A mixed bag from South Africa

Commentary.co.za is not impressed.

Why do South African broadcasters feel compelled to make horrible remakes of imported reality shows that were stupid and trashy to start out with? Big Brother SA, The Weakest Link SA, Pop Idol SA and The Apprentice SA were bad enough, and now this [Survivor]? Even worse, I am 100% certain that it’ll be a ratings bonanza. At times like this, I despair of my countrymen.

James at Moral Fiber discusses sexual politics in Nigeria which he calls the “most homophobic country in Africa”. He writes about amendments to a bill that criminalizes the activities of gay people. Among its clauses, the bill “Criminalizes belonging to any gay-related organization – everything from social organizations to LGBT rights groups”. ” Bans same-sex couples from living together”, and ” Criminalizes the public display of affection between members of the same sex. This includes real people, and the media”. James has the following comments:

These measures are just as oppressive and inhumane as the more infamous racist measures employed by the South African National Party during Apartheid, if not more so. Of course, no one notices. Why do no countries ever condemn Nigeria for these crimes against human rights?

The fishbowl has an analysis of this week's protests against the lack of democracy in the kingdom of Swaziland. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and Swazi pro-democracy groups clashed with police as they demonstrated at Swazi border posts. Jonty writes about the heavy handed approach of the police towards the demonstrators.

…but the indisputable facts that rubber bullets were used to disperse the crowd, and scores of high ranking Cosatu leaders were arrested are a cause for concern. Cosatu head Zwelinzima Vavi went so far to say that “the general police behaviour has been barbaric and undemocratic.” This puts South Africa in quite a bad light, whatever the provocation from the protesters. All the international media see – and report on – is SA police cracking down heavily on a pro-democracy rally.

Fodder has a short but interesting observation about South Africans who have immigrated to other countries.

Always fun to watch the Afro Pessimists get all steamed up about how bad we have it here in SA. Of course the real irony is that those who left vowing never to look back, then spend their time trolling SA websites and posting comments in an attempt to prove themselves right.

Finally, Professor Anton Harber is one of South Africa's most highly respected former newspaper editors. He currently heads up the journalism department at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and a writes a regular column in Business Day, one of our top newspapers. Anton has started a blog called The Harbinger that focuses on the media, and it's great to see that he lists Global Voices under his blogroll title “Media sites to watch”.

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