Category Archives: Current affairs

Why we should acknowledge Human Rights Day

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For most of us a public holiday is an excuse to party hard the night before and spend the next day either recovering or chilling with friends and family, depending how rough the night before was. It pretty much happens that way for me. Tomorrow in South Africa is Human Rights day. It’s a pretty important one and one all South Africans should actually know a thing or two about, especially if we want to move forward as a country. Something I feel passionately about.

This year marks 52 years since 69 unarmed protesters were killed by police in Sharpeville, Johannesburg. Human Rights day commemorates this day, which became known as the Sharpville Massacre. It honors the lives that were sacrificed that day and the lives that were lost in South Africa’s fight for democracy.

Human Rights day gives us an opportunity, as South Africans, to look back and reflect on the progress that has been made in ensuring the rights of all South Africans.  52 years ago, on 21 March 1960, in Sharpeville, not far out of Johannesburg, thousands were protesting against the pass law, a law which under the apartheid regime forced all black South Africans to carry a pass book, also known as a “dompas”. In this way the apartheid government was able to control the movement of all black people.

The Pan African Congress (PAC) organized national protests against these pass laws during 1960. On March 21, black South Africans were told to gather outside police stations without their pass books, thus offering themselves up for arrest. Sharpeville was not the only area that was affected by deaths during this protest. In Langa Township, Cape Town, 2 people were killed and 49 injured by the police.

In Sharpeville, 69 people were killed and more than 300 injured. The police said they opened fire because the protesters got violent, throwing stones at them, but the evidence showed that people were shot in the back thus showing that the police obviously shot at protesters fleeing the scene. 30 years later, during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission it was found that the police did indeed deliberately fire at an unarmed crowd.

The protests led by the PAC eventually led the apartheid government to call a state of emergency. This was done on March 30 1960. Then on April 8, they banned the PAC and the ANC. During this time Nelson Mandela and the other 29 that were co-accused in the Treason Trial were still on trial. In his autobiography, A Long Walk To Freedom, Mandela recalled, “The massacre at Sharpeville created a new situation in the country.”

After South Africa finally achieved democracy in 1994, March 21 was declared a public holiday known as Human Rights Day.

 President Mandela, in a statement on Human Rights Day, said: “21 March is South African Human Rights Day. It is a day which, more than many others, captures the essence of the struggle of the South African people and the soul of our non-racial democracy. March 21 is the day on which we remember and sing praises to those who perished in the name of democracy and human dignity. It is also a day on which we reflect and assess the progress we are making in enshrining basic human rights and values.” On December 10, 1996, the South African Constitution was signed at Sharpeville by Nelson Mandela and came into effect on February 4, 1997. South Africans of all races could now enjoy the same human rights after years of struggle. This is something that should be commemorated.

So enjoy your day off tomorrow but also spare a thought for how far we have come as a country and also how far we still need to go.

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KONY2012 My views

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Kony2012 may or may not be a group aimed at lining their own pockets. But they did a great thing by making this video. Most people didn’t know who Joseph Kony was a couple of days ago, let alone know what was done to thousands of innocent children. And whether his crimes are old or not, Kony should pay for what he did. I, for one, will not be visiting kony2012.com to purchase bracelets, posters or stickers. I’m not going to join an army to run into war torn Africa to find Kony myself. But again, a couple of days ago, no one knew. Now, everyone is talking about it. Everyone knows of the existence of these children. The conversation has shifted from “How’s the weather?” to “Let’s band together and make this world a better place”. It’s proof of the power of social media. The power we have at our very fingertips. And if we can do it to raise awareness for Kony, we can do it to raise awareness for everything! “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

What people fail to realize… Everyone is saying “Oh, no one is going to find him. It’s such an old issue.” But WE now know. It’s now up to US. If all you can do is share a video or change a Facebook picture, it’s still something. It’s the power of people and the power of knowledge. We don’t need to be on the front lines of an army to make a difference.

Gareth Cliff caught speeding.

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By now you would have heard about Gareth Cliff being arrested last night for drunk driving.

I saw the news break on Twitter at about 11:00pm last night. He was doing 182km/h in a 120km/h zone.

He was allegedly going to spend the night in jail but at about midnight Gareth Cliff himself tweeted, “Rumours of my imprisonment are greatly exageratted…”.

“I spent a couple of minutes behind bars, like a bad ass… but I was glad to be back home,” Gareth told Talk Radio 702 on Wednesday morning. “You know how it is, you just want to get home because you’re exhausted, and before you know it there are blue [police] lights.”

Lets remember speed kills. Even if you going 61km/h in a 60km/h zone you technically speeding. [That means I’m a guilty mother trucker.]” If you need a little reminder on the dangers of speeding, here’s a link to an Arrive Alive article. 

Happy hump day all, and don’t speed 😉

Racism: It’s time to take a stand.

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I’ve been pretty vocal on  this whole racism thing lately. So instead of sitting back bitching and moaning at people to make a change, I’ve decided I’m going to do what I can to make a change. If everybody said they couldn’t make a difference then no difference would ever be made right?

This issue is also something my sister, @Chelsikay_x also strongly about. Together we want to make a difference. Even if it’s a small difference. Maybe it will inspire someone else to do something to make a difference and together we will create a sort of domino effect and hopefully eventually racism and other prejudices will be a thing of the past.

So after a bit of a brainstorm, Chelsi and I came up with a little idea. One we hope everyone will get involved in. We want to organise photo shoots in all of South Africa’s major cities. One where anyone can come and be a part of. These photos will be professionally done and then can be used as profile pictures on social networks etc. The aim is to get as many people to have these photos as their profile pictures or avatars. It’ll create awareness and remind ourselves and others we won’t stand for racism.

Obviously the idea is still in early stages. We will need someone to head it up in each city. [We still need a representative for Joburg and Durban], will need photographers willing to work for free in each city and it would be awesome if we can get some South African “celebrities” of all races involved. We will also need to market the idea in order to get as many people involved.

If you have any ideas or would like to get involved in anyway. Feel free to comment here. Get hold of either Chelsi [@chelsikay_x] or I [@TegzAshley] on twitter. Or email me at teganashley@gmail.com

Don’t hesitate to get involved. Together we CAN make a difference.

xx

Racism is NOT ok!

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I’m sure by now many of you have heard about the racist incident at a Virgin active gym. Where a member said to another, “You bloody kaffir,you are a cockroach and next time I come to the gym I will bring Doom to spray you with”, among other things. I was appalled, disgusted, sickened and all other related adjectives when I read about this. Here’s a link to the article for those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about. http://m.iol.co.za/article/view/e/1.1227985

Maybe I was being naive in the past but I really thought South Africans as a whole were starting to slowly get over this whole racism thing but more and more I’m just starting to think it’s getting worse. South Africa is falling more and more back into a country split by a racial divide. It’s 2012, how can we have not moved on by now?

According to recent statistics I found online, 20 000 South Africans are murdered each year. Between 1000 to 3000 are white South African farmers. This racism thing goes both ways. As educated South Africans I really feel it is us that need to start making the change. We all need to stop making excuses and pointing fingers and start working together.

I had the idea of doing this blog post this morning. I’ve only gotten around to writing it now. Today I was obviously more aware of the subject, and in one day I couldn’t believe how many racist remarks I came across. Things I probably wouldn’t normally have blinked at in the past. I went through some of the comments in the article, one that stood out was something along the lines of if there was already an apology behind closed doors, why is Hleza, the victim, going to the papers now with the story. Well I’m so glad she did. This is a obviously a huge issue in South Africa and more awareness needs to be created about it.

As a young white South African I feel I can’t just stand back anymore. I urge all other young [and old] South Africans, black, white, coloured, indian, mixed race, whatever to take a stand. When you hear your friends make racist remarks, even just in conversation, say something! Stand up against racism. I truly believe that our generation has the potential to judge others based on the person and not outward characteristics. You cannot be Proudly South African yet not be proud of every national group in South Africa. Lets show that we are better than the generation before us.  This is something I feel very passionate about and if you have any ideas on how to make a difference, feel free to let me know, because we CAN make a difference!

Vote For Table Mountain

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By now all of you should know that Table Mountain is in the running to become on of the new 7 Wonders of Nature. If not, have you been living under a rock?? There’s 5 days left to go and Table Mountain isn’t even in the Top 10!!! Say what? I know, ridiculous right? So it’s time to come together as South Africans and make sure that Table Mountain doesn’t lose out on something it really does deserve. It’s not hard to vote. There’s options so no one has an excuse not to vote. Vote online here. [Tip: Don’t go vote for the Grand Canyon who obviously have 5 million hundred votes from all the Americans, vote for the ones you’ve never heard of.] Once you’ve done that vote via SMS as many times as you can. SMS Table to 34874. If you have MXIT you can vote there also. You can vote a million times if you want. You can vote via Facebook here. Join the Vote for Table Mountain facebook page, it won’t count towards votes but it’ll get the message out there.

How badly would it suck if in 5 days when the results are released, Table Mountain is not in the top 7. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen. So get voting South Africans. We can do this 🙂