#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

“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

“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.

“The potential of African students in the light of the Arab Spring” Thabo Mbeki Lecture at Stellenbosch Univesity

This was part of Thabo Mbeki’s Lecture address at Stellenbosch University, to those that missed it. The man is indeed a treasure and a great asset not only to South Africa but to Africa as a whole. A visionary beyond his time only the enlighted can understand his vision.

(26/08/2011) Chairperson of the SRC, Chairperson of SASCO, Vice Chancellor, leaders, staff, students and workers of Stellenbosch University, Ladies and gentlemen: I would like to thank you for inviting me to return to this important centre of learning to reflect on what is obviously an important and relevant topic. In its invitation letter to me the SRC said the Council had “identified as some of (its) goals to stimulate dialogue, encourage criti … Read More

via Minilicious’ World

The fellowship of the Union

The African Union is well on its way to becoming an irrelevant institution like its predecessor the OAU. I say this simply because the name has changed but the leaders remain the same. Under the leadership of the founding fathers there was some measure of success. A number of countries got independence albeit it was also partly due to the help of the now fallen Brother leader Qaddafi. I am surprised to hear a prominent African leader like Thabo Mbeki appearing puzzled by events taking place in Libya and questioning why AU has been side-lined “Mbeki slams West’s gunboat diplomacy against Gaddafi . Again it is reported the the International Contact Group, which has been conducting military operations in support of the Transitional National Council (TNC) rebels fighting Gaddafi, met in Istanbul to discuss how to manage a post-Gaddafi Libya. The AU was not included in these talks.

There is a simple reason as to why the AU has been side lined; the AU simply lacks the political will to tackle the conflicts in Africa. When called upon to act African leaders chose indifference over decisive action. Quiet diplomacy as was Mbeki’s legacy would have meant Qaddafi would have continued slaughtering his kinsman into submission. AU does not even value its own principles, it is important to note African countries like South Africa voted in favour of the same UN resolution that the AU is now crying foul over. One wonders if they even knew what they were voting for?

 

The AU’s proposed solution to the crisis was to insist on a peace road map that would retain elements of Gadaffi in power. Now when called to make a decision on the release of funds to rebuild Libya South African now decides to wait to receive the go ahead from AU( “Libya conflict: Africa’s dilemma over seized assets” and “SA to wait for AU decision on Libya” ) . One wonders why in the first place they did not wait for an AU decision before voting for the UN resolution. My advice to the fellowship of the so called Union if they ever want to be relevant and determine the fate of their own nations they need to be decisive leaders. Have principles and be ready to die for those principles.