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Jacob DlaminiI have been gone from Katlehong, the East Rand township in which I was born, for so long that I have come to look at it with something of a foreigner’s eye. This is unnerving – I have become an outsider in the land of my birth, a place whose sights, sounds, smells, textures and foods constitute a significant part of my being.Not so long ago, a cousin and I were driving to a funeral in the township when I asked him for directions. I expected him to say: “Drive down one street, make a left at the first traffic lights and go up the street, follow the circular road around Katlehong High School, veer left towards the Shoprite shopping mall in Hlahatsi section and turn right on your second side street and voila!”Instead, he said: “Drive to Tsolo section.” I knew there was a neighbourhood called Tsolo but I had absolutely no idea where the place was. I had clean lost my bearings.To my cousin, I was still a kasie boy and should have known where everything was. That is why he gave me directions the way one would to a local. It did not matter to him that I had not lived in Katlehong for any length of time in about 20 years.But seeing Katlehong with an outsider’s eyes has an advantage: it allows me to follow what has changed in the township.The first sign of change to hit me when I moved back in December was the proliferation of shopping malls pretty much in every corner of the township. There are at least three massive malls anchored by Shoprite-Checkers and one centred on a Spar supermarket.My introduction to these malls was during the festive season, when people shop like it is the end of the world, but the shopping traffic at these places has not dropped even after the end of the holiday season. Go to any of these malls and their supermarkets at any time of day and you best be prepared for long queues. It is not bad service. The service is actually quite good. The shops are just busy.But that is not the most dramatic change I have noticed.The most eye-popping change for me has been in the way people go about their business and the way the local council, whatever its problems and weaknesses, is trying to make a difference.More and more sections have tarred roads and those that do not yet have any, are being surveyed so they will soon be tarred.Our local councillor has deliberately decided to have her block be the last street in our area to have a tarred road. This is both good politics and a result of lessons learnt the hard way. It used to be that councillors would take care of their own streets and families first before worrying about the rest. Not our councillor.Her selflessness may not please her immediate neighbours, but they can at least see that she is working for the entire community and that a tarred road will eventually their way.Then there are the mundane things that we hardly ever notice unless we need to use them but that actually make neighbourhoods tick. I was stunned to see a postman on his bike on Christmas Eve delivering mail to houses. I was prepared to think this was a fluke until I saw the same guy again on New Year’s Eve, doing his rounds.For someone long used to stories about how South Africa shuts down every year from 16 December to the first week of January, it was both a revelation and a pleasure to see the postman and to walk into a post office on 24 December and find it open for service.It was the same with garbage collection. The collectors came around on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. They work to a calendar and, although they were on a holiday schedule, they came around on days I would have least expected them to show up.And they did not look like they were half-arseing their way through their shift, only eager to finish quickly and knock off. They took their time, collected everyone’s bins from the central collection point and returned them where they found them. It was a pleasure to watch.After all, it is of such basic things that livable, working cities the world over are made.But the best sign for me that things are changing for the better was the phone call my cousin and I placed to 10111, the police emergency number, after coming across a domestic dispute while walking to a mall one evening shortly after New Year.A man was manhandling a woman and when we asked him to stop, he defiantly told us to walk on as it was none of our business. We told him we would call the cops.“Go ahead!” he said. We did. Two police vans showed up within 30 minutes and before our domestic abuser knew it, he was surrounded by eight armed policemen. They gave him a tongue-lashing he is unlikely to forget anytime soon. They also thanked us for calling in the incident.Needless to say, things are far from rosy in Katlehong. Jobs are scarce, HIV/Aids is a serious problem, crime continues to bedevil us and the local council could do better, to put it politely. But things are changing and, what’s more, they seem to be changing for the better. Even a native foreigner like me can see that.Jacob Dlamini is a PhD student in History at Yale University, a columnist for The Weekender, and former political editor of Business Day.
10 June 2011 2010 – Once In A Lifetime: The Movie had its world premiere in Johannesburg on Wednesday night, and broadcasts on local television this weekend to mark the anniversary of South Africa’s successful hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Co-produced by Anant Singh and directed by Junaid Ahmed, the film captures the passionate commitment and vision of South Africa and its people and the continent of Africa to the beautiful game, celebrating the spirit and the magic the first ever African World Cup. The film integrates inspiring visuals, exhilarating music and compelling interviews with a range of people – Fifa and LOC officials, government representatives, high-profile personalities and the man in the street – and is narrated by international football commentator John Helm. “It was fantastic!”, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said after Wednesday’s premiere. “This film is something that every household should keep and it is good for others around the world too, as it allows them to experience South African-ness and African-ness in the hosting of the 2010 World Cup. “Every game and every moment of the World Cup was special, as those who will watch the movie will see,” Mbalula said. “Fantastic work has been done in ensuring that we don’t forget and that we keep the memory of the World Cup alive for many generations to come – the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa like it has never been anywhere else in the world.” Imtiaz Patel, who co-produced the film with Singh, said: “It all started when Anant and I were on a bus from one of the World Cup matches at Soccer City. We were so emotional and caught up in the excitement, and we looked at each other and it was almost as though the thought entered our minds at the same time – that we had to capture this excitement. “The film gives everyone an opportunity to relive the spirit of the World Cup as we look at the event a year later.” Co-produced by Videovision Entertainment and SuperSport, the film will have its television premiere on Friday, 10 June at 8.00pm on DSTV’s SuperSport 3, with broadcasts over the weekend as follows: Friday 10 June 2011: SS3 / SS3A/ SS3N 20:00 – 21:30 Saturday 11 June 2011: SS3 / SS3A/ SS3N 09:30 – 11:00 15:00 – 16:30 21:00 – 22:30 CSN 17:30 – 19:00 Sunday 12 June 2011: SS3 / SS3A /SS3N 00:00 – 01:30 10:00 – 11:30 15:30 – 17:00 21:30 – 23:00 SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
20 April 2016South Africa’s Freedom Park joined the world in commemorating International Day of Monuments and Sites on 18 April.Endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) was enshrined in 1964. Its role is to lead the conservation and protection of cultural heritage sites.This year the theme of the day was “The Heritage of Sport” because “sports have developed from the origin of humankind onwards and have left testimonies to the diversity of installations and facilities related to their practice, many of them bearing values related to the development of architecture, art and techniques”, said Mechtild Rossler, the director of Unesco’s World Heritage Centre.Sport was also a tool that helped nation building and to unite people, noted Freedom Park.“The 18th of April is a day which finds its purpose of having a reflexive ambience of cultural heritage worldwide,” reads the Freedom Park website. “Furthermore, sport has been a strong activity which has successfully aligned itself towards nation building and gives a platform for all cultural diversity to partake in.”Freedom Park, alongside the Department of Basic Education, the City of Tshwane and Lucas Moripe Foundation got learners involved by asking 10 schools to conduct presentations through speech and prose, to demonstrate the role of cultural heritage institutions and how to conserve them.Watch this to find out more about Freedom Park:Source: South Africa.info reporter
The Madhya Pradesh High Court is going to monitor the inquiry of the State police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) into cases involving scores of politicians and bureaucrats who were blackmailed by an inter-State sex racket over a decade.Noting that the issue was “very sensitive”, Justices S.C. Sharma and Shailendra Shukla of the Indore Bench of the Court on Monday directed the State government to not change the officer in-charge of the case and his posting in Indore without its permission. “He will continue at Indore and in case need so arises for shifting him, the State government will obtain leave of the court,” said the Justices. In eight days, the State government had twice changed the chief of the SIT, without stating any reason publicly.