Tomorrow, Wednesday, thousands of teachers associated with South African Democratic Teachers’ Union around the country are expected to strike.
The strike which Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s department has called illegal, is part of the campaign to have the minister and her Director-General Bobby Soobrayan removed from office.
The union’s website says that the marches are meant to increase the pressure on Motshekga and Soobrayan to resign from their incumbent positions in defense of collective bargaining and promotion of quality public education.
Anyway, while teachers prepare to march tomorrow, Barack Obama has delivered a speech at the US Teacher of the Year Event.
It’s hard to wake up in the morning with dreadful pictures splashed across our newspapers. The news of the Boston bomb blasts, the dead, and the injured devastated many across the globe. Not only do I despair for well all of us, but explaining to my children that the world isn’t a pink marshmallow always crushes my spirits.
Then I got a tweet to say I should focus on the the people who rushed to help, and I saw that Ezra Klein had posted ‘If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon’ on his Washington Post blog, Wonkblog. In the piece he writes:
If you are losing faith in human nature today, watch what happens in the aftermath of an attack on the Boston Marathon. The flood of donations crashed the Red Cross’s Web site. The organization tweeted that its blood supplies are already full. People are lining up outside of Tufts Medical Center to try and help. Runners are already vowing to be at marathons in the coming weeks and months. This won’t be the last time the squeakers run Boston. This won’t be the last time we gather at the finish line to marvel how much more we can take than anyone ever thought possible.
One of the world’s most esteemed fashion and style bloggers, American Scott Schuman a.k.a The Sartorialist will be in Johannesburg later this week to attend the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa 2012.
After giving up his job in fashion sales in 2005 to look after his daughter, Schuman started blogging. Carrying a digital camera, he took to the streets of New York City. He then posted his photographs of people who caught his eye on his blog which The New York Times has described as a “bellwether site that turned photo-blogging into an art-form. The blog now receives 14 million page views per month.
Aspasia Karras, editor of Marie Claire, believes “that he’s coming to work on a book of African style, so I am quite excited to see how he gives it his special spin.”
One of South Africa’s local fashion bloggers, Malibongwe Tyilo of the SKATTIE, WHAT WERE YOU WEARING? said yesterday, “Due to prior commitments I won’t be at Fashion Week Africa, but I’ll be watching his blog to see what he shoots here. I am curious generally how visitors photograph or present South Africa to their audiences. It’s interesting to see what fascinates them. We get used to ourselves, so to see the beauty an outsider may notice is always interesting.”
The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa 2012 takes place at Melrose Arch Johannesburg, October 22 – 27. For more information visit www.afi.za.com. The Times is the official media partner of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa 2012
I know very little about this sculpture that Damien Hirst has lent to the village of Ilfracombe in Devon, Britain. The Reuters caption on its images says “The 20 metre high bronze artwork depicting a naked pregnant woman holding a sword, has been loaned to the Devon seaside town for twenty years by the artist who lives locally.”
This is a representation of a strong, young woman reminiscent of Edgar Degas’s Little Dancer of Fourteen Years who is very close to term. She holds a sword and scales, traditional symbols of justice. On one side we see her naked, and on the other side of the statue we see her with her skin peeled back to reveal muscle, breast, bone and foetus. According to the BBC the town’s residents are split between liking it and hating it:
She has been called outrageous, immoral, bizarre, obscene, offensive, disgusting, grotesque, a monstrosity, of no artistic merit and demeaning to women.
Others see her as beautiful and unique, with the power to transform a town’s tired image and boost its economy.
I love it. What do you think?
This is old news. But for me the lighting up of the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg was very moving. My aunt is dying of cancer. My 40-year-old cousin died earlier this year of breast cancer. My father died 4 years ago. An uncle and another, older cousin have also died of the disease.
This is an awful disease – it chews at the body either too slowly or too fast. And watching as it devours once healthy-looking bodies has been the hardest thing in my life. But death is part of life and becoming an adult is accepting that we are born to die. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t keep trying to prevent these premature deaths by more research into the nature of cancer and into possibly improving the often unsuccessful cures.
So back to the bridge. On October 2, I arrived late, not dressed glamorously in something pink as the invitation had stated we should be. I did apply some pink lipstick at the door when I saw that everybody else was magnificent in designer dresses and beautiful suits.
Estee Lauder is doing a great thing with their Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. In 2000 Mrs Evelyn Lauder launched The BCA Campaign’s Global Landmarks Illuminations Initiative and over the years landmarks around the world have been light up in pink to call attention to breast health and early detection. This year is the first time that a South African landmark has been illuminated. And of course it was The Nelson Mandela Bridge that was lit up on October 2.
Alon Skuy took the picture.
Wow. The ELLE team really did a great job with their truly fabulous November cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? The Huffington Post had this to say about it:
The “Losing You” singer is captured on the November 2012 cover sporting bold colors and eye-catching prints, a combination that she iss known (and loved) for. The bright yellow background and Solange’s enviable curly hair add to the cover’s overall awesomeness–don’t you agree?
Solange told us during New York Fashion Week last month that the shoot would feature outfits created by South African fashion designers, and she didn’t disappoint. For the cover image, which was shot by Justin Polkey and styled by ELLE fashion editor Asanda Sizani, Solange is wearing a sleeveless satin top by Tart, high-waisted shorts by Loin Cloth & Ashes and two wrists full of extra large rope bracelets by Pichulik.
And here is the magazine’s press release: Read More…
Last Tuesday evening Lion Shriver the bestselling author of her novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin, came to the Troyeville Hotel in Johannesburg, as a guest of the book club there. I know this is of no literary importance at all, but she is much smaller, than I expected her to be. But petite in no way suggests a petite personality.
At first, I found her brittle and difficult. Her answers to the pre-talk cocktail hour questioning were monosyllabic. Let’s say she was an awkward guest to begin with. But once in the chair with a micro-phone in her hand, I found her fascinating. Not only because she had many things to say about school-killing sprees but because her politics seemed to me rather naive. She ranted against the IRA, totally unsympathetic to their cause. (Her latest book, New Republic, deals with terrorism.) There was very little in her discussion that suggested she agrees with the saying that “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. She did however say that South Africa, the ANC particular, offered the world an exceptional case. Some would argue that many in the middle East (Palestinians) would have a similar case. In an answer to a question from the audience she did relent and agree that terrorism can be an expression of suffering.
In her discussion about Kevin she was interesting. She does very little research, most of it online, and said she was sad that the book is still relevant, that these spree-killings still take place.
Why they occur, according to her, is depressing and perhaps not entirely plausible. Her sense of the current crop of (US) teenagers is that if everybody isn’t noticing them, then they feel like nothing. Their self-worth is wrapped up with fame, or infamy which is far easier to achieve.
The media is responsible for this, she says. Why would you want to get straight As for Matric? You wouldn’t get noticed by a reporter. It’s far easier to attract attention when you do something illegal, something brutal, something shocking. And we as media consumers also love these murder stories far more than we do the stories of students achieving A aggregates.
I am sure the reasons for school killings are far more complex and nuanced than this, but during a short book launch this is the reason Shriver gave.
I know that we had this image on The Times front page on Thursday. But I need to put it here too. Newsprint didn’t do it justice. There are shades of grey (sorry about that awful reference) and of black and of white which don’t quite get through the newspaper printer. Did you notice the rat on Yo-landi’s head? Apparently the opening of Roger Ballen’s exhibition on Tuesday night was huge – 500 people were at the ErdmannContemporary & the Photographers Gallery za in Cape Town. Sorry not to have been there.