FREE STATE NEWS (December, 2008)
This web page(s) would regularly focus on the leading Free State (South Africa) newspaper – Free State news – the first regular newspaper to be orchestrated fully by black people in the Free State province (soon the paper will be celebrating its 10th year anniversary). The paper has been published on a weekly basis since 1999. Here, we shall have regular items like “Feature of the week”, which started in July, 2008.
Free State News crew
Thabo wa Makae
Thabo wa Makae
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19 DEC – 25 DEC 08 Edition
* Note: this will be the last edition of the newspaper until next year (2009)
FEATURE OF THE WEEK:
“Modernism in Tebogo and the haka, (Book Review)” (page 3). By Pule Lechesa
Modernism in Tebogo and the haka
By Pule Lechesa
Recent fictional works reflect how the world has moved on in the New Millennium, positively affecting the lives of countless black people at grassroots level all over Africa . This patent trend can be seen for example in Omoseye Bolaji’s latest work of fiction, Tebogo and the haka (2008)
We read and re-read our old favourites, novels, plays etc written by distinguished African writers over the decades and we are struck about the rather old-age ambience of such works. We feel that there is something missing – and most likely that thing is modern technology. Pick up Njabulo Ndebele’s classic, Fools for example and the ambience seems not so different from the setting of 19th century books like Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.
Yet Zamani, the protagonist in Fools, is a school teacher and “middle class” in orientation. But he has few comforts compared with the modern world perks. Not even electricity. Nowadays we are awash with modern gadgets and technology and these things are incorporated into modern fiction. Gone are the days when stationary phones and faxes were the ultimate in technology as can be seen from thousands of books published just a few decades ago.
The face of the modern world has changed so much that most people now have access to things like cell phones, the Internet and ipods. In fact it is understood that in some African countries now “even beggars have one two or more cell phones”. This shows how the whole world has changed. Very few African blacks might have access to internet in their private house but with so many “Internet cafes” all over the place – not to talk of at many libraries – the world has opened up, so to speak.
Hence Tebogo Mokoena , the private investigator of the Tebogo Mystery series reflects this exposure to modern technology, moreso in Tebogo and the haka. His wife, Khanyi, is in France but of course she keeps in touch with him thanks to modern technology, via emails and by phone. SMS (text messages) keep their love glowing despite the vast physical distances between them:
“Before I slept, I was delighted to receive a text (SMS) message from my wife, Khanyi. She reiterated her love for me, said Paris was great but she would prefer to be with me. ‘Sweet dreams honey,’ she ended, ‘big, big kisses’….I slept well”
(Tebogo and the haka; page 11)
As we see later on in the book SMS messages add to the mystery of the story as the plot unravels (but I do not want to give the plot away here); also, as part of the deference to modernity at the end of the book we are told about “slick, sophisticated tape recorder on my person”
Despite the fact that Tebogo is in a small town (Ladybrand) he still has time to go to the Internet. As we are told:
“He (the owner of the Internet shop) smiled. ‘Ah, sometimes we just open for a few hours. Now people are becoming more interested in the Internet. Alas, right now, only one computer is working well. You can pay for 30 minutes, an hour…to user the internet’
‘An hour would be fine,’ I said. ‘I’d like to catch up with my emails…’ I paid for an hour and read my disappointingly few emails. I had hardly spent 15 minutes here and I was more or less through…’”
“Tebogo and the haka, pages 31 - 32)
Other aspects of the story/mystery here involve recordings being made and being shown on computers (not on TV which apparently has become common place!). We are no longer surprised these days that many people at grassroots level have access to computers and sophisticated recorders. It is all part of modernism – which keeps on improving and growing daily.
There are some people who believe that the modern generation has lost a lot (spiritually and intellectually), with so much technology around; that the likes of the Bronte sisters 200 years ago (Emily and Charlotte, to mention the most famous duo) honed their intellect because there was no electricity then (so no electrical gadgets at the time) – that they had ample time to think, go for walks, meditate and construct. The quality of their published works certainly shows their awesome intellect.
However others point out that with so much knowledge available to the world now – accessible more or less instantaneously from the Internet – people are over-spoilt for choice now and can avail themselves of wonderful opportunities. Certainly writers continue to write, and reflect and complement the goings-on in our world, as can be seen from Omoseye Bolaji’s latest work of fiction.
12 DEC – 18 DEC 08 Edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK:
“MY TIME!” (Column) By Seleke Botsime (page 7)
By Seleke Botsime
Allow me to cut my umbilical cord so that I may speak. Prepare the stage and stand firm since I am about to burst like a wine skin and give you what I know. Strike me with a rod so that I can gush out the living water since when I was born I was named the “rock” I remain quiet when the world speak of my father, I remain silent and listen attentively when the world gives their insight about the creator but I was never impressed with their knowledge.
I remain a piece of clay, and for ever remain a potter that shaped me from time immemorial and every thing was good. I died for three days and be buried in him and with within the heart of the earth; never forgetting the fact that I am that rock that snuffs out Goliath from the book of kings. Let those who are found to be fumbling be at silence, when this king proclaims the profound wisdom of my father!It remains a mystery that the master is not only found in majestic cathedrals or supernatural visions, but also in wonders of polar bears and in the plays of Shakespeare (and never being common).
His footprint is increasing in unlikely places. So the heavens dish out this most delightful food and the world remains in a state of awe! I graze at the greener pastures and throw my net at the deepest of the ocean. In short I was prepared for this battle. That is why it was never a surprise that when the earth opened its legs and give birth to me the heavens were shaken and earth was silent (all because I did the confrontation).The street became my university and my downfall 0became my strength.
Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future!When I rise and speak this wisdom I didn’t forget to buckle my waist with the breastplate of righteousness, never did I forget a shield of faith of which I will use to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Wearing the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit. Brothers I tell you, I am heavenly pregnant with the zeal. Let this be an open letter for those with the spirit of Belzubhab. This soldier is ready for war! I remained at the back seat for long but now I am found on the front seats, I make front pages since I am no longer undercover not forgetting dominating the headlines.
This is my time, brothers!Blow the horns at Bethhakkerrem since the conquering one is here. In him and through me the blind will say ‘they can see’ and the poor will say they are rich. Dear brothers my struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities and most of all against the dark world with their spiritual forces. Everything will be revealed in time since now the world is not ready to conceive this. I hear the heavens rejoice ‘cos I am standing at the land of Beulah and the final word from my father is “Truly this one is my son!”
05 DEC – 11 DEC 08 EDITION
FEATURE OF THE WEEK:
“NUANCES OF BARACK OBAMA” (Letter). By Maxwell Perkins Kanemanyanga (page 6)
Nuances of Barack Obama
By Maxwell Perkins Kanemanyanga
Africa is patiently waiting to see whether high-riding Barack Obama is an angel of mercy or something more sinister!
In 1963, Dr Martin Luther King JR had a dream. “It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” The election of Obama as the first black president of America was a fulfillment of Dr King’s dream.
The election of Obama seemed like great news for Africa . Kenya the birth place of his father, even declared a national holiday. The million dollar question though, is how Obama will shape up. Even though the world is becoming a global village Africa still remains an island of war, poverty, hunger and diseases. America and the West always blame political instability, lack of democracy and corruption for Africa ’s woes. This is true to a certain extent but I think there is more to this. Africa does not only need lessons of bourgeois democracy but justice.
America and the West are always showering Africa with aid. Africa is a rich continent but is always getting unfair trade deals from the developed world. In 2002, IMF chief Horst Koehler toured Africa for five days. On this tour he said trade distortions made a mockery of efforts to reduce poverty and made any real progress impossible. “If we do not give you better trade opportunities then maybe the fight against poverty is lost from the beginning… Rich nations should do what they preach to others –liberalize and open up the markets”. With the election of Obama as the president of the most powerful nation in the world Africa is hoping to get a fair deal this time.
However a lot is expected from the new president elect. He is taking over an America with a depressing economy and involved in many wars. Obama has pledged to help Africa . This is going to be a very huge task for him. Lack of universal responsibility has made attempts to bring peace in Africa just a fleeting illusion that many have pursued but failed to attain. It boggles the mind that in this era where you can have breakfast in Johannesburg , and supper in London over two million people perished in Rwanda . Where was UN? Where was AU? DRC, one of the richest countries on the continent has never enjoyed peace since attaining independence from Belgium in 1960. The country has potential to supply the rest of Africa and some parts of Europe with electricity. It has rich agricultural soils. It has diamond, gold, cobalt, copper and coltan, a metallic ore used in cell phones, DVDs and computers. Recent reports are saying coltan exports from Eastern DRC are believed to be financing the on-going conflict in DRC now. Coltan is mined illegally and smuggled over the DRC border by militias operating in the area. It is estimated that in the 18 months until October the Rwandan army earned about $500m from Congolese coltan. Who is supplying the rebels with ammunition, food, and uniforms?
Finding a permanent solution in DRC has always remained elusive. The tragedy of this rich country is rooted in its wealth and ethnic conflicts are merely a smoke screen for what’s really at stake- mineral wealth. This has always been a hunting ground for mercenaries, powerful nations and multinationals. Imagine that anywhere you go in the world even kids have cell phones, computers and DVDs. But for ordinary Congolese everyday continues to be a struggle to survive violence, hunger and diseases. External intervention is responsible for conflict in Africa so as to open avenues for foreign companies to exploit Africa ’s resources. We are therefore waiting to see whether Obama is the one who is to come or we shall have to wait for another.
The writer is a journalist based in SA.