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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
July 2009 -- Every day, I yearn for some good news to publish about South Africa. And today, a very positive lady named Liz Fisher wrote me with some very happy vibes indeed.
So I’m publishing this just to cheer us all up for a change…
Liz is part of a team which runs a campaign called ‘Awesome South Africa”, a feel-good campaign launched from Durban.
Some of her good news:
‘The black middle class grew by 30% in 2005, adding another 421,000 black adults to SA's middle-income layer…’ ; and there ‘s even more: she writes that ‘despite all the perceptions around racial divisions between soccer and rugby, it gives you goosebumps to hear the entire stadium erupt with a booming Booooth from Bafana Bafana supporters each time play comes his way. In a similar fashion when the Sharks are playing the predominantly white fans unite with a resounding Beeeast, each time he touches a ball….’
Liz writes me that she’s now compiling a book on South Africa.
“It is going to be a fun and colourful compilation on South Africa facts and trivia in a good quality coffee table format. The book will not only showcase the best South Africa has to offer but also include a humorous aspect, details of our past, our wildlife and our people and their cultures.
“The book was born out of our movement Awesome SA. We are a non profit organisation of South Africans who are committed to positively influence the future. I intend having the books on the shelves early in the new year and at this point will be printing 5,000 copies.”
She wants to also include pictures of overloaded taxis and other vehicles in this fun book.
Anyone wanting to send her some more fun news about South Africa, can write her at email@example.com.
- You can also phone her at 082 786 8450, or become a member of her mailing list at www.awesomesa.co.za
‘Is racial transformation helped by a white man applying for judge?’
July 21 2009 - CAPE TOWN. Highly qualified Eastern Cape candidate-judge Torquil Paterson SC, who obtained an Oxford theology education before switching to law, caused a stir at the parliament’s Judicial Service Commission when he stated he’d left the Anglican priesthood and became a lawyer ‘because he concluded that there was no God.’
JSC ‘s parliamentary examiners interviewed five short-listed nominees for two positions in the Western Cape High Court -- however there are a total of six vacancies for judges on two provincial Benches in the Eastern- and Western Cape. The list of judge-aspirants included two women of colour, a black attorney from Soweto and two white male advocates.
Picture: Paterson arguably is one of the best-qualified candidates who applied for the Bench, having written an authoritative legal reference book, “Eckard’s Principles of Civil Procedure in the Magistrate’s Courts,” published by Juta in 2005. (ISBN 07021719)
Paterson this week told the JSC during his candidacy-hearing: "I left the church for a variety of reasons, chief among them being that I realised God does not exist. I am an atheist." His lengthy theological studies included a stint at Oxford University. He explained that he had eventually come to the conclusion that "all language of God is meaningless".
This caused a vociferous reaction from one of his examiners, advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, also of the Eastern Cape picture -- president Jacob Zuma's new appointee to the Judicial Service Commission. He slammed Paterson for being 'both an atheist and a marxist' -- and then launched a scathing attack on Paterson for having failed to join Advocates for Transformation (AFT), which Ntsebeza chairs – he’s thus in charge of maintaining the entire country’s ‘racial demography’ of the judiciary.
This question is particularly ironic: Paterson is well-known for his anti-apartheid activism inside the Anglican church in Southern Africa before 1994. He also co-authored a book with the Nobel peace laureate, archbishop-emirate Desmond Tutu in 1989, entitled: "Bounty in Bondage: Anglican Church in Southern Africa - Essays in Honour of Edward King, Dean of Cape Town" ..
Paterson replied to the wealthy Ntsebeza – who formerly also chaired the Desmond Tutu Trust and the South African corporation Barloworld-- that he did not join the AFT "because he believed its aims were adequately covered by the efforts of the General Council of the Bar to help black law graduates." Ntsebeza demanded to know whether he had even ' read the constitution of the AFT and how he could presume to know its objectives.'
On Ntsebeza's insistence, the advocate -- and author of an authoritative legal reference book -- conceded that "the demographics would not be enhanced by appointing more white judges".
"That's all I wanted you to say," said the former Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner -- at which point Chief Justice Pius Langa cut him off, giving Paterson a chance to respond in full."I'm being attacked, so now I am going to attack. The AFT talks, it does not do," Paterson replied.
There also was an attempt to smear Paterson personally, when he was accused by Eastern Cape Judge President Cecil Somyalo of having 'sought to end the career of a lawyer because he was black." The Grahamstown advocate denied this, vehemently supported by JSC spokesman advocate Marumo Moerane, who pointed out that the particular black lawyer in question 'had in fact stolen money from various people, "including myself".
One of the other examiners in the hearing, SA Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, reportedly looking perplexed about Paterson’s stated reasons for his transformation from priest to lawyer, asking him: "So what you read in the Bible about the beginning does not exist? You do not believe that we were created in the image of God?" Paterson replied: "Minister, you may believe that, I don't."
So … is he a Marxist, Materialist or Communist?
Radebe insisted, to rare laughter at the JSC's interviews of aspirant judges, SAPA reported: "If God does not exist, are you a materialist, a communist, a Marxist?" Paterson denied he was any of those, adding: "It is a quite difficult to find a real Marxist."
Journalist Philda Essop, who also reported on the hearings, writes that a female applicant, Elizabeth Baartman, who already works as an acting judge on the Western Cape Bench, was also asked by an Inkatha Freedom Party MP whether she was classified as a 'white, coloured, black or Indian'. She replied that she was 'classified as coloured'. She is however a direct descendant of South Africa’s first nation – the Khoi-San – whose descendants also include ex-president Nelson Mandela
- http://jv.news24.com/Beeld/Suid-Afrika/0,,3-975_2540714,00.html and
- page 7 of The Star on July 22, 2009 http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20090722010603666C471054
- South African Bar: http://www.sabar.co.za/members.html
- Torquil Paterson book on Anglican church: http://www.akademika.no/node/9717752
- Torquil Paterson books on judiciary: http://openlibrary.org/a/OL77356A/Torquil-Paterson
- Dumisa Ntsebeza chairs Barloworld: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/barloworld-appoints-dumisa-ntsebeza-as-chairperson-munday-as-deputy-2007-06-06
- Dumisa Ntsebezae: http://www.whoswhosa.co.za/Pages/profilefull.aspx?IndID=1879
- Khoisan, first nation of southern Africa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khoisan
Where are we from?