I still have to figure out who came up with this, what do I call it, statement? My English is so fucked up I don't know the difference. However I been fascinated by it for some time because to a larger extent it implies non-disclosure of important details but focusing on the surface (less important) stuff. And it simply means that whatever people get up to in places where you are not you are unlikely to know exactly what went down, even if there's much mentioning of your partner as a willing participant as swine volunteering to provide bacon at the breakfast table for the rest of its life.
Sure, the last time I was in this jovial humourous mood was when I put together the yellow Hummer post which seems to have gone down well with my loyalest visitors. We all need yellow Hummers I guess and right there I was making people's dreams come true. For sure I have met a few pips who told me they now aspire to own theirs. Some were soon writing to etv trying to source commissioning briefs for its documentary invitation. The invitation closes on September 31 so rush and pitch your idea, you never know we might spot you in a yellow or red Hummer with the registration numbers KANJALO GP.
I however am not going to tell you about what really happened in Jozi but what did not happen. We will pretend that this is what happened in five days in Jozi.
DAY ONE: THE ZIMBABWEAN WITH A PASSPORT
On my arrival on Sunday after my four hours in a what I will call non-luxurious City to City bus I call my lawyer friend to shuttle me to this god-forsaken part of town. After the logistics of getting at Stay City which is situated at 46 High Street in Berea I made myself comfortable in my room which is actually nice with a television that I suspect is on Vodacom Compact because it does not have the full Dstv menu but some six or seven channels obviously selected by the manager. Sometimes one wonders what drives a souls to want to indulge in Movie Magic, Supersport, etv, SABC1,2,3 and a few obscure channels without having one SABC Africa, CNN or BBC on the roster.
I watch the Chelsea vs Aston Villa game and am intrigued by how English soccer has become so damn boring since La Liga started using more darkies with flair. English soccer is almost like soccer table, left wing passes to midfielder and midfielder makes a couple of dead passes before passing to right-winger who will pass to the lone striker who will lose it before he could make two moves. No wonder Chelsea lost while Didier Drogba was overworked like a slave donkey. At some stage, when they were 2-0 down I saw Roman Abramovic, the billionaire Russsian taking to his feet to leave before the game is over. If ever he had such a short temper even in his real estate businesses he could have left coastlines in peace a long time ago.
Later that night I go out for dinner and am confronted by a Zimbabwean journalist named Nkululeko Sibanda who actually speaks isiZulu. The man has got so many obsolete newspapers infront of him, Saturday Star with all its nuances, Sunday Times, Daily Sun and lots of paperwork I am not familiar with but can swear to God they are old. But I can see that he is fascinated by all of them because for him maybe for the first time he believes what he's readin since they are not government owned.
Obviously we are both here for the Investigative Journalism Workshop and we begin to chat. We discuss South Afrika, Zimbabwe, the World and end up discussing Manto Tshabalala Msimang. Fine, I later go to sleep.
DAY TWO: THE MAIN REASON I'M HERE
First person I see when I go to fix breakfast is Rapula, this dude whom I work with at Lowveld Media and who usually writes lots of stories. Okay he's coming for breakfast and he did not expect me here. Okay dude I'm here. He's with Happy, another colleague from the same company. We catch up over what the pig promised it would provide and some fatty stuff that gives me a feeling that it's clogging my arteries with every bolus I deposit. We don't need much catching up though since we all come from the same area.
After a short trip by bus we get to Wits University Education Campus whih is situated at Parktown, just a few metres from the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ). We proceed to Boyce Block where the workshop is taking place. After the formalities we get to meet a woman who has, in her investigative journalism endevours brought down not one but two Filipino governments. She's a petite pretty woman named Sheila Coronel and probably best known and feared by former president Estrada. We now have tactics of how to bring down Thabo Mbeki's government and that of Jacob Zuma after him.
That becomes so important especially when we later have Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya who, while he takes us through how the story about the minister of health being a drunk and thief was put together, he does not want to be clear on how they managed to have their hands on her medical records. That is not even explained by investigtions editor Wisani Ngobeni. All Mondli could confirm is that they were not stolen. "No, we didn't steal them, that I can promise you". He doesn't look edgy for a man whose head is on some SANCO guilotine in the event that he misses one step. The story, which I also later read on the Cell-C Juice site that South African National Civics Organisation, that civic organisation that can not manage its own household wants him arrested for not having applied for amnesty for his activities back in the 1980s in the African National Congress' Self Defence Units. The story goes to say that the dinosaur organisation is not impressed with his newspaper's handling of the Manto saga. Well, they are not alone as the SABC protested to Mondli's newspaper by withdrawing from the South African National Editors' Forum.
For sure SANCO should do it because they are fighting for relevance in a socio-political environment that is hostile to dinosaurs. This is given that I have more than one friend who took part in the SDU and who never applied for amnesty because the ANC took collective responsibility for the conduct of their footsoldiers. Why should Mondli be the only one to apply alone?
We then go through the story of how apartheid South Afrika spent more than R100 million in trying hard to distort the media picture of what was happening in this country. The story is known as the Muldergate scandal because it was led by Dr Mulder and exposed a masterplan by apartheid SA to buy out any media that was negative in its reporting of its activities anywhere in the world. The veteran journalist taking us through it is Mervyn Rees who also authored a book about the debacle.
Later that day we got to be blessed by the presence of Talk Radio 702's Redi Direko who was there to stage a mock interview. The folks with her, Margaret Renn and Brooks Spector create a scenario whereby a spindoctor from the Department of Health (not Sibani Mngadi) is facing the media about difficult issues dogging the department in Frere and the government's so-called comprehensive AIDS strategy. It's nice and educational but my focus is on the wow-wow-wow Redi who looks like she has been smeared with caramel all over her body. Wow!