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Doccie on SA’s holocaust survivor one of the hits at the Durban International Film Festival
31 July 2021, 4:02 PM

This year marks the 42nd edition of South Africa’s longest-running film festival, the Durban International Film Festival. For the second year running, the festival is taking place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But despite this, organisers say, they’ve had a successful run, boasting a programme of close to 140 productions, including feature films, documentaries and shorts.

The Durban International Film festival is a global showcase with a focus on films from the continent. Those produced by Africans in the diaspora and of African descent.

One of the most popular films in this year’s festival is the documentary “I Am Here” directed by Jordy Sank. An incredible story about 99-year-old Capetonian Ella Blumenthal who shares her story of surviving the holocaust. Some of Ella’s memories include surviving three concentration camps and avoiding death.

Durban International Film Festival marks the 42nd edition:

Another popular film on the circuit is “Zinder.”

In the town of Zinder in Niger, a group of youth try to break free from violence and gang warfare. Director Aicha Macky, who hails from Zinder, films their daily lives divided between their gangs and their families.

And exploring the tales of hardships in refugee camps – were also highlighted. A film of survival at a refugee camp, “The last shelter”, depicts the stories of migrants in Gao, Mali, on the southern edge of the Sahara desert. This documentary recently won an award at the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival. The two main characters Esther and Kady, two teenage girls from Burkina Faso, share a bond over their hardships.

The number of viewers purchasing films online have increased significantly since 2020.

“Despite COVID, there has been a significant increase online, many people have purchased movies and they have still been able to run a successful programme,” says the Centre for Creative Arts’ director, Dr Ismail Mahomed.

The curtain comes down on the festival this weekend.

In a first for SA, three speedsters book spot in Sunday’s 100m semis
31 July 2021, 4:00 PM


Three South Africans have qualified for Sunday’s men’s 100 metre semi-finals at the track in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Akani Simbine, Gift Leotlela and Shawn Maswanganyi will all be in action on Sunday.

It is the first time ever that South Africa can boast three speedsters in the 100 metre semi-finals at the Olympics.

South Africa’s Wenda Nel, also advanced to Monday’s semi-finals of the women’s 400m hurdles event.

But Ruswahl Samaai and Cheswill Johnson failed to qualify for the long jump final.

When congratulating SA’s golden girl, Tatjana Schoenmaker, on bagging a gold medal – president Cyril Ramaphosa said he hoped that Team SA will keep more coming.

SA’s golden girl Tatjana Schoenmaker gets a congratulatory call from president Ramaphosa
31 July 2021, 3:00 PM


President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated now dubbed South Africa’s golden girl, Tatjana Schoenmaker, on winning Team SA’s first Olympic gold medal and breaking a world record in Tokyo, Japan.

Schoenmaker clocked 2:18.95, breaking a world record that had lasted eight years and delivering the first gold for South African women in the pool in a quarter century.

“Congratulations.  You have lifted the country..we are in a good mood and want to congratulate you for an unbelievable effort,” he says in a clip the Presidency posted on Twitter.

Ramaphosa says when he saw the 24-year-old’s first race, where she bagged a silver medal, he knew she was keeping something in store.

The president also congratulated and thanked Schoenmaker’s coach, Rocco Meiring, for preparing her to get to the level she’s now at.

President Ramaphosa has expressed hope that South African athletes will bring more medals home.

The Pretoria University student has thanked the president, saying it was an honour speaking to him.

Schoenmaker says she is looking forward to returning home.

Court dismisses Mkhwebane’s bid to declare Chapter 9 impeachment rules unconstitutional, but says they should be amended
28 July 2021, 10:00 PM

The Western Cape High Court has dismissed Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s application to declare Chapter 9 impeachment rules unconstitutional.

The court has, however, ruled that the rules should be amended to allow her legal representative to participate in the Section 194 committee hearings. It has also found that the appointment of a judge to the panel of experts that advises the National Assembly Speaker on whether there is prima facie evidence against a head of a chapter nine institution, offends the principle of separation of powers.

Mkhwebane has welcomed the ruling and called on parliament to halt the investigation into whether she is fit to hold office.

“The present process has to be halted with immediate effect. To continue on the basis of the old un-amended and partly unconstitutional rules as if nothing has happened would constitute an attack on the authority of the courts rule of law in the constitutional rights of the Public Protector. A call is accordingly made to the National assembly to do the right thing and allow for the inevitable process of amending the rules before their lawful implementation,” says Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe.

Parliament has welcomed the dismissal of the public protector’s application.

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise says, however, she will seek legal advice on how to proceed with the investigation into whether Mkhwebane is fit to hold office.

“Parliament is currently consulting its legal team who are still studying the judgment fully and will make a determination on the implication of this judgment on the independence and the manner in which it determines its internal processes. So the manner in which the section 194 committee will proceed will be based on this legal advice,” says parliament’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo.

Mkhwebane has been under fire for years now with some quarters questioning her competency for the job.

She, however, maintains she is the right woman for the job amid an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

A report into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office expected to be finalised in 2021:

OPINION | Malema’s larger than life personality is a threat to EFF’s longevity
27 July 2021, 10:07 PM

Proponents of democracy, believing in the central claim that strong opposition parties lead to a strong and healthy democracy, might see the expulsion of Julius Malema from the African National Congress and Cyril Ramaphosa’s subsequent rejection of his appeal at the ANC’s 53rd Elective Congress in Mangaung in 2012 as a blessing in disguise.

On July 26, 2013 – the anniversary of the July 26 Movement that sparked the Cuban revolution – Malema and other disgruntled ANC Youth League leaders went on to establish the Economic Freedom Fighters.

While many believed that the red berets didn’t have what it takes to establish themselves as a key role-player in South African politics, positing that the hype around the party’s formation will eventually wear off and disperse, the fighters replaced the Congress of the People (COPE) – another ANC breakaway – as the third biggest party in South Africa.

And unlike COPE, who had a strong showing at their first elections only to shrink almost to non-existent in the next, they increased their National Assembly seats from 25 in the 2014 general elections to 40 in 2019; playing a key role in a number of metros, effectively the face of land expropriation and dubbed the voice of the downtrodden. The party has established itself as a radical leftist organisation and has been uncompromising in their dedication to the struggle of Black people and confronting racism.

There’s no denying that the last eight years have been a success for the EFF and the party has shaken the political landscape of the country. As I was watching Julius Malema deliver the party’s keynote address on the occasion of their 8th anniversary, along the lines, he said: “I can sleep at night knowing very well that I have empowered Black Africans with the weapon (EFF) that they will use…” And because of that, the EFF’s biggest challenge, I believe, is sustainability – through combating politics of personality cult to ensure that the party does not suffer the same fate as the Inkatha Freedom Party, United Democratic Movement, National Freedom Party, and COPE.

What all these parties have in common is that their leaders became bigger than the party – placing a firm grip and creating an environment where it has been very hard for leaders of these parties to recognise that anyone else could have any equivalent right to lead the parties, conferring a virtually permanent claim to the throne.

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s IFP did fairly well. At some point, the party was governing the KwaZulu-Natal province, Bantu Holomisa’s UDM was the official opposition in the Eastern Cape and the NFP – a breakaway of the IFP for reasons I’ve cited above, started off well in 2014 but health issues of the leader, Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi affected the party’s administration to an extent that it failed to contest the 2016 local government elections in addition to having parallel conferences

That is the challenge of the EFF. Julius Malema is currently into his second term as party leader and will probably vie for a third as the party’s constitution does not prohibit it – members of the party love him, the CIC as he is affectionately called. His larger than life personality, however, poses a threat to the longevity of the party. It is easy for Malema to assume that the popular support derived from party members and supporters conveys a permanent and unconditional attachment to party power.

It is the contention of this article that in order for the party to safeguard its sustainability, Julius Malema must consider handing over the reins to Floyd Shivambu, his deputy of the last eight years at the next People’s Assembly – their Elective Conference. Malema should, however, remain an active member of the party.

Creating an environment where party members, supporters and general South Africans believe not in Julius Malema but the EFF and its ideologies is important. Julius Malema being the leader for too long will stifle the party that has the potential to grow beyond what it already is.

That’s what sets the ANC and Democratic Alliance from the rest of the pack: internal democracy, dissenting views, contestations, debates. Cyril Ramaphosa can never lay claim to the ANC, neither can John Steenhuisen on the DA. The ANC and the DA will be there long after their respective leaders have left office. Can we say the same about the EFF? That’s the trick question.

“Even if I die or go to prison, other [EFF] leaders will lead you,” said Julius Malema addressing party supporters at the party’s manifesto launch for the 2014 General Elections. Six years ago, that would’ve been seen as another firebrand Juju statement. Today, however, it seems as though other leaders will actually lead when he dies or go to prison.

During an interview with Al Jazeera in 2016 he said: “I am not in this thing for myself” on whether he has ambitions of being President one day. But it’s difficult to believe that considering that he can’t differentiate between himself and the party – it seems to be a personal affair of some kind and clouds any democratic processes, if any.

For now, I’ll join millions of South Africans in extending congratulatory messages to the Fighters on 8 years of existence. – Authored by Vusi Gumbi, a Masters candidate in Politics at the University of Johannesburg and the winner of One Day Leader Season 8.



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