Monday, 30 June 2008

Africa Draws The Short Straw - Again...

A BBC documentary set to air in the UK on 1 July shows how British tobacco companies are targeting the youth of several African countries despite these countries having laws disallowing this and the tobacco companies having widely publicized codes of ethical marketing.

The program shows how tobacco companies use guerilla marketing to lure young people to their brand. It also shows children as young as 11 buying cigarettes and developing a life-long nicotine addiction. On a continent with 100 000 smoking-related deaths each year (this figure set to double over the next 20 years according to the World Health Organisation), this is clearly an untenable situation.

To read more go to the BBC site for this program - click here.

Why does Africa continue to be exploited by the mega-coporates of the First World? Is it simply economics without a conscience? Do those in power simply close their eyes to the explotation of a continent?

The actions of companies such as those highlighted in the BBC documentary mentioned earlier simply continue to perpetuate economic slavery on the African continent. The trade of physical bodies across oceans and indeed within Africa itself may be a thing of the past but the slavery of Africa's people to the power of the dollar continues.

It is also time for the people of Africa to draw a line in the sand and say "Enough is enough". Corruption and inefficient governance in many parts of Africa unfortunately lead to a blind eye being turned as ordinary Africans continue to suffer poverty, economic injustice and crime continue to plague our continent.

Africa - stand up!
Leaders in Africa - stand up!

Coporate power-mongers - own up!
Foreign governments - wake up!

Is this just wishful thinking or will Africa awaken from her slumber and rise to face the giants that wish to destroy her?

Franschoek Lets Me Down...

It was a typical Sunday afternoon for our family - a few hours spent driving into the country to explore a new place and then coming home again to get kids ready for the week ahead.

This weekend we decided to visit Franschoek - especially significant as it is where my wife and I spent our first few days as a married couple. The intention was to walk around town and then pop into the coffee shop at the Hugenot Monument for a refreshing cuppa, allow the kids to play a bit and then head home over the Du Toits Kloof pass instead of travelling through the tunnel.

We drove into the parking area of the Hugenot Monument and parked among another 12 or so cars. We then proceeded towards the Hugenot Museum as the sign for the coffee shop pointed in that direction. With no obvious signage I popped into the museum to ask for directions whereupon I was told by a dear old lady that the coffee shop had closed as they were having a quiet day and the staff wanted to go home! This despite a sign in the carpark indicating that they would be open until 17h00.

I then suggested to the family that we take a stroll to the actual monument through the beautifully kept garden. On reaching the gate of the garden we were met with a sign informing us of a charge to enter. Deciding against this we piled into the car and headed off to find another venue for our afternoon refreshments.

This is simply not good enough for a town that is such a tourism landmark.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Come on SA - Just add it!

Earlier this week I posted information about the TEAM SA Facebook app. Quick update - South Africa has dropped from fourth to eighth place in the list of countries with the most fans. We now lie behind Australia and Italy!

Come on all you SA Facebookers - add the app and show some SA love!

Click here - TEAM SA Facebook app

I know this may seem rather silly but what the heck, its fun!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Shoud I Stay Or Should I Go?

The title to the hit song by The Clash could well be the theme song of millions of South Africans as they ponder emigration as an option. I was delighted to find the following letter in the May issue of Your Child magazine. The name of the author was unfortunately withheld at the author's request.

I recently had to say goodbye to a very dear friend emigrating to Australia. Our children were born a few weeks apart. I was once again confronted with the question that has come up a thousand time since our children were born. Should we be raising our children in this country?

I am able to work only part-time, so I spent a lot of time with my children. They have been blessed with four fantastic and very involved grandparents.Our domestic worker is part of our family and our children adore her. If we ever emigrate I will probably become the main income earner and my children will have to be raised by teachers and nannies. They will be in a strange country, always outsiders.

I cannot do this to my children. We are staying, and we make the following pledge to our children:

* We will remain positive about the country but will make them aware of the negative side too.

* We will make our lives as secure as we can.

* We will give them the best education possible.

* We will travel as much as we can so that they can experience other countries...

and we will teach them to switch off the lights in the morning and not to use too much hot water.

Friday, 27 June 2008

46664 Concert in London - Patriotism misplaced?

I am writing this post while watching the 46664 London concert and I write these remarks as an immediate response to what I am seeing on my television screen. I know that this post will be contentious to some but I do hope they spark debate...

The massive crowd gathered in Hyde Park is witnessing a fabulous line-up of international and South African artists all presenting their music as well as their comments on Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 90th birthday. As the camera pans over the crowd many South African flags are seen flying proudly above their holders and the crowd joins in celebrating the Soweto Gospel Choir as they sing a chorus of "Jive Soweto!".

I cannot help but wonder how many of the attendees who now proudly wave their SA flags are expats who tomorrow will find themselves around dinner tables across London criticising the South African government, moaning about the high crime rate, the electricity supply problems and so on. Many of these people have legitimate concerns but have chosen to emigrate to so-called "greener pastures" where they justify their decision to leave their homeland by telling others how awful life is in South Africa.

I would like to think that these same people have skills aplenty which our country now needs. Their expertise and knowledge need to be channeled into creating employment opportunities and training and equipping local business owners and labourers.

Is this patriotism misplaced? Is all the flag-waving and cheering for South Africa the expression of an inner desire to return to the homeland?

The question I ask is this - If you have chosen to leave South Africa because of how little hope you have for its future, how can you stand in a crowd and proudly wave a South African flag? Is this not hypocritical?

As I wrote early in this post, I know this is a contentious and sensitive issue. I write this as I watch the 46664 concert and this reflects my immediate response and gut feeling.

Your response is welcome ...

For a related post see this post from June 2007.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Use Facebook to show support for SA Olympic team

With the Olympic games just around the corner why not begin to garner support for our Olympic team using Facebook?

When you add this application to your profile you will also be learning more about the team and be able to track their progress through the games, read athlete's blogs and relive some great SA Olympic moments.

You can add the application by clicking here - Team South Africa Facebook App