Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Understand each other already!




Hi already again, my dear friends.

Since I have concluded (for the time being) my 'historical research' on the subject South Africa, I came to the fresh opinion that if we all want to have better lives in this magnificent country, we MUST aim to achieve mutual understanding and the ideal would be tolerance. This is my new quest for the famous zero defect.
Mutual understanding in 2015 is very far away from most of us. It is rather a case of total denial, or even condemnation. I am referring to the important stuff here: Culture, tradition, religion and inbred ways of seeing and doing things. We all have them, but especially in Africa, they could not be more different from each other.

I personally know a lot of highly educated, South African born and bred white women, and I got their honest attitude in a mini-opinion poll.

 Before I go on I want to point out the link to the Wikipedia - encyclopedia on the right sidebar. You can ask questions in the search bar and the link will lead you to the respective page. For example 'tokolosh', or 'sangoma' or 'racism' or 'apartheid' etc.pp

Back to my opinion-poll:
Let's take one of the most important aspects in African daily life: the 'tokolosh'. He is a small ape like creature with an evil mind and everybody is scared of him. Certain things really displease him and one of many result in not putting the head end of your bed against the wall (you might squash him!)and putting your whole bed on top of bricks, again not to squash him. In the European culture he might be called a 'polter-geist', poltering around in cupboards etc. and never being really seen. Here, millions hear and see the tokoloshe every day.
When I came here I, for the life of mine, could not understand why my pillows ended up on the floor behind my bed each night. The      rural housekeeper of mine (Emily) seems to have liked me a lot and always pulled the whole bed off the wall to protect me from the          'tokolosh'. It takes time and especially the curiosity to find out these things.
Anyway, one of my white ladies, when I asked her about all this, claimed from her heart: The tokolosh is long dead! Hahahaha! Another, being queried about 'sangomas', said: That is a long dead tradition. Sangomas are so-called traditional healers who's craft is entirely based on ancestor worship.
These days they advertise themselves on social media, in family magazines and most importantly by word of mouth. Plus: they keep on making thousands and thousands of people happy and better!! Most African babies have colorful string bracelets on their little
arms, given to the family by their sangoma, to protect them.

It's complicated! But it is all totally undeniable and partly understandable. And -if you set your mind to it - it is acceptable. In this case I can only say: poor thousands of white missionaries, who did not get it quite right.....

So I will from now on not dwell on the negatives any more, but highlight the abyss in a way, that hopefully will bring about understanding and tolerance. I realize that I have taken upon me a mammoth task, but it's more than worth a try,and for most white people (not all!) a novel way to try and get peace with each other.

Here is a short video clip concerning the reality young sangomas of today:

http://mg.co.za/multimedia/2014-06-02-sangomas-of-the-21st-century#.VYkmnp5ZylY.gmai


Greetings,
Barbara


Monday, 22 June 2015

The "Truth" about South Africa


From here.....

Dear friends,

today I want to share a short result of my quest to find out what lead to today's frazzled politics in South Africa.
                                                        
                                                            To here....
I came here in 1982 and did not have any quests except from enjoying the solitude on a Free State farm, the beautiful nature, weather and freedom from having to comply to social norms. It was the time of apartheid, yes, but I was a guest and did not question, nor was interested in politics. Then there were some bombs, talks of civil war and then the start of democracy. All that was fine with me. I was growing herbs and pumpkins, having found profound happiness. Democracy could only lead to a better life for all, I thought. Well, that did not happen and I started to ask myself how is it, that the Europeans who allegedly had messed everything up, got to be here at all. Before the Africans from North Africa and the Europeans from North of the Equator fell into today's South Africa, it was a real and pure paradise, albeit with it's own savage cruelties. And a couple of years ago I started looking for the truth about South Africa. To my surprise I found out:
 There is no truth about South Africa 
Tons of books have well be written about this elusive truth, thousands of blogs and websites claim to have found it and are discussing it with great passion. That alone proves the non-existence of one truth. There are in fact millions of truths about my new home country. The more I researched, the more "truths" turned up. I would assume that this goes for the whole world, but here many truths are dramatic, violent and, yes, barbaric. The mine worker deep underground must of course perceive the truth different from a rural tribe, and the city dweller's truth is different from a historian's. A collective truth is impossible to find.
This time of wondering and searching was a nervous time and I want it to come to an end and go back to only the flowers, birds and bees colonizing my mind.
However, to illustrate the conglomerate of  'honest personal opinions' I want to cite 2 authors, whom we all know. 1. The creator of the famous 'Sherlock Holmes', Sir Arthur Canon Doyle's description of the 'Boers';  and Rudyard Kipling's  (of Jungle book fame) poem

Canon Doyle was a hugely prolific writer and for some reason volunteered as a field doctor in the Boer Wars 1899-1902. He even came up with a whole book about the Boer Wars. The first chapter starts with a rather hilarious description of what he decided makes the Boer tick:

"Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain of those inflexible French Huguenots who gave up home and fortune and left their country for ever at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile, unconquerable races ever seen upon earth. Take this formidable people and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances under which no weakling could survive, place them so that they acquire exceptional skill with weapons and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman, and the rider. Then, finally, put a finer temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism. Combine all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual, and you have the modern Boer—, the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of Imperial Britain. Our military history has largely consisted in our conflicts with France, but Napoleon and all his veterans have never treated us so roughly as these hard-bitten farmers with their ancient theology and their inconveniently modern rifles."

As far as the Africans were concerned in this, they did not even have the smallest chance of successfully defending the country they thought was theirs. (It was not, they were immigrants too). They were the vast majority in numbers, but they could not use the animals like elephants, rhino, hippos etc. as horses, they had no firearms and there was no African unity (identity). 
This solves my most important question as to how could so few Europeans get their feet into Southern Africa for good. Now, after another century+ the 'for good' part is not all that certain anymore. 
Rudyard Kipling touches the 'why was and is unity (between black and white) nearly impossible' in the following poem:

The Stranger
The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk—
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.

The men of my own stock,
They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wonted to,
They are used to the lies I tell;
And we do not need interpreters
When we go to buy or sell.

The Stranger within my gates,
He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control—
What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
Shall repossess his blood.

The men of my own stock,
Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
They think of the likes of me.

This was my father's belief
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf—
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.

No, this conclusion of my findings does not exclude that there will be solutions in the future. Miracles happen!


To here:  2015        

 
As far as the present is concerned: it is once again a jungle out there. And I rest my case.
However, nobody can stop me from dreaming my own peaceful and beautiful 

SOUTH AFRICAN DREAM

Greetings from Yours Truly,
Barbara


Saturday, 13 June 2015

Did you know South Africa like this?

See the wonderful sides of South Africa:

10 Interesting Facts About South Africa You Never Knew

1. Table Mountain in Cape Town has been identified as one of the oldest mountains in the world.

Table Mountain Oldest Mountain in The World

2. Table Mountain itself is noted to have over 1500 different species of plant life which is more than England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland combined.

Table Mountain Plant Species

3. South Africa has the longest stretching wine route in the world.

South Africa Winelands

4. The Palace of the Lost City hotel is the biggest theme resort hotel in the entire world and is the largest building project undertaken in the southern hemisphere.

Palace Lost City South Africa
5. The Karoo area is home to some of the greatest dinosaur fossil remains. 
Karoo Fossils Dinosaurs
6. South Africa has the most luxurious train in the entire world, called the Rovos Rail.
Rovos Rail Most Luxury Train In The World
7. South Africa is home to the highest commercial bungy jump in the world, called Bloukrans Bridge Bungy (216 meters)
Bloukrans Bungy Jumping Highest In World
8. South Africa is the only manufacturer of the Mercedes Benz C Class right hand drive cars.
Mercedes Benz C Class Right Hand Drive
9. The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace prize winners is in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, South Africa. (Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
Nelson Mandelas House Vilakazi Street Soweto South Africa
10. Three of the five fastest land animals in the world live in South Africa: the Cheetah, the Wildebeest, and the Lion.
Cheetah Fast Land Animal

GREETINGS,
BARBARA

Monday, 8 June 2015

Info on one part of many truths

Violent tribalism 2015

GOOD DAY AND WELCOME TO ALL FRIENDS, ROMANS, COUNTRYMEN!


This site serves to break my promise to not publish any political information any more. And on my other blogs I don't. Indeed THEY all serve to highlight creativity, tolerance and all the other good and helpful things in life which are not represented in politics.
However, I feel that my friends in South Africa and Europe, USA, Australia and even as far as China deserve access to certain political articles and opinions which as a rule are not available in their home countries.

I am not revealing any sinister, secret plots and events, but otherwise published media articles and videos, which you find out about only if you are looking closer into matters of interest.

I have always had a keen interest in my second home country, South Africa, since more than 30 years. What is 'African', what is everything all about, the history, the people, how did it happen and what is happening now? In the present politics play a major role in everybody's life, politics based on corruption, maladministration, tribal and racial issues and greed. One can choose to not talk about this, but one can not ignore it. The seekers of the truth will not find it, because Africa has millions of truths, but they will be able to find aspects to make up their minds on some of the subjects.

So, here goes:
The Mozambican leader Samora Machel once famously proclaimed that, “for the nation to live, the tribe must die”.
I never liked this formulation because of its underlying assumption that tribal identities don‘t matter.
Throughout history, human beings have belonged to one tribe or another. But as Archie Mafeje argued in his famous 1971 article “The Ideology of Tribalism”, published in The Journal of Modern African Studies, the colonial-apartheid system manipulated tribal identities to Balkanise the black population into different homelands.
A concept that once referred to a small group of people in a limited geographical area was revised to be co-extensive with people who spoke more or less the same language over large territories. To be sure, smaller tribes were often conquered by bigger tribes. But then they saw themselves as part of new kingdoms, not tribes.
 The danger arose when these kingdoms were not only tribalised but also endowed with distinctive characteristics. The most damaging of these stereotypes was that the Zulu were warriors and the Xhosa were educated. That the Zulus were just as desirous of a peaceful future as anybody or that the great majority of Xhosa were not educated was disregarded in the construction of divide and rule.
By the ‘80s the narrative was that the Zulu “warriors” were under attack from a Xhosa-led ANC. This ignored that for most of its existence the ANC was dominated by highly educated Zulu leaders such as Pixley ka Seme, John Langalibalele Dube and Albert Luthuli.
The stereotypes left tens of thousands of people dead in the tribal wars of the ‘80s. The parallels between those wars and the current xenophobic attacks are striking. These include the horrendous “necklace”, the brandishing of “cultural weapons”, and the single-sex hostels that were the staging ground for late-apartheid tribalism. Can somebody please tell me why we still have people living in hostels 20 years into a democratic South Africa?
 The stereotypes are different now, but they all find fertile ground in a society where the tribe has replaced the nation. Now it is not just the Zulu or the Xhosa but black South Africans who see themselves as different from other Africans.
 I am now going to speak in the collective “we” in describing this new black tribal identity and the stereotypes on which it is constructed. I shall do so because we are all, in different ways, implicated in this horrendous crime against the humanity of other people.
First, we tell ourselves that other Africans are here to steal our jobs. What a lousy excuse for hatred. Unemployment, inequality and poverty were unacceptably high long before many Africans came here. Zimbabweans came running here after our own government refused to put pressure on Robert Mugabe to stop the misrule of his country. Lost on us is the irony of applauding the dictator when he visits South Africa while chasing his refugees with machetes. And we turn around to call ourselves Mandela‘s children?
Those of us who warned of the large-scale migration that would follow Zimbabwe‘s collapse were called “sellouts” by the high and mighty in Thabo Mbeki‘s government. The sad thing is that all of our troubles have been foretold — from electricity shortages to HIV/Aids to migration. But then again, denial is our national pastime and leadership our achilles heel.
Second, we demonise other Africans as “criminals”. But if the thugs who murdered Emmanuel Sithole do not represent all of us, why can‘t we accord the same logic to other communities? We are dishing to fellow Africans the same hate that was dished to us by white people under apartheid. We do not even bother to ask about their backgrounds and achievements. Do we really think that decent, hard-working, well-educated people would voluntarily leave their countries to become beggars on our streets?
All over the world people embark on perilous journeys across oceans and deserts to save themselves and their children from anarchy and the perils of war. Given our government‘s collusion in the collapse of Zimbabwe, we should at least have some compassion for ordinary Zimbabweans in our communities.
The third stereotype is that a Sithole in Mozambique is unrelated to a Sithole in Durban or Johannesburg. And yet the Sithole were a strong ally of Shaka. How ironic, then, that a Sithole died at the hands of his own people, following the words of one of Shaka's descendants. That is what tribalism does — it devours even its own. We ignore at our peril that African people are related, despite the history of migration.
I once hosted a workshop in which Julius Nyerere described the migrant history of African people as follows: “My tribe came to where we are now in Tanzania as a result of the refugee movements which were caused by the wars of slavery, the wars which disturbed the whole blessed continent. And our people have been moving and moving and moving all the time, refugees running away all the time. And a lot of so-called tribes in Africa are groups of refugees.”
That is as true for the African migrants in our communities today as it was for our ancestors thousands of years before Europeans even arrived here.
Fourth, the killers say their only objection is that the migrants are here illegally. But how would they know? Did they ask to see their documents? And when did refugees start at the visa office before they leave their countries? I bet the haters would have killed them even if they had shown their documents.
I say all these things to reject the notion that there are legitimate economic reasons for the attacks. The economic argument suggests the causes are outside of us, and even beyond our power. But what we are dealing with here are ingrained prejudices that long predate the present moment, drummed into our minds by the very same colonialists we claim to have overcome. Where is the blackness that was the ethical construct and the moral compass against apartheid, when our present government mostly speaks of the attacks as economic damage to “Brand South Africa”? Who are we and what have we become that we now see everything through the sign of the rand?
The truth is we have no social contract to guide us in this country. We have become the postmodern face of a xenophobic tribalism that will devour everything in its way, and ultimately become a threat to our very existence as a society. Instead of our nationally elected government, we had a tribal monarch left standing to call a national imbizo — to douse the very flames he had started. Where was the president of the republic at our most perilous moment? Where was the party that was founded by our forefathers to fight tribalism? Was the absence of national leadership further confirmation that the tribe has indeed become the nation, and the nation the tribe?
Mangcu is associate professor of sociology at the University of Cape Town
This article first appeared in the Sunday Times

Thursday, 28 May 2015

SOLAR SUNBIRD

SOLAR TREASURE CHEST
Hello friends,

Lately, with the worsening of the power outages and the predictions of 3 more years of the same, I realized once again that to sit and worry and even moan out loud about problems does not help! 


I got motivated (by hours and hours of not being able to use electricity for 'work and play' to see what is out there that can be done: Petrol driven generators (expensive to maintain), gas appliances (expensive to maintain), batteries (very expensive) wood fire (ecologically wrong), wind power (not available). Then I had my big AHA! Solar Energy!! I found out that everybody (incl. myself) thought this to be a very expensive installation on roofs. But then, here and there, slowly but surely, I found that some clever businesses were already manufacturing small, affordable solar household appliances. Even from as little as R100 solar gadgets for smaller wallets and needs became increasingly available for households and businesses. Right now the most amazing little solutions for major problems are available: torches, lanterns, homework lights, cookers, security lighting, radios, cellphone chargers (!!), decorative light strings, fans, water heaters and even solar powered candles, if somebody really can't do without them.
All these little wonders of technology have one thing in common: You buy them at a reasonably low price and then you don't need to spend any more money on candles, paraffin, petrol, gas and even matches. And you reduce your ecological footprint at the same time. And this is not even too good to be true.

Consequentially to my quest for solutions I took over an agency for small solar household appliances. And I took upon me to try and inform and educate other people in my boat.

SOLAR SUNBIRD AFRICA (http://solarsunbirdafrica.blogspot.com) 

is offering a selection of the family's little helpers in times of power outage from this dedicated new site, including lots of information and snippets on 'what's what' and 'who's who' and 'how does it work?' in the solar energy buzz. 

Solar Lantern, 8 hrs.charging in the sun, 20 hrs. of light, built in second light (for another room maybe), remaining power level indicator, radio, various adapters for cellphone charging, USB cable to keep PC going for some time or to load from the conventional grid. MAGIC!!
please see solarsunbird.blogspot.com for prices and ordering details. The above combo solution is around R 500 only!Made in Canada, designed in England, and happy birthday to the Queen too.




Life is better in the light



With 356 days of sunshine in South Africa this 'free energy' makes so much sense that it should practically jump into anybody's face. A small change of attitude is happening, but most people still think Solar Power is for the rich, for large business buildings, and therefor out of reach. THIS IS JUST NOT TRUE ANYMORE. When I'm in the middle of a not to be put down book and the lights go out, I now switch on my solar reading lamp, with built in radio cellphone charger, and carry on regardless. You can too,

Lots of super sunny greetings,
Barbara