South Africa’s mainstream media’s narrow obsession with the Zuma and Gupta families may be taking attention away from a much broader issue – the question of how the country’s marginalised masses perceive the meting out of socio-economic justice since the end of political apartheid.
Recently a quote, erroneously attributed to actress Meryl Streep, went viral on the interwebs. As good an example as any, of the obtuse platitudes, reeking of moral entitlement and deliberate obfuscation, that have become so prevalent on social media. We take a well-deserved swipe at the passive-aggressive nitwits who compensate by sharing these trite quotes.
The most backward, reprehensible cultures are those where the abuse of animals, the pollution of nature, the exploitation of children, the repression of women, and intolerance of religious, cultural and political diversity are allowed to flourish. The world does not need reams of essays and articles on the subject; it is a very simple equation. What is not so simple is when an individual, a society, a community or even a country projects an image that may seem outwardly democratic and civilized but rely on obfuscation, ignorance and outright lies to promote a hidden agenda.
A recent comparison of the New York Times with South African media behemoth, Naspers, by Michael Moritz, the chairman of Sequoia Capital, deserves comment. Not only for the cynical and superficial nature of his argument, but also for what it exposes about the general low quality of local journalism.
In the run-up to South Africa’s 2014 election we analyse the social media success of SA political parties and their leaders, using infographics to illustrate who have grown their Twitter and Facebook support base over the past eight months. Does social media success necessarily translate into more votes at the ballot box?
The documentary, Cultivating Unemployment, uses the case study of Weenen, an agricultural community in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, to highlight the severe structural challenges facing rural communities and agricultural workers across South Africa. It provides a very necessary insight into an important part of the South African landscape that is often overlooked in policy decisions.
The past month has seen another round of vitriolic and unsubstantiated attacks against white South African men, especially those of the Afrikaans speaking persuasion. I blame the Oscar Pistorius trial for igniting what seems like a very one sided conversation. Damned if you raise your voice for a more balanced conversation, damned if you don’t. You’re either a silent conspirator against the truth or an overt supporter of misogyny and bigotry.