Tag Archives: South Africa

“We define poverty in an opulent way”

The title is from a must-read at Pyromaniacs: Open Letter to the #Occupy Movement.  It highlights our covetousness and greed in how we compare our state to the wrong standard.  Why does the (alleged) 99% in the U.S. compare itself to the 1% and affix the blame for all their frustrations there?  Why not compare themselves to the real 99% — the rest of the world, most of whom would love to trade places with the bottom fifth of the U.S. citizenry?

 

But check it out: the line where you and I would say is the line which designates the poorest of the poor is well above the per capita income of more than 85% of the world’s population.  It’s a level of income 80% greater than the per cap GDP of South Africa, 30% greater than Russia, and six times greater than that of India.

That is: we define poverty in an opulent way.  Compared to the UK in 1800, we have defined the crown of Western Civilization to that time down to a dirty little country which we would be offended to live in.  The great part about this is the punchline: it’s because we’re greedy.

That’s right: the problem is not that “they” are greedy – whoever “they” are (the bankers, the capitalists, the stock traders, but apparently not the movie moguls, the actors, the politicians and pop stars) — but that we are greedy.  We want things we didn’t earn, and we can’t imagine that we might have to live on less than we think we are entitled to.  We certainly couldn’t live on what the average Englishman lived on in1800, and may God forbid we have to live on what the average Russian or South African lives on today.  There was a time when we would say it isn’t “fair”, but today we say it’s actually an injustice — as if “justice” has anything to do with us getting something we didn’t actually earn.

I encourage you to watch this amazing video.  Incomes and life spans have gone up dramatically around the world in the last 50 years. We should be celebrating, not coveting.

Airline humor

Got this from a friend from church – enjoy!  I think all signs should aim to have humor wherever possible.

Kulula is a low-cost South-African airline that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Check out their new livery!

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From the cockpit on KULULA.COM- South Africa’s Budget Airline
WHAT A PITY KULULA DOESN’T FLY INTERNATIONALLY – WE SHOULD SUPPORT THEM IF ONLY FOR THEIR HUMOUR – SO TYPICALLY SOUTH AFRICAN.
Kulula is an Airline with head office situated in Johannesburg .
Kulula airline attendants make an effort to make the in-flight “safety lecture” and announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:
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On a Kulula flight, (there is no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, “People, people we’re not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!”
—o0o—
On another flight with a very “senior” flight attendant crew, the pilot said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.”
—-o0o—
On landing, the stewardess said, “Please be sure to take all of your belongings.. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.”
—-o0o—
“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane.”
—o0o—
“Thank you for flying Kulula. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”
—o0o—
As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Durban Airport , a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: “Whoa, big fella. WHOA!”
—o0o—
After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in the Karoo , a flight attendant on a flight announced, “Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as xxxx everything has shifted.”
—o0o—
From a Kulula employee: ” Welcome aboard Kulula 271 to Port Elizabeth .  To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.”
—o0o—
“In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are travelling with more than one small child, pick your favourite.”
—o0o—
Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Kulula Airlines.”
—-o0o—
“Your seats cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.”
—o0o—
“As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings.  Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses..”
—o0o—
And from the pilot during his welcome message: “Kulula Airlines is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!”
—o0o—
Heard on Kulula 255 just after a very hard landing in Cape Town : The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, “That was quite a bump and I know what y’all are thinking. I’m here to tell you it wasn’t the airline’s fault, it wasn’t the pilot’s fault, it wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault, it was the asphalt.”
—o0o—
Overheard on a Kulula flight into Cape Town , on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain really had to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to The Mother City. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what’s left of our airplane to the gate!”
—o0o—
Another flight attendant’s comment on a less than perfect landing:  “We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal.”
—o0o—
An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a “Thanks for flying our airline. He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment.  Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, “Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“Why, no Ma’am,” said the pilot. “What is it?” The little old lady said, “Did we land, or were we shot down?”
—o0o—
After a real crusher of a landing in Johannesburg , the attendant came on with, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we will open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal..”
—o0o—
Part of a flight attendant’s arrival announcement: “We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today.. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of Kulula Airways.”
—o0o—
Heard on a Kulula flight. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing.. If you can light ’em, you can smoke ’em.”
—o0o—
A plane was taking off from Durban Airport . After it reached a
comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.
Welcome to Flight Number 293, non-stop from Durban to Cape Town , The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight.. Now sit back and relax.. OH, MY GOODNESS!” Silence followed, and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the intercom and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier.  While I was talking to you, the flight attendant accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!” A passenger then yelled, “That’s nothing. You should see the back of mine!”

Guest post: The Day of the Covenant

Welcome to another guest post, this one by Michael (aka Racing Boo).  I enjoy Michael’s thoughtful and often humorous comments so I asked him to do a guest post on a topic of his choice.  I hope you read and enjoy a fascinating look in to the history and politics of South Africa. 

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December 16 is a public holiday in South Africa, celebrated officially as such for more than a century. Today it is called the ‘Day of Reconciliation’, but for most of those years it was known as the ‘Day of the Covenant.’ It was on this day in 1838, on the banks of the Ncome River in what is now the Kwa-Zulu Natal province, that the Boer leader Andries Pretorius led the people under his protection and leadership in making a vow, binding on future generations. If God would deliver them from the attacking Zulu impis (fighting units), they would henceforth celebrate the day as a Sabbath, and build a church to honour his name.

The Boers were farmers (that is the literal meaning of the word) who had left the frontier farms of the Cape Colony to escape the British rule that was entrenched by the early 1800s, and the endless border wars with the native Xhosa. They were strict Calvinists, descended from French and Dutch settlers who had fled religious persecution in those countries during the preceding two centuries. The British had little time for them, and offered them no protection, so they took their cattle and all their possessions loaded into their ox wagons, which were houses on wheels, and began the trek northwards. That word, perhaps the only word from the Afrikaans language to make it into mainstream global English, means ‘to pull’ or ‘to move’ in the sense of moving from one area to another, in this case boldly going where no (white) man had gone before.

They soon encountered other indigenous tribes of the region, in particular the mighty Zulu nation, the ‘people of the sky.’ The Zulu king at the time was Dingane, who had come to power in 1828 after assassinating his famous and even more notorious half-brother Shaka. One of the Boer leaders, Piet Retief (my wife Nadia is a direct descendant of one of his daughters), left the area of the Tugela River in February 1838 in the hope that he could broker permanent boundaries for the Natal settlement with Dingane. At the royal kraal near present-day Eshowe, an agreement was signed, ceding land in return for the recovery of some 7000 head of cattle stolen by a rival local chief, Sekonyela. Dingane then invited Retief and his men (there were about 100 in total, including his son) to a feast, which lasted several days. They were obliged to leave their weapons outside the enclosure.

Dingane put on a military display for his guests, but the climax of this was not a friendly goodbye. From a nearby hilltop, during a sudden silence, Dingane raised his stick and shouted “Bulalan’ abathakathi!” – Kill the Wizards! There are eye-witness accounts from the Zulu side, as well as one Boer who managed to escape with his life as he had been left outside the kraal to guard the weapons. One can only imagine the fear and terror of that moment, enhanced by the ululating kikiza cry of the women. Retief was apparently the last to die, and he fought back to the last breath.

The reasons for this massacre (apart from Dingane’s treachery, that is) are the subject of much speculation. It is believed that Retief may have unwittingly broken an obscure tribal law by retaining some of the cattle recovered from Sekonyela. Another explanation is that on the night before the massacre, the Boers had rounded up some of their horses outside the kraal in preparation for departure the follwing day. Dingane would have heard the sounds of the hooves at night, and there was a belief that wizards of the white race rode on horses at night. Whatever the reasons, the white settlements of Natal were now in trouble. Dingane sent his impis to attack several encampments, including one at Weenen where 500 men, women and children were killed. The settlers then called for help from another Boer leader, Andries Pretorius, asking him to leave the Cape Colony and come to their aid against the Zulu.

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