It all starts with you

“Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic. It is learned behaviour toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.”
-Akex Haley

From the moment I could understand the human language, I was taught that race was one of the greatest factors that defined people in South Africa. When I was in primary school there weren’t many black children around, every class had about 3 to 4. I grew up with the mentality that because they were the minority in my physical surroundings that they were inferior and added less value to society. This is just an example of the type of mind sets children and even adults are taught to have and grow up with. It does not however only restrict itself to only coloured areas, as I am classified as a coloured. It exists in almost every institution in the country.
Black people are fighting for decolonisation and want their land back from the people who took it from them (whites), which has created a sense of hatred inside of them. There are many examples that prove this statement to be true such as the incident involving Ntokozo Qwabe and Ashleigh Schultz. Qwabe and his friend Wandile Dlamini made Schultz cry when they said that they will only tip her once she returns their land. There are white people who also discriminate in racist ways such as Penny Sparrow.

“These monkeys that are allowed to be released on New Years Eve and New Years Day onto public beaches towns obviously have no education what so ever so to allow them in is inviting huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to others. Im sorry to say I was amongst the revellers and all I saw were black on black skins what a shame. I do know some wonderful thoughtful black people. This lot of monkeys just don’t want to even try. But think they can voice their opinions about statute and get their way dear oh dear. From now I shall address the blacks of South Africa as monkeys as I see the cute little wild monkeys do the same pick drop and litter.”
– Penny Sparrow

There are also damning statistics that show how unequal the society we live in is. This is all as a result of historical racism. The unemployment in 2016 among black South Africans stands at 39% compared to only 8.3% among white South Africans.
As much as I would like to rant about the many other racist incidents I’d rather just leave it there. It is clear that South Africa is nowhere near to being an anti-racist society. If we are not in the middle being taught that one race is more superior to the other, we are being taught to fight the battles our forefathers suffered for. This is wrong in my opinion!
The root of the problem however is that many of us are very good at calling out racists such as Penny Sparrow and Ntokozo Qwabe, yet we hate talking about the bigger picture and how we will deal with racism in South Africa. I believe that is one of the first steps to take if we want the fantasy of an anti-racist South Africa to exist. The place to start is home. The problem with this is that the very institutions such as schools and homesteads that are supposed to be contributing to changing the mind sets of young people are the very same institutions teaching them racist tendencies.
The very first time I was exposed to an accepting diverse group of people was in 2016 when I became a first-year journalism student at CPUT. Individuals are not born racists, they are brainwashed by the institutions they trust the most and the environment they feel the safest in. The sad thing about this is that growing up, young people are forced to go to separate schools and be racially segregated. This means that they are forced to feel safe and trust without using their own instinct. That is something we can’t really control unless we as a people decide to change our ways and what we teach our children. Once this happens then we will have the ability to rewire and unlearn that which we have been taught.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
-Nelson Mandela

The times we are living in now depict a generation that is slothful and careless. Many do not take the initiative to unlearn and rewire and that is why South Africa is far from being an anti-racist society. The phases we find ourselves in as young people seem to overpower our ability to think beyond. This is disheartening; especially because of the fact that we are the ones who want change. We need to be the change before we can see a change.

 

http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/stnews/2016/05/08/RhodesMustFall-activists-snub-last-straw-for-waitress
http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/its-just-the-facts-penny-sparrow-breaks-her-silence-20160104
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/will-zungu/our-schools-are-the-breeding-ground-of-racism-in-south-africa_a_21702956/

 

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Blogging: A self-made work experience

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When I was first told to open a blog page for academic purposes during my first year as a journalism student I was hesitant. “More unnecessary work for me”, I thought. I wasn’t intrigued by the necessity at all. It’s been a year now and I have come to realize that in the society we live in today, every job we apply for needs experienced employees. For student journalists blogging is the most efficient way of going about it.

Every job applicant needs a rooted platform from which they have gained experience from, especially journalists. At first, and as you can see in my first few posts, I was assigned to write about very boring and uninteresting topics. This is what kept the essence of blogging away from me. I then decided to write beyond the borders of what I was assigned to in class. I wrote about what intrigued me and as a result, I attracted an audience and gained recognition without even working for a publication yet. This is what every student journalist should aim for.

Whilst blogging helps with experience, it is also a way of creating better opportunities as journalism is a thriving and very competitive industry. Employers will more likely be interested in an applicant with self-made work experience.  More-so, blogging allows for a greater level of engagement between an author and their audience. This helps when you are unsure about what your niche is.

Want to be at the top of the list when looking for a job? Create a blog.

Who said being thirsty is a bad thing?

 

I’ve come to familiarize myself with this term recently whilst watching a Steven Furtick sermon, entitled The Thirst Trap. In the modern society we live in today,  people are described as being thirsty when they are in dire need or desperation for something or someone (e.g attention).

We live in a day and age where people are always thirsting after the wrong things but nobody said that being thirsty is a bad thing, right?

When I look around me I see a generation who is in constant need of something or someone. What we don’t realize, myself included, is that the things we thirst for today will only satisfy us for a moment. It should actually be obvious seeing that we end up being thirsty for it everyday.

There was this one time I befriended someone from my church. We started forming a very close friendship. What I didn’t know though, was that I was being entrapped. Not by the person, but my dire need and desperation for her friendship. The more time we spent together, the greater the thirst became. And yes I used the ‘we are edifying each other’ line when God told me to let go. I realized that me not wanting to let go was just drying me up on the inside. My thirst only ended when God tore us apart. This was a relationship I never thought would harm me in any way because the both of us serve the Lord.  There’s this famous saying that  ‘too much of  a good thing can be bad’. And trust me, we were intoxicating each other without even knowing. Now my relationship with this person is just me giving a description as to what a thirsty person is and what the consequences are if you thirst after the wrong things. Can relate? Great. People thirst after many other things, such as their family, sex, their phones and even themselves. How often don’t you thirst after something that just cannot seem to fill you? I’ve mentioned this before, but let me say it again. The God we serve is a jealous God. The thirst you have should be quenched by Him. The major difference between being thirsty for God and thirsty for the thing that is consuming and entrapping you now is that God always satisfies. The more you thirst after Him, the more your cup overflows. You will never be empty.

The next time you are in a position where something or someone you love is taken away from you, know that you’ve been too thirsty and God wants your attention.

A Taste of Roeland

My very first experience in this street was a dull one. You may seem confused as the title of this review would make one assume that it’s the complete opposite. And it is. Allow me to introduce to you one of the best ‘models’ of Cape Town – Roeland Street.

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From it’s luxurious looking palm trees to the infamous statue of Louis Botha, Roeland Street is sure to attract many.

IMG-20170401-WA0003Central Fire Station                                                                                                    

I never properly observed the street whilst walking around because there was never any time. I recently grabbed hold of the opportunity to explore with my phone. As I walked down this street I noticed that it has everything a human being needs to live by. There is a high school, University, hotel, restaurants, petrol station, fire department, gym and even an archive for those who want to get to know there ancestors a little better. It’s like the mini version of Cape Town all in one!

IMG-20170401-WA0000Enjoy decadent cakes at Charly’s bakery, around the corner

The Kimberley Hotel

IMG-20170401-WA0011The Kimberly Hotel on a hot summers day

Built in 1895 the pub was originally opened as it was the starting point for those leaving Cape Town for the diamond town of Kimberley.

They have beer as well as wine and all the usual spirits and shots. There are big screens so you can cheer on the rugby or football while enjoying a cold one. It’s also worth spending a few minutes looking at all the photos and notices from back in the day.

There are backpacker rooms upstairs (from R175 per person), so if you have one too many you could always spend the night. Then have a beer with breakfast to set you right the next day.

Intersting Fact: Though they have not spent the night I alawys hear people speak about the Kimberly Hotel and the poor service they receive. The poor service you have actually been receiving actually comes from Barney’s Bistro. A complete separate entity.

Barney’s Bistro

Barneys Bistro is situated inside the Kimberley Hotel. ‘They serve pub grub, ranging from toasted sandwiches (from R16) to calamari strips with chips (R40) and steak, egg and chips (R60). The burgers (from R30), served with a good portion of chips, are deliciously home-made (no processed pork patties here). If there’s a group of you, opt for their snack baskets (from R35) or share a platter (from R100). I can also recommend their breakfasts that start at under R20.’

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Photo by: Rachel Robinson

Western Cape Archives and Records Service

IMG-20170401-WA0014Western Cape Archives and Records Service

Though there is so much goodness there is also a sad bit of history. The Western Cape Archives and Records Service was also once known as ‘Roeland Street Prison – once labelled Cape Town’s own Black Hole – was originally meant to be an example of good taste to the inhabitants of this city. Now, this 111-year old landmark is to be closed down and replaced with a modern institution at Pollsmoor. It is time to reflect that when Colonial Engineer George Pilkington set about building the prison in 1855 his grandiose plans were almost scuppered by two factors which still plague city engineers today – a shortage of cash and labour.’

So much rich history and bright days ahead, Roeland Street is the place to be!

 

For more interesting news and reviews follow me on:

Twitter :@tamrynchrist

Facebook: The Write to Right

References:

http://www.thetipsygypsy.co.za/where-to-drink/pubs-and-bars/the-kimberley-hotel

http://www.theheritageportal.co.za/article/looking-back-roeland-street-prison

 

 

To: Jesus

Hey Jesus,

It’s been a while

Possibly the first time in a long time

You know, behind all the pride

 

You and me

We go way back

It started with a desire that faded

My words, my dreams, my love,  my time wasted

 

Why oh why did I trade You in just to be liked?

For a moment

A lifetime in exchange for a moment

 

I’m serving You

But do I really know You?

A headless chicken praying for visions that aren’t even mine

 

Let me make it mine

Or maybe I should just give it time

 

Who knows?

This could just be an overreaction

But I’d rather overreact than not react at all

Stop stalling

 

I’m sorry for pretending

When I didn’t even know how to point You out in the crowd

Between all the false gods

 

And I shouldn’t be surprised that You’re still by my side

Throughout all the silent denying

 

So from now on I’ll serve You Lord

Like there’s no tomorrow

And if I fall again

I’ll just read this poem

To be reminded of Your grace

Let me embrace this Heavenly space

 

In You I’ll find everything I need

Without the vanity

I will make You part of my reality

 

Thank You for reminding me

Mocking

Mocking

No,

Knocking, knocking, knocking

Till I opened up my heart

 

This is but the start…

 

Meet Duduzile Ramela – The new definition of fierce

I recently got the opportunity to get to know eNews anchor Duduzile Ramela.

“Soweto-born Dudu graduated from the University of Johannesburg where she obtained her BA degree in Journalism. With over 9 years of experience in the industry, she first worked as a newsreader at the SABC’s Radio 2000, then moved to SAFM and also worked alongside Thomas Msengana on 5FM’s Weekend Breakfast Show.”

Here is what she had to say:

  1. Nickname you grew up with?

– Mampinga (I think it was from the 90’s TV show Nyakanyaka).

  1. What did you want to become when you were on Primary school?

– Brenda Fassie.

  1. Were there any stumbling blocks along the way in your pursuit of becoming a journalist?

– Plenty, I think it’s the general rule of life. Obstacles will come your way to test and see just how much you want what you want.

One that sticks out for me is when I entered the working world, my first job was not on the field or even in a news room. I had a Journalism degree but I was driver (production assistant) for a particular agency and part of the job was dropping off tapes at major media houses. eTV was one of them…and the rest as they say is history. This taught me never to despise humble beginnings.

  1. Who is your role model and why?

– My mother. She is the very definition of love, strength, courage and wisdom. I can only pray that I become half the woman she is.

  1. What goes through your mind when you wake up in the morning?

– I pray, I ask God for extra measure of grace.

  1. Whilst shadowing @enca I witnessed funny things happening behind the scenes with the anchors.
    –  Funniest moment for you?

– (Laughs), plenty of these. I was on air and had packs hooked on my back, the one was not latched properly on to my bra and it rolled down my dress. It was a juggling act between keeping a straight face, reading and catching the falling pieces. (One of the things I love about my job, you can never take yourself seriously because it’s not about you)

  1. You’re so calm when on air, even when you make mistakes. How do you manage to keep it together?

– If I said I knew I’d be lying. There is no switch I flick…

  1. A day in the life of Dudu Ramela?

– I wish I knew…

  1. Advice for someone who wishes to achieve what you have?

Pray about it!!!! Know why you want to do what you want to do, take it seriously and work on perfecting the craft. Most importantly, while it is good to receive council be careful whose report you believe.

  1. Have you set any goals you wish to accomplish in the near or distant future?

– I have.

Bonus question – For interest sake: Nothing compares to the way you pull your face when you read the news sometimes. Is that your natural look?

–          *Laughs out loud* I’m not even aware. Perhaps I’m possessed by the holy ghost 😉

Catch Duduzile on @enca at 1pm weekdays and @eNewsDirect at 6:30pm. You can also follow her on Twitter: @duduramela

 

References:

http://www.etv.co.za/news/2016/01/20/meet-new-enews-direct-presenter-dudu-ramela

 

The God in our singularity

“Read the good shit, forget about the Bible.”

My world came crashing down as my media studies lecturer spoke those words with not even an ounce of remorse on his face. The question I had poised inside my head was, “Why the Bible?”

We live in an era where nothing and no one is being challenged.  Though I was highly offended by what this man said, he provoked me to look at myself. Not look at who I am under the titles given to me by the ideologies created by man, but who I am as a single person. The next question I asked myself was, “who do you represent?” Too often we live out the concepts of those in higher authority. We never question, never make things personal.

God has been taken out of our schools, universities, homes and even our hearts. The reason for this is because we live our lives like robots. We need to wake up. Read the paper that speaks the thoughts. Quit being lukewarm. Fight for what is being taken away from us so that we can stand up for what we believe in.

 

“What you need is sustained

outrage… there’s far too much

unthinking respect given to

authority.”

– Molly Ivins

Coloured Identity Crisis?

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“It’s in the way we speak, our opinions on things, the heritage we claim as ours every festive season, the favourite foods and slang terms for family members”, says University graduate Tatum-Lee Louw who has been living in Mitchell’s Plain, a middle class coloured community all her life.

The debate on coloured identity in South Africa has been oozing for quite some time now, dating back to as early as the Apartheid regime. There are people who don’t want to be identified as being coloured and then there are people who are proud of the connotation that comes along with the form of identification. Tatum is one of many that firmly believe that coloured identity should be an evident aspect in society.

When looking back at how it all began I understand why some people feel that they have not yet embraced their true identity and culture and their resistance to acknowledge what has not been properly introduced by their ancestors. According to Razib Khan in his online article ‘Who are the Cape Coloureds of South Africa?’,  history tells us that coloureds are the result of unions between white Europeans and coloured women of various races. The most prominent of these are the indigenous people of the Cape, the Khoisan. The Khoisan were natives long before whites and Bantu Africans pushed in from the south and north respectively.

The arguments from both ends of the stick are valid. Coloured identity is a product of slavery many years ago and yes we do sometimes find ourselves stuck in the middle of a warzone between the latter black and whites of South Africa. Apartheid and #Feesmustfall are basic examples of this. You won’t see a coloured student in sight whether they are for or against the #Feesmustfall movement. All of us are at home completing our assignments so we can pass by the end of the year. Selfish and it may seem logical to some. Deep down some of us think we can’t win a battle and that has got everything to do with the identity crisis we are facing. I admit that I wasn’t educated about race, especially about my own when I was on school. The very first time I heard about the coloured identity crisis was 2 months ago. My argument however sides with the opposite end of this great debate. Coloured people may have found their existence in a disgraceful timeframe and we may be hiding out in the middle of a battlefield but just like any other culture or race it has grown into something worthacknowledging, not including Wayde Van Niekerks world record breaking performance at the Olympics. (Why Wayde’s gold is a win for coloured identity).

The place coloured people have in the now post-Apartheid, democratic South Africa is non-existent and that is also one of the reasons some coloured people feel they don’t have a true identity. Every dilemma the country finds itself in is bickered about amongst blacks and whites. Coloured people have not been given the opportunity to voice their grievances about certain topics. Many will say that they have no heritage and dominion to speak for and they have been marginalised for that. What they do not understand is that being marginalised is the very thing that contributes to giving coloured people a sense of identity.

One of the things Tatum said in her statement about coloured identity is that coloured people don’t have a voice; they fear their opinions or offer them and then back out. That shook me because I could relate to what she said. As a young coloured female I have found myself caught in debates upon debates about race in this country. Not once did any of those debates acknowledge the struggles coloured people faced and are still facing. I’d go as far as saying that during those debates you must either classify yourself as being black or white. If you don’t stand for and acknowledge either you are labelled as being offensive. That sort of thing plays with your emotions and makes you confused but it doesn’t mean that your sense of identity has to be lost. That is the mistake most coloured people make. We are too quick to bury ourselves in pity and shame.

We need to become a united front and voice what we have feared to speak about. Fight against being in the middle. Don’t be afraid. Say ‘this is who I am and I am proud of it.’ Embrace who you are, love and feel inspired by your rich history and colourful culture.

References:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2009/06/who-are-the-cape-coloureds-of-south-africa/#.WAYSctR94_4

http://www.iol.co.za/news/why-waydes-gold-is-a-win-for-coloured-identity-2057061

Data journalism must fall

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During my time at high school, I hated, more so despised maths. I eventually ended up passing it in my matric year and there was a sigh of relief that came with knowing that I will never have to see another maths paper or something similar to it again.

This was so until I came across data journalism. ‘Data journalism is an approach to writing for the public in which the journalist analyze large data sets to identify potential news stories.’

There are like with every type of journalism advantages and disadvantages to data journalism.  And though I may come across as being one sided about this I just think that it has more disadvantages. Many people can become journalists with the aid of data journalism, but unlike citizen journalists a level of expertise cannot be worked on.

‘Journalism has been thoroughly disrupted over the past decade.  News organizations, especially newspapers, have come under heavy financial pressure, news bureaus have been closed or consolidated and journalists have had to rethink their profession.’  Says Greg Satell in his article ‘The Problem With Data Journalism’

‘Data journalism is, in many ways, a disruptive innovation.’  Yes traditional journalism can be an expensive.  ‘You have to pay reporters to travel to where the story takes place, observe events in person, cultivate and interview countless sources.  In comparison, performing statistical analysis of data sets or poring over policy documents is a relatively cheap and labor-saving way to operate opportunities for new products that compete on the basis of a different value proposition.’ But there is just something about traditional reporting that data journalism does not have.  The expertise, the passion, the ability to observe,  the act of serving the people with truth and accuracy, engaging and many other abilities data journalism cannot compete with.

Ethics also come into play when it comes to journalism and Samantha Sunne in her article The challenges and possible pitfalls of data journalism, and how you can you avoid them described it best when she said: “Just like stealing mail from a mailbox isn’t ethically acceptable, stealing data from a website isn’t, either.”  Many may misinterpret data sited because they often use it out of context. Talking to human sources is a must and therefore data journalism, like maths is to me is of little use to people like.

Unlike the cyborgs it does not have the ability to emerge without the interference of traditional journalists. Data journalism therefore, though a great discovery for those who use it contextually #mustfall.

References:

http://www.digitaltonto.com/2014/the-problem-with-data-journalism/

https://tamrynsblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/let-the-cyborgs-emerge/

https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/strategy-studies/challenges-data-journalism/