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No-Drama Obama? Electifying!

Ben-Editor with the President Elect

Americans living in Cape Town and an almost equal number of South African journalists gathered at the Bishopscourt home of the US Consul General early this morning to watch the election results roll in. Just after 6am a huge roar could be heard in the suburb as the unabashedly partisan crowd cheered Barack Obama’s leap over the final hurdle to the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency. (His current projected total of electoral college votes is 349, to John McCain’s projected 144.)

South Africans can relate: it’s like it’s 1994 in the USA.

I grabbed a few clips of Obama’s victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago, from the BBC’s coverage:

Videos: Clips from Barack Obama’s victory speech

YouTube Preview Image
“The dream of our founders is alive in our time”

*

YouTube Preview Image

“Change has come to America”

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YouTube Preview Image

“Yes we can”

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And here’s the photo of the day from Africa: Obama’s step-grandmother Sarah Obama celebrating his victory in Kenya, where president Mwai Kibaki has declared tomorrow, 6 Nov, a national holiday:

sarah-obama.jpg

It’s fair to say that it’s a holiday all over the world right now.

Photo courtesy The Huffington Post

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    November 5th, 2008 @08:49 #
     
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    Yay, good for you Ben.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    November 5th, 2008 @09:08 #
     
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    It's a good day for the whole world.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    November 5th, 2008 @09:09 #
     
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    Happy days are here again! (I hope) Great, great speech ... long live'unyielding hope'

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @09:09 #
     
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    Sorry your guy didn't win, Ben, but everyone's taking it well. I know you didn't organise them, but well done for the efficiency of your elections.

    I heard someone saying on the radio this morning, "But is it just a victory for hope?" Just???? If we can have people in high positions convincingly backing things other than cynicism and self-interest that is something very rare.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    November 5th, 2008 @09:25 #
     
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    Fabulous speech, well done Americans for going out to vote and well done to the Obama campaign for their tireless, calm hard work and organising.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    November 5th, 2008 @09:25 #
     
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    Well said Louis

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @09:27 #
     
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    And if we can have leaders who inspire hope rather than fear with their words, even rarer.

    (Sorry, I'm caught up in the 'can's this morning.)

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 5th, 2008 @09:27 #
     
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    Erm, Louis, my guy did win. That's me at top of post with my guy.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @09:30 #
     
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    Sorry, Ben - it was funny but not funny. We know you are a true blue Obama guy!

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  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    November 5th, 2008 @09:35 #
     
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    I just watched his speech. He's got something, thats for sure. If I was American I would have voted for him.

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    November 5th, 2008 @09:44 #
     
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    Phew! I can turn my just-in-case-Sarah-Palin-presses-the-button-out-of-misguided-morality nuclear bomb shelter back into a shed again. Hurrah! I can feel my faith in humanity starting to rekindle.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @09:52 #
     
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    You can see the full speech here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/us_elections_2008/7710079.stm

    But it is rather slow as half the world is watching it.

    Cnn.com has cool maps.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 5th, 2008 @10:23 #
     
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    Beat me to that link, Louis!

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    November 5th, 2008 @10:33 #
     
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    If anyone is interested in buying the Bloukrans Bridge I can organise a great deal...

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @10:36 #
     
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    I should be doing some work... but I found a quicker-loading version at the bottom of http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/04/obama-victory-speech_n_141194.html

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 5th, 2008 @10:38 #
     
  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    November 5th, 2008 @10:46 #
     
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    Those Kenyan photos are so heartwarming, shame :'(

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 5th, 2008 @11:28 #
     
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    Okay, true confessions time ... the photos from Kenya, around the world and across America had me wiping away tears. South Africans know better than most that dreams can go sour, but that moment when the miracle happens stays with you always (sorry Sven, old strugglistas are allowed to be sentimental now and then). I hope this means that Americans will finally confront their racial demons -- that can only be good for the rest of the world.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    November 5th, 2008 @11:38 #
     
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    Sven, if one man can single-handedly do a great deal of harm (and let's face it he can - George W. Bush is solely responsible for the entire war in Iraq), then surely we can accept that one man can do a great deal of good?

    Yes, there will be disappointments as we watch Obama's ideals get chewed up and spat out by the Washington machine. But let's give the guy a chance. He is soooo much better than the alternative McCain-Palin disaster. That truly would have been a sad day for us all.

    I do believe in heroes. Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Seretse Khama, Winston Churchill. All good men who did mainly good things and left the world a better place. I hope Obama will swell their ranks. But let's start from the high-point of euphoria, rather than the low-point of cynicism.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 5th, 2008 @11:46 #
     
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    Gobama!

    (Original word-play is a thing of the past in this cyber age. But this one had only 192,000 hits.)

    Ben - As an American, have you ever considered becoming president of South Africa? The door is wide open now and I'd be disappointed if you didn't give it a shot.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @11:46 #
     
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    What a job he has ahead of him. While Florida was electing Obama, it was also banning gay marriage on a local ballot measure. So did Arizona and California is still in the balance. Arkansas banned gay couples from adopting children.

    I suppose the peaceful coexistence of truly bizarre ideas with more sensible ones shows that something's working. But still, weird...

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    November 5th, 2008 @12:15 #
     
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    Fiona, you're mistaking genuine concern over the fact that people are so susceptible to propaganda and so hypnotised by entrenched power structures for cynicism.

    Churchill?
    "Perhaps the next time round the way to do it will be to kill women, children and the civilian population," said in reference to Germany post First World War. Strange that we don't get taught little snippets like that, or the firebombing of Dresden where he fulfilled his ambition.

    This is the problem, there's a bewildering lack of skepticism towards power strutures is societies of mass despite at least 4,000 years of more or less consistent abuse by those in power. So what if Obama's black? By buying into the idea that this somehow makes him different you're basically buying into the most divisive notions of racism, in fact it's ultimately condescending - what defines a leader should be action rather than skin colour.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @12:40 #
     
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    I'm with Richard - Ben for president. He could do a rap intro to his weekly state of the nation podcast and he'd give us all cabinet positions:

    Helen - Sport
    Richard - Foreign Affairs
    Sven - Intelligence
    Alex - Finance
    Rustum - Arts & Culture
    Lauren - Technology
    Margie - Safety & Security
    Ben Trovato - Defence
    Colleen - Education

    I wouldn't mind Environment or Tourism.

    Who wants Health?

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 5th, 2008 @12:57 #
     
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    I think Health & Welfare should be put in the capable hands of Tim Richman and Grant Schreiber. It would provide them with ample material for their third book: "Is it just our department, or is the whole government kak?"

    I bet Sven will be the first to abuse his power.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    November 5th, 2008 @13:09 #
     
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    Richard, I'll be sure to use all the resources at my disposal to keep tabs on your 'foreign affairs' - may come in useful in building up my retirement fund once I've been kicked out of government.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 5th, 2008 @13:10 #
     
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    "My fellow South Americans..."

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  • <a href="http://rosemundhandler.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rosemund</a>
    Rosemund
    November 5th, 2008 @13:23 #
     
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    I've lived in the US for a long time, and as a citizen of both SA and US, I believe that this time Americans, some from conviction, some from fear or desperation, really voted for change. They have the best chance in decades to lose the obsession with themselves, to unpollute their lives and their image, and to unearth the soul of their nation, long buried under goods and services and greed.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 5th, 2008 @13:35 #
     
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    Excellent! I look forward to cancelling the Soccer World Cup and making exercise compulsory. Sporting skills such as digging your own veggie gardening, drownproofing, changing a car tyre, reading maps and playing a solid forward defensive will become part of the curriculum (with Colleen's help). C.L.R James and Ramachandra Guha will become required reading. All girls will learn self-defence in schools, while boys are taught to do the weekly shop, including lugging a sack of potatoes and 5kg of maizemeal for an hour on public transport, followed by turning lentils, a bit of mince and a few carrots into a tasty supper for six.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @13:39 #
     
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    That's what I'm talking about!

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 5th, 2008 @13:39 #
     
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    I wish my "foreign affairs" were worthy of blackmail.

    Hi Rosemund - I sincerely hope you're right. A little less greed would be most welcome.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 5th, 2008 @13:43 #
     
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    Oh yes, Sven, just have to say: it's not that Obama is black that makes him special... it's the fact that American citizens, in a country where race is so overwhelmingly overdetermined and racism and other forms of institutionalised hatred (as Louis points out) so highly tolerated ("cos this is a free country"), voted for a man whose father was Kenyan, whose step-father was Indonesian, whose first school was Muslim, and who grew up in Hawaii (which everyone knows wouldn't really be a state if the US hadn't needed a strategic base in the Pacific 50 years ago). This is what's blowing my mind: the haters lost.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 5th, 2008 @13:49 #
     
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    Plus, Helen, his middle name is "Hussein" - just like Colleen's (on Facebook).

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    November 5th, 2008 @14:04 #
     
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    Oh no, Louis I can't do Finance, I don't like money, all I want to do with it is give it away, which is why I don't have any; Ben's government would be broke after day one. I would like to have the position of Anthologist in the new cabinet.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @14:07 #
     
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    That's exactly why I mooted you for the post: you are such a tireless fund-raiser.

    What this country needs is more giving out.

    But of course it will be Pres Ben's call. Maybe if I'm Minister in the Presidency I can surreptitiously make such decisions. Though Anthologist does seem a useful portfolio too.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 5th, 2008 @14:11 #
     
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    Give money away???? Alex is PERFECT for the job. I can just see her: decent school facilities? Clean, safe hospitals? ARVs for everyone who needs them? Higher salaries for nurses and librarians? Teashops on every corner? Here you are!! Arms dealers, however, will flee, esp after trying to bribe her -- she'll cast a curse and they'll turn into mice, and hunted by Seb, Meg, Lily, Ghengis, Hanno and Pixie (the Book SA cats).

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  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    November 5th, 2008 @14:11 #
     
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    Well Alex posts enough on BookSA to have earned her the position of Vice President I think.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 5th, 2008 @14:13 #
     
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    Aargh. Cannot write a grammatical sentence (see above). I blame it on my yellow fever vaccination (so I can go to Uganda for the FEMRITE workshop), which is having very odd effects. This morning, I could not remember which side of the road to drive on.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    November 5th, 2008 @14:16 #
     
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    Louis, thanks for that vote of confidence in making me Minister of Arts and Culture.

    People, you do of course realise that my surname is a corruption of Hussein. Typically, the 'H' stands for a 'silent g' in Arabic, and is sometimes transliterated as 'KH' - KHussein. The story goes that on my grandfather or great-grandfather's birth documents, the 'h' was dropped by accident and thus Khozain became Kozain. So, Rustum Hussein for Arts and Culture then.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @14:21 #
     
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    It's both because of your skills, Rustum, and the fact that you're used to working with a small budget.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 5th, 2008 @14:24 #
     
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    But that's exactly what ministers of finance do, Alex: they give away money. If you want, you could write an "anthology" of who you've given the money to and what it has been used for. That would make a nice change.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 5th, 2008 @14:29 #
     
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    Foreign ministers are allowed to give a lot of thought to the posts.

    Let's make shadow puppets for our shadow cabinet!

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    November 5th, 2008 @14:32 #
     
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    First thing I would do as Minister of Arts and Culture is to get together with the Esteemed Minister of Education and see how we can both lobby for far more funding for her and jack up education.

    In other matters, I have to confess to a mixture of perversity and schadenfreude has the real motivations for my interest in the US elections. I couldn's stop bingeing on Sarah Palin's foibles and now, alas, it is over...

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @14:45 #
     
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    Were those foibles covered with chocolate sauce?

    Alas, Palin has gone back to Alaska, but her legacy remains on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDWZ568e5mA

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 5th, 2008 @14:47 #
     
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    If I were prez, my running mate would be veep: gotta be Liesl.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    November 5th, 2008 @14:48 #
     
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    Apart from this, you don't say much about policy issues, do you, Ben? But still you eclipse our previous incumbent.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    November 5th, 2008 @14:55 #
     
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    But in order to give it away they first have to gather it up -- I will happily collect kisses (a nation-wide anthology), but not taxes!

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    November 5th, 2008 @15:24 #
     
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    I'm delighted to be considered for the cabinet. I'd prefer a different portfolio though, minerals and energy; trade and industry - education is too difficult.

    Like Rustum I am also going to miss Palin's foibles. How will I waste time now? I don't like chocolate sauce on its own

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 5th, 2008 @16:42 #
     
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    Let's console ourselves by re-juggling the Cabinet:
    * Sven should get Environment (I will back him in passing a 500% sin tax on 4X4s not used on gravel roads, and in bringing back caning, tarring and feathering for strip mining magnates)
    * Liesl for Veep
    * Louis can have Intelligence (he can already write in code), with Kathryn as Deputy-Minister (she's a copywriter, so she can sell SA)
    * Sophy to be Lauren's Deputy-Minister
    * Sarah gets Tourism (on the basis of her intimate knowledge of the seamier side of Paris)
    * Sally gets Health on the fickle basis of her interest in BLOOD

    Any more? Did someone mention a shadow cabinet?

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 5th, 2008 @16:44 #
     
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    PS: Margie's first act as Minister of Defense: selling the navy's ships and donating the funds to Rape Crisis. Yay!

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  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    November 5th, 2008 @16:59 #
     
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    So I'm the new Health Minister. Cool.

    oooh the possibilities...

    Free medical treatment for all. That would be my first act. (This after putting myself in near liquidation for small treatment that apparently costs kajillions)

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 5th, 2008 @17:02 #
     
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    My first tasks for the cabinet (sorry, Helen, I'm a dictatorial leader):

    Helen - Sport - Teach me how to play cricket so I can bowl first balls in important matches
    Richard - Foreign Affairs - Get Obama over here for his state visit already
    Sven - Intelligence - Infiltrate the ultra-left
    Alex - Anthologies, Marginalia, Tea & Kisses - Start with tea, I think. Then move to kisses.
    Rustum - Arts & Culture - Focus, man!
    Lauren - Technology - Free wifi for all, plus the R250 made-by-crafters-in-the-township laptop
    Margie - Safety & Security - Create the Clare Hart Institute and fund bursaries for women to join it
    Ben Trovato - Defence - Start selling all our useless crap
    Colleen - Education (sorry, you're stuck with it) - Ditch OBE and I'll nominate you for same personally when I meet the Queen
    Sophy - Youth - Show me your report card. We'll talk.
    Sally - alt.za - Keep it down in there!
    Louis - the Presidency - Find me a Finance Minister. Also some more black people for this cabinet.
    Liesl - Vice President - Arrange my next visit to 'Swaziland', as it were. Shh!

    Sjoe, being President is tough. Maybe I should bow out to the leader of the opposition (Etienne).

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  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    November 5th, 2008 @17:11 #
     
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    I can dig that, grand master Ben. Im just thankful you didnt out that into rap.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    November 5th, 2008 @17:19 #
     
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    Done. I've already infiltrated the ultra-left, ultra-right and those guys who stand outside the playing field. I am currently infiltrating (more decanting) a can of beer in celebration.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 5th, 2008 @18:48 #
     
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    President Obama's chief-of-staff just phoned: "Can we come to Kenya?"

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  • <a href="http://traceyfarren.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Tracey F</a>
    Tracey F
    November 6th, 2008 @06:01 #
     
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    No-one took Environmental Resource Managment - who wants the job of replacing plastic bags? It'd be cool if we found a cure for AIDS and plastic bags. Give me the job before my conscience kills me.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 6th, 2008 @10:49 #
     
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    That sounds like an offer the cabinet can't refuse. Don't want to encroach on your field of expertise, but will you be using the plastic bags to cure AIDS?

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    November 6th, 2008 @11:58 #
     
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    Oh dear, this is all too much for me: Helen, yes, I want to be part of the shadow goverment and I also want cricket coaching so I can play #3 batsman. Meanwhile, el presidente wants me to focus. Lord, a literary, cricketing shadow government. That sounds like a good piece of comic theatre he says in his devil's advocate voice.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    November 6th, 2008 @12:50 #
     
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    In my capacity as Anthlogist, I think Exclusive Books should lead the way to replacing plastic bags -- lovely cloth book bags should become the norm nationwide. [Lauren could arrange a recycled-fabric-book-bag making project among the textile industry workers who have lost their jobs recently to workers in China]. Putting single books and single newspapers into plastic bags is utterly absurd and should be declared illegal.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 6th, 2008 @13:44 #
     
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    The foreign office would hereby like to express its concern regarding the fact that certain members of the cabinet are casting doubt on the country's economic ties with valuable trading partners. However, as the foreign minister finds the lovely cloth bags vastly more comfortable than the plastic alternative as underwear, he is willing to second the Financial Anthologist's motion.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 6th, 2008 @14:39 #
     
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    Tracey, you've got the job, get started right away. Alex, focus, man! Richard, thanks for nipping that one in the bud. Liesl, how's my trip to 'Swaziland' progressing?

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    November 6th, 2008 @14:59 #
     
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    Doubts be uncast, I propose an Imperial Diet (not at Worms, perhaps in 'Swaziland' or Kenya) to affirm unconditional, unquestioning love of trading partners ... and now I must have tea.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    November 6th, 2008 @16:20 #
     
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    Minister of Arts & Culture public statement: All South Africans to get a copy of Charles Mingus's "Ah um" album.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 6th, 2008 @16:34 #
     
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    Mingus Sikelel' iAfrika? Good move.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    November 6th, 2008 @17:12 #
     
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    The Commission of Anthologies commends the bold move of Very Generous Minister of Arts & Culture, and requests a full anthology of the give-away: including vivid descriptions of citizen reactions to Mingus (these can be in any of the following forms according to each citizen’s preference: poem, flash fiction, essay, limerick, illustrated short story, cartoon or YouTube video).

    Anthology on the Miseries of Finance announced. To offset the churlish first chapter on debt and depression, the Commission of Anthologies requested some word of hope from the headless Finance Ministry, which submitted by junk-mail this Investor Word of the day: Bottom-Up: “An investment strategy in which companies are considered based simply on their own merit, without regard for the sectors they are part of or the current economic conditions. A person following this strategy will be looking very closely at the company's management, history, business model, growth prospects and other company characteristics: he or she will not be considering general industry and economic trends [depression] and then extrapolating them to the specific company. Followers of this strategy believe that some companies are superior to their peer groups, and will therefore outperform regardless of industry and economic circumstances. The purpose of bottom-up investing is to identify such companies.” Since the Commission of Anthologies is broke, does not have money to invest, it does not find the headless Finance Ministry’s word of hope particularly helpful.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    November 6th, 2008 @18:00 #
     
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    Minister of Arts & Culture Public Anouncement: Talks with John Cleese and other silly parties have secured British funding for the development of the Cleese-Rhodes-Buthelezi Novel Writing Commentary Academy in Kalk Bay, South Africa. With more and more international sport and culture events being hosted in South Africa, the establishment of such an academy will allow South Africa to train sufficient numbers of commentators, consonant with the growing republic of letters in South Africa. This will allow South Africans to communicate and commentate on the many novels being written by South Africans to South Africans.

    In far-reaching visions for the future, commentating will eventually be available in digital source for distribution by cellphone, radio and internet. Shorter works may even be covered in print.

    But the academy will have an impact beyond national borders as it is envisioned that South Africa hopes to host the International World Cup of Novelists in ten years' time. It is hoped that already having a team of well-trained commentators will aid our bid for this eminent cultural event.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 6th, 2008 @19:12 #
     
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    Minister of Sport Public Announcement (in response to eye-glazing message from headless Finance Ministry on bottom-up investing): "Too much bottom hand!" For those to whom this means nothing, I say "bottoms up" as we drink to the great collaboration between the Ministries of Art, Culture and Sport. (Now there's something I'd like to see in real life.)

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 6th, 2008 @19:30 #
     
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    The Foreign Minister hereby requests official permission to use foreign objects in the establishment and maintenance of relationships with (potential) partners.

    (Also, if anyone has seen my budget, please let me know.)

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    November 6th, 2008 @19:48 #
     
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    I'm off to Uganda to do a thorough investigation of their education system, especially for writers, reviewers, booksellers, will report back soonest. Forget Swaziland.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 7th, 2008 @09:09 #
     
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    Rustum, please add Miles Davis' "Get Up with It" to the regimen, and look into incorporating the Kalk Bay bible school into the Academy; Richard, permission granted naturally; Helen, rein in your drives through the covers, you're embarrasing everyone who's not as adept; Sophy - report card??; Liesl - 'Swazi'??; Louis - Finance Minister??; Alex - euphoria from tea should handily offset lack of funds and continue to fuel your work. Bottoms up, indeed, everyone!

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    November 7th, 2008 @09:26 #
     
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    Yes Mr President. Mr President, we have actually completed some background studies on the bible school. The dean there has indicated some willingness for skills-sharing, but not in novel writing commentating. They do indicate, though, that the skills developed in bible reading and exegesis can easily be adapted to cricket commentating. So for instance does the development of a deep memory for biblical quotations and their sources (Book, chapter, verse), as well as the facility for exegesis, overlap with 1) the memory required for cricket statistics; and, 2) endless, dare I say, novelistic elaboration of such during cricket commentary. Needless to say, these skills are transferable also to novel writing commentating.

    Mr. President, in the music stores that obtain in a developing country such as ours, I have not had the good fortune of coming across Miles Davis' "Get Up with It". Could we have a some lenient exceptions to our slavish following of international copyright law so that my ministry can procure copies of said album?

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 7th, 2008 @09:36 #
     
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    The Minister of Sport is sulking (what Cabinet Minister reins in their drives? Ever?), and will be shortly be embarking on a long fact-finding tour into sport and recreation, starting on the shores of Lake Victoria.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    November 7th, 2008 @10:04 #
     
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    The Minister of Intelligence is doing likewise and will be going along with the Minister of Sport.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 7th, 2008 @10:07 #
     
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    Rustum, you're in for a treat, it's Davis' trippiest album ever, I'll get some of Sven's minions working on the job as a matter of top priority. Helen, don't sulk, we all have to pull together (who do you think got you your visa, after all? none other than our Foreign Object Minister himself), but if, in pulling together, one of us should regularly pull with extra panache, then others will start to pout, and deliberately underperform, displeasing the president. Capiche?

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 7th, 2008 @10:09 #
     
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    One can't help but notice that the Minister of Sport seems to have made a concerted effort to appear in every photo at the Deaths of Hintsa launch. The Minister of Intelligence, on the other hand, was notably absent. Then again, covert operations being what they are, this was to be expected.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    November 7th, 2008 @10:13 #
     
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    Minister of Arts and Culture Unilateral Declaration of Ministry Name Change: In seeking a snug ideological fit with our mission as stated by the President ("pull together"), this Ministry will henceforth be known as the Department of Parts of Culture.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    November 7th, 2008 @10:31 #
     
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    The Minister of Intelligence would like to inform the honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs that he was there, disguised as a small potplant with pink flowers.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 7th, 2008 @11:06 #
     
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    Is the honourable Minister of Intelligence familiar with the expression: "blowing one's cover"?

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    November 7th, 2008 @11:42 #
     
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    For the Minister of Intelligence, some further, sober analysis of the Obama tendency, including some big names, Mahmood Mamdani, Tariq Ali, Ali Abunimah (Electronic Intifada), John Pilger:

    http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/106196/why_iraqis%2C_afghans%2C_palestinians%2C_and_others_might_be_nervous_about_president_obama/?page=entire

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    November 7th, 2008 @12:27 #
     
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    The Minister of Anthologies, Marginalia, Tea and Kisses extends hearty congratulations to the creators and authors of that famous erotic anthology ‘Open’ and wishes a jolly re-launch party to all. Since the the Minister will be shelving anthologies this evening, the minister deeply regrets she will not be able to attend the festivities (particularly unfortunate, since she has heard a rumour that the Minister of Intelligence will be attending in Tiger Skin Boxers. Ministry sources suspect this could be a bid to further infilitrate the ultra-left).

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    November 7th, 2008 @12:39 #
     
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    Good work Double0 00. Points duly noted, plans for revolution well under way, continue covert research on developing artificial gills to survive waterboarding.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 7th, 2008 @12:44 #
     
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    In view of the Intelligent Minister's profile and duties, it would be more appropriate if he attended said event "...AS tiger skin boxers." Please confirm that this will indeed be the case.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    November 7th, 2008 @12:47 #
     
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    Minister of Parts of Culture vows not to make long-winded speeches.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    November 7th, 2008 @12:55 #
     
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    Nice one Foreign Affairs, there goes my cover - literally.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 7th, 2008 @13:19 #
     
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    The Foreign Minister hereby admits to a certain fondness of the Partly Cultural Minister's long-winded speeches.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 7th, 2008 @13:27 #
     
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    And speaking of blown cover: my son, watching snippets of the new president's speech, asked why they still hadn't arrested Obama for the attacks on the Twin Towers.

    Rest assured that my chief-of-staff will give him a full briefing this weekend.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    November 7th, 2008 @15:29 #
     
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    The Minister of Sport requests the President's permission to attend the launch of 'Open' tonight, and promises to appease the Foreign Minister by ducking every time Sophy approaches with camera to document her chins. She will try not to blow the Minister of Intelligence's tiger-print cover.

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  • <a href="http://shereenpandit.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Shereen</a>
    Shereen
    November 10th, 2008 @19:29 #
     
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    Congrats on getting your man in, Ben!

    At last, after all the years when the right to vote was just so much ink on so much paper to so many people, last week all those people found that it was not. The right to vote was a reality. The right to vote was a means to make their voices heard. The right to vote was the means to effect change. (OK, I’ve been listening to too many Obama speeches – I was going on to say: “The right to vote was a means to secure their interests as equal citizens of the United State of America but I thought that was over the top.)

    It’s inevitable that Ben should make the comparison with SA 1994 – one would have had to be a hard bitten cynic indeed to dismiss the importance, even if only emotionally, of either SA 1994 or USA 2008.

    Obama’s victory was, in part, due to his drive for voter registration, to get people to actually come out and exercise a right they’ve had for so long on paper, but been deprived of in reality. Either through their own, or more likely through some or other dickhead’s apathy or outright obstruction.

    I doubt we’ll see – in 2009 - the long queues of people in SA who came out to vote in 1994. Not because of any improvement in handling of voting procedures, but in part through apathy brought on by all the promises that were made that day and broken since. Mostly, however, it will be through the obstruction of the ANC in government brought on by, I would like to say, dickheadedness - Kannie wurrie vannie mense nie.

    Most probably is simply good old-fashioned SA slapgatgeid, of which there could be no better example than the Department of Home Affairs. As an example of which, I attach the letter below which says it all.

    There I was, writing to you guys about being dead chuffed about my daughter exercising her first vote in May in one of the two countries in which she holds citizenship. And here I am, still battling for her to get the document which will enable her to exercise her right to vote in SA next year.

    How many South African citizens, I wonder, will be deprived of the right to vote by the ineptitude of the department of home affairs in issuing ID documents? As many, I guess, as those whose lives are totally stuffed up because they can’t produce ID documents they’ve been waiting for, for years. Like this bloke I met when I was re-applying for mine, who’s been collecting endless fines because he can’t produce a driver’s licence, which he can’t produce because he can’t get his ID out of Home Affairs. Why does he drive without a licence then? Because he makes his livelihood as a fruit and veg hawker – he’s got no option. No ID, no life in SA these days. …………The man was in tears……..Reminded me a bit of the pass laws. He won't be voting next year- either because he's so pissed off or, more likely, because he still won't have his ID

    Me, I am tempted to tell my daughter “fuck voting in the SA general elections” but how can I do that when I spent more than half my life fighting for me, and her, and that hawker, to have the right to vote?

    Here, for your amusement, is the last letter I wrote to the powers that be. I thought it a better way to deal with the issue than to either burst into tears, or, as another man in the office in CT did, tell them “julle kan almal in julle moer kruip.” I do, however, wonder at the wisdom of my approach. At least my fellow applicants got to vent their frustration!

    -------------- Dr. S. Pandit London 8th October, 2008 Mr Johannes K. Tiba
    Head of Immigration and Civic Services
    South African High Commission15 Whitehall
    London SW1A 2DD

    Dear Mr. Tiba,

    Re: Application for ID Book

    I refer to your letter of 3rd June in which you advised me that my daughter’s ID document had finally been issued on 13 May 2008.

    [...]

    With an election looming in the near future, my daughter hopes to cast her first vote as an adult in the new South Africa, a vote which her father and I fought for, as some of the ministers in your own government will verify. My daughter was an infant in the womb when I was picketing outside South Africa house for the franchise for all South Africans.

    Should my daughter’s ID document be delayed beyond the date of the next elections, which on current form seems not unlikely, she will effectively be deprived of her right to vote. This would indeed be supreme irony – the government of a post-apartheid South Africa depriving a citizen of her right to vote by denying her documents which she correctly applied for.

    I would welcome your early response to this letter, a copy of which I have sent to the high commissioner.

    Yours sincerely

    Dr. S. Pandit.

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    November 11th, 2008 @21:41 #
     
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    The Lady Veep would like to bring it to everybody's attention that Barack Obama was seen carrying a book of poems by Derek Walcott, the West Indies Nobel laureate.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/barackobama/3401542/Barack-Obama-still-has-time-for-a-little-poetry.html#article

    In light of this, she wishes to propose that the presidential unicycle be fitted with a fold-away book rack for the specific purpose of providing our prez with a suitable volume. Recommendations from the Minister of Arts and Culture as to which volume he should be seen with will be seriously considered.

    As for the Swazi trip, Mr President, the unicycle is not deemed fit transportation.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    November 11th, 2008 @22:06 #
     
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    Ha! I, like Barack (note prez-to-prez familiarity), have several volumes of Walcott's work, thanks primarily to the Minister of Arts and Culture's tip off of some - Jesus Christ - eleven years ago. Specifically: In a Green Night, Sea Grapes and The Star-Apple Kingdom, the last of which is my tops, because of "The Schooner Flight".

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    November 12th, 2008 @10:13 #
     
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    Shereen - perhaps you should have added that you are currently Minister of the Interior in our Cabinet of Shadows. I think we should get some official stationary printed.

    Rumours of Derek Walcott - I think I hear the Partly Cultural Minister logging on.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    November 12th, 2008 @11:51 #
     
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    Er, what was that Richard?

    I trust that President Ben Hussein Williams does not require facilitation, let alone dictation, regarding his reading habits, whether for private pleasure or public image. Having said that, though, and following from our recently implemented 'Mingus in every home' project - which progresses favourably and is indeed accelerating thanks to our as yet unnamed Minister of Minerals and Energy Affairs' lowering of fuel costs - my department wishes to propose that copies of Zim Ngqawana's album, Vadzimu, be placed in all taxies BEFORE 2010.

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