Tuesday, November 30

Houtbaai revisited.




Later during the day at the Houtbaai Hotel. The view might not be as impressive as from the top of the mountain, but the amenities make up for it I think.

AIDS in South Africa III

AIDS in South Africa on the front page of the Washington Post website.

One of 280 patients receiving medicines from a hospital in this busy river town, Malembe is proof that antiretrovirals, which have largely tamed AIDS in wealthy nations, can offer similar hope in Africa. The disease has already killed more than 15 million people across sub-Saharan Africa, and an estimated 5.3 million South Africans are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Yet more than a year after the South African government decided to offer low-cost antiretroviral treatment to everyone with AIDS, only about one out of every 50 AIDS patients who are medically ready for antiretrovirals receive them from the public health system, said researchers who track the disease.

Let the Good Times Roll

The news that we've been suspecting has finally arrived. South Africa's economy is growing at 5.6%, the fastest growth rate in 8 years.

Greater East Africa

Is Uganda, Kenya and and Tanzania about to join together and become a single country by 2013? Jonathan reports on activities at the East African Summit, and speculates that this might have implication for the different regional trading groups (The SADC, of which Tanzania is a part, and COMESA, of which Uganda and Tanzania froms part) .

Mugizi Rwebangira commments:

This news appears to have caught most East Africans by surprise(myself included). The customs union has been in the works for a while, but most people didn't realize how far the planning has gone for closer integration.

As Mugizi states, the target date of 2013 for the election of a single president is completely unrealistic. The union could be benificial, but would take a while to complete succesfully. The biggest stumbling bloc in my opinion would be the political systems of these countries and their ability to cede so much power to new regional structures.

The loss of Tanzania from the SADC would have few implications and I doubt whether the loss would be a threat to the SADC. The possible addition of Kenya and Uganda would however be a tremendous boon to the Union, solidifying the power of the Union well into central Africa and would create pressure on other african countries to join the SADC.

The SADC is not only an economic union however. It has political aspirations as well, with open borders, a common currency and regional political structures as its ultimate goal. The creation of an East African superstate would create a third african superpower, along with South Africa and Nigeria. How keen they would be to throw their lot in with South Africa if they have the option of creating their own regional power structure is an open question. The extent to which they can expand is limited though. Jonathan comments:

Rwanda and Burundi seem certain to join, which would result in a respectable federation of 105-110 million. Malawi and Mozambique are possible, but both tend to look south and would probably pick the SADC over the EAC. Somalia seems unlikely for many reasons. Indian Ocean expansion might be possible, including the Seychelles and the Comoros (which have a good deal more in common with Zanzibar and the Tanzanian coast than with the SADC countries). Wild cards include southern Sudan if it chooses independence at the end of the Machakos period, or even some of the eastern provinces of the DRC.

Monday, November 29

Republic of Houtbaai



The view of Houtbaai from Suikerbossie Nature Reserve, Cape Town.

AIDS in South Africa II

What do we know about AIDS in South Africa? About 5.3 million people of an adult population of around 33 million in South Africa has HIV according to the UN. Adult Mortality in SA in 2003 was around 450 thousand a year, of which somewhere between half to two thirds has been attributed to AIDS. (source)

Lets make an assumption that the vast majority of infected people are going to die in the next 5 years. This is likely given that (a) anti-retrovirals are being rolled out very slowly, (b) there should be serious doubts as to the effectiveness of wide spread anti-retroviral treatment, especially if compared to the treatment of other difficult to treat diseases such as TB, (c) untreated and undernourished people living in unsanitary conditions such as squatter camps can expect to live less than 2 years with HIV/AIDS and (d) even with the correct anti-retroviral treatment life expectancy for most people living with the disease is going to be much lower than compared with first world countries.

Assuming deaths attributed to AIDS in 2003 was 250 thousand, some simple calculations should show that if mortality rates increase in a linear fashion, we can expect an increase of up to 50% to our mortality rate each year due t0 AIDS for the next 5 years, culminating in the death of 2 million people in 2008, two years before the 2010 Soccer world cup. For South Africa this is an almost existential crisis.

On the other hand, Adult mortality rates have been recorded since 1998. Taking them at face value, as the UN report does, the increases in mortality was only 16% in 1999 and has been increasing consistently at only 10% for the last 5 years despite the fact that half of all deaths have been attributed to AIDS since 2000.

If this trend were to continue, that would mean that only 400 thousand people are going to die of AIDS in 2008, and that only 1.7 million people are going to die of AIDS over the next 5 years.
If our assumption that most people with HIV is going to die in the next 5 years is correct however then the infection rate in SA is much lower than believed. (Only 5%,rather than the 16.5% that the UN believes).

I have assumed the increase in mortality is linear. That might be incorrect but is backed up by the behaviour or Adult mortality rates for the last 5 years. I have also assumed that the majority of people living with HIV today will be dead in 5 years. If this number is lower, that is people die sooner, then that means that the actual infection rate is even lower than 5%. If people live longer, how much longer?

Taking our current mortality rate increase of 10%, and the belief by the UN that there are 5.3 million people with AIDS in South Africa, how long will it take these people to die? Answer? 11 years.

These numbers are very suspicious. They are suspicious because that is about the minimum number of years that people can be expected to live with modern anti-retroviral drug therapies in western countries.

If a UN researcher went and did a quick back of the envelope calculation where people with HIV have a maximum life expectancy of 11 years (which is about the minimim in Zurich, plus a year) along with the mortality rate increase of South Africa (which is one of the few almost reliable statistics available to anyone), then the answer he would come up with is 5 million people in South Africa are infected with HIV. If people with HIV die sooner however, then the number of people infected decreases dramatically.

Are UN statistics on the number of people infected with HIV in South Africa being inflated? And for what purpose? If the current trend in the Adult mortality rate for South Africa continues, then one of two things could be possible. One, the UN statistics could be criminally wrong or two, most people with HIV in africa with no access to modern medicine living for the most part in squatter camps can live up to 11 years.

If you think the answer is the latter, then you have to meet one of my friends called Occum.

(Full disclaimer: I’m neither a statistician (I’ve a passing knowledge) , a doctor (I’ve done a first aid course), an AIDS activist (I’ve given to AIDS charities) or a prophet (I predict death and taxes). All predictions, assumptions or facts come with no warranty included.)

AIDS in South Africa

Emotive article in the NY Times on AIDS in South Africa. Kenya Hudson at Ambiguous Adventure has been looking at the AIDS epidemic in southern africa the last few days. Just scroll down.

Tutu step up to the plate

Tutu: Thank you Mr President for telling me what you think of me, that I am - a liar with scant regard for the truth, and a charlatan posing with his concern for the poor, the hungry, the oppressed and the voiceless. I will continue to pray for you and your government by name daily as I have done and as I did even for the apartheid government. God bless you. (source)

Ouch. I'm thinking Thabos swinging above his weight class here. Who wants to bet a fiver that were going to see Nelson brought in to smooth over some feelings? Given that Mandela has made almosts the same comments in the past, this might get interesting if Mandela decides to come down on Tutu's side. No wonder Thabo's been so busy making peace in Africa. He needs his own Nobel to start playing with the big boys.

Friday, November 26

So it goes

Tutu: We should not too quickly want to pull rank and to demand an uncritical, sycophantic, obsequious conformity.

Mbeki:One of the fundamental requirements for the rational discussion suggested by the archbishop is familiarity with the facts relevant to any matter under discussion, as well as respect for the truth. (source)

That should put him back in his place! Is it just me or is it strange to have a president say everything he wants to say to the country in a weekly newsletter to his party faithfull? Someone should show Mbeki blogspot.

What we need here is a high level consultant! Ethan?

The Law

Absolutely fascinating, that’s what it is. I haven’t been able to put my books down since I’ve started studying business law, which is a good thing as its slower going than the road to Colesburg. Since my wife has forbade me from the bedroom if I start talking about it, I'll post a few comments. If you have no interest in South African law or your knowledge is more advanced than someone whose been stuck in one or another lab for the last ten years, skip this post.

South African Law is based on Roman-Dutch Law, also referred to as Common Law. This is the law system that was developed in the Roman marketplace from around 1500 BC to 500 AD, and was applicable in the Netherlands until around 1806.

To confuse matters, many English law traditions have been incorporated during the period when South Africa was a British colony. South Africa has both a bar as well as a sidebar. Advocates (England’s barristers) who represent people indirectly before the higher courts, and Attorneys (England’s solicitors) who represent people directly before the lower courts and can hire an advocate for actions before the higher courts.

Judges can also consider English law persuasive to any arguments that have no precedent in South African courts, as well as the writing of the legal scholars of the Netherlands from around 1600 to 1800. (Technically Roman law can also be used).

South Africa uses a system of Judges, although jury systems have been used in the past. I’m too clueless as to comment on whether this is a good or a bad thing, but the consensus seems to be that sometimes its better, sometimes its worse.

Four Sources of Law govern Southern Africa. The highest source is the constitution, which is defended and interpreted by the constitutional court in Johannesburg. Legislation passed by parliament or the national council of provinces is the next level of law. Much of the work of the last ten years has been passing or amending the laws passed by the apartheid parliament, or that are not allowed by our new constitution. Any higher court can declare a law unconstitutional however, but that declaration needs to be ratified by the constitutional court.

The next level is precedent, without which the court couldn’t properly function. Precedent says that a court is bound by a previous decision of a lower or equal court, even if they believe the decision to be wrong. A lower court cannot set precedent, and must follow any higher courts decision. The Higher courts are free to decide issues for themselves however even if a higher court in another province has already decided an issue. This leads to the law being in conflict in various provinces and has lead to some serious problems. Quite why high courts are allowed to disagree with other high courts I haven’t been able to figure out.

The Supreme courts of appeals (in Bloemfontein) is the highest court in the land, although they are bound by the constitutional court in matters related to the constitution. As Ive already said, Roman-Dutch law forms the basis or our law and the fourth source.

Technically there are two more sources. These are custom and customary law. Custom is relatively unused principle that has only been employed once. Customary law is another matter, and the complete dissonance between the constitution and customary law make its application in actions where both parties do not agree to its implementation almost impossible. Headmen or village councils can hear cases, but the plaintiffs or accused have an automatic right of appeal to the local Magistrate. Much of the wrangling in the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal has been about traditional leaders wanting to see customary law, and consequently their influence, be given more power in our system of law.

Dont Worry

If youve been wondering why all the economic news in South Africa has been good? Dont worry.

The gold price will fall. $450 an ounce isnt really that much. The Rand will come down. R7.80 to the Euro isnt that strong after all. The Oil price will rise again! Whats a 25 cent drop between friend?

We've still got AIDS, crime and BEE to worry about.

Which reminds me, to the blighter who went of his rocker this morning 2 o'clock in the street outside my house. Boy, you can run fast. The three security companies that responded as everyone called everyone made my little corner of Cape Town look like an armed forces convention or something.

I wrote my first Law exam this morning. It went well, but I think the lecturer managed to confuse me with a few questions (and boy does he try) so its not going to be perfect. Its been about 5 years since I last wrote a serious test, so I think my concentration levels werent what it was suppose to be either. (That or my penchant for papsak has finally done some damage.)

Thursday, November 25

Be Grateful!!

France is having some problems in the Ivory Coast. Jim Hoagland suggest the French should be grateful to the Americans because ... they did nothing!

The Bush team's decision to ignore the temptation to stick a finger in Chirac's eye in revenge for the past should be recognized and publicly acknowledged in Europe -- most of all in Paris. It was a cost-free gesture from Washington that is nonetheless the right way to achieve better French-American cooperation to deal with a changing world.

You can almost feel the love coming from Paris.

Wednesday, November 24

Be Afraid

Be very, very afraid. (Yes, its an offical site.)

Via DefenceTech. He also has a story about South African anti-mine vehicles developed during the border wars of the 80's being used by the Americans to sweep for IEDs in Iraq.

Letter From Africa

Sharon Lafraniere writes in the New York Times on President Mbeki, the race card and rape. I've never heard about this story, but then I tend not to keep track of every little spat. Interesting to see what the NY Times finds news worthy.

Update: Seems this little spat occured at the end of September (the article in the NY Times doesnt say). Here the BBCs take in October.

I wish I could work for the NY Times Foreign Desk. I imagine it involves a lot of napping and cuppocinos every day and maybe sifting through the last few months papers to find something to report as 'news'.

This is the article by Lisa Vetten where Ms Lafraniere got the story from.

Monday, November 22

Blogmove

Rethabile has moved his blog, On Lesotho, to Sotho. Give him a visit.

Thursday, November 18

Southern Africa

Just a reminder, but if this is your first time to the Southern Africa part of the blogosphere perhaps you'd like to see visit some others? Just follow the blogring!


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Suburbia

Nice colllection of photos from suburbia South Africa. Boom gates, green lawns, Maids and armed responce. Ahh, that brings back the memories. (via Gareth)

Save the Shark

Im with the Shark on this one. Its horrible, but great whites are as much a part of Cape Town as bergies are. A few of us are going to get chowed every few years and were going to have to live with it. (Yes, I have some tough bergies in my neighbourhood).

Instead of killing the shark, or even worse, installing shark nets (Damn the DA and their politically opportunistic ways anyway), the money could rather be spent on research to reduce the size and effectiveness of the shark repellent equipment developed by the Natal sharks board, or improving the mountain lookout systems.

Sharks make mistakes. In almost all circumstances sharks wont touch humans. In fact, there are sharks in the water when you swim almost all the time. Just because a shark makes a mistake doesn’t make him a "man killer".

Im hereby officially founding a society to protect our six meter, old lady eating, great white sharks. Im calling it SOLES for Save Old Lady Eating Sharks.

Addendum:
In the interest of protecting sharks (and old ladies), Im going to post some tips on reducing your chances of getting attacked by a shark.

1. Dont wear black. Great Whites have very sensitive fashion sensibilities and they abour black. They are not called "Great Whites" for nothing. That and you look like their favourite snack, seals. That said, don’t wear contrasting colours of flashy items. Told you they're sensitive.
2. Don’t play with their food. Great Whites eat on the run. That is, dont go splashing around in the water near a seal colony. It just makes you look like an easy snack. Because your in their feeding zone they might no be as picky as they might otherwise be. Dont carry dead fish around when your swimming either. Great Whites have atrocious table manners. They might try to grab it from you, and, well, mistakes happen.
3. Make eye contact. Were you to meet a shark, the polite thing to do would be to recognize its presence. Look at him, and if he approaches a hard tap on the nose would be the polite greeting. Its like: "Hi, and and Im not prey" in shark lingo. Stay calm and dont splash round. Sharks wont eat anything they don’t recognize, so they will almost always first give you a bump to see what you do.
4. Dont swim at night, and very early or late in the day. Sharks are very grumpy around that time. Surfers often get attacked at these times.

Most people who have been attacked broke one of those rules. Sharks make mistakes, but we can help them reduce the chance of it happening.

Update! Cherryflava comes up with a super idea! RFID tags those puppies!

Gun Safety?

Wayne posts on the horror that seems almost to have become a part of our daily lives. Everyone has a story about violent home invasions or car hijackings. Im very happy to hear that Wayne’s friend is going to make it, and I think he made the right decision when he took on the robbers to stop them finding out his wife was in the house.

The gun issue is another kettle of fish however. First of I'm what can probable be described as pro-gun. If a person wishes to own a gun I believe he should be able to own whatever and as many as he wants. Legal gun owners dont commit the crime, and much more powerful weapons are freely available to criminals. In fact, the military and the police are in many cases the primary source for illegal firearms. Last time I checked R5 and AK47 assault rifles weren’t available to the gun owning public. I also enjoy gun sports, from target shooting to hunting.

That said, I made a decision not to own a gun for self defense. I thought about it for a long time, but I decided in the end that it would be liability and not an asset for our situation.

I live in an urban area, and a gun can be useful in two ways. Firstly I can carry it with me wherever I go. However, I cant take it with me into many of the buildings I go into, and leaving it in the car would be criminally negligent. Also, If I get jumped by muggers, chances are they'll overpower me before I can draw the gun, or if Im hijacked I might make the mistake of reaching for the gun and get my head blown off. I know people who carry their pistols with them quite happily. I wouldn’t be comfortable.

The second option is for home defense. You’re stuck at home, you know there are people in the house and you cant defend yourself. This is a 50-50 kind of situation for me. Even if Wayne’s friends wife had been able to come out of the room guns blazing, her husband would still in all likelihood have been shot. If the robbers had been wounded, they might have started shooting everyone in sight. If his friend had had a pistol on him the robbers in all likelihood would have been able to overpower him and take it away because they had the element of surprise.

A Gun does not make you safe. It only gives you the ability to fight back more effectively. I believe its much more important to be prepared mentally. You have to decide what your going to do before you end up in these kind of situations. You'll still probably do the first stupid thing that comes into your head, but maybe you'll get it right.

If I were in Wayne’s friend’s situation I would have had my panic button in my hand with my finger on the button. I make it a point to go out with every guest in my house. If I get even slightly suspicious the button gets pressed, and thanks for stopping by you guys were great. Paranoid? Yes I am. But guys packing serious heat show up in less than 3 minutes give or take, and I like that.

That said, its always going to be your decision and I agree with Wayne that we should be able to decide what is best for ourselves.

p.s I just want to clarify that I think Waynes friend did everything he should have. My point is only that there are other things you can do to pepare for these kind of situations than by getting a gun.

Wednesday, November 10

Wishful Thinking

Norman Geras links to an article in the Telegraph by Christopher Munnion about tensions between COSATU and the ANC over Zimbabwe and suggests that a split might be likely.

Lets see if I can practice my highly developed skill of understatement. "And pigs will fly in a cold day in hell"!

Mr Munnion is practicing that highly respected foreign correspondent tradition of 'reporting as news every silly rumour spread in the local rags'. Its why reporting in other countries is condidered such a challenge, after all. The fact that tripe like that sees the light of day is most likely due to the highly respected South African journalists tradition of 'making things up as we go along'.

True, it might happen. But I'll be wearing my jersey and be on the lookout for vertically mobile swine on that day too.

The funniest bit comes at the end though.

"The South African Communist Party, which has increasingly taken issue with the ANC on other government policies, joined Cosatu in condemning Mr Mbeki's reaction."

That must really worry Mbeki!

Killers?




The most dangerous animal on the planet! Hippopotami kill more people in Africa than any other animal. The reason for this is that they feed at night on the banks of the rivers, but feel very threatened if people come between them and the water. People use the paths created by the hippo's to collect water in many rural communities. Hard to believe, but Hippos can run up to 40 kilometers per hour. Hippos also have a nasty habit of attacking small boats that cruise on their rivers.

Blog Explosion!




Gareth pointed me to Blog Explosion as a way to grow traffic. I think the graph speaks for itself.

I’ve little interest in boring people with my interests in South Africa and Africa however. Seems to me forcing people to surf blogs they would usually never go to so that your stats counter can grow seems a bit inane. Nevertheless, you can only grow your audience if you get exposure so I'm going to be using blog explosion for the next month and then stop and see if I have grown the number of people that actually read my blog as opposed to the people that are forced to park off here for 30 seconds and are wondering why the hell cant this dude get a life.

If you want to give it a try on your blog, click on the banner and tell them I sent you.

American Interest

Americas interest in the African continent since the end of the cold war, in which is was the front line, can at best be described as benign neglect. This is all set to change once again as an increasing percentage of the worlds oil production is set to come from African shores. The 'war on terror' has accelerated the pace of American involvement in the continent as it tries to deny international terrorist organizations both safe havens and funding.

The New Republic has an article looking at growing Chinese interests in Africa, and how it affects America. The premise of the article is that increased Chinese involvement is bad for Africa because China does not care about human rights or democracy. It continues in the vein that because of the Chinese neglect for "democratic values" American firms are finding it harder to compete. Colour me unimpressed.

Americas foreign policy, while completely hypocritical, has at least been consistent. Countries that have resources that America needs or that America needs assistance from are given a free pass while countries that are not of interest to America are required to "show respect for human rights" and jump though a number of difficult and expensive hoops to gain access to American markets and favour. (Saudi Arabia is of course the best example, but Pakistan springs to mind as a country that went from outcast dog to long lost pall in a blink of an eye.)

Beijing's oil-slicked diplomacy builds on goodwill generated by its past actions in Africa. In the 1960s and 1970s, China supported revolutionary movements in Africa, vowing to help protect it against U.S. and Soviet imperialism. Many of those former rebels have now come to power and are willing to repay favors to Beijing. What's more, unlike the United States or other Western nations, Beijing does business without setting conditions on human rights, transparency, or good governance. It requires only that trading partners not recognize Taiwan, and all but a handful of African states have obliged.
...
In return, Beijing has won access to critical resources like natural gas, in addition to oil and vast new markets for its goods. Chinese trade with Africa has almost doubled since 2000; and, although it is still a fraction of China's worldwide exchanges, it's already about half of U.S.-Africa trade

Beijing's tactics should worry Washington--not to mention average Africans. Increasing demand and shrinking domestic supplies are making the United States overly dependent on oil imports, and Washington's search for new suppliers in West Africa--which the Bush administration has called "the fastest-growing source of oil and gas for the American market"--seems to pit the United States against China. Yet, because Washington already has solid ties with the Gulf of Guinea's largest exporters and U.S. companies are better equipped than cnpc or Sinopec to perform the type of deep offshore drilling that will unlock the region's resources, China's hunt for African resources is not a direct threat to U.S. energy security.


It may come as a surprise to you, but Chinese involvement in the continent does not "worry" me. In fact, I think the average African should welcome Chinese competition with American for African favour with open arms.

Firstly America is the largest global market, while China is the fastest growing global market. African access to these markets are generally severely restricted. Even recent trade concession that America has made to Africa, such as ALGOA, has been of limited value. It provides cheap labour for American goods and employment for the poorest of the poor, but returns little real growth for African markets as bureaucracy, subsidies and tariffs protect the more lucrative markets.

Interest in African resources should be translated into access to markets, and direct competition between the Americans and the Chinese is in Africa interest (all pretensions of "democracy" and "human rights" aside).

Tuesday, November 9

Mostly Africa

Mostly Africa is back after a blog hiatus.

African Sunset


Chicken Joke

Its been that kind of day.

Happy Days!

The guys in Joburg have some good news to report. I dont know what the hecks going on in Cape Town.

Whats your Political Persuasion?

Its stupid and so american it hurts, but how can I resist?





You Are a New School Democrat



You like partying and politics - and are likely to be young and affluent.

You're less religious, traditional, and uptight than most Democrats.

Smoking pot, homosexuality, and gambling are all okay in your book.

You prefer that the government help people take care of themselves.




Damn, there goes my street-kred with those cool libertarian guys. (I blame Gareth)

From the Corner Office

Colin makes some interesting points. He leaves the piercing insights for another day though.

Monday, November 8

Spammers!

I found a new spammer scam thats sure to irritate the living s*** out of everyone.Spam Blogs!

All I can say is I hope they catch a tropical disease. I was using the next blog feature and I ended up on Spam blogs 5 blogs in a row. How does that work? Next blog rates blog by when the last post was, well, posted. So even though these spammers are posting in random intervals (about half an houre between posts), youre almost sure to end up at one given the large number of them out there.

Why do this? Search engines such as google rate sites by the number of links to a site, and you'll see each blog post the same link in each post. Google also rates blopspot pretty highly, given that blogspot is owned by google.

Evil. The worst is that apart from looking at blogs by hand there is almost no way for blogspot to get rid of these spam blogs except by restricting everyones access. Get the spam spray.

Heres a profile of a spammer.

Putting your foot in it

Explaining how the world works.

Here is an idea Uncle Moody, let us try not to piss of the nutter in the White House ok?

Dam you.Messed coffee all over the keyboard.

Who you gonna call?

Thabo Mbeki!

The African Union on Sunday mandated South African President Thabo Mbeki to launch an "urgent mission" to resolve the crisis in Ivory Coast.

I mean, blowing up their whole air force??? Is that any way to treat your collonial subjects friends?

The Ivory Coast government carried out a devastating air raid on a French army camp on Saturday killing eight soldiers, prompting French President Jacques Chirac to order the destruction of all government planes involved in ceasefire violations.

I mean, it was an accident!

He said the attack in which the French soldiers were killed was "an accident, the sort of thing that happens when there is a war." He insisted that the French military were killed by rebel missiles and not by the bombing by the Ivorian army.

See, accident! In fact, the rebels did it!

Mbeki must be loving this. Those Norwegians are going to regret their mistake big time!

Who's afraid of the big bad Bush

Noam Chomsky Mike Golby sees the hordes of Satan descend on the innocents of Falluja. Its really just a victory celebration, you see. The people in Falluja are innocent innocents. Sheep like, really. Lambs to the slaughter.

In fact, there is no difference really between Saddam and the US. Once the bloodbath happens, we wont even hear about it. After all "the declaration of a national State of Emergency will further restrict reportage...". See, they just want to kill as many people as they can. Because its just a victory celebration...

Make sense yet? (via Rethabile, who's blaming the whole thing on religious nuts (Bush, that is))

Gay Pride

I wanted to post this Friday, but blogger seemed to have experienced a melt down. With the 'anti-gay marriage' won Bush the election meme going around, I was reminded of the party of the year in Cape Town , or so I hear.

Africa's biggest Queer Tribal Gathering - Cape Town's 11th annual MCQP costume party

Queer Tribal Gathering
Cape Town is made up of many queer tribes. Once a year, in December, they all get together for Africa's biggest Queer tribal gathering - the annual MCQP costume party. This unique home-grown event has put Cape Town on international map of Queer culture. It is planned over a period of 6 months, and culminates in weekend of celebration and splendid festivity. It has become a cultural phenomenon in the Mother City and attracts 1000's of visitors to Cape Town annually. International travel agents are chartering planes and planning trips for posses of pink playmates to come and taste our wildlife.
The costume party is formatted as a multi-venue themed fancy-dress art party and is attended by 8000 thousand partygoers - who arrive in teams in matching costumes - somehow related to the theme.

In addition to showcasing the richness of our city's creativity, the MCQP costume party also kicks-in the summer season with a memorably marvelous bash.

Music The MCQP costume party is a dance music feast. Different beats move different beasts - MCQP caters to all of them. With more than 50 dj's playing on 10 Dance floors for 24 hours.

Tickets MCQP is going back to its roots and will be reintroducing the 3-dimensional wearable ticket. (To be revealed at the Launch Party in September) Included with every ticket will be a useful MCQP summer guide for the city.

Tickets go on sale from 15 November 2004 exclusively at CD Wherehouse, V&A Waterfront.


Gay marriage might not yet be recognised in South Africa, but civil unions are. From the equality project:

Are same sex marriages legal in South Africa?"Same sex relationships are recognised for most purposes in the law, including pensions, estates, medical aids and employment benefits. "

Lesbian and gay marriages are not yet recognised in South Africa. The South African Law Commission is, however, currently reviewing the Marriage Act, with specific reference to finding ways in which to legally recognise same sex marriage.

The fact the same sex marriages are not recognised as such does, however, not mean that same sex relationships are not recognised at all. Same sex relationships are recognised for most purposes in the law, including pensions, estates, medical aids and employment benefits.

Persons who are in a same sex relationship should nevertheless take the precaution of having formal legal documents drawn up that will protect both parties and the relationship itself. The Gay and Lesbian Legal Advice Centre provides this service to its' clients, but also assists other law firms in drawing up contracts for lesbian and gay people.


That gay-bashing rightwing lunatic Andrew Sullivan posts a letter that derails the 'gay-haters elected Bush' train.

Update: I missed all the mud slinging again. Damn.

Thursday, November 4

Bored?

Pretty tough flash game. Scenta should keep you busy for the rest of the day. Still, doesnt come close to the soothing waves of Fishy.

Now you know what it takes to avoid the US elections.

Zimbabwe

The more things change the more they stay the same. Zimbabwe is still a mess. In fact, ZANU-PF has been able to solidify their hold on power. The MDC has also been unable to rally the people of Zimbabwe in any meaningful way, and I now seriously doubt whether they can do so at all.

The expulsion of the Cosato delegation was interesting if only that it has shown serious division inside the ANC's alliance, and the ANCs continued policy of not criticizing Mugabes regime no matter what.

Zimbabwes will continue its slide towards disaster. The only questions that remain is when that decline will stop (as it surely must) and whether that happens before or after South African SADC troops roll across the border.

Mark my words. The current situation in Zimbabwe can lead to only one thing, and that is war. Thabo Mbeki has been unable to achieve anything significant in Zimbabwe with his soft diplomacy, and I believe the time when a harder diplomatic line might have helped has come and gone.

Our only options now are a) hope for a miracle and b) drag this situation out so long that when our troops go over Zimbabwe is in such a shambles they've gone back to fighting with sticks.

I say on with the soft diplomacy (i.e. option b).

Its Over

Well, the American elections are over, and I for one couldn't care less any more. Bush won! Yeeha! Or, uhm, so what? Is there a difference between Kerry and Bush as far as we are concerned? I cant see it.

South Africa and Americas relationship has been a good one since the end of apartheid (not that it was that bad during apartheid), and this generally good relationship is set to continue.

Diplomatic Thabo Mbeki isn't about to be met with a firm back slap and a happy smile at the white house, but then I'm pretty sure there are few politicians in the world that would relish that prospect.

If your pet hobby the last year has been Bush bashing however, my condolences. No, really. It must be tough.

Update: Farrel agrees "...even if Kerry had won I don't think it would have much of a difference for relations between the USA and SA."

Fodder comments "So it's official - four more years.... aarrgghhhhh". Hes right about what it would have taken to win though.