Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Archive for the tag “tenderpreneurs”

Protests about local government elections

Some strange things are happening with people protesting about the local government elections, and apparently, according to news reports, threatening to boycott them.

More than 30 cars torched during Durban riots:

eThekwini Metro Police spokesman Superintendent Sbonelo Mchunu had said on Monday that the protests had been sparked by “disgruntled people who were not elected”.

Many of the protesters were wearing yellow African National Congress T-shirts emblazoned with the face of President Jacob Zuma.

The area is ward 34 and it is understood that those protesting are unhappy with the selection of candidates for the upcoming local government elections on 3 August 2016.

Protests of that kind made sense in the apartheid era, when most people didn’t have a vote. They make little sense now, when people do have a vote. It seems that we need a lot of political education in democracy.

If you are not happy with people who have been nominated, don’t block roads with burning tyres and cars and threaten to boycott elections. Nominate the people you do want. That’s how democracy works. Don’t protest, organise! Where are the civic organisations of the 1980s now that we need them?

The news reports have been confusing and less than informative.

On one hand, it sounds as though people are disgruntled because one party (in this case the ANC) has parachuted in candidates for local ward elections from elsewhere.

If that is so, the remedy is for local people to nominate their own candidates and campaign for them, reviving civic organisations if necessary.

torchcarOn the other hand, there is a possibility of a more sinister scenario that cannot be excluded — that people with vested business interests in being elected have sought nomination and lost. Unfortunately there are such people. In the USA this is called pork-barrel politics, and it is quite possible that some businessmen, unhappy that the candidates they could influence were not nominated, stirred up mobs to protest. That happened quite a lot in the xenophobic riots of a few years ago, where local businessmen, thinking that foreigners were undercutting them, incited mobs to attack foreigners. People like that, of course, will have no interest in forming civic organisations or nominating “people’s” candidates — they want candidates they can buy and control.

The headline of the article may have been more alarming than what actually happened: More than 30 cars torched during Durban riots: Zwane said that five people were arrested on Monday after protests that had seen the torching of more than 30 cars, most of which had been dragged from scrap yards, and a number of lorries.

I hope that the media fully report the trial of those five people, so that we can get a better i8dea of what was really happening and who was behind it. In the same way, I hope they fully report the trial of the people arrested in connection with the recent burning of schools in Limpopo. I find it hard to believe that a community would deliberately try to damage their children’s future in such a way. Tenderpreneurs, on the other hand, faced with the possibility of having to deal with municipal councillors who were not in their pockets, might well incite people to do so.




Bling bling, it’s bling they say

Blogger Clarissa recently wrote this account of the popularity of religious symbols among the Russian nouveau riche The Russian and His Gymnast | Clarissa’s Blog

So I’m snoozing on the beach, right? And I hear a man’s voice that says in Russian, “Come on, girls, stop climbing the railing. What will people think? That everybody walks on the footpath like normal people, and only the Russians have to act all weird? Remember that people see us as representatives of our country abroad.”

Obviously, I was eager to see this defender of the image of Russians, so I opened my eyes. I saw a family: a man, a woman, and two precious little girls who were, indeed, trying to climb the railing. The man was a huge, burly Russian in minuscule shiny speedos that were smaller than even those worn by aging Italian gentlemen. He was also wearing a gold chain that was as thick as my finger. I have very small, dainty fingers, but still just imagine a chain like that.

Hanging from this chain there was a huge gold gymnast. A gymnast is a big golden cross that the Russian nouveau riche used to wear to show off their recently acquired wealth.

You have to see it, though, to believe it.

I was aware that something was going on 20 years ago, when our parish in Johannesburg was visited by Bishop Viktor of Podolsk. He was brought to South Africa by the Russian Chamber of Commerce to bless their new office in Johannesburg. I was mildly surprised that they would bring a bishop all that way for such a thing, and attributed it to inexperience. They weren’t familiar with chambers of commerce after 70 years of Bolshevik rule, and were probably even less familiar with bishops. But they all seemed to be wearing securocrat suits just like their South African counterparts. The bling must have come later.

Hat-tip to my friend Plamen Sivov who provided the link the the picture, and also some more explanation:

The whole gymnast thing comes from a popular Russian joke about the “new Russians”, the low-culture nouvelle riche. The story goes like this: a “new Russian” goes to a jewelry store and asks for a golden cross that would fit his social status. The store keeper brings a big golden crucifix. The rich guy looks at it and says: Take down the gymnast, wrap up the rest.

…and the gymnast association is probably related to the finishing position of any gymnastic performance – with hands stretched out and all. Those mafia-type guys from the joke (we have them in Bulgaria too) were known to be closely related to the sports clubs in the early years of post-communist transition.

And here I was thinking that our tenderpreneurs were bad. They’ve got a long, long way to go to catch up with the Russians or the Bulgarians. Kitschy kitschy koo.

I never drove white voters away: Malema

The Yanks have Sarah Palin; we have Julius Malema. I don’t know which is worse. I know that there are political loose cannons in every country, but, as someone once said, the trouble with political jokes is that they get elected.

I never drove white voters away: Malema: City Press: Politics: News:

Malema told delegates that it was not true that he drove whites away from the ANC, saying only that white voters never voted for the governing party even during former president Nelson Mandela’s leadership.

“They (whites) never voted for Mandela in 1994 and they never voted for (president) Thabo Mbeki,” he said.

Malema said whites had not voted for Mandela even when he was involved in reconciliation.

I’ve got news for you, my china.

I’m white, and I voted for Mandela in 1994.

I voted for Mbeki in 1999, though not in 2004.

In 2004 and 2009 I voted for Patricia de Lille and the ID, because I thought voices like Patricia de Lille’s needed to be heard in parliament.

I didn’t vote in the local government elections last month. I don’t get to vote for the mayor of Cape Town, and I didn’t even know who the candidates were in our ward. But the main reason was not ideological. I happened to be away on holiday (and you can see our best holiday pics here — I think they’re quite cool, even though I say so myself).

And more and more I’m seeing the truth of what G.K. Chesterton wrote:

When the business man rebukes the idealism of his office-boy, it is commonly in some such speech as this: “Ah, yes, when one is young, one has these ideals in the abstract and these castles in the air; but in middle age they all break up like clouds, and one comes down to a belief in practical politics, to using the machinery one has and getting on with the world as it is.” Thus, at least, venerable and philanthropic old men now in their honoured graves used to talk to me when I was a boy.

But since then I have grown up and have discovered that these philanthropic old men were telling lies. What has really happened is exactly the opposite of what they said would happen. They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my old childlike faith in practical politics. I am still as much concerned as ever about the Battle of Armageddon; but I am not so much concerned about the General Election. As a babe I leapt up on my mother’s knee at the mere mention of it. No; the vision is always solid and reliable. The vision is always a fact. It is the reality that is often a fraud. As much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in Liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Liberals.

Or, as Jeremy Taylor used to sing:

One fine day I’ll make my way to 10 Downing Street
“Good day,” I’ll say, “I’ve come a long way excuse my naked feet.
But I lack, you see, the energy to buy a pair of shoes
I lose my zest to look my best when I read the daily news,
’cause it appears you’ve got an atom bomb
that’ll blow us all to hell and gone
I’ve I’ve gotta die then why should I
give a damn if my boots aren’t on.”

And the death of Albertina Sisulu last week rubs it in.

It’s not the atom bomb that threatens us now, but when I read the daily news it’s all about a bottomless sea of greed and mediocrity.

Politicians of Albertina Sisulu’s generation stood for something and they fought for something, and one could admire them.

If we had a General Election today I wouldn’t know who to vote for.

As someone else said, How do politicians resemble a bunch of bananas?

The answer: They’re all yellow, they hang together, and there’s not a straght one among them.

Actually there’s one guy left I might be prepared to take seriously.

That’s Zwelinzima Vavi, the trade union leader.

In today’s paper he was quoted as saying

You cannot tell the workers and the poor that your real ambition is accumulation and more and more (of an) expensive bourgeois lifestyle and opulence; you have to talk their language even though everything you are is about accumulation and self-centredness. Tenderpreneurs present themselves as mMessiahs to advance their narrow economic agenda.

At least he sees the problem, or part of it.

Trouble is, as long as the tripartite alliance lasts, there’s no chance of voting for him.

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