Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Marcilio, Norman (a fellow HIV/AIDS worker who has contracted with ETC),
It is hard to believe that this was my first experience after all my travels and work in North and South America, Europe and
The game was sold out and standing room only and they even let some people fill the aisles using the steps as seats. We chose to sit at the top section at about midfield to have a good view birds eye view over the game, crazy Chiefs and Pirates supporters and get a nice view of the Joburg skyline, mine tailings
The Pirates scored early and held most of the momentum, energy and attacks throughout. We were sitting on the Chiefs side, with the sun behind our backs and as I was wearing my South African Bafana Bafana (boys will be boys) jersey so as to support the national men’s team and thus not provoke fans from either side to give me a hard time, I rolled up the collar to act as good protection against the sun. I had heard about fights at these matches, chairs being torn out and or burned and more but on this day to my knowledge none of this happened and people seemed to get along well.
At halftime the entertainment was a more “hip” musical group that the pre game one who moved around the field signing to the four sides of the stadium. Then the “Amakhosi” cheerleaders or whatever the girls are that dance for the home team Chiefs came on to dance to Justin Timberlake’s (I am sorry if this mention of his name gives him any positive publicity) Sexyback. The song alone is bad enough but then to have watch the cheerleaders joined by 20 or so girls from about 10-18 dance in sexually provocative ways made it that much worse. I swear some of the cheerleader minis they had join the big girls must have been between about 10 and 18 and when you see dances like this by children you can see how it adds to the shockingly/disgusting high percentage of rapes in this country. Children grinding and bumping in short skirts in front of drunk spectators doesn’t really help the situation. I wonder if I was the only one thinking about this as it was going on or even now after the fact.
Back to the game the second half saw the Pirates having many more opportunities off of penalty kicks, corners and headers to score but they failed to and in the last minute of the game (injury time) this failure to go up 2 to 0 came back to hurt them when Shaun Bartlett (no relation to the President on the West Wing) scored off a header in the closing seconds. It was a bummer seeing as how the Pirates had dominated most of the game. Some Pirates fans had started celebrating with about 10 minutes to go and were getting rather obnoxious and I don’t think they actually even saw the game as they were too busy dancing, tooting their horns and harassing the Chiefs fans. For more on the game you can see the write up at
FNB is home to the Kaizer Chiefs and the Pirates play closer to
All in all it was fun to go to the game with friends, be warmly received by fans from both sides with my neutral jersey supporting
Friday, December 08, 2006
Gordon maybe we can be friends after all. Senator Smith, a Republican, calls for withdrawal from Iraq.
Coming from a State that has a long history of being progressive and liberal it is interesting to note that Oregon Senator Gordon Smith, a Republican, just came out against the war in
P.S. I am not sure that immediate withdrawal and leaving Iraq completely on its own is the best answer but I know that the mess the US Government has created in the Middle East must take a different direction. I was appalled the other day when I heard that over 13,000 civilians have died in the area since we invaded a few years back. Plus the over 2,000 US soldiers.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I came across three articles written recently by LZ Granderson a columnist who writes for ESPN.com’s “Page 2” and wanted to share some insights from them and recommend that you read them. Although ESPN basically reports the news in the sports world it does from time to time tell of NBA poets fighting racism, Olympic athletes promoting sports in underdeveloped countries and in these articles racism, stereotypes and the “n-word”.
The original article “A word with consequences” is well written and insightful and from the follow up written by Granderson sparked interest, controversy and responses from around the world. In it Granderson talks about the “n-word” and uses snippets from interviews with white athletes and musicians about this controversial word. He makes a plea to the likes of LeBron James, Donovan McNabb and Carmelo Anthony to be role models and come out publicly against the use of the “n-word”. He says that athletes have more power than musicians which I am not totally sure about but any start to end the use of this word which has such a terrible history attached to it is a good one.
The second article (found with either the link to the first article or the final one) is a brief follow up to “A word with consequences” and University of South Florida football team which apparently due to the first article decided after debates amongst the athletes to stop using the word in their vocabularies as players and pedestrians.
The final article, “Blake ... or fake?” is about Granderson’s brief stay in Stockholm to cover a small tennis tournament and how he was a star in the eyes of the fans outside his hotel for a few days as he was believed to be either a tennis star such as James Blake or one of the Brazilian soccer (football) players staying at the same hotel. In this city which he said has very few people of color it is interesting to hear how he felt and was treated.
I don’t believe I have read any of Granderson’s columns before but if they are as thought provoking, honest, insightful and socially conscious as these few then I will be reading his work more often. I too have found that social change must often come from the groups being exploited, abused and repressed as they often have the strongest voice and most reason to change the ills being inflicted on them by individuals or society. I for one have always known that the “n-word” is not something to say or enjoy hearing and cringe each time I encounter it in text, music, TV, etc. I find lots of music to have great intoxicating beats but when I encounter this word I often choose to not listen to certain songs or artists again.
I would like to leave you with this quote from “A word with consequences” which sums up the recent use and abuse of the “n-word” and the disconnect amongst many that are using it with the history and baggage attached to this word.
"It's always n-this and n-that," he says. "On one hand it's just a word, but being raised in an environment where you're taught to never, ever use it because it's so painful, and then see the people who are supposed to be hurt by it use it with each other all of the time, I think sends a mixed message. I'm not using it, but nowadays you hear Latinos use it, young white kids use it. … It's ironic that as the world gets more and more politically correct, you hear that word more often, not less."
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
72 hours in one of the most stunning cities in the world. Off to Cape Town to stay with friends in Nyanga East.
Friday, December 01, 2006
A very positive day with negative results. Out of 82 people who did VCT only 7 were positive for HIV which is a very low percentage for South Africa.
Out of the seven people who tested positive for HIV only one came to get their result and go through counseling. I am glad that out of 82 people who test only seven were positive as this is a much smaller percentage than the national average of around 30% yet I have a feeling that many who knew or thought they were positive didn’t test and since only one who tested and was found positive came to get their results it leads me to believe the others knew or were suspicious that they were positive. Ben, Linzi and another counselor or two will be going back and continue to share the results and counsel this coming week at this same department as well as testing new people who didn’t do the oral test with us today.
This is a brief blog as I am tired and need to rest to get up tomorrow to try and catch up on emails, prepare for a short three day trip to Cape Town, continue working on my plans for Mozambique and Kenya and write another entry or two before I leave.