N e w s

5 TOP STORIES THIS WEEK (14-20 January 2013)

Lance Armstrong Quotes: 25 Memorable Statements From Oprah Interview
Huffington Post

Top story: This was without any doubt the biggest story of the week. In a gruelling interview with the queen of talk, Oprah Winfrey, Lance admitted to doping and using illegal, performance-enhancing drugs during his Tour de France races. What make this all the more shocking is that he won it 7 times (!), beat cancer and became an inspiration to millions of people. Watching the almost two hour interview I don’t think Lance is truly sorry. Yes, there were times when he was emotional (especially when he spoke about his mother and children), but as for the most part he still has a long way to go. People are not easily going to believe in him or, in some instances, the sport of cycling very soon.

France: hostage crisis justifies Mali action

My opinion: Whether you believe it is justified or not, French president, Francois Hollande, is persistent that the deployment of French troops to Mali is necessary.  The question here is not whether he thinks it is justified, but if Western nations have the authority/obligation to intervene. Hollande says Islamists who had taken over the poor West African country's north could turn it into a “terrorist state” which would radiate a threat beyond its borders. In my opinion, where there is a threat in a country (and that countries own troops are also fighting), other countries are obliged to assist. It is not just a matter of politics or religion, but a humanitarian matter. As simple as that.

Deaf twins who discovered they were going blind and would never see each other again are euthanized in Belgian hospital
Mail Online

My opinion: What a sad story this is. Belgian twin, who were born deaf and found out they would soon go blind as well, got legal euthanasia after they argued they can’t bear the thought of not being able to see each other. In this country euthanasia is legal if there are sufficient mental or physical reasons. I’m not even going to say whether I think they did the right thing, but this just brings the spotlight on something on the fact that euthanasia should be legalised in countries such as the USA and South Africa. It goes beyond my mind to think that we would let people suffer against their will. Or am I the only one with this point of view?

SA acts for Obama's bash - Lira, MiCasa and Masekela
The Sowetan

My opinion: This is really an amazing opportunity for South Africa! Lira, MiCasa and Hugh Masekela made us proud in the USA by being chosen to perform at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Obama are indeed four more years in power, but there is a lot of work to be done. He may have won the election mainly because of a weak opposition candidate, but I still believe he is the best choice for president. Let's just hope he delivers on all the promises he made. But I do think he has a more realistic view of what the presidency entails

Bafana, Cape Verde draw Africa Cup opener

My opinion: The African Cup of Nations started with great anticipation. I'm not a huge soccer fan, but don't you think it's sad that we hosted the World Cup and now AFCON and our soccer team still does so poorly? Soccer is a major sport in the country, but somehow we still can't get it right. We've hired the most expensive coaches and have had the best strategies in place, but still Bafana Bafana fairs so poorly. Maybe it's time we accept that we are not a soccer nation, just like the USA is not a rugby nation - even though they have millions of people? Maybe we should focus and invest more on and in rugby in which we actually accomplish a lot?


5 TOP STORIES THIS WEEK (7-13 January 2013)

Lance Armstrong awaits 'candid' Oprah interview
CBS Sport

My opinion: This story has made headlines world-wide. For the first time disgraced cycling champion Lance Armstrong will open up about the doping scandal, and if there's one person that will get the truth out of him, it's Oprah. Lance was a hero to so many people and we can only hope he will be candid in this interview. The interview will air next week on The Oprah Winfrey Network, on oprah.com and on Discovery networks worldwide (on TLC on DSTV in South-Africa).

Emotional funeral as Burry is laid to rest
IOL News

My opinion: What a tragedy. The South African sport world has lost an  valuable asset and a family lost a loved one. Burry's death should not be just another news story; we should use this as awake-up call to make our roads safer. With the death toll the past festive season being so alarmingly high, it's time that we look at ways to make the roads a safer place.

Farm strike dents SA economy

My opinion: I can not believe we are still talking about this! It's been more than a month since the story first appeared and the strike continues. As I've said previously (News: 12-18 November) — there is no excuse for violence. What is worrisome about the situation is the amount of money this is costing South Africa. The workers are being paid the minimum wage set by the Labor Department; this is a bigger problem and maybe Helen Zille is right that the strike is politically motivated. 

Golden Globes kick off Hollywood award season

My opinion: Oh, I'm always excited for the Oscars and the Golden Globes and the . . .! It is just exciting that the best of the best in Hollywood are praised for their work the past year. The Golden Globes may be over, but the biggest one, the Oscars are still on its way. Amoungst all the negative news out there this is always something inspiring. My predictions for the Oscars will appear later this week.

Hillary Clinton 'thrilled to be back' at work
New York Post

My opinion: She gave the world a fright. And while Africans may feel this news is not important to us, the health of one of the most powerful women in the world is important. Hillary will most likely be the Democrats presidential candidate for the election in 2016 and if she win, she will be the first female president of the USA, making the country truly progressive in the top positions as well. 


5 TOP STORIES THIS WEEK (26 November - 02 December 2012)

Lady Gaga arrives in SA

My opinion: My goodness, I've not seen people being so angry about an artist vising South Africa in a long while. What boggles my mind is that Christians reacted to Lady Gaga's visit as if the Devil himself is visiting us. Regardless of whether you believe the claims or not, aren't Christians suppose to be tolerant? When have we as a nation become so intolerant that we don't even allow other people to make up their own minds? Who are you to prevent others from making the choice themselves? Give them the information, but don't try to force it.

Hy ‘steek naald in bors, maar wil nie seermaak’

My opinion: Ina Bonette has touched thousands of lives in South Africa. Her story of survival is nothing short of a miracle. What I take from the story is a wake-up call for so many women. Don't stay in an abusive relationship. Know your partner. Recognise the warning signs. Yes, this may sound like a sermon in a news column, but I really hope the judicial system won't fail Ina.

SABC just made Zuma advert an online hit: iLIVE

My opinion: Can you believe it?! The SABC bans an advertisement about Nkandla and Zuma. To me, this is not a testimony to the advertisement, but the independence of the SABC. One may very well ask: what independence? Interesting enough the SABC's decision helped the advertisement. Pretty soon companies are going to be controversial just so that the ad can be banned and would become a huge success on the internet. Just goes to show what power the internet has. 

Riaan Cruywagen's final salute

My opinion: So many has been written about Riaan Cruywagen's final news bulletin. I've written a piece about Riaan on this blog (see Afrikaans), but including him in the top 5 news stories of the week just goes to show: This great South African's professionalism and worth ethic will surely be missed. In a country where we do as little as possible, we can all learn one final lesson from Riaan.

Proteas should bed down at No 1

My opinion: Finally some good news! It has indeed been a sad and depressing week fro the country in terms of news, but once again the Proteas made us proud. I must say, I am not a big fan of cricket at all, but anytime that we receive positive news from the guys, I am glad with all the fans. It just goes to show that no matter what negative stuff are going on in the country, we can still achieve great things.


5 TOP STORIES THIS WEEK (12 - 18 November 2012)

St Francis fire damage runs into millions

My opinion: What a tragedy. One always feel for the families of such devastating fires and it must be one of the most horrible feelings to lose everything you own. But you can sense a "but" coming on: If these were not the houses of so-called important and rich people would we still make this much fuss about it? Yes, the damage is more because they lived in houses the size of Mount Everest. Imagine when you live in an informal settlement and you lose the little that you have in a fire ... But we don't make  a big fuss about that. Maybe I'm ignorant, but to me it sounds like double standards.

'Insult law' commonplace in many countries
Mail and Guardian

My opinion: This must be one of the most ridiculous news stories of the week. Blade Nzimande, minster of Higher Education, wants a law to protect president Zuma from being insulted. As stated in this article countries such as China a Brazil may have such laws, but we have one of the most advanced democracies in the world and this curbs freedom of speech. It really worries me that this same man is in charge of educating young people.

Zille het wenk ontvang oor ‘Kaapse Marikana’

My opinion: Can you believe it: the premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, says she received an anonymous tip-off before the violent strikes in the Western Cape that the ANC is trying to make the Western Cape a Marikana? If this is true, then the ANC loses a lot of credibility. How can any ruling party deliberately create chaos in it's own country just play a political game? If the economy in the Western Cape is suffering, everyone are suffering. It just does not make sense.

Does Twilight Really Ruin Real-Life Romance?
Time Magazine

My opinion: Now I know hard-core news people are going to criticize me for naming this one of the week's top 5 stories, but the truth of the matter is, the Twilight saga has become a phenomena — one that is coming to an end. Let me state it clearly: I am not a Twilight fan at all, but one must have respect for Stephenie Meyer for getting children and adults to read. With each million copies sold she has changed people's life. So, instead of complaining let's consider this a victory for literature. O, and enjoy the movie (which I will not see!).

Sutherland gets free fast internet

My opinion: Yes, this may be one of the smaller stories this week, but am I the only who get's excited about this? For the community of Sutherland this mean far more than just being computer literate, but it open up a world of possibilities. It's a sign of progress and no-one with internet access can say it has not open up a new world to them. May this be an example to the rest of South Africa to open similar centres.

5 TOP STORIES THIS WEEK (05 - 11 November 2012)

South Africa: A country in dire need of its Obama moment

My opinion: Without any doubt the biggest story of the week is Barack Obama being re-elected as president of the USA. In the article on the Daily Maverick their is a (South African) insight to him being elected that I wholeheartedly agree with: What if we had a Barack Obama as a president? We need people to be elected to office based on their believes and arguments — and not to which party they belong. Our elections should be value orientated and then only will we have our Obama moment. Because think about it: When last did one of our presidents made you feel as hopeful as I and so many other people are feeling about Obama?

Nkandla visit no publicity stunt - Zille
IOL News

My opinion: Let me start by saying I am a Helen Zille and a DA supporter. I firmly believe she fights for what is right and argues about the issues — not the person. But visiting Nkandla has been nothing more than a publicity stunt (even if Helen's says the opposite). What else would she have discovered on the "scene"? She knew what was going on. She knew how much money was being spent. Yes, her actions may have drawn attention to the issue of tax money being used for the president's home, but her visit didn't add anything new. 

eNCA man suspended over Linkin Park tweet
IOL News

My opinion: What a sad incident this is. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to the family members. It was definitely the right thing to suspend this presenter. Was it really worth it to make a such a (lame) joke? We've seen it over and over: When you are a public figure (yes, even journalists are public figures) or represent an organisation, you can't say anything on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. We should all use this as a powerful lesson.

De Doorns ‘grapes of wrath’ strike spirals
Business Day

My opinion: South Africa has never seen so many strikes as we are currently experiencing. Here's what is acceptable: Workers standing up for their right to make a decent living. Workers are allowed, and should, fight to be treated with dignity and respect. Here's what is not acceptable: Workers burning down places, disrupting services and intimidating other people. This strike is costing the country a vast amount of money and the bottom-line is: communicate. Farmers and workers should talk, but more importantly, listen.

Maths exam leak scandal

My opinion: This may not be one of the biggest stories this week, but it is one of the most alarming ones. How is it that we still see this happening year after year? Somewhere schools are to be blamed — the security is imply not good enough. This is not just a frivolous exercise, but the future of many learners. And how can anybody take our education standards seriously if stuff like this still occour every year. Yes, maybe I am a bit too mad about this, but education is no laughing matter.

5 TOP STORIES THIS WEEK (29 October - 04 November 2012)

Hurricane Sandy: Residents Assess Damage and Rebuild in Breezy Point

My opinion: A hurricane is more than just a severe storm effecting a certain part of the world — it is a powerful force directly impacting so many lives. What's interesting to me about hurricane Sandy is that at the end it was not even a hurricane anymore, but the destruction was worse than a hurricane. In all this it's easy to get the bigger picture — number of people who died, total damage, how is it going to effect the presidential election, etc. What is not so easy is to see how it touches individual lives. Read this beautiful article to get an idea of how individualistic a powerful storm can actually be. 

SA bevolking byna 52 m.

My opinion: It is not shocking that the most recent census found that we are almost 52 million people in the country. We indeed have many of fathers of the nation! But on a serious note coloured (8,9%), white (8,9%) and Indian (2,5%) people are the minority groups compared to black people (almost 80%). What does this mean? We should have a far better understanding of our diverse society. Even the language barriers are complex with the three biggest languages being Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans. But what is alarming is the following: Only 41% of children finish school and a mere 12% receive tertiary education. Bearing our history and really diverse society in mind this is going to be one of our biggest obstacles. 

Election Nightmare Scenarios: What Could Happen?

My opinion: I know a lot of South Africans are not particularly interested in the US Presidential elections, but what happens in the most powerful country on earth effects us all. So, what is the worse that could happen on elections day? Mitt Romney can be elected as the next president of United States! Obama has a proven track record and Romney is not really a worthy competitor. If Americans vote for him, it would only be to choose an alternative to Obama. Yes, Obama has made mistakes, but is any alternative really better? With polls being pretty equal it would be interesting to see whether Americans vote just for the sake of something new.

Skiet die boer: AfriForum tevrede met skikking

My opinion: As a country the issue of race will always be a sensitive issue. Therefore we need to be cautious what we say and sing — especially those in power. This song may be part of our history, but the fact of the matter is, the words are hurtful and possibly dangerous (don't shoot me for saying that!). At the time when the song was originally sang it had a meaning and necessity, but there is no need for it anymore. I am happy to see that for once AfriForum and the ANC talked like adults. I guess it all boils down to having respect for people of different races and not continue with something when you know it is hurtful.

Riaan groet na 37 j.

My opinion: Riaan Cruywagen has become not only an Afrikaans icon, but a South African icon. After 37 years this experienced newsreader is retiring from the SABC. His departure will surely leave a huge gap on South African television but what struck me most about the news that Riaan is retiring, is that all media (even the English media) reported about it. This, to me at least, is an indication of how well-known and loved he is with a wide range of South Africans. During his years at the SABC he has done a lot for Afrikaans. I don't think he purposefully tried to do this, but the fact of the matter is people has seen him as a leader in the Afrikaans (not Afrikaner) community. I'm sad to see him go, but wish him the best of luck. He deserves the rest.


Rand will bounce back, says Gordhan

My opinion: We are a lazy country. We have created a culture of mediocrity and there is a perception that one can do as little work for as much money as possible. Unless we change the culture strikes like these will continue, and will probably get worse. The other side of the argument is that we underpay people. We don't value people working hard and this lead to workers not being motivated. Maybe it's time that companies look beyond the immediate gratification of saving money and look at the bigger pictures of saving the growth of the economy.

Ma Anice glimlag van oor tot oor

My opinion: The story of Pippie Kruger has grabbed the attention of the nation. Parents from all over the country were touched and inspired by her tenacity. It is all well that we give her the attention she rightfully deserves, but why are we focussing on only this case? In this regard we can't blame the media for reporting on something that is newsworthy, but as for ordinary citizens: Why do we wait for the media to report on tragedy before we do something? Have we become so apathetic that we refuse to take action, even when we are surrounded by tragedy?

Report Describes How Armstrong and His Team Eluded Doping Tests
New York Times

My opinion: To me this is just one of the most shocking stories of the week. When the news broke that he might have used illegal substances and that his titles might be taken away I, like so many other fans over the world, felt duped and disappointed. After all, he made us believe in the almost impossible. Now that there is evidence that Lance might have been part of a sophisticated, planned doping program, words actually fail me. Another hero has fallen.

Crisis-hit EU wins Nobel Peace Prize
IOL News

My opinion: We all need a little inspiration. The Nobel Prizes show us the the best of what humanity has to offer. It show us that, even with all wars and disease outbreaks accruing all over the world some of us are fighting it and are capable of extraordinary things. But the Nobel Peace Prize going to the EU ... There are so many more deserving people or groups out there, like Gene Sharp. Yes, it will boot morale, but did they really deserve this prize?

Woman crept into boat cupboard to stay alive

My opinion: It is always sad when accidents like these happen. One feels for the friends and family members. But what surprised me about this story is this woman's courage. She was trapped under the capsized boat and managed to stay alive by pulling herself into a small cupboard. Yes, the circumstances were horrible, but this is a lovely example of how resilient people are and how strong our survival mode are. It's great to something this positive with all the tragedy that happened. 

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