Sea point me in the right direction.

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The promenade in Sea Point has to be one of the best in the world.
It’s filled with happy new families walking together to the different parks for the kids to play in. There’s fit people running up and down and sometimes working out on the workout bars provided at the end, or beginning (depending where you come from), of the promenade. You will also have the pleasure of viewing some of the sexiest people Cape Town has to offer with one of the most spectacular sun set backdrops behind them. It’s mesmerizing. It’s long, clean and above all else it’s safe. It is one of the best spots in the world…
But when that beautiful sunset has bowed down completely, the path along Beach road starts to sing a different tune.

It was 2001 when I made my first trip to Cape Town, that was not a school trip or family vacation. It was a lover and myself off to explore the apparent gay Mecca of Africa. After much sightseeing I turned to the bf and asked if we could drive down the street cluttered with stray rent boys to which he was more than eager to do. Why? Was this another sight to see? Well, after the heavy expose’ that featured on Carte Blanche a few weeks prior, I just wanted to quench my curiosity. I’m from a small mining town, the idea that there is a street filled with men you could climb on top of for some change was just something I needed to see. So we drove out to the road and true to word as soon as you drive slowly so many men start coming out of the dark to show you what they have on offer. Did we pick one up? No, mainly because it’s sad. It’s not sexy. It’s pathetic, and that makes it sad.

Twelve years down the line and Sea Point is free of hookers and drug pushers… Or so I thought.

After a delicious supper I wanted a stroll down the walkway, partly to get the digestives going, and partly to smoke a j. It was a cold night – I had a leather jacket on. To my right I see a boy standing at the bus stop. Sure, he could be waiting for a bus, but hello, the SA bus services have been on strike for like three weeks and the boy in question is in a tank top and tiny shorts – did I mention I was in a leather jacket? Poor little rent boy. Moments later another man comes towards me and tries to spark a conversation but I know this is just the beginning of his sales technique. I’m a sister with enough rings around my trunk, you feel me? So I know. Say hello, keep it polite, but keep going.

WTF? Have we stepped back in time? Why are the hookers back? And why am I so irked? For one main reason… With online sleaze, bathhouses and action bars there’s really no need to be prowling around a children’s play ground offering sex. Similarly there is no need to solicit sex there either. So who is to blame? “Straight” men… Of course. The reason it’s happening is because the clients that pull up on beach road are not men who would go to the bathhouses or action bars. They won’t have online hookups. Because they’re not gay so they can’t be seen at a gay establishment and it pisses me off. You give homosexuality a sleazy name, one I struggle to combat even only in conversational context… No no no, I’m accusing, and assuming and maybe behaving like a prude.

Everyone needs to make money… Right? Who am I to say how. And some men need to pay for a little something something, who am I to say they can’t?

I let it go. For the meantime.

The next morning I went for the same walk and was lost in the sky and the sea with the mountain and the grass when oops, I stepped in shit. And I am back to where I was last night. It’s not about hating prostitution. It’s about activism. Activism for the park. It is not a place for hookers. It’s is not a place for sex. And tough as it may seem to understand, it is not a place for dogs to drop a coil.

It’s the one place that, seemed to be, free of shit. I would love it to actually be. Just one little place, and I guess it’s as easy as not picking up a hooker – there – and taking your dog to dump on one of the other many walks out there for them… Thats If you can’t pick it up.

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The Straight Prize?

“Ten, eleven, twelve…” and I place the barbell back on the floor, grab my bottle, slug a swig and proceed to hit another set of thrusters when he sits down on the bench beside me, reaches for two heavy dumbbells and pumps up his biceps. His two huge arms become engulfed in pulsating veins. He looks up at me and smiles.

What’s a man to do?

“One, two, three, four…” no need to stop what I am doing, so I thrust away pulling the bar up onto my shoulders and then above my head. “Ten, eleven, twelve…” and I drop the bar back to the floor before I take a seat. Sweat dripping from my face, I watch as his arm has almost grown double the size since he walked in. The man’s packing some serious arm beef. He knows I’m looking, I can feel he is aware, as if the air pressure has changed to some degree from comfort to confinement. “Hey?” I give the man my friendliest hey-there-fellow-gym-goer hello, and he responds with the more appropriate slight-smile-and-head-dip “how’s it hanging?”

Lonely in the gym.

When one focuses on changing ones physique the idea that it may become a lonely task is lost on the drive to become bigger or buffer or tighter. And to spite the admiration I may find in many men’s bodies, that is where it ends – at admiration. So imagine my surprise when the friendly hello turned into some clever banta followed by “Do you like the steam room?”

The straight prize?

At what point, as a homo, does a straight man get off thinking he is a prize for me? Would the true attraction not lie in the attraction two people share for each other? Attraction from one side is not merely attraction for another if in fact an act displaying that attraction follows… It’s plain old obsession. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to give a flip flopping straight man that kind of power boost. Ergo, go fuck yourself straight boy.

Much love to all my homo brothers!

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Something a little Old – but Unsolved

Tis the season to be jolly?

Walking through the mall, I am met full-force by the on set of the festive season. Merry this and jolly that, ho-ho-ho and a happy kinda red and green, and a few more eye sore decoration go by before: “Can I interest you in a lovely gift for your wife?” I hold back from just ripping the stupid little sales girl a new hol-d-on a second, as a news headline – ever so small yet unavoidable to the trained headline spotter – on a newspaper alongside the frightening filler gifts states: “Police admit there is a gay serial killer.” What? Only now. Okay, at least they are admitting it, lets be grateful for the first steps towards recovery, even if they may be juvenile in their pace.

What’s the Ho-Down?

So if you don’t know let me get you up to speed: for almost two years now gay guys have been turning up dead in very much a similar pattern. Something that appears to be a casual hook up has turned into the last hook up for some of these poor individuals. So what are we left to deduce from this? Are we to blame for or callus behavior when it comes to taking a trick home with us? Although it would be unfair to lambaste these events as tricks when they all seem to stem from online hook-ups, which is a totally different thing, in the sense that you get to, sort of, know the guy before you decide to take him home. From my experience, men tend to gravitate towards online hooks ups for the basic anonymity of it all. Apparently a real person is a turn off compared to what your mind can create yet, ironically enough, as much as you make believe the man to be more than he actually is, the truth of it is you are still having sex with the man as he is, and you will only come to realise this next week when he is standing at the bar with all his other queen friends and he is hardly the power top you initially envisioned. But I’m side lining here, it’s this ridiculous notion of anonymity that creates such a volatile space in which a dangerous game of cat and mouse can play out in full fruition. So what’s the solution? Maybe, with all this Christmas ho-show-down, the truth lies behind the homosexuality imbedded in the nativity scene? Wait? What? Homosexuality? Where? Well, gentlemen, if you think that those wise men kicking back with each other on camel back staring up at the stars didn’t bump uglies on more than one occasion then you are romanticizing a world where the birth barn didn’t smell like a barn. And I’m sure it did. As I am sure the reason these three men, with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (can we get anymore camp here?), were so wise because they shared the love that dared not speak it’s name. So how might the gayness of the three wise men be an inspiring/forewarning story for all us homos? How can it help in today’s age? \for the obvious reason, – they knew each other. They shared a common interest – the stars – and this interest led them to get to know each other. The occasional coitus between astrologers was purely coincidental.  And it’s their love for the stars that makes a playing field for playful fun between men safe, and in my opinion deeper.

And my hi-pitched rant is about?

So, what I am trying to preach without preaching is, maybe the festive season should not be about the conquests and the challenges for the empty hi-five with your mates the next morning but the experiences lived with a holiday romance, transcending the idea of the lascivious gay man’s hedonistic approach towards sexual gratification into something far more perplexed and memorable when it comes to living out our salacious souls. This is not about keeping your dick in your pants but presenting the present as a gift, something special, something where the man receiving the mystery package can unwrap it like it’s his first Christmas prezzy ever, with excitement in his eyes. Let’s take Christmas back, if for no other reason than to ensure we all come out of it alive, and smiling.

Born This Way?

An article on news24 sparked my interest about the pros of having gay parents but the comments fueled the rage. A man by the name of Gary – who has an unhealthy obsession with the anus – spurted a whole bunch of homophobic junk in the idea that we are not born this way. To which I replied that my gayness and his ugliness (yeah, I did a little Facebook stalk and saw that Gary is not only ugly, but fat, and has 73 friends) are directly attributed to the same thing, genetics.

Now before you start raving about the gay gene let me say there is no such thing, but on top of that, genetics is such a highly complex compound that naming it as a simplified noun couldn’t be further from the truth. Now there are a certain amount of genetic strands that will start to build this new life and many of which will give an inclination towards homosexuality but not necessarily ensuring that the zygote in question will turn out homosexual, I mean why are some girls complete whores and others complete saints? The answer may stem from genetics.

Now if genes make up a certain amount of a persons predisposition then societal norms and familial dispositions would directly effect a child’s mannerisms, behavior and style choices, which is why we have burly, beefy bears and mincing, flapping queens who still do the same thing – suck dick – both gay but with different upbringings.

A study was done a few years ago in Italy where they took a few families where there is one son with more than one daughter and measured the difference, if any, between the two. What came up interesting was that the families with one straight son, the daughters had few or no children compared to the families who had one gay son, the daughters had more children. What does this say? That the “gay” genetics are not necessarily about homosexuality but about the attraction to men. Seeing how the gay son was attracted to men (obviously) that same genetic attribute spilled over onto the girls in the family and they in turn breed like flies – those girls just couldn’t get enough man action.

So with all this research One is left to wonder how can a man like Gary still believe in what he is saying. His reply : “God said this, and God wants that…” and I slowly died a little inside. I may be a spiritual person, but it’s a private thing and I will never even try explain my beliefs to another human being, let alone use them to support an argument. And the idea that a man can tell me what God likes and doesn’t, makes me feel like I am living in never never land, with Dorothy, spinning golden thread, waiting for a prince to kiss me and wake me from a comatose sleep… Basically I feel like I just ate a bunch of crazy pills.

By the end I realized that there are so many synonyms for stupidity, homophobic being one of them. And only stupidity tries to have a sensical debate with stupidity – so that’s where I caught the one way sanity train out of crazy Jesusville back to gay town…

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….yummy….

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Open letter to the surviving Rivonia trialists by Kay Sexwale

Dear Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Dennis Goldberg and Nelson Mandela, I greet you all in the name of the continuing economic freedom struggle of our people.

Your courage in fighting for the emancipation of our country is greatly appreciated.

I was fed ANC propaganda with my Purity baby food, but I believe the time has come to consciously choose South Africa over the ANC.

The governing party, for many, is like a religion, followed by many without question or doubt.

Surely comrades, your sacrifices were not for a one-party, one-trade union state?

The time for a younger, patriotic and selfless leadership, like yours in 1964, is here.

The thinking public laments our bumpy transition from liberation movement to political party, with some pointing out that a liberation movement has to be centralised and secretive while a modern party in government must be influenced by its members and society, and so be more transparent.

The loss of public trust through daily media exposure of the plague of government corruption, which appears to be condoned by the ANC, is deeply seated.

The public perception is that the Mangaung leadership debate will boil down to who will continue to allow rampant looting of state resources, the dangerous slippery slope of tribalism, or who might make a difference.

Truth be told, the names being bandied about as top contenders are all synonymous with the rot that plagues the movement.

The masses so loved by political party leaders at election time have taken to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction.

Earlier this year, even middle-class a rmchair critics put on their designer sneakers and marched against e-tolling, also reportedly shrouded in corruption and an added burden on our ridiculously taxed wallets.

In March, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa informed Parliament that between 2007 and 2010, the most common reason for police crowd management of gatherings was labour-related demands for increases in wages, and that unrest requiring police intervention was related to service delivery issues.

Later in June, City Press reported that 372 protests related to service delivery had been recorded between January and the end of May this year alone.

In 18 years of democracy, we can still blame apartheid for many social ills, but we must also blame our leaders.

The disgraceful and shocking non-delivery of textbooks in Limpopo left me cold.

But the worst thing that broke the soul of South Africa during this fateful year of the ANC’s centenary was the shameful Marikana massacre, reminiscent of the Sharpeville slaughter.

It highlighted aspects of every ill plaguing black society under an ANC-led government: police brutality, wage strikes, corporate greed, failure of natural mineral resource redistribution, flawed implementation of black economic empowerment, violent crime, service-delivery failure, including inhumane slum settlements, unemployment concerns and much more.

The man who shoved his way to the front, taking the reins of leadership in this sorry mess, was Julius Malema, a spat-out child of the movement. In the space of a few days, he single-handedly nullified what little trust I had left in the aging ANC leadership.

I was raised by courageous men and women, people like you, the Rivonia Trialists, who now need me to tell them it’s time to let go.

The ANC has never been as self-destructive as it is today.

Cosatu, the ANC-aligned trade union federation, has driven the economy into free fall as the failure of their collective bargaining strategy, designed to perpetuate the racist status quo, is blowing up in our faces with one strike after another.

I’m waiting for them to stop blaming third-force right wing elements and take some responsibility.

And let me not get started on the recent madness of more than R200 million-worth of Nkandla renovations, SAA’s R5 billion bailout and the relentless e-toll attitude of government.

In 2009, I took longer than usual to vote in the booth, agonising over putting an X next to the face of a man I instinctively knew was bad news.

My love for the ANC won over my reservations.

In last year’s local government elections, I rebelled, voting for the ANC in my neighbourhood and for another party in the city.

I am sure Joburg Mayor Parks Tau is capable, but my rebellion against a President Jacob Zuma-led ANC began with that ballot paper.

To not vote at all in 2014, as many are threatening, will be to dishonour the memory of my uncle, Lesetja Sexwale, and his many fallen comrades who died in combat for my right to vote.

It will be to disrespect the struggle for which men and woman such as him, men like yourselves, sacrificed their youth.

Personally, it will be a betrayal of little Kay who was badly injured in a cross-border raid in Lesotho in 1982 when the apartheid forces were hunting down Umkhonto we Sizwe combatants like my father and Chris Hani.

I don’t know who I will vote for. All I know is that Zuma will never again hold office with my consent.

I know uncle Lesetja and uncle Chris would not view my choice as a betrayal of their sacrifices. I trust that you won’t either.

I choose South Africa.

20121119-134901.jpg Sexwale is a media and communication strategist with an interest in current affairs and post-apartheid experiences

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Just a little bit of last year creeping back in – Gonjasufi

Gonjasufi – MU.ZZ.LE

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The simultaneously croaky and sweet voice of Sumach Valentine is what will catch your ear when you first start to listen to Gonjasufi’s album MU.ZZ.LE with its abstract hip-hop sound.

A handful of electro pop, some down tempo beats, smothered with a sort of slow motion, head-spinning swirls from guitar snares, piano samples and strained out synthesizing strings you might think that this album be a little passive. But Valentines sweet groaning is what off sets the pace turning it into the ultimate bachelor album – the ultimate getting laid album. Pop the album on when you bring someone home and watch as they turn to putty in you hands. The relaxing pace from song to song is somewhat meditative in its delivery and itches for a kind of cathartic release. Yearns for it in fact. And just as you are about to twiddle down Gonjasufi to an ‘easy lay’ album, the lyrics prove to have far more depth filled with raw emotion that, on unwrapping the plastic from the cover, is not initially expected. Especially in light of the fact that Gonjasufi’s previous album “Sufi and a Killer” seemed to have a very collaborative feel to it.

Valentine seems to be focusing many of the lyrics on searching for love, guilt and tripping out, however the sense of honesty that comes from Valentine is really what makes the album worth a spot in your collection.

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Just a little bit of last year creeping back in – Zola Jesus, Conatus

Zola Jesus – Conatus

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Conatus is mainly built from thundering toms, majestically revolving synthesizers, and warm courses of classical stringed instruments. “I kept having these primal images”, Nika Roza Danilova said of her new album, “just quite strange landscapes and shapes I couldn’t shake.” That may sound like a meaningless gloss, but on “Swords”, the minute-long opening track, you can hear exactly what she means.
With her background in opera, one can hear how she challenges the norms of perfectly executed notes in terms of a classically trained perspective – to much of my delight. The Zola Jesus project is something brand new from someone incredibly young and from her collaboration with M83 on the “Intro” song in “Hurry up, We’re Dreaming” one can see she is destined to grow as a musician. Her indecipherable lyrics at points puts the ear and mind to work as one tries to figure out what she is saying, this is none the clearer in “Vessel” which might also just be the most formidable song on the album. Conatus has a broody yet sensual feel to it and if I had to compare it to any other album it would be Bjork’s “Homogenic”.
The restraint of the beats makes you feel like you want to get up and dance yet stay seated and allow the music to swirl like a whirl wind in and around your aural anatomy. Keep your eye on this one, its gong to become really big!<

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Shigaff about Pride?

It started political, enough…?

Before the actual taste of freedom, it happened. When the smell of the heavenly roast of equality was wafting through the air, it happened. And in 1990 I remember hearing about it at the ripe age of seven, “Die moffies hardloop deur die straat!” – so naturally, with the initial emotion of shame, I pranced outside to play where hateful words could not be heard. But one day I knew I would be one of those “moffies” prancing through the streets whether onlookers spat on me or not. And as soon as the clock turned 18 I was strong enough to stand up for myself, and I braved my first pride. Propositioned by men, sweet talked by the ladies and accosted by the bible bashers… I could not have asked for a more fulfilling experience from a cherry popping first time. What were we marching for? The right to adopt children. And now we can, to spite how difficult it may still be (I am told), but I felt I marched for something.

Is it different?

Now, We marched for equality…? What? Slap my forehead and call me Mary, that is as redundant as saying I would like meat for dinner, not rump, fillet or sirloin, just meat. For a group of people hell bent on equality they surely have not thought past their own noses in terms of creating a real message, creating real unity between the marchers and creating something that we can be proud of (can you smell the filthy smell of irony, no pride in pride). I understand the concept of equality but does it really need to be mentioned? Marching for equality – and here comes another food analogy – is like asking for my steak to be seasoned in a restaurant, it’s pretty much expected to be seasoned.
With such an open theme it was expected that this year would turn into a march of individuals, not of a group. Each and every person was going to have their own idea of equality and come fully prepared with their own agenda, and this idea of “what about me?” was more prevalent than ever before. What ever happened to “What about us?” but before I start accusing everyone else of nepotism for their own idealistic notions of freedom, I have to ask myself, am I guilty of doing the very same? Admittedly, yes I am. After almost eleven years of Pride, my admiration and support for the LGBTI community has dwindled down, dissipated into a fine mist of nothingness, as I feel more and more the perversion of being gay taking hold of the very definition of being gay. Correct me if I am wrong but I was under the impression that I was gay because I fall in love with men, not merely that I lust after them? But float after float I was reminded of what it really means to be gay… A boy in underpants. And it saddened me, if it weren’t for the Christian float handing out much needed water or the ladies in the front of the march dancing to their own tangible rhythm I may have completely lost my respect for a community I have been so naively supporting over the years. So I am guilty, of attending this year with the idea that most homos are just perverts, the idea buried somewhere deep in my brain, therefore I am guilty of creating a notion of “them” and “me” in a community that use to take that very notion and, with one copacetic movement, turn it into “us”.

What did I do?

With the wave of violent protests sweeping over our fair land I could not help myself from asking the more pertinent question: How is this march different from any other? And my answer would have been that this march is about love, respect, tolerance and a general good vibe. To prove to onlookers that to spite what judgement may be cast on us as LGBTI folk that we always brave a smile and include others in our quest for joy. So I slipped on an outfit that commanded attention, spun a mirror ball high in the air to gain a few grins and twirled my way past onlookers all in hopes of garnishing a smile, a laugh whether it be at me or with me, so long as I see you are happy.
But half way through the march I stumbled upon a group of protesters with a very ambiguous message: “No cause for celebration” and as a somewhat veteran at the game of pride I immediately jumped towards homophobia. But I was wrong. It was not homophobia but an awareness campaign that came off rather hate filled than enlightening. Their delivery enticed a raw reaction and by the time I had learnt how wrong I was I felt like too much of an idiot to even stick around. I could feel a split between those women and myself, a very unnecessary split. And for the first time I could see that the ‘other’ had moved away, from pride goers versus spectators towards organizers versus protesters, and dare I say… We have turned on ourselves. Why was one group so mislead in thinking that no one would care about the plight of the slain that they would resort to terror like tactics to be heard and similarly how can organizers of something as “meaningful” as pride not have taken it upon themselves to bring awareness to the degree of homophobia in our country, if they are not aware then maybe they should not be organizing something of this calibre?

Shigaff…?

Should I give a flying fuck?
Yes! Most definitely and for two very simple reasons, one – splitting the community will only make fighting for the same cause more difficult and two – we seem to have forgotten that homophobia and hate crimes are still rampant in most communities in South Africa. Where did we miss each other, when did we stop caring about atrocities such as hate crimes and what happened to the unspoken love we use to share?

By the end?

The march is over, the drinks are flowing, there is a vibe and we can all start to have a bit of fun. Why are we having fun though, does that not depoliticize the cause? In my minds eye the festivities creates a feeling of inclusivity for anyone wanting to be part of our community but that is scared because sexually they are not inclined to join but on a moral standpoint they believe in equality. So I am all for the fun – and on a personal level – the fun in celebration of the fact the we are each still alive, managing to come out of some hostile situations with our lives, long enough to celebrate the fact that we are the only country in Africa that hosts, not one, but five gay prides through the year. Celebration of the fact that we can celebrate in a park, in the sun ( some countries without a constitution like ours are forced to host pride indoors) and with local musicians that support us.
So by the time Tamara Dey is commanding my spirit to wiggle and shake, I know I am safe. Flash Republic entertains the crowd after a build up of so many superb live artists, and around me in the middle of the crowd I see faces of both sexes, of all colours and a variety of ages thrusted together in a jovial jump for the sky as we all scream along with Miss Dey, “I don’t even know your name”, and a profound beauty sprung to mind, how we don’t need to know each others name to have a love that is formulated in respect for one another (to spite the fact that I don’t think the song is actually about that). We are bound by one idea, the FREEDOM to LOVE who we please.
And since when can a little bit more love ever be a bad thing?

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“The Death Of South Africa by Someone”

With my ever growing interest in the unrest of South Africa’s mining sector a friend was kind enough to send me this article. As someone who has written about the mines in my home town, springs, having gone out to Aurora a few times it’s hard to believe that this political greed will not kill the sustainability of this country.
I once wrote a post titled Lonmin, Lonmin, Lonmin, and in it I aired my concern on how, if the strikers achieve their pay rise, it would affect other sectors, needless to say with the truckers on strike and other mines following suite that their achievement is having a detrimental effect on the economy.

Below is the article:

“The death of South Africa — By someone

Read this and weep…
Some interesting facts about Welkom, of which most South Africans are possibly not aware .

Strange that the situation does not seem to be reflected in mining reports and the stock market in SA – or is it ? Last Sunday’s papers covered the Oppenheimer’s sale of all their family’s de Beers shares for $5.2 billion to Anglo American. Nicky Oppenheimer, current chairman, says it was a tough decision.

The death of South Africa’s mines is the death of South Africa…

There are many microcosms of decay that one can use as examples of the decay of the macrocosm of South Africa.

In many respects the booming of South Africa’s mining industry and its current decay under the ANC’s Black Economic Empowerment system is a microcosm of the booming of the Republic of South Africa under Apartheid and its decay under the ANC Marxist terrorist regime.

During the first half of the 20th century, gold was discovered on several farms south of the Free State town of Odendaalsrus. After the Second World War, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and his Anglo American Corporation, the progenitor of Anglo Gold, bought up all the prospecting rights in the area and decided to mine the richest gold find in the history of South Africa.

Prices of property in Odendaalsrus skyrocketed, so Sir Ernest Oppenheimer decided that he would build his own town for his miners, instead of paying the exorbitant prices in Odendaalsrus.

He drove 20km south and climbed a hill called Koppie-alleen (Lone Hill ) and looked down on the plains, where his mines would be and decided to build a town from scratch, called Welkom (Welcome), named after the farm where the gold was first discovered.

The people of Odendaalsrus were upset and took him to court, objecting to the new town. Ernest Oppenheimer’s lawyer was Abram (Bram) Fischer, an Afrikaner Communist and Anti-Apartheid activist who would later defend Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia trial.

Fischer was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and travelled to the Soviet Union in 1932. He was also later awarded the Lenin Peace Prize, (1966) the Soviet equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was normally awarded to prominent Communists who were not Soviet citizens.

Fischer, incidentally, was married to Molly Krige, the niece of liberal Boer General Jan Smuts (later to become Prime Minister of SA). She was also a staunch Communist. Nevertheless, in 1947, the Orange Free State Provincial Council issued Oppenheimer with the birth certificate of the town of Welkom.

In his mind, Oppenheimer envisioned a beautiful garden city with broad streets. He commissioned the design of Welkom to leading town planner William Backhouse and landscape gardener Joane Prim. For Backhouse, the design of a town from scratch, was a dream come true. Space was not a problem on the Free State plains, so he designed the streets broad, with no traffic lights, only roundabouts, to keep the traffic flowing and no high-rise buildings in the new town. In the centre of town, he wanted a ‘Roman Forum’ with a square, where town folk could gather. It was surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped road of 75 metres wide, known affectionately by the town people as the ‘Hoefie’ short for the Afrikaans word ‘hoefyster’ meaning horseshoe.

Sports clubs, golf clubs, Olympic swimming pools, cinemas, theatres, hospitals, parks, schools, a technical college and an airport were built, all with the riches of the gold below the fertile soil. The town attracted people from all over South Africa. Money was flowing, salaries were high. By the 1970s Anglo Gold was operating six massive mines, with 22 deep level shafts, in which 122,000 people worked. The mines of Welkom were producing 35% of the gold in South Africa, which in turn was producing 75% of the world’s gold.
Everyone was buying and driving a new car at least every year. They would say that when the ashtray was full, it was time to buy a new car. The ‘hoefie’ gave rise to the hot-rod culture of Welkom, where young men would drive around at night showing off their new Ford Cortinas with eagles painted on the engine bonnets and flames on the sides, fur on the dashboard and plastic oranges on the radio antennae! This culture also gave rise to the building of a Grand Prix racing track at Welkom. Times were good for blue-collar whites.

Even in the nearby black township of Thabong and the coloured township of Bronville, the living standards were very high.

But then the ANC took over in 1994, mostly with the help of the Oppenheimers and J.P. Morgan, who founded Anglo American Corporation in 1917. Hardly had the ANC communists taken over, than they wanted not only a slice of the pie from the mining industry, but the whole pie.
Black Economic Empowerment was introduced and mines had to give away half of their assets to black ANC members. For Anglo American Corporation, the writing was on the wall and before they could lose everything, they merged with Minorco in 1999 and moved their assets to London. In the last 10-15 years, more than 100,000 jobs have been lost in Welkom. The skip-wheels of the mines are not turning anymore and the noise of the mines, as well as the hot-rods, have fallen silent. The ziggurat-like walls of the slimes-dams next to the R73 road are the last remnants of a once-thriving mining industry. Today, the mines are in the hands of BEE companies and being plundered for scrap metal. The municipality of Matjabeng (nee Welkom) is run by the ANC. In June 2011 it came into prominence as one of the worst examples of ANC corruption and misrule. How a small town blew R2bn. on dodgy deals…

Most of the whites have left Welkom. Blacks make up 90% of the population and whites 8%. To say that the town is a shadow of its former self, is an understatement. The decay is obvious everywhere and it is fast becoming a ghost town. 1500 staff houses at the mines are standing empty. Even churches in town have closed their doors. The remaining whites in the area, mostly farmers, are struggling under stock theft and brutal farm attacks, tortures and murders .

Elsewhere it is not going any better. The Aurora mine at Grootvlei, which is owned by the Zuma and Mandela families and at one stage employed 5000 workers, now have less than 200. Aurora is now a ghost town. On the 8th of May 2011, in a Carte Blanche TV show, it was revealed that Cosatu (Council of SA Trade Unions) calls the owners of Aurora (Zuma and Mandela family members) — Super Exploiters!!
If there is an abyss of desperation, these men abandoned at the mineworker hostels are in it. At Grootvlei, near Springs, the water and electricity has been cut, the toilets are a sanitary shock. On good days, they may have hot food. Two hours drive to the west, is the Orkney mine in Klerksdorp. There is an inescapable feeling of sadness here. Cooking pots are empty here too. Ntsani Mohapi has been on the mine since the mid ’70s; he should be in line for a pension, but that is all gone now. “There are people who are crying, there are people who are dying, because we deal with people who are lying”.
As things stand hundreds of miners are still in limbo; millions of Rands are outstanding in salaries. Wives have left husbands, children have dropped out of school, people have been blacklisted. They can’t even claim Unemployment Insurance Funds.

The allegations against Aurora’s directors are damning: since they took over the Pamodzi mines in 2009, which were fully operational at the time, they have been accused of not paying salaries, making endless broken promises, misappropriating UIF and pension fund money and stripping assets of mines they haven’t paid for. (Source: Carte Blanche TV programme).

The BBC has extensively reported on how the Zuma (Jacob Zuma’s nephew) and Mandela (Nelson Mandela’s grandson) families exploit their workers and treat them worse than dogs. While the Zuma and Mandela family members grow rich and fat, they do not pay their starving workers, which effectively makes them slave owners. Is this the ‘Freedom’ Mandela and Zuma spoke about and fought for? They were not Freedom Fighters… They were not fighting for the Freedom of the people, rather for the enslavement of the people under a communist yoke.

The Grootvlei mine now stands in ruins. What could not be stolen and sold for scrap, is cut up and sold to the Chinese state-owned mining company, Shandong Gold. The white foreman at Aurora can only stand and watch as the looting of the mine continues. This is the same ANC who wants to nationalize the mines, the banks and the farms. Can you even imagine the utter enslavement of blacks, the dilapidation and ruin of South Africa that will follow? As the rivers of gold, and other critical minerals, that once flowed from South Africa dry up, one after the other, due to BEE and nationalisation, the world and especially the Oppenheimers will look back to the good old days, when the whites were in charge of South Africa and they were making their fortunes. The day will still come that they will realize that they might have betted on the wrong horse..

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That’s Just Fuckin’ Shameless

It has blown me away, and not in that explosive kind of way, it’s more of the perverted filthy on-his-knees in a dirty bathroom kind of blown away and I loved every second of it.
To sum it up in one line: it’s about a drunk, useless father and the many kids that live like rats trying to get by in life as best they can.

What makes it watchable?

The humor. It’s really funny to spite the fact that I cringe every time Frank Gallagher, played by William H. Macy, is in a shot. The man is just repulsive and Mr Macy pulls off the best role I have ever seen him do, I am just flawed at his ability to make this character, this repugnant and repellant character, into someone great… No, let’s not go that far. He is completely watchable, like eyes glued to his every movement and ears pert, soaking up every sound that comes from his lips kind of watchable. The reason for this is because he made a person I could so easily dismiss with the flick of a channel into a human being that I believe exists in this world, and that grabs my attention, this man that is so far removed from the man I am and how he can become very relatable, and I find myself not sympathizing for him but wanting him to get up, wipe the puke from his face and get away with his shit, to only continue with his shit. So now the most important question is, do I even want Frank to clean up his act?

What makes it astounding?

As the season came to an end the three factors that make this better than anything else on television that I have been privileged o watch boils down to three great stories, the big sister, the little sister and the gay brother.
The Big Sister:
Fiona Gallagher, played by Emmy Rossum, is a compelling character to follow. I find myself wanting to feel sorry for her but the tough, strong and tenacious character that she is does not allow for pity. Not even from the audience. Fiona glues all these ratty little parts of a scrubby family together without being the mom. There is a mom. She’s not around much, but it’s better that way. Back to Fiona, she is tough, on herself and everyone in the home but I just love her the most. If I were a guest at the Gallagher home I would probably have been invited by her, so I like her.
The Little Sister:
Debbie Gallagher, played by Emma Kenney, is the most objective way of looking at the family in terms of any validity in their existence. She embodies the moral compass of this story but evokes this through the eyes of a child mixed with a sort of widened outlook on life. So why is she so astounding to watch, seems like she might be the boring part of the story. One reason, this entire season Debbie has been on the same path without emotion to really veer her off. But by the end all that build up of emotion that is accumulating in this little nine year old girl crumbles into one of the most honest and raw sob moment. And when I am moved by a television program it’s worth taking note.
The Gay Brother:
Why? For the obvious, he goes around shagging other guys. But he is young, so it’s not really the lascivious nature of watching these hook ups, it’s the idea that guys are doing things younger, and in my opinion at the proper age. He does things that I -sort of- did, only I was in my twenties. So it’s just interesting to see his development in his environment. Plus his hook-ups are always so scandalous. His name is Ian Gallagher and he is played by Cameron Monaghan.

What makes it memorable?

It’s unbelievable at sucking some of the strangest plot pieces out of nowhere, shocking me, embarrassing me, making me laugh and then drizzling the entire moment in humanity. This show s filled with humanitarian moments that surpass any other family related show before. Shameless transcends from white trash shenanigans to elegiac poetry that’s far more relatable than I care to admit to myself.

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