13th Mar2017

Welcome Everybody

by admin

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the first edition of exPress imPress for 2017. As always, we have a talented team of writers who are sharing their writing with you, our cherished readers. In this week’s edition of the blog, we have six articles that reveal to us our writer’s anxieties, wishes, reflections, passions, and favourite restaurants to haunt. Naledi Khumalo explains why women need to play key roles in their own empowerment. Obvious Nomaele discusses how university life has been different from his initial expectations. Adalizwa Dlova reflects on the often painful changes the accompany growing up. Thabisile Miya presents us with her manifesto of why South Africa’s youth ought to listen to Okmalumkoolkat’s album, Mlazi Milano. Stephanie Schaffrath gives a sneak-peak into her adventures at the lazy seaside town Parternoster. Finally, yours truly tries to understand the looming Sassa social grants crisis. Plenty of reads to entertain, inform, and challenge you.

Enjoy

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

2017

13th Mar2017

To Grant or Not to Grant: Inside Sassa’s Grant Crisis

by admin

SASSA Card

 

17 million South Africans currently receive social grants from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). Until early this year, Sassa was efficient in its provision of social grants to its beneficiaries. In order to decrease the risk of corruption, Sassa has (until now) enlisted the services of Cash Paymaster Systems (CPS) to pay out some R10 billion to the beneficiaries. It has emerged though, that Sassa’s contract with CPS has not been renewed. This means that, come 01 April, the social grants recipients will not receive their payments.

The Sassa crisis has led to the demonization of the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini. What has emerged is that the looming crisis is the result of Sassa’s reported R1 billion in irregular expenditure and financial payments. The Constitutional Court found that Sassa’s initial contract with CPA/Net1  was irregularly awarded, leading to the gross irregular expenditure during CPA/Net1’s tenure as the provider of social grants. The Constitutional Court, following its initial ruling, refuses to allow Sassa to extend its contract with CPA/Net1. Sassa needs The Constitutional Court to authorize its use of CPS as it has not found any viable alternative service providers. However, on the same day Sassa filed papers requesting for The Constitutional Court to authorize its use of CPS, Sassa drew up papers to for a notice to withdraw application.

Moreover, the South African cabinet has failed to address the social grants payment crisis. The Sassa crisis was not mentioned in the post-Cabinet statement, with Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe stating that there had not been enough time to address the matter. Sassa, itself has been plagued by internal difficulties with the current CEO, Thokozani Magwazani, being placed on “sick leave” for twelve days. His, and Bathabile Dlamini’s, notable absence from a meeting between Parliament’s committees on public accounts on 27 February resulted in Themba Godi (chairman on the committee) ending the meeting as there was no one who was able to answer questions about the grant crisis.

Seemingly, the looming crisis does not look to be averted anytime soon. Sassa has only started negotiations with CPS/Net1 on 28 February. Tensions between Dlamini and Godi were apparent at Sassa’s presentation to the social development portfolio committee on 22 February, with Dlamini dominating, leaving no room for Sassa officials to speak. The crisis will affect South Africa’s poorest, resulting in substantial socio-economic crisis. In 1994, the newly-elected South African government stated that its principle interest lay in protecting society’s vulnerable and marginalized. Additionally, the South African Constitution was primarily drafted to protect the rights of all South Africans, who include the poor. South Africa’s high levels of socio-economic inequalities have become more deeply entrenched in the socio-politico-economic order. Sassa was developed in order to address the developmental crisis experienced by South Africa’s poor. The crisis demonstrates that Sassa has failed in its responsibility to South Africa’s poor. The crisis seems to be a more tangible example of how post-apartheid South Africa’s dreams are increasingly not being realized.

13th Mar2017

A Day Trip to the Salty Little Town of Parternoster

by admin

Beach Days

Someone once said that travelling “leaves you speechless, then it turns you into a storyteller”. So here is my story of the day my two travel buddies and I took a road trip to the small fishing town of Parternoster in the Western Cape. A day filled with tear-inducing laughter, stunning views and good food.

Prior to embarking on our journey from our holiday accommodation in Langebaan (45km away), we thought it would be a good idea to put in a load of washing, whilst forgetting to redirect the water drain pipe into the bath. This particular washing machine has a tendency to make a sound similar to one I imagine the Loch Ness Monster makes upon waking from its slumber. We were therefore more than eager to get out of the house and on our way. Happily we made our way to Parternoster, only to realise our mistake 20km down the road. Returning home, we sprinted to the bathroom like mad chickens. Luckily the floor was bone dry and after securely placing the drain pipe in its allocated spot, we embarked on our journey once more.

Parternoster is known to be one of the oldest fishing villages on the West Coast of South Africa. This salty little town is in the vicinity of Vredenburg, just 145km North of Cape Town. It makes for an ideal day trip. In my opinion, Parternoster is defined by just two words: windy and picturesque. Upon arriving, we parked our car on the side of the road and walked up and down the main road which is crammed with quaint little shops and restaurants sporting a sea view. In the streets we saw plenty of young men selling crayfish, some no bigger than the average hand and others absolutely enormous! Locals did, however, warn us to abstain from these illegal crayfish vendors, or else we would attain a hefty fine.

My favourite shop was most definitely Die Winkel op Paternoster. Besides the beautiful leather bags, authentic Veldskoene and homemade preserves; what captured my heart was a little packet of deliciously sweet, syrupy koeksisters. Between the three of us, we polished off the entire packet of golden deliciousness right outside the entrance to the shop. In fact, they were so scrumptious that we even walked right back inside to buy some more—for later of course. After browsing at all of the little shops we returned to the car and made our way to the Seekombuis just inside the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, a mere 7km away. From the parking lot this little restaurant doesn’t look like anything to write home about. But just wait until you walk through the little entrance that has probably seen better days. Seekombuis is exactly that: a kitchen right on the beach. If it was any closer it would be in the sea. Captured by the view, we eagerly made our way to die kerk (as they call it), which is an old fishing boat overlooking the bay and by far the best table on offer. Perhaps it was compliments to the view, but that afternoon I ate the best fish and chips I have tasted in my life!

After lunch we continued to sit on the beach with our toes in the sand and a glass of ice cold wine in hand, as we admired the heavenly blue water before us. I even spotted a school of dolphins cheerfully playing in the distance. After much excitement, we hastily retrieved a pair of binoculars from the car to get a better look. And so the scrutiny began… First my incredible spot was demoted to submerged rocks, and then—to my disgrace—seaweed! To this day I am still convinced that they were indeed dolphins. But then again I guess even if they weren’t, for those precious few moments, those submerged rocks created so much joy in my life, that if anyone ever asks, I will not hesitate to tell them that they were without a doubt, most definitely dolphins.

In the end, the Three Musketeers started on our journey home. We left Parternoster with fiercely knotted hair, sandy feet, full tummies and warm hearts. On our way out we passed a windmill that had clearly worked very hard some few years ago and read “Dead as a doorknob” in Afrikaans. I guess that is quite an accurate description of how we all felt after our memorable adventure In Parternoster. Without a doubt, a bucket list destination!

Contact Details for Places Mentioned Above:

  • Die Winkel op Paternoster, Cnr of St. Augustine Road and R45 (Vredenburg Road), Western Cape, 022 752 2105
  • Seekombuis, Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, Tietiesbaai, Paternoster 7380, 072 258 9041

Paternoster

13th Mar2017

Why Every Young Kid in South Africa Needs to Listen to Okmalumkoolkat’s ‘Mlazi Milano’

by admin

Okmalumkoolkat

Okmalumkoolkat is one of South Africa’s talented artists who is not only a rapper but is also a dancer, fashion influencer and all round creative genius. One look at his Braam-kid-ville aesthetic will give you a sense of what I mean. There is a futuristic element about him and that is present within his sound that has influenced a lot of South African hip-hop artists. Mlazi Milano is a 17-track album featuring the likes of award winning Ricky rick and member of Boyz N Bucks; Mashayabuqe Ka Mamba; Mr. Digital Maskandi; the highly acclaimed the Brother Moves On; as well as young and upcoming musos like Shomadjozi, Reba Red and Amadando . The reason why every young kid needs to listen to this album is because it is pro-South African, it both celebrates and aims to promote our multilingual, diverse and culturally rich nature in a manner that speaks to the youth. The album addresses issues like isintu- the African way of doing things like praising the gods or serving a higher being- which lies beyond the confines of the western conceptualization of religion. In this album Okmalumkoolkat addresses the trend of South African youth looking down upon their cultures, religion and traditions. He smoothly does this by rapping mainly in Isizulu as well as collaborating with Mashayabuqe who has successfully merged maskandi music with trap music and Shomadjozi who raps fluently in Xitsonga. This demonstrates that one does not need to be a pure imitator of mainstream American hip-hop culture. It is obvious that hip hop is at its most successful period in the country. Because it is part of the mainstream, most artists have become monotonous producing music of a lesser quality with everyone adhering to the winning formula. It’s time South African hip hop becomes more inclusive and celebratory of South Africa’s diverse cultures. In our social media-driven age, it is refreshing to see artists who are genuinely making music for a certain cause and act as an inspiration to the youth. One needs to listen to this album to get a sense of what I am talking about.

13th Mar2017

The Violence of Change

by admin

So I decided to listen to Drake’s album, no, not Views (from the Six?) but Take Care and all of a sudden, I found myself listening to a lot of the “old Drake”. Man I have to say, I used to die for Drake. I remember finding his Thank Me Later somewhere in my older cousin’s stuff (yes, I used to snoop through her stuff sometimes). I asked her what kind of music it was and it turned out it was one of her friends’ CD’s so she said I could have it because her friend would probably not even miss it. And I fell in love at “first listen”. Since then, I’ve kind of grown up musically and veered a bit off from the Drake’s brand of hip hop into other genres but that is a story for another day.

Fast-forward five years later and I’m listening to Take Care spontaneously because I was overcome by nostalgia. On my Drake binge, I also listened to ‘Club Paradise’ and the lyrics had me clutching my chest- the usual manner of “draking”. “Draking” is a term used to describe a person who listens to so much of Drake’s music that they start feeling miserable about life in general. In my case though, I became homesick. I’m due to go home in a few weeks and I haven’t been sleeping well because I’m just too excited.

Some of you probably won’t understand. “I grew up at home” has a different meaning for me: I was at home ninety percent of my schooling. I didn’t like going out. I had friends, sure, but I was, and remain, a self-proclaimed introvert. A hermit. Here’s a Warsan Shire quote that describes my kind of introvert ways well: “my alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.” So basically, I’m a homebody.

How many introverts can say that they chose to leave their hometowns in order to go to somewhere far and new as soon as high school was over? I’m probably not the only one but I’m sure the numbers are not that high. There’s something comforting about being at home right? It’s just so effortless to always be comfortable. So there I was fresh out of high school and I still had all of my limbs intact, my mother expecting me to go to the university town that was two-hundred kilometres from my own town. The ironic part though, is that I also thought that that is where I would be going for three years but we all know that life is not that predictable. Instead, I’m more than seven-hundred kilometres away from home and the land is as foreign as Wonderland was to Alice. A few months ago, June seemed eons away. June meant exams sure, but those exams were the bridge that would help me cross to the other side: home. Now that June is finally almost  here, I’m still happy that I finally get to go home after months in this land that sometimes still feels foreign, no matter how many friends I make or how many places I see. However, I did not expect to also be dreading going home. Let me explain.

The town I come from is a small town (not on the coast unfortunately) where nothing happens but everything feels like it’s happening when you’ve been there for your whole life. Many people who stay there describe it as stagnant, not going backwards but not moving forward either. My friends and I used to joke about how people become attractive and somehow better when they leave the place. But now that I’ll be one of the people who have left and are on their way going back, I can’t help but wonder how a stagnant place reacts to those that refuse to stagnate with it. You know the people you leave back home when you go somewhere and they say “you’ve changed” with that tone of voice they use to describe someone that they don’t like? My town has those people too.

Trust me though; I’m okay with hearing that because for me it means I have grown away from the stagnation that I am seemingly not allowed to grow away from. Here’s a lovely picture that illustrates what I am trying to say:

You Have Changed

Somehow, the world has made normal things seem strange and strange things seem like the norm. I have never understood why inner change that gives an individual greater depth is not celebrated. We are not in this world to stay stagnant. I love my town. I’ve been in that shell for nineteen years and it was comfortable, yes but as the smarts of this world like to say: a comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there. Certainly not the flowers on the above picture. Here’s something that we should all do best to remember at the moments we refuse ourselves the opportunity to veer away from comfort:

Where the Magic Happens

There’s nothing wrong with change (with exceptions of course) but, in each case it is crucial how we choose to that particular change. There have been days where I felt like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, as though a constant raincloud was following only me. I had an ache in my chest that longed for one thing and one thing only: the comfort zones I chose to leave. There are still days where I wonder if I made the right choice by deviating from what was expected of me, what I expected of myself but I’m so glad I am here.

There’s this quote I have a thing for – sorry, I love words – it’s always been an analogy for me, mainly about waiting for what you deserve and the change it will bring. It’s a quote from Beginners, a film by Mike Mills.

Beginners Quote

13th Mar2017

First Year Experience

by admin

MEDIA STUDIES ARTICLE 1 PICTURE

 

As the first quarter is ending and the level of intensity increases, Matriculants are gearing up for their exams. Last week, Matriculants from different schools around Johannesburg and Limpopo made their way to the Career Indaba, which was held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton. The event offers first hand career advice and guidance to help Matriculants make the right decisions about their future .

I remember last year when I was in Matric, I had also attended the same event and, as I result, I couldn’t wait to finish high school. I couldn’t wait to get away from home, the annoying teachers and, most especially, the dull school uniform I wore. “Varsity life “that is what myself and my fellow pupils used to talk about . We saw it as a life you get to live in your own way, do whatever you want to do and wear whatever you want without anyone saying a word. But I saw my imagination fooling me when I entered the gates of University.

As a first year student myself, I find it very funny how University came out to be the opposite of what I had anticipated. I expected it to be all that television University students had presented it to be. All hot chicks, lit parties and the freedom of doing whatever I want to do.

The first few weeks were so hectic that I had no choice but to go with the flow.First day I couldn’t find my lecture, didn’t know where the toilets were and I knew no one. When I finally got my lecture, I thought I was in the wrong one because I didn’t understand a single word the lecturer said. As weeks went by I started familiarising myself with the ins and outs and made a few friends here and there. When I got my first assignment I just didn’t know where to start, as I understood nothing and had worries about my potentially plagiarising on the other hand. I then realised that the high schools cut and paste had no place. I remembered my Life Orientation teacher, teaching about time management and tried applying the method but it just did not work.  Not that I didn’t get it but just because I was busy occupied by a lot. All that happened in the past weeks made me sit down and do some introspection. I found out that I was overwhelmed by “Varsity life” and just did not know my place. This made me stand up to the situation and be the solution , give myself enough time for books or “ chow course” as students say and the rest will follow .

I am not trying to make any Matriculant  not want University anymore but I’m just trying to give a clear picture of reality. I know how awesome the feeling of finishing high school is, but the future waits. Although there are those hot guys and girls, top fashion, lit parties and “cool life “, there is more to it than meets the eye. I can now proudly say “Varsity life “will become the way you want it to be.

 

 

 

 

13th Mar2017

Woman Empowerment

by admin

Empowered Woman

 

You are who you are. Their approval is not needed. They can take away everything but they will never be able to take away your original you. The above statements exemplify, for me, why we, as woman, ought to come together like imbumba and protect one another. Each individual must take a stand and stop speaking ill of other women and unnecessary jealousness. We all know that jealousy can occur, I also experience it at times, but I fight it like others who refuse to live with their pervasive jealous. We need to stand against betrayal because we tend to judge one another, knowing how hard it is to be a woman. Greet another woman today- a simple “hello” won’t cost you your life. Tell her she’s beautiful and not only that you will be uplifting her soul but you will also sleep with satisfaction knowing that you have made another woman smile today.

In this day and age, never depend on anyone but your parents. Ultimately, we cannot depend on men and whatever may be in their pocket because, despite the blessers or sugar daddies being able to give you what you want, you will also be forced to give one thing that a female values the most (particularly in traditional African culture). Imagine at this young age you are already infected with HIV/AIDS just because of money, is money really the roots of all evil? If it has the power to kill, infect, and make our young woman greedy?, or we as humans need to take control of the situation if things don’t work out and not rely on Blessers and Sugar Daddies as if it is the end of the world, I understand things happen but each and every one of us have the power to stop it from happening. My wish is to see no woman obtaining the guts to date, not to mention having a sexual relationship with a man old enough to be your father, what are we teaching the young? There’s a quote from Whims.me/AicX  that says that money only impresses lazy girls because when a woman works hard, a man with money becomes a bonus, not a ladder to social mobility. Young ladies, work hard now so that in the future when you enter an expensive shop you will be able to take that dress or those shoes that caught your attention and swipe your card without even looking at the price.

You are defined by what you wear, if you decide to wear that bum short, that crop top, long skirt… wear it with pride, walk the talk and if someone’s complains on how you wear and say they don’t like what you wearing, just smile and walk away because you didn’t wear that for them, you wore it for you and the only thing that matters is that you love what you are wearing and you are happy. Jenessa Michele said that when people see her, when other women see her, they may be judging her based on how much her clothes cost. If the cost of our clothing and where we buy them define our personal value, then that (in my humble opinion) is a major problem.

Seeing a pretty woman with expensive clothes can be intimidating because you will just think that she’s got it all. Instead of lowering your self-esteem and comparing your appearance to other women, you are only causing yourself heartbreak because everyone is beautiful in their own way and everyone was created by one person. It was not a mistake for you to walk these grounds and to be on this earth. Your mother carried you for nine months. She didn’t carry a useless child nor did she raise a weak woman. The fact that she gave birth to you (this young, beautiful, gorgeous you) shows how much potential she saw in you. It is now your turn to play your part and make your mother proud as she is your goddess on earth. Do not be ashamed if your mother is a drunkard and your father a garden boy. Take a stand and be brave enough to change the situation at home because in life it doesn’t matter where you come from but what matters is where you going.

I agree with Hillary Clinton when she says that she believes that the rights of women and girls are the unfinished business of the 21st century.  Statistically, women have always experienced (and continue to experience) more poverty than men. Slowly but surely, we will get to a point where everything is equal. This will only happen if we get together because, as the popular saying goes, when you strike a woman, you strike a rock. Emma Watson says that she will not stand down until she gets to see an equal number of female prime ministers, presidents and CEOs and more men feel that it is okay to express how they really feel about things and more fathers are present in their children’s lives. Personally, until I see us all not policing and oppressing each other and not ostracizing each other and when I live in a world where there isn’t a narrow understanding of masculinity and femininity, I will not stand down. I stand for my belief that it is right that women are paid the same as their male encounter pants. I believe that I have the right make decisions about my own body. I believe it is right that women be involved, on my behalf, in shaping the policies and decisions that will affect my life. Ultimately, I stand firm in my belief that ought to be offered the same respect as my male counterparts.

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