Monthly Archives: August 2012

Massacre in Marikana (EXPLICIT PICTURES)

Thursday 16th August 2012 will go down in the history books as the day the South African Police fired on strikers in a small town called Marikana. The newspapers have in their normal sensation seeking style have put up big black placards stating “Marikana Massacre” . I suppose this description will become the naming convention of what occurred out there in the dusty streets of Marikana.

Following the various news reports it is alleged  that in three minutes more than 30 strikers were killed and 100’s wounded . The newspapers wrote that a shoot-out between police and strikers occurred. Yet in the various photographs and videos that were taken I seem to miss seeing any firearms being brandished by the strikers. So my definition of a shoot-out is when two parties shoot at each other and this does not seem to have occurred.

Many years ago we were trained in crowd control, and nothing in your training can ever prepare you for the time when an angry crowd is storming down on you brandishing spears, machetes and other instruments that could do you serious bodily harm. Then if there is any lack of training it is a case of self-preservation that takes over. Once the first shot is fired the rest becomes history.

All the various political parties have come out with the normal noises deploring what has happened and the need for an investigation as to why this massacre happened.

The police have had their normal news conferences saying that a full investigation will done on what really happened, so that those responsible could be brought to task. Knowing how the police cover their mishaps by losing documents and witnesses going missing, I strongly doubt that there will be any finding other than they were protecting themselves and that the strikers were to blame for everything that happened. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa‘s office said in a statement on Thursday that the police were faced by armed and hardcore criminals who murder police”. This type of statement being made before any enquiry has even started is totally inappropriate as it immediately sets the tone of what route the enquiry will take. And the hell does she know they were hardcore criminals? Maybe she owes the families of those killed an apology..

The following extract is from News24 and actually drives straight at the heart of what is happening throughout South Africa currently. (The rainbow nation no longer exists and has faded away in total.)
Brewing tensions

The Inkatha Freedom Party on Thursday said the massacre at the mine highlighted the brewing tensions within South African society and should not be underestimated.

“It’s horror should not only shock u,s but bring to the fore how too often conflicts in this country are dealt with through violence,” IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini said.

“Unless there is a fundamental change of culture at the highest level of government things will worsen.”

The Azanian People’s Organisation compared the violence in Marikana to the Sharpeville Sharpeville  and Soweto shootings Soweto uprising .

“As Azapo we can only describe the situation as a massacre not different from March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville; June 16, 1976 in Soweto and June 17, 1992 in Boipatong,” the party said.

The spokesperson forgot to mention that here in South Africa we seem to have quite a lot of massacres in our short history. He forgot to mention the Shell House massacre , St James Church massacre , Cato Manor , and a couple more that happened in in the Transkei as well.  (check out Banshee Bridge massacre as well..)
What a country we live in!

Pictures by : Taurai Maduna (EWN) Felix Dlangamandla (Beeld) and Associated Press


Posted by on 17/08/2012 in Photo, South Africa, World happenings


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The Plastic Bag Saga




Picture from:

All around the world we have various governments trying to reduce the number of plastic bags that are used once and dumped. The easiest way to do this according to the experts is to levy a charge for every bag the consumer uses. In theory this works well albeit only for a short period of time.

I came across a blog which highlights the problems that are encountered here in South Africa with regards to the money received for the plastic bags. Hopefully similar things do not happen in your country, that the money which should be earmarked for conservation actually does not get spent on conservation.

My queries to National Treasury have also not resulted in any positive answers apart from being transferred from one person to the next until my patience ran out and I hung up the phone.

See link below if you want to visit the blog by Wendy Knowler.

Plastic packets: who bags the profits?

One of the topics that saw the English media briefly stray from its Olympics coverage last week was the call by environmental groups for a levy to be introduced on “single-use” plastic bags.

The English still get given free plastic bags by their supermarket chains, and the call to put an end to that comes in the wake of the news that the supermarkets gave out 5.4 percent more of them last year – 8 billion – than in 2010, many of them ending up as litter.

Ring a bell? Nine years ago South Africans stopped being given free plastic bags by supermarkets.

The government decreed that the bags should be thicker – at least 24 microns – to make them re-usable, in the hope that fewer would end up littering our urban and rural landscapes as our unofficial national flower.

And there was a feel-good aspect to the new dispensation, too – a levy on each bag, then 3c, collected by Sars, would go towards the setting up of a Section 21 company called Buyisa-e-Bag (buyisa meaning “give back”) as a joint initiative |of the government, labour and business.

Buyisa-e-Bag’s aims were, to quote the Department of Environmental Affairs: “The expansion of waste collection networks, the establishment of rural waste collection SMMEs, job creation, improving skills and re-skilling workers in the plastics field.”

I reported on all of this at length at the time, and heard many a government official wax lyrical about what a win-win deal this was.

Well, it didn’t happen. Sorry to be a downer when we’re basking in Team SA’s Olympic triumphs, but we’ve been had.

Buyisa-e-Bag was wound up at the end of last year, having pretty much failed to accomplish anything, supposedly because of some very complicated red tape problem to do with the way the company was set up. So much for giving back.

According to government statistics, plastic bag recovery for recycling has remained ridiculously low – less than 5 percent – since the levy was introduced.

So we’re still paying for plastic bags; an unregulated amount which varies from supermarket to supermarket.

What is regulated is the levy – now 4c a bag, paid to Sars by the plastic bag manufacturers. Sars in turn pays that money to the National Treasury.

We’re jointly paying about R150 million a year. And what does Treasury do with that money?

Well, I have asked, but the department’s spokesperson hadn’t responded to my query at the time of writing.

A Pick n Pay spokesman told Consumer Watch: “We have not had any updated information from government regarding how this levy is spent, or of the establishment of any recycling plants funded by the levy.”

So, we know that the government is winning, because they’re getting a nice stream of revenue they didn’t get before 2003 when we began paying for plastic carrier bags. And they’re apparently not spending it on recycling initiatives to benefit the environment and create jobs.

Are the supermarket groups winning, too? After all, plastic bags were a massive cost to the industry before 2003, and now they charge us for them – and they get to determine how much.

That was one of the questions I asked all four major supermarket groups last week: “Minus the levy, does that leave the company with |a profit or break-even on each bag, given that prior to the introduction of the levy, the supermarket groups bore the cost of the albeit thinner bags?”

Three denied making a profit on the bags…

Pick n Pay: “We make no profit on the bags.”

Shoprite/Checkers: “The Shoprite Group has been selling the regulated bags below cost price since the inception of the law in 2003 as part of its commitment to its customers.”

Woolworths: “The bags are not a profit stream for us.”

And Spar was decidedly cagey: “We can appreciate that this is of public interest… but our competitors would be even more interested…”

And here’s the really sad bit: Whereas the number of plastic bags dispensed by supermarkets took a radical dip when they acquired a price tag in 2003, the years since have seen the numbers climb again.

It seems we South Africans have generally got used to paying for plastic bags, and we’d rather do that than go to the trouble of taking our own reusable bags with us when we go shopping.

So bearing in mind that the plastic bags are a lot thicker than they were pre-2003, we’ve actually gone backwards – there is effectively a lot more plastic landing up in landfills, in the form of supermarket carrier bags, than before the environmental initiative was launched.

Which means, of course, that the other winner is the plastics industry, which is churning out all this extra, thicker plastic.

Only the Shoprite group, which is patronised by mostly middle- to lower-income consumers, reported a “slight” drop in the demand for plastic bags. “This may indicate that customers are either re-using the bags, or are making use of durable bags more frequently.

“But many customers still purchase shopping bags on every shopping trip.”

Here’s what the big four are currently charging for a standard |24-litre carrier bag:

PnP: 39c

Spar: 36c

Shoprite Checkers: 39c

Woolworths: 44c

And contrary to some consumers’ suspicions, the bags haven’t “got thinner” in the past nine years – all four groups are still selling bags of at least 24 microns thick, as legislated.

The same can’t be said for many smaller retailers of all descriptions. Some even charge for their too-thin carrier bags – the ultimate consumer rip-off.

Given that the idea of charging shoppers for thicker, re-usable plastic carrier bags was to motivate us not to acquire a fresh stash of plastic on every shopping trip, which would end up in the landfills, I think the retailers should hike the price for each bag to at least 50c, and donate the profit to an environmental cause of their choice.

That way we might actually achieve something “green” as a nation out of our shopping bag habits, despite our government’s spectacular failings in this regard

Read the full article at :


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Versatile blogger award

I am very happy that a fellow blogger fstopfun over at  nominated my new blog for the Versatile Blogger Award! This is great. I haven’t been on WordPress for long and I am really enjoying myself. He is an artist and photographer living in Baltimore, Maryland. He has some great landscape and macro photography which is worth seeing. The photographs of people shows that he has embraced this discipline fully. And from what I read in his blogs he is also a great person!

Go check out his blog!

So here are the Rules for Versatile Blogger Award:

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  • Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy
  • Nominate 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Seven Things About Myself:

  1. I am new to digital photography and each day find out how little I know about it.
  2. Trying to find my way around photo editing, but just don’t have enough time.
  3. I am a motorcyclist not a biker.
  4. Camping is something I enjoy.
  5. I have a very soft spot for children. Have four daughters and four grandchildren.
  6. I am interested in politics and living here in South Africa it is something that is changing all the time. I enjoy debating the latest developments in our government and local councils.
  7. I get pretty upset when people write ‘Xmas’ instead of Christmas. I don’t think any of the other religions would appreciate it if we decided to change the name of their holy holidays/celebrations/gods.

And now for the 15 Bloggers I follow and enjoy:


Posted by on 15/08/2012 in awards, Photo, South Africa


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

The following pictures were taken this past weekend at a school reunion of the steps that have been taken to stop the miscreants from breaking in and stealing equipment.

When we were at school there was never a need to go to these measures, we were taught not to take anything that did not belong to us.

Having to live like this is totally WRONG!


bars welded across windows to computer lab

stairs leading to second floor


Posted by on 14/08/2012 in Photo, South Africa


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Photography in the Serengeti

Dear friends,

The following email was sent to me regarding the planned eviction of the Maasai tribe from the Serengeti. For those who have been lucky and privileged enough to have been to the Serengeti to take wildlife photos in future it may no longer be possible and your photos will just become a record of what used to be.

It is sad what money can do.

Middle Eastern kings and princes are about to force up to 48,000 people in Tanzania from their land to make way for corporate-sponsored big game hunting. But Tanzanian President Kikwete has shown before that he will stop deals like this when they generate negative press coverage. Click to deliver a media blitz that will push President Kikwete to stop the landgrab and save these Maasai.

At any moment, a big-game hunting corporation could sign a deal which would force up to 48,000 members of Africa’s famous Maasai tribe from their land to make way for wealthy Middle Eastern kings and princes to hunt lions and leopards. Experts say the Tanzanian President’s approval of the deal may be imminent, but if we act now, we can stop this sell-off of the Serengeti.

The last time this same corporation pushed the Maasai off their land to make way for rich hunters, people were beaten by the police, their homes were burnt to a cinder and their livestock died of starvation. But when a press controversy followed, Tanzanian President Kikwete reversed course and returned the Maasai to their land. This time, there hasn’t been a big press controversy yet, but we can change that and force Kikwete to stop the deal if we join our voices now.

If 150,000 of us sign, media outlets in Tanzania and around the world will be blitzed so President Kikwete gets the message to rethink this deadly deal. Sign the petition now and send to everyone:

The Maasai are semi-nomadic herders who have lived in Tanzania and Kenya for centuries, playing a critical role in preserving the delicate ecosystem. But to royal families from the United Arab Emirates, they’re an obstacle to luxurious animal shooting sprees. A deal to evict the Maasai to make way for rich foreign hunters is as bad for wildlife as it is for the communities it would destroy. While President Kikwete is talking to favoured local elites to sell them on the deal as good for development, the vast majority of people just want to keep the land that they know the President can take by decree.

President Kikwete knows that this deal would be controversial with Tanzania’s tourists — a critical source of national income — and is therefore trying to keep it from the public eye. In 2009, a similar royal landgrab in the area executed by the same corporation that is swooping in this time generated global media coverage that helped to roll it back. If we can generate the same level of attention, we know the pressure can work.

A petition signed by thousands can force all the major global media bureaus in East Africa and Tanzania to blow up this controversial deal. Sign now to call on Kikwete to kill the deal:

Representatives from the Maasai community today urgently appealed to Avaaz to raise the global alarm call and save their land. Time and again, the incredible response from this amazing community turns seemingly lost causes into legacies that last a lifetime. Lets protect the Maasai and save the animals for tourists that want to shoot them with camera lenses, rather than lethal weapons!

With hope and determination,

Sam, Meredith, Luis, Aldine, Diego, Ricken and the rest of the Avaaz team

For More Information:

The Guardian: “Tourism is a curse to us”

News Internationalist Magazine: “Hunted down”

Society for Threatened People: Briefing on the eviction of the Loliondo Maasai

FEMACT: Report by 16 human rights investigators & media on violence in Loliondo

Voices of Loliondo: Short film from Loliondo on impact of eviction on Maasai


Posted by on 13/08/2012 in Envioronment, Photo, World happenings


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Here I have two photos which depict growth. The first is a  shoot growing out of the tree trunk. The leaves are two toned and change to totally green within a couple of days.

The second picture is of our young “Yorky” who is still growing as well. It is just taking far too long to get over the puppy stage! 


Posted by on 06/08/2012 in Photo


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