Cyril’s Balls are in a Jar in Nkandla

Cyril’s Balls are in a Jar in Nkandla

The whole affair was almost surreal. It was supposed to be full of pomp and ceremony and a celebration of one of the most important events in the history of our democracy. Few items on the national calendar are more important than elections. It was the night that our democracy would be celebrated as the results of the 2016 Municipal Elections were revealed.

It started out slow. A kind of melancholy hung over the audience. Oupa Gwede was stumbling around in his WWII era coat whispering in this ear and that ear. Shuffling up and down the aisles, purposeless. The dignitaries were seated. The big game breeder sat down with a look of utter displacement on his face. It was like he was attending some ceremony in a foreign country listening to people speak in some foreign language. No doubt he would rather have been at home counting his billions while sipping 1962 Dalmore Single Highland Malt at $20,000 a bottle.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng sat silently to the right of the big game breeder with eyes almost shut. Perhaps thinking that if he can’t see them, then they can’t see him. He faked a yawn. In fact everything was fake.

The Big Kahuna floated in with an entourage the size of Gadaffi’s minus the Amazonian warrior women. Another fake smile and the big cheese sat down next to the Last Fallen Saviour turned big game breeder and Bon Viveur.

The speeches rambled on and the bleakness swallowed the hall like the black mist over the Thames.

The chief philanderer stepped up to the stage and cleared his throat. And then it happened. Four women dressed in black stood up in front of Zuma and faced the audience with simple, hand written signs to protest against his acquittal of rape 10 years ago. It was a silent protest. A very powerful protest. Probably the most powerful protest in the history of modern politics that will be talked about for many years to come.

The big cheese continued demonstrating his masterful oratory skills unwittingly. He didn’t know what this was all about, but to be fair, he seldom knows what is happening around him as demonstrated by the klap he got in these elections.

The women stood directly in front of our beloved big game whiskey drinker and our almost asleep (faking it) Chief Justice. They looked at these women in utter disbelief. Whispers were everywhere. No one even really noticed the red overall clad cleaning crew leaving the house.

No one even really noticed the red overall clad cleaning crew leaving the house.

In minutes the speech was over and if you had to ask anyone afterwards if they could remember one word the Zuma said, you wouldn’t find one. All eyes were on these brave women with their impromptu display of courage. It will be a defining moment in the career of – no, not JZ but Cyril Ramaphosa. Our second in charge.

It was the moment when his utter lack of leadership skills was exposed. The moment when the whole world realized that this eunuch left his balls in a jar at Nkandla. It was the moment when a real leader would have stood up and taken charge of a truly disastrous situation by quietly interrupting the speech and then by approaching the women and spoken to them. A true leader would have told them that their protest had been noticed and that he would be glad to meet with them personally to discuss their grievances.

The world has witnessed a Putinesque reactionary response in the gaping void left by the absence of true leadership.

A true leader would have quietly walked them out, showing real interest in their story. A true leader would have done the right thing. Instead a bunch of thugs rounded them up like cattle and pushed and shoved them out, in full view of the entire world. A defining moment where true leadership could have made all the difference. The world has witnessed a Putinesque reactionary response in the gaping void left by the absence of true leadership.

There was not one leader in the house. Perhaps he walked out with the cleaning staff.

Religious fanaticism and Racism make nasty bedfellows

Let me introduce you to one of South Africa’s most vile citizens, Mr. Andre M Slade, the owner of the Sodwana Bay Guest House. This guy has a few screws loose and it seems the lift does not go all the way to the top. Seriously Andre M Slade, why don’t you just emigrate to Somalia or something? We don’t need scum like you in our country.

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Uber Asshole –  Andre M Slade.

 

Cape Town – Following the most recent online exposé of racism in South Africa – this time involving the Sodwana Bay Guest House’s refusal to accept black patrons – the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday spoke out, castigating both the guesthouse owner and all others guilty of discrimination.

“I wish to use this opportunity to state again that racism, and its bedfellows – homophobia, sexism, and religious intolerance – have no place in our democratic society,” said DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

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Email sent by Andre M Slade

Andre Slate, the owner of Sodwana Bay Guest House, stated in an email that they “do not accommodate blacks or government employees any longer”.

Andre Slate is not only a religious fanatic but also a unapologetic racist. People like him should not be allowed to own or run a tourism business in South Africa.

“These incidents undermine and derail the difficult yet necessary project of building a fair and reconciled South Africa.”

Maimane was responding to news of Sodwana Bay Guest House owner André Slade’s admission his accommodation would no longer accept “blacks or government employees”. Slade – a self-proclaimed segregationist – was replying to a booking request for 12 people from a Sizakele Msimango.

Following Slade’s refusal, Msimango took to social media to make public the guesthouse’s bigoted policy. Soon after, over 5 000 users were discussing “Sodwana Bay Guest House” on Facebook while related tweets continued to be posted throughout the day.

Since, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has confirmed it will investigate the matter which Maimane welcomed, saying that should the SAHRC “act expeditiously”, it would “send a clear message to racists and those who engage in racist behaviour that their harmful and hateful actions are not welcome in South Africa”.

The Star newspaper also acted on Msimango’s posting on Thursday, calling Slade to hear his side of the story. With this opportunity, Slade confirmed his position on the matter, adding that the South African Constitution was “Satan’s law”.

Separate, later attempts to contact Slade and his colleagues were unsuccessful as all known numbers were unavailable.

Aside from his most recent racist rantings, Slade has previously spewed his views online, on his blog “wheretofromhere.org”. Here, Slade made mention of Maimane, calling him a “beast” and “little bastard”.

Slade has also released a free-to-download book, “Where to from here”, which was co-authored by Slade’s “equal opposite” Katarina Križáni, the guesthouse manager.

The Pretoria-born 52-year-old Slade and the 27-year-old Slovak Križáni are allegedly believers in – among other alternative systems – the Ancient Mesopotamian myth of Inanna and Enki which forms the basis of their thoughts on race and civilisation.

I sincerely hope that every right thinking and decent South African distance themselves from this kind of atrocious behavior. We don’t have any place in South Africa for people like this.

Online Bank Fraud Crisis – Check your security status.

shutterstock_177915284-750x420Online banking fraud is on the increase. Fraudsters send emails to you and entice you on social media to click on links so that they can capture your online banking login details. Typically you will be told that you have to click on a link in order to update your settings or whatever.
 
To stop falling victim to this scam, don’t ever click on a link that purports to take you to your online banking. Just don’t click on any links. Rather open your browser and type in the URL to your online banking. All the major banks recently launched a Fraud Security Status Check that evaluates your potential of falling victim to online banking fraud.
 
To check your Fraud Security Status at your online banking you can follow these links.

White Capital is not the great evil. It’s the great savior

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Photo: Marthinus Strydom

By now we all understand the concept of white privilege and white capital. Every second article in the press are about these two topics, and although it’s important to talk about these things it’s much more important to find solutions to our economic woes. There is huge disparity. Nobody can deny that. The majority of South Africans still live in poverty after 22 years of democracy.

The problem is how to fix it. The victim-hood narrative is not achieving anything. In fact it is polarizing our nation even more along racial lines. The constant appeals for a deeper social understanding of the psyche of black and whites is not going to bear any fruit in the short term. There are white racists and there are black racists. It will take many, many years to change the hearts and minds of racists. It won’t happen in my lifetime.

What can happen though is the exponential upliftment of the poor. This can happen. Look what Japan achieved after the Second World War. It is possible.

The way that South Africans can win the day, is to channel all this negative and divisive energy into creating a better future. This can only be achieved through economic growth. The first democratically elected government was the first step. The economic upliftment of the country is the second step. It is with this step that the country is failing miserably. The policies of our government are the single most important factor preventing us from achieving the equality most people seek. This sounds very much like the EFF strategy, you think. Far from it. Where the EFF calls for redistribution, I call for wealth creation through capitalism.

Capitalism is not the evil here. White capital is not the enemy here. Instead these could be the tools that can empower and uplift the rest of the country. But instead of using it effectively, blacks want to tear it down and destroy it, because it represents all that is evil.

It is exactly here that I have a problem with the mind-set of many black people. The calls for redistribution and the policies of the current government are at the core of the problem. You cannot economically uplift an entire nation by robbing Peter to pay Paul. You can sit in a hundred seminars and not achieve a thing unless you address the core issue.

Money is the core issue.

  1. Access to proper education is the key. But what is the government doing? It’s a disaster. Schools are in disarray. Education is a total mess. How can we even hope to grow economically if we don’t have the skilled labor force to do the work effectively? How can we grow businesses without trained and skilled leaders?
  2. Create businesses. Create entrepreneurs. Thousands of them. First educate them and then give them access to capital. White money will be invested in black businesses if those businesses will succeed. At the moment they don’t succeed. They can’t get funding because they don’t have any skills. They don’t have the knowledge and training to run businesses effectively. It’s understandable that they don’t succeed. Black entrepreneurs cannot get access to funding. Even highly skilled and trained black entrepreneurs are not able to get funding, because it is not a priority of the government. Change that and we will have tens of thousands of businesses in SA that thrive and compete internationally and, most importantly, create employment and economically uplift the masses.
  3. Economic upliftment happens when we earn money and we are able to lift ourselves out of our circumstance. As unpalatable as it may sound, if blacks took all the white capital tomorrow and chased every single white person into the ocean, within a few years most of the money will be gone and any chance of a wealthy future for this country will be lost. Not because blacks are somehow incapable, but because they do not have the experience and training of “white privilege”. We now need to “create” instead of just consuming.

This can be done in my lifetime. There is nothing that will uplift the moral of black people as much as financial independence. And that is the crux of the matter. Blacks can complain about the past and about the inequalities and about white privilege for years to come, but that in itself will not change anything.

We need to become competitive and the current socialist attitudes of our leaders need to be replaced by hard-core capitalist motivation – for the good of the nation.

In this world there are many injustices. Black South Africans are not the only ones that have had a tough time. The Jews and Japanese are prime examples of people that fought economically instead of militarily. Their battle was to create wealth and employment. They won because their leaders had the political will to drive the correct agenda and they had a workable strategy. But their strategy was not redistribution but sustainable economic growth through business.

We can do the same. We need intelligent, educated and savvy black people to stand up and drive the economic agenda.

Capitalism is not the great evil. It’s the great savior.

 

 

 

For the love of God, don’t install Windows 10

And the popups just kept coming. Every few hours the annoying “Upgrade to Windows 10 Now!” popup appeared on my taskbar. I did a bit of research and eventually decided to upgrade. It’s free after all. I really didn’t take into consideration the power of Microsoft over the blogging and publishing community. I think every single positive post about Windows 10 on the Internet is a paid for blogger.

So what’s the problem?

There are just too many too mention here, but these are the main problems that you will probably run into.

  1. Unscheduled updates. Windows 10 doesn’t give a shit about your Internet. It will update whenever it feels like it and you could end up in re-boot loop that takes hours. You can be in the middle of some important work and your computer will just randomly shut down to update. And you don’t have any choice in the matter.
  2. External keyboards and mouse. I have a Microsoft external keyboard and mouse that connects with a USB Bluetooth device. Can you believe that the device is completely incompatible with Windows 10 and there is no fix. I will have to throw away my keyboard if I wanted to continue using Windows 10. It gives a blue screen of death every time I touch the keyboard. Once again, I tried everything. Browsed hundreds of forums but no success. It’s not fixable.
  3. Chrome is mostly incompatible. It’s quite obvious why. Microsoft is trying very hard to regain some market share in the browser market and their new browser called “Edge” is obviously  the one they want you to use. Silly games by making as if there is a technical “issue” is stupid when everyone knows they are doing it on purpose. Some people managed to get Chrome working but only after messing around in their registry and trying all kinds of hacks.

These are just 3 issues and a few minutes searching on Google will confirm that it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of issues and I don’t think Microsoft will be able to get things stable very quickly.

I like the OS. It’s clean and looks cool. I would love to be able to use Cortana on my laptop and there are some really cool features. Just a pity that the browser is incomplete. It just doesn’t work, and until they get this thing stable, don’t bother installing it. You are going have a world of pain, roll back to Windows 7 or 8 and lose a bunch of your apps. It took me quite a few hours getting things working again after I rolled back.

What a waste of time.

The Photographer Blues

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All photographers experience what I call the  “Photographer Blues” every now and again. It’s that feeling that our photos  aren’t good enough. One component is what is called “Photographer Envy”. That’s when you look at the work of other photographers and feel that your work is inferior. It’s completely natural to look at other photographers and compare your work to theirs. You shouldn’t however become despondent but rather become motivated. Remember, there will always be someone that’s better than you. Try and be the best that you can be. Don’t try and be someone else.
This is not a tutorial on how to become a good photographer, but a few tips to help you improve.

Take more time

I know many photographers who just aim and shoot. You don’t get the best shots by being in a hurry or not thinking it through. Unlike other advice, I would say shoot LESS not MORE. Be more selective. Take more time. Don’t hurry. I know some photographers that shoot 500 frames with the hope that a few of them will be good. Well that is like shooting a shotgun and hoping you hit something. A good photographer will rather walk away from a mediocre opportunity than trying to squeeze something out of it. If it’s the right opportunity you will know it.
Good opportunities are few and far between. Stop trying to think that every shot has to be an award-winning shot. It doesn’t work that way.

Plan your shots properly

You can’t just aim and shoot and think you’re going to get a great shot. It just doesn’t work that way. Getting a good shot is not “luck”. If the light is not right, don’t shoot. Come back at another time. Plan you angles and do a few test shots first. Look at the result and if it’s not right then do it again.

Shoot multiple exposures

Shoot the same shot with multiple exposures. Even the best photographer don’t get it right all the time. When you get back to the PC you can look at all the exposures and choose the right one or combine them when you edit. This way you won’t be disappointed that you got the exposure wrong. Remember, it’s always better to get the best possible exposure with the shot than trying to fix it afterwards.

Don’t shoot RAW

I find shooting RAW a waste of time. The gain in quality and editing capability is so small that it just doesn’t justify the editing time. Streamline your workflow to give you more time to do a professional editing job.

Almost ALL unedited shots look crap

A camera just doesn’t capture what you see effectively. If you look at the unedited shots of professional photographers you will be shocked how similar they look to yours! You need to see the potential in a shot, but that potential is only realized in the edit.

It’s all in the Edit

Ye it’s true. It’s all about the edit. I would say that 70% of the final product is in the editing. Don’t skimp on the time to edit. Don’t skimp on software and learn the tools of the trade. I spend 1 minute taking the shot and 2 hours editing. The camera today is actually a very small part of the end product.
You need Photoshop. Don’t even think about it. There is nothing that beats Photoshop, ok? Got it?
You need lots of Photoshop Actions. These are plugins that automate post processing. Many are free, but the really good ones cost money. Invest in a few really good Actions. It makes everything so much easier and faster.

Learn, learn, learn

We all know about aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc. That’s the easy stuff. You need to learn about cross processing, levels, HDR and all the other cool stuff you can do with your images during the edit.

Ask People

Don’t be afraid to ask people around you if they think your photos are cool. You will soon judge their reactions. If they flip out then it’s good. If they smile nicely and tell you it’s very nice, then it’s crap. Go back to the drawing board and do it again.

Save you PSD files

Always keep the layered PSD files safe. I think I have gone back to my old photos a thousand times to re do some of them. Especially if you get some new actions or learn a new trick. Then you can take that old, mediocre photo and turn it into something special.

Benchmark

Submit your photos to something like Pixoto. The community votes for the best photos and it gives a quick and fairly objective indication if your photo is special or not. There are many flaws with the system but I only use it as a fairly crude bench marking tool to identify those images that are truly special and have potential.

Develop a style

You need your own style. That’s the most difficult part. If you’re just like everyone else then your photos won’t stand out. I can’t help you with that unfortunately. It’s something you will discover after many, many years of practice. But if you keep going, then you will get there and one day, people will start to recognize your photos. That’s when you have arrived. Until then, keep trying!

Booking online is not cheaper


With the proliferation of online travel services one can easily forgive people for thinking they are clever consumers by booking their holidays online. Online travel services including airlines aggressively punt their online booking services as the future of travel.

With online travel services I am of course referring to booking your holiday without the assistance of a travel agent. There are a myriad online travel services such as booking.com, Expedia and many other. Most hotels across the world offer direct booking to consumers through their websites. All the airlines offer direct booking through their websites as well.

It’s very easy to book your own holiday. All you need is a credit card and Internet connection and for all intents and purposes you are a travel agent. Or so you think. Here are some fallacies about booking direct.

Booking direct is cheaper

What you don’t know is that despite all the marketing hype trying to convince you otherwise, it is still much, much cheaper to book through a travel agent. The travel agent has, in most cases, preferential rates with the hotel or airline. Hotels have two sets of rates. “Rack Rates” are the rates you find on their website. If you book direct you pay Rack Rates. Travel agents get “STO” rates. STO stand for “Standard Tour Operator” Rates. The agent then adds commission and you will pay the same or less than booking direct.

So why would you book through a travel agent? Because the travel agent offers you all her expertise in exchange for the commission. The agent will do everything for you and make sure that you get what you pay for. Now, you may think that you can do that yourself but what you don’t know is that the travel agent knows the destination and knows exactly where to book and more importantly not to book.

You look at the Booking.com ratings and believe that if a hotel has a good rating then it’s safe to book with them. Unfortunately most of the reviews on these websites are fake. Created by a thriving industry created exclusively to manipulate and create fake reviews. You actually have no idea if your holiday is going to be a good holiday. By booking through a travel agent you pay the same but significantly reduce your risk.

Booking direct is safe.

If something goes wrong then what do you do? Believe me, things go wrong, all the time. The hotel burns to the ground. They have unscheduled renovations, the hotel doesn’t exist or they have double bookings and no availability. I have heard of clients arriving at the hotel (booked through Booking.com) and the hotel physically does not exist. Where it’s supposed to be is nothing but empty land.
Who do you turn to when things go wrong? Good luck calling the Internet! When things go wrong it’s a life saver to have a real person at home who can sort things out. Believe me, being stuck in some foreign country trying to find a place to stay on short notice is not a joke.

Booking direct with airlines is cheap and safe.

Go online and you will be sure to find great deals at the airlines. The problem is that the lay person has absolutely no idea what they are buying. Airline ticketing is hugely complicated. Each aircraft has a myriad of classes. These are essentially seat categories. There are many more categories than just economy class and business class. In addition there are categories for the different channels that tickets are sold through. Some tickets are refundable and others are non refundable. If you don’t have access to a GDS (global distribution system) that travel agents use you have no idea what you are buying. You may think you got a good deal only to find out that you can’t do a date change or even if you have an emergency you could end up losing all your money.

If you find a flight online that is cheap it’s normally for good reason. There are many, many potholes when buying tickets online and timing is one of them. If you need to catch connecting flights knowing the airports is very important. Some airports are so big that it can take you an hour just to get from one terminal to another. Many, many people that think they can do this without a travel agent learn the hard way that it’s not that simple.

Over the many years that I have been in the industry I have heard horror stories of clients losing large amounts of money. The biggest fallacy out there is that you can save money by booking direct. That is just not true. In fact it is almost always more expensive to book direct. You are just replacing one intermediary (the travel agent that actually does work) with another intermediary (that does absolutely nothing). At the end of the day you pay more by booking online and you don’t have access to the expertise of a travel professional.

Smart people book with travel agents.

How bad businesses kill tourism in small towns

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Good businesses do more to promote tourism in a small town than anyone else. Bad businesses destroy tourism.

Let me sketch a scenario for you. Joe saves the entire year for a holiday and decides to visit your town during the holidays. He arrives with his family full of excitement and anticipation. Before Joe decided to come to your town he researched a number of other options. He spoke to his friends and family and he asked Google as well.

So Joe decided that your town is the place where he will spend his hard earned cash. While on holiday Joe decides to take his family for breakfast. He drives around town and decides to go to Mary’s Coffee Shop. It looks nice and cozy and there are lots of people having breakfast. In no time the expectation of a great family breakfast turns into a disaster. The food is bad. The coffee is terrible and the staff have a serious attitude problem. Clearly Mary has no intention of servicing or keeping customers. What Joe didn’t know is that Mary has never run a coffee shop and doesn’t know a thing about making a good cup of coffee. Mary thought that it will be romantic to own her own coffee shop, but Mary shouldn’t own a coffee shop, ever.

This all sound too familiar don’t you think? It gets worse, because Joe has a number of these really bad experiences in your little town. There are more than 30 coffee shops and restaurants in your town and they all complain that business is bad. They seldom seem to survive past the holiday season. The next season there is another coffee shop that opens where Mary’s Coffee Shop used to be. And so the cycle continues.

What has happened here? In the first place, Joe went home feeling that he has been robbed of his idyllic holiday. The entire experience has left a bad taste in his mouth because of the bad service he received. He tells his friends and his family and instead of your little town turning Joe into a prophet, you have turned him into a terrorist. He is going around telling everyone he knows how bad your town actually is. So Joe never comes back because Joe has many, many choices. Why on earth will he come back to a place where the service is so poor?

In the meantime the towns business chamber hear about these things all the time but instead of acting, they turn a blind eye. Why? Because it’s not in the interest of the business chamber to expose businesses. The chamber collects membership fees and they won’t collect as much if they chase their customers away! So, these bad experiences are carefully swept under the carpet. Everyone in the little town knows that the emperor has no clothes, but they say and do nothing.

Top Twenty changes all that. Joe will in future search on Top Twenty for a place to eat breakfast and he will find those with the high ratings. He finds Susan’s Coffee Shop just off the main street. Susan is passionate about her business and loves serving customers. She has a high rating and many positive reviews. Now Susan gets all the business and the bad coffee shops get nothing. What happens? They don’t survive and some of them close down – for good reason. They shouldn’t have been in business in the first place. Susan on the other hand is starting to make good money and is steadily growing her business.

Bad businesses are everywhere, but in small towns they can cause enormous damage to the tourism industry of a town. Top Twenty ensures that good businesses are rewarded for good service.

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Marthinus Strydom, President of Toptwenty shares his special knowledge and insights about rural tourism on his blog at www.toptwenty.co.za. Top Twenty assists small towns and their businesses in the development and marketing of their local business communities.

Best Free Online Personal Budget Manager

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Looking for a simple and free online budget manager? Want to know within a few minutes where you are spending your money across multiple accounts? Want to regain control over your finances?

I have been looking everywhere for a simple and easy-to-use online personal budget manager. I looked at almost everyone out there and they have some serious shortcomings.

Most of them are for US users only. Many others charge a monthly or annual fee.

The biggest shortcomings are however the following:

  • Not free
  • US only
  • Complicated
  • Need a good understanding of financial management to use effectively
  • Can’t upload exported data from your bank

Budgets4dummies.com is the easiest and simplest way to manage your money. In a few simple steps you can be up and running and know exactly where you are spending your money. Budgets4dummies.com does not try and be something it’s not. It wasn’t designed by accountants because we want it to work for you, not for accountants.

It’s as simple as this:

  • Register for free in 20 seconds
  • Login
  • Upload a CSV file you get from your online banking, or create your own.
  • Categorize your transactions
  • Allocate a budget to each category
  • View your budget
  • Compare your spend across months and years
  • Identify savings opportunities
  • Manage multiple accounts with one budget. So you can have one budget for both you and your partner!

It’s as simple as that.

Give it a try. Its free.