Sunday, 30 November 2008

SAA Stands To Lose R62mil Per Day!

Yet again our national airline finds itself with trouble on its hands. A strike by workers which started yesterday threatens to cost the airline R62 million per day. Almost a quarter of the airline's staff are expected to down tools across all departments.

The airline has stated that it has a contingency plan in place but I am less than confident in SAA's ability to manage itself. The cause for the strike appears to be apparent unilateral changes made to employment conditions. If this is indeed true I am left to wonder whether those in management at SAA do not understand the trade union movement or whether they in fact care! A strike in 2006 cost the airline R150-million!

In court papers SAA stated that it was concerned about the image being portrayed to the international community with the Confederations Cup in 2009 and the FIFA World Cup in 2010 just around the corner. A little late in the day for concerns about international image!

Is it time for the national airline to be privatized? Even in this economic climate this may be just the change that's needed.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Makhaya Ntini's new record

As an avid cricket fan I was delighted to see South African fast bowler, Makhaya Ntini, become the highest Test wicket taker for South Africa in home test matches. With the dismissal of Bangladeshi batsman Imrul Kayes, he broke the previous record of 235 held by Shaun Pollock.

Another interesting record worth mentioning from the latest Test match against Bangladesh was that South Africa had 5 ducks in their innings and made the highest Test total by a team with 5 or more ducks!

Further up-to-date info on Makhaya Ntini can be found at CricInfo : Makhaya Ntini profile

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Kids Views On The Election - very funny!

With the President-elect busy preparing for the day he finally sits in his chair in the Oval Office and with the all the noise of the political pundits starting to die down, it is fun to take a look at what children thought of the election and the new president.

Enjoy this! ...

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Another reason not to emigrate to Australia

I was amazed to read the following on a post entitled "Top 10 Countries Censoring The Web":

Bonus: Australia

The rundown :
Discovering that countries like Iran or Yemen are censoring the web is not a big surprise. Most forms of independent media are already restricted there, and their levels of human rights are among the lowest in the world.
But what if we told you that Australia, one of the richest countries in the world, is also trying to censor websites inside its borders? Now that is scary!

How does the censorship work?
In 2007 a bill passed giving the federal police the power to block the access to any website. They already had a filtering system is place, but it was very limited in scope.
Many privacy groups and critics from the around the world claimed that this decision will directly threaten the freedom of speech on the Australian web.

What kind of content is blocked?
The government claimed that the police will be blocking mainly phishing and terrorism related websites. The problem is that the law brings a much broader definition for the potential targets: basically they can block any content that encourages, incites or facilitates criminal activity.

I always knew that Australia was a nanny-state but this seems to be taking things a little too far in a country where freedom-of-speech is espoused.

You may also want to take a look at the No Clean Feed site from Australia.

Montagu Springs flooded - change your holiday plans!

This past week the Western Cape experienced flooding which has been likened to that of the Laingsburg floods in 1981. The Avalon Springs resort in Montagu took a major hit and all bookings have been suspended. This could not have come at a worse time given that schools go on their December break in three week's time.

The Avalon Springs Luxury Spa Resort Hotel has posted two YouTube videos and a photo gallery on their site to show the damage done. I stayed at this resort earlier in the year with my family and it is quite surreal to see the pools and surrounds completely under water!

Fortunately no lives were lost at the resort but spare a thought for the family and friends of the 17-year old girl washed away in De Doorns - not far from where I live. We spotted an Oryx helicopter from our house yesterday and have now learnt that it was air-lifting people trapped in rising flood water.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Obama is the new Mandela - Really?

Over the past few days I have heard several references to Barack Obama as the world's new Nelson Mandela. I have some reservations about jumping to this comparison.

While Barack Obama has certainly made history by becoming the first black president of the United States, he has yet to prove his ability to unite a country divided by race, economic status, religious views and political viewpoint. There is no doubt that Obama showed tremendous statemanship during his campaign but the jury is still out on whether this will be continued during his presidency.

Nelson Mandela is regarded as an elder statesman and an icon to millions of people whom he lead into a new era of freedom in his country. Barack Obama is neither an "elder statesman" who has "earned his stripes", nor has he yet lead his country into a new era.

Obama certainly faces challenges and he will be given plenty of opportunity to prove his worth and whether he can live up to the high expectations of those who place so much of their trust in him.

Those leaders who live on in the conscience of human history are those who have endured for the benefit of many, those who have placed the needs of their people over their personal needs, those who show that their actions match their words, those who exhibit a level of personal leadership that speaks for itself and those whose very name elicits an awed response.

Although I believe that Barack Obama certainly has the makings of a high-level leader and that he will be a very successful president, I do not believe that it is appropriate to compare him to Nelson Mandela. If anything that very comparison weakens the legacy of Madiba.

Let's allow history to judge the legacy of Barack Obama and not get caught up in Obamamania. His stamp on history will be examined in years to come and his influence will be considered long after his tenure as President of the US has been completed.

Links :

1) Obama's victory like Mandela's: Tutu

2) Text of Nelson Mandela’s Letter to Senator Obama (New York Times)

3) A nation could be on the verge of its Mandela moment (Guardian newspaper - UK)

Monday, 10 November 2008

Miriam Makeba - Rest in Peace (Video)

Mama Afrika - Miriam Makeba - has died of a heart attack after performing in Italy. (See news article here.)

A true ambassador of South Africa, she carried the hopes and dreams of millions in her music. She will be remembered for her brave fight against apartheid and her voice which made her famous throughout the world.

Rest in peace Mama Afrika - we will miss your dearly.

Thursday, 06 November 2008

Holding The Sun!

I discovered this set of creative photographs while surfing the web today and wanted to share them with you! None of them were doctored afterwards to create the desired effect.


Creative Photographs from Flickzzz

Give Opportunity To A Child

The gift of education is priceless. It is the opportunity for lives to be changed and futures to be secured; it is the chance to rise above circumstances and "change your stars".

South Africa's history of racial discrimination has resulted in a huge disparity in educational opportunities within the country. Although the national education department is hard at work to rectify the imbalances and independent schools continue to offer scholarships to previously-disadvantaged communities, more work is needed.

Lanner House School is an independent school in Worcester in the Western Cape and is trying hard to raise money for bursaries for children from previously-disadvantaged communities. They have put together a simple capital fund-raising site where pledges can be made for anything from supporting a learning area in the school to offering full bursaries to students.

I encourage you to take a look and then consider posting a blogpost about it - let's spread the word and make a difference to the future of this country!

Click here to go to the site : Lanner House Capital Fundraising

Saturday, 01 November 2008

National Convention - SA's Democracy Grows Up

Although I have never voted for the ANC, believing instead in a strong united opposition to an already dominant political party, there were some things about the party I had come to respect. Their insistence, for example, over decades that South Africa be a free democracy in which all its citizens had an equal vote was always something I respected. Economic policy under the ANC government has transformed this country's economic standing on the world stage.

However over the past few years, it has become apparent that the ball-and-chain of freedom politics has weighed the ANC down and it has become yet another freedom party struggling to shake that yoke and become a truly democratic and representative party of the people.

The forced resignation of the president of the Republic and the subsequent nonsensical ramblings of some party faithful made many, including myself, wonder if we were at the top of a very slippery slope, wondering if perhaps our young democracy was about to be derailed by the personal ambitions of a few party elite.

I remember saying to friends and family at the time of former President Mbeki's resignation that this would be the beginning of the end of the ANC as we currently know it. Soon after came the party resignations of many senior-ranking ANC comrades. Some said this was out of respect for Thabo Mbeki, others say it was because of the manner in which the incident was handled. I believe though that these people left the ANC because they too were able to see a bleak future in which greedy politicians enriched themselves at the expense of the poor and where personal promotion came before the national interest.

This weekend's National Convention is the best thing to happen to South African politics in a very long time. It is indicative of a dissatisfaction of the status quo; a restlessness to move from promises of a better life for all to the delivery of these promises; a desire to see true democracy without floor-crossing and the expectations of race-based politics.

The fact that such a convention is happening is proof that our young democracy is growing up and that the people of this country will not sit by and watch a party which appears to have lost its way bring it to its political and economic knees.

I am hoping for a positive outcome after this convention and hoping that the 4000 expected in Sandton will leave with a clearer idea of what is needed to continue to build South Africa into a more prosperous country for all its citizens.

National Convention homepage -

Video report from Day 1 of the Convention :

Sam Shilowa invites South Africans to participate in the National Convention :