As is exactly always the case in our up to date world, the news has been brimming this week with never-ending-story come sobbing athletes, tritely entertaining racial word-wars, and what-the-hell why not local elections. Speaking of Democracy, let’s see what some of our favourite information peddlers have been using to scoff up our bandwidth this week.
Oscar (Please-let-this-case-end) Pi-story-ius
Pretoria was rocked in February 2013 by the news that another South African semi-celeb had lost the battle with his own personal demons, and for some reason, a clear cut murder case turned into a gripping three year court-room drama, covered from so many angles that we now know what Oscar’s testicles look like. Perhaps it’s because local television is rubbish, or we are so desperate to make something out of our celebs that we will leave their legacy to linger like a fart, but it’s gone so far that the story isn’t even about him shooting a person anymore, its more about Steenkamp’s father living with the aftermath of the event or Oscar’s uncle looking like a complete creep; how Oscar was not a complete bastard because he’s nice to children and pets (although Eyewitness News ran the headline “is ‘loving’ towards children”, as if we are to infer some sort of double meaning behind that statement).
You could even watch the court case live, a gripping real-life drama where you can watch a fairly embattled Oscar weep incoherently for hours on end while the vain in his head expands until eventually, everyone else must evacuate the court-room to make room for its elevated status, at which point his uncle can evacuate him to the safety of his mansion; aliens attack, Reeva comes back from the dead to have her revenge, but is exposed as an imposter, played by Steve Buscemi. You see where I’m going with this.
In fact the only time I’ve ever been moderately interested in this man’s epic story was when I read the SABC News headline: ‘Nursing Sister felt threatened by Oscar Pistorius’. I should remind you that this is a nursing sister at a correctional facility we are talking about. I’m surprised the state was brave enough to have Oscar arrested in the first place.
The Pistorius Saga is indeed epic, the Wikipedia page is even valiantly entitled “The Trials of Oscar Pistorius”, as though his story rivals those of the ancient Greeks; but keep at it guys, some day it just might. But for now, let’s talk about local elections.
Local elections, it has been announced, will go on as scheduled despite the fact that around 42% of registered voters may be disqualified for not having filled out their residential addresses… in local elections… somehow. This is akin to a third of a women’s netball team not showing up for the game, or trying to bake a cake without any of the ingredients. Anyway, New24.com had this to say about the situation: “The Constitutional Court has given the IEC 18 months to fix the unlawful defects on the voters’ roll.” That’s it. This news, even more so than the Oscar Iliad should be crucial news. If the votes of 42% of everyone who bothered to register are disqualified, it could have profound implications for the system of government that we have taken to calling democracy. News24 who was one of the major culprits of glamourizing the Oscar story had literally a sentence to say on the matter… a sentence. At least the Mail and Guardian took the time to tell their readers something about what is going one, and so too (oddly enough) did the Citizen, although their article featured an image of a citizen casting her vote, while a helpful member of election staff stood looking over her shoulder, a smile on his face and a shiv in his left hand.
Racism: South Africa’s second favourite pass-time next to paranoia
What review of current affairs would be complete without a good injection of racism? Yes racism is something that we still struggle with in this country, and from all sides it often resembles something of an Easter-egg hunt.
Deviating from the rabble fixated on the Oscar band-wagon, the Citizen recently featured an article entitled “Gun battle ‘over EFF posters’, where an enraged Afrikaans stereotype stormed senselessly into the streets waving what appeared to be something possibly resembling maybe a firearm at some embattled but valiant EFF stereotypes; as reported by the Citizen. The scene was so perfect, it’s as if… it was… invented. First you see the enraged Afrikaans store owner, or as the article puts it, “this white man”, or if you prefer “this racist” angrily gesturing at something, then waving a blurry thing around, and then there are scores of comments from Twitter as if they are the opinions and guidance of some sort of ‘high council.’ Really, the story then evolves into what it was meant to be, a report on violence between ANC and EFF supporters; not really the angry ‘white’ man with the gun. It’s interesting to note that previous revisions of this article also included the word ‘boer’, but alas, someone with a little sense has changed it already.
Now if you are reading this from your cushy middle-class white perspective and feel that the Citizen report is bias and unfair, then fear not. None of us, it seems, can escape the allure of a little unscathed racism from time to time.
Penny Sparrow who was accused and fined R150 000 for a racist post on Facebook (and also has a name better suited to a James Bond character or porn-star), has come out, with the help of News24 and cleared the air of what we now know with absolute certainty, was simply a silly misunderstanding. Completely, and utterly innocent, how could such a sweet old, indoctrinated-by-the-past lady, possibly ever be even slightly racist in any way at all, ever.
She claims that her use of the word ‘monkey’ in her post was “endearing”, and not meant to offend anyone. She blames it on a white thing. I’m not sure if I often use the term as an endearment myself, I wonder if that means I’m not white. Would that mean I’m allowed to say the M word? Perhaps I should contact News24 and ask them. She is in fact so confident that she was not meant to offend anyone that she has been, since shortly after her post was so well recieved by the public, “in hiding since January, to her safe-house in Johannesburg”. Who has a safe-house in Johannesburg? Racist people, that’s who!