Tag Archives: freelancers

The ANC giveth, the ANC taketh it away

I woke up with an uneasy feeling in my stomach this morning. On November 22 1995, South Africa was celebrating the first draft of South Africa’s new constitution. A constitution incorporating rights like media freedom. Sixteen years later, it is Black Tuesday. This afternoon the South African Parliament will cast their votes for the Protection of Information Bill (POIB).

An “all thumbs up verdict” would mean a first step towards the dismantling of the precious democracy so many people fought and died for.

What a way to celebrate such memorable occasion.

The more I think about it, the more angry I get. In the process, a couple of tears have bitten the dust since my alarm clock went off at voetsek o’clock (I tend to do that when angry).

I have not done any work today. I just can’t put my head to it. The thought that these so-called freedom fighters of the ANC intend to bulldozer one of the four pillars of democracy – media freedom and access to information – makes me sick to my stomach.

What did not help, was a story in Beeld. The report stated that MPs will be forced to vote along party lines and that their votes will be checked. In other words, it is not only media freedom that will be given a firm kick in the groin.

The freedom to choose is facing a similar destiny. May I note that this practice is very common in dictatorships like Zimbabwe and ex-dictatorships such as Libya?

“Why should I bother, as I am not a journalist?” you ask. If you by now do not know how the Protection of Information Bill will affect you as a member of society, you must have been hibernating for the past two years.

Read this while you are at it. Steven Friedman sums it up rather well.


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The Foot-in-Mouth Award goes to

Dear Miss Kuli Roberts,

“I did not mean coloureds in general,” you said in an interview with one the weekend newspapers. “I meant Cape Coloureds.”

Bravo, Miss Roberts. Well done. You hereby have shown that you not only suffer from chronic foot in mouth disease, but that you are as thick as two short planks. Why and when and how did you decide that these statements above, with regards to your Bitches Brew column in last week’s Sunday World, would make everything okay? Why and when and how did you assume that the scores of pissed-off South Africans would now let you off the hook? Honestly now, Miss Roberts!

Before I hit the hay and forget: to blame editors for the shit quality of your column is just pathetic. Did one of your toes get stuck in your throat – depriving you of oxygen and leading to minor brain damage – when you put your foot in your mouth for the second time in one week? I certainly hope not!

Sub editors – the people you referred to – are there to yes, perfection a piece of writing (basically to look for grammar mistakes and typos, and to cross the Ts and dot the Is) but it is technically not their job to rewrite an entire bloody piece from A to Z and back. Subs are very busy people, especially since their numbers are declining. Of course, they should have given your column a compete overhaul in this case. *wags finger at sub*

That however does not make them responsible for your shabby style of writing. If you suck at math, professions like accounting are not for you. If you suck at needle work, maybe you should not become a surgeon. If you lack ethics and moral standards, the job of a politician is out (or is it?). The same counts for writing: if you are shit at it, don’t waste your time / ink / paper. If you are capable of writing but you have no clue how to work the art of satire, then stick to basic, fluffy pieces about make up or the weather or Justin Beaver, I mean Bieber.

It is not a train smash really, if you can’t write a proper column. There are hundreds of talented writers out there – black, white, coloured, and every skin shade in between – who can deliver a well-written, witty and satirical piece without needing a sub to hold their hand or wanting to offend 9% of the population. Check the database of the Southern African Freelancers’ Association (SAFREA), for instance.

Warm regards,

Miriam Mannak


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Tales of a roach fearing cat owner

As you might have picked up from this blog, my cats tend to bring me all sorts of presents. Usually these gifts comprise cockroaches, and in particular the ones the size of infant elephants. These are the animals I absolutely despise to the most. Give me a rat, a mouse, a spider and I will be fine. Present me with one of those brown monsters with too many legs and too many antennas, and I will turn into a whimpering leaf.

My cockroach phobia even led to a hand fracture, so that you know. And a couple of weeks ago, I had to call on my neighbour after  kitty cat  dearest brought in one of those nasty creatures, after which she chased it under the bed. I simply could not get myself to remove the S.O.B.  Pathetic, I know, and yes I am aware that I might need some professional help in this department.

Anyways. A few days ago I was sitting in the bath – contemplating life, love and the universe. My peaceful state of bliss-zen-chillness was acutely shattered by a distinct meow. Cat owners among you will know that cats have different meows for “I am hungry”, “I want attention'”, “Leave me the hell alone”, “Ooh! Nice bird!”, and “Mom / Dad! I have something for you!”.  The latter is a combination of growling, meowing, and purring.

I jumped from the bath like a bat out of hell, almost shattered my skull on the geyser (which conveniently is hanging above the bath) in the process.  A cockroach in the bathroom – with me in it and nowhere to go and hide – sounded more nerve wrecking  than … than … well, everything really.

*Yes! I need help! I get it, okay?*

But it was not a cockroach. It was a baby gecko – 2cm long, unharmed but absolutely petrified of its time being clenched in between cat teeth the size of its tiny paws. Poor little thing. I managed to take some photographs before releasing it back into the wild – far away from my ferocious feline.


Copyright: Miriam Mannak / All rights reserved!

Copyright: Miriam Mannak / All rights reserved!

Copyright: Miriam Mannak / All rights reserved!

Copyright: Miriam Mannak / All rights reserved!

1 Comment

Posted by on March 4, 2011 in The World of Mir


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