Welcome to my blog

bridgetpiggie

Good day to you all,

My name is Bridget, I’m a young Springsite about town and looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible.

I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself and invite you to tell me all about who you are. My favourite colour is pink and I love hearing about all the lovely buildings and positive stories in Springs. Like all girls, I LOVE chocolate as well as lovely fresh sponge cake and a nice ice cream on a hot day.

I live in the CDB at the Addie offices where I keep my friends company while they work on our website www.springsadvertiser.co.za, often telling a joke to keep the atmosphere light on deadline. Of course I don’t eat bacon (or any other piggie products), beef or mutton but love my veggies.

I am also quite a social piggie and love making…

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The Ridiculous State of “Horror Affairs”

Photo: studentvillage.co.zaPhoto: intergate-immigration.comYet another problem in the government of our lovely South Africa, public service. Yay. Yet another negative. And this one I had the “pleasure” of experiencing myself at the Department of Home Affairs in Ekurhuleni or “Horror Affairs” as referred to by the Daily Sun.

I was absolutely speechless when entering the “Horror” Affairs in the East Rand region of Johannesburg in Gauteng. I accompanied my mother after her handbag was stolen and she now had to go through all the steps of acquiring new documents such as a passport, ID, drivers licence etc.

Upon entering the building, which was empty at the time because of our early arrival, we took the relevant forms and stood to one side to fill them in, when the security guard (who was unbelievably rude to my mother on a previous occasion as well) arrogantly came and told us to move to another place. I nearly lost it right there. We were standing at the allotted place where forms are to be filled in. I asked him what’s wrong with where we are standing now and if we are in anyone’s way. He said that we can’t stand there and that we have to move. So we just moved to avoid causing a scene.

When we came to the counter, the room was filling up considerably fast, but the official at the counter helping us, took his sweet time, moving at an agonisingly leisured pace, despite being one of three officials with a room full of people waiting to be helped. Now, everyone in South Africa knows, when dealing with government services, you have to have heaps of patience, because the system is just, unfortunately, that messed up. So after being helped, we were directed to the cashier. By now there was a line so we patiently waited our turn… and waited… and waited.

40 minutes passed and we still haven’t moved an inch. We were fifth in line. No one has been helped thus far. We see the woman (that’s supposed to be the cashier) moving behind the counter, coming and going. It was obvious to those who watched her that she had absolutely no idea what she was doing or how to do it. People started to get impatient and annoyed. All the documentation has been done and all that is left to do is just to pay the cashier and be on their merry way. So what on earth could be taking so long? It’s just a simple matter of taking the payment, entering whatever needs to be entered into the computer, printing a receipt, smile and say “Thank you, Goodbye.”

Long story short, after what felt like an eternity, we left. But why is it necessary for people to complain about public service? Home Affairs is notorious for its pitiful service, having been in newspapers quite a few times. I have been trying to get hold of the branch manager but was unsuccessful up until the time I published this post.

But it makes you think, even if you do get hold of someone, you tell them what you think, ranting about how despicable their service is… and then what? They tell you they’re sorry and whatnot. And that’s the end of that? It doesn’t improve. Nothing is being done to improve the condition of government services. And I know it’s not just my story, there are thousands of South Africans who feel exactly the way I do and who have had even worse experiences.

Something needs to be done here…

Bad News or Misunderstood Leader?

Photo: dailymaverick.co.za

President Jacob Zuma

When thinking about what I was going to write next for my blog, I Googled some random ideas and stuff just to figure out what I want to write about (writers block apparently) and I typed in this sentence, “bad news for South Africa.” I clicked on images just for the heck of it… and low and behold, my eye immediately caught a picture of President Jacob Zuma. Leader of South Africa.

Along with pictures of rhino poachers, strikers, homeless people, corruption and all that other ordinary, day-to-day, typically South African problems. I found it quite amusing in all honesty. But then I stopped to think; reconsider. And I thought, wait, this isn’t funny. If the South African President is seen by others as bad news for South Africa (which isn’t as farfetched as some might think) how is that a good image for our country? Or any other country with a “bad news” president as a matter of fact.

A country’s leader should be admired and respected by all… Not booed off a stage by the very people he is supposed to be leading and inspiring. What does that say about the character of South Africa? Not that I blame them. I mean, look at the state of this nation. It’s neither here nor there. We’re a nation divided by the past and mistakes that were made. It’s been 20 years since the wrong that was done has been righted, but not much has changed. Yes, more people have better lives and yes, we are a colourful nation. But for those who go to look a little deeper, a “behind-the-scenes-view”, would see that there is suffering around the beauty and struggles in the warmth.

There is no denying that SA is a gloriously beautiful country, which is why it would be such a terrible loss if it were to become a wasteland because of wrong leadership and even worse decisions. It’s unbearable to just sit and watch as our birthplace and proudly South African country take a step back because of political unrest between leaders.

Jacob Zuma, bad news or misunderstood leader?

The Impact of the Platinum Strike on SA

Photo: Reuters

AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa speaks to miners at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Monday.

So after 5 long months of negotiating, declining and negotiating again, the platinum strike is finally over after members agreed to a wage settlement. South Africa’s AMCU union (The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) declared the strike “officially over” on Monday, 23 June 2014. Miners will be back to work on Wednesday. As much of a relief as it is to all South Africans, it’s still not the end. Not in the bigger picture.

This strike has dragged down SA’s already fragile economy. It is said that it will be several weeks before mines start producing again. There was roughly 70 000 platinum workers who partook in this strike, which caused massive, and possibly permanent, damage to South Africa.

Platinum producers claimed that they had lost more than $2 billion (R21 160 000 000) in revenue since the strike started. Mining analysts say it will take at least 3 months to get production back to the prestrike levels. The spot price of platinum fell by 1%.

Independent economist, Mike Schussler said, “It’s going to take the economy quite a few months to recover. There will probably be parts of the economy belt that never recover.”

More lasting damage to South Africa could be that foreign investors would think twice before investing in SA after seeing the ill-humoured relationship between companies and a union leadership.

“The strike has hit 40% of global production of the precious metal used for emissions capping catalytic converters in automobiles.” – fin24, SAPA, Reuters

Needless to say, SA’s mining industry and government need to repair the possibly irreparable damage done to foreign investment sentiment.

 

-fin24.com

-online.wsj.com

-af.reuters.com (Devon Maylie)

Fifa World Cup

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Photo: community.futureshop.caThe much anticipated Fifa World Cup 2014 is finally well under way, despite fears of stadiums not being completed on time and mass protests from Brazilians. Thus far, it has been a major success. The atmosphere is intoxicating. Soccer fans all over the globe are in a state of excitement since the Fifa World Cup started on Thursday, 12 June 2014, when the host country, Brazil, won Croatia 3-1.

Opening round matches saw some World Cup favourites go down when Spain lost to Netherlands 5-1 and Germany defeating Portugal 4-0, causing a massive wave of disappointment among fans. The highest scoring teams are Netherlands with a score of 8 goals, France with 7 goals, Germany 6 goals and Chile and Columbia both scored 5 goals thus far.

There is still a lot of excitement to look forward to as there are still about 32 games left to be played (this is obviously subject to change), and the anticipation keeps mounting along with frustration as teams battle it out to become the victors of the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

Interesting fact – Soccer is the most famous sports in the world, being one of the oldest sports on record. The oldest being wrestling (much less popular though), dating back as far as the 12th Century.

Most played sports worldwide:

  • Football (Soccer)
  • Cricket
  • Field-Hockey
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Table Tennis (Extremely surprised when I saw this)
  • Baseball
  • Golf

So who will win the 2014 World Cup? Will it be an old favourite? Or maybe an underdog rising from the dust? It’s anybody’s guess…

 

Co-writer: Karl Von Karg

Stats: Statistic Brain

Our Very Own Strawberry Leopard

Photo: Izahn van Huyssteen

Little Madiba

IMG_0697IMG_0692IMG_0689I had the privilege to meet the first ever Strawberry Leopard born in captivity worldwide. And it’s here in South Africa. Madiba, as they named him, was born at the Akwaaba Lodge near Rustenburg in the North West, South Africa about six months ago. His sister, Liana, is a perfectly normal leopard.

Madiba is believed to have erythrism – which is not a sickness – but a mere genetic condition that is thought to cause either an overproduction of red pigments or an underproduction of dark pigments. Well whichever it is, Madiba is definitely one of a kind. The six month old cat has a personality as special as his condition.

In all the ways that matter, Madiba is as normal as any leopard (as well as mischievous), but for one difference, his fur. He is indeed a rare sighting and most definitely worth the drive over to Akwaaba Lodge, situated a mere 15km from Rustenburg. Akwaaba Lodge not only has this little miracle, but a wide range of other must-see animals as well. Such as white lions, Bengal tigers, wild dogs, spotted and striped hyenas, black leopards and many more amazing predators.

When asked why they gave Madiba this unique name, they said, because, like our beloved Nelson Mandela, Madiba is one in a million. We will never have another Nelson. So I’d say that name is absolutely spot on.

Madiba is one of two Strawberry Leopards in the world. The other which has only rarely ever been seen. Madiba and his sister were raised by hand and they are an absolute delight to watch together. The other two magnificent animals, and next to Madiba, my personal favourite, are a beautiful jaguar and a little Jack Russell dog. These two are inseparable. They grew up together and are the best of friends, if the owners attempt separation, they fall into a sort of “depression”. Go in their cage and try and take the little dog. Mister jaguar is not going to be happy and you’ll find that out very quick. It is absolutely adorable and just made my day. A little doggy with the heart and courage of a lion.

Don’t miss out on this rare sighting. It definitely is nature’s own little miracle. Akwaaba Lodge welcomes anyone who would wish to see Madiba and their other predators. There is also interaction allowed with some of the animals, such as Madiba. For animal lovers such as myself, this is an experience you simply can’t miss.

For more information visit www.akwaabalodge.co.za or email info@akwaabalodge.co.za

Smiling at a Stranger

Photo: thedoghome.comA simple act such as walking past a stranger and giving a smile, is seen by many these days as being flirtatious. When did we reach that point when it crossed the line from being simply polite, to flirting? Nowadays, when you smile at a stranger, they look at you as if you’ve gone mad.

Where did the sense of courtesy lose its way and become a meaningless notion? No one wants to live in a world where people walk around with a frown, unwilling to give the tiniest hint of a smile. Life isn’t meant to be that sombre.

Or, in another situation, where a woman smiles at another woman, the latter gives you such a dirty look. The destructive words of “You think you’re better than me,” or “what are you laughing at,” running through her head. Unfortunately, that is the way of the insecure female species. It’s in their DNA. What’s more saddening is the fact that every girl knows, when you walk past a couple in a mall or some sort of public area, never –as in never- smile at her companion. That is instantaneous intrusion of territory and immediate grounds for conflict.

Why though? What is so harmful in an innocent smile of politeness? Recent research reveals that these simple gestures make people feel more connected (and no, not in Facebook or Twitter terms). A smile reveals happiness of whichever kind, and a smile can infect another. Someone who either had a bad day, or someone who just doesn’t have something to smile about at that particular moment. But for all you know, your smile can enlighten endless miles of darkness in that person’s life. Just that random act of kindness.

Smile at a stranger. Every day. Sometimes a smile will not come as easy and we have to put a little effort into it, but smile we shall. It doesn’t just make another person feel better, but yourself as well. Besides, it makes you more attractive in any case. No one likes a frown. If everyone could just smile at a stranger every time they walk past one, the world would not be as gloomy as it sometimes appears. There doesn’t always have to be meaning behind a smile. Sometimes it’s just that. A smile.

“A slight wrinkle in the cheek. A slight pull of the facial muscles. An upturn of the lips. A moment. Just a single moment… A smile” – Stephanie Althoff

The Reality of Crime

Photo: buzzsouthafrica.comWe read about it, we hear about it… and now, most South Africans can say, we experience it. Whether it’s a personal experience, or a loved one or just someone we know. Crime is no longer on the rise in South Africa, it has hit the absolute top. But trust our dear fellow South Africans to find new ways of figuring out how to disable tracking systems in vehicles, how to get around an alarm system in a household, or simply how to pointlessly aim and shoot.

Statistics show shocking revelations of how crime has evolved in our country. Every day, an estimate of 5 900 crimes are reported by the SAPS. The world average for murder is 7.6 per 100 000 people… in South Africa, this average is 36.5 per 100 000 people. That’s astronomical when compared to figures of other countries.

Kwazulu-Natal is the highest murder province in SA, then the Eastern Cape, followed by Gauteng. On average, over 43 people are murdered in South Africa on a daily basis. This statistic is based only on murder. That’s not even counting the attempted murders or the burglaries, hijackings or assaults. And now, the shocker… over 161 000 people have been murdered in South Africa since 2004… That’s 16 000 people per year.

When it comes to drug related crimes, over 400 are reported daily and 47% of drug related crime in the country occur in the Western Cape… So it’s not all sunshine and roses down there like some people claim it to be. Corruption is also a major problem in South Africa today.

It has been estimated by Crime Stats SA that South Africa has lost R650-billion to corruption over the last 18 years… Mister Government, how many mouths would that have fed? How many improvements could have been made to create a better South Africa for all? How many people would not have been left homeless?

Enough said.

“Crime expands according to our willingness to put up with it.” – Faber, Barry J.

 

Source: crimestatssa.co.za

Onderwys Probleem of Geen Probleem?

Foto: rsg.co.za

Foto: rsg.co.za

Krisis na krisis na ramp en weer terug na krisis. Suid-Afrika se een dilemma na die ander. As dit nie Apartheid is nie, is dit resessies, as dit nie resessies is nie, is dit ons water krisis, elektrisiteit krisis, daar is ongelooflik baie. En nou sit ons met die krisis van goeie (of altans gebrek daaraan) onderwys.

Suid-Afrika staar nogsteeds die realiteit van twee verskillende onderwys stelsels in die gesig. Disfunksionele – en funksionele skoolopleidingstelsels. Net 25% is funksioneel. SA spandeer amper vyf keer meer op een leerder as wat Kenia spandeer, en bereik nogsteeds minder. In 2013 het Angie Motshekga, Minister van Basiese Onderwys, ontken dat daar ‘n krisis is. Ongeveer 1.2 miljoen kinders is in 2001 in graad 1 ingeskryf. Net 44% het in die sisteem gebly om hulle Nasionale Senior Sertifikaat te kry. ‘n Lae syfer van net 12% van daardie 44% het universiteitstoelating gekry en net 11% het wiskunde deurgekom met ‘n punt van 40% of meer. Ja, Angie, geen probleem hier, hoor.

Nicholas Spaull se statistieke bewys dat Suid-Afrika se onderwys stelsel weereens in ‘n krisis is. Dan moet ons die vraag vra, waar lê die toekoms van die volgende generasies as die toestand van onderwys nou al so swak lyk? Word daar moeite gedoen om die situasie te verbeter of word dit net so aanvaar?

Ek wil amper sê ons sal moet wag en kyk, maar gaan dit nie teen daai tyd al te laat wees en die skade al gedoen wees nie? Die tyd is nou om dit reg te stel, maar wat kan ons as publiek aan die saak doen. Gaan meeste mense soos die liewe Angie alles net ontken en weier om te aanvaar dat daar wel ‘n baie groot probleem is?

 

Bronne:   Nicholas Paul Research, allafrica.com

 

Werkloosheid onder jong mense in Suid-Afrika

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Foto: solidariteitbeweging.co.za

Foto: solidariteitbeweging.co.za

Suid Afrika het die derde hoogste werkloosheidsyfer vir jong mense in die wêreld, soos berig deur eNCA. Saam met Suid Afrika in die top 5 is dit Griekeland en Spanje, wat die hoogste werkloosheidsyfer in die wêreld het, asook Portugal en Italië.

Die 2014 Wêreld Ekonomiese Forum van Globale Risiko Verslag skat dat meer as die helfte van alle Suid Afrikaners tussen die ouderdomme van 15 en 34, werkloos is. Dis inderdaad skrikwekkend as ons dink aan die toekoms van diè generasie se jeug. Maar wat is die redes wat daartoe lei? Is dit pure luiheid van die jong mense, of is die ekonomie teen ons gekant?

Of is dit die moontlikheid dat daar net eenvoudig nie werk is nie? Soek hulle dalk die kleinste, maklikste werk vir die meeste moontlike geld? As dit die geval is, moet jong mense net besef dat jy onder moet begin. Dit is die realiteit. Al verdien jy “peanuts” of inteendeel, kry jy glad nie betaling nie, dis ‘n noodsaaklike stap in die regte rigting vir jou toekoms.

Werkgewers bied nie sommer ‘n pos aan vir iemand met geen werksondervinding nie. Internskappe is altyd ‘n goeie manier om te begin en bevorder. Dan kom die ander waarheid. ‘n Persoon wat vir jare gaan studeer het om ‘n diploma of graad te kry om iets te kan doen waarvoor hulle regtig lief is en waarin hulle goed is, om net dan by ‘n maatskappy in te stap en te hoor ondervinding regs en ondervinding links, ondervinding bo en onder. Niemand kan stry dat ondervinding wel belangrik is en ‘n goudmyn werd is nie, maar bitter min werkgewers is bereid om die kans te waag op ‘n person wat nog nie hulle werd bewys het nie.

So, as jy in diè kategorie val van ‘n werklose jong volwassene in Suid-Afrika, moenie moed verloor op dit wat net in jou krag is om te verander nie. Bewys jouself voor jy besluit daar is nie hoop nie.

Bronne: SABC, eNCA