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Showing posts from June, 2014

Shall we move beyond being ceremonial Ubuntu campaigners?

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About a month ago, we celebrated Mothers's Day. Yesterday was Fathers's Day and today is Youth Day. In less than two months, on 09 August we will be celebrating Women's Day. In effect, all those who make up a family unit will be acknowledged and affirmed for the profound roles they play in their families and communities in this cycle of celebrations. But alas, in most instances we are merely ceremonial, doing the talks and the shows. We don't really want to deal with the real issues of absent fathers, broken families and disenchanted youth. Cathy (not her real name) and her family are a case in point.
Cathy's family typifies how deeply scarred we are. Cathy, a mother of five children, is a recovering abused victim. She has finally divorced her abusive husband, but she is still sharing a home with him because she depends on him financially. They are two strangers stuck together because of circumstances. The battle lines are drawn and all the family members are th…

Pursuit of Happyness brings Zwelakhe Nofemele to Cape Town, again

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Meeting ZwelakheToday I met 21-year old Zwelakhe Nofemele at the Lentegeur Psychiatric hospital in Mitchell's Plain. Zwelakhe was manning the Lentegeur Resource centre where there is small shop selling T-shirts. The T- shirt slogans catch one's eye immediately. I am hooked.Emblazoned across the t-shirts are the slogans as you can see on the picture: Mal / adjusted and Nor / Mal. The word "Mal" is an Afrikaans word meaning mad, mentally ill. Good gracious, I thought. Why would the very place where the mentally ill are supposed to find refuge and support, exploit their vulnerability? Society already stigmatizes those who have mental illnesses, now this? I asked Zwelakhe why these slogans gave been chosen. Zwelakhe became the storyteller." These t-shirts are part of a small business that is run by one of the past patients of Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital. This man designed the slogans when he was a patient here. These slogans highlight the discrimination and the …