Christmas – The worst time of the year


When I look to the left and I look to the right, I see a world that is filled with hypocrisy. I say this because we always tend to judge each other based on the assumption that our sins are smaller than the next person’s.

Homeless people have it the worst.

“What did he/she do to get there?” is the question that gets to me the most.

You see, my dear friend, change is something we all want. How would you feel if someone questioned you about your deepest darkest sins?


Today, as I walked through the busy streets of Cape Town, looking for the ‘lesser’ half of our society, I struggled to find them. And it’s not because they were lazing around, but rather because the worst time of the year has come for them – Christmas season.

I asked the homeless people of Cape Town a question most of us would easily take for granted: “If there were one thing for Christmas you wish you could do/have, what would it be?”

Many of you reading this are probably thinking the worst, but rest assured that their answers will melt your heart onto the face of this earth, and hopefully encourage you to avoid being silly. Maybe just look around a little while longer – It takes time to appreciate the real blessings in life.

Their responses were as follows:

Zamuxolo Masabalala, 45 said that all he wished for this Christmas was to live in a house. “I wish all my fellow homeless friends all of the best for this Christmas. Most other people are joyful during this period, but for us it is the worst because we have nobody,” he said.

Justin Diedericks, 22 has been living on the streets since he was 16 years old. “If I could make one wish for this Christmas it would be to reconcile with my family. It was my birthday on the 16th December and I could not celebrate it with anybody. Christmas is a time of reconciliation and family and that is all that I want.”

Martin Lilae, 50 who said he has been living on the streets for most of his life said that all he wanted this Christmas was shelter. “I have a found a job but all I need now is a house – even if it is a Wendy house, anything. God must be with me.”

Chadwin Crotz, 29 said that his wish for this Christmas would be to go on vacation. A much needed break from the streets.

Ricardo Lott, 35, said that his wish for this Christmas is to see his first born child for the first time. “The reason the mother of my child does not want me to meet my child is because I was arrested around the time he was born. All I want is to meet him.”

Magadien Wentzel, 54, said that he wishes to see more homeless people get jobs. “If we are employed, we will be able to get off the streets,” he said.

Amelia Sampson, 32 said that all she wanted this Christmas was to become a better mother to her two children. “My youngest is 6 months and I want to be a better person for the two of them.”

Cape Argus columnist Danny Oosthuizen, who has been living on the streets for 3 years now said: “One wish would be that we are more mindful of each other, that we would practice more tolerance. That we try to heal the wounds of the past by just being human towards each other.”

Have a blessed Christmas, friends.




Hard work pays off for #SpringQueen2017


The audience at the Miss Spring Queen 2017 event held at Athlone Stadium had a whale of a time. Picture: Jack Lestrade/ANA Pictures
Cape Town – Lusanda Ntintili, 23, was crowned Spring Queen 2017 at a lively event attended by thousands at the Athlone Stadium.Ntintili, a trainee fashion co-ordinator at Trade Call Investments Apparel in Eppindust, was chosen among 47 finalists.

The Spring Queen competition is a yearly event organised by the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu).

Originally from Johannesburg, Ntintili said she entered the competition after a dare from friends.

“I had no idea that I would make it this far, let alone win, but being in this competition has taught me a lot,” she said.

Lusanda Ntintili was crowned Miss Spring Queen 2017 held at Athlone Stadium. She is passionate about local workers’ plight. Picture: Jack Lestrade/ANA Picture

She has an honours degree in fashion design and said she had two jobs while she was studying.

“If you want to enter this competition you must not be a stranger to hard work,” she added. Ntintili also stressed that the local fashion trade needs to be recognised, secured and honoured.

“The fact that the industry is shrinking and losing its standing is what made me become more passionate about this pageant. A discussion needs to be held about what can be done for the industry and factory workers.”

This year’s event was hosted by the Heart 104.9 FM breakfast trio Aden Thomas, Julian Naidoo and Tapfuma Makina. They kicked things off by introducing opening acts from Sactwu’s own talent winners between 2014 and 2016.

Before the main event, Sactwu’s Got Talent saw six contestants battle it out in song and dance.

Cape Argus

Bad Blood by Will Storr a political masterpiece


Award winning journalist and novelist, Will Storr whose features  have appeared in various publications, including the Guardian, The Times, the Observer, GQ, Marie Claire and the Sydney Morning Herald. He has received many awards for his astounding work. As any other great journalists should, he hasn’t revealed much about his personal life.

Bad Blood by Will Storr is one of the few books that I have read and did not want to let go. In the beginning of the book he writes about a Russian guy by the name of Alexander Litvinenko. Hmmm Russians always have stuff happening to them, so I knew I was in for a good story. Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive poison. This particular poison somehow found its way into his green tea. At the beginning of the story, Litvinenko assumed that assassins one way or another managed to put poison into the tea that he drank. And he was right! After a long battle of trying to stay alive, he eventually died. I found this surprising because I was expecting a happy ending for him. Nevertheless, the fact that I was caught by surprising shows how intriguing the story was.

The book is well written and I think it would make for a very interesting feature. The writer, Will Storr makes the unusual story line come to life with his creative style of writing. It felt as if I was watching a movie – but with my imagination. It’s just so captivating. The story brings to light a lot about what is actually happening in Russia, especially with Vladimir Putin as president. The blatant method of telling the story is brilliant. This is what I assume Storr was hoping to do.

As a journalist I feel motivated by this book. Motivated to move to Russia!

On the more serious side of things though, I would recommend every aspiring journalist to read this book, just to be inspired and to know journalism for what it really is – a platform to seek and expose the truth, especially in a political context.



South African Journalists as Media Endorsers


IMG-20171020-WA0000Journalists at Parliament

Practicing journalism in a democratic country like South Africa is one of the most strenuous and difficult tasks, and more so than most people may perceive.

According to journalist Wandiswa Ntengento, journalists have gone from being treasured to becoming enemies of the people and government. In reality however, journalists are playing a key part in exposing corruption and ultimately show no favour for those who are in power. This sadly does not include every journalist/media organisation on the block.

Ntengento said that the shift in media trends can be dealt with once the issue of press freedom is prioritised.

The Press Code of South Africa states that the media exists to serve society. The essential part to realising the promise of democracy is their freedom which provides for independent scrutiny of the forces that shape society.

In section 16 of the Bill of Rights in the press code states that everyone has the right to freedom of expression but does not extend to propaganda for war, incitement of violence Advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

This section in the press code has been put under immense magnification when it comes to the way journalists report and what it is that they choose for the general public to see.

Over the many years that the industry has expounded and grown, more and more journalists have become media endorsing agents and lobbyists to certain political parties/interest groups.

According to author Natalie Hyde Clarke, South African ethics in media is a topic of heated discussion and is clearly a challenge to those who are working in a field where it is important to understand.

There are many ethical boxes we can put journalists in. Deontology and Teleology is two of the most relevant ethical boxes journalists are often put in. Deontology is most frequently referred to as duty based ethics which addresses the motives behind a decision or an action instead of the consequences thereof whereas teleology is the complete opposite. Other than the description given above, deontological ethics can be described as a more fair, accurate and honest way of dealing with situations in any type of situation.  The Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others what you want them to do unto you,’ is a simpler way of defining what it is and why it is the best ethical branch to base decisions on in journalism. Teleology can also be referred to or described as the greatest happiness principle as it justifies an action or decision made based on the greatest happiness to the least amount of pain. In a country like South Africa, this may not be the best way to go about things because not all actions or decisions made will be justifiable at the end of the day. Sometimes journalists can miscalculate because of their own hidden agendas and ultimately do more harm than good.

This however, does not mean that all journalists will adhere to or choose the best way to ethical decision making.

Many journalists, editors and even media houses have found themselves going via the route that didn’t at all adhere to the ethical conduct and duties assigned to them.

A fine example of this is when former COO of the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng decided that the SABC should mostly air good news stories. In addition to that, he ordered that the broadcaster not air violent protests or any content that may harm the reputation of the ruling party in South Africa. In this situation it is clear that the former COO based his decision on teleological ethics. He considered how the country would view the ruling party and also the consequences of what would be broadcasted instead of being honest, accurate and fulfilling the mandate of the press code and his general duty towards the country.

The sad and scary fact about the media is that even though there are rules and guidelines directing journalists to producing the right and in most cases objective content, everyone has a choice about what to print, air or publish.  Not everyone will follow the rules, because everyone has different agendas and motives. Some of the rules are even bent in silence. Look at CNN and Fox News during the Trump elections for example. Fox News aired favourable content for the then president candidate and CNN did the opposite. Up till today, as a member of the public it is easy to discern who is for whom. To cover their backs and hide their biased opinions, the media will always ‘leave it up to their audience to make up their minds’ about a specific interest group or political party.

The question of whether or not the industry has somewhat shifted to being based on focusing on the consequences of an action rather than focusing on the motives behind certain actions is ultimately what separates a real journalist from a ‘PR practitioner.’

The truth doesn’t need to be covered up. If it’s out there, journalists should allow it to defend itself.


Tags: Journalism, ethics, political parties, endorsements, deontology, teleology, decision making, duties





Food insecurity a problem


Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams (IOL)

In many rural communities in Cape Town today, there is thousands if not millions of people who go without food or who struggle to survive and eat a proper meal on a daily basis.

This reality has led to many socio economic problems arising throughout the Mother City. There are many reasons for this, but the two which stood out the most for me is a lack in income and food wastage.

In 2011, according to a survey done by Queen’s University and AFSUN, the most common forms of labour in poor rural areas were domestic work, skilled manual labour and service sector work.

It has been proven time and time again that a lack of food or a certain type of food can highly affect the way any human being functions and lives, and furthermore, even their life span.

It was also found that most affordable, high in protein foods were among that which were least consumed. According to the survey, among the possible reasons for this is that making these foods is time consuming, which leads to high energy costs.

Another shocking statistic was that a whopping 88% of households stated that they had been without food in previous months due to unaffordability.

Even with these sad statistics, according to a news article written by the Cape Times, over 10 million tons goes to waste every year. In the article it goes further to say that WFF South Africa’s new Food and Waste said that fruits, vegetables and other foods high in protein make up 70% of the wastage and loss.

Those who tend to waste food because they simply don’t need it need to think twice before doing so, especially mainstream food outlets.

As a journalist, I believe that each and every citizen has an impeccable role to play when it comes to bettering and fostering a healthier and more conscious and just food system.

And many are already starting to play their part by handing out meals and even offering counselling to those in need.

The high unemployment rates needs to be addressed and everyone who is able to, can contribute to such an initiative. One fact that I think many people do not grasp is that it is very difficult to find strength and reason to live a better and ‘healthier’ life when your living conditions is unbearable.


Doing something as simple, yet as effective as motivating those who feel dismayed about the conditions they are living in is one of the best gifts any human being can offer another. It is important to understand that every word that one utters has the ability to either break or build someone up.


Cape school’s Olympic pool dream within reach


Cape Town – Spine Road High School in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain, has raised R1 million with the aim of building the school’s first Olympic size-swimming pool.Principal Riyaadh Najaar said they have been planning the pool for the past five years.

“We have since raised R1m to build it at the back of the school and with the assistance of willing organisations, this dream can become a reality sooner (than later).

“We had three Western Province swimmers who attended this school but they could not pursue their dreams due to a lack of a swimming pool. With the swimming pool I also want to expose our children to other water sports such as water polo.

“Why can’t our children play water polo? It does not mean because our children are from Mitchells Plain that they cannot play these sports. We need to bring the amenities to our communities.

“We want to expose kids from disadvantaged areas to the same kind of opportunities the rest of the children in the country is exposed to.

“It is of utmost importance that the school and the community have access to what will essentially lead them to having a better future.The playing fields are not level, and we want to change that. We have approached funders to support the initiative before, but they did not want to sponsor it, but we are not giving up. If we can gain more interest from the government and like-minded organisations, we can make this happen.”

Najaar also plans to start an alumni group for the school.

LEVELLING PLAYING FIELDS: Principal Riyaadh Najaar. Picture: Courtney Africa

“I am also planning to start an alumni group for the school in order for ex-students to plough back. The alumni will be there to motivate and encourage pupils to dream the impossible. People like Dale Santon (ex-Springbok rugby player), who was a learner at the school, is one of those people who has ploughed back, and has done enormous things for the school.”

Spine Road High School is known for its academic excellence and was the first (in the area) to build an education centre. They became the first school to obtain above 80% for a matric pass rate and, later, the first school to get a 100% pass rate on the Cape Flats.

Spine Road High School has become one of the Cape Flats most sought-after schools in Mitchells Plain.

Najaar said that the school managed to raise funds by hosting events in the school hall. “We have had market days, cake sales, talent shows and even cut down on unnecessary spending. All this has been happening since 2010,” he said.

Rayaan Ismail, parent of Aqeelah Ismail, said he was happy the school wants to build a pool. “I fully support Mr Najaar because he has the children’s best interests at heart.”

Grade 9 pupil Anushqa Kandan said a pool was a great idea as “those who have a passion for swimming will then have the opportunity to pursue their dreams”.

Cape Argus


New school initiative driven by passion


File photo: Most of the pupils come from financially unstable homes. Picture: Henk Kruger
Cape Town – The South African Memory Institute (Sami), in Durbanville, helps boost the academic careers and life skills of children who are in Grade 4 up until 21 years old.Founders Jaco, Martin and Wynand van Vuuren started the initiative because of their passion for education and young people. Having assisted thousands of pupils to master the necessary skills over the past few years, they recently approached local enthusiast Sheldon Allies to help start the Sami initiative in Mitchells Plain.

The programme has already been kicked off in three schools: Beacon Hill High, Aloe Junior and Aloe High. With a lack of funding for the programme, Sheldon has taken the initiative to resign from the company where he is currently employed to become involved on a full-time basis. Growing up in a poor community, he said he wants to invest more in those who don’t have access to the opportunities he had when he was younger.

“Because of the limited number of people currently involved, and because I have a passion to see lives changed through education, I have decided to devote all my time to make that happen.”

Sheldon is hoping to find more sponsors and volunteers.

The programme costs R3 000. This is one of the major setbacks the programme is experiencing as most of the pupils come from financially unstable homes.

“The children come to school with no food and the programme starts directly after school. We need to feed them in order for them to be focused,” Sheldon said.

Financial assistance is also needed because those who need it the most are often the ones unable to pay. Sheldon challenges those who are as passionate and devoted to the community as he is to emerge from their comfort zones and join in on making a difference.

Cape Argus

* Those wanting to get involved may contact Sheldon via e-mail at


Cape baller sets sights on a pro US career


BALL SKILLS: Local basketball player Ameer Abrahams, far left, coaches Chesley Maritz, Shawna King, Shay-Lee King and Chedeno Jaftha. Abrahams is set to travel to Ohio, US for two training camps. Picture: David Ritchie
Cape Town – Ameer Abrahams, 19, from Heideveld is on target to reach his dream of becoming a professional basketball player.During a basketball clinic at Heideveld High last year, Abrahams was identified by PGC’s Chad Songy, and invited to a five-day training camp at McDaniel College in Baltimore, USA.

This year, Abrahams will attend two training camps in over a month. The first will be from August 1-5, and the second from August 7-11, in Ohio. He is set to leave on July 26.

“Last year, when I got to the camp I didn’t know what to expect. I was overjoyed and the experience was truly amazing. I expect nothing different this year, but I am really glad that I get to stay longer this time around,” Abrahams said.

He is the only African to have attended similar camps. He captained one of four teams last year and was recognised for his performances.

“This is a community thing and we are proud of him,” said John Goliath, director of Heideveld Basketball Club.

“It’s not just about basketball. The camp aims to help improve one’s leadership abilities and motivates you to become better at what you do,” Abrahams said.

He was selected for the national Under-20 training squad in December.

His brother, Tashreeq, is proud of him: “He is the first in our family to achieve something as great as this. I am honoured to call him my brother.”

Abrahams’s coach, Denwin Jones, added: “Ameer has grown and matured since he has been on the camp last year. If he can get a scholarship to study in the USA, then I think he will be able to play in the NBA. He is that good. He must just remember to come back and give us of the money he will make,” joked Goliath.

Abrahams has given back to his community. He coaches children from his neighbourhood on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He also motivates youngsters who may be disillusioned about their futures.

“Since I have started pursuing basketball as a sport, I haven’t had many role models around. This is an opportunity for me to expose other youngsters to what I have not been exposed to,” he said.

Abrahams is a referee for the Cape Town Basketball Association, in its league which runs from March until September. He has raised money for his flight to the US, but needs more for his visa and allowance for his stay.

* If anyone would like to assist him, call 063 505 6266 or email

Cape Argus


Hayden hangs tough on way to top


GOING PLACES: Hayden van der Horst, 12, from Bridgetown in Athlone has been chosen by the South African Schools Football Association to represent his country at an international tournament in Thailand. Picture: Henk Kruger
Cape Town – Hayden van der Horst, 12, from Athlone has been chosen to represent South Africa at an international football tournament in Thailand.
He participated in several trials held by the South African Schools Football Association this year. Hayden is one of four pupils chosen from Cyprus Primary in Athlone.

His parents Basil and Carlin are excited for him to showcase his talent.

“I am very overwhelmed and proud of my son. He is a natural-born star, and now is his chance to prove it!” said Carlin.

Basil said Hayden has the ability to go far in football.


“He has worked very hard for this opportunity and the exposure at the tournament will help him in a big way,” he said.

“Here in Bridgetown, children aren’t motivated to pursue their goals.

“We live in a drug-infested area with gangsterism being the epicentre.

“Hayden has beaten all the odds that were against him.”

Hayden has withstood the negative influences he faces every day.

“I am very excited, especially because I will be going overseas. I hope to make new friends during my stay,” he said.

“I also hope to improve my skills.”

The Van der Horsts need R25 000 for Hayden’s trip to Thailand in November. They plan to raise funds with raffles and by selling food.

* Anyone who wants to assist may contact them on 081 805 936 or 072 037 7510.

Cape Argus


Leaders a no-show at crimes against children discussion


FIGHT VIOLENCE: Romano Louw, 18, from Mitchells Plain, speaks at the Nelson Mandela Youth Dialogue about violence in his community. Picture: Rusana Philander

Cape Town – Provincial government leaders snubbed a conference of 100 children who shared their experiences of crime and gang violence on the Cape Flats.

The conference was held in the city and was attended by young people from Mitchells Plain, Dunoon, Elsies River, Philippi, Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Hanover Park, Khayelitsha and Hout Bay.

Cassandry Charles, 17, from Mitchells Plain said: “We would like Parliament to come into our communities, see our problems and stay there for a week. They will not survive it.”

Another child, Arthur Schuller from Hanover Park, said something had to be done before it was too late.

“We should have done something about what is happening to our children when it started. The killings, murders, rapes – we always wait until these issues escalate to an uncontrollable state before we do something about it.”

Valdi Van Reenen-Le Roux, executive director of the Trauma Centre, said it invited Western Cape premier Helen Zille to the conference and although she accepted she later sent an apology and said she was sick.

MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato sent an apology and MEC for Social Development Albert Fritz sent a representative.

“We really wanted the premier to attend the conference so she could listen to the children and understand why a commission of inquiry into child murders are so important. Young boys are also killed in gang violence. They said some people use drugs as a way of coping with circumstances in their communities. The kids also complained about the overcrowding in their homes,” Van Reenen-le Roux said.

“And they told us how there is no food when they get home in the afternoons and then they have to go to look for something to eat. Every day they live in fear. Even traditional places of safety are no longer safe for them.

“We emphasise that violence prevention interventions such as a commission of inquiry is crucial to eliminating it in our communities. Nelson Mandela would have supported such a call. In his honour, we press on, lobbying the premier to establish a commission of inquiry into the safety of our children in the Western Cape,” Van Reenen-Le Roux said.

Zille’s spokesperson Michael Mpofu urged everyone to get involved to create a safer environment for children.

Cape Argus