South African Government Stands Against Racism

Department of Justice does its part to take a stand against discrimination

Cape Town, March 31 – The South African government is set to take certain measures against racist posts on social media platforms. Rants of this nature deliberately hinder the country’s move toward progression within South Africa and toward social cohesion, nation-building and strengthening our democracy.

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Above; Acting Director General of GCIS, Below; The South African Constitution

Actions put in place

The Acting Director General of Government Communication and Information Systems, Donald Liphoko, said; “It is unfortunate that such comments follow hot on the heels of the country commemorating Human Rights Day. Government will actively pursue offenders through all available mechanisms including confronting employers and will not allow incidents of racism to define us as a country.”

The Department of Justice is also doing their part in making sure all citizens are secure of any shape or form of discrimination. Victims of racism and discrimination and can now seek justice by filing a case at their nearest police station, or through the South African Human Rights Commission and the Equality Courts, as racism is a direct violation of the each and every South Africans’ Constitutional and Human Rights. The Department of Justice is in the process of finalising the National Action Plan against racism and Related Intolerances which will help combat racism within our country.

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First democratically-elected president of South Africa, the late Nelson Mandela; Wikimedia Commons

Leave the past where it belongs

South Africa’s racially segregated past has left many citizens still living with the scars today, but it is no secret that we now live in a democratic country, since the first democratic election of late former president Nelson Mandela in 1994. Meaning that South Africa is governed by a constitution and law that applies to those who live within the borders of our country. We should be helping promote social cohesion and a peaceful co-existence, and not trying to revive apartheid.

Should SA journalists show their true colours or not?

Journalists are human-beings and human-being can be journalists too. With this in mind one’s humanity can easily be influenced with one’s views of the world and in turn influences how one may think when it comes to one’s profession. In this case, the act of whether a journalist should wear certain political party regalia in public is the issue; is it right ethically or not?

According to Daily Maverick journalist, Marianne Thamm, in her opinion piece; True colours shining through: Should journalists be draping themselves in party political colours? “Journalists are human and by nature gravitate towards specific ideologies and ways of thinking shaped by a myriad of influences and factors. We are not blank slates”. She then also continues by saying, “Ultimately, however, our job is to monitor and hold power to account – whatever its colours”.

As a journalist is seen to be someone who holds a certain position in society, a position that should never be influenced by politics. A journalist is seen to be someone who should not be ‘for’ politics and more for writing about it. Looking at it in a humanitarian point of view everyone is entitled to their own points of view in politics. As a citizen of South Africa you can belong to any political party you want. So how can wearing party regalia actually influence one’s thinking? Can one not be as objective as when one is wearing a normal sweater?

One should know that as a journalist wearing party regalia is not illegal. There is not a law that states that journalists who wear party regalia can pay a fine or face a jail sentence. According to the SA press code 2.1.; “The media shall not allow commercial, political, personal or other non-professional considerations to influence or slant reporting. Conflicts of interest must be avoided as well as arrangements or practices that could lead audiences to doubt the media’s independence and professionalism.” Meaning that journalists should not allow any of their personal views based on the latter infringe on their reporting of news. In this case the political part stands out the most. It doesn’t in any way state anything about political party regalia (yet?).

This may seem as a deontological way of seeing things. One lives by a set of official rules; in this case the official rules could be the South African Press Code. Because it is nowhere stated in law that one may not wear political regalia, it could not be too wrong. The deontologist within the journalist will decide to wear the blue shirt anyway because he/she would feel like it is not wrong because nowhere in the press code does it state that they may or may not wear political party regalia. Plus everyone has the “freedom of association”.

The incident where Karima Brown (Independent Newspapers Group Executive editor) and Vukani Mde (Opinion and Analysis Group editor) posted a selfie of themselves in ANC regalia on their way to the 103rd birthday celebrations of the party caused quite a stir in the public eye. Yet according to a SAPA article the press ombudsman didn’t see much wrong in what they were doing. According to SAPA, “The press ombudsman cannot judge two journalists for wearing ANC attire at the ruling party’s birthday celebration because their behaviour was not followed by publication“.

Yet as a journalist one should know the consequences of wearing a political shirt and that you’d immediately be thrown under a certain umbrella; your integrity, objectivity and balance will be questioned immediately. So when you know the consequence of your action and decide to act on what you think the consequence may be, you are looking at it in a teleological sense. The teleologist within a journalist will immediately think of how wearing a political party shirt could look in the eyes of the public.

One can look at this in various contexts as one does not only have political reporters wearing party regalia but also other journalists within other fields e.g. entertainment, environmental, lifestyle etc. Would it be much of a problem if these kinds of journalists were wearing party regalia on duty? Not much, because they do not report on politics even though politics involves a lot of things and not just political party regalia. Even though politics is everywhere wearing party regalia in those certain newsrooms should not be much of a big deal.

All these situations could maybe work in print media, but not in broadcast media like television. Even though an entertainment journalist wearing party regalia could not be as wrong as one would think it would be, but seeing them report on entertainment on television would make for another story. It would be complex to see Bonang Matheba wearing a Democratic Alliance shirt on E! News or Denise Zimba wearing an African National Congress hat on V-Entertainment. Yet on Social Media during election-time in August, one would see various celebrities (those working in the entertainment industry in specific) wearing party regalia; from ANC jumpsuits to DA caps.

Which brings one to the next point of context; the higher ones’ standing in society the less you are able to do as you please, in this case wearing political party regalia in specific. If one were to see a student journalist or a journalist who is not as well known yet for their work might be able to get off free from wearing party regalia, but if one were to see someone like Ferial Haffajee boasting with a Pan African Congress shirt or news readers like Lynette Francis or Lukhanyo Calata wearing an ANC shirt, that would be quite confusing too.

Looking at this overall, one may come to the conclusion that in this case of journalists wearing political party regalia falls in line with Immanuel Kants’ Categorical Imperative ethical framework. It deals with the issues that one has a duty to ones’ conscience. In this case the journalist who is wearing the political party hat knows that he/she is supposed to monitor power at all times and not visibly show support.

At the end of the day as long as a journalist is objective and balanced in their way of reporting; its party affiliation should not matter at all.

Fretting about food

Within the grocery trolley of a rich person one will find products of a very expensive nature. Products that are from a food brand, whereas in a poor person’s grocery basket one will find the standard products, standard foods that one would have just to get through the week. The products could be cheap and not from a specific food brand. It could maybe be a part of the grocery store’s no-name brand.

The challenges identified within poorer communities could be that they can’t afford a healthier lifestyle, as healthier low GI food could be seen as more expensive. They can only afford standard things in their refrigerators and their food cupboards. Media plays a major role in how we see food as well and how we should eat.

Burger special from Café Mojito in Long street.

Social media has played a role in the facade of making people believe that having a lavish meal is what makes one part of the rich. A heavily filtered picture of a very healthy looking salad seems a lot more appealing to the eye than a picture of “pap” or “aknee” which may not be very appealing to everyone’s eyes. Proof of this could be found on anyone’s social media feeds.

Here’s a picture of a very simple Sunday lunch which was prepared for a coloured family on the Cape Flats. To most other families on the Cape Flats a meal like this could be lacking a lot. As Sunday’s are always seen as the days to go all out in the kitchen, yet this family did not have much to put together for the day. A meal like this would not necessarily be posted on Instagram.

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Vegetable Curry served with rice and braaied chicken.

As student life get to the best of us; the meals had by the students are valued very much. In this meal we have pap and wors served with healthy cooked chunky vegetables. These students are not very well off as well. In this image you’ll find an example of the heavily filtered image of a salad ready for Instagram. Little would people know that that was all a first-year student had in her refrigerator to prepare for the day?

Freshline chicken salad.

Pap ‘n wors served with vegetables.

Social media plays a role in all of this. We as the generators of certain news should be able to make sure that people know it is fine to struggle and that the meals reviewed on certain pages by chefs should not always be the norm. We as the media need to highlight the issues of malnutrition within the communities one finds oneself in. Most children who are under-nourished on the Cape Flats usually get a special porridge at their local day-clinic, which could be the only meal they’ll ever receive.

Every time a soup-kitchen comes around many people in under-privileged areas become excited. People are misinformed when wanting to give back to the community as the solution of distributing soup and bread is not very sustainable and long-term. We as the media need to make sure all of these problems are highlighted.

 

Reviewing the review

reviews

A review seems to be quite a complicated matter. Reading magazines almost all my life I have come to think of it as an easier task than that of writing a news story (not that I’m saying writing a news story is easier than writing a review). But I have come to notice that a lot of thought and research goes into actually putting a review together.

Take Brent Meerman’s ‘body of work’, he doesn’t simply go to a restaurant and say whether their food is good or bad or that their floors are dirty and unhygienic. The first review I read illustrates his passions for his career in writing restaurant reviews. He not only writes restaurant reviews but he is also a good cultural feature writer.

His reviews are way more than just giving his opinion on how the food tastes. He delves on the history of the various cuisine within our country in one of his reviews. I’ve noticed that this is also what makes his writing unique and how it keeps to the strict review writing code. His opinions are constructive and well informed; which is a result of the research he does to make sure he has gotten his facts straight. Yet I also saw in the review where he sort of advertised a 5 course meal from his “friend’s” restaurant. One would maybe notice some bias in it. This could constitute bad review writing because the owner being his friend could have clouded his judgement when he wrote the review.

A review shows one another side of the normal journalist; not the journalist that chases news all the time (though reviewing a restaurant or a movie could also be seen as news). Even though these reviews are like that of the traditional journalistic stories, one still has to be objective in the writing of the review, produce facts to the potential consumer who would like to visit that specific restaurant or watch that specific movie. That truth factor has to be there as well.

A review could also be seen as an article, but within a different structure. Still following the principle of the 5 w’s (who, what, where, when, why) and the h (how), but in another format.

Reviewing frees one from the basic life of a journalist, it seems way more exciting and is the type of journalism-writing field that I see myself in.

Oh my Roeland!

Roeland Street is a street I pass almost every day to get to campus and back. It is situated in the Western Cape. It is on the eastern side of the city, the beginning of the street is actually in front of the parliament where St John’s Road and Plein Street come together. In simple terms it starts just as one leaves Plein Street which is close to parliament. It is quite vibey and buzzy like most streets in town. As I walk passed this street every day to come to campus and head off home I encounter many people and things.

Strangely enough, I never knew there ever existed a place called Roeland Street in town until I started school here at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2015, probably because I don’t live close to town and if I ever were to be in town I would mostly be in Adderley, Long or Loop Street. So the first time I’ve ever heard of it was to go and write my entrance test at CPUT.

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The first “Roeland” I came across making sure I was in the right place. Captured by Jaye-Dee Jansen.

I quickly familiarised myself with the street and it soon became a home away from home for me. It’s a street I walk via almost every single day of my life. But, there is something in this in this street or should I say my journey through it that makes me slightly uncomfortable.

Back in 2014, after I matriculated, I decided to go and study at Stellenbosch University. Taking a train to Stellenbosch everyday (which is a long way from home) and then taking a brisk walk from the train station to my first class, which most of the time was at the Wilcocks Building. I’d walk via places with picturesque views, it was so green and the flowers always seemed to be blossoming in their own way. The serenity, the peacefulness of that journey to campus always had me at ease with myself. Even though that passage lasted like 2-3 minutes, my journey to campus was always bliss. Like Roeland Street I also passed places where people socialized a lot. These places were called Bohemia, Happy oak etc. Very jolly places indeed.

One of the places where people socialise in Roeland, Kimberley Hotel. Captured by Jaye-Dee Jansen.

One of the places where people socialise in Roeland, Kimberley Hotel.
Captured by Jaye-Dee Jansen.

 

The Roeland Street sign in front of where Characters used to be. Captured by Jaye-Dee Jansen.

The Roeland Street sign in front of where Characters used to be.
Captured by Jaye-Dee Jansen.

Just like Stellenbosch my walk down Roeland Street to my new campus (which is not so new anymore since I’m in my second year now) is just as exciting and beautiful. But as I explained, my walks down that passage in Stellenbosch was peaceful and compared to that my road down Roeland is quite noisy. Being in the city of Cape Town, the roads are always busy with people hurrying to their destinations. This road makes me worry more about my life than that passage I walked through in Stellenbosch. Back when I was in “Stellies” life seemed simple. That road was not always full of people trying to intimidate you, always thinking they’re better than you. Don’t get me wrong, I know what’s happening in Stellenbosch and I wouldn’t want to come across as someone who supports the beautiful place with all the negativity coming from it as well. If I had my way though I’d like to place that passage I walked down every day in 2014 and put it in Roeland Street. That would be my “Alternative Roeland Street”; a place where my life seemed simple again and where I wasn’t feeling like I was constantly forced onto the fast lane. Roeland Street is wonderful as it is but if I had the power to plant that piece of Stellenbosch to replace Roeland Street with I would do it in an instant. That passage made me feel safe and worthy. My clothes, my looks and everything superficial just felt like it would never define me. But in Roeland my life is just not that simple anymore. Chasing paper (money) is what seems to be the norm, everywhere I look I see someone looking very business-like and posh cars chasing down the road. Not to mention the presidential entourage rushing down the main road because they need to get to parliament for the state of the nation address, the sirens that go off just so that we know “who has arrived” makes me want to roll my eyes all the time. I say that is intimidation on the highest level, the hierarchy of people within the country with regards to class is truly visible at that moment.

The busy roads with the luxury cars. Captured by Jaye-Dee Jansen.

The busy roads with the luxury cars.
Captured by Jaye-Dee Jansen.

 

 

But the thing is, Roeland Street has been around since the earliest days of Cape Town, and is an essential part to the City’s existence, but I’d love my alternative Roeland Street more.

 

 

 

South Africa: to data or not to data

Image compliments of Google.com

Image compliments of Google.com

Technology and Data is slowly taking over the world it is just a matter time before it invades the whole of South Africa. As one analyses technological development in South Africa, it is quite slow, but new technological trends do eventually reach us. Now with data journalism making its way into our media industry slowly but surely. Data journalism, as explained in the previous posts about the rise of Data journalism around us, is more a computer assisted journalism. So why is it important that South Africa join in on this transformation of journalism? Maybe because we are very quick on following global trends, so why not follow it when it comes to media?
Well from as far I can see, Data journalism is actually starting to show face in our country. But according to Raymond Joseph, South African media is very slow on the uptake of data journalism and coding. He refers to a technological organisation, Code For South Africa, and he also describes their aim; “The aim of what we are doing is to promote informed decision-making and we do this by taking data and building tools that deploy it in a way that journalists and other non-tech people are able to use without having to know how to code.”, but then goes on to explain that this process in South Africa is long and a “hard slog”. Code4SA wants newsrooms to not only use data journalism with illustrations like maps and visualisations, they also want “actionable information that people can use to get a better understanding of a situation and act on”. And South Africans can learn a lot from this.
Stephen Abbott Pugh goes on to say that rest of African media should adapt onto the Technological change within media. He, this time, refers to the Code For Africa association (Code4SA is like a sub-association under Code For Africa). “Code for Africa has had great success with projects that focus on creating “actionable data” for citizens.”, like what the Code4SA is trying to do in South Africa.
So in conclusion, even though when it comes to data journalism in South Africa, it is a very slow process, but it is here and many organisations are here to make it a reality (Code4SA). Code4SA even organised winter schools in South Africa for Data journalism, this might be to speed up the process of bringing data journalism here. Attracting the youth, so that they can grow within data journalism.

Oh snap! Its Tony Gum

Myself in conversation with Tony Gum.

Myself in conversation with Tony Gum.

Hailing all the way from “kwa-Langa”, as she put it. This extraordinary 20-year-old has really got Cape Town at her feet and soon the whole world too. Today, dear reader, Paragraphicly Correct is going to introduce you to a girl who actually needs no introduction. I mean if Elle and Vogue magazine knows you, you need not introduce yourself to nobody. Tony Gum (pronounced “Goem” and not “Guhm”). A well-known visual artist and sartoralist based in Cape Town.

Born Zipho Gum, is also a Film and Video student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. When asked about why she’s “Tony Gum”, she simply replied because she loves male names. She started her fashion blog when she was about 15-years old, but she also realised that with fashion blogging comes major expenses, so instead she conceptualised. Instead of making herself just a trend-setter she rather creates images to bring across a wider and broader concept than just what she’s wearing. Fashion just helps with styling and her creativity.

Photo credit: tonygum.blogspot.com

Photo credit: tonygum.blogspot.com

Photo cred: tonygum.blogspot.com

Photo cred: tonygum.blogspot.com

She also said that her idea of Tony Gum actually started way before the age of fifteen; “it started when I was 15 or no. It started even way back before then. I had moved from Langa, my childhood was very nice and fun in Langa. I didn’t get to see the downside of Langa. I had a lot of friends then I had to move to Pinelands which is like this ‘suburb’  that’s 5 minutes away from Langa, which is not a problem, but my friends; I couldn’t see them every day so I was bored. Got in touch with the internet, not that it was foreign, but we were blocked from a lot of things at school. So then I got to see “Look-books” and stuff like that, so I wanted to recreate that life here in South Africa as well. And that’s how I discovered a lot of things as well because I just stayed on the internet, and I was like wow there is so much more going on here. And I just wanted to create that life as well”.

Then on to receiving recognition from big publications like Elle and Vogue magazine. She is very honoured and most definitely humbled by the recognition she has been receiving from Elle and Vogue, but she would like to be recognised by more conscious publications like Dazed & Confused and The FADER, mostly because of what she represents. “Other publications that are more aware of black people, more aware of being conscious of work and being creative, not so much commercial”. She also said that Elle and Vogue are two great platforms, but she would love to work with publications that will help her in bringing her message across via her art.

In conclusion, she wants the rest of Africa to recognise her. She knows that things happen quite faster in other continents and she might want to take Tony Gum to a more global audience instead of just Africa. Ultimately she really wants Solange (Knowles) to know who she, as Solange is also one of her influences when it comes to her style.

I felt so honoured to at least have had 15 minutes of this gorgeous young woman’s time. A real inspiration, teaching one that no matter how big or small your dream is, if you put your mind to it and you really believe in what you want to do then you can make it happen. She believes in using the materials you have; do not focus on what you don’t have. Focus on what you have and how you can utilise it.

You can learn more about this great artist on her blog; tonygum.blogspot.co.za. She is Tony Gum on facebook, @tony_gum on Instagram and Naairobi (@tony_gum) on twitter.

And if you didn’t know Tony Gum, now you know her.

In my own words… featuring Tony Gum.

Photo cred: tonygum.blogspot.com

Photo cred: tonygum.blogspot.com

Look who went Caitlyn Jenner on ya!

In case you can't see the difference from where you're reading from.

In case you can’t see the difference from where you’re reading from.

Hello everyone, don’t worry it’s still me. And if you’re worrying about whom “me” is, it’s JD, and if you haven’t noticed Paragraphicly Correct has gotten a face-lift. I have decided to try something new with my blog so that it can be a reflection of yours truly.

My previous theme seemed like a bore if I do say so myself, content aside. I mean the content I produced on there was quite beautiful (blowing my own horn much), but when I looked at the presentation it still didn’t look like Jaye-Dee Jansen. I had an 80’s themed header that looked quite exciting, but that’s where it stopped at the header. Going down you’d find the title of my next piece, the content and then a little picture to maybe excite your mind after reading a 400-700 words piece. Honestly speaking I would have slept a long time ago.

But (drum-roll…), look at me now. I have background pictures now (featuring me). I have a mustard background for my content, tweeked my font a little and lastly my blog name, Paragraphicly Correct, and my tagline, “in my own words…”, is a little smaller and orange.

I feel that this make-over was long overdue, so please where ever you find your yourself reading now, raise that cellphone, tablet, laptop, computer (not so much) etc, this is to the new better looking and an improved Paragraphicly Correct.

Do note that this is a very short piece just talking about my blog’s face-lift.

In my own words…

Open Journalism Matters

Image compliments of Google.com

Image compliments of Google.com

Open Journalism has been on the rise for many years. As new social media platforms are being opened so are job opportunities for certain people who feel they want their “say” to be put out there. Open journalism is close to citizen journalism whereas the ordinary citizen, who also does not have the certain “paper qualifications”, has a chance to have their opinion heard whether it be by SMS, a comment section online or by writing letters to the editor. With open journalism “There are no style guides to be read, no editors to be consulted, no rules to be followed.” Today’s piece will discuss how News24 and other news organisations that limit comments on articles and other forms of UGC inhibit the potential for ‘open journalism’.

“Creating relevant and engaging content, gathering and amplifying citizen voices and Opening up innovative news sources” these are all the things open journalism brings about; it sparks interest and engagement amongst readers. It makes the reader feel important and that their opinions actually count for something. Another source of open journalism not only lays in comments for articles but also on the social media platforms as said by Dunja Mijatovic on a blog post; “Open Journalism is an appropriate catch-all for these new sources”. So all won’t be forlorn, for one can just share the article on twitter or Facebook and spark some conversation around it via a comment by your friends or followers. So maybe one can still tell these organisations limiting comments that they may limit their comment section as there are other ways of letting one’s concerns be known, but this still leaves their transparency in question.

Open journalism is very much needed in the society one finds oneself in today. A society that wants to keep important information private and secluded, and journalism and secluding information would never work. “Journalism in a sense is a mechanism for transferring power to people who are in the dark”, said by Melanie Sill.

Well, to me these news organisations that limit comments on articles are really limiting the potential on open journalism. Open journalism has the potential to create a story within a story. Open and Journalism are actually two complimentary terms as open means to be honest, transparent, truthful etc. these terms are equivalent to what journalism should also stand for. To be transparent, open and truthful at all times. So limiting comments on articles could take strain on open journalism and limit transparency and truthfulness.

To wear or not to wear?

So as we are about to say “sayonara” to Heritage month, allow me to dedicate Paragraphicly Correct to this wonderful month. A month where we as South Africans ought to dig deeper into what is known as our heritage. But this year on Heritage day I did more thinking than doing any digging.

So I’m busy on Facebook, looking at each and every post by people. Most of these posts had one thing in common; a picture posted by various individuals of various races sporting their traditional outfits. Black South Africans of maybe Xhosa, Zulu, Venda or Sotho culture wore their culture’s specific traditional gear. White Afrikaner South Africans had the chance to dust off their Voortrekker outfits with their “kappies”, Indians had a chance to wear saris and so forth. My point that I’m trying to make is what was I supposed to wear? As a “coloured” individual (and man do I hate talking about my race as a description of myself, but I guess one cannot shy escape from reality right?) what was I supposed to wear?

Apparently we are a mixture of white and black individuals, so I read more about my identity as a coloured and apparently I am a mixture of white and the Khoisan now. Quite confusing I know; I think I should be grateful for this variety in me but thinking about it just leaves me puzzled at times. Coloured South Africans speak English and Afrikaans; Afrikaans as in originates from Dutch, Dutch which is seen as white, so was I supposed to wear a Voortrekker outfit. That would have been awkward right? I mean like I’m a little too dark to have a man of European descent as my ancestor.

But if I’m black too, was I supposed to wear some Xhosa outfit with beautiful/colourful prints on them? That wouldn’t be awkward at all, because I always get mistaken for being a black South African; at least that was what I thought too until I saw that there was various race boxes on bursary application forms, university application forms and many other forms that need to be approved by people (shakes head), but back to me wearing traditional clothing. I’ll be able to wear those clothes without others looking at me in a funny way (well except people who really know me), until they come to me speaking Xhosa/Zulu and I’m like uhm… then I respond in English leaving those people extremely confused.

And then there’s the part of my heritage that belongs to the Khoisan, well let’s just say I wouldn’t go there. I have no problem with the culture, but I refuse to walk around barely dressed on heritage day.

So I’ll end off this piece with a question; what should I have worn on heritage day?

In my own words.

Image compliments of https://www.google.co.za

Image compliments of https://www.google.co.za