25th Sep2017

Speak Out

by admin

Hi everyone,

We trust that you have had a wonderful long weekend. Our team has put together a small edition for you to enjoy. Realeboga Petlele gives us a liberal Christians’ perspective on the End Days and the problem of charlatan pastors using the Church to enrich themselves. Veli Mnisi discusses the problematic nature of America’s current political scene. He also delves into the hypocritical reaction to Kathy Griffin’s photo that featured her holding Donald Trump’s severed head. Our two writers call for us to speak out against various injustices and we should all heed their call.

Hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Speak Out

25th Sep2017

Kathy Griffin

by admin

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The very mention of the messy nature of American politics has become an unbelievable cliché. One can only muster so many expletives to describe Donald Trump and his supporters. I believe the use of the term deplorables pertaining to the American right-wing might as well be trademarked by uBabes WePant Suit, Hillary Clinton. American politics are too tired to feature at any point of dinnertime conversation, and are too tiring to think about – at least until Donnie Trump puts his foot in his mouth again.

However, one of the most noteworthy things I noticed during the year was the way Kathy Griffin was treated for the way in which she chose to share her sentiments on he-who-shall-not-be-named (because even the mention of the current US President’s name is enough to leave a sour taste in your mouth).

Kathy Griffin is an American comedian, famed for her frankness, and getting slapped across the face by the late Joan Rivers at her Comedy Central Roast. Earlier this year, Kathy Griffin took to social media, and posted a photo of herself holding the American President’s blood-soaked severed head. This can be interpreted in a number of ways, but I think the explanation most people are comfortable with is that this was her unique way of protesting against the joke-without-a-punchline US President’s electoral victories and subsequent blunders. It might have been bold and edgy; it might have been distasteful. It did, however, gain tons of attention, and a lot of it was negative. What is even more noteworthy is that there was a degree of consensus between the right and the left about how poor a display this was on the part of Kathy Griffin.

Kathy Griffin’s actions were so divisive that for some time, she saw herself losing comedy gigs because of all the attention she had been attracting. Many Conservatives might have disapproved because they are Conservatives, and to some degree it might have been because any opposition to Donald Trump warrants relentless attack. However, Kathy Griffin also saw disapproval on the left because she seemingly chose to deviate from Lady Michelle Obama’s decree that if they go low, we go high. I’m not sure if Kathy Griffin has ever been known to go high.

Donald Trump has basically been doing to the American people what Kathy Griffin wanted to symbolise through her holding Donald Trump’s bloody face. As if completely forgetting what this man has shown himself to be capable of, the public were quick to crucify Kathy Griffin. Interestingly enough, comedians such as Jimmy Fallon and programmes such as Saturday Night Live seemed to forget about what kind of man Trump is for long enough to each have him feature on their 45 minute to an hour long shows. Thereafter, they took to insulting him in almost every episode. In fact, Saturday Night Live has featured him in almost every cold open, portrayed by actor Alec Baldwin, with plans to continue this new tradition in the coming season.

I think it is important to ask ourselves how long we are willing to make noise about how we are disgusted by certain people and their politics before forgiving and forgetting because, at that particular moment, forgetting is the more convenient thing to do. This is similar to how certain members of the South African constituency will tout the Rainbow Nation mythology, and denounce the use of the ‘race card’, before giving in and using the k-word.

25th Sep2017

Beware of the Last Days

by admin

                                                                                Liberal Christians Perspective

The Bible warns us in Luke 21:11, “There will be great earthquakes and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” It is proven, we have recently heard of the massive earthquake in Mexico this past week, killing more than 150 people and left many injured and homeless. This is not the first of its kind which are now predominantly occurring, and more earthquakes are still predicted to occur in the future globally.

This article focuses on the coming true of the prophecies of the Bible, specifically focusing on the churches. One could account for all the disasters happening in the world that align with these prophesies, and in times like this the church should be the place where people find hope and  protection from these disasters. Instead the churches have also been influenced by the changes in the world. The Bible had predicted in Mathew 24:10-11 “And another many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.”

Churches today have turned into commodities and lucrative businesses. The organisations and pastors who often appear as prophets are idolised and praised, not remembering that the gifts that they were given are from God and that he deserves the praise not them. An example of this is seen with the newly turned prophet, the herbalist Bhaka Nzama. He says that he is the King just like Jesus, and his new ministry is named after him. This sort of thing directs focus to it being about him not God. Secondly, these ministers often scare people into Christianity. They tell people that if you are not saved you are going to hell. As people are still questioning life and what comes after life, one is more likely to get into Christianity because of the fear of going to hell. It truly takes away from the beauty of Christianity, and thus people disingenuously praising God hence the drama seen in some of these churches people falling, making noise role playing things that are not happening.

They focus on shunning down other organisations to promote theirs. People should be left with the choice to freely go to the organisation they want which should be a truthful one for that matter. The main emphasis in a lot of these charlatan churches is offerings and tithes. They will often say: You will not get your miracle money or blessings if you do not offer. And now because people want to be like them- shiny suits, cars, jets and all- they give and reality is that people become more broke. The pastors become rich consequently.

When evangelists are sent to go out the first word that they say is, “Can I invite you to My Church,” and if you say no their immediate response is “You’re going to Hell.” First and foremost who are you to condemn me to hell, because the only being capable of doing that God, the creator. Where have you learned how to create the universe? Secondly, the organisation that you are inviting me to is not the only place where I can find God. When Jesus died for us, the veil was torn. The veil where only high priests could go to, but God has availed himself to each and every one of us and even in our homes. He is everywhere and everyone with or without money can receive him. He never said pay anything to receive him and that is why these charlatan pastors are incredibly problematic.

Church Service

11th Sep2017

Enjoy Your Break

by admin

Hi everyone,

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we do not have an edition for this week. However, enjoy the research/study break and hope that you come fresh and ready for the last block of the year.

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

Keep Calm and Enjoy Your Break

04th Sep2017

Bring Back Our NSFAS

by admin

Bring Back Our NSFAS

Hi everyone,

We have a short edition consisting one incisive article by Realeboga Petlele that hits at the cause of the recent NSFAS fiasco involving Sibongile Mani and R 14 million of NSFAS funds. This article highlights the deep-seated systemic problems that continuously perpetuate themselves in South Africa’s higher education funding crisis. The fact that one student received R 14 million from NSFAS could have been a humorous incident. However, the fact that it took 5 months for the relevant authorities to pick up on this mistake demonstrates the deep rot within the system itself. We are faced with a funding crisis in higher education that affects not only students who are recipients of NSFAS funds but also academics, and contract workers. More needs to be done to curb this crisis because, as it stands, there are going to be dire consequences in coming years.

Bring back our NSFAS!

Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017

04th Sep2017

Sibongile Money

by admin

This article critically responds to the NSFAS saga that involved Sibongile Mani who accidentally had R 14 million deposited into her account. That amounts to $1 million. If we put ourselves into her shoes, it is possible to claim that we could have made a rational decision and actually send back the money. But really, would we have done that?

Listening to Wasanga Mehana on 702- he mentioned that he would have gone to several exotic and secluded places jumping from one place to another to make it difficult for government to trace him, and finally would have taken the money to Switzerland to hide it there. Although his idea sounds far fetched, he could have been successful and gotten away with it. The money was deposited 5 months ago and the matter was only brought up recently only because Mani shared slips of her expenditure and bank balance on social media.

She went on expensive shopping sprees, bought expensive phones and threw parties for her friends. In a period of five months, she spent close to R900 000. At that time she didn’t even spend the money on things that could be considered as assets, like a car or a house. She comes from a relatively disadvantaged background, and the way in which she spent her money reinforces the quote that says, “Rich people will remain rich because they act broke and poor people will remain poor because they act rich.” Now she is in a situation of real poverty. Despite the fact that the funds have been taken away from her account and that she is given 20 years to pay the money back, she now faces charges of fraud, theft and misappropriation of funds which could result in 15 years of imprisonment.

When looking at this story, one cannot look at the girl in isolation. One needs to account for the entire system. Knowing the nature of South Africans, or rather humans in general, no person would make a mistake with their money- ever. This incident could be a blessing in disguise as it could raise public awareness around the fact that this kind of activity does take place in the education funding programmes. NSFAS loans are meant to aid disadvantaged students which would increase their chances of graduating, getting a degree and contributing to the growth of South Africa’s economy. The fact that huge amount of money was deposited five months ago and there were no investigations conducted indicates that there are systemic problems around the regulation of student funds. If they had conducted a search it would have brought attention to potential corruption around the distribution of NSFAS funds- but instead they kept quiet. An assumption we could make is that the persons in charge of distributing funds made a mistake in the account number, hence the money was deposited in Sibongile’s account and not the person is was intended for.

The transactions that Mani made were frequent and the fact that they couldn’t pick it up reveals the inefficiencies in the scheme. Students have been rejected by NSFAS, some cannot go to school because either they owe too much, or they cannot afford university entrance. NSFAS has been asked to explain why many students have been rejected without any reason given and they haven’t been able to provide sound reasons. One could argue that the system is really failing SA citizens; the government is not representing us anymore but rather representing their own stomachs. What is the point then of having a democracy? This is why students end up protesting, and it is not a pleasant experience, but government leaves the student body no choice but to protest in order to get them to listen to their demands.

If we are to adhere to the principle of  rational decision making, she should have gracefully returned the money and even posted on social media that she had accidentally received the money. If she had contacted the bank, InteliMali and made them aware of the error, she would have received positive attention. NSFAS would have probably have made the decision to pay her tuition without expecting her to pay-back the money after completion of her degree.  But we know that you cannot separate humans and their money or rather as the stereotype goes, “you cannot come between Xhosa women and their money.” Unfortunately it was not her money so she must PAY BACK THE MONEY.

Sibongile Mani

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