Quote of the week

Over the last 150 days we have learned much about the power of the habitual in post-millennial, post-apartheid South Africa. We have heard it in the grumbling, cavilling, quarrelling and grousing about the logic (or lack of) of government decrees. We have also seen it in the defiance of logic among the many bourgeois folks who mistook their entitlement for rights, whether to go running, do yoga on the beach, surf, get takeaway coffees, or to purchase items subjected to restricted trade… We saw it in the contradictory messages relayed by official government channels, in the conflict between some experts advising government, between government officials and such experts, and in the ways in which opposition parties contradicted themselves as they opposed government proclamations.

Angelo Fick
Johannesburg Review of Books
18 April 2007

Snuki Zikalala (Phd Bulgaria) on Zimbabwe

Journalist and comedian, Marian Thamm, has written a bitingly funny column for News24 on the musings of Snuki Zikalala, SABC Managing Director of News and Current Affairs about Zimbabwe. Apparently Zikalala announced on the radio on Sunday that the SABC was planning to open a bureau in Zimbabwe in a few months’ time to tell the “real” story of Zimbabwe.

Thamm takes up the story:

At one point Herr Doktor Zikalala told Maggs; “For instance people say there is no food in Zimbabwe but this is nonsense. There is food, it’s just very expensive.”

I waited for Maggs to burst out laughing, as I was about to do. And then my stomach turned as I realised Zikalala was serious, dead serious.

As serious as he was in 2005 after the Zimbabwean parliamentary elections when he told members of his SABC editorial staff that it was a lie that there was no food in Zimbabwe and that people were starving.

Back then he had told a group of journalists (and others) that during his stay in the Sheraton in Harare he had in fact enjoyed freshly baked bread rolls daily. He added that he had also had no trouble ordering Johnny Walker Black and even mineral water. And what’s more, he insisted triumphantly, he had even got room service to bring it to him so what the hell was everyone on about?


Of course, that’s the answer, why didn’t we think of it! Zimbabweans just need to ring the Sheraton’s room service to solve their food problems!

This in the same week that the Star kicked off a series by journalist Fiona Farr, who snuck into Zim as an Irish tourist over the Easter holidays. Talking to ordinary Zimbabweans Farr found deprivation, fear and a deep terror of speaking out against ZANU-PF or Mugabe. “It’s on the brink of becoming a second Ethiopia,” she told Gwala with regard levels of starvation, particularly in rural areas.

I wonder what Zikalala thinks is the “real” story about South Africa and to what extent he thinks the mainstream media gets it wrong?
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