How Does T.V Use Hair As A Tool for Classification

One thing that is easy to notice on TV is that there’s an intricable connection between hair and financial standing; straight, artificial hair usually means wealth and affluence while natural hair, mainly black, is associated with unsophistication. Anyone remotely resembling upper financial class will have his/her hair reflecting it as does those of lower financial class.

We’ve all seen many instances of these in our televisions throughout the years and there’s little to suggest things might change anytime soon.

The following examples are studies from 2 of SAs most popular soapies; herein we analyse the role of hair and how much impact and influence it has on shaping a character for a certain role.

Connie Ferguson who played “Karabo Moroka” on Generations, her character is that of a successful, powerful woman. Throughout the years her character has exclusively worn weaves, it could be considered a separate incident if similar patterns weren’t prevalent throughout our television screens.

Linda Sokhulu who plays Nikiwe Sibeko on Isidingo, a role similar to Karabo; that of a successful matriarch. Nikiwe, almost exclusively without fail has worn a weave for the entire period of her character.

In contrast, Zukiswa, who came from the rural Eastern Cape as a maid and her hair was pivotal in accentuating her financial position. According to the character she plays, she improves from being a typical domestic worker to someone who has improved her standard of living her hair changed from having her natural (afro) African hair to having weaves on.

With all these three examples, hair, whether artificial or not, is central to the representation and structural image of black women on television. While this representation may not be absolute, the repeated patterns of the same narrative contribute into shaping public perception and ultimately classification through hair.

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EFFSC Accuse The VC Of Failing To Implement The Tribunal Recommendation

The Office of the Durban University of Technology’s vice chancellor has not implemented the recommendations that were made on March 12 2017, according to EFFSC member, Olona Fihla.

The University’s tribunal committee recommended that the VC communicates the Executive Order to all DUT students.

The recommendations were made during a hearing of the case of EFFSC leader Philani Nduli who had been suspended for two weeks after the SRC president,Zama Ncube, reported him to have contravened the Executive Order.

The order prohibits non-SRC members from addressing students, as issued by the DUT VC on January 31 2017.

Nduli said he only found out about the Order after he was informed of his suspension. It was on that basis that the suspension of Nduli was uplifted, with the tribunal committee saying he “can not be held responsible for a rule that he was not made aware of within a reasonable timeframe.”

The Tribunal recommended that: “The office of the VC should utilise all means of communication to ensure that an important documentation of this nature is communicated to all DUT students e.g : email students, post a link on student portal and the DUT facebook site.”

The order, however, has not been emailed to all students, neither has it been posted on the student portal nor the DUT Facebook site. Instead the only two places you can find the order is at the office of the SRC and there is one half of it at the Berea residence notice board.

“We (EFFSC) believe that the University management is using underhand tactics to target EFF members,” concluded Fihla.

Things Are Looking Grim For Serero

There appears no way back to the AFC Ajax first team for South Africa’s darling of recent times, Thulani Serero. The PSL’s record export was neither registered for domestic and European duties nor given a squad number for the season in Amsterdam.

The new Ajax coach, Peter Bosz, made his intentions known early about Serero and any chance of a route back to the team would have to be a catastrophic start to the season. But that has been far from an occurance in the Amsterdam Arena this season. In fact things have been happening for the Amsterdam giants, without Serero’s participation and it doesn’t look great for ‘Cream’.

The team has won 14 of their opening 18 games in all competitions (excl. Champions league qualifiers), scored 43 and conceded 15 times. In their last 15 games they’ve won 13 of them, scoring 37 and conceding only 10 times in that sequence.

Furthermore, they are 2nd in the Eredivisie league table-3 points off Feyernoord-, through to the third round of the KNVB Cup and they are a win away from a guaranteed last 16 place in the Europa League.

It gets worse, his replacement is firing in all cylinders at the moment. Hakim Ziyech, who was Kamohelo Makotjo’s partner in crime last season, has scored 5 & assisted 7 in his first 11 games and looks indispensable to this team. With team captain, Davy Klaasen, in an even hotter form besides him and a lot of youngsters and experienced deputies like Laas Schone waiting on the wings, there is no silver lining in sight as far as Ajax are concerned for Serero.

Then there is the fact that his not getting any younger. In fact, his already one of the oldies by the Eredivisie standards. The league is one of the richest in the world when it comes to unearthing talenting and Ajax, in particular are one of the greatest ever in this regard. The one constant in the league throughout the years is that it is the hub for evolution. The old must always make way for the new, and Serero is already the old.

Serero is in the crossroads in his career right now and his future at the highest level is getting bleakier with each passing matchday. His best and only option to save his European career is to use Bafana Bafana as a springboard to attract offers elsewhere. I believe he can still excel in a mid table club or at a club just behind the Ajax level and rebuild his reputation from there or move to another league completely.

He has not become a bad player overnight and his experience at the highest level, think the Champions League, is still there. His next move has the potential to determine the rest of his career and possibly his legacy

Mamelodi Sundowns’ Dismal Second Half Is Further Proof That Our Season Format Needs Restructuring

Mamelodi Sundowns’ second half performance, and subsequent defeat at the hands of their Japanese counterparts, is further proof that the powers that be at the Premier Soccer League offices needs to change the football season to a calender year model like other African federations.

While most (if not all) African countries, and CAF itself, subscribes to the calendar-year season format, South Africa is following the European model which runs from August-May. This has, for years, caused confusion to every football-loving South African except those at the PSL headquarters.

The European model has no benefit whatsoever for us, instead it’s proved a hindrance for our game at both club and national team level : from having to take extended breaks for Afcon tournaments to our transfer period clashing with the registration period for CAF competitions and everything in between.

Sundowns’ visibly fatigued second half, especially in comparison to the first, was a latest plea to the Dr Ivan Khoza and his colleagues to change the season format. The Brazilians’ players have been playing non-stop for a full 12 months now, be it club or international football. During that time, they’ve had to travel thousands of kilometres between matches.

They played every match nedbank cup, the MTN8,the champions league from the qualifiers to the final. Add to that the telkom knockout and the league from January to May and from August and you get the sense of what they’ve had to battle with.

The on field physical demands of competing at the highest level are challenging enough ; having to deal with jetlags, travelling and playing in all four seasons of the year without a break and still compete at optimum level is asking too much.

The PSL’s insistence on modelling the South African football calendar on that of the Europe is again proving a hindrance for our football and until we structure our season in such a way that’s conducive to our football than we’ll keep on going so near yet so far.

Da Gama and Shakes Are Two Opposite of The Same Coin

Prior to the Bafana Bafana’s game I asked myself how did coach Owen Da Game find himself with the responsibility of leading the National team.

Sure he did have relatively successful time at Silver Stars & other small teams (dynamos, Celtics & free state stars) but the only time he tried his hand at a high pressure environment, he lasted only 8 months at Orlando Pirates where he took charge 6 games into the season.

Da Gama is also the same coach who’s one and only trophy in the PSL came over a decade ago, when he won the Telkom Knockout with Silver Stars.

But I thought I should give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he’s got.

Needless to say, I was disappointed with what I saw, especially in the first half. Infact, he epitomized all that is wrong with Shakes Mashaba : pragmatic, poor/no analysis of the opposition and strange tactical planning (Shakes once said his tactical plan was to “haak” at the 2015 Afcon finals).

Playing the tried and tested Hlatshwayo in an unfamiliar left back position with Mekoa on the bench, making it four natural central backs and two naturally defensive midfielders showed pragmatism that has no place in friendly games.

Add the fact that he played a high line with defenders lacking pace and no sweeper keeper, inviting the pacy Mozambique forwards and making it easy for them to bypass the midfield with balls over the top that exposed Ronwen Williams time and again. Just a little bit of research would show you that Mozambique have pacy and athletically built attackers. Playing a high line against them is suicidal, let alone forcing it to players who are ill-equipped and unfamiliar with it. Lack of research and poor tactical choices.

That imbalance at the back affected the whole system, forcing Klate to spend more time assisting at leftback and leaving our Bafana short on numbers in attack, rendering them unnonymous in the first half.

Experienced players like Hlompho Kekana’s poor use of the ball and uncharacteristically poor defensive play did not help.

Mozambique on the other hand had a field day with their direct approach and clever use of the ball. Domingues and his charges were all over the visitors but failure to convert their chances let them down. Though they went the half time break 1-0 to the good, they would have been out of sight on any other day.

I believe our first half had more to do with poor coaching than anything else, hence I think it’s hard to critically analyse the performances of Lars, May, Klate and Phala.

To his credit though, Da Gama did restore order in the second half, with a great balance of regular internationals and new arrivals.

Serero, Dolly and Makola were joined by the fringe list of Grobler and Mbekile in the second half. But by that time conclusions had already been reached. I don’t claim to know better than Owen Da Gama but I’ve never had much confidence in his tactics and what I witnessed last night did little to change my mind.

Our Media Failing : The Schweintaiger/Yaya Toure Compare and Contrast

The case of Bastian Schweintaiger being recalled to the Manchester United first team is a victory for Germany and, to some extent, for their media in general. The Germans, from it’s media to players and legends never shied away from voicing their dissatisfaction with Mourinho’s treatment of Shweini. They used this time when the team is not doing well to push the issue as much as possible, with Manuel Neuer, Micheal Ballack and Lukas Podolski calling for his recall in the last few days.

Now compare this to the situation of Yaya Toure at Manchester City. Toure, like Shweinsteiger, is another aging midfielder whose legacy in the game makes him an influential figure in the team, over and above what he brings on the field.

While Schweinsteiger achieved his legacy at Bayern, Yaya gave his best years to City and his contribution to the history of the club is second to none. This makes it easier to plead for a better treatment of Yaya than it is for Shweini. We have the City fans in our side after all and that is power right there, all it needs is someone to tap right into into.

Over and above what he’s done for Man City, he’s also one Africa’s greatest ever exports and he carried our continent at a time when we had no one at the highest level. As the mighty powers of Samuel Etoo and Didier Drogba waned off with no one willing to take the buton, Yaya stepped up his game and carried us all by himself. For 5 years he proved the reference point for our African brothers at the highest level.
For that we owe him big time.

But our media and legends have failed him. We have failed to protect him against Guardiola at the one time he needed us.

Just like we failed to protect Caster Semenya against the western media and forced her to do it all by herself, we are doing the same with Yaya.

Comparing the Yaya/Bastian situations, we are failing an easier test when we have all the tools to pass. We missed our biggest chance to advocate for his return when City were losing games left and right. But we should not wait for the crises to plead for him to be treated with the respect and fairness that he deserves.

But I doubt we’ll see any change in our media anytime soon. Right now I have more questions than answers.

Questions like : when will our media stop just being relayers of information and start using our influence our benefit? When will our sports journalism stop being “he said/she said” reporters? How is the world supposed to take us seriously when we can’t even take care of our selves? Is our sports journalism ready to break out of the shadow of it’s political counterparts? And when will our sports journalists step up and question the status quo like our students and doing via #FeesMustFall and the political journalists have continually done throughout the years?

There are no guarantees that Pep would have listened to our cries but there was no guarantee that Mourinho would submit to the Germany pressure as well. Until we try and try as best as we can, we will never know and will never be taken seriously.

NB : a shorter version of this this first appeared on Soccerladuma.co.za

We Need To Talk About Kurt : The Continued Ignorance Of Lantjies

Kurt Lantjies is perhaps the most underrated player in the country. He has continually gone under the radar of the national team scouts and the conscious of fans, despite showing his brilliance for Maritzburg United for years.

This weekend KwaZulu Natal Derby against the high flying Golden Arrows was no different either.

He carried the 10-men team of choice on his shoulders- a task all to familiar to him- and effortlessly blitzed through the Arrows defensive third.
His role in the build up to his 73rd minute equaliser, in a nutshell, showcased what he brings to the table as an attacking midfielder : clean recycling of possession, effortless vision to spot runners on the outside and clever manipulation of space, with or without the ball.

The goal itself appeared simple on first glance but a deeper look into it and there comes another underrated side of Lantjies. The awareness and presence of mind to stay onside there is what every forward should striver for in the opposition box. Lantjies stuck on the should of the last man who was right across him and even drifted backwards as the defender pushed up to attempt an offside trap on him. The composure for the actual finish displayed his clinical side given a chance.

Imagine the difference he would make in the Soweto Derby with all that space and quality runners besides him.

This is not me using one incident in the game to over-emphasis the quality of a player. This is me using one in-game situation and a player’s reaction to it as a microcosm of the sort of player he is.

“The game is so great that you play 11-11 but there’s billions of situations possible (in a match). No situation is exactly the same as the one in the previous one. The players has always to make a decision, perceive the situation, make a decision and execute. No manager in the world can absolutely tell the players what will happen, the player must make a decision. That’s why you have great players and less-great players.” Arsene Wenger

He might be on the wrong side of the dreaded 30 years but he’s consistency on the pitch shows no signs of waning off.

I had a chat with one of my friends in Twitter the other day and when I pointed that Lantjies is one of the most underrated #10’s in the country, he pointed to the fact he’s “aging” to reason why no one gives him his due prompts.

In as much as we are all entitled to our opinion, I think it’s sad we still have people who judge players on age. It’s such mindset that saw Pirates let go of Daine Klate for Thabo Qalinge.

I think this is where Kaizer Chiefs’ transfer operators have to be applauded. Not necessarily for a transfer they made but one they didn’t. Keeping Sphiwe Tshabalala despite the emergence of George Lebese and the likes, is one positive from them. This wouldn’t even be a thing, so to speak, in ordinary circumstances there’s nothing ordinary about the times we live in. People are applauded for simply doing the obvious because the obvious is not the so common these days.

We still have Jacob Zuma as a president afterall.

Opinions aside, this is a player who scored 9 goals last season, 3 already this season. For a midfielder in a struggling side to keep chunking those number is astonishing.

In a recent interview to in celebration of his 20th season as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said there are so many situation in one game that every minute “a player has to make a decision, perceive a situation, make a decision and execute it… that’s why we have great players and less-great players.” I think Kurt Lantjies belongs in the former side of the fence. The society’s ignorance of his talent is nothing short of criminal.

NB : A short snipet of this article first appeared on Soccerladuma

Words Speaks Louder Than Action