Markram leads South Africa to easy T20 win over Pakistan
13 April 2021, 7:36 AM
South Africa opener Aiden Markram struck a brisk half-century as the hosts levelled the four-game Twenty20 International series against Pakistan with a six wicket win in the second match at The Wanderers on Monday.
Pakistan elected to bat, but some poor stroke-play saw them restricted to 140 for nine in their 20 overs, well below par on one of the best batting wickets in world cricket.
South Africa never looked troubled in their reply as they reached their target with 36 balls left in a comprehensive win for a side missing seven leading players who are either injured or have been released to play in the Indian Premier League.
Pakistan’s innings got off to a somewhat bizarre start when in-form opener Mohammad Rizwan danced down the wicket to left-arm spinner George Linde (3-23) off the very first ball and was easily caught at mid-off by Markram.
Captain Babar Azam (50 from 50 balls) and Mohammad Hafeez (32 from 23) were the only batsmen to manage a score above 12 as seamer Lizaad Williams (3-35) and leg-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (1-22) bowled excellent spells for the home side.
Markram led the reply as he blasted 54 from 30 balls, with 46 of his runs in boundaries as he smashed seven fours and three sixes in an aggressive showing.
Stand-in skipper Heinrich Klaasen (36 from 21 balls) saw his side to the win as he added 49 in 3.4 overs in a fifth-wicket partnership with Linde (20 from 10).
The third match of the series will be played in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Myanmar pro-democracy activists vow week of protests during new year holidays
13 April 2021, 7:27 AM
Myanmar pro-democracy activists pledged on Tuesday to hold a series of protests this week to maintain pressure on military rulers during the country’s most important holiday of the year.
The five-day New Year holidays, known as Thingyan, are usually celebrated with prayers, ritual cleaning of Buddha images in temples, and high-spirited water-throwing on the streets.
Activists urged people this year to stage symbolic protests from the start of the holiday on Tuesday, including by painting a three-finger salute used by demonstrators on traditional Thingyan pots filled with flowers, which are typically displayed at this time.
“The military council doesn’t own Thingyan. The power of people is in the hands of people,” Ei Thinzar Maung, a leader of the General Strike Collaboration Committee protest group, wrote on Facebook.
Ei Thinzar Maung said other planned holiday protests against the junta included the splattering of red paint on sidewalks and the blasting of car horns.
Activists also called for a day of silence to commemorate the victims of the violence and for a day of religious observance on Saturday, with Buddhists urged to wear religious attire and recite prayers together and Christian communities to wear white and read psalms. Followers of other religions in the predominantly Buddhist country were urged to follow the call of their leaders.
It will be the second consecutive disrupted new year holiday after the coronavirus pandemic all but cancelled last year’s celebrations.
The February 1 coup has plunged Myanmar into crisis after 10 years of tentative steps towards democracy as the military stepped back from politics and allowed Aung San Suu Kyi to form a government after her party swept a 2015 election.
The military says it had to overthrow her government because a November election again won by her National League for Democracy was rigged. The election commission dismissed the accusation.
The coup has triggered daily protests by those opposed to military rule, but at a heavy price, with security forces killing 710 protesters, according to a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group.
That included 82 people killed in the town of Bago, about 70 km (45 miles) northeast of Yangon, on Friday.
Details of the violence were difficult to verify because of the junta’s curbs on broadband internet and mobile data services.
A spokesman for the junta could not be reached for comment.
Suu Kyi, 75, who has led Myanmar’s struggle against military rule for decades and who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has been detained since the coup and charged with various offences. These include violating a colonial-era official secrets act that could see her jailed for 14 years.
“We do not celebrate Myanmar Thingyan this year since over 700 of our innocent brave souls are killed by inhumane junta forces unlawfully. We believe we will win this revolution,” said one Twitter user identified as Shwe Ei.
Nigerian icon Fela Kuti is long overdue for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
13 April 2021, 6:40 AM
Scrolling through the comments made on YouTube on Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s music, one comes across remarks such as: “The greatest unknown musician who ever lived”, “Why isn’t Fela’s music more widely known?”, “His music beats everything I’ve ever heard before” and “Why am I so late to this?”
The truth is that during Fela’s extraordinary lifetime, the Nigerian’s notoriety as an engaged citizen fighting for social justice was what usually attracted attention – and not his music . His public persona as a cultural renegade, an incorrigible iconoclast and social rebel hugged the headlines. Not his intoxicating blend of Yoruba trance music, highlife-derived harmonies and African American funk and jazz. He was artistically ahead of his time. And nearly 30 years since his passing, the world is still playing catch up.
Fela was a social and cultural misfit during the prime years of his career. He was blacklisted on radio. The DJs who played his records were considered brave. These defiant on-air personalities included Lagos’ Jacob Akinyemi Johnson (JAJ), who broke the mould in the 1980s. It also didn’t help matters that Fela’s complex music compositions sometimes ran for over half an hour. This lengthy format didn’t fit with standard broadcasting durations and was a severe drawback for breaking into commercial radio and record companies.
According to Fela, the value of music exceeded its entertainment appeal. In his view, music had a spiritual dimension and so commercial considerations were secondary. As I wrote in a recent essay, his temperament was uncompromising.
Fela Kuti is one of many prominent names nominated for induction into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. Other big-name acts include Tina Turner, Foo Fighters and Iron Maiden. We are already late in catching on during his colourful lifetime. It does feel embarrassing. But now there’s an opportunity, with the benefit of hindsight, to reevaluate, redefine and bestow his due accolades. Kuti’s recent nomination for a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a great start.
The common man’s middle finger
Fela was special and he stood out in his music, lifestyle and activism. There he was, always uniquely dressed in embroidered brocades and African-inspired prints. He lived dangerously, defying brutal military regimes, flamboyantly puffing on jumbo-sized marijuana joints, with a bevy of scantily clad, made-up women in tow, with street thugs as his bodyguards.
Aesthetically, he was a fiery riot of stunning colours, jarringly expressive (anti) styles and loud and discordant attitudes. There was none like him then, and even now. Fela was an avatar, an anomaly and a pioneer all at once. And the ripples he left in his wake are still felt around the world.
Fela was difficult to love. He always seemed too hot to handle. He seemed out of place and was uncompromising in his art, politics and vision. He was wild, uncontrollable and spontaneous. This was a guy who had the sheer audacity to marry 27 women in a single day. He also employed somewhat tyrannical methods in running his extensive household and sprawling band.
He was accommodating to a fault. Hoodlums and common criminals were often able to seek and find refuge under his protection. He found joy in poking at the finer sensibilities of decent society. Fela was born middle-class, but on many occasions, he rejected classism. He reportedly used luxury Mercedes Benz cars as transport for firewood, spinach and other indignities, to demystify affluence.
Due to his behaviour, his music was shunned by polite society and the political class. Instead, he became famous for his serial transgressions, arrests, state-sanctioned physical assaults, 300 court appearances and spells of imprisonment.
He always referred to himself as abami eda, meaning the “weird one”. It was true. He was as weird as they come, and wasn’t afraid to revel in it. And now, his robust life has become myth. All we have left is a legacy of astonishing music. We must now develop the language and critical tools to describe and analyse the potency of his work. We must also begin to honour his music and cultural accomplishments.
Fela’s Afrobeats legacy
There are reservations about how appropriate Fela’s possible induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is. He created a genre of music that defies standard systems of categorisation. It was the only way he could create art.
Afrobeat, the genre Fela pioneered, has become more than music. It comprises a seductive fusion of diverse musical genres, politics, pan-Africanism, eroticism and funky, spirited grooves and attitudes. You cannot separate one from the other. And that is why his fans and imitators can only come up with a shallower, globally acclaimed subgenre – Afrobeats.
Although, Fela’s work influenced today’s Afrobeats, it is still a reduction of the original form. There’s a wide gulf between Afrobeat and Afrobeats. Fela’s work stands out in terms of musical proficiency, ideological rigour and spiritual potency. Afrobeats is also commercial in its appeal, making it vulnerable to co-option, imitation and devaluation. However, this is only one side of the equation. Afrobeats has grown into a fusion of diverse sounds from the Africana world. In its current form, it incorporates West African rhythms, hip hop, R&B, dancehall and reggae-influenced beats.
All things considered, Fela remains a creative oasis. So vital a creative source, that artists and musicians who come after him are overwhelmed by his legacy. It’s partly why people who sample his work, usually produce abridged forms of Afrobeat. The world still has some catching up to do. Perhaps he is a genre unto himself.
Fela’s nomination for a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame spot can only be received with mixed feelings. It implies that the world is now ready to accept him, in spite of his scandals and idiosyncrasies. Arguably, his inclusion into that prestigious institution could dilute his message, ideals and spiritual endowment. He would have to be rebranded, deradicalised and remade for the Western gaze. The result will be a more palatable version that fits into the standard for major endorsement deals and campaigns.
Chelsea must not ‘lose their heads’ protecting lead: Tuchel
13 April 2021, 6:13 AM
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said his players must not “lose their heads” by allowing their 2-0 first-leg advantage over Porto in the Champions League quarter-finals to lull them into a false sense of security heading into Tuesday’s return.
Chelsea have one foot in the last four of Europe’s elite club competition courtesy of superb individual goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell, but Tuchel insisted he would not set his side out to protect their lead in the ‘home’ leg in Seville.
The tie is being staged at Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan stadium due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel between Portugal and England.
“We don’t approach games like this, to talk about the result we have and then change our approach,” Tuchel told a news conference on Monday. “It’s important to be fully focused and play the best game possible.
“It’s easier for Porto to adapt because they know what they need to do to go through. For us if we start adapting we could easily lose our heads.
“What does it mean? Is it enough to lose one-zero? Why should we enter this frame of mind? We have a certain way of playing and we will try to bring that. We have to be free in our minds to react to situations on the pitch.”
Chelsea face a defining week with an FA Cup semi-final clash against Manchester City at Wembley on Saturday.
Tuchel believes his side is on course for a strong finish to the season.
“There’s nothing less interesting than the past,” he said. “Everything that counts is the next match and competition.
“Tomorrow there’s no trophy to win, on Saturday there’s no trophy to win, but these are matches where we can take decisive steps.”
N’Golo Kante, who has struggled with a hamstring problem in recent weeks, is available for the game, but Tuchel said he would take a late call on the France midfielder.
“We need to be careful about him,” the German added. “The question is whether we want him to start or finish the game. It is not answered yet, I will do this tomorrow.”
Family of late community activist Andries Tatane yet to recover from their loss 10-years on
13 April 2021, 5:45 AM
The family of the late Ficksburg community activist, Andries Tatane, is yet to recover from their tragic loss, on this day ten years ago. Tatane died after he was beaten and shot with rubber bullets during a confrontation with the police.
The street leading to the home of Andries Tatane remains riddled with potholes. Tatane was an activist, husband and a doting father of two young sons. He used to occupy a back room at his home which remained a constant reminder of what he wanted to achieve in life.
Just like many residents, Tatane was unhappy with the dismal service delivery in the area. He joined scores of protestors who took their fight to the doorstep of Setsoto municipality. Sadly, his life was cut short. Police used rubber bullets and batons to subdue him. The incident took place three days before his then four-year-old son’s birthday. Ten years later, the family is still hurting.
Seipati Tatane is Andries Tatane’s sister, ” I still feel the pain that I lost a brother, and I’m sure by now he would be far with his life. I know I would have been the one witnessing his dreams.”
Tatane was a passionate Maths and Science tutor. He dedicated his life to helping high school learners with their studies.
In March 2013, seven accused police officers were found not guilty of his murder. Regional magistrate, Hein van Niekerk, found that the state did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The court found that Tatane was not an innocent protester and that he was violent on the day and obstructed police in their duties. The ruling was received with outrage, with some raising questions about the National Prosecuting Authority’s handling of the case.
Seipati says her wish is for something to be done for the community, “The sad part is that even what he died fighting for has not happened, we are still suffering in terms of service delivery. I would be happy if something better can happen for the community in memory of Andries Tatane. We know he loved teaching pupils, he loved to witness the success of youngsters. If they can open maths and sciences labs just to assist the community, I would be happy.”
After the death of Andries Tatane, Good Samaritans built a house for the family and his widow, Rose. Rose died in a car crash in Lesotho almost four years ago. The Congress of the People has been funding the studies of Tatane’s two sons.
The Ficksburg Regional Court also found that it was impossible to identify the accused as the actual officers who beat Tatane. The NPA also conceded that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the state’s case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Tatane’s death was in vain
Residents of Meqheleng Township in the Free State say the death Tatane was in vain. Tatane was killed on this day ten years ago, during a scuffle with police near the Setsoto municipal offices in Ficksburg.
The final moments of activist Andries Tatane were caught on camera by SABC cameraman Filane Chomane.
The 33-year-old Tatane was among 4 000 protestors who marched to the Setsoto municipal offices. They were demanding a response from the municipality after they had handed over a memorandum of grievances a week earlier.
The march was spearheaded by the Meqheleng Concerned Citizens group. Among other problems, the area had been battling chronic water shortages for years. Chaos erupted when residents demanded keys to take control of the troubled municipality. Events took a turn for the worse when public order police, armed with water cannons, batons and rubber bullets, clashed with demonstrators. The police fired rubber bullets.
An unarmed Andries Tatane was severely beaten with batons and shot at close range with rubber bullets. According to the charge sheet, one of the rubber bullets was fired directly at his chest and penetrated his chest cavity.
The next day, residents went on the rampage and burned down offices of the Departments of Home Affairs and Public Works and a library.
Lereko Manako, the former chairperson of Meqheleng Concerned Citizens says to this day, their concerns remain largely unresolved.
“Many issues have not been addressed. For example, the very past Easter weekend some areas were without water. The one reason that I would say killed one of our youth here, Andries Tatane. So, personally I’m not impressed. I can say nothing has changed instead things have gone from bad to worse,” says Manako.
The municipality’s financial health is deteriorating. It collects far less than it spends. Several capital projects have stalled due to a lack of funds.
Another community activist Selloane Lephoi explains, “The same problem that he died for in 2011, we are talking about it. It’s worse today because sewers are overflowing all over the place, kids have died, you have small children who died because they had to walk back from school to home and they get swept away by water during rainy season. Things have worsened.”
The problem of water shortage has been compounded by ageing municipal infrastructure.
The community is aggrieved.
“The service is poor in Ficksburg, we don’t have water, when it comes out it comes with worms with a bad smell. Also the roads are bad. Our big problem here in Meqheleng is water shortages. Sometimes the water is dirty and taps would run dry for a long time. It’s been raining but still there is no water, our taps are dry, we can’t even use our toilets in the house.”
Government says it has devised plans to mitigate the ongoing crisis.
Free State COGTA MEC Thembeni Nxangisa explains, “The problems are caused by an ageing infrastructure which results in water leaks. They intend to build a dam to augment water sources in the area.”
The Auditor-General says Setsoto municipality has failed to prioritise the maintenance of assets.
This has led to the municipality incurring more than R24-million of water and electricity losses. The massive losses resulted from burst pipes, tampering and theft.