Student protests: More than free education

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Students and workers unite (briefly) to protest for a free education

Student protests spread from Johannesburg across the country. The ostensible reason is the exorbitant increase in tuition fees. Fees are absurdly high, and readiness of the wealthier universities to meet the shortfall out of their own pockets proved the point. But if we look under the surface, we will find that there is more to the current crisis than meets the eye.

“Without consultation”

An interesting alliance was briefly embarked upon when workers joined the student cause, but alas it did not last. Soon disharmony about agreements signed without proper consultation reared its head, and the impulse to ‘protest’ was let loose like Shakespeare’s hounds of war once more. Already a culture of protest exists in South Africa, but has constructive debate become completely obsolete? Many issues around the fees freeze or abolition have arisen, and one had hoped that like with the Rhodes must fall campaign it would enable the narratives so necessary to a healthy democracy, that it would facilitate citizens becoming more informed about the forces that shaped our society, that a longer view of our history would inform the next step in a maturing system of majority rule, … but sadly the political rhetoric is becoming increasingly banal.

Violence and accusations on both sides prevent meaningful dialogue

Students burned tyres, occupied buildings and erected barricades at the University of Cape Town. Twenty- three students were arrested on charges of disrupting the peace and refusing to vacate a building. About 200 UCT students, workers and academic staff gathered at the Rondebosch police station, demanding that they too be detained in solidarity.

“They will probably throw stun grenades at you and fire rubber bullets but do not disperse!” shouted one of the leaders, Dudu Ndlovu, over a loudhailer. If this is not provoking violence, what is?  Duly the police fired stun grenades to disperse protesters at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. Stellenbosch University authorities obtained a court interdict to bar protests, to allow the students to write exams without interruption. At Wits University in Johannesburg, vehicles driving onto campus were overturned. Some examinations could not take place; work was disrupted everywhere on campus.

Points of view

  • Students say the high fees further disadvantage black learners in Africa’s most advanced economy who had little access to universities during decades of white apartheid rule.
  • Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says that each university catered for its own finances and that the government could not afford to provide free education for poor students.
  • University administrators say without much bigger subsidies from government they have no option but to raise fees to maintain academic standards. Also, that the weaker rand currency makes library books, journals and electronic research equipment priced in dollars, very expensive.

What nobody is saying

  • The ANC/Government representatives have hijacked the student cause. While agreeing with the protesters (and so ensuring votes), they have not increased subsidies.
  • Students are aware of the fact that even with degrees they are not assured of employment afterwards.
  • University studies are out of reach of many students because of the inferior quality of our primary and secondary education.
  • No country under the sun, not even developed European nations, have such a high percentage of university students among their youth. Vocational training, practical skills, entrepreneurship and labour feature too. No economy needs, nor can it appropriately accommodate that many graduates.
  • Many white citizens of between 40 and 80 with university degrees had to pay off study loans, some well into middle age, or were (some still are) tied to an employer who funded their studies. 60% of Afrikaners were paupers after the Anglo-Boer war and extreme poverty rendered them unable to access education until well after 1948.
  • Our youth is despondent: Their families invest much hope in those that do get grants and go to university, or families impoverish themselves to keep youngsters at university, yet the young people see criminals flourish, and unemployment soar.

This struggle is far from over. The ramifications are only just beginning …

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MTN and the empty tin syndrome

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MTN Global Markets unstable?

MTN’s two biggest markets are South Africa and Nigeria. In South Africa strikes, limited handset availability and increased smartphone usage hampered growth. In Nigeria disposable income constraints and competition threw a spanner in the works. In Iran MTN’s joint venture did well, and oddly, business in Syria boomed in spite of what is effectively a civil war. By no stretch of the imagination can one call these areas “stable”, yet perhaps it is, ironically, exactly that restlessness that encourages market growth: interpersonal contact and group communication become essential.

Naughty, risky or hubristic?

MTN was fined $5.2bn for failure to cut off unregistered users. Trade in the firm’s shares was suspended at the JSE as stock fell by as much as 12%. Africa’s largest mobile telecoms operator negotiated with authorities in Nigeria and the JSE is investigating the company over possible insider trading. MTN chief executive Sifiso Dabengwa flew to Abuja to make an attempt to have the penalty reduced. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) gave MTN two weeks to pay the fine that has been imposed on MTN Nigeria for alleged non-compliance with telecommunications regulations of that country as well as allegations that MTN Management did not immediately disclose this material information to the market. The telecoms regulator in Nigeria has fined MTN in that country US$5,2bn (That amounts to more than the company’s annual revenue in Nigeria, and nearly double the entire MTN group’s net profit in 2014.) The fine relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5,1m MTN Nigeria subscribers who were disconnected in August and September 2015 and is based on a fine of about US$1 004 for each unregistered subscriber. It seems that MTN either did not disconnect customers with unregistered Sim cards, or did not do it in time.

The Public Investment Corporation, MTN largest shareholder, was concerned that the mobile operator did not anticipate the fine it faces from Nigerian authorities. Things are afoot in Nigeria: A huge drop in oil price, among them. Can we see the MTN fine in isolation, or are there other forces at play? Did nobody take the regulations seriously to begin with or is negligence the order of the day? One supposes if Volkswagen can be foolish, a major listed company like MTN can be foolish too. In contravention of the listings requirements, the MTN group withheld the information from investors.

South Africa – the gateway to?

We rather fancy ourselves as the gateway for investment in Africa, mostly for good reason. We are justifiably pleased with many export products and services. However, do we assume that we can get away with ignoring regulatory institutions? The International Court (and we are signatories to the Rome Statute) is but one recent example of our complacent assumption that we are above the law. One of our leaders (unintentionally, one hopes) said on public television that we in South Africa are subject to the “rule of flaw”. Let’s hope he is wrong.

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Student riots force university fee freeze

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Student riots  – our future leaders?

Responses from leadership positions:

  • President Zuma did not comment on the violent scenes that played out on the lawns of the Union Buildings while he was discussing the impasse inside. “Government understands the difficulties faced by students from poor households and all those affected,” Mr Zuma said.
  • UCT vice-chancellor Max Price said: “While I believe the interdict (issued) on Monday was an appropriate and necessary action to take at that time, it has been misunderstood to be a charge against individuals and organisations, whereas it is in fact only a requirement that people act lawfully. … It has also become encumbered with connotations of brutality and police action. This was certainly not intended, as its purpose was to protect the rights of those writing exams and wishing to access the campus.”
  • “Students are rightfully angry about university affordability. They expressed concern about how the South African Police Service has dealt with protests. The police ombudsman investigation is an opportunity for students to come forward with their complaints. …The community safety department also has … teams monitoring all court cases involving student protesters,” Ms Zille said in a statement.
  • Adam Habib said: “It would not compromise the books of the university, it would not (push) the institutions into financial problems. I think the government responded appropriately in this regard.”

What are the implications?

  • President Jacob Zuma announced that there will be no university fee increase for 2016. Wonderful! His election strategies are excellent. The student vote is guaranteed.
  • Students have succeeded in forcing the government and universities to agree to a moratorium on fee increases for the next year after shutting down universities and protesting for more than a week.
  • A wide-ranging process will continue to deal with issues raised by students, a.o. transformation and living conditions in university residences.
  • Universities SA chairman and University of the Witwaterstrand Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib unequivocally said the impasse over fees would not compromise the financial viability of the institutions. Good to know! So the universities CAN work smarter with money. The students were right in assuming that fees are needlessly high in spite of government cutting subsidies.
  • The exam period will be extended to allow students to catch up and prepare.
  • University of the Western Cape (UWC) students are planning a march on Cape Town International Airport as part of anti-fee hike campaign, saying the campaign for “free education is just beginning”.
  • Earlier on Friday Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was escorted from a student protest at Stellenbosch University. Protesting students reportedly turned on her and shouted: “V*****k, you aren’t here for us! Leave!” The premier was quickly whisked away in a police van.

Lessons learnt

If one disrupts, destroys, and does damage, one gets rewarded. A culture of protest is firmly entrenched in the psyche of our country. Violence is effective! Although it certainly is time to re-think several issues regarding university education in South Africa, the effectiveness of the protest action may have far-reaching negative consequences alongside positive ones.

This discussion is far from over!

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Collapsed Bridge on M1

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Tragedy: Collapsed Bridge on M1

Tangled wreckage of red metal sprawls across Johannesburg’s M1 highway near a busy off-ramp leading to the Sandton financial district where the stock exchange is located, visible to rush-hour traffic. It looks like some macabre installation art, but it horribly real.

Murray & Roberts shares take a tumble

Two people died and 20 people were injured when scaffolding for a bridge collapsed over Johannesburg’s main motorway on Wednesday. The loss of life and the injuries and possible consequences to the injured parties and their loved ones, is a tragedy. The immediate responses to this disaster were, however, indicative of an out-of-kilter society.

Good reactions:

  • Murray & Roberts, the construction company responsible for building the footbridge, will cover the costs of the funerals. Presumably they will also pay compensation to the families of the deceased as well as the injured. A pro-active response is appropriate and just. Senior directors of Murray & Roberts, including its Group CEO Henry Lass, have been on site helping rescue and clearing operations since the incident occurred.
  • To contact the families of those affected and ensure they are being taken care of and to clear the scene so that motorists in Johannesburg are able to commute, are clearly the priorities.
  • The construction and rescue teams have worked tirelessly to restore safety and the use of the road. Sometimes the only redemptive factor during times of distress lies in this kind of commitment and concern. As well, the selfless risk to personal safely and comfort is often not acknowledged. The unsung heroes are often the fire fighter/ rescue / emergency / ambulance / paramedic teams. They deserve our gratitude: Pictures of bombed sites during WW11, earthquakes, 9/11, floods, sea rescue efforts, and many more flash before one’s eyes. They often remain nameless while we all know the sick glamour that attaches to tyrants and gangsters, murderers and dictators, smugglers and fraudsters.
  • The city of Johannesburg is on the scene and involved.
  • Trade union federation Cosatu expressed its shock and sadness over the incident.
  • The Department of Labour was already on the scene on Wednesday night
  • as was Mayor Parks Tau who announced that the City of Johannesburg had appointed independent engineers to conduct an investigation on its behalf.
  • The Engineering Council of South Africa (Ecsa) is expected to investigate the cause of the collapse.
  • Motorists were asked to use park-and-ride facilities that were inaugurated for the Sandton Ecomobility Festival.
  • The City announced that Metrobus services would be increased, fees would be scrapped on the park-and-rides and that Gautrain and Putco busses would be free on certain routes and that JMPD would deploy pointsmen on alternative routes.
  • Uber offered free rides to Gautrain stations on Wednesday night for people stranded as a result of the bridge collapse and free rides to Gautrain station on Thursday morning until 9:00.

Bad reactions:

  • Share price of the construction group Murray & Roberts, the contractor behind the project, are tumbling. Immediately after the incident on Wednesday afternoon the company’s share price dropped sharply by 7.32% to R11.15, leaving it 48.37% lower than a year ago.
  • This comes when trust in the construction industry from government, (the industry’s major client), is at a low level following the earlier 2010 World Cup stadia collusion, and the hearings before the Competition Tribunal.
  • The supplier of the scaffolding deftly and immediately shifted blame. Denial seems a bit callous under the circumstances. Silence would have been less hurtful until investigations have proceeded. Temporary form work is integral to any building project and a more responsible or compassionate response would have been more appropriate.
  • Cosatu demanded a “thorough and transparent investigation” and for “the responsible parties to be held accountable, if any wrongdoing is found.” This reaction seems rather disproportionate. Is it because it is a private company that they feel they must jump up-and-down? The same attention is not focused on disasters perpetrated by government, nor does Cosatu focus on on-going loss of life caused by violence against women and children. Are the two lives lost of more value than others?

Arrive Alive

10‚000 pedestrians used the bridge.

The Ecomobility Festival aims at getting people to use public transport instead of private vehicles. This incident is a sad setback to a valuable cause.

Crisis shows us what we are. This incident draws attention to problems that range from faults in the engineering/constructing industry to the poverty in the humanities.

Let us hope that something of lasting value can be salvaged alongside the practical. All the good stuff that Ubuntu upholds are there, but it is important that we admit our shadow if we are to have real substance.

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Ref: BD Live

ANC National General Conference

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Gallagher Convention Centre goes green … and black and yellow

It is only to be expected that the declining membership of the ANC would have been prominent on the agenda. What is interesting from the point of view of party political maturity is that the ‘gate keeping’ accusation which was put forward as a reason for the decline does not precipitate self-examination by the leaders of the leading party. The ability to look reality squarely in the eye and ask “WHY?” is the prerogative of adults, and this was sadly lacking. Blaming our colonial and apartheid past, while legitimate in many cases, is also a distracting technique – a strategy to prevent the electorate from looking at the faults of the current system. Similarly, by blaming ‘factions’ the ANC is a) admitting that wedges exist between groups and b) a way of not taking responsibility. The inability to explore where the party is going wrong speaks of utter complacency. The fact the ANC still wins elections with a huge majority seems to bear out their confidence.

An odd kind of hope

Solidarity was the watchword of black empowerment. The splintering of this unquestioning party loyalty does, however, mean that perhaps the people are beginning to grow up. Small children do not question the parent. They blindly accept as gospel everything authority claims. Maybe as a nation we are at last reaching adolescence, where we are questioning the veracity of certain claims. In a true democracy declining membership is a sign of hope, creating the possibility of a division of power which keeps any government on its toes.

Corruption

Everybody knows that power corrupts (although one can still be amazed at how quickly it happens) and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The corruption charges against ANC officials were raised at the conference, and the intention to address it seriously, expressed. However, South Africans can be forgiven for not holding their breaths. The very leaders who blithely say this have never adequately answered for their own behaviour in areas ranging from arms deals to nepotism, and the answers to some difficult questions have long been brushed under the carpet. Free access to information (like crime statistics and actual figures in dodgy contracts), freedom of the press, and a free market system were the tenets much sought after by oppressed people. Just how free these areas are today is difficult to ascertain. Again, the old refrain was trotted out: some version of “apartheid made me do it”. That again sounds childishly like: “I hit my sister because my dad hit my mom, so you can’t punish me… whe-lah-peh-lah … watch me get away with it!” While it may be true on some oblique level, it does not make it justifiable. Neither does the claim that the media spreads lies about the party and therefore should be transformed auger well for freedom of the media. If you sweep your own doorstep you do not have be nasty about the people that notice it is dirty.

An independent judiciary

Another disturbing attitude was the denigrating of opposition parties that use of the courts to sort out issues. Is that not what the courts are for? When the courts are only there to consolidate the position of a one party state, there will be real reasons for concern.

Who will be our next prime minister/ leader of the ANC?

President Jacob Zuma openly said to the media, “Anything under the sun can be debated at this year’s African National Congress (ANC) national general council (NGC) but the succession debate is one the party will not be having.”

What a pity! This topic is foremost in the minds of party and non-party members alike. Mr Zuma’s former wife and chair of the African Union Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was being lobbied by some members of the party as its next leader when his term expires in 2017. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is the other possible candidate to succeed Mr Zuma, but the Marikana debacle has somewhat damaged that line of speculation.

Let us hope that democracy will continue and we shall be allowed the exercise of free choice in our land. In a country slightly north of here that hope has been in vain.

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Ref: http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/retail/2015/10/12/public-investment-corporation-rejects-ab-inbev-offer

South Africa – good, bad and ugly

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South Africa in the news – the good, the bad and the ugly

So, the Springboks restored our national pride on the weekend, and men’s egos are pumping patriotism! Bafana Bafana has not exactly helped to boost the frail male self-esteem of South Africa’s collective manhood. The lack of self respect that leads to violence against those weaker than ourselves is an illness not confined to our country, but certainly sadly present if we look at our rape and abuse statistics. Although sport has many redemptive aspects, and naturally we are proud of our teams and individuals that excel, it becomes a minefield (instead of a soccer or rugby field) when identities are defined purely by our loyalties.

Misguided loyalty means murder

Former president Thabo Mbeki and the ruling party appointed ministers and officials on the basis of past ANC connections, some sort of protest-family nepotism. Some would say that loyalty is a good thing – but when it blinds us to the truth it is a monster, as the Jackie Selebi debacle (to name but one) bitterly proved.

Nobody held a gun to the heads of the ruling party when they signed the Rome Statute. It was a freely chosen commitment to being part of a democratic world view. Upholding human rights is the cornerstone of our constitution. The International Criminal Court implements ideals that South Africa agreed to, without any constraint upon the will of the signatories. ANC MPs on Parliament’s justice committee welcomed the accession to the Rome Statute. Crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (recognized internationally) can be dealt with by the ICC if the instruments to deal with it in the countries where these crimes were committed, are lacking. (Rwanda and Bosnia are examples, as is the Pinochet regime.)

And yet …

President Jacob Zuma, in the full knowledge of his Cabinet, colluded to allow the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to escape from Waterkloof Air Force base. By no stretch of the imagination can this be read as an accidental arrangement. This occurred in defiance of agreed to international obligations as well as a domestic court order, after adopting a stance that expressly dealt with justice as regards genocide suspects. By law (not to mention moral code), Bashir was supposed to be arrested in South Africa. This is what a responsible government would have done.

An independent judiciary

The high court has found that the government is in breach of South Africa’s international obligations and a direct court order. Government is appealing the ruling, claiming that visiting heads of state are granted amnesty and that the property where the African Union summit to which Bashir was invited, is the territory of the AU. Ruling party officials argue that our accession to the ICC should be reconsidered, spreading the plebeian argument that the ICC is anti-African. (Most of the convictions made by the court are against Serbian war criminals.) One of the intentions of the international legislation is that criminals cannot find a haven in other countries when they have perpetrated heinous crimes against innocent populations. It is spelled out in the legislation that a “heads of state” defence cannot be used, and neither can officers who executed a manifestly illegal order be exonerated.

13 years later…

The notion of African solidarity has reached the blinker stage under Zuma. It was disturbing enough when Robert Mugabe was front row celebrity at state functions in South Africa, but now we protect an internationally acknowledged criminal, in fact a mass murderer. If this is the price of loyalty, we have utterly lost Nelson Mandela’s ideals of not only a domestic but also a foreign policy based on human rights.

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Ref: www.bdlive.co.za/national/2015/10/15/newsanalysis

Why you should celebrate World Smile Day

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Why celebrate World Smile Day?

Don’t forget to put on your best smiley face on Friday, 02 October, when we celebrate World Smile Day®. The theme of this special day is: “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile.”

The iconic smiley face was created in 1963 by Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts. Ball instigated the first World Smile Day in 1999 after he became concerned that his original meaning and intent behind the beloved yellow symbol might be lost due to over-commercialism. He wanted the world to dedicate one day a year by doing acts of kindness and smiling. After his death in 2001, The Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation became the official sponsor of this amazing initiative.

Smiling is good for you

Smiles are infectious. Very few people can resist smiling back when someone treats them with a smile that stretches from ear to ear. Smiles convey positive feelings and energy. A simple facial expression such as a smile can have amazing benefits for ones health and wellbeing.

When you smile:

  • a cocktail of feel good neurotransmitters (endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin) floods your system and makes you feel awesome and happy;
  • your mood will lift and you will feel relaxed and less stressed;
  • you may experience that you manage chronic pain better;
  • your blood pressure and heart rate may drop;
  • you will appear more attractive and approachable to others; and
  • you will attract smiles from others and you will feel special because of it.

How to smile more often

  • Surround yourself with friendly people who like to smile and laugh a lot. This will brighten up your life considerably.
  • Watch funny movies and listen to jokes.
  • Watch your kids/animal play and join in the fun.
  • Be appreciative of beauty. Smile at the fluffy clouds in the sky, the flowering pot plant on the windowsill, and a beggar’s face when you treat him or her to lunch.

Smiling is the universal gesture for happiness. Almost everyone on the planet knows a smile conveys friendliness, warmth and acceptance. Maybe it is time that you smile more often … Why don’t you show off your pearly whites and flex your facial muscles? Spread some good cheer on World Smile Day.

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Reference

http://www.worldsmileday.com/index.php/article-index/item/373-about-world-smile-day

Joshua Tree: Route 62

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Coming Home to Joshua Tree via  Route 62

The high desert of California is oddly reminiscent of the Klein Karoo in South Africa. Dry weeds tumble on the veldt, and rocky outcrops are littered with succulents under a virulently blue sky. Puffy clouds resembling cotton balls over a wide open horizon sets the scene, with miles of open road to eat up with your wheels. So we arrive at the Harmony Motel along route 62, to find the owner, a South African who has decided to make this place her home. Looking at the corrugated iron fence, she laughs and tells a story of how her relatives from the home country had worried she had fallen into poverty. “They didn’t know it was a work of art,” she smiles at the many layers of irony concealed in this statement.

In the late 1980’s the Harmony Motel was where Bono and the band U2 stayed while making their album Joshua Tree. Their picture and the news articles of the time are proudly on display in the common room library. Many people still visit the Harmony Motel for this very reason, to touch base with the history of the music that came from here. Outside it is blisteringly hot, but the cold pool is invitingly clean and blue. We jump in and cool down instantly. “The water is always cold like that,” says Ash, the owner. The resemblance between this area and its namesake Route 62 in South Africa is uncanny.

Ash exudes a sense of common sense and no nonsense at the same time. Her words are measured and clear as she relates how she came to be here in the high desert of California. It is a moving story of bravery on her part and a certain willingness to face the future with resilience and fortitude. We end up spending many hours visiting with her, sitting around and talking till the cows would have come home were there any. In many ways this feels like a home coming, a familiar feeling place where the tradition of strangers meeting to exchange significant parts of their lives is as simple as putting the kettle on for a fresh cup of tea. It is with high spirits that we leave this haven on our way back on Route 62.

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Homo Naledi – a New Light on Our Ancestry

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Homo Naledi –  Extinct Homonin Species

“Homo naledi is a previously-unknown species of extinct homonin discovered within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. The species is characterised by body mass and stature similar to small-bodied human populations but a small endocranial volume similar to australopiths.” In this way the summary of the academic paper on the discovery and study of Homo naledi in the journal eLife starts.

On Thursday, 10 September 2015, details of the fossil find of homo naledi was unveiled at Maropeng. This significant fossil find has been greeted with excitement around the world and many have said that the find will make us question what it is to be human. Lee Berger of WITS University stated that “[u]ntil this moment in history, we thought that the idea of ritualised behaviours directed towards the dead, things like burial or like secreting your dead into deep chambers, was utterly unique to homo sapiens.”.

The team has already unearthed parts of 15 individuals, but the researchers believes that there is still a treasure trove of fossils awaiting discovery in the Rising Star cave system and the Dinaledi Chamber. Homo naledi is further described as having “humanlike manipulatory adaptations of the hand and wrist” as well as “a humanlike foot and lower limb”. These aspects, however, are “contrasted in the postcrania with a more primitive or australopith-like trunk, shoulder, pelvis and proximal femur”. Because these aspects are represented in at least the already discovered individuals, this find represents the “largest assemblage of a single species of homonin yet discovered in Africa”.

This amazing discovery has once again put South Africa – and the Cradle of Humankind – on the map. All eyes will be on our country and the talented team of professionals slowly unearthing our past and bringing it to life.

OH SHUCKS, Is it The End?

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Shucks! Pay Back the Money

After master prankster and filmmaker Leon Schuster’s latest film Shucks! Pay back the Money got released in film theatres on 28 August; the film is already on everyone’s lips. The trailer promised once again a hilarious comedy treat from South Africa’s candid camera king. There are whispers going around whether this number 9 candid camera film might be Leon’s best yet. But will there be more to follow?

Leon Schuster, The man Behind SHUCKS

Leon Ernest Schuster, born 21 May 1951 in Vereeniging South Africa, spent his high school and university years in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, where he also played his beloved sport of rugby for the first team of the University of the Orange Free State. That made him an enthusiastic Cheetah supporter ever since. After university, he went on to teach at his high school Alma Mater Jim Fouché for two years before working for the South African Broadcast Corporation. From a young age he showed a keen interest in filmmaking. As a child, Leon’s favourite pastime with his brother Otto was playing practical jokes on their family members while filming with a home movie camera. While working for the SABC, he gave light to the well known Afrikaans Vrypostige Mikrofoon radio program series, which consisted of various “victims” being pranced via telephone.

Sadly, it isn’t all moonlight and roses. Fame and success many times come at a price. Schuster got divorced after a 20 year long marriage, stating how his success might have been to his family’s detriment. His 4 children suffered with him through all the bad reviews and huge amounts of criticism over the years, despite all the success his films achieved. According to him, his bank balance also does not reflect the box office amounts his films had earned and that he invested enormous amounts of his own money in the making of his films.

Spectacular Career for SHUCKS

Leon Shuster is one of the most talented artists in South Africa as singer, actor, filmmaker and script writer. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award for comedy at the 2014 Huisgenoot Skouspel concert.

Film Career:

  1. You Must Be Joking! – 1986

  2. You Must Be Joking! Too – 1987

  3. Oh Shucks…It’s Schuster! – 1989

  4. Oh Shucks! Here Comes UNTAG – 1990

  5. Sweet ‘n Short – 1991

  6. Yankee Zulu – 1993

  7. Panic Mechanic – 1997

  8. Millennium Menace – 1999

  9. Mr Bones – 2001

  10. Oh Shucks… I’m Gatvol – 2004

  11. Mama Jack – 2005

  12. Mr Bones 2: Back from the Past – 2008

  13. Shucks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa – 2010

  14. Mad Buddies – 2012

  15. Shucks! Your Country Needs You – 2013

  16. Shucks! Pay Back The Money – 2015

Singing Career Albums:

  1. Leon Schuster – 1982
  2. Broekskeur – 1983
  3. Waar En Wolhaar – 1983
  4. Briekdans – 1984
  5. Rugby – 1985
  6. You Must Be Joking! – 1986
  7. Dasiefoutie – 1988
  8. “Shakin” Schuster En Sy Opkikkers – 1992
  9. Hie’ Kommie Bokke – 1995
  10. Gautvol In Paradise – 1997
  11. Die Vrypostige Mikrofoon, Volume 1 – 1998
  12. Die Vrypostige Mikrofoon, Volume 2 – 1998
  13. Baas Funny Plaas – 1999
  14. My Beste Jare – 2001
  15. Groen, Goud En White – 2002
  16. Catchup Song And Every Cricket Hit – 2003
  17. Oh Schuks… I’m Gatvol – 2004
  18. Op Dun Eish – 2006
  19. Dra Die Bok – 2008
  20. My Mates – Die Bokke

Oh Shucks! South-Africa became Trigger Happy

Is it the end for candid camera filmmaking for Leon Schuster? In an interview he mentioned the intolerance and impatience of people. Why are we strung so tightly? According to Leon, it is due to the times we live in where load shedding, corruption and the lawlessness especially on our roads revs up frustration levels to the maximum. As he said: “I think my time is running out on candid stuff, so I don’t really know if I will make any more of these. Also I am a bit sick and tired of getting ‘klapped’”. At age 64, who can blame him?

He had to cut a few scenes from the film where guns were pointed at him. The public’s willingness to be set up for gags now differs completely from his debut candid camera film You Must be Joking in 1986, where the public were more relaxed and there weren’t a lot of people carrying guns around. As he joked: “I think one day my headstone will read: ‘Leon couldn’t take that last klap’”.

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