Archive | June 2013

Tevin Campbell ready for South African tour

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Thirty-seven year old American singer Tevin Campbell wants you to know he is no longer the baby-faced kid who wanted a break from the music scene.

Campbell, set to perform in South Africa next month, said he was “very excited” to be coming to the country for the second time.

Tevin Campbell performs during the 2009 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Pic Supplied

Tevin Campbell performs during the 2009 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Pic Supplied

“I don’t think people know me. They remember me. The Tevin that you see in your image, that was the kid. There are a lot of things that people don’t know. There are a lot of things that I have to say that people don’t know,” he said.

Campbell was a musical success in the 1990s, when social media was unheard of and boy bands were starting up. His hits I’m Ready and Can We Talk catapulted him to global stardom.

Campbell was 12 years old when he first recorded songs with music great Quincy Jones. By 22 he exited the music scene and landed a six-year acting role on the theatre show Hairspray.

“It was my decision to stop making music. I wanted to get away for a while. I got a call for an audition for a play and really wanted to do a good job of that because people were doubtful,” said Campbell.

He performed in Hairspray on New York’s famed Broadway theatre strip and then traveled to perform in Australia for two years.

He recalled: “Australia was fun. People looked at me and joked, ‘Obama! Where’s Michelle?’”

His time away from the music scene led people to “wonder what happened to me”.

“One of my friends said he heard I was driving taxies in New York. I kind of just disappeared. But I had to live my life and grow up. It took a long time for me to do that. People don’t comprehend the pressure of starting your career at such a young age,” said Campbell.

He recently headed back to the recording studio after more than a decade.

“I just wanted to figure out what I wanted to do. I am working on some new music now. It’s a whole new thing. It’s like I started over. I am blessed. I can still sing,” said Campbell.

He added: “Right now the music and getting this album done is my main priority. It’s a concept album. I’m talking to a lot of different record companies. I’m deciding whether I could do it independently or with a record label.”

Campbell said he planned to launch his album by October or November. He said he planned to perform some new songs at his upcoming tour next month but would mostly stick to his classics.

“I’ll be stoned on stage if I didn’t sing the classics. I’m going to sing my little heart out. I always get a little emotional when I sing the old songs. It’s going to be fun.”

Campbell’s show dates are July 24 at Boardwalk Casino in Port Elizabeth; July 27 at Grand Arena GrandWest in Cape Town; and July 28 at Carnival City in Johannesburg.

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Abused women don’t get much help from Cape Town cops

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Abused women have to face “desensitised” Western Cape police officers who “just throw a woman in the back of a van” or refuse them protection.

These were among accusations leveled at the provincial police at a public meeting about violence against women yesterday. The provincial police meanwhile said its officers were trained to deal with domestic violence.

Yesterday’s meeting was called to unpack the findings of a research report ‘Shelters Housing Women Who Have Experienced Abuse’.

The report was researched and published by the Heinrich Boll Stiftung and the Tswanarang Legal Advocacy Centre. It was released yesterday.

Researchers found a host of shortcomings at provincial police stations when it comes to responding to calls from abused women. Tshwaranang’s Dianne Massawe, one of the report’s authors, said they made phoned calls to 147 provincial police stations to find protection from domestic violence.

Of this, they found that 41% of police officers that answered the call “did not know where to refer caller”.

The researchers also asked police officers if they knew where an abused woman could get help or shelter from an abusive partner.

They found that “only 7% knew of a location but not name or contact number”. Of this seven percent, “12% refused to refer the caller to a shelter service”.

“Three police officers said they couldn’t reveal the location or name of shelter. One of these said that they would first visit the abused woman’s home to determine whether she was in danger before referring her to shelter,” said Massawe.

“Others requested that the victim present herself at station. Reasons for this was that it was standard practice or the victim needed to first needed to lay a change or apply for a protection order before she could be helped to a shelter.”

Other research findings included “telephones were not answered at 15 police stations which had faulty lines or the call was disconnected”.

“Researchers were also hung-up on two occasions, were informed that the police don’t help anonymous people, and informed that social workers are better placed to help (abused women) than the police are,” said Massawe.

Linda Fugard, manager of the Sisters Incorporated shelter for abused women, said the “police need training” to deal with domestic violence.

“We need to get to a better level of working with the police. All our police stations need a database of shelters. We know that policemen’s wives also come to shelters,” said Fugard.

“Sometimes the police don’t even phone shelters. They just throw a woman in the back of a van and drop them off at a police station.”

Diane Stratton, who offers support for abused women at Bothasig police station, said some police officers “are shoving off the problem”.

“Some police officers are empathetic to the women. But they are also desensitised and they don’t think of all the other avenues for the women. Police don’t have time to sit with a crying woman,” said Stratton.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut, spokesman for the Western Cape police, said they were “not in a position to respond to allegations before an investigation has been lodge to substantiate the facts”.

He added: “All our members are trained to deal with victims of crime, and crime against women and children are high on our priority list.”

The Western Cape has only 17 shelters for abused women and the report found that all shelters are struggling financially.

It also found that various women who come to shelters need help with a range of illnesses such depression, substance abuse, injuries from abuse and are suicidal and HIV-positive.

Muslims “sick and tired” of terrorist label

Written Yazeed Kamaldien

Local Muslims are “sick and tired” of being labeled terrorists and reading inaccurate media reports about them.

This follows an apology from the online publication Daily Maverick that it had its facts wrong when it earlier this year accused local Muslims of belonging to terror group al-Qaeda.

Imam Rashied Omar, a Muslim leader in Cape Town, yesterday said the Daily Maverick’s apology last week was a little too late. Omar is a member of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum that unites various religions for common causes.

“The damage has been done. This is not going to go away. Tomorrow somebody else will publish an Islamophobic article,” said Omar.

“We are sick and tired of it… There is much misunderstanding about Islam. We need to challenge the media. They are not sympathetic to Muslims.”

He added: “Muslims are committed citizens to South Africa.”

Omar said the local Muslim community should demand answers from the government.

“We can take this up formerly with the South African intelligence and government… We need to dig behind this and find out who the intelligence agents were behind this and why they gave the journalist this information,” he said.

The Media Review Network (MRN), which monitors media reporting on a range of issues, said in a statement that it “welcomes the apology made by the editorial team of the Daily Maverick”.

“We note the apology was made to Junaid and Farhad Dockrat and extended to the South African Muslims… The so-called investigation report sought to create the impression that the Dockrat cousins and family members had links with al-Qaeda and were using certain facilities for terror training activities,” said MRN.

“We acknowledge the explanation provided by Branko Brkic (editor of the Daily Maverick) that (De Wet) Potgieter’s analysis was baseless and false. The errors contained in it ought to have alerted Branko’s editorial team about the huge gaping holes in Potgieter’s story.”

Brkic apologised online for factual errors in the article ‘Al-Qaeda: Alive and well in South Africa’ published in May.

“Let me state clearly: I am personally responsible for this failure,” he said.

Potgieter, who claims to have “spent the last 35 years in investigative journalism”, also apologised for his factual errors.

“Could I have been manipulated by my sources for their own purposes? Again, quite conceivable,” he said.
“I was under immense pressure from some of my sources to publish my findings, being led to believe that this would force the hand of the authorities to act on the evidence the operatives said they had provided. These undercover operatives would then be in a stronger position to provide me with more direct evidence.”

He added: “With a benefit of hindsight, should I have submitted the story at this stage of investigation? Definitely not. I was caught up in the twilight realm of a power play in the intelligence world, and I have paid the price.”

hello cape town… and johannesburg (just a little bit)

Snapshots from Cape Town and a recent trip to Johannesburg. All photos copyright of Yazeed Kamaldien (and mostly taken with a Blackberry phone. Quality not that great!)

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The average South African township after heavy rains

Photos taken in June 2013 after heavy rains in Cape Town. This is in Khayelitsha township. For those who don’t know, a township is an place where people live in makeshift houses. It was created under apartheid to house black South Africans in really bad living conditions. The majority of black South Africans live in townships. Photos by Yazeed Kamaldien

This is a toilet outside. The government has allocated these types of toilets to locals. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This is a toilet outside. The government has allocated these types of toilets to locals. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Walkways become waterways. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Walkways become waterways. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This is a toilet outside. The government has allocated these types of toilets to locals. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This is a toilet outside. The government has allocated these types of toilets to locals. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Walkways become waterways. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Walkways become waterways. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Inside a flooded shack. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Inside a flooded shack. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This is a toilet outside. The government has allocated these types of toilets to locals. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This is a toilet outside. The government has allocated these types of toilets to locals. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Most shacks don't have flooring. The floor is the land. When it rains, water seeps through from the land. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Most shacks don’t have flooring. The floor is the land. When it rains, water seeps through from the land. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This is a toilet outside. The government has allocated these types of toilets to locals. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This is a toilet outside. The government has allocated these types of toilets to locals. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Shacks are reinforced with plastic and any materials that can be used to protect from bad weather. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Shacks are reinforced with plastic and any materials that can be used to protect from bad weather. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Walkways become waterways. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Walkways become waterways. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Water on the floor of this shack. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Water on the floor of this shack. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Inside of a shack. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Inside of a shack. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This dog seems just as confused as the people on what to do with all that water. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This dog seems just as confused as the people on what to do with all that water. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

One of many children affected by the floods. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

One of many children affected by the floods. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Another type of toilet that the government provides township residents. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Another type of toilet that the government provides township residents. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Inside a flooded shack. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Inside a flooded shack. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This guy was fixing his door after heavy rains and wind destroyed it. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

This guy was fixing his door after heavy rains and wind destroyed it. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Patchwork shack. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Patchwork shack. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Cracks in land restitution revealed

Yazeed Kamaldien

Capetonians who want their land back after it was taken during the apartheid era yesterday revealed cracks in the reclamation process.

Red tape was the biggest gripe among land claimants who had until 1998 to ask back their stolen land from the national land commission. Some claimants have been successful in their application, but red tape was holding up others.

Claimants had gathered at an event to commemorate the abolishment of the Land Act that came into law in 1913. This law had ensured that blacks, coloureds and Indians could occupy only 13% of the country’s land while the rest was reserved for the white minority.

Zubeida Samsodien from Hanover Park said her family was hopeful their “restitution claim will eventually be realised although the process has been very long”. She said they submitted their claim in 1998 for land in District Six.

Samsodien said she was ten years old when her family was uprooted from District Six. She said her family faced a similar fate as they were told the council flat they live in now does not belong to them.

“Our grandparents paid rent for 40 years in this flat and because it’s of the city’s rental stock we might have to move again. We were told we can’t own this because it was built for rent only,” said Samsodien.

She said former District Six residents were also concerned that The Fringe, a gentrified part of the inner-city, had been cut off from the area they were removed from.

“Our great-grandmothers lived in Commercial and Harrington Street which was part of District Six. Most of the land in District Six has been frozen for development until claims have been settled. It is a concern that people are building on it now then it is a violation of the restitution process,” she said.

Some land claimants like Robert Flandorp and his eight siblings have seen the end of a long tunnel though. Flandorp’s family had to give up their property when the government wanted to move in other displaced persons.

“In the 1970s people were removed from other areas and we were told the state wanted the land. We were not given alternative land at the time. We put in a claim and will sign transfer documents for land on Friday,” he said.

“We lost land and a house but we were given back a piece of land that we can now use for our family.”

Mayor Patricia De Lille and Premier Helen Zille met with the land claimants to “commemorate the centenary of the Natives Land Act of 1913”. This event was planned to highlight the “land restitution process as part of collective efforts to foster redress and promote reconciliation”.

De Lille called the Land Act the “original sin of racial oppression”.

“This law reserved 87% of South Africa’s land exclusively for white ownership, forming the basis of the later Bantustan policy and contributing majorly to the tragic consequences of dispossession and endemic poverty we have today,” she said.

Environment report highlights Western Cape’s green challenges

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Rapid urbanisation, climate change and businesses are impacting negatively on the Western Cape environment, said officials this week in a public report highlighting these challenges.

The department’s State of the Environment Outlook Report lists various challenges that need to be addressed in the province. It was released on Wednesday.

Department head Piet van Zyl said he was “disappointed that we have so many declining indicators”.

“It’s a wake up call to work harder. If we look at the decline (of progress) in climate change, oceans and coast, and water, we should look at collective behaviour change,” said Van Zyl.

Karen Shippey, the department’s sustainability director, outlined during yesterday’s presentation a number of challenges that need to be addressed.

Businesses and individuals needed to play a role in turning the tide on environmental deterioration, said Shippey.

“We need to change the way we do business. We cannot continue these trends without protecting our natural resources. Businesses are over-fishing and there is too much illegal dumping,” she said.

“We know where the problems are. We need to respond to that.”

Shippey said the provincial government and business was working on a green economy framework that “will focus on job creation, urban settlement and infrastructure”.

Locals needed to monitor their waste management as too much everyday trash still ended up in landfills. Shippey said “waste diversion stood at only 14%”, meaning that the rest was not recycled or re-used in any way.

Providing energy in the province was still heavily reliant on coal-based electricity production, with little renewable energy supply.

“We are still hooked on our coal-based energy grid. Vast numbers of people are also still using coal, paraffin or burning wood for energy. The outlook is stable to declining. The energy demand is increasing and our economy is growing 3%. We need to rethink our energy provision,” said Shippey.

She added: “The air where our electricity is generated is also a concern. Our carbon footprint is undesirable.”

The Western Cape’s population growth by 28,7% from 1996 to 2011 led some to build informal settlements on ecological hotspots. The population increased by 95,600 in the province that constitutes 11% of the country’s population.

“We have people moving onto wetlands and coastal areas. People are clashing with the natural environment. They are moving into ecologically sensitive areas,” said Shippey.

The environmental report is available for public input on the department’s website. A final version would be issued by end September.

Van Zyl said it would serve as a reference to policy-makers, businesses and the public on the state of the provincial environment and trends therein.