4/16/07

DEAR BLOGGER

BLOGGERS OF MZANSI, ABANDON THE OSSEWA!

Recently I read in one of the weekend newspapers a point I have previously noted and argued that it needs serious scrutiny. It was a comment published by an observant journalist about the South African Blog Awards. Now ours is a diverse country with lots of different people who use different platforms to articulate issues but it has never crossed my mind that such issues can be articulated along racial lines. The killing of white farmers is not a white but a South African issue since these farmers provide livelihood for many black families. It's not about another De La Rey song either but blatant exclusion of people from an activity based on their race and physical location. The majority of darkies don't live in Fourways but townships which makes Sun City more central than a northern suburb.
Like the author of the article correctly articulated I was also puzzled a month ago to learn that there's a section of our community who have made it a habit to build a new ossewas everytime their comfort zones are invaded, especially as a result of government transformation policy or pure co-existence needs. The SA Blog Awards are a case in point. I'm not saying white people should include blacks in everthing they do but if they are going to use a name like 'South Africa' they better make sure whatever they do is inclusive.
I actually wanted to intiate the start of these awards a few months ago at noticing that quite a number of people are into blogging and that only American bloggers get all the media attention at the expense of local bloggers, but to my surprise I discovered that 'the franchise' if I may call it already exists in the hands of a crowd whose commitment to moving the blogging sub-culture beyond its current level is questionable. I was not stressing since I figured in the line of the Canadian, Irish and British Blog Awards every blogger will be kept up to date about developments in this new sub-culture.
My first observation at visiting the SA Blog Awards website is that the current organisers seem not to be serious about creating a contest worthy of entering but simply out to trademark the brand so that suppose a serious entertainment or media entity wants to pursue them as an entertainment calendar contender like the South African Music Awards, Blue Cranes, Vunas, Sithengi etc, or any of the many awards and events on our social calendar they in the future can sell the name and brand at a price.
What I saw on their website was a bunch of clowns out to patronize whoever had good intentions about blogging. I mean I reckon this 'thing' must move beyond a fad to a serious media tool like it's the case in other countries whereby freelance writers and columnists no longer send directly to editors but post on personal blogs where their rants get picked by newspapers as good content.
When United States of America Presidential hopeful Senator Barrack Obama's second name was accidentally misspelt by Cable News Network as 'Osama' recently it was bloggers who picked the mistake first and alerted the powers that be in Atlanta. South Africa should reach that level whereby the presidential imbizo in Soweto can be monitored from a blog belonging to a Sowetan and the 19h00 news can be found fresh on blogs from bloggers as far as Bisho, Cape Town, Khutsong and Timbaktu. I can easily believe a story about what's happenig in Khutsong from a blogger in the area than a journalist who was parachuted in with a list of sources.
We can't wait for national newspapers that answer to shareholders to expose musical talents when locals can do that on their blogs which is where the newspapers can pick a good story and publish it - of course acknowledging the source and paying for the find.
The story in the newspaper was on point about something wrong with the racial make-up of the bloggers who met for the awards. I was not there but I reckon 13 years into democracy you can't have Broederbond mentality while you brand yourself using 'South African. There are hundreds of blogs by darkies which either by design or coincidence didn't make it to the ill-fated SA Blog Awards irrespective of the national South African Broadcasting Corporation having given the organisers a stint on Morning Live. And that exclusivity conduct has to stop.
I personally have sent my link to many media entities and editors for reviews and possible syndication of material and all I got was a cold shoulder while every week I read about some 60- year blogger in Baghdad or some teen in New York. Our local journalists always have something to write about some American or European blogger and even pick stories from overseas while locals generate equal quality content which continues to bypass the editor's sight.
I can really be vocal because I am a freelance journalist blogger myself. I started Kasiekulture in December to fill a void that was there. Barely four months later it has more than 100 entries about anything, from politics, analysis, news, sports, entertainment, book, music and film reviews, humour, opinions, profiles and hundreds of good pictures. It's an arts and culture blog.
I can also cite blogs by ordinary professional darkies such as yodemo and lekgema (by journalist Tshwarelo eseng Mogakane), kgaitsedi (by PR practitioner Karabo Kgoleng), afrosliqdiva (by Events Co-ordinator Khensani Mathetha), kwaki (by Marketing Manager Lihwa Kwela) and scores by deejays and artists which I can not fill in this space but find interesting. These are blogs by South Africans for South Africans. And how the hell we'll have a laager community in South Africa honouring themselves without us begs for an investigation. Our media should expose hypocrisy where it raises its head. And the SA Blog Awards are one big ossewa that should be dismantled!


* This article has been sent to the letter's section of two Sunday newspapers and we pray that it gets published verbatim.

15 comments:

  1. Anonymous4/21/2007

    Hey, a writer friend of mine has been asking me where can i get a connection to send his manuscript to Kwela Books in Cape Town and I kept saying 'you need someone with that surname'. And finally my trouble is over, I'll send them to LIFE (http://kwaki.blogspot.com). On a serious note - one luv

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  2. So you did manage to get published in the City Press... cool. I would like to raise issue with the fact that you labelled the blogs at the SA Blog Awards as 'clowns out to patronise' - because that is painting everyone with the same brush, and not really fair.

    Yes I agree that there are many bullshit blogs out there, focusing on other peoples celeb's and info that doesn’t affect us at all, but there are also very many quality South African blogs out there that get the traffic, which is what eventually counts.

    The blog awards have been around for 3 years, so if you hadn't come across it before, it’s your own research that missed it, as no blogger was contacted or invited to part-take. If your blog wasn't nominated, it surely can't be the fault of the organisers? And if there we're not enough 'black' authors represented, this cannot be blamed on a ‘laager’ mentality, when it is up to the blogger to ensure that he/she stays up to date with what is happening on the South African blogsphere.

    One major way of getting other bloggers aware of your content is to go out into the 'sphere and leave comments on other sites - bitch & complain when you see something you disagree with, praise that which is worthy of it, but ensure that there is discussion before just labelling and dismissing the awards as ill-fated, or the bloggers that partook as clowns!

    I did a check on Amatomu (M&G’s online blog directory), and could find no reference to Kasiekulture. I also looked your blog up on Afrigator (an African blog directory & aggregator), while at Muti your site was not mentioned either … Which only means that you have not been promoting it in the right places! Get your stuff out there for people to find – not only your own group of friends and followers – how else are we supposed to know that you are writing quality content? I have found your site now, and will be coming back, because yes, you do have quality material, and I have enjoyed reading through your site, and surfing your links – but that’s only because I read the newspaper article, and not because I found you online.

    South African information should be about South African’s, by South Africans, for the world – by bringing up so-called ‘ossewa-mentality’, race and other name-calling tactics, just raises the ugly-head of our collective past – one that we’re hopefully moving away from – because standing still and throwing tantrums is not moving forward!

    I agree that the SA media should spend more time visiting local sites, and that there is enough info out there already on Paris, Britney and other social misfits, while our own national treasures struggle for glory. They just need to know that we are there first; and so vehicles such as the SA Blog Awards is a great starting point!

    Keep blogging guys – the world needs to hear from you!

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  3. So typical ... whenever blacks are not #1, the race card comes out.

    Because anything white people do must be racist, right?

    Did it ever occur to you that there simply AREN'T that many blogs written by blacks? I've struggled to find them.

    And did you know that the one blog that did represent, ironically called Represet (http://www.represent.co.za) is written by blacks, and they were runners up in almost all their categories? And they were there because of MERIT.

    No, of course not, because you are blinded by your racism and old-SA mentality.

    By the way, this blog is a cute effort but has a long way to go if it ever hopes of competing.

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  4. I have written a comment to this post on my blog. I felt that it was too long to be placed as a comment here. thanks, Oscar

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  5. You make a good point... but I'd also like to suggest that the ossewa isn't impenetrable. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy - linklove and commentary break down the barriers in the blogosphere. (And I see you doing this already with the blogs you mention - great. It is about community building).

    Regarding the SA blog awards... I think the organisers simply had too much information to deal with, and limited time/attention to pay to it all - so it's obvios that the blogs that they participate with most often would get the most nominations. I think the system should be like the Oscars or Miss Universe - they have a whole lot of smaller awards that feed the main one and hence make the task of sorting and filtering less daunting.

    Lastly, wrong approach to make this racial... Seriously. We really do need more black blofggers in the scene, and I think we're all painfully aware of that.

    ps very cool blog:)

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  6. Hey, I chose not to publish a lot of hate mail that was sent to me. Guys, there's no war, relax.

    Special mention goes to Oscar, I went to your blog and checked your response, man, we shouldn't try to be academic about this. These days wisdom comes tagged in Euros (I guess you understand this, unlike your failure to understand many of the stuff I said on the entry)

    To Capdog, sorry you spent the better part of your life in a gulag in Siberia reciting 'all things bright and beautiful'. Welcome to the real world. Even if I was blindfolded (as you appear to be) I bet my last dime I would still see black. But I don't think there's something wrong with you, but something seriously out of place with the society that produces your ilk. I'll challenge you to check me in Google/search before you make conclusions. I don't need any white person to validate me as I guess you should have figured that I'm a proud darkie who think your type need therapy. I wish you short hours on the couch.

    To Bra Dave, good points. Thanks for visiting Kasiekulture and would appreciate another visit under different conditions

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  7. Oscar, I went to your rant and tried to find sense between the long essay and I'm sorry I found none. Don't you think it's quite opportunistic to say OR's blog? That's me. I'm sure you'll veto every attempt for me to get an SA Blog Award? Tell that to a good swimmer like Kasiekulture and this is where to get off

    Poor Capdog, using the old language of calling everyone with opinions contrary to yours 'racist'. I thought you'll be innovative and call me a 'blagist'. But 'racist'? Come on man, all that pep talk of an old South Africa and a new one is for you and probably your friends who dose on optimism pills.

    This is the world my friend, nothing belongs to the past cuz we are nowhere to the future.

    Shame, I can help you with papers to Down Under in the event you feel that my type is giving you sleepless nights.

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  8. Yes Oscar, shame on you for being so opportunistic as to use your initials in your blog name!!!

    ROFLMAO. I won't comment. Something about battle of wits with an unarmed person.

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  9. Hey guys... please try not to take my response so personally. I disagreed with your post, and I think I have stated my case. I have read a few posts off your site, and I think it has been done quite well... so all respect there. I suppose my biggest gripe with the article above is the mud-slinging, where I don't think its deserved. Neway... thats my 2c: Peace!

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  10. Weapons down now. This sounds like a rap battle, where the best word spitter gets the thorny crown.

    I have had many comments coming from different people. I guess this issue really undressed some "issues." Issues we South Africans have failed to address on other podia. I guess if a letter in a newspaper can spark such a debate, we must be going somewhere as a country. As for Dave's comment, it's good but he must realise that perhaps maybe kasiekulture was pulling a stunt that has now put it on a map. Remember guerilla marketing? This is something you can learn from. At least now my blog gets a mention. Blogs are really supposed to be serious, unless they make money. Others believe that black blogs are not proffessional. What's professional about a freebie? Somebody bes to try a website and go commercial. Yes, this is where we write for a group of friends, even if that group is a million people.

    Thanx for all the love, now go to my blog and find out how to make yourself a damn million.

    Yours Santa Claus

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  11. There is no point in trying to talk sense to you, as many here have tried and failed and I do not believe for a second I will fare better than them.

    Good luck out there.

    You will need it.

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  12. "This is the world my friend, nothing belongs to the past cuz we are nowhere to the future."

    This makes no sense at all.

    A bit like everything else you have written here.

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  13. Ya, ne! I should try pulling a stunt like that! Some comments here are enough to make me wanna quit blogging, writtin blogs are meant to be fun people! some of ya'll are coming down on Kasie as if he pasted a f*ckin "F*ck B*%!e" and all that represents that kinda bullshit ( figure it out)!!! We write for the love of it, to keep other bloggers entertain and to provide info for those who want it!!! Ya'll got issues of your own and Kasie just gave you a platform to let other people see the way ungakhona! Ha, Ha, Ha Don't get heart attacks and sleepless nights now!!! Go make yourself a million!

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  14. Gee capdawg, you are hectic. Been through a time-warp lately? The year is 2007.
    Anyway, (as I also commented on OR's blog), I was at the awards too and was also intrigued by the whole thing. The make-up of the audience, organisers and winners, the fact that most winners looked like they were the organiser’s buddies or the organisers themselves, the fact that trashmedia - a site that recently published a post featuring the pope saying “I’m a K****R” - won best entertainment and, wait for it, best design (they use a bloody template for christ sake). Now, this isn’t sour grapes. I’m not a blogger (I was invited by a friend who is) and I’m white (but colourless at heart).

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