish President. British newspapers newspapers made much of this and there was much good-natured teasing about it in the House of Commons. No-one here that it worth mentioning. Oddly, the foreign Press did not seem much concerned about the loud boos from the crowd every time the State President appeared on the Big Screens. Not appropriate for the occasion, some said. Others applauded the chance that frustrated South Africans took to make sure the world knew they were disenchanted with our shady, self-seeking President with an aura of corruption around him so heavy I am surprised he can still walk. Today, the big talking point concerns the so-called Sign Language Interpreter, who the deaf community are calling a complete fake.  Did you see the video clips?  Have a look. HIs face is dead-pan, he does not move his lips, looks straight ahead and, according to the experts, simply waves his hands about with no vestige of resemblance to any known sign language, either local or international.  The big question is, "Who hired him?"  Probably, like everything else here that is 'under investigation', nothing will happen, no-one will admit guilt, no-one will step down from any high position and no-one will be punished.  We must be a laughing stock overseas.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Focus on South Africa

Google image - a man famous too for his shirts

Although I like to think of my blog as totally apolitical, it is hard to ignore the topic of Nelson Mandela this week,  if only because of the extraordinary response to his passing of all kinds of people world-wide.  It may be that his ideals have not carried through the way he would have liked, but we have made progress over the years since his release on a personal level at least, though our current politicans, like those the world over, leave a lot to be desired (to put it mildly). Since last Friday our radio and TV stations have been saturated with Madela memorabilia and although I thought listening to these anecdotes would quickly pall, I have actually enjoyed listening to the outpouring of personal stories from the ordinary, average Joe Soap, who has had the good fortune to encounter the man in person at some stage in the last 19 years. He had the most amazing charisma and empathy, even for the crusty, old dyed-in-the-wool Afrikaner.  On the day of his release in 1994, while waiting for events to start, his driver relates that he saw Madiba go up to an old soldier who was standing stiffly nearby, a scowl on his face.  Nelson (who was very tall), went up to the man, put his arm around his shoulders and said, "Don't worry, sir, you are one of us now".  Completely disarmed, the man broke down and cried. Such was the quality of the man.  Stories like this are legion.  There is another concerning a group of Afrikaans dowagers who belonged to some organisation (I forget what), that was invited to visit Nelson in his home for afternoon tea.  Feeling their bristling disapproval, Nelson welcomed them into his home saying, "Welcome to my home, ladies. I am so honoured that you have come to visit me".  They were similarly charmed.  Once, on visiting the queen of England,  he was heard to exclaim, "Elizabeth! You look as if you have lost some weight!"  This is the man for whom (at today's count) 70 presidents from all over the world are winging their way, as we speak, to Oliver Tambo airport in Johannesburg, to attend his Memorial Service tomorrow.  Such was the affection and respect he commanded.