Last week on this page I mentioned a few things I liked about Swaziland, as well as a few things I have learned during my short time in the Kingdom. Kubeketela being just one — which is not to say patience now comes naturally.
There are many things I love about Swaziland. Most of all, if I had to say, is the language. Of course I have become fond of the Swazi people, quirks and all, but I find it hard to ‘love’ any group of people, including my ‘own’ Australians, for love seems to be an emotion best served when it is not directed towards groups.
The most used word in the English language last year was, believe it or not, not actually a word.
Censorship is a slippery thing, much like a bar of soap. You think you’ve got a grip on it before it slips from your hand. You think you can define it before it slips from your mind.
Another year over and a new one soon to begin. Christmas, so they say, is a time for reflection.
Last week on this page I offered a cynical account of human rights, otherwise known as ‘workshop rights’. Allow me to counter that cynicism with an attempt at sincerity.
Many moons ago, in a land far, far away, I attended yet another cross-sectoral workshop (or was it a seminar?) on something called human rights. The gathering of experts and specialists was labeled ‘cross-sectoral’ because, I assumed, there was more than one sector represented.
A car crashed into me last week and smashed the rear end. Without the seat belt, my head would have slammed into the front window and my neck would have snapped. Lights out.
The digital age is upon us. I, for one, am happy about this – and not just because I have trouble telling the time on analogue clocks.
“Prostitution may be the world’s oldest profession,” reported the Times of Swaziland last week, “but it is still an unacceptable trade in our society as discovered by nine ladies of the night who were arrested on Sunday.”
What’s the difference between confidence and arrogance? Is one better than the other? Is it possible to be both confident and arrogant at the same time? Do these questions even matter?
It dawned on me the other day that I have no idea where the word ‘jargon’ comes from. Considering this column is about that very word, it seems a rather large oversight.
Like a well-oiled machine, the campaign known as Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is rolling around again. We can expect a number of gala dinners, breakfast meetings, and some well-intentioned and inflated jargon about “ending this scourge”.
Many Australians are fond of the Queen, much as children are fond of old family pets. Many Australians also feel it’s time to grow up and become a true republic — in practice and symbol.
Jargon, much like Ebola and HIV, knows no boundaries and does not discriminate against its victims.
I’m sure you’ve caught up with the news that Zimbabwe’s first lady, the unflappable Grace Mugabe, has been awarded a doctorate of philosophy.
The trouble with political jargon is that the more certain words are used, the less they mean. Political speech of any nature, for that matter, should always be viewed with caution. It should be heard with open and questioning ears.
Did you know, according to the official website of Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations, that the great man spent 15 months in his mother’s womb? Unlike that other great man of history, I couldn’t establish if T.B.’s mother was also a virgin.
If you’ve worked in the non-governmental sector for any length of time you’ll be aware of several jargon words that get thrown around – thrown around willy-nilly, if you will.
I read in one of the daily newspapers last week that a two-month “no sex campaign” had been launched.
Last week on this page I recall writing something about a former manager of mine. Mr J was his name. Or, when you really wanted to brush his ego, you’d refer to him by his full title – The Right Honourable Mr Jargon.
I once had a manager who used all sorts of fancy words. His favourite was systemise, but he also loved streamline and framework.
I know it’s been a few months since Egypt’s “election”, but let me join in the chorus and congratulate Ms Sisi, Egypt’s first female president.
“Gender-sensitive multi-sectoral capacity building facilitates knowledge sharing and engages stakeholders in inclusive green growth.” If you understand that sentence, says journalist Floyd Whaley, you probably work in the world of international development.
Every time I drive past the construction site of the new convention centre in the Ezulweni Valley I shed a little tear.
According to news reports, Thuthukile is now taking home almost R1 million a year (in taxpayers money) as the chief of staff of South Africa’s department of telecommunications and postal services.
One thing that a foreigner learns quickly in Swaziland is that the name Sobhuza II is synonymous with the Kingdom. Despite his passing in 1982, his shadow looms large over modern life and conversation.
One day in the Garden of Eden, Eve calls out to God: “Lord, I have a problem!”
I can see it just now – this hot air balloon, funded by USAid, painted in the colours of the Swazi flag on one side and the American flag on the other – floating casually over the Lubombo Mountains.
Just when you thought the Middle East – an area covering southwest Asia and Northern Africa – couldn’t get any more complicated, the region has recently given birth to a new acronym.
How does one become an Apostle? Could I, for instance, simply wake up one morning after a vivid dream (let’s call it a ‘revelation’) and call myself an Apostle?
But I guess that’s the thing about patriotism: it is often based on nothing but misguided hope – a powerful hope nonetheless.
Quality mass education, from kindergarten through to university and then encouraged all the way through life, with creativity, discipline, and freedom of enquiry at its core, is the surest way to jump into the slipstream of the First World.
How does one person summarise the differing opinions that exist within a newsroom and place these views into a short and readable column?
I ventured along to Somhlolo Stadium last Sunday for the match against Sierra Leone and was inspired by the effort of the Swazi players. I thought the captain, Tony ‘TT’ Tsabedze, played a true skipper’s match.
Is it just me or is every second person you meet these days a model?
The other day I heard someone speak an entire sentence using acronyms.
It was a sad day when I read that you would no longer be writing the Friday column in this newspaper. I haven’t been in Swaziland a very long time, but I truly enjoyed your writing.
The truth will set you free, as we are told in school and church. It’s funny then how we insist on forgetting this principle as we grow old.
Something is missing from this column. Something essential is absent. If this column is to be taken seriously is needs a slogan – a catchy phrase that sums up the gist of the column’s mission. And it is not only a slogan that is missing. We also need a Vision Statement and a Mission Statement.
I must offer an apology. Last week I wrote a column about a serious topic. I wrote about the idea of objectivity in journalism. I was thinking out aloud whether objectivity – being impartial and detached from the subject you are writing about – is always a good thing when covering a story.
What is objectivity? Is it a good thing? Is it possible to achieve? Is it something to strive for? Is objectivity the same as fairness? Will objectivity lead to greater accuracy?
I was reading the newspaper the other day and stumbled across two articles that caught my eye. One was about civil society, the other about anti-corruption. The articles were not related.
Humour can be a good way of telling the truth without actually telling the truth. For many people who lived under the Soviet Union, a bloc of nations led by Russia that experimented with Communism, humour was a way of life.
“Writing is like building a wall,” says Gwen Ansell, author of a handy little book Introduction to Journalism.
Now it may come as a surprise but I am not actually a Swazi. That being said, I do have many things in common with Swazis. I like meat. I enjoy self-deprecating humour, and I admire modesty and (when earned) showing respect.
A wise man once told me his definition of a successful life. On his deathbed the wise man said he wanted to look back and know that he had lived life with five true friends. A simple and fulfilling definition of success.
“If there’s one word that sums up everything that’s gone wrong since the war, it’s Workshop.”
Each time I hear capacity building I get a different image. Sometimes it’s the image of a building company called Capacity. Capacity Building Pty Ltd. Other times it’s the image of a skyscraper — The Capacity Building.
It’s time to empower myself. I have been delaying long enough. Procrastination must cease. It’s time for action. But first, let me go for a walk around the block.
Call me a traditionalist, call me a Stone Age Monk if you wish, but, more often than not, a shorter and clearer word will do just as well as the longer and vaguer one.
Mandela’s genius, despite his many self-proclaimed flaws and despite his one-time attachment to justifiable violence, was his ultimate and unyielding belief in the power of dialogue: his belief that within words lay the seeds to build a practical and symbolic sense of togetherness.
Another friend was thinking about changing jobs. He said he wanted to make sure it was a “strategic shift”.
Around the table, the Steak Holders sit, discussing plans and strategising campaigns. Wristbands and T-shirts are usually high on the agenda, followed shortly thereafter by partnership opportunities.
I once joked about being a male rights activist at a gender rights conference. I wasn’t invited back.
For the longest time I have been confused by the term “gender mainstreaming”. The confusion seems to get worse at this time of year, during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.