South Africa’s Democracy Still Has Some Growing Up To Do

Hellen Zille on Voting Day 2011
Popular Western Cape Premier Hellen Zille visits a polling station on Ellection Day 2011 and is mobbed by fans

According to a local South African government expert, people’s voting behaviour is evidence that local democracy has not matured some 17 years after the ANC was voted into power. The same under-performing political parties are constantly voted back in.

Professor Jaap de Visser, of the University of Western Cape’s community law centre, said:

“The country had seen a sharp increase in the number of protests, most of which were accompanied by violence, but people had still remained loyal to their parties. The voting behaviour is not based on the same consideration as protest behaviour. We see under-performance and frustration in many municipalities, but that does not translate to a change in voting behavior.”

Research demonstrated that violent protests increased in frequency from 41.6% in 2007 to 54% in 2010. Most of the protests were about housing, water, sanitation, electricity and poor service delivery, and most were in Gauteng.

Source: News 24

Fish and Fishing in the Bot River Estuary

Fishing in the Bot River Estuary
Fishing in the Bot River Estuary is not what it seems . .

It seems that Fishing in the Bot River Estuary, one of the largest estuaries in the Cape Province, is not as straight forward as one would think.

This vast expanse of water is the subject of a study carried out by researchers of the Department of Zoology at the University of Cape Town in the mid 1980’s. The estuary teems with over 32 varieties of fish.

Conventional wisdom, and experience, has it that garrik, steenies and large mullet are the most likely catches. These along with leervis, steenbras and elf are popular angling and table fish. Continue reading

Late Afternoon Fishing On The Bot River Estuary

Late afternoon on the Bot River Estuary
'Late Afternoon on the Bot River Estuary' -- Photo: John Bradfield (click to enlarge)

On this windless and sunny late-afternoon Friday the conditions look perfect for a lone fishing skiff on the Bot River Estuary. Seasonally, it opens to the sea and this ensures that a variety of fish spawn in the protected waters of the estuary.

Follow the link to download a wallpaper resolution image of Late Afternoon on Bot River Estuary by Jaywalker27 on Customize.org.

The Bot River Estuary lies on the edge of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, against the slopes of the Kogelberg Mountain range. It is situated in the heart of the Overberg region, on the southern coast of South Africa.

At this time of day an ozone-laden sea mist floats slowly inland over the slopes of the Kogelberg mountains on a gentle breeze. Flamingos and other waders feed in the shallows (6 photographs).
Continue reading

Adriaan S de Lange Local South African Sculptor and Painter

Day on the beach
Day on the beach - Oil on canvas - 35 x 40cm

South African artist Adriaan S. de Lange is featured here as a sculptor and painter who works in the countryside outside Stellenbosch in the Western Cape of South Africa. That’s just 150 kilometres from my home town, Hermanus. That means he’s a local in the broader scheme of things. Well, we like to think so, anyway.

This is an excerpt from his bio on Worldart:

“A distinguishing characteristic of his work is the photographic stillness with which he explores the serenity and reality present in his imagination. He possesses a technical facility that enables him to paint with precision and detail. The effect created with these extremely fine brush strokes is further enhanced by the attention he pays to colour, space and subject matter – thus creating a tangible yet serene world which serves as a starting point for the viewer when enjoying an artwork by him.”

De Lange’s work for me has a quality that echo’s the ethereal and the attention to detail of some of my favourite artists including Hunderdwasser and Dali (6 photographs).
Continue reading

Neuromancer The Movie Natali To Start Shooting In 2012

Neuromancer movie
Vincenzo Natili's screen adaptation of Neuromancer to be Filmed in Canada, Istanbul, Tokyo, and London -- Image: /Film

William Gibson’s award-winning Science Fiction novel, Neuromancer, coined the term “Cyberspace” in 1984 before there was a cyberspace to speak of. It was the first SF novel to win the Nebula, Hugo, and Philip K. Dick Awards.

According to /Film:

“After years in development, Vincenzo Natali’s Neuromancer is finally moving forward. According to a press release, the film has secured sales from distributors at Cannes and visual effects work has already begun. Filming will begin in 2012 with locations in Canada, Istanbul, Tokyo, and London.”

Vincenza Natali’s Neuromancer is a screen adaptation of William Gibson’s visionary book of the same name. David Chen interviewed Natali in 2010 who described his vision for the film like this: Continue reading

Rhino Horn Doesn’t Do Anything Stop Killing Our Rhino

An innovative group of South African students has had enough! Rhino horn is keratin, the substance of hair and nails. It’s an inert substance that has no known effect on any known ailment. That’s a medically proven fact.

“This is a message to the idiots who still use rhino horn for medicine. It doesn’t do anything, stop using it, stop killing our rhino!”

This four-minute video takes us through their quest, to collect human hair and nails, and deliver the harvested keratin to the Chinese embassy, to protest the slaughter of over 150 Rhinos so far this year. Last years total was 330 Rhinos. So at this point the total is already up on last years tally.

Early in April we posted this report on a South African criminal syndicate that was busted for poaching Rhino horn. A prominent local South African businessman and two Veterinarians were implicated.

Source: News 24
Video: RodneyTheRhino on YouTube

Cologne The City Where Love is Sealed With The Lock-Sign

The Lock Bridge
The Lock Bridge where lovers leave a lock-sign of their love on the bridge -- Photo: Sally

I recently returned from a trip to Germany to visit a dear friend of mine. She lives in a very small village called Junkernhees (pronounced “Yun-kurn-hees”) which is about 10 minutes North of Siegen.

Thousands of people visiting, or living in Cologne, have inscribed their name along with their loved ones into a lock and locked it to the bridge. The idea is to signify the strength of their long lasting love.

Northwest Germany is perfect this time of year. Everything is blooming and blossoming, and the temperature is just right! I have been to Germany 3 times before, but it was on this trip that I became aware of a bit of a competition between two larger cities in Northwest Germany. Apparently this conflict dates back to the eleventh century when ships carrying goods would pass Dusseldorf on the Rhine River on their way to Cologne where the goods would be sold at higher prices, but the actual explanation is still argued.

After reading some airline reviews, I found that it was much cheaper to fly in to Dusseldorf than Cologne (though Frankfurt is cheaper than both). Continue reading

Hong Kong 81-Year-Old Fights Off Teen Muggers

Modern day Mr Miyagi
Modern day 'Mr Miyagi' fights off teenage mugger gang

I came across this heart warming story about a brave 81-year-old man in Hong Kong who single-handedly fought off a gang of teenage muggers. Eight youths were arrested. A police official said:

“They pushed him to the ground and tried to rob him. The man fought back and the gang ran away empty-handed. They are still being detained and under investigation for assault with intent to rob.”

According to a police spokesperson, the 81-year-old identified only as Mak was assaulted in a pedestrian tunnel while on his way to morning exercises. It happened at 4.00am in the darkness of the early hours.

Police later traced a trail of blood to a nearby flat and detained the teenagers. Continue reading

Property: 3 Ways to Grant Legal Usage Rights

Usufruct or Habitatio

Today a client asked me an interesting question regarding the difference between a usufruct and a habitatio right that can be granted over a property when it is sold.

In this example the seller would like to keep usage of one of the three garages situated on the property for a home fruit bottling and canning business. She would like to register a right of usage over this part of the property.

South African Common Law recognizes three similar but different legal concepts that can be used for this purpose.

Usufruct:
This grants the holder the right to use and derive profit from a property belonging to someone else. This may include the right to receive rental income including, for example, income from farming activities. The property may not be sold, altered or destroyed and it must eventually be returned to the owner. In the case of a deceased estate, this will be the person to whom the property was bequeathed. Continue reading