Maria Sharap-It’s Over!

Maria Sharapova News Conference

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 07: Maria Sharapova reacts as she addresses the media regarding a failed drug test (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

 

Can I just start by saying I did not come up with the “Sharap It’s Over” pun. I remember seeing it somewhere on Twitter. I just don’t remember where it was now, but I found it absolutely hilarious.

 

So yes, Maria Sharapova is a drugs cheat. Who would have guessed? The darling of tennis. She may have been beat more times by Serena Williams than a teenage boy beats his meat, but she indeed was still the face of tennis. That’s why when you take into account her endorsements, she makes a tonne more money than Serena does. But yes, this was a shock to everybody. On March 7th, Sharapova tweeted the following:

Sharapova tweet

As you can expect, the rumour mill went into overdrive. There were three main rumours circulating:

  1. Maria was retiring;
  2. She was injured; and
  3. She was pregnant

 

That was it. Every news channel or sports programme you watched, that was it. At no point did anyone say, “Hey, maybe she failed a drug test?” ‘cause it’s Maria Sharapova right? She would never cheat…right? Right? WRONG! She would…and she did.

 

So here’s my question to you: How does one of the most famous athletes on the planet and highest paid sportswoman on earth fail a drugs test and the news doesn’t leak? In this day and age where media get their hands on even classified government documents before presidents do, how did they not get wind of this? How was she afforded the chance to send a buzz-generating tweet to build hype around her announcement and still NOTHING but some speculation from the media? I’ll tell you how…white privilege, that’s how.

 

Do you genuinely think if Serena Williams failed a drugs test she would be allowed this much space and sympathy? Do you think she would be allowed this much courtesy by the same media that’s always body shaming her? I mean, the UK’s Daily Mail once wrote of Serena “…she’s physically powerful and has a ferocious temper…but cannot compete with Maria Sharapova’s blonde Siberian beauty”. David Frum, senior editor of the Atlantic and former adviser to George W, once sent out a tweet implying Serena uses steroids. Hadley Freeman once remarked that “Serena has long been compared to animals, from gorillas to generic beasts, with one sportscaster suggesting in 2001 that she looked more suited to National Geographic than Playboy”. Remember Shamil Tarpischev, the then Russian tennis boss? She referred to the Williams Sisters and “Williams Brothers” adding that they are frightening to look at?

 

There are loads of examples where some of the news articles about Serena are almost tinged with revulsion. Imagine that. And this isn’t just anyone we’re talking about here. This is probably the greatest female tennis player of all time. And yet, here is Maria Sharapova with her failed drugs test and we are flooded with news headlines like USA Today’s “Maria Sharapova handles positive drug test with grace”, or Miami Herald’s “Credit to Maria for her honesty”. I’m hearing words in the media like “upstanding”, “upfront”, “integrity”. Really? Hell, even Serena herself praised Maria for her “courage”.

 

But that’s white privilege for you. So ubiquitous yet so subtle. If you blink, you just might miss it…like Maria missed that email. 😉

 

**** Just scribbling my thoughts ****

 

American woman steals candy from a blind baby

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In case you decided to read this post purely to find out why the hell an American woman stole candy from a blind baby, sorry to disappoint you. This post actually has nothing to do with that. But, if said woman had indeed stole candy from a blind baby…or any baby for that matter… would her nationality be relevant to the story? That’s what this post is about – the relevance or lack thereof of mentioning nationalities in news headlines. Check out these actual headlines from various papers here in South Africa:

 

Nigerian drug dealers released on bail

Zimbabwean in court for fraud

 

These are real headlines from real newspaper articles. I mention only South Africa articles simply because I live here but this is common practice worldwide. Every time I see a report like this, be it in print media, digital media, or on TV, it makes me cringe. Why is it necessary to mention people’s nationalities in such reports? What does the perpetrator being Zimbabwean have to do with the fraudulent act he committed? Am I the only one who finds this kind of reporting to be more harmful than it is helpful? And the thing is, it’s never the nationalities of locals that’s mentioned, it’s always the nationality of foreigners…as if to say “hey, look what they’re coming to our country to do.”

 

I’ve had this discussion with some friends in the past and their argument is usually that the report is mentioning nationality simply for descriptive purposes. But if you are mentioning the nationality as a mere description, why stop there? Why not mention religion, qualifications, height, or even sexual orientation? Why don’t the above headlines read:

“Tall, dark, Nigerian Muslim drug dealers released on bail” or “Short, gay Zimbabwean Christian in court for fraud”

 

Tall and gay are descriptive right? But they are never mentioned. Why? Because they are irrelevant to the story. I’m not saying let’s not mention nationality in news reports. I’m saying let’s stick to information that is relevant. If the article is talking about immigration, then nationality is very relevant. If the article is talking about athletes at the Olympic Games who have been busted for using performance enhancing drugs, then nationality is very relevant.

 

Maybe journalists have a good reason why they are so eager to mention nationalities of foreigners in their stories. Is it something that’s taught in journalism school? Is there some sort of journalistic or scientific reason for doing it? Do tell because, from where I’m sat, it just looks like subtle fodder for the xenophobic inclined folks among us.

 

**** Just scribbling my Zimbabwean thoughts ****

Professional blacks’ guide to getting property in Cape Town

Let’s start by getting the definitions out the way before we get into the crux of this post.

The City Bowl is a part of Cape Town bordered by Table Bay and defined by the mountains of Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Table Mountain, blah blah blah. Forget the marketing crap, the City Bowl is, put simply, a gorgeous place that includes Cape Town’s CBD, is frequented by thousands of tourists every month, and has some stunning high class real estate. It has accommodation that’s worth spending that extra bit of currency to acquire…it’s just not as easy to acquire if you’re black.

As luck would have it, I actually live there and so I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks on how to circumvent those racist…sorry I mean, fastidious…yes, those fastidious Cape Town estate agents.

1. Your name
This is Cape Town estate agents’ first point of vetting. If your name is Nqobile or Nyakallo or Dineo…you’ll probably find that the apartment you’re interested in is “no longer available” by the time you call. So, if you’re Nqobile, try using Billy…if you’re a Nyakallo, try Kelly…and if your government name is Dineo, how about just Neo?

2. Your accent
If you have a stronger accent than Shaka Zulu, rather ask a colleague to call on your behalf. An Afrikaner colleague will probably be the most effective in this case. How do you know your accent is too strong? Here’s a simple test:

If you pronounce burger as beggar, surf as safe, or burn as bun…then your accent is on steroids.

3. Dress code
Just because you see the white kids walking into the estate agents’ office wearing surfer shorts and Billabong vests, don’t try to be clever and emulate them. Wear your best suit. That Sunday suit you wear to church? That’s the one. In fact, pretend you’re going to court, because that estate agent is your judge and executioner and in his book, the darker the berry, the sweeter the execution.

4. Viewing
If you some how manage to swing a viewing, don’t turn up with your car blasting some Vetkuk vs Mahoota…get yourself on mp3skull.com and download some Kings of Leon, Katy Perry, or whatever cracker friendly music is trending these days.

5. Buying
If you decide to buy the property, use a white law firm to hash out the deal. Not because black lawyers don’t know what they are doing (they do, I have a very good one) but because the system is so riddled with racist hurdles that the purchase will move much quicker with a crispy white law firm at the helm.

How did I manage to secure my apartment you ask? Steps 1 to 4! I went by the name Wan (they must have thought I was Chinese or something), put on my best Edwardian English accent, wore a suit James Bond would be proud of, and turned up to the viewing playing some suicide-inducing Norah Jones! Worked like a charm!

When all’s said and done, Cape Town is a beautiful city to live in. It’s just one of those places where it’s a little easier to be George Zimmerman than Trayvon Martin…but then again, what place isn’t?

*** just scribbling my real estate thoughts ***

Ps: you can call me a bigot, racist, or any other segregationist term you can think of but you can never convince me that the real estate industry in Cape Town isn’t racist. In fact, the real estate industry is one of South Africa’s most unreformed sectors. It’s a dog eat dog world out there…and the black dog stays getting chowed!

*** this post was inspired by the article “To let…but not if you’re black” ***

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Five Ways to get over Apartheid. #HumanRights

Sharpeville Massacre

Wow, I feel like a stranger to my own blog. It’s been a while since I scribbled anything. Blame it on the hectic life of a father trying to put nappies on his newborn’s bottom. That said, today is a public holiday here in South Africa so I thought, why not scribble a little something.

 

Yes, today South Africans “celebrate” Human Rights Day. I know what you’re thinking; that Human Rights Day is in December right? Well yes…sort of. You see, Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10th December. This is because on 10th December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major “achievements” of the new United Nations.

 

What’s ironic about this so called “first major achievement” is that 1948 was the same year that apartheid was formally adopted as policy in South Africa. So much for Human Rights Day hey? So here in SA, Human Rights Day is “celebrated” on 21st March. This is because on 21st March 1960, 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police opened fire on a peaceful crowd that had gathered to protest against apartheid Pass laws. This became known as the Sharpeville Massacre.

 

So to honour those who gave their lives for the freedoms of so many, here are 5 quick steps on how to get over apartheid.

 

1)    Go back in time and stop it ever happening

2)    Honour only Nelson Mandela and ignore all the other heroes that rubbed a particular race the wrong way

3)    Be a born-free with parents who believe ignorance is bliss

4)    Wear an eye patch on both eyes and ear plugs…see no poverty, hear no poverty

5)    Be a white South African…it really helps

 

Ps: the only thing not talking about apartheid does is ease the conscience of its perpetrators. Don’t be in the business of easing consciences. The next time someone tells you to get over apartheid, tell them to get over themselves. Talk about your history, be about your history.

 

*just scribbling my thoughts*

 

Taking precautions against rape does not equate to accepting blame

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The other day I witnessed a “twar” (that’s a twitter war for my more mature friends) that reminded me of this one British anti-rape campaign. The “This Is Not An Invitation to Rape Me” is/was (not sure if it’s still running) a campaign run by Rape Crisis Scotland, to change the attitude that women are to blame for rape.

 

Basically one gentleman on twitter had suggested that women take precaution against being raped. Needless to say, twitter went berserk on the poor guy. Soon as I saw his tweet I thought “rest in peace sir” ‘cause it was pretty obvious what was about to take place. In fact, it wasn’t so much a “twar” as a “tw-murder”…I clearly haven’t mastered this twitter wordplay thing.

 

Anyway, at the risk of being “tw-murdered” myself, I felt compelled to today declare that I get what he was trying to say. Allow me a minute to analogise my explanation:

 

There’s a gorgeous park near where I stay. It’s a great short cut for a lot of people. Only problem is, there’s no lighting whatsoever. As would be expected, some people using the park as a shortcut at night have unfortunately been victims of crime.

 

Now, I think the city council should invest in lighting that park. Hell, even us residents could chip in if need be. Whatever needs to be done should be done to light up that park and reduce crime taking place there, BUT I see nothing wrong with asking people to NOT cut through that park at night. And such a request doesn’t mean you are necessarily blaming the victim of the crime and not the perpetrators.

 

So why doesn’t this apply to rape? Well, rape is a very sensitive crime. Much like paedophilia, it angers us. So anytime anyone so much as hints at the victim taking precautions, society gets on the defensive. We scream and shout and, sadly, miss the point; a very valid and important point at that. And I think this is counterproductive.

 

For instance, if there is a taxi rank where scantily dressed women have been victims of rape, I am going to tell my daughter to take precautions against going there scantily dressed. If women are being raped after nights out by dodgy taxi drivers, I’m going to tell my sister to take precautions against taking dodgy taxis at night whilst drunk. Does that mean I’m blaming them should they be raped? No, not at all. The rapist is ALWAYS to blame. HE IS 100% IN THE WRONG.

 

So what am I saying? I’m saying there are numerous things that need to be done to cure our society as we become more and more desensitised to crimes of all nature. For example, in the case of rape, men need to be educated from a very early age. Mutual respect between genders needs to be cultivated from the word go. Police need more training to improve rape convictions. The list is almost endless. However, in all this, telling women to take precautions isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t an act of passing blame onto them. It is a reality that needs to be communicated.

 

The problem is so many people on social networks are just waiting to fight…after all it’s an easy way to gain followers. *just scribbling my thoughts*

Where is Mandela? 10 places you should look.

Now you see me...now you don't...

Now you see me…now you don’t…

So, in case you live underneath a rock below another rock, you’ll know that South Africa’s knight in shining armour President Nelson Mandela was hospitalised with an on-going lung infection almost a week ago now. According to media reports here in SA and abroad, uTata Mandela as he’s affectionately known, was being treated at 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria. The heavy presence of police suggested this was the case.

But yesterday, in true Houdini fashion, it emerged that the great man after whom every place, bridge, square, city, and street are named after, wasn’t actually in 1 Military at all. Now would be a good time to observe a moment of silence for all the media that had made the outside grounds of 1 Military Hospital their home for the past few days, sending us live pictures of…well…a Mandela-less hospital.

So after all the fun and games of Mandela’s bait and switch…which was done quite well, so kudos to the government…I guess the question remains…where is Nelson Mandela? Well, I’ve compiled a list of places I think he’s at. These are places I’d hide him if I was personally tasked with that job; basically 10 places I know people would never look.

1) Robben Island – don’t under estimate the power of nostalgia

2) The Library – when was the last time you were in your public library? Honestly. Well you might want to go there now. Look under ‘L’ for Lung Infection.

3) At an L-Tido concert – if you’re 94 and just want some peace and quiet, there’s no better place than this. I don’t think L-Tido himself even goes to these

4) Within the finances of the Eastern Cape government – it’s a mess in there. No one would be able to find him. That said, everything in there is negative so probably not advisable for a frail old man

5) In an e-toll e-tags office/outlet – bet you haven’t been there have you?

6) At any house whose oldest child is a “born free” – the whole family is probably out watching The Parlotones or something like that

7) At any Rhino park – these are fast becoming THE quiet empty places to relax

8) Khulubuse Zuma’s pantry – another quiet empty place to relax. If he’s not here, X-ray Khulubuse’s stomach

9) On any 1time aircraft – I know presidents fly SAA but on this 1time, I think he’ll settle for 1time.

10) Limpopo – the conspiracy theorists among us will have you believe “the real Mandela” passed away a long time ago. So where better to look than Limpopo? While you’re there, check also for Tupac and Khulekani Mgqumeni Khumalo.

Yes folks, forget hospitals. Go camp outside these places. Tata is in one of them. Trust me…even though I’m just *scribbling my thoughts*

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