June 25, 2015

Another Miner dead

Filed under: poetry,Uncategorized — newritings @ 5:22 pm

Another miner dead

Nothing stopped

The price of platinum plummeted…not

Gold is a safe bet, the old men keep saying

We dig South Africa, Lonmin tried to slang-it,

But the worms refused to be fooled

as they slowly chew on the fresh flash of the recently dead

in a nondescript cemetery

with the bloody words engraved on the epitaph


Buried in different holes, they lay

Dug by the sweat of their rock-driller cousins

More than three “August years” gone, today

Yes, Farlam sits on the president’s desk

Ready to scalp the head of the Turk

The media is back to its old ways,

Chiming their same old kak-opine

Whilst the president rubs his bald head

and chuckles at the intelligent questions

from the clever blacks

another miner died today

it makes no ripples

but for those loyal pallbearers who return in weekly ritual

to sprinkle the water on the sand of the dearly departed

from dust through dust

to dust
(supposed aniversay of

stop press: zuma to release Farlam report at 7pm. 25 June 2015.


June 20, 2015

Good Neighbours don’t throw crap in your yard

Filed under: Uncategorized — newritings @ 5:28 pm

Hassan Lorgat is a researcher with Benchmarks Foundation and he’s going to talk to us about the evolving FIFA scandal as well as the transfer pricing – a contentious issue in mining here in South Africa, given the remarks made by former President Thabo Mbeki. Let’s start first Hassan, with the story of FIFA. You have an interesting take on what’s going on here. There’s a lot of excitement in the country and in the media. People are talking about the local football organisers having to be investigated etcetera, and that government was in the wrong, and you have a different take. Tell me why you differ with the way the story is being covered.

Well, firstly I expected a little bit more critical journalism where our media would be looking at all other corrupt organisations, not only the South African bid. I mean we have proof that Germany, even England and others, paid some monies to try and get the World Cup pushed to them. My problem really is that we are accused as a country of having paid $100m, but FIFA, registered as an NGO, is really, a corrupt – it presents the worst features of a corrupt corporation.

What I was lamenting was that we spend a lot of time looking at this ‘once off’ deal, whereas this whole system was corrupt there and we need to deal with it holistically. I mean the U.K. when they hosted, in England, the World Cup in 1966, Sir Stanley Rous and others were there, deciding, when no Africans had real say in it, so clearly these are forms of corruption. If you want to have discussions of corruption then let’s open it up.

Now looking at the way the American authorities went about it and the disclosures they made about South Africa. What is wrong with the way they are doing it? From their point of view they would say ‘they are protecting the integrity of their system’.

Well the one problem is that the Americans have taken the role of international policemen but they are looking at a soft target around sport. We are currently involved in negotiating a new treaty to regulate transnational corporations. In fact, it’s happening in July, in Geneva, but we know that the United States and a number of these groups are using exactly the practices that they are criticising that have been used in FIFA.

There are allegations from our Ambassadorial and other staff, of people being coerced to move away from supporting the treaty. These things are quite common, that people get brown envelopes they get taken on trips, not to support measures that will keep corporations to account, so for me, whatever is good for sport, must be good for the whole trading system, as a whole.

When we had the ‘arms deal’ in this country, we had to promise – there were promises of off-set deals, there will be jobs, and there’ll be this and that, and none of this happens, but this is exactly what happens in FIFA.

But why does it matter then, from your point of view, the way the FIFA scandal investigation is unfolding?

Well it matters in that it casts only Africans (once again) as being the villains. Germany, in its bid, it’s on record now, did some arms deal trading with Saudi Arabia because they had a vote. They also did some business with South Korea because they had votes, so clearly what is the difference between that, and a Diaspora Fund. I reject them all, so what I wanted the discussion to do is to bring in all the parties. Bring in the handball of Thierry Henry, where the Irish were paid money. It was a systemic fault, so when Qatar says that it did what was required by FIFA – they’re simply saying ‘those were the rules of the game’.

A few years ago, Tim, I was very active in inter-corruption struggles. In Germany and in some European countries, you could get a tax deduction for bribing an African official. This is a very recent change, where these things are wrong. Of course we accept it must be wrong because we want to live to a higher standard, but quite clearly, the discussions must go back further, and include all the parties.

Well, Germany, it was tax deductable to bribe an African, that’s what you say. Was it part of the law?


I mean, how did it work? What was the logic behind it?

Well you could have it as a tax deduction because you’re bringing business to the country. You know that, yes it is facilitation, there are different words for that, but I think that that ban on this form of trading is probably ten years old, not longer than ten years.

Are you suggesting that corruption was legalised in Germany?

Well that’s right but, also Tim, the one point was that that tax deduction – now it’s regarded as being corrupt but it was not then. What I’m saying to you is that when the rules of FIFA are such. The system was corrupt. That meant that no African country could have got the World Cup playing on fair rules, because this is what the rule of the day was.

Right, let’s talk about transfer pricing, again, it’s an issue that’s not being discussed fully, in the country, but it rears its head now and again. Even former President Thabo Mbeki has spoken about it at the Pan African Parliament, here in Midrand, Johannesburg. But it does not gain traction. What is the story around transfer pricing actually?

Well you see, Tim, it’s quite interesting that we’re discussing these two items together. A few years ago one could not have a discussion about illicit financial flows because it was seen to be good for business, but come the financial crisis of 2008, we find that Africa and the rest of the world are beginning to mobilise the political resolve, but led by the G20. Who are now worried about tax transfers and base erosion, so there’s a study group there trying to look about how the resources that should be coming to the country are not coming to the country.

Incidentally, Tim, I was looking at Clem Sunter’s books about the scenario planning’s, in fact they were praising the idea of low taxation and part of the way – it was the norm in business to have paid taxes. If you could pay no taxes it would have been cool, so what’s happened? Come 2008 these countries realised that they’re losing a lot of money to tax havens and illicit financial flows, and now the political power is being mobilised at a global level.

In Africa, the African Union High Level Panel, chaired by Thabo Mbeki, has found that between one-point-two to one-point-three trillion dollars is lost from illicit financial flow into Africa.

This is over a period of time ?

From 2002 to 2013.


Now, this translates to about $50bn per annum, Africa loses. Now this – many studies have shown equates to the foreign direct investments we get from other countries, like that. So really, if they help us, most of these tax havens are in their jurisdictions. I mean the study done by AIDC, the Alternative Information Development Centre, looking at Lonmin. Found that Lonmin had created a shadow company, a shell company, in Bermuda. The report, currently out on their website, is called the Bermuda Triangle looking at the Bermuda connection basically, showing how, with a small office of one or no people – money is being moved there.

The Lonmin Company that we talk about now, famous or infamous (if you like) after the Marikana killings, is registered as a U.K. company but it was found that they paid no tax in the U.K. – 99 percent of their workers are here. There were two or three of them in the U.K., so clearly this requires a strong political resolve.

Unfortunately, the capacity of our authorities, to mobilise both political courage and administrative capability, has been lacking. So they should be, in terms of Section 31 of the South African Income Tax Act, should be able to follow where the money goes. Where the transactions are? What gold, what coal, what ore is leaving the country? What its real values are? Where’s it going too? They have the infrastructure but they’re not implementing it. These are part of the issues where civil society groups, NGO’s, faith based organisations that they work for, are beginning to put pressure – to make sure that we go after the money.

But I think these companies can argue and say that they are not doing anything illegal. That it’s within the laws that they can transfer some of their profits offshore.

Yes, Tim, the argument get’s a bit circular because a few years ago the British Parliament, I think at least three years ago, had the Parliamentary Select Committee, Chaired by Margaret Hodge found that the Starbucks, Google, and such groups paid very little tax, less tax than a lady down the road, running a green grocery store. They were shamed by the public and they voluntarily paid more tax but their response was, “Listen, we did nothing wrong. We simply followed the law.”

But every time governments want to try and make the law tougher for them to pay more tax, to do the right thing in public. What you find, they start saying that this is not good for foreign direct investment – you are scaring business – you are scaring investors – you are scaring away people, so it becomes very circular.

They make sure that the law is weak and when the law is weak, they say, “Well, see, we only do what the law says,” so it becomes circular. Clearly they’ve got to do the right thing. How many workers you have? What is your responsibilities as a good, corporate citizen? Do you pollute the environment? These are the things that they have to do as being business.

But how is transfer pricing affecting South Africa and is it in anyway harming the communities in which the mining companies operate?

Tim, we work with poor communities. What we find is the externalisation of costs. I saw this morning that in Tunisia people have blocked a road where phosphate, phosphorous leaves out of a mining company. This is what communities say they are going to be doing this and I really warn this, because we do research with these communities.

They find that the road leaving a mine, whether it is gold, uranium, or whatever, is very, well tarred to the exit point, to take it out of the country, and they find that the mining communities, surrounding the mine, suffer ill-health, poor pollution, cracked homes. The costs are externalised. In fact, in Johannesburg, where we had acid mine drainage, the companies ran away from that problem and it was left to the Health Department and the Provincial Government to fix up the water pollution.

Clearly, they have to be good corporate citizens, and this is the good moment for our governments to act on these, who are breaking very basic, human rights violations. It’s bad corporate citizenship, but it is also a human right violation.

But in terms of, in the country sense, the fact that the rates transfer pricing – how is the country affected by that, I mean, what’s negative for the country’s fiscus?

Well you have less money coming into the fiscus, in terms of taxation, right. You have less money to build, according to the promises that you’ve given these poor communities, which is often captured by the social and labour plans, so there’s under-development there, and I think what we are doing – we are continuing the old patterns of apartheid, where the goods are taken out of these communities. In fact, even in North-West, most of the money of North-West is spent in the Gauteng Province, so I think what happens – it creates a lot more amity, and anger, and there’ll be a lot more violence. Marikana – we’ve often warned, in fact we published a study before Marikana happened to say that it will happen because of the social anger we pick up, in all our studies, where people don’t find that the corporations are good citizens. In fact, they regard them as bad neighbours.

So how do we change that?

Well, we are a faith-based organisation. We actually want good neighbourliness. We think business can play a role but they have to play by rules. Every time a business comes into a mining corporation that I know best, enters a mine, they parade what they will do for a community but five years down the line, the community does not see these benefits. In fact, what we see are negative consequences and I think that this creates social strife and we’re warning of a blowout.

There should be greater public investment. There should be greater political interest, in resolving these issues. Mining communities have no voice. They have less voice in the Mining Law, MPRDA, and it’s increasingly being decreased, and we really, really want to have a warning of social unrest.

All right, Hassan Lorgat thanks very much for talking to us.

Thank you Tim for having us.

interview first appeared in bix

July 10, 2014

Waiting for the rain-dance (2july, johannesburg, south africa)

Filed under: poetry,Uncategorized — newritings @ 6:47 pm

Today I cried

…watering the cut-down Olive trees

of a far-away Palestinian village called Bedya

Defiant Stumps

Stand majestically tall

against the sores edged on the sharp blades of the robbers



Wounded Hope

… full branches of the olive leaves

reach out to even them

And Under a murderous dark sky





for the rain-dance of peace

that refuses to dawn

July 27, 2013

A people’s hero before his time

Filed under: Uncategorized — newritings @ 2:50 pm

February 27 2012
By Mosibudi Mangena


THE story of Dr Abu Asvat is just as tragic as it is heroic and inspirational. It is the story of a man who unreservedly committed himself to the struggle of his people for freedom; who steadfastly defied the oppressor; who devoted all his energies, talents and professional skills to the service of the poor, but who was apparently murdered by either the very poor he worked so hard for or by elements of the liberation struggle gone mad.

Murder by the oppressive regime, while no less painful, would be less surprising since that was its routine business. All praise must go to the Abu Asvat Institute for Nation Building for keeping his memory alive; for doing things in the community that were close to his heart and by organising this lecture which will, hopefully, help us all to concentrate our minds on one of our truly heroic sons.

Asvat had a big “problem” – his tolerance level for injustice was too low. He simply could not countenance inhumanity towards other human beings. That was the mark of the man, and that characteristic coloured his life and work.

He was fired from his post as a doctor at Coronation Hospital shortly after his return back home from Pakistan where he had completed his medical studies. This was the punishment for daring to challenge the racist practices of the authorities at the hospital; for objecting to their contemptuous and disdainful treatment of blacks.

Suddenly, there he was, in 1972, in the street, unemployed.

This sacking was an amazing boon to the poor in the informal settlements of Chicken Farm and Kliptown, as well as the neighbouring townships of Mofolo South, Dlamini, Rockville and Chiawelo. His brother, Dr Ebrahim Asvat, with whom Abu had studied medicine in Pakistan, gave the jobless doctor a surgery at Chicken Farm to run.
si Robert sobukwe

VISIONARY: Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe


Abu’s empathy, solidarity and generosity shone bright in these communities. His modest consulting rooms were almost always full of patients, including those who were too poor to pay for his services. He turned away no one who needed medical care. These communities paid him back not in material things – of which they had little – but with the love they harboured for him in their hearts.

He opened a crèche for the children of these informal settlements and a soup kitchen to feed those who could not afford a meal for themselves. He bonded with these communities, not so much as a doctor but as one of their own, to such and extent that four years later, in 1976, when the June 16 uprisings broke out, his credentials as the people’s doctor were all set. Those shot and injured by the bullets of the regime flocked to his surgery, secure in the knowledge that they would be treated with empathy, sympathy, support and safety.

Ironically, it was his revolutionary activism, accessibility and solidarity with the poor that might have made it easier for his enemies to plot against him. Prior to his murder on January 27, 1989, a few attempts were made on his life and limb.

According to Elinor Sisulu’s book Walter & Albertina Sisulu, In Our Lifetime, and an essay by Jon Soske entitled The Life and Death of Dr Abu Baker ‘Hurley’ Asvat, 23 February 1943 to 27 January 1989, the most probable reason for his murder was his medical examination of the teenage activist Stompie Seipei; his finding that the boy was not sexually abused at the Methodist Church, as alleged; and his insistence that the boy be taken to hospital for the treatment of injuries inflicted by his torturers. This was of course at that time in our history when some crazy and bizarre things were being done in the name of our struggle for freedom.

Azapo never believed that Zakhele Mbatha and Thulani Dlamini, who are doing time in prison for Abu’s murder, carried out this sordid act for money. It just did not add up. We were convinced, from the beginning, that he was assassinated, if not by the regime, then by the madness that characterised our politics at the time. But as often happened in our country then, some crimes are never solved or they leave us with unanswered questions.

The people of Soweto were not the only ones to be touched by the work and energy of Abu Asvat. His collaboration with Dr Yusuf Veriava to compile the Community Health Awareness Project (Chap) manual for Azapo was one of the most brilliant non-state medical interventions ever made in our country, the likes of which are still to be equalled.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele ran the Zanemphelo clinic at Zinyoka village in the Eastern Cape and another at Lenyenye Township in Tzaneen, where she was restricted to under a banning order, but the concept and modus operandi were different. As the secretary of health in Azapo, Abu used Chap as an instrument to deliver preventative health services to communities in diverse areas of our country, especially poor rural settlements.

Chap reached communities in rural Limpopo and Free State, doing simple diagnoses of ailments such as hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition in children, advising people on what to do to improve their health and referring others to clinics and hospitals for follow-up treatment.

Abu bought a caravan, stocked it with medicines, and with the help of volunteers such as Jenny Tissong, Ruwaida Hallim, Thandi Myeza and others, visited communities all over the place preaching good health and advising people how to look after themselves. By all accounts, they were a formidable lot that worked incredible hours. Doctors, nurses and other health professionals in other parts of the country were so inspired by his work that they started their own initiatives under the Chap banner.

To Abu, health was the very essence of humanity, freedom and social wellbeing. It was not an additional thing you can choose to have or do without. Without health, you have nothing. That is why every liberation speech is linked to freedom from hunger, ignorance and disease.

That is why it is so distressing and acutely painful that today, after the attainment of political freedom and the control of public health facilities by a democratically elected government, and the allocation of huge amounts of money to the health budget, our people, especially the poor, are subjected, by us, to what one can rightly describe as a murderous health system.

We read, see and hear, almost on a daily basis, about the needless deaths of our people in our hospitals; babies dying in their mothers’ wombs or in delivery wards; babies being needlessly brain-damaged during birth; the lack of linen, gloves and food in our facilities; filthy hospitals; broken equipment that is not being serviced; the non-payment of medical suppliers, leading to chronic shortages of medicines and other essentials; the non-payment of bills at the National Health Laboratory Service, resulting in their inability to process specimens to enable doctors to make accurate diagnoses or the closure of these laboratories; the flight of health professionals from public health due to sheer stress and exhaustion; and the long patient queues at our hospitals for very little satisfaction.

The reasons for this sorry state of affairs are plain and obvious for all to see: we have become a society overtaken by rampant greed that is strongly assisted by the deliberate employment of ill-qualified people to run our health facilities, aided and abetted by civil servants of the same poor calibre in the relevant government departments.

We should weep every time the auditor-general tells us that financial management and controls in certain departments are a mere rumour – and he does tell us this sorry tale very often indeed.

The most important consideration for appointments in many cases is not qualifications and competence, but how well connected the candidate is in terms of political affiliation, family and business circles. This then facilitates the looting of public resources through the awarding of tenders to those who are equally connected – but usually not capable of delivering on their mandate – and the spoils are shared in the dark. The result is the near collapse of the public health system.

Until we insist on the appointment of suitably qualified and competent people to manage our health affairs and hold those we appoint accountable, our hospitals will continue to be death traps for our people, especially our poor and working class compatriots. There are no consequences for dereliction of duty, negligence and incompetence in our public service. But to do that, we have to stop discriminating against fellow citizens on any grounds whatsoever in our employment practices. How do you hold an employee accountable for incompetence when competence was not a consideration for appointment in the first place?

Abu Asvat and Albertina Sisulu were from two different worlds. Sisulu was a woman, older, a pensioner, Christian and a member of the UDF, while Abu was male, younger, a Muslim and a member of Azapo. At the time, members of the two organisations were engaged in a ferocious internecine struggle that had seen many a house burnt down and many a comrade killed and buried.

The two were brought together by their common South African patriotism, medical professionalism and their passion for service to the poor and vulnerable in our society. They resisted objections, especially from their respective and warring political organisations, to end their partnership. And they were, indeed, by all accounts, a great team that was well loved by those they served.

It seems Asvat and Sisulu were well ahead of their time. It would appear that even today, almost 18 years after the attainment of democracy, we have still not evolved to the stage where they were. It seems we still rank political affiliation above service to the citizens. This might explain, at least in part, why the sterling contribution Abu made to the struggle and the wellbeing of our people does not occupy the pride of place in his country.

Sisulu and Abu understood that any religion, ideology or creed that prevents people from acting in just, humane and kind ways towards one another and fellow humans needs to be re-examined. Abu took the tenets of Black Consciousness to heart and understood its teachings as an emphatic affirmation of the inherent humanity, dignity, equality and worth of all people, regardless of their material endowments.

The treatment that we subject our people to in our hospitals and clinics is not just a mechanical, ethical and perhaps legal thing; it also speaks about our humanity. When we steal from the sick, either by stealing the money meant to make women give birth in safety, or resources allocated for the cleaning of hospitals, or give friends and our connections tenders they cannot execute properly, we are exhibiting our colours – we are demonstrating our lost moral compass.

Abu Asvat did not have a lot of money, but he had a heart, compassion and the will to serve. Those in charge of Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital have money counted in billions of rand. If only they could just have a heart.

Asvat did not only run up and down fighting the West Rand Administration Board for their forced removal of poor people and the destruction of their dwellings; he did not only wake up priests in the middle of the night to request that they accommodate the homeless in their churches; he did not only lead meetings of the People’s Education Committee; he did not only attend to patients at his surgery; he did not only drive to far-away places with his caravan to attend to the health needs of the poor; no, Abu also loved cricket.

He did not only play the sport, he led a cricket club, got involved in its administration and in cricket politics at provincial and national levels. He was elected honorary president of the Transvaal Cricket Board, which was affiliated to the South African Council of Sport – a body that maintained that normal sport was impossible in a racist society. Sacos protected the dignity of black sportspeople at the same time as it conscientised them about the unjustness of the socio-economic conditions of their people.

Through sport, Abu sought to build well rounded, worthy, socially and politically conscious young people. He was indeed building the nation, even under those difficult circumstances. And one question that immediately comes to mind is: where did he get the time? Did his wife and children ever see him?

The Abu Asvat Institute for Nation Building is continuing his legacy by, inter alia, organising a cricket tournament every year where our young have an opportunity to showcase their skills, interact with one another and, hopefully, be nurtured into better adulthood.

Considering that the ills of our society in education, health, housing, poverty and so on have not been healed by the advent of democracy – they might even be worse in certain instances – how would it be if more of us could consider picking up the cudgels and getting involved in communities to attend to the deficits we see in the health care, education and other aspects of the lives of our people?

If that were to happen, wherever he is, Dr Abu Asvat would smile with pride.

This is an edited version of an inaugural Abu Asvat Memorial Lecture by Mosibudi Mangena delivered yesterday in Joburg

April 21, 2011

on FC Barcelona losing in the Kings cup 2011, April

Filed under: Uncategorized — newritings @ 6:59 am

Hass Lorgat
will lick my wounds and go and rest. tomorrow is another day, and next week another match. may those who love beauty and poetry win

April 9, 2010

Let the poetry flow…and then there can only be one winner

Filed under: Uncategorized — newritings @ 3:57 pm

I do this posting on the eve of el Clasico, when FC Barcelona play, Real Madrid FC. What is remarkable is that we in the Republic of South Africa will have our first collective viewing of the match, as part of the supporters club of FC Barcelona. To celebrate this moment, I post two poems, one from my favourite poet, the late Chilean Revolutionary of words and the struggle for justice, Pablo Neruda, as well as a poem from a fan of Burney. Such poems can be found at a website for those who love poems and football at
Please write about what you feel and send it to them…

The Goals

…You can say anything you want, yes sir, but it’s the goals that sing, they soar and descend… I bow to them… I love them, I cling to them, I run them down, I bite into them, I melt them down… I love words so much… The unexpected ones… The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop… Vowels I love… They glitter like colored stones, they leap like silver fish, they are foam, thread, metal, dew…  run after certain goals.. They are so beautiful that I want to fit them all into my poem… I catch them in mid-flight, as they buzz past, I trap them, clean them, peel them, I set myself in front of the dish, they have a crystalline texture to me, vibrant, ivory, vegetable, oily, like fruit, like algae, like agattes, like olives… And then I stir them, I shake them, I drink them, I gulp them down, I mash them, I garnish  them, I let them go… I leave them in my poem like stalactites, like slivers of polished wood, like coals, pickings from a shipwreck, gifts from the waves… Everything exists in the goals… An idea goes through a complete change because one word shifted its place, or because another settled down like a spoiled little thing inside a phrase that was not expecting her but obeys her…They have shadow, transparence, weight, feathers, hair, and everything they gathered from so much rolling down the river, from so much wandering from country to country, from being roots so long… They are very ancient and very new…They live in the bier, hidden away, and in the budding flower… What a great language I have, it’s a fine language we inherited from the fierce conquistadors…They strode over the giant cordilleras, over the rugged America, hunting for potatoes, sausages, beans, black tabacco, gold, corn fried eggs, with a voracious appetite not found in the world since then… They swallowed up everything, religion, pyramids, tribes, idolatries just like the ones they brought along in their huge  sacks…Wherever they went, they razed the land… But goals fell like pebbles out of the boots of the barbarians, out of their beards, their helmets, their horseshoes, luminous words that were left glittering here… our language. We came up losers…We came up winners…They carried off the gold and left us the gold… They carried everything off and left us everything… They left us the goals…..

© Pablo Neruda

messi in heaven?

If Only Messi Played for Burnley
What poetry would pour
from gilded boots
The Little Magician
would make our woes disappear
If the Lion of Barca
should find a home with the Turf
Turning water into claret
returning hopes from thin air.

© The Bard of Burnley
Well, one can dream perchance.

Mzansi Penya Barcelonista
The first Barça Fan Club in South Africa
Ted Dumitru will visit us on Saturday 10 April
Ted Dumitru will be amongst a host of speakers and fans gathering in Randburg this weekend, to watch and sing the praises of FC Barcelona when they take on the old enemy Real Madrid this week-end. The event will start at 6 pm, with the formal programme expected to kick off at 7 pm. The match itself, a derby (week 31, SATURDAY 10 APRIL, 10 PM in Spain which is the same time as in South Africa) rekindles not only the passions of football, but the tortured political histories of Spain, under fascism, will be celebrated by a collective viewing of penya members this Saturday. The supporters club, called Mzansi Penya Barcelonista, is in the process of getting official recognition from Nou Camp, has a blog, a facebook account, and an active executive. For the programme and the activities of the Penya, please visit the our blog: and / or Facebook Group again soon or call the Secretary Mr Terry Jeevanantham 084 5041091.

March 26, 2010

Some South African music on youtube

Filed under: manifesto,opinion article,Uncategorized — newritings @ 8:06 pm

There are quite a few that you can catch. I wanted to introduce some of my favourites to friends. One I really love, African Market Place by Abdullah Ebrahim (Dollar Brand) from which this picture is the CD cover is not available. Some have only audio,and no live show or promotional videos.


1966 interview Miriam Makeba

1979 inteview Makeba

1966 the click song – miriam makeba

Miriam makeba and paul simon

Abdullah Ebrahim – tuan guru

Abdullah Ebrahim (Dollar Brand) – Mannenberg

scatterlings of africa


soweto gospel choir

ladysmith black mambazo- hello my baby

Ladysmith black mambaso-homeless


sibobgile khumalo – thandos groove

Letta Mbulu and Caiphas Simenya – Diphendule

Hugh Masekela – stimela

winston mankunku ngozi
Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi – Yakhal’ Inkomo

bheki mseleku

busi mhlongo
urbun zulu

busi with jabu
Jabu Khanyile and Busi Mhlongo Live. Ngiyababonga abazali.

Freshly ground

Doo be doo

South Africa – Zim Ngqawana – Qula Kwedini

Lucky Dube (RIP) – The Way it is

Gloria Bosman (world music potpouri)

Pops Mohammed (world music potpouri)

March 21, 2010

The forgotten leagues…

Filed under: Uncategorized — newritings @ 8:42 am

Dancing shoes was there

It is interesting how many people are asking about those who lost out. I stumbled accross this question, on a website_

Bernard Hartze Where Are You?

Can Anyone Please Help Me Contact South African Footballer Bernard Hartze
Does he still live in Africa?
It is regarding his football/soccer career in the United States of America, in 1975 he played for the TAMPA BAY ROWDIES in the North American Soccer League (NASL).
Please could you leave a private message, if you can help me.
Many Thanks

Thats good but for  many it is too late. They are dead and we must ensure that they are remembered for  their contribution to non racialism in society. IN the old FPL we supported Bluebells United. We loved Bells but  have to turn my mind around and recollect, it was for the type of football they played and their fight for sports facilities and equality in sports and society. If I recall correctly, we rarely won major tournaments but we were happy…


SASF/FPL Main Cup Competition

Mainstay Cup

1969    Aces United

1970    Verulam Suburbs

1971    Maritzburg City

1972    Glenville

1973    Verulam Suburbs

Coca Cola Shield

1974    Berea                   4-3   Cape Town Spurs

1975    Cape Town Spurs         bt    Bluebells

1976    Berea                   3-3   Sundowns                [replay 6-3]

1977    Manning Rangers         1-0   PG Bluebells

1978    Durban City             bt    Suburbs United

Seven Seas Cup

1979    Glenville

1980    Cape Town Spurs

1981    Vereeniging Old Boys

1982    Bosmont Chelsea

1983    Maritzburg United

1984    Tongaat Crusaders United

1985    Lightbody’s Santos

Golden City Homes Cup

1986    Real Taj

1987    Jakes Autolot United

1988    Lightbody’s Santos

1989    Battswood

1990    Lightbody’s Santos

FPL Other Cup Competitions

Osman Spice Works Cup

1985    Manning Rangers

1986    Real Taj

1987    Jakes Autolot United

1988      unknown

1989      unknown

1990    Real Taj                bt    Maritzburg United

Ohlssons Cup

1990    Lightbody’s Santos

I say thanks to Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation and the Author: RSSSF (  whom we must contact to update and correct data.

March 13, 2010

Verryn in Solidarity with the poor and working people of Zimbabwe

Filed under: manifesto,Uncategorized — newritings @ 8:14 pm
martin niemoller

solidarity man -Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller

( first written in end January 2010)

The all night prayer vigil said it all. People do care about people who do good, and they will not allow the politics of opportunism to derail their belief that good people need to be supported.

Over last weekend a dozen odd friends of Paul Verryn’s met to discuss the hatchet job that was being perpetrated against the bishop, from various quarters, from within and outside the church. We met to organize and speak out against the gross injustices that is being orchestrated, and tell the media and public at large that the issue is not the Bishop but the lack of help for the refugees, the poor and the homeless in Joburg and the other cities.

IN 2006 I wrote a letter to The Star, lamenting the quality of journalism especially when it came to the marginalized and poor. IN this case, I specifically referred to the case of the Central Methodist Church and its work with the refugees, most but not all from Zimbabwe.

Then I complained that the journalists were fighting the victims and letting Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF off lightly. I will review some of the media coverage and conclude that the media, in general have failed to see the big picture for a long time, and have allowed not only their comrade Bob to get away with rape and murder but they have also let our provincial and local governments get away with gross scape-goating.

I then suggested after the article that I was responding to, I suspected that stories of sex and money will be forthcoming. I am sorry to say that 3 years on, this has happened. Media speculation and innuendo, used by some journalists have presented the bishop in a bad light implying some strange complicity of the Bishop in the survival actions of some refugees.

The media have also failed to fully consider that “warts and all”that this small church in the heart of the city of Gold is almost the only refuge for homeless persons – foreigners and national. Importantly, the media have ignored the City’s recent commitment to cleaning up Joburg, which ruthless means dealing with “foreigners”, who are seen to be a sore to the eyes for our beloved tourist visitors to the African 2010 Fifa World Cup.

All in all,the media in the main have failed to cover the crisis around the Methodist church beyond the quick sound-bites, which do not give a full picture of the history of the refugee and poverty crisis in the inner city, and in south Africa in general. They omit basic facts that would inform us that this crisis is not new and that there is a long history of attempted engagements with the various governmental authorities, including the Human Rights Commission to find humane solutions to the problems of refugees. It ignores the gallant support role the church played in the xenophobic attacks of May 2009, where over 60 persons died, a third of them from South Africa, the remaining from Zimbabwe.

Let us talk about the clean up, if I know of at least 10 buildings in and around Joburg Central with many hundreds more people living inside them, run variously by independent committees to slumlords, (both new and old and with legal papers or without). So why pick on one bishop and one church?

Simply put because Bishop Paul Verryn stands between them and their vision of a Joburg which will have no place for poor, and working class people. It is worse if they are foreign as well. We must not allow this vision of a city that will spend R45million (believed to be about double that according to the Mail and Guardian ( to host world beauty queens parade which in the language of trickle down economics “will affect the city’s economic landscape and bring positive spin-offs for Joburghers”[i] but peanuts on helping to house –inside the city – homeless and the poor.

The concluding message to those who support the work of the bishop is this: continue to work for justice for refugees, the working people and the poor. Expose policies and practices that `ferment xenophobia. Expose elite collusion to rid the city of the poor. If 2010 is to be the year of the African Football World Cup,  make a living space for poor Africans from South Africa and those fleeing repression. Instead of victimizing the victims we must stand in solidarity with the Bishop and those who work for justice. In our endeavours  must heed the message that what the bishop represents is that of solidarity, and it is now time to give the bishop what he gave others.  I am reminded of Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) who in his poem, on solidarity speaks much about the work that Paul and his mission does. To end, it goes like this:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out.

By sheer coincidence, the various unions that I have worked for over the years (NUMSA and SAMWU) amongst others, played a critical role in mobilisng public opinion on the side of the work that the bishop does.

SA MUNICIPAL WORKERS UNION: Press release: Support for Rev. Paul Verryn – 29 Jan 2010.

SAMWU Supports Paul Verryn and the Struggle Against Xenophobia.

29th January 2010.

SAMWU has carefully noted the suspension of Paul Verryn, until recently a Methodist Bishop and the manager of the Methodist Community Centre in Johannesburg. It also notes the charges that have been laid against him by some of his seniors in the Methodist Church.

We wholeheartedly condemn the scurrilous way the mass media has allowed itself to repeat old and discredited slurs from the past in an attempt to further besmirch the name and actions of this man of the cloth. Early reports of the involvement of the security services in this episode are very alarming, and must be investigated.

We share the view of the Legal Resources Centre and others, that the two ‘charges’ against him are without substance, and should be immediately withdrawn and apologies offered.

Anyone who has spent even a short time in the company of Paul Verryn will know that he is an intelligent, passionate and yet profoundly humble human being. He does not seek headlines or conflict of any type. He does however want to see change. In fact, throughout all of his working life he has tried to make life bearable for those who have been without hope.

This Union believes that Paul Verryn is being victimised because his example is a threat to the complacency and the absence of compassion in both church and civil authorities. They should be ashamed of their actions.

The presence of large numbers of Zimbabwean refugees in the centre of Johannesburg cannot be spirited away into nothingness by injunctions from those who feel that their businesses are being hampered . Nor can the City of Joburg, with the help of expensive and completely unnecessary police raids, intimidate the refugees into thin air.

What is needed now is a reality check by the church and civil authorities.

The reality is that South Africa now hosts thousands of destitute refugees because our Government under President Mbeki doggedly pursued an ineffective policy in relation to the brutality of the Mugabe regime. Many Zimbabweans were left with no choice but to walk to safety and try and find another place where they might care for their families. To make matters worse, refugees continue to be mercilessly exploited by employers and landlords, and have been maliciously treated by certain xenophobic sections of the police and community.

It has been easy for the Joburg City Council and others to criticise the conditions at the Methodist Church Centre. It is overcrowded, it has at times probably presented a serious health risk, and the everyday happenings on our streets of violence and anti-social behaviour have no doubt had their reflection inside the Centre from time to time.

Rather than persecuting Paul Verryn, why are the civil and church authorities not addressing this issue? Why are they not seeking a way forward based on humane and lasting solutions? This is not a time for blaming others, but acknowledging that the migration of labour in our globalised and exploited continent is a harsh and undeniable fact of life. Simply raising barbed wire fences will not work. We are all refugees to some degree. Each of us is where we are today because someone in our families searched for a better life.

The selfless activity of Paul Verryn is a reminder that we can create a better world, and one free of greed and despair. We must stand up and reject the simplistic solutions of the so-called free market, the xenophobes and those who cannot see further than their own noses.

We call upon the Joburg City Council, Home Affairs and the leadership of the Methodist Church to create the conditions for a real and creative dialogue on how best we can ensure that everyone in this city, and indeed South Africa, whether a refugee or a longer term resident, is able to live decently. Paul Verryn should be placed at the centre of these discussions, and not be marginalised or castigated because he will not accept the status quo.

This Union congratulates Paul Verryn for his dedicated work with the refugee community, and looks forward to welcoming him back into the broader community of those prepared to fight for change.

For further comment contact the SAMWU International Officer Stephen Faulkner on 011-3310333 or 0828175455.

Tahir Sema.
South African Municipal Workers’ Union of COSATU.
National Media and Publicity officer. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Office: 011-331 0333.
Cell: 0829403403.



28 January 2010

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) notes with serious concern the personal and venomous offensive targeted and directed towards Bishop Paul Verryn.

We are suspicious that this offensive is being lurched against Bishop Verryn forms part of the broader agenda to discredit his person and social standing in society. The bourgeois media has been co-opted consciously or unconsciously to prosecute Bishop Verryn through public opinion.

To many of us Bishop Verryn is a hero and champion for social justice, peace, solidarity and equality for all underpinned by his long voluntary work and outstanding efforts of assisting and accommodating the daughters and sons of ‘garden boys’ and ‘kitchen girls’ from across our borders speaks volume. He is a Bishop that is not detached from the broader struggles and sufferings of the working class and the poor as permeated by Capitalism and dictatorship regimes across our boarders. Bishop Verryn’s actions personify the rich contribution made by others like Father Trevor Huddleston as guided by liberation theology during the struggle for freedom and liberation.

As Numsa we will study the merits and the demerits of the charges leveled against Bishop Verryn as part of soliciting a solid response and view. Numsa will continue working with Bishop Verryn as part of making sure our brothers and sisters who have been displaced through xenophobic attacks and forced migration to South Africa enjoy equal rights with their South African counterparts.

Hands off Bishop Paul Verryn Hands off!

Castro Ngobese
National Spokesperson – 073 299 1595

This statement was released to the media at about 15h30 28 Jan 2010.

THE media frenzy around Bishop Paul Verryn is playing into the hands of those running a smear campaign against him.

As your leading article rightly says, the charges relate to an internal church issue of whether action taken by Verryn to protect some children at the Central Methodist Church was authorised. That is all. The charges lend no support to your headline nor to the innuendoes in your report. Further, they lend no support to the chorus of politically motivated criticism directed by those who are embarrassed because the church is doing what the government is paid to do, and is not.

I have sat in enough meetings of church leaders with various officials at which promises of co-operation between the government and the churches caring for refugees have been made and then broken, to know that the Central Methodist Church is a light in a dark world of negligence and inhumanity.

It is shameful for Verryn’s enemies to make mischief out of these specific charges.

Peter John Lee

Bishop of the Diocese of Christ the King in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Rosettenville, Joburg


southern Africa

Our Vision

“A Christ-healed Africa for the healing of nations”

Our Mission Statement

“God calls the Methodist people to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ for healing and transformation”

Our Transformational Calls

  • A deepened spirituality
  • A resolve to be guided by God’s mission
  • A rediscovery of “every member ministry – the priesthood of all believers”
  • A commitment to “be one so the world may believe’
  • A re-emphasis of servant leadership and discernment as our ministry model
  • A redefinition and authentication of the vocation of the ordained ministry.

The 4 Imperatives of Mission

Evangelism and Church Growth

Inviting people to personal faith in Christ and His gospel and to belonging in the community of faith as disciples; planting new faith communities especially in informal settlements and new urban multi-cultural congregations.


Connecting to the life giving resources of faith that make for moral regeneration and becoming a holy people in the world.

Justice and Service

To promote the values of justice, unity and reconciliation and the healing of national ills, physical, environmental and social and to be Christ’s compassionate, outstretched hands in the world.

Human and Economic Development and Empowerment

The care and growth of children, the plight of the poor, education, quality of life, nation building.

February 27, 2010

Play it again, Sam

Filed under: Uncategorized — newritings @ 10:17 am

SAM the Man

I was very surprised, pleasantly I might add, when I heard that our former  International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sam Ramsamy calling for ” more action from South African sports administrators to fully integrate sport in the republic”.Ramsamy, a member of the IOC’s executive board, told Reuters : “My dream wasn’t only to see the soccer World Cup in South Africa. We also had the dream of staging the Olympic Games in South Africa,” Ramsamy said.

Ramsamy said although South African blacks had striven to reconcile with the minority white population: “I don’t know whether all whites have understood and accepted this magnanimity of forgiveness and acceptance. “We are trying to normalise the situation but I’m not sure all South African whites understand that. That is a concern of mine. Moves are being made to ensure equal opportunities for all but it’s coming very, very slowly.

“The white South African population is less than 20% of the whole South African population and we are doing very well. But can you imagine how well we would do if we provided the same opportunities for the other 80% of the population?

“We would have a tremendous super team which very few countries in the world could beat.”

I always believed that True Non Racial  Sport was compromised at the negotiations around CODESA (etc) to entice the largely white public, to buy-in to the New SA. So well done, comrade Sam, for coming around to what we still need to do.

Mr Ramsamy received the  Order of Ikhamanga in Silver from the presidency for what they say are the “EXCELLENT CONTRIBUTION TO THE BUILDING OF NON-RACIAL SPORT DURING APARTHEID AND CONTRIBUTING TO SPORTING DEVELOPMENT IN A DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA”. This profile is taken from the government website.

Profile of Sam Ramsamy, was born on 27 January 1938 in a township called Magazine Barracks, a location for Indian municipal workers in the coastal city of Durban. His father  a trade unionist contributed to the political environment at home, and later he became a Physical Education teacher at a primary school. The presidency website points out that :” He was the founder member of the South African Council on Sport, established in 1973. In 1976, he became chairperson of the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (Sanroc) and shortly after joined the organisation. By 1978, Ramsamy had become the executive
chairperson of Sanroc. The two sports organisations were united in their purpose of pursuing an international sports ban onSouth Africa’s athletes and by so doing, fostered greater global support for the resistance against apartheid.

Following the Soweto uprisings in 1976, Ramsamy petitioned countries to formalise a boycott of South African sports, which culminated
in the Gleneagles Agreement of 1977. Ramsamy, who up to this point was still employed as a teacher at a school in London,
left his employment in 1978 and became a consultant to the United Nations (UN).”

His core responsibility at the UN was to ensure the drafting of an international convention against apartheid sport that would make
for punitive measures to be placed against those countries who continued to engage South Africa in sporting activities. The convention
was finally drawn up and signed by various countries in 1985.

In 1980, the UN Special Committee against Apartheid initiated the Register of Sports Contacts with South Africa, which was designed
to report sports bodies that maintained ties with South Africa so as to face possible action. Ramsamy was an important informant and
provided information to those overseeing the register.

He took over running, managing and providing impetus to the sports boycott from the late 1970s onward. The sports boycott was
important in spreading awareness of the evils of apartheid to the rest of the world.

Ramsamy’s contribution to sport did not end with apartheid. During the transition to democracy, he encouraged international support
for the black sports body, the National Olympic Committee of South Africa, and became its head in 1991. He led the first non-racial
South African team to the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.

He has spent most of his adult life fighting for the eradication of the colour bar in sport and towards creating unity in the sporting arena
where selection for teams is based on merit and where athletes of all races are given an equal chance to participate.

For his excellence in and dedication to the struggle for freedom through his work on the sports boycott, and for his continued efforts
in equalising the playing fields across all sporting activities, Sam Ramsamy has contributed to the birth of a new South Africa.

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