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Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za


 
Menings | Opinion > Briewe | Letters > SpeakEasy

SpeakEasy


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For Annie
De Waal Venter - 2008-06-11
Hello AnnieThere is life in the universe. Don't feel alone. Just yesterday I had a c-mail (cosmo-mail) from a chap in Filliplips (a planet orbiting that well-known sun Lara alpha 7).He, this Filliplips chap, complained bitterly about our fossil radio broadcasts (radio waves emitted from the SAUK years ago only reached Filliplips on Monday). He feels that apartheid is very unfair. Why don't we give everybody an equal chance? Try it, he says, the country will turn into a paradise.He also complains...

Anyone out there?
Annie - 2008-06-09
Hello, is there anyone out there? Has this degenerated into a one-man band (or rather a female duo) - me and Zelda? Zelda and I - just the two of us? There must be someone, somewhere who would like to write to us - anything will do, please just do it. Talking to, or rather corresponding with, Zelda is like having a stimulating conversation with a teenager - we are just not on the same page. I write about the death penalty and she writes about fat Americans. So please someone, anyone, just write a...

Johannesburg weather
Annie - 2008-06-09
We have had the most glorious few days of warmth, clear skies and a light breeze. It was absolutely brilliant and I enjoyed every minute of it. And this morning I woke up to British weather - cold,grey and miserable. England is old, cold and damp and this could be the reason for the dour, miserable faces of the British. Why any South African who is used to clear skies, warmth and dust would want to live there permanently is beyond me. The weather is playing games. One minute bright and beautiful...

Food for thought for Zelda
Annie - 2008-06-09
How sad that a once proud and dynamic nation has descended into a nation of gluttons. I read somewhere that the Americans consume the majority of the world's edible resources together with using the most medication. Can this be true? How is it that America can be home to some of the most beautiful people in the world (think George Clooney, sweetie) and also to some of the most obese that I have ever seen? Perhaps the uncertainty of their lives, the terrible brainwashing that the current administration...

Food, glorious food
Zelda - 2008-06-06
Spent a few days stuck in bed with a bad head cold. Sheer boredom drove me to watch a TV show on e-tv, Rachel Ray. Let's get one thing straight, that girl knows her way around a kitchen, not perhaps the same standard as Jamie or Nigella, but still plenty of good ideas. The one thing that really caught my attention was the size of the servings. I can now fully understand why the Americans are so plump (?). Rachel's idea of a serving is enough for two people anywhere else in the world. Also, she makes...

Open letter to my beloved friend, the prosecutor
Annie - 2008-06-05
Something that you said in passing one day caught my attention and has been niggling at the back of my mind for some time. You stated that you had such grandiose dreams and that you were going to make the world a safer, better place. It remained with me for various reasons. You did not sound as if you had achieved your ambitions and moreover that you were becoming disillusioned by the violence and your seemingly inability to turn the tide. I need to set the record straight for you.Now it may not...

Death penalty
Annie - 2008-06-05
The Afrikaans siblings are currently debating rather heatedly the pros and cons of the death sentence. On one hand, when I think of the unspeakable acts of brutality, the viciousness and needless torture, that are afflicted by the criminals on both man and animal, there can be only one answer. Yes, bring back the death sentence. The horror of being raped, repeatedly, is a life sentence to a woman, regardless of age or colour, which she has to live with together with the threat of AIDS. Yes, bring...

Open letter to Michael Gerson - Washington Post commentator
Johan Pienaar - 2008-05-29
With reference to your column in the Washington Post on the 28th of May 2008 I have to thank you for the brief rush of patriotism that it inspired in me. It seems that Americans rapping us over the knuckles for our Human Rights record can inspire in me the same kind of patriotic fervour that keeps me awake at night contemplating whether to tell your FBI that Osama Bin Laden is in fact sheltered by the Australian Cricket Team.Whilst I am not a supporter of Thabo Mbeki or the ANC or any politician...

Open letter to Michael Gerson, Washington Post Commentator (Part I)
Johan Pienaar - 2008-05-29
With reference to your column in the Washington Post on the 28th of May 2008 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/27/AR2008052702556.html), I have to thank you for the brief rush of patriotism that it inspired in me. It seems that Americans rapping us over the knuckles for our Human Rights record can inspire in me the same kind of patriotic fervour that keeps me awake at night contemplating whether to tell your FBI that Osama Bin Laden is in fact sheltered by the Australian...

Suffer the children
Anonymous - 2008-05-29
Spotted the contact details for the various NGOs involved with the stream of refugees in the Sunday Times, picked up the phone and started calling …What an amazing response from my extended circle of family and friends, none of whom are more than middle-class and some of whom battle to make ends meet.This morning I have a car load of supplies which will be dropped off at the nearest NGO. Some of my friends are so motivated that they are taking the appeal with them to work and we should be...

Duplicity for Anzel
Zelda - 2008-05-27


Annie get your gun
Inquisitor - 2008-05-26
Unfortunately these are the true colours of a rainbow that remains quite black, covered in clouds of ignorance, and polluted by anger and hatred. We cannot do anything about a president who fails to see the truth of his own nation's despair, who refuses to see the horrific pain that is caused by his Zimbrother-in-arms. He has to be held accountable, but by us he never will be. He and his government of equally defiant character have tainted Madiba's dream and good intentions of building a true democracy...

For Annie
Zelda - 2008-05-26


Duplicity
Anzel - 2008-05-26
I need to confess my sins today, but do not feel that the Confession side of LitNet quite suits my particular sin. No rendering of the carnal kind and probably rather boring when compared with some of the offerings that I have read on that particular site – but that is another story altogether.I thought, no believed, that I was so clever that I could pull off a scam, and I actually succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I pretended to be someone else and instead of keeping it under wraps, proclaimed...

For Inquisitor – an apology
Annie - 2008-05-22
You were right and I was wrong. For that I wish to apologise and admit that the glass is indeed half full.I had this illusion that democracy could work and that we had to give it time to grow, but my illusions are shattered. Gauteng is burning and there is blood on the streets.The SANDF is once again deployed in the townships and I have flashbacks to the 1970s and 1980s. Madiba’s rainbow was a hologram.My family have had a contingency plan in place for some time and the biggest and only stumbling...

Being an African
Zelda - 2008-05-21
We strive so hard to be accepted as Africans, to be included in the family that is Africa – and yet …This week I am ashamed to say I am an African. Is this how we are expected to treat our brothers and sisters? Did the poor immigrants not have enough trouble and misery just to get to this our supposedly beautiful and bountiful country?We are the rainbow nation, the one that overcame tremendous difficulties, only to degenerate into a frenzied mob! We assault, we murder, we rape, we pillage,...

Controversial question
Annie - 2008-05-19
On the Afrikaans side my siblings are arguing the merits of religion – some are neo-conservatives and others have a broader, more liberal view. All are entitled to their opinions and it makes for fascinating reading.However, my question does not concern religion as such but a certain situation that could involve more than just religion.I would like to raise the question of euthanasia. Not the active participation in the ending of a human life but the passive participation. By passive I mean...

For Zelda: apology
Annie - 2008-05-16
Zelda, my apologies for daring to presume that you were as bored as I was at the time of writing.Curiosity is what it is - a yearning, a longing to be more than just who you are, and sometimes, in my case anyway, a tool and an excuse whereby I escape the humdrum of a stifling situation.When combined with passion and a touch of fanaticism and it involves your chosen life's path, it can reach unknown heights and deliver results beyond your wildest dreams and ambitions. It yields new discoveries and...

Travelling to Zimbabwe
Robert Koen - 2008-05-14
Travelling to Zimbabwe I honestly thought that I’ll have plenty to write about on my return. Macabre as it may sound, I dreamed of interrogation at the border, police intervention, censorship, intimidating government officials, confiscation of camera equipment and film, or at least the slightest revolt at the gay man I portray in Truth in translation. Certainly performing a political play in a country on the verge of civil war should have provided bags of scary stories?! We openly denounce...

Curiouser and curiouser
De Waal Venter - 2008-05-14
Zelda asked a very valid question. Is the "wonderful trait" of curiosity to be embraced? I think the answer is obvious: Yes, of course. Curiosity is what brought us where we are. If our ancestors hadn't backed their curiosity with their reasoning ability, today we probably would be pets of the dominant Neanderthal race. Fetching the slippers and the paper.The other side of the coin: Is uncontrolled curiosity causing us to neglect our duties and daily discipline? The answer is: Yes, sometimes....

Curiosity killed the cat
Annie - 2008-05-14
Hi there ZeldaNo information is ever useless, but it is what you do with it that proves its ultimate value. Learning should be a right and not a privilege for a select few.As for your statement that curiostiy stimulates and broadens one's horizons, yes, I can agree. I spend hours surfing the internet and enjoy it tremendously. I am aware, however, that spending too much time feeding the curiosity bug is distracting, uses up time that could be spent more profitably and definitely undermines relationships.From...

Curiosity vs useless information
Zelda - 2008-05-13
Curiosity is regarded by some of us as being a wonderful trait. Simply by being curious one can get to meet and enjoy the company of so many wonderful and varied people from all over the world, thanks to the internet. Their daily lives, their religions and languages and architecture and cultural heritage are exposed and are there for our enjoyment and perusal. The contact with so many different nationalities enriches one's life on many different levels and brings with it appreciation for what one's...

For Inquisitor
Annie - 2008-05-13
You are hurting, that much is clear, and I have no answers for you.There are many of us, in this once beautiful country, that had wonderful dreams and ambitions and most of us have had to watch as these went up in smoke. Much has gone awry and it would take a small miracle to repair the damage to both this country and its wonderful peoples. Some of it can be mended and then there is the rest that will forever remain shattered.I wish you well in your new home and may it bring the peace that your soul...

Is my glass half full or half empty? : For Annie
Inquisitor - 2008-05-13
Thank you, Annie, for your endearing response from the devil's seat of advocacy. I'd like to ask, though: Don't you think comparing South Africa to civilisations/countries like the Roman Empire and America is a bit ridiculous? I cite "apples with apples" and all that? Though America certainly is a very much despised nation, and many aspects of life there are changing (some in detrimental ways), it's a light-year far cry from the abominable state South Africa seems to be lingering in, I...

Anyone out there?
Annie - 2008-05-09


Thanks for your chutzpah Annie!
De Waal Venter - 2008-05-09


For Deon and De Waal
Annie - 2008-05-09
Gentlemen I am more than pleased that old acquaintances have reached out hands to each other - may this be the start of a good friendship However, I mean to take full credit for this. After all if it were not for my absolute disregard for failure and my sheer bloody mindedness, we would not be corresponding at all. So perhaps chutzpah (of liewer voor op die wa) does have its use. But then again perhaps the world is much smaller than even I think and the internet is a powerful tool. So too should...

Mbeki & Mugabe
Annie - 2008-05-08


Open letter to Comrade Vavi
Annie - 2008-05-07
In the light of the recent mine accidents, I need to ask you a few questions.Where were the shop stewards and why did they allow the shift to go underground if it was common knowledge that the particular shaft was not safe? Are they not involved in the routine checks that the mine was supposed to have done? If not, why not?Please note that I am not exonerating the mine management. Their greed for profit is measured in human blood and misery. The interests of the shareholders come before those of...

To Deon Knobel
De Waal Venter - 2008-05-07
Hello DeonThanks for your letter. It gives another clear perspective on this lamentable affair. You have indeed stumbled upon the De Waal Venter who was involved in establishing the Sestiger group all those years ago. I was the first editor of the literary magazine Wurm, the mouthpiece of the group.It is commendable that you are bringing the activities of the group into focus. I don't know whether you know that Johann de Jager in Pretoria is more or less doing the same thing. He is collecting material...

Vir De Waal Venter
Deon Knobel - 2008-05-07
I read with interest the letter by De Waal Venter, especially the one on Mugabe. I attach my letter about the mutual loyalty and protection between Mbeki/Mugabe, published in The Cape Times on Thursday, 17 April.I also would like to ask whether this De Waal is the same De Waal Venter in the parental home of whom, in Anlin Pretoria, the Sestiger Digtersgroep had its first meeting. If so, I would be more than happy if you would contact me by e-mail on knobel@icon.co.za. I have managed to contact most...

For inquisitor: Half empty or half full
Annie - 2008-05-07
You are probably like so many of us, a victim of crime and circumstances. And yet, I believe there is still hope. The dark continent has begun to stir and there are many exciting innovations, inventions and outcomes just around the corner. There is light at the end of the tunnel and it is not just a firefly or two, or even the devil with a candle. Times are tight, but then so are they in USA. They, too, have loadshedding, there is no privacy, their government is privy to the citizens' doings. They...

For Robert and Jaco
Annie - 2008-05-05


Letter from Mugabe
Jaco Botha - 2008-04-30
The media seem to be quite biased, painting the people’s government of Zimbabwe black all the time. I would therefore like to submit this letter from my dear old friend, President Robert Mugabe, giving his side of the story.Dear Comrade JackFirstly, I am glad to tell you that I find myself in excellent health. I am currently spending some time on the farm, building my strength for the upcoming run-off elections. Well, that is if that rabid son of a hyena, neo-colonialist puppet, bum-boy of...

Imagine RSA vs USA???
Inquisitor - 2008-04-30
Yes, Annie, indeed imagine that. Imagine we actually lived in a democracy, where freedom of choice had a positive impact on ourselves and our countrymen, our children's future. Sadly the circus will go on and the clowns will continue to make us laugh, if nothing else. We have to deal with it: it's Africa, the doomed continent. As a nation, our only freedom seems to lie in the choices we do have left: to build higher walls, to buy generators, and to choose not to see the continuous demise of our inner...

Our lucky media
De Waal Venter - 2008-04-25
We are lucky that our media in South Africa still enjoy a fair amount of freedom. Place our position in perspective with the Zimbabwean situation where opposition newspapers are destroyed and those that support the government simply echo what is fed to them by the rulers. The South African government fortunately understands the importance of the media and largely respects their rights.According to an article in Bizcommunity.com the South African media has been urged to play a critical role in fostering...

Imagine presidential campaign RSA vs USA
Annie - 2008-04-25
Imagine if we had the same privileges that the American people enjoy and appreciate (?) when it comes to choosing their next president. Imagine if we could have had the presidential nominees fight it out in public. Imagine if we could have been privy to their PR bullshit, their cajoling, canvassing, their public debates on subjects that touch us deeply, crime and poverty. Imagine if we could see their donations list. Imagine the dirty laundry that would be displayed, dug out by ruthless competitors...

Who will replace Bill? For Annie
Jaco Botha - 2008-04-25
Dear AnnieI have given some more thought on your question: “Which comedy routine would entertain us when 'Bill' has gone home?”Firstly I would like to apologise for my initial, relatively empty response. I am currently so distraught with the situation in Zimbabwe, and especially our government’s inability to take a stance for human rights, rather than upholding traditional alliances. In my troubled mind, it feels as if they are urinating on the graves of the Tambo's and the Silulu's...

Why am I so interested in the American Presidential campaign?
De Waal Venter - 2008-04-23
Why am I so interested in the American Presidential campaign? I asked myself.Well, I don't feel guilty about it after I had listened to the answer I gave myself. It's simple: The US president is one of the most (some say the most) powerful people in the world, running a country with an economy that rules the world. Who the next US president is going to be, is therefore just as important to me as it is to Americans.And what a drama it is! For the first time ever a woman or a "black" man...

Re SA satire
Jaco Botha - 2008-04-23
Dear De Waal and Annie Thanks for the kind response. Unfortunately only a small portion of our society possess the ability to appreciate social satire – or maybe in this case, tragicomedy.I think, maybe now after Bill has gone home, we can keep entertaining ourselves with a good lynching or two. Possibly we can get David Bullard to present himself as a candidate for tar and feathering – a sort of new TRC – this time called the TFC – Tar Feather and Crying for Forgiveness Commission.Maybe...

Well said, Jaco Botha
Annie - 2008-04-21


Jaco Botha’s satire ...
De Waal Venter - 2008-04-21


Bill, it’s time to go home, man
Jaco Botha - 2008-04-18
When our dear President, Thabo Mbeki, announced a week ago that “There is no crisis in Zimbabwe”, I burst out laughing – but not really with joy. It would have been really funny, if it wasn’t so sad. During the Polokwane-elections many Mbeki-enthusiasts claimed that he is merely misunderstood. That is true. I think very few South Africans can understand his interpretation of reality, as we know and perceive it. In a desperate effort to try and understand this idiosyncratic...

Through the eyes of ...
Annie - 2008-04-16
De Waal Congratulations! A very brave effort at trying to understand the mind of Mugabe! There could be other factors involved as well. The "hangers on" which would include the wife and the upper echelon of society. They would bolster his confidence and lead him down the proverbial garden path, all in an effort to sustain their mad, greedy way of life. Power corrupts even the most sane of people and I am of the opinion that Grace and the generals are weaker than most and bad through and...

In defence of Mugabe
De Waal Venter - 2008-04-16
It is difficult for a person like me (white middleclass South African) to see the world from Robert Mugabe's perspective. But I thought it could be an interesting exercise. Everybody (with a few notable exceptions) can see that Zimbabwe is in trouble and blames Mugabe for it.What is the matter with the man?, one wonders. How can he pretend, even to himself, that very little is wrong and that he should stay in power? The man is intelligent, educated and seems to be compos mentis. What's happening...

Flood of interesting letters!
Annie - 2008-04-14
My sincere apologies to the songwriter for the haphazard mangle of a beautiful piece of music. All is quiet on the English front. There is no flood of protests regarding Eskom, petrol prices, Zim"bob"we or any other subject We accept meekly(?) all of the above and whilst we may mutter and grumble, do not put pen to paper and express our hopes, dreams, ambitions or even anger. Is there anyone out there other than De Waal who has anything to say? Is De Waal the only English speaking South...

Time
Annie - 2008-03-31
Somehow or other I managed to lose several days ... blame it on the holidays or a mind that wandered far and wide. Whilst the hands of time ticked away the precious hours, I was exploring many delightful and foreign concepts. Not once did I even think of the various mundane tasks that usually occupy my hands. I did not make the slightest attempt at reining in the wild horses of my imagination and set out on a journey to faraway places and people. Using the internet as a vehicle and a tool, I discovered...

A delightful sonnet
De Waal - 2008-03-17
It is delightful to read a well-written sonnet in the modern idiom. Robert Bolton demonstrates his mastery of the form with his poem "Face not worth saving".The poem demands the reader's full attention and doesn't yield its varied meanings without some effort. The lines contain images that reflect contained emotion very effectively: "full-mouthed moons" – an original, evocative image. "seven murky nights" is equally provoking.The poem concludes with the thought:"...

Theo Sonnekus (Consumption as ... gay niche market)
Alejandro - 2008-03-14
Dear Author and Team I read the above article in the Lifestyle section with interest, and would love an opportunity to natter a bit more with the author! Since, contextually and primarily South Africa is typically neither a homogeneous nor heterogeneous society, it is arguably rather unique in its perception of any market, niche or not. It is possibly the most segmented market of potential buyers, promoters, readers, consumers and indeed sub-sub-cultures in the world today! Though North America...

Response to Sister Innocenta's 'PillowStalk'
Penkop - 2008-03-14
In her article PillowStalk of August 16th, Sister Innocenta offers some thought provoking insights into the online phenomenon of sex blogging (bloggers who tell the world about their sexual experiences) and the related literary phenomenon of sex "blooks" (books arising out of such blogs). It was only after reading this article that I realised a truth about myself: I am a sex blogger! But now that I had the identity, I also had to take seriously the sister's critical comments about my craft.She...


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