Ditchin’ that Snitch…

 

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Scrooge: [skrudӡ]. n. a stingy person; a penny-pincher

Anyone who knows me well enough will tell you that I don’t like cartoons. They will also tell you that I don’t take anyone who watches them over the age of 12 very seriously. But- and that’s an epic but that does not mean that I’m oblivious to how simplistically cartoons tell life stories. Perhaps the ease and uncluttered approach of storytelling that can be universally appealing to a five year old and full grown men (yes, you boys in your late twenties know yourselves!) is what makes cartoons so special.

I took a lukewarm interest in cartoons in childhood and one of those that appealed to me was Disney’s Duck tales with Uncle Scrooge McDuck in the lead. Back then I wouldn’t have realized that, well; Scrooge is arguably an attractive guy. He is described as “an adventurous, resourceful, protective, sensible, clever, compassionate, loyal and hard-working”. Who doesn’t want a guy like dear Uncle Scrooge, hmmm? The catch though is that, “having worked so hard to acquire his wealth, Scrooge has become rather stingy and greedy.”

There is an unwritten rule that when two people are in a relationship, one must take on the role of a provider and the other of a nurturer. The former has always been the prerogative and primal instinct of the male species. Some assert that the role of men has been rattled over the ages because of the throttle of feminism and thus, the emancipation of women in all spheres of life.

 In a recent True Love issue, NdumisoNgcobo writes that, “Expecting [men] to be simultaneously gender sensitive and chivalrous is asking for a bit too much…now you want us to feel emasculated and simultaneously open doors for you?

I have heard stories of women who “expect” to be big bosses in the work place and in their homes, much to men’s disapproval. One high-flyer is said to have asked her husband to make tea for her business associates as they came to her house for a meeting. Chuckles.Admittedly, it’s a shame. I for one am one of those who believe that knowing one’s place is not the same as taking crap as it is dished out. It is about being a perfect complement for the other. This is applicable to both men and women.

However, I’m concerned that there is a certain kind of man who hides comfortably behind the 50/50 era to mask the fact that he has deep pockets and short arms. Ladies, this is the type of guy who takes you out to a burger joint on a first date (this is OK if you are teenagers) in his mother’s bakkie. He searches your face to see if there’s discontent (read: gold digging) and if there’s none then you have given him the ticket to continue patronising you with his cheap flattery. He is the type that frowns hysterically at seeing a B.O.B (Bring Own Bottle) request on a party invitation; the same guy who fills up his car with thirty bucks.

The point is, sure, this is confusing to men and feeling out of one’s depth ain’t so kosher either. As a matter of fact, it is also confusing for women to be faced with men who don’t want to pay for anything. To be quite honest, having a stingy man is probably as frustrating as having a woman who just doesn’t want to give it up!

Even independent women want an opportunity to politely turn a man down, and it’s not even about undermining him; it’s about acknowledging his willingness to pay her way (and playing his role). Just like every other sphere of life, relationships need to rise to the occasion, and I sure as hell know a few women who can boldly say, “I’ve got your back, boo” without intimidating a man. There are those, of course, whobelieve in taking men as their economic slaves and ATMs, which is wrong by any standard.

In my books, a snitch or scrooge orngame is a sure passion killer.There is nothing vaguely attractive about a man who always thinks that “O jewantsoma”. In addition to Uncle Scrooge’s other personality traits, a generous man is a definite fire-starter and panty-dropper. A generous man is always a keeper. Take your pick.

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What’s the 419? Part Two

…One cannot stress enough how much we have become so engrossed in racial profiling and stereotypes that we can barely navigate through it all. What made me uncomfortable about this experience was not the fact that I nearly fell for it but the fact that I felt some comfort, appeasement even, from receiving unsolicited mail from a white person.

To be blunt, it is indicative of how we readily assume that black people are suspect and whites aren’t. As if the many cases of sophisticated white collar crimes in South Africa don’t offer enough reason to reconsider. Then again, with the recent cloning of Facebook accounts by scammers, it is anyone’s guess.

There is also the assumption that certain individuals are especially vulnerable to scams because of – amongst others- their socio-economic status, level of education and emotional intelligence. I can certainly recall the day I watched one of Pastor Mbhoro’s ardent disciples on a local talk show as he boldly wiped his face with a “holy” sanitary pad, revelling in its “amazing” healing powers(much to my horror and amusement).

I was taken back to a time when we had decided to visit a new charismatic church in the neighbourhood: On one of our visits, “holy” Sakdoeks (handkerchiefs) selling at an inflated amount,were presented for sale to the congregation. We took one home to mother. Sigh.

Credit cards chained up with padlock

Socio-economic factors may well be the major push factor towards people being (easy) targets for con artists. Priest, traditional healer, business person, potential employer and more seemingly credible personae are what scam artists can easily morph themselves into.

 In 2011, the Cape Argus reported the tragic death of Roz Van der Vyver after she responded to a casual stock-taking job advert at a Cape Town supermarket. On arrival for her ‘interview’ she and others were informed that there were no vacancies. It is reported that she woke up the next day with the recollection of being hit on the head while having the refreshments that were offered and, worse, she had been gang-raped.

Rural women and children are especially vulnerable to human traffickers who target them through job scams. The Daily Voice reported in January 2012 that “South Africa is a hotbed for the billion dollar human trafficking industry”. With the rate of unemployment, child-headed households and non-existent laws on human trafficking- it is not hard to see why.

It is a scary thought that being the victim of such can open up doorways to the seedy underworld of prostitution, sex slavery, drug trafficking and cheap labour within and outside South Africa’s borders.

The truth is that, just about anybody can fall for a scam. NBC News’ Bob Sullivan writes that, “Most people think they’ll never fall for a scam. In fact, that frame of mind is precisely what con artists look for [because] those who believe they know better are often the last to raise their defences when criminals are nearby”.

In a funny way, I reckon my saving grace was my love of money (and being a bit of a scrooge). The thought of taking out a loan for nearly a thousand bucks in exchange for a lucrative yet sketchy proposal detailed over a series of e-mails just didn’t make sense. It gives me great pleasure to raise my middle finger to the wicked.

There are a lot of helpful resources on the net to assist in identifying and protecting oneself from scams including “The Internet’s most successful scams” by Bob Sullivan. Help yourself, help a friend.

What’s the 419? Part One

They usually say that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. I learnt, through trial and error that if my heart beats a little too fast at a decision making point then it is an opportune time to stop and THINK. Through it all I have also learnt to trust in the precision of my instincts.

Can you think back to the first time you or someone you know received a random text on your phone informing you of your exciting R 100 000 win in a draw from a competition you never entered? How about when you picked up the phone to “claim” your prize, do you remember that odd echo behind the voice on the other end of the line?

Did you suddenly clamp down when asked to provide your bank details so the money could be conveniently be deposited in your account? Maybe, like me, you looked up a job in the paper and were told to come in for an “interview” as soon as the following day without the company having seen your CV first? Maybe you’ve never been so naïve.

Here’s a little story: A few weeks ago, something a little strange occurred. An inbox in my Facebook account set off a series of events in motion. I was being informed of my profile picture being selected for a Samsung billboard ad by a rather decent looking white woman.

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Initially, it seemed odd that an obscure picture of me seated in an airport could be all that appealing. I glanced at it a couple of times before excitement set in. I thought, “White woman from Pretoria, hmmm?  ‘seems legit.”

It didn’t seem strange that she referred me to the PR (also Modelling Agency, strangely enough) company’s Yahoo! Mail address. My prompt, and albeit curious, response was met with an even quicker one from the supposed agency. In a clumsily written email, I was informed about the hundreds of thousands of Rands one would typically earn from the “short-term” contract.

My family shared in my impending-riches euphoria, although we would occasionally stop and wonder if it really wasn’t a scam of sorts. For one, an online search yielded no comprehensive results of the local affiliate of the agency- only the one based in the UK (that managed top models like Naomi Campbell, imagine!).

Dare I say, we started planning for the money; never mind the R 985 requested as payment for registration and “moulding” (WTF?) of the photo- nah, it was a mere drop in the ocean compared to the Randelas I would be getting, and mother would loan it to me.

Upon asking for a contact person, I was referred to agent “Simon Edward Brown” who said he didn’t have a social networking profile (at least LinkedIn). His accent is probably what set alarm bells off in my head. Everything seemed to be quickly coming apart at the seams as I was provided with a funny address in Cape Town (also no show on Google), but never a land line. To add to that, the bank account provided for the cash deposit belonged to someone new. It was not adding up!

I realise now the level of denial I was experiencing. It just didn’t seem possible that a grown ass, knowledgeable and smart individual like me could (almost) fall victim to such rubbish… [ To be continued]

Dear Mr Vundla & Generations et al,

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Seeing as how my fellow compatriots have declared 2013 the year of penning open letters, yours truly has realized that among the “poor” souls like Mrs Msengana, prez JZ, Juju and the Mandelas who have become the target of these letters (deservedly and otherwise)- none is more fitting to become the recipient of the following letter.
 
After a long sabbatical from watching Generations, I made a reluctant comeback to join millions of other dutiful viewers around the country. And I say reluctant because, you see, my brother is a heavy-handed-stubborn-ass motherf&@ker who couldn’t contain his jealousy of the fact that I was enjoying daily doses of The Wild. It would appear that DStv’sMzansi Magic channel is fast becoming a fierce competitor to MzansiFo’ Sho’ with well put together local productions.
 
Anyway, my relationship with The Wild was evidently short-lived. I did not bow down easily though; it took a lot of kicking, hollering and screaming that, “I would rather become the president’s next wife than go back to watching another episode of Generations!!”
 
These days, I willingly flip the channel to watch the ‘soapie’. At this point, three of the TV’s in the house are also switched on to the same. I reckon that’s pretty insane, huh? The other day, my sister protested that we needed to find something else to watch- Pronto! “Poor thing,” I thought. That used to be me all those months ago; look at me now, huh, sissy!
 
Mr Vundla, kind Sir- your production’s brainwashing mechanism should be thoroughly patented. I mean, Bosso ke mang, joe?! Frankly, when one thinks about Generations, they are also compelled to think of a certain political party. Parallels can be clearly drawn between the cunning similarities in the elements of emotional blackmail.
 
Just like that party, yours is the biggest fish in the pond. You hold the title of undisputed king of soap operas in the Southern Hemisphere. Only problem is, in comparison to other lesser dramas, your content lacks substance and real intrigue.
 
We can thus conclude that Generations has become comfortable…a little too comfortable in satiating our minds with…well…nonsense.
 
Since Generations is categorically a ‘soap opera’, Google explains that soap operas “are midday television dramas targeted to women. They are called [such] because originally the shows were sponsored by soap and detergent companies…” Naturally, the viewer profile has evolved to include other people and the share over the soap opera market hotly contested during the early-and towards mid-evening.
 
The end of my sabbatical has given me the impression that either Generations has become a sitcom or that it is bordering on schizophrenic adaptations of people’s overly rigid imaginations, that is, your script writers. Perhaps you will soon throw some Voodoo in there- hot on the heels of the trailblazing Scandal– to make for some “gripping” viewing, neh? 
 
Now let’s also talk about the actual storyline. Well, I have to admit that what you did with Khethiwe and her WTF face was brilliant. Hey, I didn’t see that one coming! I think I actually look forward to that each and every night. However, what you did with Phenyo, who went from being a confident attorney to a panty-whipped fool, was not OK. As a matter of fact, the weave that you put on his wife, Dinny’s head, should be taboo. ‘Same goes for the dozen other weave bobbing heads in there.
 
Let’s not forget those rich Noluntu’s and Senzo’s who live in Morningside or Northcliff going to work out among the arbs in Newtown…really?! Kannete?!
 
I also find the trademark unnatural acting very peculiar. Well, how else can one explain the stiff upper lip (and stiffening of every body part) on male actors, especially? I could be wrong but MelusiYeni once kicked butt on the Emmy Award winning Home Affairs, Sokhulu& Partners and other productions. Now he is…well- a nuisance to watch.
 
Same goes for Ngamla, whose close-ups leave one cringing. ‘Guess that’s you trying to make him look mean. I remember YizoYizo and many local dramas where the man dazzled and showed finesse.
 
If anything, the end of my sabbatical reminds me why I stopped watching Generations in the first place. It reminds me that, personally, I value quality and the attention paid to detail. It reminds me that authenticity in story telling makes the experience worthwhile for the viewer. It reminds me that being in a comfortable space is dangerous; that there is a need for constant re-invention in order to remain relevant. Most importantly, I’m reminded that I have no tolerance for things that insult my intelligence.
 
Similar to that political party, Generations is content in the knowledge that it is safe in this space whether viewers choose to stay on or not. Just drops in the ocean. How long can you trivialize the viewership that so many productions can only dream of?
 
On a parting note, let me leave you with this thought- “Se safeleng, sea tlhola”.
 
Sincerely,
 
Gomo’
 

A Toast to Enduring Friendships

In the words of one C.S. Lewis, friendship “is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value, rather it is one of those things which give value to survival”.

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In the age of social media and virtual fluidity that continue to permeate our daily lives, most teenagers (and other people with legs growing faster than their brains) have bragging rights to a thousand odd friends on Facebook and a dozen followers on Twitter. This is a clear contradiction to Lewis’ words because it would appear that the number of virtual friends a person collects is becoming an increasingly important thing.

It has become important that people share in the voyeuristic show that continually feeds into the self-absorbed outlook of the current generation. Gone are the days when the cautionary don’t-talk-to-strangers used to ring a bell. These days, how many people “liked” one’s status is all the rage andsame goes for how many of them commented on your “cute” photo. This is the metamorphosis of friendship- here today and gone the next with the effortless press of the “unfriend/ block” tab.

Thankfully, some of us grew up in an era where the world wasn’t so engrossed in itself. A somewhat sheltered upbringing ensured that my sister and I always knew that sunset shouldn’t find us out in the street. Back then, the most natural thing was to befriend the neighbourhood kids; friendship was playing with old tin cans and making a small fire where we would cook stolen foodstuffs from our respective homes. It also meant that we could walk to school together every morning and talk about…well, anything.

My first lesson in the meaning of friendship came while I was in grade two. That is, friends accept each other and their circumstances. As a seven year old my frail ego was bruised when the girl I regarded as a friend made fun out of my pap en vleis skhafthini (lunch box). It hurt, but we were both young and children do forget easily. Life went on.

In my early teens, fate happened and I met my first BFF, Phindile. Though we hung out in a larger group of boys and girls, there was no mistaking our bond and equally mellow personalities gelled quite well. She teased me for wearing mum’s clothes and looking funny and in the same breath showed unwavering support. My next lesson in friendship was- friends always have each other’s back as we cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-die. The test of that friendship came when my old man saw my BFF stuffing her lungs with nicotine, forcing me to consider the viability of the friendship. Well, lesson learnt- I was who I was, and she who she was therefore- friendship does not pass judgement.

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In boarding school, the need to belong was heightened. Cliques changed as and when loyalties waned-again, groups within groups and thus a false sense of security. Music brought my next BFF       –Koketso-along, who was not only a spiritual compass, but a much needed voice of reason. The test of the friendship came in the form of a two legged creature with balls between its legs and almost completely dismantled BFF and I. Many lessons were drawn from here including that: Everyone needs a wise friend. Secondly, a true friend will be there for ALL seasons. Thirdly, friends are allowed to fight too. Fourth, mutual respect is VERY important.

The Varsity years brought with them an eclectic mix of people from all walks of life. The challenge was that booze and a party lifestyle made it difficult for one to be discerning in choosing friends. Friendships were made and broken, with the cracks becoming clear at the onset of sobriety. My next lesson: In groups, the likelihood is that friendship is based purely on superficial and competitive terms. Eventually, with the rejection of group dynamics life seemed to make much more sense with my two current BFF’s- the Madubanya’s. They taught me that you never watch on while a friend self-destructs; that true friends are like family. Most importantly, friendship is a mixture of laughter, tears, therapy sessions, stupidity, late nights, early mornings, farts and ugly truths. It is about trust and being you.

They usually say that life does not afford us choice over the families we are born into, yet it gives us ample room to decide on the type of friends we keep. At best, our friends are a reflection of who we are. For some, it takes no more than a click of the “ADD” tab. For others, friendship does not come as naturally. Friendship can be short-lived for some, and last a lifetime for others. Idon’t know much but I know that I loooooooove my tjomies, finish en klaar!!!! J

Beyond Stereotypes…

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Ever since I can remember, I have always had a peculiar feeling standing next to tall people. I also grew to treat them with a certain amount of disdain- like they were no different to pesky creatures. Perhaps it is because being in the company of much taller people exposed my…ahem, short comings (pun most intended).

It is very intimidating to be face to face with people’s stomachs when you know they are possibly counting every last hair follicle on your head! It also used to irritate me that my height (I’m just over 1.55m tall)-as well as that of my mum and sister- was a source of amusement for even people I would consider to be moderately tall.

I don’t recall ever making fun of people who were shorter than me; well, except for that guy back in varsity who wore what I could swear were size 3 Carvelas (how do we spell that again- Mahlanya a Pitori???). He probably deserved that because he made such a nuisance of himself. I am grateful though that he introduced me to Cabernet Sauvignon, kudos bru!

Unfortunately, charity does not begin at home –or at any other place- for some people, otherwise they would know that it is ludicrous to poke fun at physical features that people cannot change. With age, I learnt that it is also not unusual for people to mock others based on their physical attributes (in a negative light) instead of the positive simply to deflect attention from the fact that, well, they may not be feeling too kosher about themselves either. If you’ve been on a couple of blind dates then you’ll know what I mean, yes?

I have tall friends (that’s a classic bigot line right there), sure I do. After hanging out with them many times, trying to figure out what the fuss was about the two height extremes I became resolute in the impression that being tall is totally overrated. To be brutally honest, I realized that the tallest people I encountered couldn’t rub two brain cells together even if they tried. I resolved that their brains were so high up, they couldn’t access them. LOL!

Stereotypes, by their very nature are a way to “draw inferences about others based on knowledge of the categories to which they belong.”- Wikipedia– In addition , the “physical attractiveness” stereotype is used by Psychologists to refer to the tendency to assume that people who are physically attractive also possess other socially desirable personality traits.” Therefore, we make up our minds subconsciously about others -on a daily basis- based on stereotypical influences.

Remember that the Rwandan genocide was, by and large, the result of deep seated ethnic conflict borne of stereotypes around which group was ‘better’ based on height (and consequently, intelligence) and other physical attributes-all of which served to determine the social (dis)advantage of either group-. A large population of Tutsi people wiped out, just like that.

 In a similar fashion, before the genocide, White Imperialists had also used perceptions around height to elevate themselves to a position of perceived sharper cognitive ability in comparison to shorter African natives.

In the modelling world, clothes are seen to be worn “better” by tall people and in the aviation and military spheres one has to be of a specific height in order to meet the selection criteria. In your house, your man fantasizes about women with legs that go on for ever…I mean we can’t win! I have no qualms with tall people; I believe they have a place on this earth like the rest of us.

Stereotypes remain a social construct created by people as insulation around themselves and away from the “other”. We have seen, as in the case of the Rwandan genocide and Colonialism in general the extent of damage that stereotypes are capable of. However, positive stereotypes do exist too.

Perhaps we just need to admit to ourselves that we are not infallible after all, and therefore, whichever way we look at it there will always be a dozen stereotypes hanging over our heads whether we like it or not.

I think the most precious gift given to me by my twenties was the ability to accept myself- flaws and all. There is nothing more liberating than being completely and utterly comfortable in your skin and making your own affirmation about yourself the most important. It took me a long time to get to that point. When I got there, I simply asked, “SO WHAT?”

Navigating The Grey Terrain…

A bronze ornamental piece used to adorn the wall in my folks’ bedroom when I was growing up. Encrypted on it were the words, “Count not life by the minutes but by the moments…” and more words to that effect which I cannot recall at this point.

What I do remember is that the text related to how we treat time and by implication, life. How we measure life truly depends on our different contexts; how much sentimentality we infuse into the things we do and how much value we add into ours’ and others’ lives.

Like many other things in life, conversations around age and ageing are a bone of contention. While some people may express their desire to live a wholesome and meaningful existence even if it is short-lived, others would opt for the opportunity to live a long life anytime. Many would gladly live for a while if they could have the option to fore-go the physical ramifications associated with ageing.

See all those women visiting cosmetic surgeons,and how about those old timers stocking up on Viagra…or the infamous sugar daddies all around? Insane, huh? And don’t we all want to live forever, and be forever young while we’re at it?

As usual, yours truly is quite happy to sit on the fence. Firstly because not everyone who dies young would have achieved all they set out to do (though you can probably recall a few notable individuals who died at the height of stardom and dizzying success). Secondly, having the privilege of long life does not necessarily mean that one will see their children and grandchildren grow to become well-rounded individuals who care about themselves and the society they inhabit.

 Also, as elaborated by the many fixes for this and that, it seems a lot of people don’t appreciate ageing all that much. But let’s face it, minus all the sentimentality around getting old truth is, watching gravity mess with you ain’t fun- especially if you feel you have under- achieved.

 Just put yourself in the shoes of senior citizens on the receiving end of financial, emotional, and -as is becoming common place in our country lately- sexual abuse by those around them simply by virtue of being hapless.

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After watching the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin (yes, I know it was out six years ago already…and yes, I also know procrastination sure is a passion killer), I began to think about my ailing grandmothers. I also thought about former President Mandela. The motion picture delicately and with precision, draws parallels between old age and infancy…and there are many. It is probably for this reason some people, including me, would rather die with all their senses intact than to become a burden to others.

Yes, it sounds wrong. Naturally, in a bid to be morally and politically correct we can assert that that’s what the nuclear family and peripheral support structures are there for. That would be the case. One would imagine that the twilight years are probably the most terrifying years in an individual’s life and in the same breath, the most emotionally taxing for caregivers. Ask anyone who has had a close family member suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

It has been interesting observing the media storm around the series of hospitalizations of Ntate Mandela, and more so the odd fixation upon his imminent death. If I didn’t know any better one would easily assume that the world expected the man to be immortal; to pull off a Houdini from old age. A bit unfair, I reckon.

Ageing is a natural progression and a blessing in many respects. Some, like many senior citizens in Limpopo who age well into their early hundreds, attribute this to a healthy lifestyle and old school livin’. They, of course, make it seem like a walk in the park. Yet old age can be a very lonely place, especially when one has witnessed the passing of friends, family- children included.

Some say that being content is the first step to being truly happy in one’s skin. Others swear by a purpose driven existence and pushing barriers. Whichever way you choose to measure your life, make sure it counts.

Thoughts On Cultural Paradoxes

 

Photo courtesy of eNCA

Photo courtesy of eNCA

When it comes to culture in the South African context, the quote by Jamaican publisher Marcus Garvey rings true. During his lifetime, Garvey wrote that, “A people without knowledge of their past, history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. Naturally, anything that is not grounded on a solid foundation tends to wither and fade with very little effort.

It has become the norm here every year for prominent individuals from all corners of society to lambast the senseless deaths of young boys at initiation schools. The same story plays out every year, only with a different cast. By the way, what does it mean to be a man in this age? Would it really be a life and death situation if young boys received all the necessary talking-to from men who have been there and done that; from men who aren’t just old but are of integrity? Would the world be turned on its head if young boys would get their cut from medical facilities?

Oh, but the Health MEC in Mpumalanga did sound very timid when she pronounced that women have no place in asking such questions. Not when it’s not your son dying in the unforgiving cold. No. Even if it were your son, please, have the decency to know your place and say zilch. Bull!

The annual manslaughter of young initiates in the name of culture indicates now, more than ever, the need for culture to become practical. Of course to many narrow-minded and squint-eyed stone aged narcissists this can only imply a total hijacking of cultural systems as we know them. Yet it is surprising that with all the accepted change and adaptation humans have undergone, the major aspects of culture that we vehemently defend are ones that work towards our detriment.

The concept of culture in our context is an interesting thing because of what appears to be a push and pull effect taking place. We have seen how under the Zuma presidency emphasis has been put on a return to ‘organic’ traditionalism, as seen by the establishment of COGTA. It was puzzling, though not unexpected therefore that the issue of traditional courts came to the fore even though the prejudicial and heavy-handed approach of traditional authorities is well documented.

Once again, perhaps Number One’s heart was in the right place and he probably sees more use in the traditional system than just the perks of taking more than one wife. Let’s face it, even though the different cultures could do with some reform, South Africans are the worst culprits when it comes to balancing modern society with culture. In some instances we tend to get it completely wrong.

A prominent house DJ’s wife was recently quoted in a local newspaper with regard to the celebration (or lack thereof) of their second wedding anniversary. What was interesting was that the statement that their anniversary was pretty much null and void since they haven’t had their “white wedding” yet. Maybe I’m missing something here? In my opinion, her statement just implied that the traditional ceremony was a necessary yet totally insignificant thing.

As much as I am a proponent of choice as far as it is humanly possible, one cannot help but look on at this sometimes comic tragedy that has befallen the practice of nuptials. We can go into psychobabble and talk about people feeling somewhat inadequate in practicing some traditional practices in their purest form. We can go further by suggesting that indigenous South Africans suffer an identity complex; other Africans certainly think this is the case. There are many reasons why people opt for both traditional and western weddings-again, it is a matter of choice and I suppose the same goes for raising children that can hardly put two sentences together in their mother tongue. There are good and bad choices after all.

Without suggesting a one way route to the stone age and with Garvey’s words in mind, it is a tragedy that the observation of practices- like those related to marriage- are continuously being perceived as not complete on their own. As if a western influence provides validation. In the same breath, driving culture towards practicality does not mean dismantling what makes us who we are but rather a move towards complementary relations with the demands of modern society. Quite honestly, common sense should be what prevails here.

Culture is not only embedded in cultural activities and attire but in language and values. Ideally, culture should be so integral to our existence that it is not threatened by having to adapt to evolution. Balance could be culture’s saving grace.