Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Vodacom Durban July

I'm no gambler, but i've always been fascinated by the Durban July horse race.
This year I decided to be a part of the occasion and placed a small bet on an unknown horse called Daisy Picker.
I called my bookie earlier to find out how my horse had done and he said they couldn't find her.
That's never a good sign.

It turns out when the gate's opened and all the horse's took off, she got a fright.
Again, not a good sign.

Something about the noise and clatter and hoofs scared her.
I'm not horse expert, but if a horse has noise and crowd issues, and demands personal space, should it really be running in the Durban July?

Anyways, it turns out that the only thing that calms her down after such an eventful day (or non-eventful, depending on your bet) is to send her to the paddocks where she quietly munches on Daisy's.
If I knew how she got her name before today, I doubt I would have put any money on her!
I would probably have gone for Speed Demon or Toyota.
Apparently Toyota is so fast, she's still running! The trainer says they haven't yet figured out how to get her to stop. I asked if they tried recalling her. He just looked at me quizically.
Toyota's sister was also running in the same race.
Her names Everything.
Everything keeps going, right?

My good friend Desai bet on a horse called Indian Lady.
He called his bookie and asked how she did.
The bookie said she performed just like an Indian Lady... she refused to take off or show any leg!

Welcome to the Vodacom Durban July.
Before the race begins, lets have a look at the line-up.


In lane 1. Passionate Lady
In lane 2. Bare Belly
In lane 3. Silk Panties
In lane 4. Conscience
In lane 5. Jockey Shorts
In lane 6. Clean Sheets
In lane 7. Thighs
In lane 8. Big Dick
In lane 9. Heavy Bosom
In lane 10. Merry Cherry


Conscience is left behind at the gate.
Jockey Shorts and Silk Panties are off in a hurry.
Heavy Bosom is being pressured.
Passionate Lady is caught between Thighs and Big Dick is in a dangerous spot.


It's Bare Belly on top, Thighs open and Big Dick is pressed in.
Heavy Bosom is being pushed hard against Clean Sheets.
Passionate Lady and Thighs are working hard on Bare Belly.
Bare Belly is under terrific pressure from Big Dick.


Merry Cherry cracks under the strain.
Big Dick is making a final drive.
Bare Belly is in and Passionate Lady is coming.


It's Big Dick giving everything he's got and
Passionate Lady takes everything Big Dick has to offer.
It looks like a dead heat but Big Dick comes through with one final thrust and wins by a head...

Bare Belly shows...

Thighs weakens...

Heavy Bosom pulls up and Clean Sheets never had a chance."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Week That Was - July 29

I have this client who insists on calling me Caarrrloo.
I've corrected him so many times but to no avail; i'm starting to think he's retarded.
Today I told him the 'R' was silent.
He has this annoying way of leaning really heavy on the 'R' when he says my name.
In the grand scheme of things, I guess it's better than being called Peepee. I may be spelling it wrong, but that's the name of a guy I met today who told me four times in two sentences that he was from Nigeria. Peepee from Nigeria. He runs a teaching academy. I think he tutors in repettitiveness. (There's a good chance I spelt that wrong, but i'm too lazy to spell-check right now).

So Peepee (it could very well be PP, but where's the fun in that?) tell's me today that in Nigeria, where he's from as he mentioned repeatedly, he was the principal of the local school. I love listening to and conversing with people, partly because i'm fascinated by peoples story's, but mostly because i'm always looking out for material for my blog :)

I asked him why he would leave Nigeria as a school principal to open shop in the concrete jungle of Johannesburg. Turns out Peepee had lived up to his name and got one of his students pregnant.
Okay he didn't exactly confess right off the bat.
He said he fell in love with a student, and was forced to make a tough decision.

Speaking of making tough decisions. I was at my friend George's place tonight, and they have this really cool wall with notches marked on it, and every family member has his name written on the wall at his respective height. I think there were dates too, I cant remember.
Anyways, George tell's the story of a family friend who was a choirmaster, and had an entire wall with every students height and name marked on it.
At some point he decided to do some renovations to the building, but was intent on keeping the wall intact with all the kids names and notches marked on it.
Except this message wasn't relayed to the painter, who proceeded to paint the wall completely.
Did I mention the notches and dates went as far back as 1969?!

We haven't decided on whether we're having a party for Princess Sabreen this weekend.
My "friends" are still trying to convince me to wear the Barney suit on the day. I'm suspicious of their loyalty and dubious advice. Besides, i've been to see the costume hire people and quite frankly the suit stinks inside!
I think a few Barney dad's before me may have had Mexican food before donning the costume. I'm sure I could still feel some mouldy nacho's in the suit.

That's it for tonight.
It's been an extremely long day and as much as I still have tons to write about, I suspect the opportunity will present itself again over the weekend.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On The Seventh Day...

People are always asking me what exactly it is that my company does.
Well, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Sikama Contracting specialises in commercial property maintenance, but my hobby and the aspect of my business that gives me the most joy is building and renovating bathrooms for both the private sector and corporate clients.

The bathroom below was especially fun because it was built in a rather tiny space, and we had to incorporate it into the main bedroom so as to become an en-suite bathroom.

The Jacuzzi bath was an interesting touch, and the mosaic detail around the base was a challenge which turned out amazing on completion!

The client on this project knew exactly what she wanted, and this is another factor in a successful bathroom project. The attention to detail was expected and we delivered.

So there you have it folks.

A little peek into how I spend my free time.
I truly am blessed to be able to pursue a hobby which I have a passion for, and has the potential to turn into a lucrative business some day when I'm done with the commercial property projects.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lost In Translation

My sister called earlier to inform me that my niece was constipated.
This is a transcript of the conversation.

She : Do you have Milk Of Magnesia?
Me : I've got Full Cream Milk, Skim Milk, Low Fat Milk, Sour Milk, even Milkshake.
She : No man. Milk Of Magnesia. She's constipated.
Me : BLEEUGH! That stuff is gross! I'd rather lick the inside of a prison sewer!
She : She's soo uncomfortable :(
Me : Fair Lady magazine says you can use your finger. Its true.
She : SIES! My baby will pop her eyeballs if I stick my finger in.
Me : Well you should do what I do.
She : Whats that?
Me : Anyone needs a suppository, I get them to kneel down, hold it in place, and I come up from behind and kick them.
She : WHAT?!
Me : Well at least I don't get my fingers dirty.

Which brings me to an interesting discussion I once had with a pharmicist.
When looking at a fairly large pill, how do you tell whether it's a suppository or an oral pill?
You look at the shape, she replied.
The shape, I asked?
Yes, the shape. If it looks like a bullet, it goes in the rear.

Well the problem is i'm used to carrying some big guns. Like shotguns.
Those shotgun bullets are huge!

Ok Robin Williams is on the telly.
Gotta run.
I'm a sucker for good stand-up comedy.
Actually i'm a sucker for any kind of comedy.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened On The Road The Other Day...

This is a true story.
Not that any of my other posts aren't; it's just that this is more true than the other true posts.

So I was sitting in traffic on Friday afternoon, heading toward the East Rand in what could potentially have been a very frustrating bumper-to-bumper excursion; except I had my "Best Of African Jazz" CD to keep me company, and nothing was going to get me "bovvered".

My mobile rang and woke me out of my karaoke fantasy, and it was a family member I'd been avoiding for a few weeks now.
Oh don't be shrugging your shoulder's at me! You know you have one too!
You know the one i'm speaking of... calling to bitch and moan about the rest of the family, or calling to brag about their latest brainless bling purchase, or that bottom-feeder that shares your DNA and only ever calls when they need money.
I'm not saying which category this family member falls in.
So I hid my wallet under the seat, bit my tongue, and answered the call.

"Where are you?" he asked.
"Oh... I'm in Pretoria", I lied.
"Really? So who's driving your car in front of me?" he asked.
I hate personalised number-plates.

So I inched myself lower into my seat, pretended like I was a Ghetto gangster, and cut the call.
Nothing I could have said was going to get me out of the hole I'd dug.

I hate when that happens.
I hate when you're being all sincere in your white-lie and some fool thinks you're full of crap just because they caught you out.
We all do it at some point.
When the cellphone company calls you, or the bank, or Edgars, or that pond-scum that calls themselves SABC TV Licence.
I have no problem lying to any one of these.
I've even gone as far as answering the phone only to find out it's one of them, and proceeded to tell them "Mr Kaloo is in a meeting and i'll get him to call you when he's done."

Unfortunately this doesn't work when it's a family member.
They have this really annoying knack of knowing your voice.
Oh trust me i've tried.
I've tried telling them it's really not me on the phone. I've tried telling them it's the PA.
Then they get all adamant and say silly things like "I'll tell your mom, you pathetic person! I know it's you!"
Why do they have to get all personal?
Can't they just say "Ok, please ask him to call me when he's done with his kidney operation."
That's so much more polite. Really.

Then I have to endure meeting them at family functions, and pretending like it's been ages since we last met and why haven't they called!
I always blame the phone when they say they've left messages for me... and ask why I didn't return the call.
"Really? When did you call? This damn phone has been giving me problems since I got it!"
"I called last week and your PA said you were out of town. He sounds just like you."
And they always say it with that really annoying condescending voice, almost as though they believe they've caught you out lying.

Ok, i'm off to watch SAW3 again on the telly.
If anyone calls, my PA will take a message for me.

The Princess And The Pout

Princess Sabreen.
She turns four on the 28th of July.
Don't be fooled by the number though; she's got more attitude in her than most twelve year olds I know!

A few day's ago, she and I were having your standard father-daughter chat as any regular dad would have with his four year old daughter; we were discussing the value of education and the repercussions of not having clearly defined goals to achieve. You know, just a good old chit-chat between a dad and his little girl.

So there I am explaining to her as best I can, that staying in school and doing well means she will always have a roof over her head and food on her table. As fate would have it, the words had barely left my lips when we pulled up at a traffic light and a beggar inched his way toward my open window.

She looked at him with a cocked eyebrow, then looked at me, and said "He should have stayed in school, hey Dad."

I'm always amazed at the workings of a child's mind, and how they put the puzzles together in their little heads.
Here endeth the lesson.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I just got back from a Chinese meal of Hot & Sour Soup, and Prawn Chow Mein. Yum!
I hadn't intended on eating out tonight, but a mains water-pipe burst in my suburb earlier and Joburg Water in their infinite wisdom decided to rip up half my road in order to get to a pipe one meter wide and two meters deep.
So presumably for the next day or two, we shall have no water or roadway.
Bring on the dark ages. Whoopee... not.

I can't believe I made it through today without disappointing any of my clients. I had a schedule so tight it would have made a frogs bum look like an open bag of Doritos. (Ok later tonite when i'm laying in bed, that will make more sense.)

Time to get back to the pile of paperwork which seems to have taken a life-form of its own.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Idols Video Highlights 2

This is the Idols audition that had me laughing so hard I almost wet my pants!
She was so nervous, you just knew something was going to happen.
When asked where she found out about Idols auditions, she said she got wind of it through a friend.

After the auditions she was approached by the producers to sing the theme-song for the remake to "Gone With The Wind."
Her career seems destined to blast off into another dimension.
Life's a Gas; Have a Blast, and Let Rip!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Idols Video Highlights 1

My all time favourite Idols auditions video.
I just know this season will provide us with even more ridiculous entertainment.

Killing Me Softly.

Idols Season 6

Seriously, why?

Why do some folk put themselves up for embarrassment on national television?
I just know this season is going to take suckiness to a whole new level. I mean honestly, when one of the opening acts farts in her audition, you just know things are only going to get worse (or better if, like me, you rejoice in the cringe-factor!)

The runners-up every year always seem to do so much better in their singing careers than the winners do.
The first few seasons set a standard of one winner at the end of the entire show. Last year they raised the bar and we were the only country to feature two winners.No other country since then has come close to equalling this amazing feat.
This year, in an effort to cement this accolade, we may be blessed with three winners, or maybe none at all.

As I write this i'm watching the "Worst Auditions" segment of the show.
This must be my favourite part of Idols.

Between Idols and all the comedy on DSTV, it seems i'm going to be in for an awesome month of entertainment!

Watch this space...

The Weekend Warrior

I think i'm experiencing the very definition of a perfect weekend.
Friday night started off with dinner at one of my favourite restaurants.
Saturday was spent on the golf course, and in the evening we had my golfing buddy George over with his wife Katie and her best friend Sarah, along with the kids. Great company, more great food, and the perfect end to the day.

This morning I was booked to play golf again at 7:30am!
I set my alarm for 6am, and went to bed around midnight.
Promptly at 6am my alarm went off, and while the process of getting done and ready for my golf day played out in my head, my body decided to go on strike and refused to comply.

So today I plan on being a lounge lizard and do nothing but read, maybe a bit of writing, and watch some of the movies i've stored on the PVR.

Yep, definitely the definition of a perfect weekend.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Week That Was - July 16

It's been another interesting week, as most of my weeks seem to be lately.

Monday started with me driving to Benoni to a project i've picked as my signature work.
It's a bathroom i'm renovating for my client whom i've mentioned in a previous post, and if I may say so myself it has turned out superb! I shall be uploading pics soon.
My plumber told me a rather interesting story about a previous jacuzzi installation he had worked on.
The client was not keen on hiring a contractor to undertake the project, assuming he could manage and complete the project himself if he just hired individual labourers as he required them.
Solly my plumber was asked not to bring his entire team along, as the clients gardener would help with the installation. This in an effort to save costs, of course.

So there they were, Solly the plumber and Winston the gardener, attempting to install a jacuzzi for Scrooge the client.
Now for those of you who have had the pleasure of coming face-to-tub with a jacuzzi, there are two things which you will already be familiar with. The first is that there are at least six jet pipes underneath a jacuzzi which pump air into the jacuzzi itself; the second is that a good installation usually involves a very well-built brick housing where the tub is mounted into.
About 3 hours after the housing had been built and the jets had been connected, the jacuzzi was ready to be tested.
Thats when Winston's mobile phone rang.
From somewhere underneath the newly installed jacuzzi!

It turns out Winston was using the light from his mobile phone to help him connect a jet, and while tightening the valve he forgot to remove his phone from below the tub.
By the time he realised his mistake, the supporting wall around the jacuzzi had already been built and plastered. The client decided it was cheaper to just buy his gardener a new mobile.
I guess thats what you get for being a Scrooge.

On Wednesday I decided to go car-shopping for the missus
I kept getting drawn to these moms-taxi kind of vehicles, or mini SUV's. The truth is, if I ever surprised her with one of these SUV's, she would most probably surprise me with no hot meals for a month!
She hates them and everything they stand for.
I just figure there will be another vehicle in the household that could comfortably carry my golf clubs at a moments notice.

I felt for a spicy curry this evening, which is odd as I hardly ever enjoy spicy food.
Sometimes you just have to feed the craving.
So we went to my favourite Indian restaurant called Daawat in Fordsburg (where else really?!)
I ordered a chicken korma and mentioned to the waitress that I always have my meals extremely mild, but tonight I was feeling for something spicy.
She suggested "Hot" and I said I just wanted to pacify the spicy craving, not forge another opening in my bum-region.
I asked her about the "Medium" curry.
She said "No no no, the medium is not spicy. You cant even hear it."
Cant hear it?
How spicy do they make their curry's that you can hear them?!!

So I settled on the medium, and by tomorrow while i'm on the golf course, somewhere between the 3rd and the 5th hole, I shall report back and tell you if I could hear the curry!
Right now I can hear my ears ringing. Softly, but they definitely are ringing.

Watch this space...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Country

As seen through the eyes of a German fan.

The Return Of Desai

After writing the title to this blog post, I received a call from one of my clients.
Not just any client.
She happens to be my single biggest client with just short of 100 residential and commercial properties in her portfolio.

This past week she contracted my company to design and build her dream bathroom.
The pressure has been immeasurable.
One screw-up, just one tiny oversight, and I could potentially be flipping pancakes for a living. Okay maybe not that drastic, but you get the point.

So everything has been going superbly and according to plan, and any project that goes along without any glitches always gets me nervous.
Even the tiniest of glitches is welcome; it's like a kind of contractors voodoo. We take the small glitches in our stride, knowing that they prevented the bigger glitches from befalling our kin.
Needless to say, with today being the completion date for the project and the voodoo still not exorcised, I was about two stages beyond "Total Panic".
Why did we still have so much material left over after the project was complete?
Why did she only want to tile halfway up the bathroom wall? Surely this was a rather old style, now outdated?
When is she going to inform me of the paint colour for the top half of the walls?

Then she called.

"Kaloo, when are you tiling the rest of my wall?"

The penny dropped.
She had never informed me of the top half of the wall; I had naturally assumed that she only wanted mid-wall tiling as we call it, only because every time we spoke about the detail as regards the wall, she always stopped at mid-level.
She assumed I would go to the top.
I assumed she only wanted mid-level.
The misunderstanding is proof that no question is ever a stupid question!

So tomorrow we take her current smile and convert it into a full-blown orgasmic grin!
She's thrilled with what she's seen so far. I can only imagine what she's going to think when I finally sign off on the project.

Ironic that the post was supposed to be about Desai, and for those who know him, the post ends up being about my Desai-moment!

I guess it could have been worse.
A friend of mine who also happens to be a construction contractor called me a few months back in a state of panic.
It turns out he was given the keys to a clients home to renovate the guest bathroom to look like the en-suite bathroom. The clients were at their holiday home in Cape Town.
He took his team to site, showed them both bathrooms, gave them instructions for the day and left.
When he returned, they had demolished the en-suite bathroom!
How do you demolish the wrong bathroom?

Imagine the panic in his voice when he called me after realising he now had to complete not one, but two bathrooms in the space of a week!

I'd say it happens to the best of us but the truth is that my worst nightmare as regards my projects has never been that crazy or drastic, touch wood!

So tomorrow I write about Desai, since i've had numerous inquiries about his well-being.

Watch this space....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sleep Deprivation

I planned to write tonight. I really did.
I had it all mapped out in my head. I had a topic, an introduction, a great body, and an enthralling end.

Then the tiredness hit me.
I am uber-exhausted from all the projects I seem to be handling at once.
I've always had a passion for bathroom renovations; being that I own a maintenance and construction company one would think that I have endless opportunities to indulge my passion.
Sadly I am contracted to commercial companies, and only ever get to enjoy bathroom renovations on the odd occasion when I have a private client.

As fate would have it, this month I have four such clients!

So as much as I am like a kid in a candy-store, it also means that I am running on pure adrenalin and very little sleep.

Oh wow!
Don't look now but I just wrote on the blog!
This could get addictive :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Language Of Friendship

The language of Friendship is not words but meanings
I had an interesting discussion with the missus earlier today on the topic of friendship.
She has few and regards them highly. The relationship she has with her closest friends is almost as tightly-knit as the those she has with her sisters.
I, on the other hand, have many friends; but I do occasionally allow one into my inner sanctum.

It took me some time to figure out why I didn't subscribe to the idea of a "best friend", but the epiphany when it finally struck me was akin to walking through a dense rain-forest and suddenly finding a sunlit clearing; a moment of enlightenment almost.

From as far back as I can remember, about as far back as my earliest school days, my folks would move house or town more often than most kids would regard as being normal.
If they didn't move house, or move towns, they would move me from my school and i'd have to learn to make new friends all over again. This went on almost every year until I graduated from school. The reality was that I had never been in the same school for longer than 2 years at most.
The downside is pretty obvious. Never in one place long enough to develop a childhood bond with friends; never given the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with my peers; always feeling unsettled and in a constant state of "New Kid Syndrome."
The upsides were not evident at first. It was really only during my analysis of my schooling and upbringing that I realised certain things, both positive and negative.
The constant change of schooling environment allowed me to interact with a larger range of personalities over a shorter period of time; it forced me to make friends sooner than most kids, as they usually knew each other from having been together the year before; and so it was that I found myself able and capable of entering a room full of strangers and leaving shortly thereafter with a pocketful of new friends.
I find it amazingly easy to make new friends. Conversation comes easily to me, it really does.

The human psyche being what it is, it also made me realise the futility of getting too close or forming too strong a bond with any of these new-found friends, since I never expected to be around them the following year.
This meant I had to learn to detach myself from people on a regular basis, and learn to be totally comfortable with the consequences.
I never had a best friend growing up. Sure I had friends I got close to, but never one close enough that the potential for detachment strayed too far away from the recesses of my mind.

Over the years I would find myself testing this resolve, and free-wheeling as I experienced levels of friendship I had never felt before. Issues of trust, loyalty and honour would constantly come into question, and I would learn to deal with them at an age when most guys had formed unbreakable  bonds with their inner circle already.
The very first time I called someone my best-friend felt weird to me.
But I laughed about it when he moved abroad a few months later.
The next time I referred to someone as my best-friend, I ended up moving towns shortly thereafter.
Third time lucky I hoped, and my latest best-friend passed away in a car accident!

By this point I had lost all faith in the "best-friend" ideology.

This is the reason I continue to make friends very easily, but i'm extremely wary once in a friendship. I'm always looking out for signs of disloyalty, deceit or distrust.
As soon as I spot it, I head for the hills and never look back.

The missus can never understand why I can so easily walk away from a friendship i've invested months or even years in.
The truth is, i've been programmed to do exactly that as a defense mechanism from being disappointed by a friend.

Sure it's a cold hard way of looking at life.
But sometimes we are the sum of our parts, and our parts are never the same as those of others.
We don't always see the same things in the same way.

My favourite author says it best ...

On Friendship
 Kahlil Gibran
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Great Divide

If today proved anything, anything at all, it's that we live in a country divided between Intellectuals and Morons.

I'm always eager to debate; always. I've loved debating ever since I could first argue a point and convince my fellow man, and oftentimes I find myself being the one convinced by an opposing opinion.
It's a great expression of freedom, and healthy open debate is the truest sign of a prosperous democracy.

Hence my utter disbelief that we continue to live among those who are so narrow minded, so embalmed in bigotry, so steeped in intolerance that they cannot fathom an opinion to exist outside of their own.
I've had the displeasure of encountering some of those people today, and it's honestly a place I never want to visit again.

More people have died in the name of religion than for any other cause known to man.
This is fact, not fiction.
Google it, Wikipedia it, Britannica it. The result will always be the same.
Conversely, more people could have survived senseless killings in the name of religion if only they allowed themselves to be more accepting of others; of our fellow man; of the belief system of total strangers.
You don't have to embrace or accept it. You simply have to respect their right to an opposing view.
Just be tolerant. That's all it really takes.

I engaged a guy in debate today who felt I was being racist for the comment I made in my previous blog post.
"Indians have been in South Africa for 150 years already, yet some still speak like they just stepped off the ship."
He found this comment racist.
Ok, let's have an intellectual debate about it then.
I'm an Indian myself. That tends to dilute his argument of racism somewhat.
I clearly said "... yet some still speak like they just stepped off the ship."
That removes his argument abut it being a generalisation.
Then I find out that his favourite tweet is a joke about the Muslim faith and the turbans some men wear.
Ironic, maybe. Contradictory, possibly. Hypocritical, absolutely!

As I said earlier, i'm willing to debate anybody on any topic provided it's kept intellectual.
As the old saying goes, "Don't argue with a fool. People may not be able to tell the difference."

I got asked the question today "Where do you draw the line?"
Quite honestly, if you start off with the premise that we should respect and tolerate, you never really need to draw a line. The problem most people have is understanding that one could respect and tolerate whilst maintaining a sense of humour.
We listen freely to Black jokes and Jewish jokes and Muslim jokes and Irish jokes and Fat jokes and Homosexual jokes and Lesbian jokes. We laugh heartily at all of the above and a thousand other genres.
Suddenly when we're presented with an opportunity to reflect upon ourselves and laugh at ourselves, we choose the cowards option and run for the race card, or the culture card, or any other card that allows us to cower beneath the banner of Bigotry.
As far as i'm concerned, this is our single biggest downfall as a nation toward letting go of the shackles of our past.

We need to chill more, and be more chilled.
We need to stop assuming that every person who does not look like we do, does not believe in the God we do, does not have the same complexion as we do, is the enemy!
What total hogwash!
I shudder at the thought that my daughter or any member of my family for that matter, is part of a society that is no enshrouded in bigotry!
Unbelievably narrow-minded!

Thats my rant for tonight.
Be an intellectual. Step away from the shadow of the Moron.
And for Gods sake stop sounding and acting like you just stepped off the ship!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Indian Crisis, and all & all.

I always figured i'd get my first Death Threat sometime before I kick the proverbial bucket... who knew that it would be this soon! (Getting a death threat that is, not kicking the bucket)

For those who know me, and most of you do, you will know that i'm a cynic and a sarcastic bastard at the best of times. At the worst of times, I border on the mindset of a Fox News reporter.
My Twitter and Facebook status updates bares testament to this.

Today was no different to my average Saturday morning.
I woke up and looked at my appointment book, then sent out text messages of apologies to clients I knew would annoy my weekend before it even began.
"Dear Sir/Madam. I wont make todays meeting as my dog is missing & the missus is distraught with grief. Thank you for your understanding."
For some reason, bringing a helpless pet into the reasoning always seems to work.

The clients I do want to see always get the personal touch on weekends.
No sending out my Project Managers to see them. I see them myself.
So it was today, and I decided to stop at a nearby pharmacy to pick up some lozenges before beginning my day.
Now I certainly didn't plan that I would be attended to by a rather chirpy Indian saleslady.
She greeted with a toothy "Hullo" and within seconds I thought i'd stepped into a time-machine and ended up in Mahatma Ghandi's kitchen!
I totally missed the middle bit of her sentence, and just barely caught the tail-end which had something to do with how her Gran cooks a strong fish curry to get rid of a sore throat.

Needless to say, I updated my Twitter and Facebook status to read, and I quote:
"Indians have been in South Africa for 150 years already, yet some still speak like they just stepped off the ship! Like WTF? "

There you have it.
That comment right there seemed to have inspired people of all races and cultures to either break out in laughter, or become violently opposed to me and have a burning desire to see me killed, dead.

One of my favourite responses was from a guy whose username already indicated to me what ladder of the social rung he was stuck on.

Idiot : What the F&*k bra! How you chooning about the Indians... Dont dala, we'll f&*king assinate you ekse.
Me : Don't you mean "assassinate" ?
Idiot : Ja, don't get funny ekse.
Me : I thought only famous people get assassinated?
Idiot : I'll make you famous bra! Dont dala!

I'm still not sure whether this guy really likes me or hates me...

Here's the thing I don't understand.
We have no problem laughing at other's, but as soon as the joke is on us, we tend to lose our sense of humour.
The number of negative responses I got were certainly a minority, but as soon as I indicated that I too was an Indian, poking fun at other Indians, they seemed to have lost their sense of tension and aggression.
I think it's a dangerous society we live in when we first have to ascertain the race, culture or creed of the person behind a comment before we invoke a response.

It reminds me of a song I once overheard being sung by a kid standing behind me at the movies.
It was an American rap song laced with vulgarity and racial slurs, and the person behind me singing it happened to be a young white kid. The lady directly behind him tapped him on the shoulder, waited as he turned his iPod down, and cautioned him about singing the word "Nigger" in public.
Now I get that. I totally get that.
It sounds offensive even to myself who is not a black man, and can never fully relate to the experiences of those who had to endure the word being used on them in all its negative connotations.
But it did leave me wondering what would have transpired had the kid singing the song behind me been black.
Would he still have been cautioned?
Would I still have felt as uncomfortable as I did previously?

I guess there will always be more questions than answers.
For me though, I think we should start by being able to laugh at ourselves.
Only then will we have the right to laugh at others.
I'd love to read your comments on this.

From a recent mail I received ...
We all like to cook a good chow. So here is a simple Charou’s guide to cooking some lukker fresh fowl curry.
Bruin Ou’s Please DO NOT try this at home coz yawl are bound to cause speeches.
Here are the simple steps:
1.       Go to Fowl Aunties pozzie and choose wun lukker fresh cut cull (Fowl).
2. Wood, this is the very important part of the cooking preparation:
-On the way to buying the wood, always ask the question “What we gonna dop”
-The best place to buy the wood is Spar, because next to every Spar there is a….. ‘TOPS’
-Important* Buy firelighters, coz Charous cant light fire….period
3. So now that you have the two most important things (Chicken & Dop) the rest will follow shortly
4. As soon as you enter the house, make a noise on how busy the shop was, coz your vrou gonna ask you why you took so long
5. Before you start preparing….make sure you choon your vrou who you met in Spar…and that you invited them for a Fresh Fowl curry chow
6. Take wun onion and place it on the chopping board, then go to the radio and switch on Radio Lotus, coz every Charou mus listen to Mrs Chetty’s whole families dedication right.
7. Come back to the chopping board, and scream at the top of your voice to your vrou…”You gort Chillies”
8. This will also tell you where about she is in the house and how far from the kitchen she is.
9. Next, take wun tumbler from cupboard….crack open that bottle of ‘Black & White’ (Charous choice dop), DO NOT forget to pour for the dead. Then pour wun lukker valve opener shot in the tumbler and tint it with some government dash (water). Rush that thing down and wipe your mouth quickly.
10. Now that the blood is flowing nicely, cut the onions into thin slices and keep it in wun saucer with a few green chillies, biryani mix, and the all important curry leaves.
11. Gravy soakers, UTD potatoes are a must, Charous love BUSTING petetoes so peel at least 5, cut in have and we will have….?
12. By this time your vrou gonna come into the kitchen and ask if you need help….choon her to make some bhajias for bites, shes gonna choon you voetsak and she will leave the kitchen….this is your window of opportunity to pour wun nother cracker shot
13. Time to light the fire
14. Pick up all the packets, buckets and old cloths yawl pushed in the fire place for storage, whilst you there pick up all the stompies as well.
15. Place the firelights in the tray and some decent pieces of wood and flame it with that extra big box of matches you have next to the fire place. If your laaities are around watching you, choon them about the good old days when yawl used chimtas and newspaper to start a fire for making water hot. Keep that pot lid handy for fanning.
16. Now that the fire is chooning and the dop is also chooning, vye sook wun decent size pot, make sure you put handy andy on it otherwise your vrou will have a hard time washing it.
17. Add some oil (straight from the 5lt Sunflower bottle)
18. When the oil is hot chuck in your onions, chillies, biryani mix (bay leaves, cinnamon etc) otherwise you gonna get the kauchi smell
19. Throw in the curry leaves, when the onions are slightly tinted like whiskey in water…..add some of your secret masala your mother-in-law mixed for yawl when yawl vyed Durban
20. Be careful don’t burn the masala.
21. Add the fresh cut chicken into the pot, add wun tomato (cut in small pieces) and sum salt and ginger and garlic
22. Give it wun two good stirs, close the pot and choon Aahhhh, your vrou gonna ask whats wrong, then you choon….Time for a shot
23. Go to the kitchen and pour a legal shot.
24. By this time the visitors should have arrived….visitors always come when the fire is started, all the hard graaf is klaar and when the chow is almost ready
25. Greet your visitors, stand right by the front door and hear their stories coz there are bound to have some long stories
26. Immediately take the man outside….Choon him, Connection…come see my dhania how it’s growing
27. Pour him wun thunder shot, cos your hand is heavy by now
28. Whilst chooning, remember that you cooking and check the chow. Don’t forget to take out some chicken pieces for bites
29. Add some water to the chow, coz fresh chicken is little bit tough
30. Have wun two more shots, talk about the old days…always start the conversation with…..Remember when we were small our ballies……
31. Check the curry again, water should be gone down and the chicken should be soft, add the gravy soakers (potatoes). Do not forget to mention to the visitors how expensive wun bag of potato is gone.
32. Have another shot, because your vrou gonna come ask you if she can set the table.
33. After about 45 minutes the curry should be smelling lukkers, the potatoes should be soft and soaked with gravy.
34. Take some fresh dhania from the garden, cut it up lukkers and sprinkle it in the pot
35. Your vrou is now gonna choon ‘come eat’ and you must choon…..nor let the ladies eat first…..coz this will buy more time for wun two more slugs.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pending Photo Album

I've been meaning to start a photo album on my blog for some time now. I even went as far as getting an album template and uploading it onto the blog. The pictures you see (top right corner of the blog) actually come from the random files on Flickr.

My digital camera had a faulty shutter-button, and I finally tracked down the Olympus agents yesterday.
If all goes according to plan, I should have my trusty camera back next week and hopefully I can start uploading my own pics soon thereafter.

So the answer to the question i've been asked numerous times this week is: No, the current album does not belong to me, and NO I have no idea who the pretty blonde girl on the beach is!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just Be Good To Me

One of my favourite songs, remixed and featuring Lily Allen.
Thanks to the blog "Ramblings Of An Altruist" for bringing the video to my attention.

This version is still my favourite though.
If you like Karmah, you should also check out their version of "Toms Diner"

The Final Hurdle

We're fast approaching the Soccer World Cup Final, and it's almost as though the dream is about to come to an end.
It's been an amazing two months, and i've met so many wonderful people; some of them were even foreigners!
Brazil hosts the World Cup in 2014, and we've decided to make the trip and live the adventure. It will be infinitely more fun to visit a foreign country during a major sporting event. It's like going on two holidays at the same time.

I remember a few years back when I had a friend from Malaysia visit me. She stayed for about 3 weeks and I tried to take her sightseeing on day trips. I left her in charge of choosing the place, and I would plan the activities for the day in the place she'd chosen.
The day she left to go back to Malaysia, I literally felt exhausted, but satisfied nonetheless.
It was as though I had been on holiday myself.
I ended up seeing parts of the country I never would have visited had she not come down to SA.

I wonder how much of Africa the visiting teams for the Soccer World Cup actually did see.
It would be sad to think that they spent most of their time between the shopping malls and the flea-markets, where they invariably would have ended up buying wooden carvings and tribal masks. I once had a stall in a flea-market so I know what tourists, especially Europeans, love buying to take back home.
Ironically, most of these items are made in Zimbabwe and they really took nothing from South Africa back home with them.

I should be sending out Invoices and Quotes right now, but writing on my blog is more fun.
I love the job I do, but honestly I could easily do nothing else but write all day.
If only I could find a way of getting paid ...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My Movie Must-See List

It's Sunday evening and all I can remember about today is the warm embrace of my favourite blanket as I slept through most of the day.
My idea of a great weekend usually involves a good book, some good jazz playing softly in the background, a hearty lunch followed by an afternoon nap, and finished off with a romantic comedy on the telly before bed.
Today I went straight from awakening to the afternoon nap, and i'm currently watching the romantic comedy.

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past.
Some day when I have a son i'll sit him down and make him watch it, along with the rest of all my favourite movies.
In no particular order...

The last one, Water, has got to be an absolute must-see in anyones movie list!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The People Shall Govern

The Soccer World Cup is drawing to an end, and to say that it's been an emotional roller-coaster would be an under-statement.

Admittedly it started off with a fair amount of trepidation for most South Africans, myself included.
There were whisperings of safety concerns both for the visitors to our shores and the locals.
There were hushed tones of the World Cup being a disaster of truly African proportions. For a while the doomsayers seemed to have the upper hand. We watched and waited anxiously as foreigners began buying up tickets to an event which many of us would possibly never again see on our continent, in our lifetimes.
We were willing to take that chance.
The power of pessimism seemed to rule supreme.
Those who had attempted the farcical online ticket-purchase process created by those demigods of idiocity, or FIFA as most refer to them as, were quick to brag about the seats they had secured.
Nobody seemed impressed, and quite frankly nobody cared.
As South Africans who are accustomed to doing things our way, we always knew we would be able to buy tickets when we wanted, as we wanted, even at the very last minute.
Talk of the stringent controls FIFA had put in place for the resale of tickets did nothing to deter us.
Besides, years of attending the Rand Easter Show had prepared us for attending events at the eleventh hour and getting the best parking available at the lowest price possible, and sometimes even gaining access for free!
As far as we were concerned, the Soccer World Cup was just going to be a bigger, better Rand Easter Show.

FIFA and the LOC (Local Organising Commitee) soon realised that the South African public were not snapping up tickets as they had hoped.
What did they expect when they opened sales only online, while the vast majority of soccer lovers in the country had no access to the internet? (For the foreigners reading this, please note that this is not meant to imply that South Africa has no broadband internet, or any other form of internet. It merely means that the majority of South Africans are low income earners, and the equally vast majority of internet service providers have combined to make South Africa one of the most expensive places in the world to use any form of internet access).

So effectively FIFA and the brainiacs at the LOC spent millions of Rands on strategy and planning as regards ticket sales prior to the World Cup and they concluded that they needed to sell millions of tickets to millions of fans,and the best possible way to do this would be to exclude the majority of potential buyers.Millions of them.
You with me so far?
Good; because it gets more interesting.

The marketing people at FIFA and the LOC then decided to try and fool the public by saying that tickets were selling fast, and almost 90% had already been sold.
Still we weren't buying; neither their bullshit nor the tickets.
Finally Danny Jordaan and his sidekick Sepp Blatter acknowledged their oversight and decided to sell tickets over the counter, like they should have done from the very beginning.
Thats when sales literally exploded and people waited in queues for hours and days to buy what they wanted, as they wanted, and when they wanted.
The power of the consumer had beaten the shortsightedness of the demigods.
Before the first ball of the World Cup had been kicked, the score was already on the boards.
South African Public 1 - FIFA 0.

Suddenly the nation was galvanized and spurred into action.
Everybody and their donkey was scampering for tickets.
This time it really was a big deal if you had secured seats to the stadiums.
People began selling tickets to friends and family, and ultimately complete strangers, against FIFA's stringent ticket-sale regulations.
South African Public 2 - FIFA 0.

By this point those very same demigods must surely have realised that Africa had it's own set of rules, and they seemed to work.
Don't re-invent the wheel simply because you can. Adapt and it will roll more smoothly.
This is Africa, and thats how we roll!

Moving ahead to the filled stadiums and the huge fanfare that the World Cup has now become, it seems quite obvious that the optimists had taken the bull by the horns and were not letting go, not for all the gold in King Solomons mines. The country was on a high and we stood behind our national team, Bafana Bafana.
They had more support than our rugby players or cricket players ever had, and this without having won any World Cup trophies as the two former teams had.
No disrespect to the Proteas or the Springboks, both of whom we love and admire unconditionally.
It was amazing to watch individuals and corporates get behind the nations team and sing with one voice, the voice of the Vuvuzela.

It became mandatory for every South African to own a Vuvuzela, and know how to blow it.
It became the sound that defined the Soccer World Cup.
It required very little practice, and swiftly crossed all racial and language barriers.
The irony is that this single item, probably the most cheaply priced of all soccer paraphernalia, has come to define the 2010 Soccer World Cup more than the official mascot products courtesy of Zakumi.
Zakumi was intended to be the mascot of the games and every conceivable money-spinning merchandising opportunity was pounced on by FIFA and the LOC.
They spent millions on design and product placement for all manner of Zakumi merchandise.
I recall reading an article where a forum was opened to gather the publics views on Zakumi.
The general consensus was that the public hated it.
There was no consultation between the powers that be and the nation on it's mascot for the largest sporting event ever to be hosted on our shores.
They went ahead anyways, thinking the public would come around to the idea.
Have you noticed how seldom Zakumi is now displayed or paraded as a mascot at the stadiums?
The nation had voted with its pockets once more.
The Vuvuzela was our mascot.
The Vuvuzela had defined the games for us.
Foreigners followed by example, and every nations fans bought into the Vuvuzela; every departing nations fans left with a smile on their faces and a Vuvuzela tucked under their arms.
South African Public 3 -  FIFA 0

I turned the radio on the other day and the DJ was playing the song that has come to epitomise the tournament.
It got my feet tapping and I sang along to every word.
I suspect the drivers on either side of me were listening to the same song.
Waving Flag by K'naan.
This wasn't intended to be the theme song for the world cup.
Somehow, somewhere, Shakira whom I adore was chosen to sing the official song.
Waka Waka.
Sounds great, but again the nation had adopted it's own song, and no matter how they tried to force Waka Waka upon us, it just was not going to be.
I'm not sure how Shakira was contracted to FIFA for the song, but I assume they expected huge royalties as they usually do, from the sale of the album and all its downloads.
Imagine their surprise when the nation once again voted with their pockets and we chose Waving Flag to be the song that defined our World Cup.
South African Public 4 - FIFA 0

I suspect when FIFA and the rest of it's circus finally leave our country, they will have learnt a few lessons of their own.
I would like to think that they will look back on one of the most successful Soccer World Cups ever, and realise that the nation had embraced the beautiful game and made the event our own.
We did it our way.

Yes we truly are grateful that FIFA had selected South Africa as the hosts for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
But it was South Africa and her people that took an event and made it a historic occasion.
To all the nations and their fans who visited our beautiful land, I say salute and thank you for looking beyond the negative press reports prior to the first whistle blown.
Thank you for going back to your home countries and being brand ambassadors for mother Africa.

Lastly, to those who left our shores to run for the hills for fear that South Africa was destined for anarchy, I wonder how terribly you yearn to be here among the believers and optomists?
To hold hands and sing and chant for Bafana Bafana, and Ghana, and ultimately any team that wins this World Cup.

The tournament may end soon, but the pride of the country will forever live on.

This is Africa's time.... and we have achieved!

Friday, July 2, 2010

BaGhana BaGhana


Ghana played with heart and passion and made it to the Quarter-Finals of the Soccer World Cup,and some idiot   journalist decided to taint the glow of their achievement by coining the phrase BaGhana BaGhana.

Yes we should be extremely proud of what Ghana has achieved
Yes we should stand behind the sole African country still in contention in the World Cup.
But seriously people, can we not be proud of them and let them have their moment without trying to attach Bafana's dismal legacy to The Black Stars?

We're proud of our team and we wish they had gone further than the first round, but they didn't and we'll live with that.
This is Ghana's moment.
Bafana had theirs.

Go Ghana!
Go The Black Stars!

Confucius say...

Confucius say, "If you are in a book store and cannot find the book you are looking for, you're obviously in the…"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One Of My Favourite Movie Songs

One of my all time favourite movie tracks.
Trust me when I say I had to search long and hard before I found a link that allowed me to upload it here.
It's from Oceans 12.
Enjoy :)

Our Favourite Songs

I finally figured out how to upload videos to the blog, and decided to share with you some of the songs which Shakera and I dedicated to each other over the past 10 years of marriage.

The first is a song by an artist I grew up with, having heard him played almost every weekend by my mom as she sang along to his greatest tracks.
I recall a holiday trip with my mom and Gran;  I had just got my first Louis Armstrong cassette (yes, way before CD's were introduced), and the memory of us driving along a mountainous stretch of road en-route to a holiday camp while we all sang along to "The Saints Go Marching On" will live with me forever.

Sade is another artist who defined my upbringing.
Most of the music I listened to and fell in love with growing up was old school blues and jazz.
This song encapsulates everything I had alway wanted a marriage and partnership to be about.
Sit back and enjoy :)

This next video is one I dedicated to Shakera after our 7th wedding anniversary.
She'd made me an awesome CD collection of all my favourite songs for our 5th, and since i'm terrible with technology, the best I could do was dedications. Hopefully some day before CD's become outdated, I will get the opportunity to make a CD for her with all her favourite songs.
Are CD's outdated yet?

This next song never fails to get my feet tapping.
It's my kind of foot-tapping music.
So I played it many years ago and Shakera loved it.. and now I sing it to Sabreen coz she finds it fun to run and hide when I get home and want kisses from her :)

Ok the last song i'm uploading is one that Shakera dedicated to me.
Some day when she starts her own blog, maybe she'll explain it's significance :)

There you have it.
A little video guide into the Kaloo adventure, which gets more exciting and awesome with every passing day.
I hope you enjoyed it, and look forward to uploading some of my own videos soon!

The Vuvuzela Song

The first time I saw this video, I knew it was one to share!
I absolutely love it!

"Feel It, It Is Here!"

That's the Soccer World Cup tagline.
Our man Maradona, coach of the Argentine national team and among the favourites to win the coveted award, seems to be feeling it.

I've been to a few games already, and i've been so proud of the manner in which we as a country have embraced every other sporting nation visiting our shores.
At the England vs Germany game in Bloemfontein, I sat next to an English fan from Bolton and we got to discussing soccer. He seemed fascinated by how much I knew about the game, and thrilled that I was a Manchester United fan. He assumed that South Africans, being of the African continent, know very little about anything that happens in the rest of the world.
I pointed out the irony to him.... that the Americans know even less about what happens outside their own state, let alone outside their country.

An hour into the game and we were chatting like old school friends.
He asked me who I was rooting for and I said it really didn't matter who won, I was just glad to be there for the experience. I think that pretty much sums up the feeling of all South Africans attending these games. We know that this may be the last time our generation will see the World Cup take place on African soil.

I'd like to think that i'll be attending the next soccer World Cup in Brazil, but the fact that i've been a part of the spirit of the games pleases me greatly.
Yes, I was there.

South Africa Rolls Out the Ubuntu in Abundance

The Huffington Post
Shari Cohen
International development worker in the public health sector
Posted: June 15, 2010 11:35 AM
I went on a rant the other day regarding the cost of the 2010 World Cup versus all the critical needs South Africa is facing and whether or not the most vulnerable of this country would gain anything from having the World Cup hosted in their country. At that time, I also had some very positive things to say about our hosts for the 2010 World Cup and I wanted to share that side of the coin as well, because it is equally important.
To say that I have been blown away at the hospitality South Africa has shown the rest of the world would be an understatement. I think back on recent Olympics and struggle to remember much reporting in the USA of athletes from other countries. I remember when a Togolese guy won a bronze medal in kayaking and NBC reported it and I thought to myself, "where are all the other fascinating stories like this the Jamaican bobsledding team." In today's America, sadly, we have drifted so far towards being so US-centric that we only seem to root for the Americans.
Not so here in South Africa. I've been here since early May and each week I have become more and more impressed with the global embrace that South Africans have offered up to the world. On the way to the airport a couple of weeks ago, I heard a radio program that said each day they would focus on one country that would be coming to South Africa for the World Cup, and they would explore not only that sport's history in soccer, but also their politics, religion, and socio-cultural practices. On the television, I've seen numerous programs that focus on a particular country and it's history of soccer and how the history of that country is intertwined with their soccer history. I've seen programs on India, exploring why India enjoys soccer but hasn't really excelled at the global level... yet. And I've seen shows on soccer in Muslim countries. Maybe it's planned, maybe it's unplanned, maybe it's by chance, but it is happening. It's not just about South Africans showing off their varied and multifaceted culture to their global guests, it's also about using this opportunity to educate South Africa on the rest of Planet Earth's inhabitants.
As I moved through my work here in the provinces over the last six weeks, I had a pivotal meeting with the Board members of a rural NGO. They were explaining their guiding program philosophy of Ubuntu. No, not the Linux program. I'm talking about the traditional African philosophy of Ubuntu that essentially says, "No man is an island."
I found a better explanation from Wikipedia:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu further explained Ubuntu in 2008:
One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu - the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality -- Ubuntu -- you are known for your generosity.

We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.

To me, Ubuntu is the acceptance of others as parts of the sum total of each of us. And that is exactly what I have experienced during the lead up to, and the initial days of this World Cup. There is nary a South African citizen that I've met on the street, or in shops or restaurants or hotels, that hasn't gone out of their way to greet me and make me feel like I am home. And I don't mean that in the trivial, "Oh, aren't they nice, homey people here... " sort of way. I mean real, genuine interest and questions. People seriously want to know where I come from. What it's like where I live. How does it compare to where I am now. What do I think of South Africa. Oh yes, and what do I think of Bafana Bafana... The questions and conversations are in earnest. They are honest. And they are had with enthusiasm and a thirst to know more. South Africans are drinking deeply from the cup of humanity that has been brought to their doorstep. I would never imagine that an American World Cup or Olympics would ever be this welcoming to the rest of the world. And that saddens me for the state of my home country, but it also makes me feel the pride of the South African people.
I have been truly humbled on this trip. And while I have my gripes regarding development here, I cannot say one negative thing about how South Africa has handled its duties as host and hostess to the world. If I could say one thing to sum up being here during this once-in-a-lifetime experience, it would be that I've learned the value of Ubuntu, and that when found and offered in abundance, the world is indeed a better place to live in.
So, if South Africa accomplishes nothing more on the playing field, it will still have won as a host country. I am a cynic, no doubt about that. And yet I have to admit, I'm a little teary just writing this because I leave for home next weekend and I will be leaving a little piece of myself here in South Africa. I just hope I have learned enough to bring back a little piece of Ubuntu to my homeland, where perhaps with a little caring and a little water, it will take root as naturally as it does here, in the cradle of civilization. It's funny, many people in America still ask me, "are the people in Africa very primitive?" Yes, I know, amazing someone could ask that but they do. And when they do, I usually explain that living in a mud hut does not make one primitive, however, allowing kids to sell drugs to other kids and engage in drive-by killings -- isn't that primitive behavior? I think it is. When I think of Ubuntu and my recent experiences here, I think America has much to learn from Africa in general, in terms of living as a larger village; and as human beings who are all interconnected with each other, each of us having an effect on our brothers and sisters.
As the 2010 Cup slogan goes, "Feel it. It is here." Well, I have felt it, because I am here. Thank you South Africa, for giving me this unexpected gift. I am humbled.