Category Archives: Featured

Quid pro quo. I’m voting Cope

This time round I’ll be voting Cope for national, and DA for the Western Province. Here are my reasons.

Why I won’t be voting ANC

What brought my world crashing was our President (no less) Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa announcing to the nation that the Constitution must be changed in order to reflect the prevailing racist trope that white people constitute ‘the original sin’ (see below), and are therefore to blame for a quarter of a century of failed land reform – and not the ANC.

His was my Piet Retief moment; treachery.

(For readers who don’t know the history: after ratifying transfer of land to the boer Voortrekkers led by Piet Retief, the Zulu King Dingane kaSenzangakhona requested the boers leave their weapons outside the chief’s kraal (enclosure) in order to participate in a feast. Unarmed, the boers were set upon by Zulu Impi and slaughtered | Grobler, J. (2011). The Retief Massacre of 6 February 1838 revisited. Scielo, Historia 46(2) [online] Available at [accessed 6 April 2019]. )

Image of a plaque in the Voortrekker Monument of the signing of the treaty between Dingane kaSenzangakhona and Boer leader Piet Retief
Zulu Chief Dingane kaSenzangakhona (left) and Boer Voortrekker leader Piet Retief ratifying their Treaty | Greyling, L. [image] available at [Accessed 23 December 2018]

The Retief-Dingane analogy, I believe, holds as Ramaphosa (that’s him with his red tie, below) was co-architect of the original treaty that gave birth to the South African Constitution signed between incoming President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (seated) and outgoing Prime Minister Frederik Willem de Klerk:

Signing the SA Constitution: Cyril Ramaphosa and Nelson Mandela
Cyril Ramaphosa (red tie) co-architect of the South African Constitution standing at the right hand of President Nelson Mandela during its ratification | ENCA. Twenty years since the signing of the Constitution. [image] Available at [Accessed 23 December 2018].

Silver-tongued Cyril’s endorsement of the Gupta, Bell Pottinger, BLF, EFF, Jacob Zuma anti-white narrative tells me I cannot trust this man.

Why I won’t be voting for the DA, nationally

At about the same time the leader of the opposition, Mmusi Aloysias Maimane, was also into betrayal, first of Helen Zille for her colonialism tweet and then all white people, including members of his own party, who, according to him, must own up to and, by implication, atone for their ‘privilege’ .

Mmusi doing a Malema? You decide.

Why I shall be voting Cope, nationally

In contrast it was Mosiuoa Gerard Patrick (Terror) Lekota, leader of Cope, who, on principle, fearlessly stood his ground – despite the taunting and jeering – with his question that still hasn’t been answered by Ramaphosa (or the DA): “Who is ‘our people’; who is not ‘our people’?”.

When a friend shafts you it is difficult ever to trust that person again. On the other hand if someone stands up for you and you don’t even say thank you; that sucks. Why should it be any different for a politician?

So, Mr Lekota you’ve demonstrated that you’ve got my and all South Africans’ back: black, brown, olive and white. It’s payback time to stand up and be counted. Quid pro quo. I’m voting for your party, the Congress of the People, come Wednesday May 8, 2019.

Why I shall again vote DA provincially

I’m voting DA provincially because the Western Cape Government under the premiership of Helen Zille works for all its people and not for just a small elite of the super-connected. Witness: Health, Education, very few potholes and overwhelmingly clean audits. So my ‘thank you’ will be to vote for the DA in the Western Province.

LinkedIn Learning is a life-changer – or was, for me

This unsolicited post will argue that you should take out a trial subscription to LinkedIn Learning to rivet those joints: yours and/or your employees

Photography has featured strongly in much of my working career in education (photographic clubs, school magazines, newspapers, newsletters, websites, press releases and social media), so I reckon I knew something about how to shoot a reasonable image.

However, mine was always just-in-time learning based on a lifetime of hands-on, manuals, physical courses, YouTube and Adobe Support videos.

In short: Heath Robinson.

So my scaffolding has taken some strain over the years and, then, a short while ago, it collapsed (well kinda – I know I’m dramatizing, but it certainly felt that way) on a photoshoot suggested by long-time friend, Ken Barris, of the Swartberg Pass to Prince Albert where, throughout, I had enormous difficulty coaxing the kind of images I wanted from my Nikon D800E and two prime lenses, whereas Ken was in his element (refer the photo above and the credit below).

Since then, defeated and depressed, my camera mostly remained in its bag.

In the meantime, however, I had an upcoming commission by Peter Baker – who, with Darryl David, put together the annual Booktown Richmond in the Northern Cape, South Africa – to shoot and report on another chapter of Bookbedonnerd. That, and encouragement by conversations with Ken, convinced me to take the financial plunge, and I purchased a 24-85mm medium zoom.

Additionally I signed up for a monthly LinkedIn Learning subscription (which enticingly comes with a free one-month introduction and the option to cancel anytime). After providing my payment details I logged in, listed my training needs (Photography, Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, WordPress, and Premier Elements) and was presented with abundance: hundreds, if not thousands of full-length courses to choose from.

I followed their recommendation which was tutoring by Ben Long, and selected his Photography Foundations: Exposure, Photography Foundations: Lenses and Nikon D800 Essential Training. Additionally I worked my way through Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s WordPress Essential Training and WordPress Themes: Twenty Fourteen.

I was blown away at how professional, comprehensive, accessible and helpful all the courses were.

My modus operandi was to work through each course – not skipping a single lesson – even though I thought I knew something about the topic in question, and I’m glad I did it that way because I was then able to rebuild from the ground up thus trading Heath Robinson for solidity and elegance.

I don’t in this post wish to run myself down completely because I do suspect I’m not the only one depending on rickety scaffolding. My sense is successful people mostly play to their strengths. In fact a colleague, Alixe Lowenherz, once suggested that most everybody in IT in those early days was flying by the seat of their pants.

And it’s because I suspect I’m not unique, and that we’re all a little rusty or rickety that I’m recommending you, too, sign up to LinkedIn Learning.

LinkedIn Learning is a professional, polished and comprehensive LMS (learning management system) with courses on every topic under the sun – it seems, so if you own a business or are responsible for training in your company I would like to make one further suggestion: their staff option. It’ll return dividends.

Bookbedonnerd? Didn’t make it. My car broke down. But I do have some nice goat pics.

Goats ‘oor die rivier’ (across the river) from Suurbraak

Photo credit: feature image at the head of this post of me not getting it together on the Swartberg Pass was shot by Ken Barris who was in top form

The Buffeljags is running dry

“This is the first time in 30 years the river has been this low,” reports Bertrim Oliver, who lives in Suurbraak, a small village that straddles the Buffelags Rivers on the way to or from Barrydale in the Western Cape.

Where I live, in line with the confluence of the Caledon and Buffelags, neither river seems to flow anymore, and the Buffeljags is fast drying up.

Where the Caledon River meets the Buffeljags in Suurbraak

“Never seen it this bad,” comments Matthew Mentz, “but we have had worse droughts, which makes me think water tables are disappearing.”

The Municipality of Swellendam administers Suurbraak and supplies farmers and all of us who live ‘oor die rivier’ (across the river from the village) with irrigation water from the Buffeljags, which they pump to a storage dam up the hill.

When the level falls below the pump feed we on this side of the river will be in trouble as the irrigation dam water is our only source – unless we have rainwater tanks of sufficient capacity.

Buffeljags in line with the pump station in Suurbraak

Organic farmers, Mark and Dori September, are therefore at risk.

Dori and I spoke with the Suurbraak Municipal Manager, Desmond Marais, about the situation. Marais confirmed that bulk water is available from Swellendam (purchasable via the Municipal cash office).

Caledon River that runs close to the plot where I stay in Suurbraak

Update, Wednesday 2018-11-21

Two days later the heavens opened (see below), and it then poured throughout most of the night.

Rain collecting around the cob house

The next morning, what do we see:

The Buffeljags flowing strongly over the weir in Suurbraak

In view of the comment below by Carol Browne in response to Matt’s hypothesis about groundwater levels mentioned above, it will be interesting to monitor for how long the flow continues.

The featured image at the head of this post is of Dori and Mark’s and my goats surveying the new geography of the Buffeljags

This is a developing story.