Archive for November, 2009

Is Jacob Zuma delivering? Sheria takes a look at the political events in South Africa before and after the elections

PERSPECTIVE
The dust has finally settled and the curtain closed. The African National Congress (ANC)emerged victors of the 2009 presidential and parliamentary elections. Their landslide victory comfortably secures them an upper hand in driving the affairs of South Africa and its infant democracy.
However, the ANC still faces major challenges as it desperately fights to keep the legacy of one of the world’s most respected statesmen, Nelson Mandela. It is a legacy that rescued South Africa’s black population from the ruthless and cruel hands of apartheid. Yet, not even a fresh faced election victory masks the challenges still facing this government.
Zuma’s government has a huge task in gaining the confidence of an electorate which ushered them into power. His government still has a lot to achieve and prove, in order to convince its people at the grassroots especially those living in abject poverty,  that his cabinet are worth their vote and are committed to bringing positive change and alleviating poverty in their communities.
In the past decade South Africa has faced a serious political meltdown threatening the maturity of its infant democracy.
History remembers well the sacking of then deputy president Jacob Zuma by former president Thabo Mbeki. At a high profile press conference, Mbeki disclosed that allegations of corruption against Zuma were the motivation behind his decision to remove Zuma from office.
The decision by Thabo Mbeki to fire Jacob Zuma as his deputy president enraged the ANC, which would later force Mbeki to vacate his presidency. Mbeki was accused of being on a mission to block all avenues that would see Zuma the next president of South Africa.
With integrity and dignity, a sombre Mbeki obliged.
History also remembers vividly why in the past decade, South Africa’s political chores have been widely criticized and put under scrutiny by Africa and the rest of the world. Former president Thabo Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy towards the Zimbabwe crisis was a much talked about issue that contributed to both South Africa and Zimbabwe’s political woes. Mbeki’s approach in dealing with Zimbabwe’s political crisis was widely condemned and as such, was seen by political scholars as a serious weakness on Mbeki’s ability to resolve conflicts. Thabo Mbheki’s quiet diplomacy wreaked havoc on Zimbabwe and has negatively impacted on South Africa’s political image. In a desperate move to resolve Zimbabwe’s political problems, deep seated members in the ANC wanted an entirely different approach to the Zimbabwe crisis as opposed to Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy. Frustrated ANC members wanted Mbeki to openly condemn Robert Mugabe’s land reforms which has culminated in the mass murderers of white farmers and MDC cadres. The ANC also wanted Thabo Mbheki to condemn Mugabe’s habit of clinging to power. In the same breath, Africa and the rest of the world accused Mugabe of rigging that country’s elections, which would have seen Morgan Tsvangirai become Zimbabwe’s first democratically elected president, since Robert Mugabe’s regime.
Thabo Mbeki’s failure to resolve conflicts affecting SADC regions especially Zimbabwe’s crisis was seen by many especially the United States and European union as a major blow to Africa’s political and economic development. He failed miserably and his silent approach only contributed to that country’s tragic political and economic demise. Last month, Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted Zimbabwe’s power sharing deal with Robert Mugabe but has since called off his boycott and has now demanded Robert Mugabe implement the agreements on the pertinent issues which that country is concerned about. To date, the political situation in Zimbabwe is still unripe with no talk bearing fruit.  Zimbabwe is yet to see positive results of a power sharing government.
Zimbabwe, a country once known as the bread basket of Africa has the highest inflation rates and now lies in the shadows of its former glory; isolated, plagued by starvation and violence, and currently sits on economic sanctions slapped on its government by international institutions.
The tragic events of  that country’s political and economic events have seen an influx of Zimbabwean refugees cross into South Africa in order to escape political unrest and starvation in their own country. Everyday,  some hundreds of Zimbabweans brave the storms to seek refuge in South Africa. Of these immigrants, a large 80% are illegal immigrants who resort to crimes ranging from white collar crimes to violent crimes in order to survive the streets of South Africa, especially Johannesburg. Whilst it is a fact that most of these crimes are partly committed by indigenous south Africans, illegal immigrants from all over Africa seeking a better life in South Africa yet end up finding themselves on the streets of South Africa are more likely to commit crimes on a regular basis in order to survive the harsh realities of life on the streets.
There has been a disturbing increase in crime in recent months with banks being targeted. Crimes committed regularly include rape,  senseless murders, house robberies, car thefts, car hijackings, with the introduction of ATM bombings in 2008 being the latest crime fashion.
South African police are been full on their hands and a record high of police lives have been lost in the line of duty in their quest to combat these crimes.
Add xenophobia attacks to the list and you know Zuma’s government faces major challenges in winning back the confidence of its electorate. In 2008, South Africa experienced one of the worst crimes committed by Africans against each other in xenophobic attacks. Hundreds of foreigners were viciously attacked a year ago by indigenous South Africans who accused foreign Africans especially Zimbabweans of taking what is left of their economy. Lack of government’s failure to deliver on its promises fuelled anger amongst South Africans living in squalor, hence the underlying motivation behind the xenophobia attacks. South Africans living in abject poverty have since taken to the streets to protest against government’s failure to deliver on its promises. In recent weeks, Xenophobia has reared its ugly head again in De Doorns in the western cape forcing some 2,400 African foreign immigrants to vacate their homes and failing to report for work.
Despair and pent up anger amongst indigenous South Africans living in deplorable conditions in shanty compounds has reached fever pitch as they helplessly watch their foreign counterparts rise up to economic challenges.
However, in spite of all these challenges, President Jacob Zuma insists that job creation, crime reduction and alleviating poverty is top of the agenda on his list, but people are increasingly getting frustrated and are taking to the streets in mass protests in an attempt to have their voices heard, and their patience is fast running out.
The United States and European union have urged Zuma to speed up change in Zimbabwe so that there is a change of leadership in that country. They have openly condemned Mugabe’s constitution and land reforms and continue to lash out at Mugabe for bringing that country to its tragic fall and subjecting his people to starvation and violence.
With corruption and a tendency of practicing half baked democracies being the norm in most African countries,  the United States and European union demand governments adhere to its mandate. It warns African governments and other undemocratic governments around the world to rid themselves of corruption and practice transparency in order to qualify for funding which could save their economies.

Hard pressing challenges are looming over the ANC’s shoulders and the world is now watching Zuma closely more than ever before with keen interest and anticipation, to see how his government rises to these challenges-By Sheria Mwangala, Freelance journalist,  Johannesburg South Africa.

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HERO FOR A DAY

Last night, after watching footage of the Glastonbury festival, what I saw REALLY inspired me to write a song intitled Hero for a day or Hero, or I wana be a Hero. Now the title is subject to change. Here is a teaser which is copyrigted. Yeah, every artists’ work IS copyrighted so that it is NOT STOLEN. It is a teaser of lyrics, audio teaser coming soon…

 HERO

THE EAGLES FLYING HIGH IN THE SKY

ALL THE SILENCE IS DEAD; ALL THERE IS, IS LAUGHTER

CHILDREN SMILING HOLDING THE HAND OF HOPE

NOISE IS SILENCE…(hey I said it’s a teaserrrrr)!! -Guys, you don’t even have to comment, but if you do, no problem. This teaser is meant for my soon to be music fans!! LETS GO!!

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Sheria asks: Did you just call your man a dog??

Last night I posted a tweet which to some may have just been a joke, but I was serious in every sense of the quote. As I was reminiscing over my tweet, my ever organic mind came to one conclusion: the human mind is not only interesting but can be intentionally complex. Here is how I phrased that tweet: “The dog is the most loving, loyal animal, exhibiting qualities of unconditional love. So why do scorned women call a cheating man a dog? Makes you think and it raises many unanswered questions such as: Why do people equate such a loyal and loving animal like a dog to a cheating man?? Just what did a dog do to be painted in such a negative light? Have humans become so unappreciative and cruel to the animals they co-habit with, that they now can’t see animals of the universe for what they really are? Even worse, cheating men are called dogs, so what do you call cheating women? Let’s be honest, there are women who give cheating a good name. As an observer of everyday life, I see things everywhere I go; things someone who doesn’t posses a curious mind may not be able to see. I am the first to say, lots of women do cheat as well. I am a woman myself and I’ve heard cheating whispers from women in the corridors.
So next time you call a cheating man a dog, think of that poor loving animal who is loyal, kind and loving you unconditionally, because ironically, you are saying your cheating man posses the same qualities as that of a dog…

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The F- word!

Getting to write the first blog post must feel like being in rehab for the first time at some alcohol, drug or gambling anonymous centre, although I must remind my readers that I have NEVER been in any of these institutions. What does one say on the first day of blogging?? Hi, My name is Sheria?? What does one write about?? Aaah, so much; the pains, the joys of life, life’s never ending adventures…yes, every good reason to put ink to paper. We all have a story to tell don’t we, be it a good or bad one. We all have heared other people tell their stories of laughter and tears and for some reason, we want to narrate the stories we have heared. I have always been been a keeper of thoughts,  very interesting thoughts, or  so I have been told which is why my blog is intitled SPOKEN THOUGHTS. We will go on a journey of  thought about issues you too may have been thinking about, well probablyhave  thought of  all your life! Well let’s cut to the chase, shall we? My thoughts lately have been playing around the F word, FAME. Most people perceive fame as glamorous, that you are some what untouchable, a little God, or a Goddess for that matter. The allure, the glamour and the glitz of fame can all be very tempting, but fame may very well be just an illusion. It is only until you REALLY are in the web of  fame that you really understand what comes along with fame and the price FAMOUS people pay for  being famous. As a journalist myself who first became quite famous for being a radio presenter at Christian Voice Radio in Zambia and ended up getting REALLY REALLY famous for being a presenter at the Zambia national broadcasting corporation in Central Africa, the word fame does not excite me in the least. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast. I was adored by aspiring presenters, by fans from all walks of life and of all age groups. But people have huge expectations when you are famous; that you can not shop for instance at certain chain stores, that you must always be nice to people even in the most difficult situation; that you must always look perfect, but we all know that looking perfect only happens in a land called dream world. People do not understand that you are only human despite being famous. Those who have never heared me hold a note have always asked if I wanted to be a singer just for the fame of it. Alas! I would rather be a great cook, a wife to a farmer in the country than have the fame of this world with it’s complexties! It just happens that God gave me gifts that would throw me in the spotlight! Alright, alright, fame comes with a lot of perks especially when you don’t have to stand in line for stuff. Yes, fame has CERTAIN priviledges. Fame sometimes pays your way out of trouble especially when you DUI, right? But let’s for a moment REALLY look at the flip side of fame and its disadvantages. Ever wondered tabout he simple priviledges you would miss out on if you really became famous?? Let’s take a look at a few: walking your dog without being mobbed by people, having a bad hair day without people having to raise their eyebrows? Yes, that pressure of always looking HOT? yeah? Now if you are famous, you will agree that you have for instance the task of having perfect hair just in case a paparazzi is hiding in the woods. How about having your foto plastered on the front pages of the tabloids just because your buddies carried you to your car after an assault on tEquilas?? Yet, if you are not famous, no one REALLY cares if we fall prey to all the above. Talk at the pool table would be, “some chick got pissed out of her skull last night and was carried to her SUV. After that, the conversation IMMEDIATELY dries up in thin air. I have never really understood people who really love fame, are obsessed with fame and would do anything to be in the limelight, to be famous…I thought it fitting that my first post should tell people that even as we chase our dreams,  we should do just that; just chase our dreams, the gifts God gave us and not go into music, sport etc for the fame of it or we will crack under all the pressures that come along with fame… Bottom line is, fame is not what it’s all cracked out to be…Fame can be a very lonely place…At the end of the day, we may just KNOW that it’s okay, that it is priceless and cool to be infamous afterall…

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