Talking and talking without saying much

30 04 09

There’s an article on Moneyweb today in which the author, Sipho Ngcobo, bemoans just how wrong South Africa’s political commentators got their predictions about the elections.  Although it’s not particularly well written, Ngcobo does make some fundamental points about the talking heads shooting off their mouths in terms of who was going to win what proportion of the vote.

Why DID these ‘experts’ get it so wrong? And, if there really was no way to predict how South Africans would vote, or if it was going to be so diffficult, why did they not just shut up and save face? Perhaps they all, apart from Allistair Sparks, who Ngcobo argues is the only one who managed to get it right, just did not know how much they really did not know…which is a more frightening thought. How much do these people actually NOT know? And how closely should we ‘non-expert’ citizens be listening to their opinions?

In one of the many, many, many interviews with political commentators on ETV on the day of the election, political analyst Stephen Friedman basically told a befuddled-sounding news presenter that surveys really only work when you’re asking people what toothpaste they use, rather than who they would vote for in an election. Perhaps it’s a fair point, but then why bother committing yourself as an expert analyst? Perhaps it’s better to just act like an ordinary voter, make your mark, and see how the chips fall.

Imagine a conversation between Adam Habib, Stephen Friedman and Susan Booysen:

AH: So who do you think is going to win the opposition vote?

SB: Erm, without a doubt Barack Obama.

SF: Susan! We’re talking about the South African election. Don’t be daft. Of course it’s going to be Telkom.

AH: Are any of you listening to me?! Oooh look, a birdie!!!

SF: Adam how many Confederations Cup tickets have been sold.

AH: I’m pretty sure it’s between 250 tickets and one hundred thousand.

SB: That MUST mean that the DA will get 4% of the vote.

AH: Ahhh, yes. I see why you would think that.

SF: Has anyone seen my toothpaste?


Nuts and stuff

29 04 09

There’s a section of a song called “Step right up” by South African band NKD, which sounds exactly like 30 Rock’s Tracy Jordan’s “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.” Of course, Tracy’s ditty is far more catchy, owing to lyrics such as “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah, Spooky scary, Boys becoming men, Men becoming wolves.”


Moving on…does anyone have any clue how to remove this proof-of-having-voted ink spot from my thumbnail? I’ve tried nail polish remover, thinners and bleach, but nothing works.

Yesterday I ate a packet of pecan nuts (in an attempt not to eat sugar straight out of the bowl with a teaspoon). To my surprise I noticed a warning printed on the packet that people with nut allergies should not eat these pecan nuts. Fascinating, that.

Finally, if you’re feeling a bit blue today, read this article on Dolly Parton – there is no doubt it will cheer you up. Dolly rocks!!

And we don’t even need a Visa!

28 04 09

In February, when I happily agreed to take up Green Border Collie’s (GB) suggestion to spend a weekend down in Stellenbosch/Cape Town while she was holidaying there for a week, I didn’t quite realise just how much I would appreciate the time away from Joburg. The fact that this area of the Cape happens to be probably the most beautiful in the world served to speed up time dramatically, such that three days ended up feeling like three minutes.

Above are some pictures I took over the weekend. The first shows DA leader Helen Zille addressing an excited, singing crowd who welcomed her as she landed at Cape Town airport just after my flight got in. Listening to the singing and chanting of Zille songs was just wonderful and moving. The people of the Western Cape spoke and it was completely inspiring to see the incoming premier of the province responding to the joy, and really getting involved in the celebration.

Picture 2 shows a trend which baffles me senseless. When GB and I arrived at our accommodation, we found that we’d been booked into a chalet that was clearly reserved for honeymooners, or people who I suppose don’t mind watching and hearing one another on the loo. When did the separate bathroom become passe? Surely even people romantically involved with each other don’t necessarily fancy hearing the plopping and inhaling the ensuing aromas? After our friend The Storyteller arrived, we tried to think of the makeshift sleeping arrangements, which included GB having to sleep on couch cushions gingerly held together with a nightsheet on the floor, as  camping.

Pic 3 shows GB preparing her new Bestest Thing Eva… a chai latte, flown all the way from Australia. Delicious.

The pastries shown in pic 4 are just some of the drool-worthy foods on offer at the food market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, every Saturday morning. Go there and go hungry.

Pic 5 is of a duck which GB claims has “evil eyes” and who ate a piece of cooked tomato I gave him while eating breakfast at Spier Wine Estate.

Pics 6 and 7 are of a book I found in The Storyteller’s great uncle’s abode in Stellenbosch. This is an eccentric old famous biologist, who told us he kept a crocodile in his pool for a number of years “to see if it could survive in Petermaritzburg.” When the croc was finally moved to a sanctuary, the uncle loaded him on a bakkie and drove him to the school at which his wife was a teacher so that she could say her goodbyes. Coincidentally, The Storyteller’s relatives experienced their first house-breaking incident at that home soon after their pet left.

On the uncle’s many, many bookshelves, in among the trays of newspaper clippings from 1980 and beyond, lay the key to understanding the physical structure of the human female. Apparently the modern woman looks like that there tennis player, which frightens me. It seems, also, that someone took the time to write a book entitled “The English: Are they human?” Unfortunately the uncle was too busy showing the three of us frog fossils and bones for me to discover the answer.

As GB quite aptly remarked while gazing wondrously at the scenery (while driving…once over a pavement), “Look at what we have in this country, and we don’t even need a Visa!”

Goin’ a-way

24 04 09

To Stellenbosch/Cape Town till Monday eve.

See yous all Tuesday and bon weekend!

x x x

Vote ‘No’ to bad shoes

23 04 09

Prior to voting yesterday, Golden Beagle and I had lunch and shopped a little – I need to update my Hobo Chic look a little (but not by much). We eyed a number of pairs of beautiful but nauseatingly expensive boots, beforeout attention was diverted to this shoe.


It is a navy blue slip-on with a the face of a cutlass-biting pirate embroidered on in red cotton.

The Beagle and I thought, at first, was actually a slipper. But no, it seems this is a shoe meant to be worn out and about… while swabbing the decks perhaps.

Although at a price of R2000, perhaps this fancy pair of footware should be kept for those special plundering occasions, or fancy dress parties.

 We tried to hypothesise who might be tempted to buy and/or wear this shoe. Accountants trying to get some style? Gangstas?  David Beckham?


22 04 09

I voted.

I am ink-spotted on the thumb nail.

The 40 minutes from start to finish were pleasant and utterly un-fraught (yes, I realise that isn’t a real word).

The election official who crossed my name off the list was sweet and cute and utterly engaging – I wish he could be my boyfriend.

I voted in the school hall of the high school at which I completed my standard 6 (grade 8 ) year. It was trippy being back there and reading the achievements of my former classmates on the plaques on the walls. I forgot that Jodi was such a good tennis player and that clever Jonathan was quite such a boff.

I saw my mother’s young neighbour walking back from voting wearing a navy dressing gown over what looked like his ordinary clothes, although my mother claims they were his pyjamas.

I feel strangely pleased to have made my mark.

You would be a racist if you weren’t black

20 04 09

A somewhat crazy, just a little bit bananas side of Jessie Duarte has been captured for posterity thanks to a telephonic interview with a Sunday Times journalist, in which she seemed to lose the plot in a very amusing fashion. The ANC spokesperson was attempting to answer Philani Nombembe’s question about how the ANC is communicating with potential voters through electronic media.

The question that led to this bizarre breakdown in communication between her ears and her brain was: “Does the ANC president [Jacob Zuma] get to answer on these …[blogs, etc – the sound quality was poor]?” Evidently Duarte understood this query to mean, “Does Jacob Zuma actually know how to read?”

This of course led to a major rant at the journalist, with Duarte ultimately accusing Nombembe of possibly even being racist, if he weren’t black. Shock, horror…a person can’t be racist if he/she is black? Duarte obviously realised the inherent racism of such a statement about two nanoseconds after she made it, and tried to change tracks, acknowledging that Nomemebe COULD, in fact, be a racist, despite being black.

Poor old Nombembe obviously realised he was dealing with a raging loony at that point, and decided not to take this up with her. After being asked a number of times “what’s the negative?” and being told to “get a life”, I am sure he was just relieved to be able to go about his day without being accused of a host of vicious things.

Good one Duarte. Nice to see the true colours – ha ha – come out.