#TheDress that went viral

Original image of #TheDress posted by Canadian singer

Original image of #TheDress posted by Canadian singer

If you have been on the internet the past two days you would have come across #Thedress. Certainly it is one of the weirdest topics to go viral on the web this year. So the dress is blue and black or white and gold does it matter. One important thing #TheDress highlights that the internet has connected people and this connected community of people will talk about anything. Down here in Africa jokes were going around about #TheDress in Office tea rooms. I found it hard to explain to my friends what #Thedress story was about though, the whole thing just sounded silly when I was halfway to explaining the story. For the manufacturers of #TheDress Roman Originals this was no silly matter sales on #Thedress are reported to have increasing by as much as 347%. #Thedress currently sales for $50 and Roman Originals intends to make #TheDress in white and gold although for now it is only available in blue and black.

The Dress supplied by Romans Originals for $50

The Dress supplied by Romans Originals for $50

The judged man

Here is an unedited extract of a fantasy novel that is screaming out to come out of my head.  For now I call the story ” The judged man”

Blog 1“We stood gazing at the setting sun with the valley to our back. Our legs were sore and our feet were full of blisters for we had covered a hundred leagues that day. I was glad the worst part of our journey was over for the trip through the valley had been a slow and perilous one.  Our number was now greatly reduced from the fifteen men that had made the trip from Nebukah to Ramulah. We had lost four men to the swamp demons in crossing the river Feruh and two others had been slain when we fought with the Kasha tribes. Of the remaining eight we each carried wounds of varying degrees and we were in sore need of food and rest. Our leader Jinda was not showing signs of slowing down clearly resting was nowhere near his plan we needed to reach Ramulah to find the Prophet Samuel. Ramulah was a Monastery of the great prophets. Situated at the edge of the world the prophets lived a secluded life away from civilisation. Only a few man had ever made the trip to Ramulah because it was usually a fatal journey. Only deep desperation would ever force man to undertake the trip and ours was a great need indeed. The lives of our whole village relied on us getting to Ramulah and gaining audience with the Prophet .”

“Bathsheba love…

“Bathsheba loved Troy in the way that only self-reliant women love when they abandon their self-reliance. When a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never any strength to throw away. One source of her inadequacy is the novelty of the occasion. She has never had practice in making the best of such a condition. Weakness is doubly weak by being new.”

Thomas HardyFar from the Madding Crowd

Msamati “Zimbabwean grown talent “in Game of Thrones

Msamati, 32, at one time was a familiar face on local Zimbabwean television. His parents, a doctor and a nurse, are Tanzanian, he was born in the UK and grew up in Zimbabwe. Msamati went to schools in Harare for his Primary Avondale Primary School and Prince Edward for his High School. After High School he studied towards a BA Honours Degree in French and Portuguese at the University of Zimbabwe from 1995-1997. He currently stars in the HBO series Game of Thrones, based on the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin as Salladhor Saan, a pirate-turned-lord.

It is obvious that having been a product of the Zimbabwean education system, it is quite difficult to shake of the Zimbabwean accent. He is a founding member of Zimbabwe’s acclaimed Over The Edge Theatre Company. In a recent interview with the Gurdian he reflects on his decision to leave Zimbabwe in 2001 like many professionals have done since then. “I had always maintained, and always knew,” says Msamati, “that in order to make it in this profession I would have to leave Zimbabwe eventually.” So in 2001 he and three friends stayed on in Edinburgh, renting a flat together. Msamati worked as a cleaner for a while, to make ends meet. In 2002, he made the move properly. “Things in Zimbabwe were not going great. We were getting increasingly angry, and a lot of our anger was getting into our material. It was getting a lot edgier – and that was when I started thinking about making a move. And one thing led to another …”

Another man in Game of Thrones who knows a bit about waking up under the great African Sun is Liam Cunningham. He appears as Davos Seaworth in the second season of HBO‘s Game of Thrones. Cunningham was born in Ireland in 1961dropped out of secondary school at 15 to pursue a career as an electrician. In the 1980s, Cunningham moved to Zimbabwe for three years where he maintained electrical equipment at a safari park and trained Zimbabwean electricians.

“Makandiwa foretells turmoil”

An article claiming that “Makandiwa foretells turmoil” appeared in NEWSDAY on the 3rd of April and highlights a classic case of sensational journalism gripping the profession in Zimbabwe. It was mischievous of the paper to go to press without seeking clarification from Makandiwa’s camp on the obviously controversial statements made in the article or trying to offer a different perspective as to what the Prophet meant. The reader is left with many questions than answers and the logical conclusion one draws is that the prophet might have been quoted out of context many times in the piece.

The article claims that, “Makandiwa, who heads one of the fastest-growing churches in the country, also prophesied the imminent death of someone whom he said had deprived people of freedom.” To support this assertion the article quotes Makandiwa’s statement that

“Judgment Night has already created its atmosphere and our enemies are ready to die. We can’t reverse it, unless they repent before the night. They are dying. Somebody has to die on that Friday morning so that you will be set free. Some people may blame the church, but God is ready to make changes. Are you ready to be blamed? An angel of death shall be released,”

Nowhere in that statement is there anything that says someone “singular” is going to die and that this person “singular” has deprived people of freedom. 

The statement by Makandiwa can be taken to mean a lot of things depending on the context it is viewed at. To the believing Christian death of an enemy might mean death of one’s sinful self. Sin is our mortal enemy the bible says in Gal 5:24 (TEB) “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature, with all its passions and desires.” Human nature deprives us of the freedom given to us by Christ, Paul sayS in Rom 6:11 (LB)” So look upon your old sin nature as dead and unresponsive to sin, and instead be alive to God, alert to him, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Here death of one’s old sinful self-highlights an integral part of being dead with Christ, Paul writes further Rom 6:5-7 (Phi) “If we have, as it were, shared his death, we shall also share in his resurrection. Let us never forget that our old selves died with him on the cross that the tyranny of sin over us might be broken, for a dead man can safely be said to be free from the power of sin.”  Here is referred to as the Tyrant which deprives us of freedom hence our mortal enemy.

The article’s claims that that the Prophet said that “someone….had deprived people of freedom” would die soon. Paul says in Gal 5:1 thatIt is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Freedom is already given through Christ so no one except our old nature needs to die for believers to enjoy that freedom. What would be the benefit to Makandiwa’s followers if all their enemies were to perish? The article goes futher to claim thatThe Friday event will be an all-night prayer service where the prophet has declared that all his followers’ enemies would perish.” The apostle Paul, before his conversion, was a prime example an enemy of Christians. Where would Christianity have been had Paul perished before his conversion. Clearly the Prophet would have not said such a thing; it goes against the very root of Christian belief.

Jesus said Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Paul goes on further to say Rom 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Does the reporter of this article want us to believe that Makandiwa’s followers do not read bibles or that the man of God himself has forsaken the bible? Without understanding context one can never get to the bottom of this story. I was not present so I do not know what he said, the article does very little to shed light on the event. Was it a sermon? Was he speaking in Shona or English? All these questions are left unanswered to the reader. On Friday kuchafa munhu, has a completely different meaning to its English literal translation

What are we training Postgraduates for?

By Edson Charikinya and Julie McFarlane (Article published in the Postgraduate Times Stellenbosch University publication)

Becoming an academic has long ceased to be the only or even the primary motivation for students pursuing postgraduate studies

Stellenbosch University

“I remember fondly my last year at University just before I got my first degree. If anyone told me I would be coming back for another degree I would have told them that they have gone completely bonkers!”  This is how Dr Wustner, researcher at SU Centre of Process Engineering, recalls his last days as an undergraduate engineering student almost 15 years ago.
 
“I couldn’t wait to embark on a working career,” he laughs. Dr Wustner did not expect that he would be back after only six months at work , applying to do a Postgraduate Master’s degree in Engineering.
 
So why did he come back?  “I just didn’t know how to solve most of the problems that I was coming across in industry”.  All the theory and technical skills he had learned in his undergraduate studies simply had not prepared him enough to solve real world problems.
 
Even though today Dr Wustner is a career researcher, his initial motivation for further studies was to better his skills and career prospects as a professional engineer.
 
Becoming an academic has long ceased to be the only or even the primary motivation for students pursuing postgraduate studies.
 
Annette Van Niekerk is a psychiatrist and psychoanalytic practitioner now doing her MPhil in Ancient Cultures. “I want to broaden my understanding of the human psyche.” she says.
 
Many students believe that having a postgraduate qualification improves their chances in the market place, both in finding a job or in getting promoted.  “This wasn’t’t part of my career path,” says Tinashe George Tendayi, an MSc Engineering (Industrial) student from Zimbabwe, “but it gives me a competitive edge as far as employment opportunities are concerned.” 
 
Others use postgraduate studies to take their careers to the next level.  Izelda Swanepoel has taken a break from work to study an MBA.  “I believe this degree is the best single degree that I can do to qualify me for what I need to do”, she says.”
 
And as competition in the job market increases, many do not stop at Master’s level. Lusanda Mtshotshisa is studying Masters in Lay in the department of Mercantile law, is now considering doing her Doctorate in law. ““It seems preferable to do all my studying now whilst I still can get away with it rather than go out to find work only to want to come back and study again”.
 
2 recent studies, one conducted by the Centre for Research on Science and Technology (CREST) and another by Dr Chaya Herman from the University of Pretoria have shown that even at Doctoral level, there are many reasons apart from preparing for an academic career why students pursue doctoral studies. These include expected earnings increases and career prospects outside academia.
 
 But is a PhD adequate preparation for managerial positions outside of academe? The USA, Australia and more recently the UK have seen the rise of “the professional doctorate”, with a structured taught component. But South African Doctoral degrees with the large research component expected by the higher Education Qualifications Framework, are still structured to reflect the traditional concept of the PhD as training for academia.
 
Even if the development of professionals and managers outside of academia might not currently be the explicit aim of postgraduate training, students feel that at least some workplace skills are the outcome of their postgraduate experience.
 
Cindy, a PhD Psychology student explains, “My postgraduate studies have taught me three valuable lessons. One, I am able to do most things I set my mind to. Two, persistence pays off. Three, I may not start out with all the knowledge on a subject, but I’ve certainly developed the skills to gather any knowledge that I may need for any application.” Similar sentiments are echoed by Foibe, a Masters student in Process Engineering, who says her postgraduate studies have prepared her well in “research work, problem solving, and time management.”

Certainly skills employers in any field would value highly.

Dead man tell no tale

The current media coverage of images of the gruesome execution of Gaddafi is both immoral and unethical. It goes against every principle of human dignity. The Libyan new rulers the NTC has lost a chance to show that they have a greater moral capital compared to the ousted Libyan regime. The NTC realising this they have made a number of contradicting statements trying to explain Gaddafi’s gruesome killing.  What is certainly clear is that the future of Libya does not look any brighter in the post Gaddafi era.

There is no argument that can be put forward to justify the way they handled Gaddafi when they caught him or how they paraded him like a trophy in the streets of Sirte, showing his half naked body to the world. The coverage of the death of Gaddafi raises serious moral questions related to the rights of dead people.  I don’t see the world condoning a case where people have sex with the copse of a dead prostitute, simply because when she was living that was her profession. This analogy holds true in the way they have treated Gaddafi.

One thing that is inevitable is that one day we will all die, and it is up to the living to bury us with dignity.