Schlagwort-Archive: law

Blogger Akanyang Merementsi im Interview

Die südafrikanische Pressefreiheit findet keine Anwendung auf Blogger. Wer schützt die Netzaktivisten?

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Die Pressefreiheit muss in allen Staaten der Welt, auch in Demokratien, ständig verteidigt werden. In Südafrika steht die Presselandschaft besonders unter Druck. Mail & Guardian, das Flaggschiff des investigativen Journalismus, ist mehrfach durch den Staat und einer Reihe von Konzernen vor Gericht gezerrt worden – aktuell durch die Unternehmens- und Managementberatung Bososa. Die Aufdeckung der Quellen, der Whistleblower, ist in den meisten Fällen das Ziel von juristischen Auseinandersetzungen. Die Verfassung garantiere das Recht auf Quellenschutz, wenn ein hohes öffentliches Interesse bestehe, so der Blogger und selbsternannte „Media-Freak“ Akanyang Merementsi aus Rustenburg. Er bedauert jedoch, dass den Bloggern kein Rechtsstatus auf journalistische Privilegien zusteht – ähnlich in Deutschland. In den USA hingegen existieren bereits Organisationen wie Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), die den Bloggern umfassende Hilfe in Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und Rechtsberatung- bzw. vertretung anbieten. Bezüglich der geplanten und vom ANC geplanten Presseregulierung, wonach im Rahmen des sog. Protection of Information Bill Journalisten bei der Veröffentlichung von geheimen Informationen mit bis zu 25 Jahren Haft bestraft werden können, führt Akanyang die Zunahme von Falschmeldungen an. Die südafrikanische Presse hat in den letzten drei Jahren nach Angaben des stellvertretenden Presse-Ombudsmann  für einen Anstieg der Beschwerden von 70 Prozent gesorgt. Falsche Informationen und unethische Meldungen dienen dementsprechend als Grundlage zur Presseregulierung.  Ferner bemängelt Akanyang die fortwährende Schwarz-Weiß-Einteilung der südafrikanischen Gesellschaft und vor allem die von Weißen betriebene Assoziation von Problemen wie Armut, Kriminalität, mangelnde Bildung und Korruption  mit der schwarzen Hautfarbe. Er hasst es, dass Schwarze per se  in „Verdacht“ gestellt werden.

© Akanyang Merementsi, media freak & blogger and worker in mining industry

© Akanyang Merementsi, media freak & blogger and worker in mining industry.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste – the German Gateway to South Africa – a Rustenburg based blogger Akanyang Merementsi. Dear Akanyang, according to your Akanyang Africa blog you are a “media freak”. Which aims are you following with your online media?

Answer: My blog addresses a range of topics and these include politics and media developments in South Africa (African and abroad). I am passionate about media and politics and this must have something to do with the fact that I almost became a journalist in my last year (2007) at North West University’s Mafikeng campus in the North West province.

At the time I developed a keen interest in media and politics which played a role in my becoming a writer for the university student newspaper, The Album. The stint, however, only lasted for a couple of months until sometime August that year when the university, strangely, decided to close down the newspaper due to lack of funds. In my first issue I had only written one feature involving a student whose residence room had caught fire and burned most of her belongings. I also contributed in the news snips section of the newspaper.

But as for political interests, I hope my Aquarius star attributes of curiosity and inquisitiveness have nothing to do with it. But I suspect they do.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are criticising several cases of organisation that are in confrontation with press institutions. For example in the juridical case between the enterprise BOSASA against Mail & Guardian newspaper. Is the South Africa state sufficiently protecting bloggers and journalists?

Answer: On the Mail & Guardian vs. Bosasa saga I was merely concerned that there was such great silence from other media houses in the country that previously claimed to support press-freedom but had failed to come to the defence of M&G when it was being forced through the Court to reveal sources that had leaked certain information to it. And as far as I understand newspapers like M&G are protected by the Constitution from not revealing their sources if their revelations are “in the public interest”, which the Bosasa stories were, according to my understanding. Therefore it was sad that only one organisation was behind M&G in court while others like Democratic Alliance, Cosatu, etc. were silent.

So journalists enjoy more protection than bloggers (like myself or any other for that matter). This is because, so we are told, we are not and cannot claim to be journalists who enjoy some great protection from the Constitution.

I do not think bloggers can claim to be journalists and therefore claiming their rights, but I truly believe that we bloggers do not enjoy any protection at all to date.

Not even international organisations I have interacted with can easily help me fight any legal battle for me a South African blogger. Or if they were, it would be difficult as they would first have to find their peer in my country who would be willing to represent me. In June last year I asked Rebecca Jeschke, a media relations director at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – a US-based organisation that fights for what it called the Bloggers’ Rights – about her organisation and what it does. With offices only in San Francisco, Jeschke said the organisation’s “legal guide” whose “law [is] referenced” in the US “likely doesn’t apply to South Africa”.

Asked how EFF defended bloggers in other parts of the world – South Africa as an example, she said they worked on “an activism level”. “We can and do call attention to important international cases, and work on international policy issues. But we don’t do on-the-ground legal work for cases outside of the US”. Although they would not be personally helping bloggers if they faced lawsuits, Jeschke said, however, that EFF can be contacted for assistance and they “will try to help find appropriate legal assistance”. “But we can’t provide that assistance ourselves for cases outside of the US”, she said.

If you will remember a blogger had written a story for which s/he was fined over a million Pounds/Euros/dollars. This, the Court found later, was because, unlike journalists, she was not protected from not disclosing sources. What bloggers can only exercise but with caution is our right to freedom of opinion and expression which are enshrined in the South African Constitution. So this is an indication that bloggers do not have much protection as journalists do.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What is your opinion with regard to the ANC’s planned Protection of Information Bill? Will the government be cutting press freedom?

Answer: I have not read the revised version of the proposed regulation, even the old one I had not finished reading. However, those that had read both versions and whose judgements I trust are of the opinion that the Protection of State Information Bill in its current form might be unconstitutional.

For example, at the time of doing writing veteran Human Rights lawyer George Bizos of the Legal Resources Centre reportedly had his submission to Parliament on the bill that: “as it stands, [it] runs contrary to and indeed threatens many of the fundamental values and principles enshrined in the Constitution”. This is the general view in the country and of course many of us are inclined to believe that for as long as the bill is not in line with the constitution as alleged – where the media and press rights and freedom and their constitutional obligations to report without fear and or favour are not recognised, where whistleblowers are protected and that any information can be leaked and or reported in the “public interest” – then we need to be worried and concerned as a nation because many secrets (often by political parties, corruptable businesspeople, government departments and private businesses) are very much likely to be covered up with the passing of these laws.

So by introducing a law such as this and the ruling party’s proposed Media Appeals Tribunal – our media would be very much limited to reporting alleged/suspected corruption where leaked evidence thereof do exist. Therefore, to a great extent, these laws would be “cutting press freedom”.

Having said this, however, the media (especially on MAT proposal) is as much to blame for many of its unethical and irresponsible reporting, some of which are way out of line with the South African Press Codes.

For example, I blogged on May 7 last year, asking: “Is Sunday Times living up to this Code of Conduct?” In another blog entry published at the same time, I asked: “Has Sunday Times breached the Press Codes on its ‘Dis-Grace’ story?” Below is just a few of my articles published on my blog in which I criticise the press/media:

  • M&G newspaper fighting solo Court battle to protects its sources
  • Is Rupert Murdoch doing a Bosasa on M&G?
  • Why our media should sleep on its ‘self-regulation’ bed now more than ever
  • Does the media report or assume news?
  • Is there ’copy and past’ in SA newsrooms?
  • What editors need to do to avoid a repeat of The Star and Daily Sun (newspapers) on Malema
  • Is Avusa Media consistent with columnists?
  • Did Avusa and Sunday Times “raise controversy without thought for the consequences” with Roberts’ column?
  • When should “sources” be used?
  • Interview with SA Press Council and Press Ombudsman
  • Did Sunday Times act “ethically” in publishing “Against The Rules Too” report?
  • Public Protector vindicates me on Sunday Times’ “unethical and unlawful” publication of Against The Rules Too
  • M&G playing political games with anonymous sources?
  • Was Mbeki wrong about Press Freedom in 1996?
  • Sunday World and Sunday Times “slave for formula”?
  • Has Mail & Guardian confused you on the Maharaj saga?
  • Was Sowetan’s Mathale “dare” Zuma claim misleading?

In February this year South African Press Council released figures in which it noted the increase of complaints against newspapers. Deputy Press ombudsman said at the time that there was a 70% increase over the last three years in the number of complaints about incorrect or unethical newspaper reports. He said the complainants grew from 150 in 2009 to 213 in 2010 and 255 in 2011.

While criticising the media on 13 March, Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe said his office experienced “problems… with the way ([newspapers] ignored correspondences” from his office, naming The Times newspaper as one of the culprits. This, however, is not to say the press should be suppressed as it now is tempted to with these laws although the government has denied this.

© Screenshot to the blog "Akanyang Africa" by Akanyang Merementsi

© Screenshot to the blog „Akanyang Africa“ by Akanyang Merementsi

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: South Africa is still challenged with many socio-political problems like crime, corruption and poverty. Is the government by President Jacob Zuma doing enough for the South African people or which policies should be changed?

Answer: I would like to believe that the government is doing its best – though not enough – to fight poverty and corruption the country. On 11 March 2012, I was called an “idiot” by someone on Twitter when I put it to him that we – especially white people in the country – have a tendency of saying crime, education and corruption is a “Black problem” or the “ANC problem”. Which are not. So for as long we have people who still 18-years into our democracy see crime, education and crime as a “black person’s problem” then we have a long way to go in overcoming these challenges.

I would also like to believe that we have good policies in fighting these but sometimes lack of community involvement (for whatever reasons) is probably one of the reasons why there is little success in sorting out our education, crime and poverty and corruption challenges.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Some voices are denouncing the continuous fragmentation of the South African society in blacks and whites. Would you confirm this perception?

Answer: I have realised that we have accepted and see ourselves on racial terms: black and white people. To achieve the rainbow nation envisioned by former President Nelson Mandela will take probably longer than it took apartheid to rule South Africa. Seeing ourselves as just one human race will be hard-work and not an easy road, I must add.

One of the issues that often come up is that of white people failing to accept some of the awful things their forefathers had done to ours. And it is sad that some of these things still happen to this very day. To address this, I would suggested that we have some sort of a Race Debate because surely Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission did little job in helping both blacks and whites accept one another and our differences. But at the same time – as mentioned in my blog post published on 25 March 2012 and titled “My ‘Black Man Code’ or is it a ‘Trayvon Martin’ moment? – I think white people “… tend to treat us blacks with suspicion” and I hate it.

Associate Press Writer Jesse Washington coined The Black Man Code and he told his son to “Understand that even though you are not a criminal, some people [white in particular] might assume you are, especially if you are wearing certain clothes”. So to a “black male… [to] go above and beyond to show strangers what type of person you really are” – as Washington told his son to do – it will be difficult because this always gives us blacks The Black Man Code. Worse, it sometimes makes us experience that “Trayvon-Martin moment”.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which impressions do you have from Germany and Germans?

Answer: Unfortunately I cannot form any opinion of Germany and or its people because I have not had any interaction with them.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Akanyang Merementsi – media freak & blogger – thank you very much for this interesting interview!

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NGO-Direktor Braam Hanekom im Interview

Polizei in Südafrika ist von Rassismus gegen afrikanische Flüchtlinge befallen

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Südafrika hat ein großes Rassismusproblem im Zusammenhang mit afrikanischen Flüchtlingen. Insbesondere die Behörden des Landes, allen voran die Polizei und die Einwanderungsbehörden, sind von xenophoben Strömungen gegen Afrikaner betroffen. Ermittlungsverfahren im Hinblick auf die Misshandlung von Ausländern durch Polizeibeamte werden all zu oft erst gar nicht betrieben. Zu dieser Erkenntnis kommt auch Braam Hanekom, Gründer und Direktor der NGO PASSOP. Der gebürtige Simbabwer versucht mit seiner in Kapstadt ansässigen Organisation die Grundrechte von afrikanischen Flüchtlingen, Immigranten und Asylanten durchzusetzen. Denn nicht jeder, der Recht hat, kriegt auch sein Recht. Vor allem dann nicht, wenn diese keine Aufenthaltspapiere bekommen. Nur hochqualifizierten Afrikanern steht der legale Aufenthalt am Kap offen. Vor 2009 sind pro Jahr rund eine Viertelmillion Simbabwer abgeschoben worden. Trotz der Einheitsregierung in Simbabwe von 2008, welche aus den Parteien MDC and ZANU-PF zusammengesetzt ist,  machen sich – bei einer Arbeitslosenquote von 85 Prozent durchaus verständlich – weiterhin viele Simbabwer auf dem Weg in das südafrikanische Nachbarland. Diese erwartet nicht nur eine fremde Umgebung, sondern auch Fremdenfeindlichkeit durch Staatsdiener sowie Township-Bewohnern und ein unsicherer Rechtsstatus.  Flüchtlinge, so Hanekom, werden in der Regenbogennation als Gefahr wahrgenommen. Einige Hilfesuchende stellen einen Asylantrag, die anderen leben illegal im Untergrund. Bei absoluter Armut, hoher Arbeitslosigkeit und unzureichenden Schulplatzkapazitäten mündet der Wettbewerb um die begrenzten Ressourcen in einen Hass gegen Afrikaner ein. Der NGO-Direktor spricht in diesem Kontext von der „Afrophobia„; einer Xenophobie, die sich ausschließlich gegen afrikanische Flüchtlinge richtet. „Die Armen greifen die Armen an„, hält Hanekom mit Bedauern fest. Solange in Südafrika die Ungleichheit bestehen bleibt, wird die Fremdenfeindlichkeit fortbestehen. Hanekom erwartet in naher Zukunft die nächsten Ausschreitungen gegen afrikanische Flüchtlinge. Im Mai 2012 jährt sich zum vierten Mal die Gewaltwelle gegen Flüchtlinge im Johannesburger Stadtteil Alexandra.

© PASSOP is counting to one of the most important NGOs for protecting and promoting „the rights of all refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in South Africa“. (Source: flickr/ PASSOP)

© PASSOP is counting to one of the most important NGOs for protecting and promoting „the rights of all refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in South Africa“. (Source: flickr/PASSOP)

© Braam Hanekom, founder and director of the NGO PASSOP

© Braam Hanekom, founder and director of the NGO PASSOP

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ – the German Gateway to South Africa – Mr. Braam Hanekom, founder and director of the NGO „People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP)“.  You are originally from Zimbabwe and assisted the most important oppositon party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) by president Morgan Tsvangirai. How would you describe the actually situation in your native country, if you are hearing the government hasn´t money to finance elections?

Answer: Thank you for giving me this opportunity – it’s great to see people in Germany taking such an interest and caring about issues in South Africa and the region. To answer your question, the situation in Zimbabwe remains much unchanged since the formation of the unity government in 2008. There is a still a political deadlock between the MDC and ZANU-PF. While Mugabe has been pushing for early elections this year – probably because he currently has the finances to run a big propaganda campaign through the diamonds that were recently uncovered, as well as the fact that he is not getting any younger – the MDC and regional partners have maintained that the preconditions for fair and sound elections outlined in the Global Political Agreement have not yet been met. It is clear that although there has been a minor economic recovery in Zimbabwe, it has been the rich who have prospered while the vast majority of the population is suffering in poverty and have to cope with a 85% unemployment rate. Therefore, the situation remains precarious and we are trying to push the South African government to take a more active and assertive foreign policy approach towards Zimbabwe to ensure it’s stability. 

© Immigrants from Zimbabwe are living as second class citizens in South Africa. The South African government is ignoring the xenophobic tendencies in their authorities. (Source: flickr/PASSOP)© Immigrants from Zimbabwe are living as second class citizens in South Africa. The South African government is ignoring the xenophobic tendencies in their authorities. (Source: flickr/PASSOP)

© Immigrants from Zimbabwe are living as second class citizens in South Africa. The South African government is ignoring the xenophobic tendencies in their authorities. (Source: flickr/PASSOP)

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: PASSOP is protecting and promoting „the rights of all refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in South Africa“. There are estimates that 5 million African refugees living in South Africa, mostly from Zimbabwe. Which are the biggest problems for these humans?

Answer: Immigrants that come to South Africa find it extremely difficult to get documentation. Only people who have advanced degrees are able to get work permits. All others, including teachers or nurses, for example, are unable to get work permits. As a result the only chance immigrants have to document themselves is to apply for asylum. The vast majority of applicants are however rejected, and are forced to live in South Africa without documents. This has negative implications for the realisation of their basic rights. They are often exploited, discriminated against and left in vulnerable positions. They are also often faced with a hostile and xenophobic environment in South Africa, and are subjected to verbal threats and physical violence. To put it simply: people come here fleeing hunger and conflict, but once they get here, life does not get much easier for most of them. 

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Several South African communities are strucked by xenophobic violence such as Du Noon in 2008, Imizamo Yethu in 2008, De Doorns 2009, Masiphumelele in 2009, as well as Mbekweni in 2010. What are the factors for these hate outbreaks?

Answer: There are many theories. I guess this ‚hate of foreigners‘ is common in countries around the world, including the States and Europe. Like in other regions, hence, xenophobic tension here is essentially the result from the competition for scarce resources, like jobs or access to schools, and many South Africans feel that foreigners are making lives more difficult for them in these ways. The difference in South Africa compared to other parts of the world is that the tensions here more often turn violent. This excessive violence here is the result of a number of factors, including that the scars from the Apartheid regime have not yet fully healed in South Africa, there are deep inequalities and frustration across the country, and the media is making it worse by being flooded with gruesome images of murders or crime, which perpetuates the ‚culture of violence‘.  By the way, it is probably more appropriate to call this ‚afrophobia‘ rather than xenophobia, because you don’t see any Europeans being attacked, just other Africans.  It is the poor attacking the poor, fighting over the crumbs left behind by the (mostly white) elite and rich. It’s very sad.

© PASSOP demonstration in Cape Town. The NGO held in 2009 a demonstration calling for all Zimbabwe's political prisoners to be released. (Source: flickr/  Sokwanele - Zimbabwe + PASSOP)

© PASSOP demonstration in Cape Town. The NGO held in 2009 a demonstration calling for all Zimbabwe’s political prisoners to be released. (Source: flickr/ Sokwanele – Zimbabwe + PASSOP)

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Would you agree the opinion that the South African police is afflicted with racism against African refugees?

Answer: Yes, and even if it is not just racism, it is definitely a very clear apathy or indifference towards foreigners, which means that in practice, many cannot access their rights. We constantly hear cases in which police officers refuse to open or investigate cases for foreigners, as stipulated by law. This police apathy is in fact what makes outbreaks of xenophobia possible. If the police doesn’t protect vulnerable foreigners, then who will. It is a major problem, but it is acknowledged by political leaders. I recently laughed when I had a debate with a police chief on the radio about this, and he admitting that it was a massive problem but that there were ‚pockets of excellence‘ in the police force.  

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Do you think xenophobic violence could arising in the near future again?

Answer: Definitely. We are now coming up to the four year anniversary of the major outbreak of May 2008, but the tensions are still boiling right under the surface because the preconditions have remained the same. As long as South Africa is plagued by the current levels of inequality, they will keep resurfacing. I am not saying that the majority of South Africans are xenophobic at all, but there is a certain group of frustrated young South African men across the country that are prone to violence. 

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What should the South African government and first of all the Department of Home Affairs undertake for avoiding xenophobia?

Answer: The government needs to create more jobs and work harder to reduce the inequality. The Department of Home Affairs should give foreigners a chance to document themselves by issuing temporary work permits, rather than forcing them to be undocumented and then deporting them in their thousands. This deportation of foreigners is an important issue. The deportation of Zimbabweans was stopped between 2009 and 2011 – prior to 2009 about 250,000 Zimbabweans were deported every year. Going into communities doing immigration raids and targeting foreigners was one of the key factors that triggered the xenophobic violence, because it legitimized the mistreatment of foreigners in the eyes of many in the townships („if the government can kick out foreigners, so can I“) and it also led to huge instability. Five months ago deportations of Zimbabweans was resumed, and already 20,000 have been deported and immigration raids have started again. This is dangerous for stability and needs to handled very differently. 

© Braam Hanekom is originally from Zimbabwe. His organisation PASSOP is protecting and promoting „the rights of all refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in South Africa“

© Braam Hanekom is originally from Zimbabwe. His organisation PASSOP is protecting and promoting „the rights of all refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in South Africa“ (Source: PASSOP)

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We took notice that with your programme coordinator David von Burgsdorff a German citizen is engaged in your NGO structures. Is PASSOP maintaining relations to Germany and if yes, which ones?

Answer: Yes, David is my right-hand man who has helped me build up this organisation. He embodies the classic stereotype of ‚German efficiency‘ – it’s amazing how he gets things done. In fact, he is the only of our 11 full-time staff members who is not African, although I suspect at heart he is by now more African than German…  We don’t receive any funding from Germany, nor have any formal relations with the German Embassy at this point, but what is certain is that through David our staff have become big admirers of your country and it’s people! 

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Braam Hanekom, PASSOP director, thank you very much for this interesting interview!

Jo-Ann Strauss about her life, fashion and Germany

Miss South Africa 2000 in interview

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Wer zu WM-Zeiten das ZDF eingeschaltet hatte, der sah eine junge südafrikanische Frau, die mit viel Stolz und Leidenschaft über ihr Land berichtete. Es handelte sich um Jo-Ann Strauss, Miss South Africa 2010, TV-Star und Moderatorin. Sie spricht neben Englisch, auch perfektes Deutsch, da ihr Partner aus München kommt. Die Kaptstädterin studierte an der Stellenbosch University den Studiengang Medien, wechselte dann in Recht um. Die Lösung südafrikanischer Probleme, wie Kriminalität, sieht Jo-Ann Strauss bei der Ausweitung von Bildungsmöglichkeiten für Jung und Alt sowie beim Arbeitsplatzausbau. Der Modebranche Südafrikas, so das Topmodel, spricht sie viel Potential zu, jedoch ist Fashion vom Kapland im internationalen Vergleich nach wie vor noch relativ unbedeutend. Mit Deutschland, so Jo-Ann Strauss, verknüpft sie das gute Organisationsvermögen. „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ freut sich, diesen impulsiven VIP interviewt haben zu dürfen!

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© Jo-Ann Strauss – Miss South Africa 2000

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome Jo-Ann Strauss – Miss South Africa 2000, business woman and TV star – on the German based South Africa gateway „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“. You´re really a power woman with so many projects in different areas. Where are you getting this energy?

Answer: I’ve always believed: The more you do, the more you can do! There are so many opportunities in SA and I am blessed to be able to use them.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You graduated at the Stellenbosch University in law. Which reasons stimulated you to study this course of studies?

Answer: I had planned to do my post-grad studies in media and wanted to get a good general basic degree so I opted out of medicine and changed to law and commerce.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: As a really famous and popular personality from South Africa, you are promoting the rainbow nation to the world. How do you would like to describe your country and where should South Africa still progress?

Answer: South Africa has come a long way, but it still has far to go. We surprised the world by hosting such a fantastic World Cup, but I wish that we could sustain the momentum and positive changes in crime statistics that existed in the month of the World Cup. Education of young and old is a key success factor. We have a generation that did not have access to training and basic education and I believe that that generation feels let down by the current situation. If we create meaningful jobs, poverty and crime will decrease dramatically.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Cape Town is your hometown, which is famous for his film industry, fashion scene and cosmopolitan charm. Which role is South Africa and especially Cape Town taken in the global fashion?

Answer: It’s a small role, but it’s growing. We have a number of Fashion Weeks in SA which doesn’t make sense as its a relatively small industry. I hope that our fashion industry will reconcile all the top players in our fashion game and grow the industry and create jobs.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which personal projects would you like to realize?

Answer: So many 🙂 I want to be a balanced woman and have it all – family, career and happiness.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We have taken notice, that your partner is from Germany. For what is Germany standing for and how would you like to describe „German“ fashion?

Answer: He is from Munich and would love me to have a dirndl 😉  German fashion is a great example to the world – Karl Lagerfeld, Hugo Boss … I also like that each city has a distinct dress sense. And of course, I enjoy browsing Maximillian Strasse 🙂

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: During the World Cup 2010, you worked as moderator for the German television station ZDF. Which experiences has you gained with your German TV colleagues?

Answer: Germans are a LOT more organised than any TV crew I have worked with! I had lots of fun and also learnt a lot in terms of planning and logistics. These experiences are helping me with current TV projects I am starting to produce.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Jo-Ann Strauss, former Miss South Africa and figurehead of  modern South Africa, thank you very much for this interview!


Fashion and Lifestyle Column by top model Sam Pegg:

https://2010sdafrika.wordpress.com/?s=fashion+and+lifestyle+column&x=0&y=0

Interview with Lesego Rampolokeng

A poet, irresistibly fighting for „a world in which all can breath“

(Editor: Annalisa Wellhäuser)

An exceptional and critical thinking poet who doesn`t mince words when talking about politics and society –especially the degradation of human dignity. Lesego Rampolokeng was born on 27th July 1965 in Orlando West, Soweto, Johannesburg in South Africa. Growing up under the Apartheid system and raised by a catholic family, he formed his very own view on political and social problems in South Africa. He studied Law at the University of the North in the Limpopo Province, but has not followed this path any further. He focused on his poetry which included poems, novels as well as writings for the theatre. He is travelling the world to perform and while doing so he has already worked together with different artists such as Günther Sommer, Julian Bahula, Louis Mhlanga and Souleman Toure. [A list of his work can be found at the end of the interview.]

© Poet and writer Lesego Rampolokeng

Deutsch: If you are interested to read this interview in German, please click on following link: https://2010sdafrika.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/schriftsteller-lesego-rampolokeng-im-interview/.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German gateway to South Africa,  the writer and poet Lesego Rampolokeng. Mr. Rampolokeng, as an artist you have performed and written texts in different ways-you have been doing political rap, poetry and you have also contributed writings to the theatre as for Faustus in Africa in 1995 or the Fanons children in 2001. How would you describe the kind of art you are performing these days?

Answer: Ok, first of all it`s a semantic issue. I don’t perform, I hardly ever see myself performing anything, because for me that presupposes either an extension of yourself or alienation from yourself, an occupation of another space outside of something. There`s never been a line of demarcation between myself and my art. I am my art. I hope that makes sense.

And I wouldn`t actually say that I´ve ever done „political rap„ or even rap itself as a genre. For me what rap is is what we are doing right now. The flowing and floating of lines, thoughts, ideas, communication of multi-ear, mind to mind, you know, these things that swim from the one individual and rattle the brain cells of the other. That for me is being rap. If you put dub or hip-hop break beat to this, it is rap.

So essentially I`ve always seen myself as being a creature of the world and as a social being that I am, I`m also of my society, of my community. Like everybody else I was not hatched ,I was born. I guess some people just spin out of the air, they get dropped from the moon or whatever. So what it means is-if I want to define my reality- that necessarily means I have to engage with the reality of my society.

And there are certain things that stand between me and the celebration of my being, of my humanity. I have to deal with dehumanization, the oppression of one being by another and all of those things: social economic factors, why I could only be born where I was born and not in another place, why I need a visa in order to come to Berlin, why I get pulled out of a queue at Tegel airport, because I got more melanin than anyone else. And I get asked how much money I`m carrying, if I`m carrying drugs……and all of those factors conspire to make me a specific kind of creature-I will suppose distinct to other creatures, but not necessarily more important or less important.

I just hold my own space within the sphere of human light and try to define that .And you cannot truly define your space except in terms that make sense to you, which are political and other things.

When birth is itself a political issue, when death is a matter of politics. If I die here what happens to me is terribly political. If I drop dead here, I hope I don`t, I might very well do that…..every single breath I take is itself defined for me in political terms.

I don’t wave banners, I don’t say vote for XYZ ,because first of all I don’t even believe in the voting box, I don’t believe in voting. I don’t think voting has ever changed anything. I don’t mean politics in terms of party political waves, just the way which we communicate this-human traffic, human flux, the coming and going of human beings

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Let`s come to my second question: You were born in 1965 in Soweto, Johannesburg….

Answer: Unfortuately…

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: …. during that time it was the Apartheid system that was ruling in South Africa. The oppression by that racist system appears to be one of the major topics you are dealing with in your poetry. Can you tell me something about this?

Answer: Well, I mentioned before I was born into a specific set of circumstances, so my being was dictated by all those factors you just mentioned now.

One thing that I`d like to clarify would be….I was not born in that time of Apartheid, because I think this is the time of Apartheid too. I can define it differently- but Apartheid as legislated racism, as defined by law-as founding the „statue books„ –that`s actually the only thing that made racism in South Africa different from anywhere else. Because it was legislated, it was legal.

People had met, very intelligent supposedly, together and decided that by the eventual effect that they lacked x-amount of melanin that made them superior to other people. Therefore „blabla„ and they set and raised a systematic devaluation and dehumanization of another sector of society for economic and other reasons.

And so from the moment that-I think even before I was born, from the moment I was conceived-Apartheid had already been at work on my being, on my senses. I guess that is why I`m going through life having one nervous breakdown after another-it`s because of, I would suppose, the measure of racism and religion-because I was brought up catholic and all those other things.

So my writing can only be in terms of the politics and religion that worked on me, the economic factors etc. … And I`m still trying to define myself. You see the thing is I don’t go into writing as a way of explaining myself. For me it`s a quest, ,it`s an attempt to get my world to speak to me and thereby allowing me I guess to understand myself better ,to understand my own shortcomings, perhaps my own prejudices.

Because I am definitely prejudiced against certain kind of human creatures, absolutely.

But I think I wasn’t caught in a time war so I cannot write today like I did 10,15,20 years ago .I`m a social communicator and I will be until I die.

So today I deal with issues that of course came down with Apartheid where we created some kind of buffer zone between the people of real power in the country and the rest of oppressed society in South Africa. I would suppose„ non-white„ all of them.

I won`t necessarily say ,,black„, because ,,black„ comes with a political definition for me. The old man I drew my inspiration from, Mafika Pascal Gwala, my father- well in a matter of speaking he is-said „Black is an energetic release from the shackles of Kaffir, Bantu, non-white.„ That`s what it is.

My friend Lemn Sissay said :´„Black is not what white is not-black is black. That`s it. I`m not defined in my „blackness „in the fact that you are not „black„. Your „being white„ does not make me„ black„. I defined myself as „black„ before.

Anyways. I use all these quotations as part of my piece, at the beginning of my piece „Bantu ghost„ , which I read last year. Steve Biko said:„ The fact that we are all not white does not necessarily mean we`re all black.„ Non-whites exist and are continuing to exist for a long time-but within that world of humanity that was oppressed some of them are black and some are not-even though they might look similar, even though they might have x-amount of melanin all of them-not all of them are ,,black„. The ones who are black are the ones who define themselves…Its an attempt of coming to consciousness of where one is being placed and where one should he going.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You just said that Apartheid is basically not over, it`s just a different form of Apartheid. What do you mean by that?

Answer:  I`m saying there was a specific system of government, it was an ideology that was in place that was referred to as Apartheid. It`s an Afrikaans concept meaning- what they later tried to define as separate development, but a literal translation of it, the one on one translation of it would be „Apart-ness„ ,meaning there is this line of demarcation between these people and those people, this sector of society and that sector of society and it was a „ legal system„.

What I`m saying is while the books might have been scrapped- we might say technically because the constitution has been overturned- then Apartheid does not exist, but Apartheid was not paper. Tearing up paper doesn’t change anything.

The fact that then you have some kind of creation set up in place that is celebrated all over the world and you call that, you make a symbol of it, an icon of it and you get all hypocrites to celebrate it. The same hypocrites that used to insult it ,that fought for it to be kept in place, in jail.

Now out of a sudden these celebrate it and they built monuments to it in England and they knight it and they call it Nelson Mandela. And it goes around waving at all old ladies and the babies etc.

What does that change beyond it being a measure scam perpetrated on the world.

You go to South Africa today and you will see the following: Now they call them informal settlements ,it`s just „shacklands„, supposed what people called derogatorily „squatters„ have proliferated in South Africa. There are more of them now than prior to 1994.There is more human misery and debasement today than there was in South Africa before.

Now when you see such things-some very„ perverted sick minded„ people start accusing you , of wishing to return to Apartheid and I would have to be truly sick to my soul to want something like that. It’s a system of dehumanization-why would I want, why would I wish for my own dehumanization , no. But again that is yet another scan that is meant like the bible to keep people weak.

But ok we are supposed to keep quiet , because now here is this government that was supposedly voted into place by the majority of the people. Well, the majority is not always right. Actually more often than not the majority is wrong. That`s why there are people like us in the world, I guess we are happy, well we celebrate our right to be wrong also. I might be wrong, but I`m happy to be wrong. It is my opinion, however wrong it might be to anybody else.

So essentially the economics of the „thing of state in place„, the power is remained in the hands of the people who held it before. They created this vile concept called Black Economic Empowerment ( „BEE„ )and on the surface this thing is set up as being a system out of which the previously, as they put it, „disadvantaged„ can have access to the sources of the land,. They call them that-and it makes me feel like you are crippled or something like that .

But anyways it’s a major lie, because this first of all this BEE- thing was created by multinationals, by multi corporations, by big capital, which was „white„, big capital. And they created this thing in as a kind of escape route for themselves. They set up this thing and the people who got to believe it were the ones who supposedly had these struggle potentials. They are the ones who`ve become the millionaires today, who are part of this ruling system .And they set all those people up and then the jackals and the hyenas came out to bite and eat and whatever. And I will present these crawlers` face to the world of these supposed darker than grey creatures.

So the system of Apartheid, it is actually more obscene today than it was before. Because before there was no need to lie, the lines were well drawn.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You`ve also studied law….

Answer: …Unfortunately haha…

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What was the reason for you to decide its poetry you want to focus on instead of maybe becoming a successful lawyer?

Answer: Have you ever seen a lawyer who looks like me in the world? I`d be a very unlikely lawyer.

First of all, at no point in my life did I decide to become a poet. This comes without any romanticization –I`m not romantic about it.

At times I wish that I hadn’t walked this path, it was a lone part and i`ve made myself more enemies walking down this path than I would have if I had just become a jackal , a vulture feeding on human misfortune-called a lawyer. I would have made less enemies that way „bloating „myself up

I don’t think that anybody at any point decides to become a poet, you either are one or you are not. Nobody can teach you to write. I don’t believe that writing or poetry can be taught. You got all these professors with 15 degrees, but they themselves cannot write a poem to save their lives.

This is an old image i`ve been using for years and it makes me want to fall asleep whenever I`m saying it.But the truth of it is that I do believe that if my mother falls dead today and they cut her up, they are likely to find my poetry. I`ve created a „mural„,a „uteral mural „which I think is the best kind of poetry anybody could possibly write.

So where I was attempting to study this law thing and even before that I was poet. What you are asking is , I think, is taking a definite break from then when I attempted this ,for me „fake existence„.

You see the thing is when I wrote my very last paper, my final year of university, it was during the times of state of emergency in South Africa. In the mid 80ies, I was becoming a rather frequent visitor to the houses of bondage that I call prisons, detention centers and I wrote my paper and I stood up and walked and never looked back. What I was supposed to have done subsequent to that was to serving another lawyer, learning the trickery roads and then sitting for that final examination. I would have been your Mr. lawyer with maybe a Porsche.

I thought to myself „ok look, you don’t go to look for justice in a court of law, there is no justice in the court of law. If you want the law ok you go to court, if you want justice they take you to the streets. „The court, this is not a place for the acquisition of justice, this is where we interpret the law, it`s not even about truth at all .Or it is not about justice and not about truth , which are the things that define me. I`m in this world to search for it—if neither justice nor truth are to be found in a court of law, what would have I been doing there?!It didn’t make sense for me. I could have lied to myself and said „No, I do this thing„ and I can begin represent my people and sound glorious or whatever.

You know what happened, a few years ago I was proved right anyways in my decision not do law. I was invited to Holland and there was this festival, a beautiful festival in Den Haag. And I think it was 51 poets from 51 different countries…every poet had to read at his embassy. But then I found out that the ambassador of South Africa did not want me to be there…the reason why she had to have me there was because her predecessor had invited me. She listened to half of my reading and then ran away .The worst thing about this is that this woman was during Apartheid times South Africa` s leading human rights lawyer, Priscilla Jana. You get what I`m saying……

You know now I`m hungry, I`m poor ,but I`m cool, I think my conscience is at rest.

However I could only be happy the day the things I`ve set myself against are eliminated. The things that make me wake up in the morning in a perverse, in an ugly ,in an obscene way actually .Because the sun ,the love should be getting you out of bed. I`m woken up by demons and ugly things, the day they seize up to be then I will say i`m happy.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: While doing research about you in preparation for the interview, I read on the internet page ,,www.culturebase.net„ that you ,correct me if i`m wrong, said the following statement about young South Africans in an interview with the Swiss weekly paper 2002 : „Political hip-hop is no longer important to young people in South Africa„. Are young South Africans really not interested anymore in political rap?

Answer: You know that thing makes me so angry, because at no point in my life , unless I`m ready to be locked up in some psychiatric institution, would I say that the young people of South Africa are not interested in political rap. Because it goes further than that thing I think. To give the suggestion that I`m saying supposed political rap is redundant. I would „never ever ever„ say that. First of all, people when it started out did not set itself up as being political, it was party music, young people hijack lighting„ fictures „, you know these street lamps or whatever, and run the electricity from their turntables. As soon as the police comes, they take their stuff and go. In that sense it was subversive-yes. But it did not come out with a political program. It was just young people having fun.

Later you had supposed conscious people coming out like Poor righteous teachers, Public enemy, Boogie down production,KRS1,they came on following the lead of course of the lives of Jill Scott Hanna before them …grabbing the microphone dealing with issues of oppression, of economic, political themes.

Hip Hop is not homogeneous, there are various and different strands of Hip Hop, lots and lots of them. I like the Ghetto-Boys, I love the stories they created there: trying to pull their little ghosts out of the wall..something that one would find in heavy metal, maybe, but they were running it on this „5th ward texas lies„, you know black boys dealing with that stuff.

It is not homogeneous. You got girly Hip Hop, you got Salt and Pepper celebrating their sexuality as females, you know, all of those put together you could say that’s a political broom. That is a political broom. People celebrating their humanity in the midst of „Squalla „.

So at what point could I say the contrary? I, father of generation of MCs, underground MCs, basemental platform in South Africa, I could introduce you to a lot of them, they are very political creatures.

How could I say something else? I never said something like that. This quotation is very misleading.

Unless this person wanted to say that I meant that in this world today you get more people celebrating 50cent,Eminem,LilWayne,Jay-Z as supposed to celebrating Poor righteous teachers, if that’s what they mean, yes, that is very true.

This world celebrates a Lady Gaga. I mean I`m not in the position to judge. I`m not in this world to judge or be judged. If that’s what they want, maybe Lady Gaga fulfills some of their fantasies, I don’t know.

But the fact of it is that more people will celebrate Lady Gaga than they would celebrate Jaco Pastorius, my all time greatest bass player. Very few people know him.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How do you see the current political situation of South Africa? What do you think about Zuma?

Answer: I`m sorry to depersonalize people like that, but essentially this is what is happening. The point is, you just give Zuma a lot of women and music to make him dance. That is what he does. He just wants to dance .He is very very problematic, if you trace down his history to the ANC-camps, in exile…there is a whole lot of intrigues involved, people dying…and these people being mashed on forward.

And the indignity of having Thabo Mbeki, who I don’t have any respect for, but in my opinion he was still cleverer than Zuma. But the indecency of the way which those guys flipped the switched one inn was really embarrassing, it was disgraceful.

And now there is Zuma and Julius Malema, who is president of the ANC Youth League. The sad part of this is that we laugh at this person, but it`s the same story as with Idi Amin. Idi Amin started somewhere, people laughed „Haha„ at him saying he is an idiot….But 500.000 deaths later, nobody is laughing. Nobody is laughing. That is the state of South Africa right now.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You have already been several times to Germany. In 1998 you even stayed for a few months at the Solitude Castle in Stuttgart. How do you like Germany and what is the reason for you of coming back so often? Did or do the experiences you make here influence you or your poetry in some way?

Answer: Obviously every single moment of my life influences me, every moment leads onto the other, whatever kind of engagement, whatever kind of contact I have with human beings. Not just even people only, every single creature on this planet, in this universe influences how I view.

First of all, having been to South Africa, you will know that however established South Africa might be ,that before Joseph Cotton, Bounty killer, whoever, …before they dream of coming to South Africa, they come to Germany first. They will definitely perform in Berlin, they will perform 20 times in Berlin, before they even imagining going down to South Africa.

So my engagement with the things that I celebrate ,that I love…books …South Africa got a few literature outlets, but in the whole of Johannesburg you can actually count the book shops in the entire city. How many millions of people live in the west of Johannesburg, well it`s east towards the airport, but the only book shop would have to be „exclusive books„ which is a capitalist set up, they will have Dan Brown books, they won`t have any of the people I celebrate, they won`t even have Pasolini. It`s not even a euro-centric kind of set up, no, they won`t have any seriously engaging literature for me there. So if I want something like that I have to come to Germany. In South Africa what do I do?

When I go around the world I pick up whatever it is, I engage with it, I battle with the world`s realities, I go back and I share it with the people I love, I celebrate, the people I want to help push forward along with me. I`m no leader, no, I`m part of a pack, but I`m hoping that whatever experience it is I can share with my people, they can share with me their experiences and together we can move forward.

That’s why I came back. I got invited. I came to Humboldt-University, it is a fine place to come to. I get to read at my embassy. I want to see if they will also behave like the dutch counterpart.

In 1998 I came to Solitude Castle in Stuttgart, because I needed time and space to write. It was a residency, it was a writer`s set up. You got composers there, video artists, graphic artists. It`s an annual thing.

But it made me realize one thing. Namely that I maybe need to hear somebody screaming at some point, I need to hear a car screeching around…before I can create.

I had a nervous breakdown there. It was so quiet there. Even the birds seemed to be uneasy about chatting in the morning: „ Oh, let`s not disturb the artists„. They call it solitude for a reason, really. I felt like Alice in Wonderland there. It`s a castle, every Saturday people come to get married there. You never see anybody.

If I wanted to be in a bar and check out the local talent or get myself checked out, if anybody bothers… I had to take the bus for about 25 minutes to get to the city of Stuttgart, just to have a beer. And then take the bus back. But at eleven the bus is run out.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You have travelled the world and performed in many countries. Plus you have worked together with various artists like Julian Bahula, Soulman Toure, Loius Mhlanga and Günther Sommer. Have you ever expected to become that successful and what are your aims and dreams for the future?

Answer: You know Bob Dylan explains the issue of success very well, he says a successful person is one who wakes up in the morning, is able to wake up in the morning and is able to go to bed at night, and in between that the person does what it wants to do, it chooses to do. That`s success. It has nothing to do with money or whatever. It has nothing to do with striking silly poses in front of a thousand cameras. For me that`s not the measure of success.

I will say I`m successful the day whatever it is that stands for the dehumanization and oppression of one sector of humanity by another, one person getting oppressed by the rest of humanity, the day no child, no child dies of malnutrition or preventable diseases ,the day no American can say:„ Oh ,oh this apple fell on my head, how can it fall on my head, I`m American! No this can`t happen to me, I`m American„ ,the day there is an end to that stupid stuff, the day it makes the same, the same kind of sense or non sense to get a child`s head exploded in Gaza ,a child getting its brain „packed out„ in Somalia, the day things fall in line like that, the day it is as wrong ,as wrong to brutalize somebody, because their sexuality is not yours, the day nobody is downtroddened, because they choose to bow in front of a different god to those who have got power, that’s where I will say: I`m successful, I helped create a world in which all can breathe. That`s it.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to thank to writer Lesego Rampolokeng, one of the most socio-critical voices of South Africa, for this interesting interview on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“. We wish you much success for the future and only the best!

List of writings/Liste der Werke of/von Lesego Rampolokeng

– Horns for Hondo (COSAW, 1990)

  • Talking Rain (COSAW, 1993)
  • End Beginnings (Shifty CD with the Kalahari Surfers, 1993)
  • Writing for the play:„ Faustus in Africa„(1995)
  • Rap Master Supreme – Word Bomber in the Extreme (1997)
  • End Beginnings (German Translations) (Marino, 1998)
  • Blue V’s (German Translations with CD) (Edition Solitude, 1998)
  • The Bavino Sermons (Gecko Poetry, 1999)
  • Fanons children in 2001
  • The h.a.l.f. ranthology (CD with various musicians, 2002)
  • Blackheart (Pine Slopes Publications, 2004)
  • Whiteheart (deep south publishing, 2005)
  • Participation in the documentary „Giant Steps„ about revoloutionary poets ,
  • directed by Geoff Mphakati and Aryan Kaganof (2005)

Quellen/Sources:

Interview mit/with Lesego Rampolokeng 09.11.2010

http://www.culturebase.net/artist.php?279

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesego_Rampolokeng

Andrew Brown – Südafrikas literarisches Sozialgewissen

Kapstädter Schriftsteller zu den Chancen und Risiken des Projektes „Regenbogennation“

(Autoren/ Editors: Anne Schroeter, Annalisa Wellhäuser, Ghassan Abid)

© Schriftsteller Andrew Brown

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Das südlichste Land des afrikanischen Kontinents konnte sich nach dem Ende der Apartheid in vielerlei Hinsicht kräftig entwickeln, unter anderem auf der literarischen Ebene. Mit Andrew Brown –  einem Juristen, Polizisten und Schriftsteller aus Kapstadt – verfügt Südafrika eine weitere Persönlichkeit, die sich mit sozialen Themen im Lande beschäftigt. Während der Apartheid wurde er von Polizisten aufgrund einer Freundschaft zu einem Schwarzen festgenommen. Nun thematisiert er als Buchautor die gegenwärtige und zugleich schwierige Lage von Flüchtlingen in Südafrika. Nigerianer sind oft der Willkür südafrikanischer Behörden ausgeliefert und müssen ferner die fremdenfeindliche Stimmung in den Townhships dulden. In seinem Buch „Würde“ geht er auf genau diese soziale Schieflage in Südafrika ein und verbindet die unterschiedlichsten Protagonisten miteinander: Richard Calloway ist ein weißer und erfolgreicher Anwalt der Kapständer Mittelschicht, der trotz Ruhm und sozialem Aufstieg ein tristes Leben führt. Doch eines Tages trifft er auf Abayomi, eine Immigrantin aus Nigeria. Schnell erkennt Calloway, dass er ihrem Wesen sehr aufgeschlossen ist und sich zunehmend in ihrer Welt verfestigt – mit ungewissem Ausgang. Das Buch ist deshalb so bemerkenswert, weil Andrew Brown hierfür umgangreiche und hintergründige Gespräche mit nigerianischen Einwanderern in Südafrika unternommen hat.

Zum Sinn und Zweck der WM 2010 für die Volkswirtschaft des Gastgebers äußerte sich Brown dahingehend, dass er grundsätzlich von langfristig positiven Effekten ausgeht, die vor allem dem Tourismus zugute kommen werden.  Der Kriminalität im Lande können man jedoch nur mit einer Ausweitung des gesellschaftlichen Bildungsstandes begegnen, so der Kapstädter Schriftsteller gegenüber dem Südafrika-Portal. Der aktuellen Debatte um die Regulierung der Medien durch die südafrikanische Regierungspartei ANC schaut Brown, auch ein ANC-Mitglied, jedoch mit großer Sorge entgegen, wofür man notfalls erneut auf die Straße ziehen müsste. Zum Abschluss äußerte er seinen Wunsch, noch ein weiteres Buch veröffentlichen zu wollen und öfters, vor allem nach Europa und Deutschland, zu reisen. Nachstehend ist das Originalinterview in Englisch als Text und als Video abgebildet.


2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Mr. Brown, you was born and raised in Cape Town / South Africa . You mobilized against the Apartheid and had been captured too. Which moment or occurrence has activate your mind for justice?

Answer: Probably when I was 17 years old and I was arrested simply because I was friendly with a black boy of my age.  I was taking him home after playing soccer and we were both arrested and held few a few days.  We were both interrogated because the police could not understand that we were simply friends.  That showed me how unjust the system was and that it needed to be changed.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are a really big performer in terms of profession. I noted you are actually and at the same time a police man (in reserve), an advocate and a writer. Which personal objectives are you following in each job and which one is your most challenging one?

Answer: They are all quite challenging, but in different ways.  I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of working as a policeman, because it feels like I am making a contribution to the society that I am living in.  Writing is something I do for my own enjoyment and I don’t feel pressure to write ‘for’ anyone.  If people like my writing, then that is great, but I don’t feel that I have to produce something for publishers or readers to read.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: During the World Cup 2010, you have untertaken as police seargent patrols in townships. Which benefits has the South African nation and the population, especially the township citizens, taken from this event? What is your mind in this matter?

Answer: I hope that there will be long-term benefits.  The focus of the world on us as a country, and the fact that it was a success, was really a big thing for us.  But that focus does not bring any benefit on its own.  Hopefully, it will result in more tourism, perhaps better trade and confidence in South Africa .  The World Cup did a lot to unite the nation and to build our sense of pride in our country, which is very important. The transport system was improved a lot before the World Cup, and I think that is one thing that we will definitely benefit from in the future.

© Cover von "Würde"

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In your new novel „WÜRDE“ (in English it means „dignity“) – the original title called „REFUGE“- you are writing about the two faces of South Africa; the rich and the poor one. On the one hand, we have the protagonist „Richard Calloway“ – a white, successful and in security living advocate. On the other hand, you have installed the character „Abayomi“, a native of Nigeria – an immigrant. Could you please give us a short summary of this novel and which social targets would you like to achieve?

Answer: The book is partly about the white middle-class in South Africa , which often shuts itself off from the real issues going on around it.  People protect themselves against the guilt and anguish that comes from seeing the poverty around you, by pretending that it doesn’t exist.  The book is partly about a successful middle-class man who starts to reach out to touch the ordinary people around him; he comes to realise just how small and isolated his life has been.  The other part of the book is about the immigrants, the other ‘outsiders’ of our society, who are there not by choice but because they are fleeing injustice or violence. It is about how we treat them and about how we stop seeing them as equal human beings.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: I have taken notice, that you have met with immigrants from Nigeria , in accordance with the preparation of your new book. Which impressions have you collected about the life conditions of these people in South Africa ?

Answer: I interviewed a lot of immigrants to hear their stories.  Once they realised that I was not a threat, they were very happy to talk to me and to share their stories with me.  I met incredible people who told me stories of great suffering, of courage and of humiliation at the hands of South African officials.  I have incorporated some of their stories into the book, to try and make it as realistic as possible.   I chose Nigerians in the book because they are the most stereotyped immigrants in South Africa: they are seen as all being drug dealers or prostitutes, and for this reason I wanted to show them as being human beings with their own special culture, language and lifestyle.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In these weeks, the African National Congress (ANC) follows up a regulation of commentatorship. South African and international media are still protesting against these plans to establish a „secrecy bill“ and „media tribunal“, which allows the government to increase their control over media. How would you like to evaluate these developments?

Answer: Because of our history, it is very concerning when government starts talking about controlling media reports and press coverage.  We are very sensitive to this kind of censorship, given what we experienced under apartheid.  People are opposing the bill and there is a petition signed by many writers and other people who are protesting against the bill.  Government has tried to explain the need for the bill, but so far we are not accepting that it is necessary.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: As „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German gateway to South Africa, we have interviewed the writer Roger Smith, who is denouncing in his novels the crime situation in South Africa, like you. What do you think should the government do to face this big challenge? Or rewording, how could South Africa solve this problem?

Answer: Crime is a problem in South Africa , but it should not be over-emphasised.  Our crime is a result of poverty, our history and poor education.  Of all of these, it is most important to address education, because literacy and numeracy continue to be problems, and we cannot advance our society unless we take care of these problems first.  Crime is not getting better, but it is not getting worse either.  It will not improve simply by policing, or introducing new laws.  You need to change the way that people think, about themselves and about others.  To do this, we need to concentrate on education.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Last but not least, which personal dreams would you like to realize?

Answer: There are many dreams I have – one would be to publish another book.  Another would be to travel more – I have travelled a lot in Africa, but not much in Europe and there are many countries and places that I would like to see.  I have so enjoyed being in Germany, and I would very much like to return to spend more time here as well.

Graffiti in South Africa

Von Behörden in Deutschland und Südafrika abgelehnt, aber bei Jugendlichen beliebt

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Nichts ist in der Kunstszene so ähnlich stark umstritten, wie Graffiti. Die einen bewerten Graffiti als verunstaltende Schriftzüge im öffentlichen Raum, die anderen erkennen hierbei eine kreative Gestaltungsform. Ob es sich bei Graffiti um Vandalismus oder Kunst handelt, obliegt weiterhin dem jeweiligen Betrachter und kann nicht abschließend bewertet werden. Fest steht nur, dass Graffiti weltweit präsent ist, auch in Südafrika.

© SPLITPIECE I

„Falko Starr“ ist ein bekennender Graffiti-Künstler aus Kapstadt, mit freundschaftlichen Kontakten nach Deutschland. Schon 1988, also während der Rassentrennungspolitik im Südafrika der Apartheid, entdeckte er seine Vorliebe für Graffiti. Man begann in den 80er Jahren Graffiti-Motive aufs Papier zu übertragen. „Es existierte keine Graffiti-Szene“, betont Falko die Anfänge dieser Bewegung. Man wusste während der Apartheid nur sehr wenig über Hip Hop bzw. Graffiti, weil Südafrika von der Außenwelt abgeschnitten war und kulturelle Einflüsse aus dem Ausland nicht ins Landesinnere vordrangen.

Graffiti im heutigen Südafrika erfreut sich jedoch vor allem bei Jugendlichen einer großen Beliebtheit, welche mit großem Interesse diesbezügliche Trends in Europa mitverfolgen und teilweise übernehmen. Immer mehr Graffiti-Künstler versuchen sogar afrikanische Elemente in ihren Gestaltungen einzubauen, um dem „South African graffiti“ eines Tages eine eigene Identität verschaffen zu können. Ähnlich wie in Deutschland, so Falko, beginnt man als Graffiti-Liebhaber mit einem „Bombing“, dem schnellen und großangelegten illegalen Besprühen auf Zügen, Wänden oder anderen öffentlichen Objekten.

© SPLITPIECE II

Interessant ist der Umstand, dass Graffiti in Kapstadt und Johannesburg zunehmend für kommerzielle Zwecke genutzt wird. Ferner erfährt die Szene in Kapstadt ihre schnellste Entwicklung, während in Durban, einer Küstenstadt im Osten des Landes, diese noch relativ klein und am Wachsen ist. Im Rahmen der Vorbereitungen zur WM 2010 sind allerdings alle besprühten Flächen in Durban nun übermalt worden, sodass diese Bewegung im östlichen Südafrika wohl länger unbedeutend bleiben wird.

Der Graffiti-Künstler beklagt sich aber über das Anti-Graffiti-Gesetz in Kapstadt, wonach ein Sprühen im öffentlichen Raum nur mit einer Genehmigung durch die Stadtverwaltung zulässig ist. Sollte man diese Regelung nicht beachten, kann dieses harte Konsequenzen mit sich ziehen. Er selber habe von einer 45 jährigen Frau erfahren, welche zum „Saubermachen“ von Wänden und einer Strafe von über 7.000 US-Dollar verdonnert wurde. Will heißen – die Behörden haben massive Probleme mit unerlaubten Graffiti, ähnlich wie in Deutschland.

Gegenwärtig tritt Falko mit einem eigenen Graffiti-Konzept auf, namens SPLITPIECE, welches dem Portal „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ exklusiv hier vorgestellt wird.

Verschiedene Graffiti werden wie Puzzleteile zusammengesetzt. Have fun, be cool! (;


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Exclusive Interview with graffiti artist Falko Starr

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome Falko Starr, graffiti artist from Cape Town, thank you very much! Which reasons has allowed you to participate in graffiti scene?

Answer: I started in, 1988, an era when its was still apartheid. The scene was non-existant. There were a few guys who did graffiti but it was making pieces only on paper. Pieces on walls where done very few and far between.

I got into the scene, 1989, by meeting KING JAMO ( zulu nation king of south africa) who said that they needed graffiti artists to help with this `new` movement called the Universal Zulu Nation (a organization started in New York). I was very new to HipHop back then and found it was perfect for me to get into graffiti and the whole culture.

We did not really know about the `real writing culture` because of our political system. Information from the outside world was very little and we had almost no outside influences that came to our country to show/teach/eduate us about hip hop from the rest of the world.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What is making South African graffiti so special?

Answer: At the moment graffiti here is pretty much the same as around the world. The kids here basically follow whatever trends are happening in Europe. There are some, very few, artists who are trying to use african elements in their art but styles/pieces are more common.

© Graffiti Künstler/ artist Falko Starr

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Many graffiti artists in Germany are spraying their pictures and logos on not allowed areas and objects, like trains or house walls. How it is in South Africa?

Answer: Graffiti scenes are the same anywhere in the world. There are different mentalities and a huge variety of philosophies about what is good, bad, right, wrong, commercial, sell out and hardcore.

Here, in certain cities there is more bombing than legal work but in Cape Town it is balanced. Bombing is an important part of the culture and I think most, not all, writers do it in the beginning of their graff lives.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which status is the graffiti scene taking in South Africa and in which cities are which trends available?

Answer: Here in South Africa, it is generally welcomed by most people.

Cape Town And Johannesburg are the two cities where its used a lot for commercial needs.

Cape Town`s bombing scene is never the same from year to year. There are times when there are hundreds painting to times when there are only a hand full.

Durban is considered the smallest of scenes and cities in S.Africa. Bombing used to be really big in this city but with the soccer world cup they have cleaned everything.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Is the government supporting the graffiti scene, for example by offering spraying spaces?

Answer: In Cape town, and here only, a graffiti by-law was introduced. The law basically makes all graffiti illegal unless you get council permission first. Recently, the only wall of fame was raided and closed. The graffiti scene was told that they can only paint the area once they have requested for permission. This was a legal area for almost ten years.

At the raid, a local resident was arrested for protesting the raid. She is a 45 year old woman. They want to make an `example` out of her and want to prosecute her for cleaning the whole wall of fame. Estimated cost is about $7000(US).

So to answer you question: NO!

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Where and on what do you have already sprayed?

Answer: Over the years, graffiti has created the opportunity for Falko to tour Sweden, Germany, France, Switzerland, Kenya and Greece. Highlights include; participating in the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations, creating murals for the build-up to the Olympics 2004 in Greece, and establishing a line of communication between artists in Kenya, England and South Africa through his “Lines of Attitude” project.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which of your graffiti is for which reason the best one?

Answer: At the moment I`m busy with a graffiti concept called SPLITPIECE. This is the best work I`ve done by far. Not only for work but for the concept. I am the only one doing it in the world.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Are you in contact to German graffiti artists and what are you knowing about the graffiti scene in Germany?

Answer: My first magazine I ever gio, and still have, was a TUFF STUFF in 1992, in this magazine I saw a few writers that a bit ( lol) but it was one one first inspirations. Spraycan art also made me like lotsa writers from around the world but the fisrt writer I ever met was a German called Seemso in 1991. We have become good friends since then and he was the first writer to do a whole car here in South Africa. He also helped with development of the bombing scene. In 1998 Loomit, Esher and Can2 came down to SA. Within two weeks they destroyed and decorated equally. With saying this we became aquaitances.

Other writers/painters I`ve either stayed with or painted with is Seak, Daim, Kent and quite a few others that have come here to paint.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which dreams would you like to realized?

Answer: Would like to do my splitpieces worlwide!!!

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Falko Starr, graffiti artist from Cape Town, thank you very much!

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2010sdafrika-Artikel auf Schueler.CC (Newspoint.CC) veröffentlicht:

http://www.newspoint.cc/artikel/Lifestyle/Graffiti_in_Suedafrika_66072.html