Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In 101 Mintutes You can Experience South Africa's Apartheid Struggles and Triumphs

My two favorite turns of history, over the last twenty-five years, were the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa, followed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Guest blogger Paul Schmidt [an avid fan of Africa, especially post apartheid South Africa].

Catch a Fire, the new film from director Phillip Noyce which opened last weekend, tells the true story of Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke). Born in poverty in Mozambique, he worked his way up to being a foreman at the Secunda oil refinery outside Johannesburg. He was apolitical in that time of polarization. He preferred instead to focus on his family [wife Precious (Bonnie Henna) and two small daughters], work and coaching a local boys soccer team.

As the movie opens the Chamusso family is attending a wedding in a rural village. On the drive home they are stopped at a roadblock and Patrick becomes a suspected terrorist tied to an explosion at the oil refinery at which he works. Shortly thereafter he is arrested and tortured by Nic Vos (Tim Robbins) a Colonel in the Police Security Branch. Desperate to protect his family, he unsuccessfully seeks to shield his family with a compromised alibi.

When he is finally released he barely returns home before he leaves for Mozambique to join the ANC resistance, forced by his mistreatment to side with his fellow countrymen who are committed to ending the oppression of the black majority by the white minority.

The script was written by screenwriter Shawn Slovo, one of the daughter’s of the late Joe Slovo, the former head of the ANC’s military wing and one of the most prominent white anti-apartheid activists, and later cabinet member in Nelson Mandela’s first government. He gave her the idea of this movie in the late 80’s. Shawn’s sister, Robyn, is one of the producers. Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack add celebrity to the production team.

The critics at Rotten Tomatoes generally acclaim the film giving it an 80% favorable rating….that means that 73 of the 93 critics who have reviewed it approved. Go see this movie and appreciate better the struggle that South African’s endured and that created today’s dynamic leader of Southern Africa.

Afterward, you’ll find this comprehensive Seattle Times-Intelligencer story will answer all your questions: such as, (1) How was Derek Luke affected by playing this real life, living national hero? (2) Tell me more about Shawn Slovo? (3) Is the movie story true to history? ENJOY and LEARN!

Even after having satisfied my dream of visiting South Africa in 2002, I still thirst for a better understanding of how the horrors of life under apartheid could have been been happening while I was in school and starting a family. I also marvel at, how like with the Berlin wall, so much of the man made barrier between people [and races] was diffused "in the twinkling of an eye". Catch a Fire capably portrays this period of history and its impact on the lives of ordinary South Africans.

Thanks dad for your welcomed addition to my blog. As we were talking about Catch a Fire last night I was really excited you had seen it and looking forward to seeing it as well. As far as I know it is not yet here in South Africa, ironic and wrong, and might not be here in theatres for a few weeks or months. I guess I will have to see it on DVD when I get home in a few months. Also, another factoid about the movie is that many of you might know that “Catch a Fire” is actually a song title by Bob Marley and the Wailers. Ironically, I have over 250 songs by Marley (solo and group) and don’t have Catch a Fire but do have it on one of the two albums by one of his musically talented son’s Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. The song comes off of his 2001 album “Halfway Tree” which is a good mix of reggae and hip-hop with catchy tunes and political undertones/overtones.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Another reason why I love Mozambique and remain skeptically optimistic about the U S. Mozambique now has better press freedom than the United States.

I knew there were many reasons why I enjoyed my time in Mozambique and here is just one more to add to the list. Thanks once again to AllAfrica.com I was alerted to the new Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index for 2006 which recently was released and ranks Mozambique above the United States in terms of press freedom. The initial article I found which is simply called “Mozambique: More Press Freedom in Mozambique than in US” is worth a read. Mozambique is ranked 45 (tied with 3 other countries) and the US is 53 (tied with 3 other countries) and the list has countries such as Cuba, Eritrea, Turkmenistan and North Korea at the bottom of the rankings. Maybe Mr. Bush the US got this rating to help you remember that Africa is a continent with 53 INDIVIDUAL countries and not a country as you have said on at least one occasion. I also see the irony in Cuba’s rating as I am still interested in going there and besides my father my good friend Francisco has also expressed interested in a trip there.

The Press Freedom Index itself can be seen on the Reporters Without Borders site along with the past PFIs and other information on the state of reporting around the world. You might be interested to know that the US was ranked 17th in 2002, the first year this index was compiled so you can see there has been quite a decline. Mozambique was ranked 70th. I feel guilty wondering if my departure from the States to live and work in Moz might not have been part of the reason that the state of press freedom declined in the States. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Or maybe it was that our president took the chance to unite our nation and country after 9/11 and decided to start invading sovereign nations, silencing the press, giving false reports and taking many more liberties with his job and responsibility.

I thought it would be good to end on a note about the United States gradual decline since 2002. I think we know what we (United States citizens) can do next Tuesday at the ballot box to start to turn this downward trend around. The article that accompanies the index says of the US: “The United States (53rd) has fallen nine places since last year, after being in 17th position in the first year of the Index, in 2002. Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his “war on terrorism.” The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognise the media’s right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism.”

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Calling for help, suggestions and contacts in Kenya. I want to make my first visit a productive and memorable one so let me know any tips or contacts.

As I have mentioned a number of times I am going to Kenya in January for the World Social Forum that will take place in Nairobi from the 20th to the 25th of January. I plan on going to Kenya after being in Mozambique for a few weeks from mid/late December to the week after the New Year. I will probably spend about 2 ½ to 3 weeks in Kenya and would love any I have a good list of people, churches and organizations that I have contacted before when looking for a practicum/internship and am sure I will get some great leads with this list but anything you might have to share would be great. There are two schools in Kenya for Christian Scientists and I want to visit both of these as well as some NGO’s and other orgs in and around Nairobi that I know. Any thoughts and suggestions would be great and if you plan on being in Kenya during this time or are there already, especially if you are going to the World Social Forum let me know so we can meet up!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Félicitations, congratulations and parabéns to Annie and Charles on their baby girl. I am sure she will be a world traveling humanitarian!

.I just wanted to show you all a picture of baby/bébé/bebê Catherine Ollivier who was born to my good friends Annie and Charles who are Canadiens/Canadians who I met in Chókwè, Mozambique and visited last year at their home in Gatineau. I will obviously have to make a return visit or they will have to come out to Portland to visit my family, friends and I. Best to the three of you! Keep the photos coming please! Maybe you can set up a blog or use something like http://www.babyjellybeans.com which my cousins do so we can see photos of Jacob and Jackson growing up. Annie, now all the meals you cooked/baked and froze will come into good use. You will both make wonderful parents and have a very multilingual daughter with French, English, Portuguese and maybe a little Shangaana.

Friday, October 27, 2006

On strike in South Africa with lightening strikes in and around Joburg.

I am quickly writing this entry between thunderstorms as I don’t want anyone to believe I have disappeared. I mentioned how last weekend there was a lot of rain, thunder and lightening and this weekend looks to have more of the same. Lightening can bring about strikes and so can taxi drivers all over South Africa.

What South Africans call a taxi is what Mozambicans would call a chapa, others would call a mini-van or mini-bus and South Africans would also refer to as a combi. Today taxis all over South African joined together in a semi-coordinated effort to strike to show solidarity against a government program to get decrepit, dilapidated and dangerous taxis off the road and replace them with a newer fleet. How this will be done is beyond me as the money for this is not available unless you want to cut government funding to schools, hospitals, roads, etc. plus the support is not there from many of the taxi drivers themselves who claim they can’t afford new or newer taxis. There is a long history in this country of strikes and violence between taxi drivers, motorists, bus drivers and others on the road. Gangs even form between competitors who make money off of transporting people and products. Today, this resulted in gridlock between Johannesburg and Pretoria, attacks on buses near Cape Town and attacks on bus commuters in Durban. This article from IOL.co.za tells more on the events of today. A more detailed article with specifics on the government program to "scrap" old taxis and reimburse the owners can be found at AllAfrica.com, which one again proves to be one of the best sites for news and information about African and stories related to Africa.

On a personal note I almost always used public transport in Mozambique which include many taxis just like those found here in South Africa, in fact many were either stolen or bought here and taken to Mozambique. I know what they mean when they say some of these buses are not roadworthy but on the other hand if the government expects and overnight switch they are not thinking straight plus I am not sure that the state of the taxis is the biggest problem in SA right now. I haven’t had the “pleasure” to ride in taxis in SA and don’t know if/when I will but I know that without them this country would come to a standstill as most people can’t afford their own vehicles especially with the fuel prices here. One of those things where you "can't live with them and also can't live without them."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Picture post: spring has gone and summer is here to stay. The temperature is rising daily and thunderstorms will bring some relief.

Marcilio was here again last weekend and we passed Friday purely talking and hoping the power wouldn’t go out as a thunderstorm was raging outside. We didn’t dare keep my computer turned on so we had no music to listen to, internet to send emails, look at pictures from our times together, etc. The power didn’t go out which I figured it would as it was windy and rainy outside so at least we could see each other. Ironically enough it went out for a few hours last night meaning that on the hottest day until today, since I came to South Africa I wasn’t able to run my fan. We are not sure why the power went out last night, if it was a repair taking place, accident that took down a pole, thief who stole part of the power line to sell it or other reason. Yes, here in South Africa it seems that out of necessity or greed people still power lines, rail road ties and all other things that bring them some quick cash but can cause problems for so many others. I am not unaccustomed to this as the same happened in Mozambique and I am sure it happens to many countries underdeveloped and “developed”.

Enough writing the point of the post was to share some images of the seasonal change from spring to summer. If it is still spring and today was at least 90, yesterday 88 and Monday 85, I won’t even wait around for summer. They say that Friday and Saturday it is supposed to rain and cool off a bit, which will be welcomed. I only want to know why the weather chooses to rain on the weekends and be sunny during the week. On a sad note though it seems that a couple of people seem to be struck by lightening each time there is a thunderstorm here. Ironic that the much needed rain should have a negative effect on people. I think in part people are not always aware of the dangers of lightening. I wonder if the government has done any awareness campaigns.

This is my favorite tree in the yard and at the end of each day as the golden rays of the setting sun are at the highest places such as the tops of this tree the orange/yellow flowers you see in this tree look like they are ablaze.

Forget Rolaids, I spell relief "P-O-O-L". Can you believe I have only been in once since getting here but then again this week has been really the only time that a dip in the Smith's swimming hold has been waranted.

You may be saying that this is not the most colorful or exciting photo and I agree but this was just to give you a sense what the place looked like around a month ago when the grass was still very brown from winter and the first signs of spring were arriving like this glorious hanging flower in this tree.
I can't exactly tell the Rose Festival in Portland to eat its heart out but I guarantee you that this rose is very sweet smelling and a welcome addtion to the garden. Don't worry mom and dad your yard is much more creative, colorful and cared for. Nothing personal to Linzi and Doug, they are just hardly around and when they are they are busy.

I love the sunlight coming through the white part of this flower. Have you noticed that other than the rose, which might not even be a rose, I haven't said the names of any flowers. While I can be helpful in the yard I really have never stopped to learn the names of various trees, flowers, etc.
This is just an idea of what a wide open African sky is like . You might be saying but look at all the trees in the way and this is just because I chose to use them as a frame for the colorful sky with reddening clouds.

This is the photo that I "borrowed" from Doug. By the time I got there to photograph this flower it was already "out for lunch". I like how the darker flowers in the foreground contrast with the lighter ones.

I will have to find out the name of this flower and let you know. I think they are called something like "paintbrushes" which makes sense from the looks of them. I took this picture yesterday and when I went to take another today it was all but done for. It is amazing how quick seasons change and things come and go. The great part is that you know that all you have to do is wait a bit and a change will be on the way.

I had to finish off with a sunsetish photo. The silhoutte in the bottom left and middle is the roof of the office/my house. I love the sunbeams or rays near the top of the photo that were breaking through the cloud in the lower middle that was trying to take away today's sunset.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Calling all those who care about democracy, human rights and freedom. Message from Stephen King and MoveOn.org. Get out the vote!

Yesterday, MoveOn.org sent out an email from Stephen King which I would like to share with you. Believe me I have much more to write on my blog and might even post something later tonight but I figure that this should be on the top of your minds today when you come to Ripplefxs. I would be taking part in this if I was in the States and hope those of you that are WILL. Our country is not moving in the right direction as Kevin Tillman clearly pointed out last week. Our political system is far from perfect and the Democrats might not be our ideal party but they are much closer to the direction that we want to be moving. Read Stephen King’s letter below and take these next two weeks to use your voice to get out the vote.

“Dear MoveOn member,

If I know anything, I know scary. And giving this president and this out-of-control Congress two more years to screw up our future is downright terrifying. Thankfully, this national nightmare is one we can end with—literally—a wake up call.

My friends at MoveOn.org Political Action are organizing pre-Halloween phone parties this weekend, Oct. 28th & 29th. We'll be calling progressive voters in key districts who may not turn out unless they get a friendly reminder or two.

And since it's almost Halloween, we'll celebrate with an optional costume contest, some pumpkin carving (I'll be making a Jack-Abramoff-O'-Lantern) and—of course—plenty of candy.

Please click the link below to R.S.V.P. for the nearest party, or to sign up to host your own:


If you're concerned about the future of this country, this is the time to get involved. The polls are telling us that this November is our best shot in over a decade to turn things around, and we've got to make the most of it.

You might wonder if these reminder calls to voters actually help. I did, too. It turns out MoveOn tested this whole Call for Change program on some early elections this year, and it produced the biggest increase in actual votes of any volunteer phone bank ever studied.

The failure in Iraq and the recent string of scandals have put a bunch of new districts into play. That means there are more voters to call than anyone planned, and every call we make at a party this weekend will reach a key voter who otherwise would have been missed.

Come November 8th, we're all going to kick ourselves if we ignored any close races and then lost the majority in Congress by a hair. These parties are our chance to make sure that doesn't happen.

Can you help end our national nightmare this Halloween weekend? Sign up to attend or host a local Call for Change Halloween party this weekend:



–Stephen King
Monday, October 23rd, 2006”

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fireworks, for Diwali: An explanation of how I, a world traveler and candidate for a master's degree have much to learn.

If you read my blog posted late Saturday night/early Sunday AM you might have been worried about the safety of Marcilio and me, not to mention others in the area as I alluded to possible gun fire outside. At least I can take solace in the fact that I titled my blog “Gunshots or fireworks?” and didn’t just jump to conclusions and decide on one or the other. I say this as I found out today from a young friend of mine that what we heard must have been part of a Hindu celebration called Diwali which is celebrated world over on the 21st of October. Diwali also called Deepavali is referred to as the “Festival of Lights” and as with many things the internet has much on this celebration. So it turns out that while we were worried about possible shootouts between two or more elements people were really enjoying themselves with fireworks. Wikipedia has some basic information on Diwali and is a good place to start to learn about it. BBC’s Asian Network has some interesting information including videos to learn more about Diwali as well as other culture, religious, etc. happenings in that part of the world such as explaining the different reasons why Sikhs and Jains celebrate Diwali.

And to come back to the noises Marcilio and I were hearing last night it seems that Joburg has some organized events around the time of Diwali. I found an article from Joburg.org.co.za talking about how this year marked the 120th celebration of Diwali here in Jozi. I am sorry that I didn’t know that two weeks ago in the Newtown area, which is where I saw Busi Mhlongo and Lura a few months back, there was a free “Diwali Festival”. It sounds like it must have been rather fun. I guess I will have to come back again or participate in one of these festivals elsewhere in my work and travels. While there are many Indians and others who live in and around Joburg that were celebrating Diwali there is a much bigger South Asian community found in the Durban area located in KwaZulu Natal Province. This is where Gandhi spent some time before traveling to Joburg and being thrown off the train for refusing to be in the third-class carriage. I was in Durban in 2000 with my abroad from Principia College and we visited a large, fragrant, bustling and photogenic Indian market and the largest Mosque in the Southern Hemisphere called the Juma Masjid Mosque. I find it hard not to digress from my original topic and share some of my own experiences with you. So back to Diwali I just wanted to say that last night in central Durban, Chatsworth and Phoenix there were Diwali festival planned as well. While it didn’t hurt to pray last night for safety and peace when I wasn’t sure exactly what the noises were it was a relief to learn today that the sounds were coming from a joyful event. As for me, Mr. Master’s of Arts in Intercultural, Service, Leadership and Management I see again that I have a long road to go before I know everything there is to know. While it might be convenient to know it all it also would most likely be boring so here is to “being a student for life”.

Another voice joins the chorus against wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pat Tillman’s brother Kevin speaks out for the first time against US led wars.

Do you remember Pat Tillman? His brother Kevin sure hasn’t forgotten Pat or the sacrifice he made with his life for a cause that he believed in. For the first time since his brother was killed Kevin has spoken publicly and wants to let you to know that the war in Iraq is wrong and must end. Kevin Tillman is a vet from the “wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan and the brother of Pat Tillman, former Arizona Cardinal Football player and Army Ranger who served with Pat before he was killed in the line of duty. There is an investigation still underway as to how Pat died, when he died, etc. It seems that somehow our “on the ball” military might just have covered up details of his death and lied to his family. I just finished reading an article written by Kevin Tillman on October 19th at Truthdig.com, a site that I hadn’t heard from before and haven’t spent much time looking at so I can’t really give it my endorsement. I haven’t gotten the shivers while reading something for a long time and really think that Kevin was right on with his use of words, tone, etc.

I really recommend that you read his article called “After Pat’s Birthday” and pass the word on to anyone you know. Pat was born on November 6th and that is why the article has this title. I should mention that I first found out about Pat’s piece from ESPN and then got an email from my grandmother that directed me to his article at TruthDig.com The article ends with the following two paragraphs which should peak your interest to read the whole thing.

“In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.”

I couldn’t agree more and think that we (United States Citizens) really need to take charge of our own country/mess. November 7th is coming soon; please don’t think that mid-term elections are for the birds. We can best use our votes to express our voice. Vote for peace and a future where we can work together.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Gun shots or fireworks?

It’s not even independence day here in South Africa but Marcilio and I witnessed (aurally) loud bangs in the distance. They started around 8 in the evening or at least that is when we heard them and lasted until after 10 PM. They came from two sides of the office/my house or maybe our ears were playing tricks on us. If they were gunshots it was the first time hearing gunshots live for me (other than target practice at camp or watching my uncle shoot). For Marcilio I think they brought up painful memories of wartime in Mozambique. He seemed shaken as the sounds continued and intensified but the never seemed to get closer to us. He told me about “shootouts” between the cops and “Nigerians”, which seems to normally refer to people from Nigeria but also seems to be a stereotypical way to talk about thieves, gangsters, rapists, etc. It seems that Nigerians get a bad rap the whole world over, especially here in South Africa.

As for now just after 12:30 in the morning the sounds have stopped, in fact they stopped about two hours ago. I will let you know if I hear or see anything from the various media sources around here if there actually was some sort of a shoot out. As for our personal safety I was never concerned but I certainly prayed for the safety of anyone who might have been involved or in the area if a firefight was going on as well as for the return to sanity of any criminal elements concerned.

Friday, October 20, 2006

60 Minutes story on Darfur....real MUST SEE TV!

Thanks to Mulu for sending an email that alerted me to a “60 Minutes” story that will be on this Sunday night the 22nd about Darfur, genocide, politics, etc. Mulu wrote “The Sudanese government restricts reporters from entering the region, but CBS correspondent Scott Pelley and his 60 Minutes crew went anyway, putting their lives in jeopardy. Mulu is a fellow grad student at SIT, is from Ethiopia and did a group project at SIT last spring in an advocacy class on the situation in Darfur. Mulu also wrote “It is sure to be a haunting and truthful piece.” For those of you who don’t know “60 Minutes” it is a 60 minute news show in the States that has been on the air for many years. You can find out more, including local TV listings, by clicking here. Mulu also let me know that you can click here at SaveDarfur.org to watch a brief clip from the report. If you have any similar messages that you want me to post on my blog please let me know. I will have to ask my parents to record the piece so I can watch when I get home in late February or early March.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Coffee table South Africa: “Shack Chic", an interesting and controversial look at poverty, townships, dignity and creativity in South Africa

Last Sunday after church I was at the house of some church friends and I came across a a book which immediately rubbed me the wrong way and I was a bit offended that someone was making money (again) by exploiting poor South Africans and their modest living situations. But as I got past the cover and start to realize that this wasn’t just a book full of images but a collection of images mixed together with quotes, poems, stories, social commentary and seemed to have been the culmination of time, energy and research. The more I went through it the more I thought that it could either be a coffee table book for people who have never lived in or visit such situations to have out to share with their friends or a way to raise the consciousness of South Africans and others who have no real concept of how a growing population of South Africans are living. It also seemed to bring a sense of pride and dignity to people living in situations that many would find to be shocking or unacceptable. From the pages came the strong sense of community, creativity, camaraderie and resourcefulness and more that the people and places highlighted in this book possess and represent for many South Africans not shown or mentioned.

The book is called Shack Chic and if you go to Quivertree Publications you can see some of the intriguing and intrusive images that it contains. As a photographer, traveler, social justice advocate and student I went through many emotions while seeing the photographs and reading the word contained within this book and really need to look at it again to see it again with “fresh” eyes. When I got home on Sunday I went right to the internet to find out more about this book and found an interesting article from August of 2002 at BBC.com. If you go to Africa Book Centre Limited and scroll all the way down you can find the book for sale. Most of you won’t buy it from here as you are not in this part of the world but in an effort to promote photography and writing from Africa I am sharing this site. As I try to promote the “little guys” or at least the “littler” guys if you are in the Pacific NW in the States I found that Powell’s Books (a Portland favorite) has copies of the book as well. A simple search on the net will most likely find a bookstore or library near you with the book.

In my search to know more about “Shack Chic” and what people are saying about it I found an article online by Milia Lorraine Khoury which about a South African photographer, Zwelethu Mthethwa, whose work was unknown to me before finding this story. The article is academic as it was written for an art course at the University of Cape Town. In this article Khoury write an insightful and scathing section on Shack Chic and similar publications. She says, “In publications like Shack Chic…photographing has reverted back to a colonising eye. People are exoticised and ‘othered’ once again, by the scrutiny of the lens. There is an element of spectacle in these images by Fraser, as if these people are expected to entertain, and their living quarters are looked upon and perceived as curious and strange. The hyper-real colour in these images suggests an untrue depiction of reality, with the ‘truth’ element from Mthethwa’s quasi-documentary style erased.” I am very happy to have come upon this article as Khoury seems to have more insight and history into this book and others who have tried similar photography in similar communities.

I have tried to share some of my impressions, allow you to find images and more information online and given you the words of Milia Lorraine Khoury which really seem to put the book in a more appropriate context. My suggestion is to buy or borrow the book and see what you think. I would love to hear from any of you that know this book or find it because of this article. Send me an email or leave a comment below.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Two new features on my blog.

Since not all of you receive emails from me I wanted to share something that I will soon be emailing out to friends and family. I just wanted to share about two new features that have been added to my blog in the past month that when used can make your life a lot easier and interesting as far as my blog goes.

The first feature will deliver my new blog entries to your email box. It is called “Feedblitz” and all you have to do once in my blog is scroll down until on the right side under “blog archive” and above “Statcounter” you come across “Feedblitz”. Feedblitz is a free service that you can sign up for, takes only a few minutes, and allows you to get my blog entries delivered directly to your email. So far eight people have signed up for this service and it will save you the time of logging on and going to my blog, although I encourage this as well.

The other cool feature that has been added is “labels” which accompany each new entry/post and can be found at the end of the entry in the lighter cream colored area. Labels can also be found below “Statcounter” on the right hand side. The idea behind labels is that after reading an entry you want to see if I have written more on something in that you come across in an entry, you click on a label such as Doug and all articles where the word Doug have been added to labels will come up on the screen.

Enjoy these new features and for those of you out there who are also blogging away you might want to consider adding these to your site. If you have any questions just shoot me an email.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What’s fueling South Africa? Driving experiences, fuel costs and small cars.

I just thought it would be interesting to share a bit about my experience so far with fuel (petrol, gas or whatever you want to call it) for cars. I will write more about this in a future blog as I really should be working on my capstone for SIT. I don’t think I have mentioned that I have been driving here off and on since about my third week here. So far I have driven to the store, driven short distances for work, gone for a ride with Marcilio to see a concert a few weeks back and driven to work with the girls and women at the center for former and current prostitutes that Linzi is on the board of and where Doug and I have been teaching speech skills for the past few weeks. In fact I will be going there tomorrow and this time all on my own. It is good to do some training with this group made up mostly of females but also with two guys who work for the center one teaching computers and the other I am not sure about but he is a poet, artist, actor, etc. You might want to look back at one of my first entries from back on July 27th when I shared some impressions on what driving is like here in SA. It wasn’t that hard to drive on the other side of the road and it helps that the car that I have been driving is automatic. I love manual/stick but this is what is available and I can’t argue.

The car I have been using is a Toyota Camry which belongs to Doug and he was using when I first got here until it’s A/C quit, followed by it breaking down on him a few times while traveling long distances. Needless to say I will just drive it short distances and always have my cell phone with me. The specifics on the car is that it is a 4-speed automatic with four doors, a 2.2 liter/litre engine and has a fuel tank capacity of 70 liters. I just went to fill it up this afternoon as it was almost on empty and after I sat down to calculate fuel costs and compare the price between gas here in SA and in the US. It sucked up 58.78 liters which at a price of 6.06 a liter cost a whopping 356.21 ZAR (rands). I went to Pumpsandspares.com (if you know a better site to calculate costs please do share) and found out that the 58.78 liters is (about) equivalent to 13 gallons. I then went to XE.com to see what the current exchange from the rand to the dollar at about 6 PM my time was. I calculated the 356.21 ZAR that I paid to fill up the car and it came out to 46.8069 USD. Then from PumpsandSpares.com I figured out that 6.06 a liter equals 0.800117 USD and that 1 gallon is equal to about 5 liters. Thus if I was to buy one gallon here in South Africa (or at least at the Shell Station where I went here in Sandringham it would cost a little over $4. (If any of this calculation is inaccurate please let me know) As I haven’t been home in over three months I am not sure what current fuel costs are in the States but I would guess that this is between 20 and 30% more than the costs at home.

When you consider the fuel costs, the costs of living here in South Africa, the high level of unemployment and the weak rand it is no wonder that many of the cars that I see on the road are small 2 and 4 door ones many smaller than a VW Golf or Honda Civic hatchback. It really is amazing coming from the gas guzzling capitol of the world to South Africa where more because of the lack of money in your wallet most people choose small, compact, light and fuel efficient cars over the monster SUVs and other major pollution producers. It will be a shock to be back home and feel like I am the fool at the monster truck rally with my Golf. Heck, many of the cars here make my VW seem like a monster truck. I will undoubtedly write more on my experiences with energy consumption, travel and more in blogs to come.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mozambique: Movement for Gay Rights to Be Announced Soon.

Last week in Maputo there was a seminar on gay rights that was organized by the Human Rights League (LDH). It concluded on Friday and I found out about it through an article that I read at AllAfrica.com. It is an interesting development particularly in light of the entry I wrote on October 5th entitled “Being gay in southern Africa”. I will be interested to find out what talk there is in Mozambique around this and get reactions from friends, colleagues, etc. when I go to Moz over the holidays. I will let you know what I find out.

The following is a taste of what you can find by reading the article:

“The standard attack on gay rights is the claim that homosexuality is "against African culture". Mabota noted that the League had been obliged to deal with supposed "cultural" issues before.

"When we raised the question of domestic violence, we were told to drop the issue because it was part of African culture", she recalled. "We were told that men display their love for their wives by beating them".

The defenders of battered women paid no attention to such arguments, "and now everybody rejects domestic violence", Mabota said. "So in some years we will overcome discrimination against homosexuals too".”


Sunday, October 15, 2006

What’s next the Virgin Mary? Prophetic visions or maybe just whole-wheat cravings. I must be in an Oregon state of mind.

I had what one can only describe as a "religious" moment when I pulled this piece of bread out of the bag and went to it eat. I have often heard of the Virgin Mary being found in nature, a pancake, chocolate and other forms and when I found the map of the State of Oregon in a brown seed loaf with mixed grains and seeds that was vegetarian, I knew that a higher power must be speaking to me.

I can clearly see some snow on the Pacific Coast Trail and if you look closely enough you can see the ski slopes at Mount Hood, the Deschutes River as it runs through Sun River, Wizard Island inside Crater Lake, the Rose Garden (not where the Jail Blazers play) in Portland and some guy in tights saying something about “To be, or not to be…” in that town in southern Oregon that my sister will one day be the mayor of called Ashland. I hear that Nateville is next door.

After the shock and awe I felt upon my discovery I decided to take some photos to have a permanent memory of my special find and then pulled out a jar of Oregon Grape Jelly that I bought at the Made in Oregon store at the Portland International Airport before leaving home last July, toasted Oregon and had a nice mid-afternoon snack. I wonder if they eat the Virgin Mary when she is found in perishables such as pancakes.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

What's in a name? Identity issues in South Africa. Expensive waste, heritage restored and respected or something else all together?

Three months ago I flew in to Johannesburg International Airport and when I leave next year I will be flying out of O.R. Tambo International Airport. Yes, I will be flying out of the same airport but the South African government has elected to change the name even though when it changed the name from Jans Smuts International Airport to Johannesburg International Airport in 1994 a law was passed that airports could not be named after politicians. Jans Smuts was a politician so the rule made sense after taking his name away from the airport but in naming it after Oliver Reginald Tambo a celebrated figure in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa who was ironically enough a politician it seems that there is a contradiction or bending of the rules in naming the airport after him.

Another part of the controversy/debate here is over the expensive cost of changing the names of airports, schools, towns/cities, provinces, streets and more. It seems that South Africa’s name changing renaissance is continuing and many feel that it is costing too much money but others think it is fair to honor former and present South African heroes and to give credit to the ruling party or majority of South Africans. O.R. Tambo Int. Airport is only the latest in this debate and not on the same scale as the name change of South Africa’s capitol from Pretoria to Tshwane.

Back in 2003 news24.com a South African news website reported that the name change had been put on hold but then in March of 2005 Pretoria’s City Council voted to change the name to Tshwane if the central government approved it. Then on May 27th 2005 BBC reported that the Geographic Names Council had given its approval to the name change. While some signs in and going to Tshwane say Tshwane others say Pretoria and there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it. Most people I have spoken to still report to SA’s capitol as Pretoria.

I watched a program on TV a few weeks ago about the province of KwaZulu Natal (or KZN), which for about 150 years prior to 1994 was known as Natal, a name that the British gave to it in the 1840’s. Prior to that it was known as Zululand (KwaZulu in Zulu) and thus when the ANC came in to power in 1994 it was given a new name KwaZulu Natal. This new name was a compromise that combined the two names most historically associated with the area and seemed to be a good solution. Yet, the name change didn’t end the talk about the appropriateness of KwaZulu Natal and this discussion continues today.

So the debate continues and who is to say which side (there are many) is right on this one. All I know is that lots of time, energy and money is being spent on this which could be spent on other “more” important things such as housing, poverty reduction, etc. On the other hand if a name change is what people really need to feel that their heritage is being respected, motivate them and remove some of the pain of the past then maybe these name changes are a good thing. Just like the controversial 2010 World Cup that will be coming here this issue will be discussed and debated for many years to come. As an outsider this is just one of the interesting issues that I am getting to see and hear about from many sides while here in South Africa.

Additional reading:

Here is an online discussion from Commentary.co.za on the airport issue.

Here is an article from Wikipedia on the airport name change with some interesting history on this airport before, during and after apartheid.

Here is an article on street names being changed from Jobrug.org.za called “The word on the street is change

If you want to find out more just pick your search words carefully and go to Google or another search engine, as there is plenty out there as these name changing issues continue to be argued and debated.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Interesting commentary on Amish school shootings and violence in the United States.

I found out about the following article from a friend Vienna who emailed it to me and although I had never heard of Joan Chisttister or the National Catholic Reporter Online I thought it was worth drawing your attention the article. I must say I learned a lot about the Amish people by reading this and particularly like the message she gives at the end of the article. I have decided to post the article in its entirety as I think it is really worth reading.

"What Kind Of People Are These?

Joan Chittister | NCR | 10/10/06


The country that went through the rabid slaughter of children at Columbine high school several years ago once again stood stunned at the rampage in a tiny Amish school this month.

We were, in fact, more than unusually saddened by this particular display of viciousness. It was, of course, an attack on 10 little girls. Amish. Five dead. Five wounded. Most people called it "tragic." After all, the Amish represent no threat to society, provide no excuse for the rationalization of the violence so easily practiced by the world around them.

Nevertheless, in a nation steeped in violence -- from its video games to its military history, in foreign policy and on its streets -- the question remains: Why did this particular disaster affect us like it did? You'd think we'd be accustomed to mayhem by now.

But there was something different about this one. What was it?

Make no mistake about it: the Amish are not strangers to violence.

The kind of ferocity experienced by the Amish as they buried the five girl-children murdered by a crazed gunmen two weeks ago has not really been foreign to Amish life and the history of this peaceful people.

This is a people born out of opposition to violence -- and, at the same time, persecuted by both Catholics and Protestants in the era before religious tolerance. Having failed to adhere to the orthodoxy of one or the other of the controlling theocracies of their home territories, they were banished, executed, imprisoned, drowned or burned at the stake by both groups.

But for over 300 years, they have persisted in their intention to be who and what they said they were.

Founded by a once-Catholic priest in the late 17century, as part of the reformist movements of the time, the Mennonites -- from which the Amish later sprung -- were, from the beginning, a simple movement. They believe in adult baptism, pacifism, religious tolerance, separation of church and state, opposition to capital punishment, and opposition to oaths and civil office.

They organize themselves into local house churches. They separate from the "evil" of the world around them. They live simple lives opposed to the technological devices -- and even the changing clothing styles -- which, in their view, encourage the individualism, the pride, that erodes community, family, a righteous society. They work hard. They're self-sufficient; they refuse both Medicare and Social Security monies from the state. And though the community has suffered its own internal violence from time to time, they have inflicted none on anyone around them.

Without doubt, to see such a peaceful people brutally attacked would surely leave any decent human being appalled.

But it was not the violence suffered by the Amish community last week that surprised people. Our newspapers are full of brutal and barbarian violence day after day after day -- both national and personal.

No, what really stunned the country about the attack on the small Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania was that the Amish community itself simply refused to hate what had hurt them.

"Do not think evil of this man," the Amish grandfather told his children at the mouth of one little girl's grave.

"Do not leave this area. Stay in your home here." the Amish delegation told the family of the murderer. "We forgive this man."

No, it was not the murders, not the violence, that shocked us; it was the forgiveness that followed it for which we were not prepared. It was the lack of recrimination, the dearth of vindictiveness that left us amazed. Baffled. Confounded.

It was the Christianity we all profess but which they practiced that left us stunned. Never had we seen such a thing.

Here they were, those whom our Christian ancestors called "heretics," who were modeling Christianity for all the world to see. The whole lot of them. The entire community of them. Thousands of them at one time.

The real problem with the whole situation is that down deep we know that we had the chance to do the same. After the fall of the Twin Towers we had the sympathy, the concern, the support of the entire world.

You can't help but wonder, when you see something like this, what the world would be like today if, instead of using the fall of the Twin Towers as an excuse to invade a nation, we had simply gone to every Muslim country on earth and said, "Don't be afraid. We won't hurt you. We know that this is coming from only a fringe of society, and we ask your help in saving others from this same kind of violence."

"Too idealistic," you say. Maybe. But since we didn't try, we'll never know, will we?

Instead, we have sparked fear of violence in the rest of the world ourselves. So much so, that they are now making nuclear bombs to save themselves. From whom? From us, of course.

The record is clear. Instead of exercising more vigilance at our borders, listening to our allies and becoming more of what we say we are, we are becoming who they said we are.

For the 3,000 dead in the fall of the Twin Towers at the hands of 19 religious fanatics, we have more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers now killed in military action, more than 20,600 wounded, more than 10,000 permanently disabled. We have thousands of widows and orphans, a constitution at risk, a president that asked for and a Congress that just voted to allow torture, and a national infrastructure in jeopardy for want of future funding.

And nobody's even sure how many thousand innocent Iraqis are dead now, too.

Indeed, we have done exactly what the terrorists wanted us to do. We have proven that we are the oppressors, the exploiters, the demons they now fear we are. And -- read the international press -- few people are saying otherwise around the world.

From where I stand, it seems to me that we ourselves are no longer so sure just exactly what kind of people we have now apparently become.

Interestingly enough, we do know what kind of people the Amish are -- and, like the early Romans, we, too, are astounded at it. "Christian" they call it."

Joan Chittister is a Catholic nun and a powerful thinker/writer/voice in our world today. To read this article and others by Joan Chisttister go to http://ncronline.org/.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What do you mean separation of church and state, we are all Christians aren’t we?

Prayers and church songs to begin and close meetings at the NGO, government and business levels seem common place here in South Africa. No one even seems to stop and wonder if there are any Jews, Hindus, Muslims, pagans, animists, agnostics or non religious people in the audience who might not feel comfortable participating in these ceremonious activities. You have to wonder if people who automatically do this are even conscious that there might be people in their midst who don’t feel comfortable taking part in a prayer or church song or whether they are conscious that the possibility exists but figure “we” are in the majority and thus what we want goes. You are probably thinking to yourself that Blake has spoken about being a Christian Scientist on several occasions so why does he really care about this and you are right to remember this I guess I am just more conscious of how things that I or others say or do might be received or perceived by others. Also, I come from a country where church and state are “separated”, at least that is what our founding fathers seem to have intended so to be in South Africa where the line between the two seems more blurred and I honestly don’t even know if there is a rule in place to keep the two apart it is taking some getting used to. I thought of this today while at the Gauteng AIDS Summit 2006 which I mentioned yesterday in my blog and which I will attend again tomorrow and write more about in my blog over the weekend. I gotta run now as I am basically just procrastinating from working on my mid-term report for SIT and should get it done to have free time this weekend as Marcilio should be coming tomorrow to stay till Sunday!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Three month anniversary!

It is hard to believe that I started my practicum with Education, Training and Counselling almost three months ago on the 13th of July. Three months ago I was technically in the air on my way here from the States but what is a day in the big scheme of things. If you want to reminisce on celebrating three months feel free to check out my first blog entry just a few days after arriving here that I wrote on the 18th of July. Amazing to think that in another three months I will done with my practicum and only one step away from completing my Master’s Degree at the School for International Training (SIT). To celebrate this point in time I am busy working on my mid-term report for SIT which is due in the next few days. I really know how to party and there is nothing like a hair raising recap of my first three months as an HIV Consultant while reflecting back on my learning contract to celebrate such a momentous occasion. Sorry Nate I will have to see about tackling the “11 Books” thing tomorrow. I will be going to “Gauteng AIDS Summit 2006” tomorrow which is put on by the Department of Health and Gauteng Provincial Government and I will no doubt have information to share on this in a future blog entry.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

'New News' from Africa - Looking Beyond Death, Disease, Disaster and Despair---an interview with AllAfrica.com well worth reading.

“Charlayne Hunter-Gault, one of the best-known and most award-winning journalists in the United States, has focused her recent career on covering Africa. After nearly two decades as a correspondent for the Newshour on public television, she moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, working successively as Africa correspondent for National Public Radio and CNN bureau chief, before leaving CNN last year to pursue independent projects.”
From 'New News' from Africa - Looking Beyond Death, Disease, Disaster and Despair

The following are some excerpts from an interview that Hunter-Gault did recently with AllAfrica.com on the 6th of October. I would really suggest reading the article as I think it has great insight, perspective, criticism and hope. As she says in the interview I too believe that AllAfrica.com is one of the best sources of news and information on all 54 countries that make up the continent of Africa…that is right Mr. Bush it is not a country. I hope you enjoy the selections below and take the time to read the whole article and I imagine Hunter-Gault’s latest book “New News Out of Africa: Uncovering Africa's Renaissance.” is well worth reading. Click here to read the interview in its entirety.

“Why do you think that coverage of Africa in major U.S. media is so limited?

I am constantly confounded as to why American media don't find Africa an exciting place to report from and about. I think there's a perception that audience interest is limited. That's certainly not been true in my experience. I lecture on college campuses, before businesses and corporations and other venues around the country. And I always find receptivity to the 'new news' that I bring from Africa. Interest - and ignorance to be sure - because people aren't getting the information they need to understand Africa.

Reporting is dominated by the four 'd's I talk about in the book - death, disease, disaster and despair.

What do you recommend to people in newsrooms who want to bring more "new news" about Africa into the coverage?

They just have to go there. They have to be willing to go there. This is not always glamorous. Everyone wants to come to South Africa, because they can stay in nice hotels and run out to the townships and get a little bit dirty and then come back and take a nice shower in the five-star hotel.”

And near the end of the article Hunter-Gault says:

“The public is very sophisticated. I think that it's unfortunate, in America, that there is this perception that you have to dumb down information in order for people to understand it. That's a wrong perception.”

Monday, October 09, 2006

African Women: Pioneers of change?

It is a good feeling to be able to be so proud of a place where you spent many formative years and with which you really enjoy being associated. For me one such place is my undergrad Principia College, a college for Christian Scientists located on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in Elsah, Illinois. Prin is located on a gorgeous campus with hundreds of acres that the US Air Force once wanted to commandeer to build the Air Force Academy but fortunately it was left to be preserved and conserved for more peaceful and educational purposes. I studied Mass Communications and World Perspectives at Prin and it was during my time there in the spring quarter of my senior year in 2000 that I got to take an abroad to South Africa with 20+ other students, David Winder one of my Mass Comm profs and Bente Morse, Prin’s International Student Coordinator and all around amazing lady. To see more about the abroad you can go to SA Abroad Program website. I think it is awesome that abroads dating back to 99 are still online. The 2002 trip to China, Vietnam and Tibet is worth a look as my sister Ashley was on it along with two friends who were in SA with me in 2000.

Okay so on to the reason for writing this blog I wanted to share about the Pan African Conference that will be held at Prin again this coming weekend. The topic is the subject of this blog African Women: Pioneers of change?” and I think it should be a great day full of interesting and relevant information gathering and sharing. I think that women really hold the key to Africa’s success and it is up to the men to realize this and give women the credit and power they deserve. It has been my experience in Mozambique and South Africa that women do a lot more good for their family and friends then men. If you happen to be in the area and would like to attend just email me and I will get you in touch with the people who can hook you up with a chance to participate.

I took a weekend off from SIT last fall to go to the conference and was not disappointed. I even got the amazing opportunity of spending most of a day with Paul Rusesabagina the “hero” of Hotel Rwanda. Got to get him from the airport with a Principia employee, have lunch together and talk in the car on the way up to the college. It was an awesome opportunity and I am sure this year’s conference with some amazing speakers including Wangari Maathai who will be the keynote speaker on Saturday night will be great too. Maathai who was one of the originators of “The Green Belt Movement” in Kenya and is the first African women to win the Nobel Prize is an amazing and inspirational leader. She is on the board at SIT and I hope to meet her one day and maybe that day will be when I go to Kenya in January for the World Social Forum. Well, for a college of 550 Christian Scientists located in the rural Illinois countryside I think it is pretty awesome to have an annual event like this one that brings such high caliber of speakers and attendees together to talk about various topics related to Africa.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The World Through His Eyes.

Follow Christian Wagner around the world for 448 days and see the world through his eyes as he shoots his way across the globe. Go to his site Life Vicarious to see some great photos. Christian who is from Newport Beach, California in the US only started his 448 day trip the first of this month. So far he has taken a handful of pictures from Quito, Ecuador (I was there briefly about eight years ago on the way to the Galapagos Islands with my family) but you can see some pictures taken from previous trips he has made while globe trotting. I found out about Christian from a college buddy who knows him from Newport Beach and have been in email contact with Christian. He is a good photographer with some interesting perspectives taken in some special places around the world. Also, he has impressively fit all of his camera gear, a Macbook and clothing into one 65 L backpack. I hope you enjoy his photos and follow his journey for the next 440 days. Again the site is http://www.lifevicarious.com/pixelpost/index.php.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Why wait till November to vote? Vote now and help a great photography project in Rwanda.

Dear friends,

I wanted to share an email with you all that I received tonight from a good friend who played an integral part in The World Through My Eyes. With only a few minutes of your time you can help a similar photography project with kids in Rwanda get some much needed funding. Please read Tara’s email below and go to the http://www.volvoforlifeawards.com website to cast your vote.

"Hello, Friends,

Many of you know that I was a involved in starting The Rwanda Project, which worked with children at the Imbabazi Orphanage in Rwanda. We gave the children cameras and they documented their lives, healing some of the painful memories and traumas.

Rosamond (Roz) Carr, an amazing American woman who lived in Rwanda for the past 60 years, founded the Imbabazi Orphanage following the Genocide of 1994. This past Friday night, at age 94, Roz passed away in Gisenyi, Rwanda. She leaves behind over 120 children who were in her care and loved her deeply. As a project with a long history with these children, we are anxious to help during this difficult time. We hope you might be willing to help as well.

Roz won the VOLVO FOR LIFE Award in 2004 for her work with the children and she was once again up for the Award this year. We have just learned that Roz can still win the VOLVO FOR LIFE Award and the monetary prize can still go to the orphanage. If you could take a moment and visit the Volvo For Life Award site and VOTE FOR ROSAMOND CARR, it would be appreciated. Please pass this to your friends - every vote counts

To VOTE for Roz, go to this link:
Click on "VOTE"
Click on the state of "New Jersey" (Roz's home state)
Check "Rosamund Carr"
Click "Submit"

For more information on The Rwanda Project, go to these links:

Thank you so much for your help and support!

Tara Lumpkin"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Being gay in southern Africa.

No, I am not a fan of “yellow journalism” and I don’t approve of sensationalism. Yes, I am in South Africa right now which logically enough is located in southern Africa but I am not homosexual, which probably makes you wonder why I am writing this blog. Well, in the last few months I have had some interesting conversations with coworkers and friends, mostly all male, about the way homosexuality is viewed in South Africa and Mozambique.

It seems that a lot of the discomfort or dislike around the topic of homosexuality comes from lack of knowledge about homoe or direct contact with people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. Homosexuality is not a topic that I openly discussed with many Mozambicans, if any, while living in Mozambique for 2 ½ years. This goes back to our training with Peace Corps when I clearly remember in one of our sessions being told “we have no problems with your sexuality and you are free to be who you want to be but we highly recommend that if you are gay, lesbian, etc. you keep it to yourself as being this way can be dangerous in Mozambique.” That is right sexuality is not only a taboo topic in Mozambique and to a lesser degree here in South Africa but also one that can be dangerous. Sadly enough this comes as no surprise as I have heard of hate killings around the world that involved homosexuals who were killed due purely to their sexuality.

As I said above homosexuality is a less discussed or known topic in Mozambique than South Africa and I am sure that many Mozambicans who are homosexual or homosexuals that visit Mozambique as tourists or for work would say that outside of the capitol, Maputo, homosexuality is a very taboo topic. It is sad to me that people are not more accepting and loving but we all are entitled to our own beliefs as long as these beliefs don’t hurt others or infringe on others rights. I imagine that in Mozambique especially before “democracy” came while Mozambique had strong links to Communist countries, being gay was particularly unsafe. I heard stories from one friend about a gay Mozambican man who was beaten up by some younger Mozambicans who were tired of his advances and flirting with them. I also heard that two girls in their early 20’s who come from Chókwè, where I lived in Mozambique, have been “dressing and acting like boys” for many years now and while most people who know them seem to have gotten used to it they are still not fully accepted by society.

As for South Africa which boasts one of the most progressive and all inclusive constitutions in the world, and is leaps ahead of the US Constitution, homosexuals are protected. It looks like an amendment will soon be made that legalizes “same-sex marriages”. On December 1st last year South Africa’s highest court (the Constitutional Court) legalized same-sex marriages but said that Parliament had one year to put everything in place before it became law. Needless to say this is a hot topic here and many people are not happy that South Africa might soon be joining the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada as only the fifth nation in the world to legalize same-sex unions.

I am sure that I will have more information to share on this story over the coming months as I discuss homosexuality with more people. If you want to know more about the situation in South Africa as far as same-sex unions go please read articles from the following sources:


International Herald Tribune