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A different approach to xenophobia

6 Jul

A surprising tale from the Daily Sun

I had to pick up a copy of the Daily Sun when I saw the headline “Leave our Somalis Alone!” in the June 29 issue. The story describes the ordeal of a few Somali shopkeepers who were harassed by a group of teenagers in the community of Makhaza in the Western Cape. The community has decided to take a stand against xenophobia and after a meeting, ordered the boys to apologise for their poor behaviour and to leave the shopkeepers alone.

The Daily Sun is South Africa’s largest daily newspaper and is aimed at the black working class. A tabloid that sells for R2,30 ($0.30), around 300 000 copies are circulated amongst 2-million readers every day. The paper highlights sensational stories in local communities: Grandmothers argue over boyfriend! Sangoma ordered to return tortoises! Some of the stories are quite bizarre, but they are also interspersed with short stories on missing children, local charities and the efforts – or controversies – of community leaders and politicians.

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It’s an Interesting World: 4

17 Dec

In two days I’ll be winging my way to South Africa, and I just can’t tell you how excited I am. I’m trying to get a million things done before the flight, and one thing I made sure was high up on the list – next to seeing people – was seeing the Rockefeller tree, all lit up and beautiful!

Rockefeller Christmas tree - a thing of beauty!

It’s flippin’ huge, as you can see. I can’t believe the year is drawing to an end already, it’s mind-boggling how fast it’s gone. So much has happened that it’s hard to reflect on what’s been gained or lost in the last 12 months.

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I’ve started a new blog!

12 Sep

In a random fit of inspiration this afternoon (perhaps brought on by the terrible weather) I started a new blog. It’s different to this one in that it’s meant to be interactive, and its success depends on the participation and contributions of readers.

The design is very basic and pared down. It’s called “I Wish I Had Known

The blog invites people to write in about lessons, advice and tips they wish they had known when they were younger. Eventually, I hope the blog becomes a collective pool of shared wisdom, where readers can stumble upon life lessons that they maybe never thought of sharing with their families, friends, children…

New blog

I want as many people to come to the blog as possible, so please feel free to share the blog’s URL with as many people as possible! The full link is:

Difficult times in the U.S. of A

30 Apr

To briefly paraphrase / plagiarize / Internetize Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, last week it seemed like things were getting a bit better for New Yorkers … Over the weekend the weather was beautiful, Central Park was full, mentions of protests on Wall Street had simmered down and Obama had survived his first 100 days in office and was doing reasonably well, according to the Pew Research Center at least.

daily-showDescribing an afternoon ‘disco blading’ through Central Park in his newly-cut ‘jean shorts’ Stewart says: “I gotta tell you, I really felt, you know what, we’re about to turn this thing around.”
Female presenter: “This is a FOX. NEWS. ALERT. The White House now declaring a public health emergency to deal with the threat of the SWINE FLU…” (You’ll understand the emphases if you listen to her talk)
The Silver Fox: “Breaking news. A fast moving new strain of the flu, and at this hour, the death toll is rising.” Another correspondent asks, is this a pandemic?
[Cut to Jon Stewart, lip stuck out next to a picture of a pig with the banner: SNOUTBREAK ’09.]
Jon Stewart: “MOTHERF—!! A pandemic. Seriously?! You’re adding a pandemic?”

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The new new new journalism?

11 Mar

Apologies for the delay.

Look – I exist, and am alive and well (albeit extremely pale)!


The reason I haven’t updated in some time is that I’ve spent the last 6 weeks working on and updating other websites (yes, they exist!), and after several hours of doing that every day, the last thing you want to do is come home and spend another hour thinking of something clever enough to say about what you’ve been doing – which, at the end of the day, is not too interesting to most people anyway.

Hmm – what do I mean by that?

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For aliens in New York

12 Jan
The Statue of Liberty, as seen from the Staten Island Ferry (for those doing New York City on the cheap, or for those not too interested in the lady of liberty ...)

The Statue of Liberty, as seen from the Staten Island Ferry (for those doing New York City on the cheap, or for those not too interested in the lady of liberty ...)

2009 got off to a pleasant start with a very nice ringing in of the New Year – dinner at our favorite restaurant, Cucina down the road from I-House, and a very happy couple of drinks at Ryan’s Daughter on the Upper East Side, which has definitely scored a couple of points with the girls (the Irish bartenders have everything nothing to do with that!) It was a wonderful New Year spent with a diverse group of people, and much fun was had by all – especially Sonja (no need to discuss that in detail in public!!)

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This is what tourists do …

4 Dec
Ice skating in Central Park - cold, but worth the numb lips and freezing hands. Worth every minute in fact!

Ice skating in Central Park - cold, but worth the numb lips and freezing hands. Worth every minute in fact!

Before I embark on a telling of all the touristy things I’ve been doing in the last two weeks, let me first (strategically) point you to my recently updated “Portfolio” where you can read some (not all) of the stories I’ve done since I arrived here in August – just to prove that I also work pretty hard!

The last two weeks have actually been pretty crazy, and I’m not sure exactly how I’ve managed to fit it all in. With the last stories / essays being reported / handed in, Thanksgiving, mom and dad here … it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. Now, my second last story is due tomorrow and all I have to work on after that is a book review, a rewrite and … the dreaded, 5 000 word feature article (A.K.A THE MASTER’S PROJECT – sounds like a good name for a hip hop CD.) Then, the Spring semester begins…

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