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I am sure a lot of you still remember the painting of President Jacob Zuma that caused an uproar, especially among the ANC members. Not that I am trying to cook up a conspiracy theory. The painting by Brett Murray was titled “The Spear” and featured Zuma well dressed in the pose of Lenin, while his genitals were hanging out.

Painting by Brett Murray aused an up roar.

Painting by Brett Murray aused an up roar.

What most of you will not know is that another painting of Zuma in traditional attire that depicts him in dance emerged, also with his genitals exposed for the world to see. This one was titled “Umshini Wami” by Ayanda Mabulu in an exhibition titled “Our Fathers”. I cannot think of any good reason that the double standards were adopted between the two paintings; besides the fact that Zuma seems more endowed in the second painting and that might have been gratifying to those who fought against the first painting. Just an idea that is has not been proven, yet.

Second painting of Zuma showing his private parts

Second painting of Zuma showing his private parts

Another of Mabulu’s paintings was part of the discussion surrounding The Spear. People asked why there was no uproar over Mabulu’s painting, Ngcono ihlwempu kunesibhanxo sesityebi (Better poor than a rich puppet), which shows other world leaders in compromising poses, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu. With “The Spear” people jumped to the defence of the president’s dignity and sprung out quotes from The Constitution.

It did not occur to those who opposed the painting that Murray was exercising his freedom of expression. We can yet predict that another Painting will emerge of Zuma in a compromising position as it seems to be a trend of the year. It is a nice assurance to artists to see that the idea is becoming a familiar one as the ANC did not rally protests against an exhibition full of politicians in compromising positions. I dare to predict that a sculpture will be made next of the sorts.
Ngcono ihlwempu kunesibhanxo sesityebi (Better poor than a rich puppet)

What is it however that courses artists to use such an expression in their work. Every work of art is inspired by something. It could be a person, an idea, a feeling and actions. Could the art works be inspired by his charisma maybe? Could it be his half a dozen wives or the 22 children he has fathered? One will never know because nobody bothers to ask.


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Father of the Nation

Picture of Mandela in his younger years

Picture of Mandela in his younger years


I am not one for favourite movies, favourite dishes or role models, but if I did have to choose the latter then *utata Mandela would feature at the top of the list. I am sure you are probably thinking, ‘not another blog post about Nelson Mandela’. Well yes it is, and here it goes.

For a while I did not get the secrecy around the poor health of utata and I am sure a lot of people are still pondering on the issue. I figured, he is 92 years old obviously people are aware that he does not have long to live. That he will suffer from old age diseases and the country will understand. Yet, the media insists on assuring the nation that he is ‘in good hands and in good spirit’.

I often say that I cannot imagine life without my mother no matter how old I may get. It just wouldn’t be the same and I dread to even think about the notion. Now imagine South Africa without Madiba and the millions who look up to him. Mandela is not just a parent to the children and grandchildren that share his bloodline. He is also not just the father of the people who share his skin colour nor is he father to those who share his language.

He is the father of those who after 1994 shared his vision and love for an integrated South Africa.  He is father to those who did not share his ideas, but accepted them. Looking at it this way I understand the way the nation is being shielded like children from a traumatic experience.


The nation does not look at him as the man who led the country into democracy anymore. They do not look at him as the man with the wise quotes. He means more to us than anyone could have ever imagined and the thought of a South Africa without him is a bleak thought.  A thought that I am happy to be shielded from even though the reality is quite clear to me.


*Utata – Xhosa word for father which an older male is referred to out of respect


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Careers are Embedded in our genes

This is a video to inspire people to follow their dream careers.

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Back to Boarding School

Back to Boarding School.

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Back to Boarding School

liesbeeck front

Students wait for bus in the morning in front of Liesbeeck Gardens.

Peering from the outside, Liesbeeck Gardens seems to be as hospitable as any other residency. From the inside court the building resembles a prison and one can almost hear the buzzer that signals for the prisoners to step out of their confinements. The building is residence to more than 400 UCT students. A second-tier residency that stands six stories tall, situated in the heart of Mowbray. For the younger student venturing into a second-tier residency spells out freedom and maturity. Little do they know that to most students who reside here Liesbeeck Gardens has become the prison that it is said to resemble.

The Liesbeeck Facebook page is normally filled with complaints about how the residency is run, but on the 4th of April the page almost crashed as complaints from outraged students piled up on the wall. An announcement was received by all residents regarding overnight visitors. It stated that, “every overnight application must be accompanied by a ‘detailed’ motivation letter.” It further warned that applications not accompanied by a ‘detailed’ motivational letter would not even be considered. Imagine the commotion that resulted from such a procedure.


Liesbeeck Gardens from the inside court.

While this might seem trivial to some, to most Liesbecans the procedure was a huge blow to their egos and a huge insult to them as adults who pay a monthly rent. The age of residents ranges from 19-35 with most, including myself, being over the age of 21, which adds to the blow of fulfilling the ‘so high school’ procedure. The procedure has turned up a lot of concerns among the students while they still have to worry about legitimate academic ones. Yonela Mabuto, a resident at Liesbeeck Gardens stated that “I do not even know how to go about writing a motivational letter. How will I write one that motivates why it is a good idea for my boyfriend to spend the night in my room?”


Yonela, frustrated, tries to write a motivational letter.

It is an unspoken fact that most overnight visitor applications concern the romantically involved. So how does one write a motivational letter for permission to have their other half to come visit without sounding a bit sexually frustrated? This is a huddle of worry that most students will have to overcome. This will in itself mark a huge achievement on their part.

While the General Rules and policies handbook states that a warden has to approve an overnight stay, it is quiet on the procedures that can be put in place when applying for such. Tirivanhu Chinyoka the warden, known as Dr Tiri to the students, was the one to bear the brunt from the remarks hoisted by the students. Some have gone as far as referring to the “dictatorship of the good doctor” on the Facebook page. The initial response to most students was an “O.M.G” shock where they felt that Liesbeeck Gardens was becoming more like a boarding school that was adamant on keeping the underage safe from harm.

Malwande Ndengane, a newly appointed sub-committee member, was so outraged that he has sent an email to Moonira Khan an executive director, to inquire about the procedure put in place. He stated that, “I understand that they want to make a water tight institution, but they are going about it unreasonably. We are adults and should be treated as such. The security system is worse than in first-tier residencies”.
Ndengane understands that students can be unruly, but that it is not all individuals. He feels that, yes, there should be a strict code of conduct, but not to the point where it undermines the integrity of the older students that reside at Liesbeeck Gardens.

One can only speculate on why the ‘higher powers’ decided to enforce this procedure on overnight visitors as the warden could not make himself available to comment on the matter. Who knows maybe learning how to write a letter motivating an overnight visit can be a good way to equip the students with skills to write on just about anything. For the future, it cannot be of any harm to practice for work related motivational letters, as Liesbeeck Gardens’ residents we would surely always come up tops.

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News Story Analyses ( assignment one)

Luntz conveniently pointed out how in media it is not what you say, but how you say it (Scheufele, Tewksbury, 2007:9), which sums up the role of agenda-setting, framing, objectivity or lack of it can have a bearing on how an audience will perceive an event. This essay will look at three articles from CNN, Mail & Guardian and lastly News24, that covered the incident where the South African police shot and killed several Lonmin striking mine workers on the 12th of August 2012, and analyse the story telling strategies that they have each adopted.


As a title CNN has South Africa Shocked by police shooting at mine with an image of women who are outraged, we assume by the incident reported on. At the bottom of the picture is an option to view twelve other pictures that form a picture story when viewed in sequence, with the end depicting miners lying dead on the floor. On the top left are highlights of the story and at the bottom, various videos reporting on the incident, footage of the event and the build-up of the situation leading to the shooting. The news story gives an account of the event with a follow up of the consequences and what important figures had to say about it. The article provides a variety of ways to consume the information. For those who do not have time, the highlights and captions are enough to give an understanding of the story and can be enough to entice an audience into reading the full story.

From the title, the idea of an unacceptable act by the police has been performed and should be condemned, is suggested. The caption of the women protesting enforces the outrage. The news story places police brutality as an issue without actually spelling it out. This relates to agenda-setting which refers to the way that mass media will place an emphasis on a certain issue and the importance that audiences will put on the issue (2007:11). What is pointed out is the excessive force used by the police and the shock it has caused or should cause in South African society and the world.

The images, verbal, still and the motion picture depict a violent scenario. Words such as ‘carnage’ and ‘bloodbath’, gives a very visual horrific description of the scene after the shooting took place. The story is framed so that the shooting is seen as a massacre. “Framing is based on the assumption that subtle changes in the wording of the description of a situation might affect interpretation of this situation’’ (Scheufele, 2000:309).The incident is further compared to apartheid error which the mass audience knows to have been an age of unfairness and violence. What results is the audience interpreting the incident as unjust and uncalled for.

While the angle of the story is quite clear it provides the audience with a notion of impartiality as it quotes from two opposing sources. The police are given a voice to defend their action, while the story uses quotes from other South African news reports to speak out on behalf of the miners, which balances out the news story giving the notion of objectivity. As early as from the headline we get an idea of the impact the story has had on the South African community, and consequences of the shooting incident

Mail & Guardian

The title of the story reads Police open fire on Lonmin miners: several killed and below is an image of the mine workers caring weapons and singing, with the sun setting behind them. On the left are several links to other news stories covering the incident and all are by the Mail & Gaurdian. A link to their blog where they can read more opinionated pieces regarding the story is provided. The article has not provided any video or pictures of the shoot-out, therefore, no visual violence is depicted. The fact no violence is depicted when the clash was such vicious one, deemphasises the police shooting on the mine workers.

The title of the article remains a pretty impartial component of the story with no suggestive language, but the basic facts. This gives the idea of an objective news piece to follow.  No agenda setting is visible from the heading as no issue is highlighted.  The sub-heading, however, is framed in a way that points out at both the police and miners as equal perpetrators of the violence as it mentions the shootout to be between the two groups. Framing has the impact of stressing out specific news values, facts and considerations, endowing greater relevance to the issue than it might appear under a different frame (Scheufele: 298). Here the police are seen as attempting to contain the situation.

The opening line reports to 18 bodies found at the scene. The reporting is ambiguous as both sides were said to have opened fire; the reader has no way of knowing whether the deaths were from the miners or police. As the story unfolds it takes the angle of the mine workers aggravating the situation into its escalation point. The miners are depicted as a crowd ready for war, which retaliate by shooting at the police for trying to contain the situation. The police are given a platform to defend themselves, while the miners are quoted as willing to die on the spot. The story tends to be bias as only the police is given a shot at explaining themselves and the miners suggested as being prepared to use any amount of force.


The headline reads Mine shoot-out death toll rises to 25, with a picture of corpses lying on the ground in front of a big military-looking police van. Below the picture is a video option of the incident, which gives a visual backup of the shoot-out that has resulted in the deaths, and then related topic links that lead to the same news reporter. Lastly, there are live twitters at the side for the reader who prefers constant live updates and an easy read. The issue of deaths is as a result of the police opening fire on the miners, therefore they are given an opportunity to oppose or give their side of the story for objectivity purposes.

There is nothing suggestive about the use of language in the title, but it sets the agenda, where the issue being looked at is the number of deaths that have resulted from the shooting. In other words the consequences of the event are introduced. The picture also re-enforces the issue as the bodies lie motionless on the floor. The video gives the consumer of the news a very graphic account of the shoot-out.

Because it is the police that are under scrutiny for fairness and balance the police commissioner is offered an opportunity to speak on their behalf. This limits biasness and promotes objectivity, which does not refer to the truthfulness of media interpretation, but merely impartiality of coverage (Jamieson, 2001:232).

Journalists all strive to tell the truth of an event, yet the way in which the facts are presented can persuade readers to see the news in a particular way (Pape & Featherstone, 2005:18). Language is powerful weapon on the unaware readers who form the mass audience, that consume news stories where the agenda has been set and the story framed in ways that lead them to interpret the issues in certain ways.





Croteau, D. & Hoynes. 2003. Media society: Landscape, Images and Audiences. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press. 266.

Jamieson K.H. & Campbell. 2001. The interplay of influence: News Advertising, Publishing. and Mass Media. Wadsworth. 232.

Pape, S. Featherstone, S. 2005. Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction. London: Sage. 18.

 Scheufele, D.A. 2000. Agenda-Setting, Priming, Framing, Revisited Look at Cognitive Effects of Political Communication. Mass Communication Society. 9,11.

Scheufele, D.A. & Tewksbury, D. 2007. Framing agenda setting, and Priming: The evolution of Three Media Effects models. Journal of Communication. 9.

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Policing Horrors

man draggedPolice brutality, are the words on every ones lips.  The world has a vigilant eye on South Africa, ready for the next juicy story that will embarrass our South African Police Service, yet again.

We have the globe reporting and capitalising on the senseless police brutality happening in South Africa and the continuing legacy of violence. The people who are sworn to serve and protect us are the ones terrorising the nation, earning the word police to be clouded by morbid connotations.

What makes a police officer to be so arrogant that he behaves in a manner that portrays is status as above the law, as the nine men who are being charged with Mido Macia’s murder acted. In broad daylight the, policemen dragged Macia behind a state van who was found two hours later dead in a police cell. What is most shocking is the mob of onlookers that were present and recording the incident that did not deter the violence against Macia. His dignity was literally dragged behind the police van.

The violence against helpless victims has sparked an outrage internationally and opened up past cases of police savagery. Andries Titame was another victim that was captured on video. A mathematics teacher and community activist , he was attacked at a peaceful protest march in 2011 by twelve policemen, beating him with batons and at close range shot rubber bullets into his chest.

Macia was said to have instigated the violence against him by trying to grab a gun from the police, which does not even begin to justify the horrendous inhumane treatment he received. This was after he was told to move his taxi, which was obstructing traffic. The video, however, refutes the allegations made against the victims.

On the 12th of March the nine officers were denied bail with the next hearing on the 12th of April.  Nathi Mthethwa, Police Minister, has said that the police had a responsibility to respect the public and should uphold the integrity of their profession.

‘’Where ever things might have gone wrong we need to all move forward and correct that’’.

police hiding faces

In a situation that has escalated to such lengths how far do we need to go back to pin-point where things might have gone wrong. This crisis is not a new one it has just been revived by the media. Thanks to modern technology the perpetrators were unable to get away through bureaucratic nonsense.

To the public, be vigilant. Do not pick a fight with a policeman. Be submissive at all times. And do not obstruct traffic with your vehicle.






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