Government to clamp down on racist social media posts

Racism Must Fall!

Following racist posts on social media prior to Human Rights Day, government has announced that the Department of Justice is in the process of finalising the National Action Plan against racism and related intolerances.

Government has come out and condemned racist posts that recently resurfaced on Facebook and Twitter, stating that it was a form of hate-speech and undermined everything that the Constitution and democracy stood for.

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Social Media platforms trying to discourage racism

Government Communication and Information Systems manager speaks out

Acting GCIS Director General, Donald Liphoko, said: “It is unfortunate that such comments follow hot on the heels of the country commemorating Human Rights Day. Government will actively pursue offenders through all available mechanisms including confronting employers and will not allow incidents of racism to define us as a country. What we do in defence of our country today will define who we are as a country in the future. Those found guilty of racist utterances and acts must face the consequences of their actions.”

Members of the public are encouraged to be more active in countering racism. Racism is one evil that should not be taken lightly and victims thereof should open a case, either at the police station or through the South African Human Rights Commission and the Equality Courts.

 

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Tweet that caused Helen Zille to come under fire

 

What about freedom of speech?

Whilst freedom of expression is fundamental in a democracy, free speech should never be used as an excuse for bigotry and violating the rights of another South African. Hate-speech will soon be treated as a crime with the endorsing of the prevention and combating of hate crimes and hate-speech Bill.

Government warns that citizens will be held liable for any offensive posts on social media, calling for social cohesion and harmony amongst all races.

Related Links:

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/sahrc-to-discuss-racism-on-social-media-20170215

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Local/City-Vision/events-call-for-a-thirst-buster-20170329

http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/spur-incident-20170323-2

Growing up with strict parents: Party poopers unite

Hello, Molweni and Salaam my beautiful apricots, this post goes out to my amazing dad, the most fierce and scariest man I know.

Dad, I love you and you have raised me well. Your too-firm hand has however, caused me to be a bit of a deviant. I am terrified of disappointing you, and although you’ve reared me for more than twenty years, you’ve never really met me…and this breaks my heart because, characteristically, I am the carbon copy of you….

Now, depressing analogies aside, let’s get to it folks…I am a Muslim girl who was raised by two loving parents. My dad is a Sheigh, which is sort of the Muslim version of a priest or deacon. Throughout my existence, I have either been judged by society for being ‘too Muslim’-in other words boring and rigid- or lambasted by others for not being moral enough. I have always tried to make my father proud in each and every endeavor I undertook, be it academically or concerning my Islamic studies, a superfluous venture, I now realise.

Although there are many benefits to being a firm parent, instilling in your children particular sets of values that you hold dear, isolating them is not the way to try and achieve this.

Having open conversations with your kids about life and sex is essential. It is far better to be the beacon they run to in a storm, than the wicked dictator they keep secrets from.

Being raised by a strict father meant that I always led a double life. Something as simple as wanting to attend a friend’s sleepover would require manic ingenuity, fraudulent documents and a little bit of acting. Suffice it to say then that spontaneous road-trips had never been on the cards for me. Let’s just say that it’s hard to be impulsive when it takes you at least three working days to come up with a covert escape plan.

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My life in one meme..

You guys may think I’m exaggerating, but my dad really is that strict. My life is like something out of Alias or Totally Spies. I’m like an angelic nymph by day and a disappearing ninja by night.

One of the biggest milestones my dad robbed me of has to be that all-auspicious Matric Ball. I even have tears in my eyes as I write this. Upon starting high school, every girl dreams of her senior prom: looking like a princess, eating delicious foods and maybe even making the guy she’s secretly in love with drop to his knees in awe-inspired amazement. Sadly, ladies and gentlemen, this is an experience I will never have.

A week before the event, a few of my friends conjured up a plan for me to be able to attend the ball after all. My cousin would do my hair and make-up, as well as organise my dress and shoes, I would get ready at Melissa- my best friend’s- house and two dear friends volunteered to have me drive with them to the venue, no small sacrifice as they were both secretly in love with each other. Everything was planned out, right down to the last letter-headed fraudulent document and fake emails from teachers. It was going to be a wonderful night.

However, as fate would have it, the day before the big shebang, my mother attempted to plead with my dad one last time to let me attend the ball after all, this was a big mistake as this only reminded him of the date of the occasion itself.

You see, my lovelies, my friends and I fabricated a plan that would require my lying to my parents and telling them I’d be attending our annual Lion’s Head hike (from which I always came from at about midnight) I wouldn’t have been able to stay till after midnight-much like Cinderella-but I would have had the Matric Ball experience, the gorgeous princess dress and the astonished gazes of many.

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Every girl wants to be the bell of the ball at least once in her life…. <sigh>

Being a freckle-faced, Tom-boy, none of my classmates had even seen in me in a dress, much less make-up or fancy heels.

My dream of looking like a princess, if only for one night, was shot to hell.

Till this day, I still have nightmares about that fateful night that should have been.

Okay, okay, my childhood wasn’t that bad. I just wish I didn’t always feel like an uncouth heathen for simply wanting to live my life and gain independence and freedom. Well, on the plus side, at least I’m not on drugs.

Well my apricots, I must thank you for indulging this self-pitying monologue. Remember, if you’re a parent: don’t push your kids to oblivion, if you’re an anxious youth with low-key Asperger’s Syndrome: It’s going to be okay, your parents love you and drugs are bad.

 

My top 10 romantic-est movies of all time: Converting Winter to Summer

Hello, molweni and salaam my lovely apricots. Now, as well know, the festive season is upon us with Christmas and New Year’s right at our doorstep. This is a time of happiness, open-toed shoes and ill-fitting summer romances that leave us reeling, if only for a few brief moments.

For some of us however, summer is a time of sadness, of longing for loved-ones and lovers that live far away. Like many earthlings I have met before, I am a winter baby. I long for blisteringly cold winter days, lying under the blankets, as cosy as a chicken tortilla, mismatched over-sized socks snugly in tow.

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Where my jersey at?

Instead of giving you a long list of weapons that you could use to kill all happy couples that pass you by during this difficult time, my little Wintries, I have simply decided to list my favorite romantic movies, to keep you busy whilst you long for your beloved. The idea is to keep the shades drawn like a vampire during the viewing of these sickeningly soppy love films (that I love) and pretend that sweet winter-and your sweet lover-has finally arrived.
Well, without further ado, I now present to you, my top 10 favorite chick-flicks!

1.) The Notebook-I loved both the novel by Nicholas Sparks and the movie starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gossling. If forbidden love stories starring rich girls and poor boys are your thing, you’ll definitely love this film. A stupendous tear-jerker of note.

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How would you help me remember our love if I’d suddenly forgot it all?

2.) Me Before You-Jojo Moyes is another one of my favorite authors. Although producing a tear and a sniffle, Me Before You is definitely a feel-good romance that can be watched again and again.

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Presenting the eccentric and splendiforously crazy, Louisa Clarke!

3.) A Walk to Remember-A touching film of love, faith and cancer, but don’t worry, it’s nothing like that The Fault in our stars garbage.

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The fault in our what?

4.) Kuch Kuch Hota Hai-This is one of my favourite Bollywood movies of all time. If you’ve ever been a girl who’s been hopelessly in love with her best guy friend, this movie is a must-see.

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The girl who’s always been your friend and loved you no matter what? She’s wifey.

5.) PS. I love you-I cried throughout this movie, and I don’t cry easily. Go and watch it! Now! Okay, okay, it stars Gerrard Butler, now are you enticed?

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Trust me, this is not some commercial garbage.

6.) Our Family Wedding-This rom-com is about an interracial couple who are about to marry, enough said.

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Ahem!

7.) Pride and Prejudice– I love period films and English accents! Jane Austen is a genius! If you love big frilly dresses, balls (not those balls! Parties!) and betrothals, this is definitely a film for you.

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You have bewitched me, mind body and soul and I love, love, love you!

8.) Romeo and Juliet-The original film showcased in 1968, not that travesty starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

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Never was there a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo

9.) Bridget Jone’s Diary-What can I say, I love a good dilly romance just as much as the next person. Have I mentioned that it stars Collin Firth?

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Bless her

10.) Titanic-This beautiful film should be a reminder to all women out there that there is love after love, even really great love. Jack and Rose; one of the greatest love stories of all time.

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Jack, I’m flying!

That should keep you busy until winter comes a’knocking, and remember my little Wintries, a bit of sun is good, so don’t spend all day cooped up inside. Take a trip to the beach, shave your legs and just be happy. Until next time, Ciao!

Social media reporting: to blunder or to brake

In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world of journalism, social media has become an essential tool in the marketing of news. To be the first to report on breaking news is an almost-primordial need that every reporter has, with social media platforms being the first point of contact for most. It is because of this hustle and bustle and constant hurly-burly that errors can sometimes occur.

Social Media tools
Social Media tools

This then begs the question of whether it is better for journalists to be fast in their news dissemination or slow and steady, like the tortoise in the fable of yore.

The tortoise and the hair
The tortoise and the hare

 

In terms of journalistic ethics, whether you are a follower of the Deontological or Teleological schools of thought, you are certain to see the word ‘accuracy’ typed out in bold red letters after flipping open a book on ‘Journalism 101’. Truthtelling and the concise dissemination of news are thus the bread and butter of every reporter hoping to remain employed by their respective publications.

The abovementioned ethical frameworks (deontology and teleology) are seen as the two main branches of ethics, with various other ethical principles falling into either one of these categories.

In Layman’s terms, teleological ethics deals with the consequences and goals that would be achieved through taking a particular course of action, thus basing an actions ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ on a scale of consequentialism. An example of teleogical ethics is Utilitarianism, an ethical principle associated with Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

Every action has a reaction!
Every action has a reaction!

The primary focus of deontological ethics, on the other hand, is duty and the absolute following of rules. German Philosopher, Immanuel Kant’s ‘Categorical Imperative’ is an example hereof. Unlike the utilitarian principle-which focusses on doing the greatest good for the greatest number, with happiness being the main objective-the categorical imperative stresses an action’s universality. The two main maxims of the categorical imperative are: “Always act in such a way that you can also will that the maxim of your action should become a universal law.” and “Act so that you treat humanity, both in your own person and in that of another, always as an end and never merely as a means.”

Follow the rules!
Follow the rules!

The dilemma that many journalists face regarding whether they should be the first to report on matters on social media, or wait for confirmation about the validity of facts, is one for the ages. On the one hand, we have the ‘if you snooze, you lose’ factor, and on the other, if any information disseminated by media workers is incorrect in any way, both they and their publications could lose credibility or even be sanctioned, according to the law.

Think of how many times Nelson Mandela “died” before his actual death in 2013. Lazy journalists sometimes simply see a tweet from a source that they deem as credible and propagate the information as such, without double-checking to ensure that the tip-off is not a hoax, or simply an attention-seeking troll on social media.

Going back to the utilitarian principle, which stresses that one should do the greatest good for the greatest number, whilst minimising harm, the doctrines underlined herein can also be used as an example for the importance of fact-checking.

Utility guys
Utility guys

Think of the lorry attacks that occurred in Nice on the 14th of July, as a 19-tonne cargo truck deliberately drove through crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais. These attacks were allegedly committed by the notorious terrorist organisation, the Islamic State (IS) and left more than 84 people dead. The French authorities had urged people to be responsible on social media after a myriad of false information had been showcased on Twitter, sparking panic and rage among the masses.

Nice attacks
Nice attacks

One of the tweets which stood out for me in particular, was the false-naming of a suspect in the attacks by various news organisations. Veerender Jubbal, was named as the mastermind behind the attacks, when in actual fact, a man by the name of Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was behind the travesty. The picture posted of Vereender was a Photo shopped image of him holding a Quraan, when in actual fact, he was holding his Apple Mac.

Be careful about what you retweet
Be careful about what you retweet

The false naming of any suspect is a fundamental error that journalists should steer clear of. It is far better to be the second organisation to report on any occurence, than to inadvertently ruin an individual’s life through false accusations and libel.

In terms of Kant’s categorical imperative; if a reporter was to report on an event on social media and make mistakes in, their accuracy, spelling or grammar usage and got away with said errors Scott-free, then every journalist should be painted with the same brush and never face any repercussions for negligent social media reporting.

On the other side of the coin, being fast and frugal with social media reporting can be beneficial when covering events like the local government elections, keeping audiences up to date with the goings on at various voting stations.

Traffic reports can also be done via Twitter and can be seen as a service to the community at large, instead of making them wait every 60 minutes for the ‘on-the-hour’ news report.

Holistically, social media is a tool that should be used by journalists responsibly in order to disseminate information at a faster rate than any other medium. It is important to always double, and even triple check your facts before circulating any information to the public. We are the leaders and should always be wary of our social responsibility towards the public we serve. At the end of the day, the buck stops with us.

 

 

 

Food and health: Cape Town’s wealth or downfall?

“Even though I have fat thighs, flabby arms, a pot-belly still gives good loving.”
The aforementioned lyrics, sung by the South African band, Freshly Ground, are words I have been living by my entire life. At 21, I still find myself awkwardly shimmying-because I cannot dance to save my life-to the sounds of some ‘big-girl pride’ song, my chubby cheeks flushed, suppressing bawdy laughter.

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Stop laughing though, this is serious!

It was this sequence of events that got me thinking about food and the availability thereof in Cape Town, as well as a few healthy-living programmes that the city has to offer.
There are many free ‘boot-camp’ fitness centers in the Grassy Park and Lotus River areas. All you need to do in order to join any one of the programmes, is fill in a simple form containing your details and avail yourself on Monday and Thursday evenings. Being a stone-throw away from where I reside, I decided to start my ‘summer-body’/crash diet fitness regime by attending a rigorous three-hour boot-camp training session. After endless panting and breathlessness. I decided that being fat is better than torture, and never went back.

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Nutrition and regular excercise can increase your quality of life

Food security has always been an ever-increasing dilemma that South Africans face, with the Rand weakening and inflation trends skyrocketing ever more.

This begs the question then of how communities can get involved in starting healthy-living initiatives and ensure that those who are less fortunate go from being the ‘have-nots’ to the ‘have-somethings’.
Perivale Primary school, located in Lotus River, took matters into their own hands by starting a school feeding scheme in 1997, which is still in operation today. The project was established by parents and teachers who noticed that students who were hungry struggled to concentrate in class. This feeding scheme serves both breakfast and lunch to needy students, ensuring that they receive nutritious meals at least five days a week.

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Feeding scheme at local school

Functioning on a largely voluntary basis, the organisation often battles to obtain funding in order to purchase everything they need, as committee member, Ghairieyah Herman, alluded to me. “We often need to take money out of our own pockets to buy ingredients used to make the food because the money is just not there.”
Local municipalities need to offer their assistance to worthy causes like this one, that are established purely for the embetterment of the community. The greater the financial aid provided, the more feeding schemes that could be started, ensuring that no child would go hungry.
Teaching people how to start and manage their own food-gardens-no matter how small their backyards are-would also be effective in the avenue of food security. Community members would not only learn a new skill-set, but also witness first-hand, the miracles of Mother Nature and the beauty of science.

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Grow your very  own veggies in your garden!

Soup kitchens should be set up in every impoverished neighborhood, roping in local community leaders for financial assistance.

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Soup kitchens help the needy and homeless

Food is one of our basic human needs and should be made available to each and every South African. Together we can!
ENDS/ 450 words

 

Yum and fun with Meersman

As I sit at my father’s office, ballpoint pen rammed aimlessly in my frizzy bun, notepad atop my flannel-covered thighs, I begin reading the three Meersman articles with an already-pending sense of dejection.

BORED
Yawn fest

Having read an endless litany of boring and fiercely academic pieces for my other lecturers, I was fully expecting to do no more than half-heartedly peruse the long texts. It was only after I opened the first blog-post article by Meersman, in which he looked back on the restaurants that he had previously reviewed, that I realised that I was greatly mistaken and found myself wispering: “This man is an amazing writer.”
Now for a bit of background: Brent Meersman is a South African Political Novelist who has been working for the Mail and Guardian since 2003, writing review pieces on travel, literature, the arts and food. His food column, Once Bitten has been met with numerous successes and is particularly popular with the readers.

BRENT
Meersman has lectured Arts Journalism at the University of Cape Town and has published many well-known novels. Furthermore, he was also the Editor of Cue, a Daily newspaper of the National Arts Festival.
In 2008, the Once Bitten baby was born.
As I read word after word of the Once Bitten blog, I realised that Brent had perfected what all writers long for: storytelling whilst silmuntaneously presenting the reader with facts.
Brent had reached Nirvana.
I felt my mouth water as I read his review on the Masala Dosa restaurant. Not only were his words colourful and descriptive as he retold his experiences with each of the five courses, he also added interesting photographs of each dish.

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Falooda with Rose ice-cream

Even now as I write this, I feel my tummy rumbling as I picture the appetising Falooda and ice-cream, then again, I love food, so I might be slighly biased.
It was only his third article on why many African writers leave their respective countries to live abroad, that I found slightly tedious.
Instead of presenting the interview as the final piece, I feel that he could have shaped each question and answer into a well-versed story in order for the audience to make up their own minds on the findings of his investigation.
Above statement notwithstanding, Brent Meersman is certainly a wonderful writer who connects with the reader and makes them feel.