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One of the best resources ANYWHERE. Many thanks for excellent service. I forward the info in these e-zines widely...

With appreciation & respect,

Bernedette Muthien, Engender.

I was recently sent an email with horrifying accounts of the wide spread rape of young girls and babies in South Africa by HIV infected males. I would like to add my name to the list of people world wide who are appalled by these acts of violence and would like to know what the South African government is doing to protect its children against these men who believe their only hope of a cure for AIDS is sexual relations with a virgin.

Yours sincerely.
Colleen Bowler

How come (it is natural and normal)

How come it is natural and normal
to us who are allegedly so
not to question men and what they do

Whether they are heads of companies
Whether they are first in the queue
Whether they wear blue, and you pink

How come it is natural and normal
to us who are allegedly so
to question women and what they do

When they are heads of companies
When they are first in the queue
When they wear blue, and you pink
When there is talk of a woman president

Do we have to justify this
Do we have to find a woman
Do we have to make a big fuss

How come it is natural and normal
not to have to justify a male head
wherever that head is
whoever that head is
(freedom fighter by day
woman and child abuser by night)

How come it is natural and normal
what makes it so
do you and I
a decade after we first voted
all of us, not just men,
though some still want people
to qualify to vote

When it is going to be
for all of us
in blue in pink
in the kitchen in the presidency
natural and normal

What will it take

DK, the morning of Saturday, June 17, 2006, after hearing a
female activist, so-called, having to justify talk of a
woman president.

__________________

Where do you walk?

Where do you walk
do you lead
or follow

Where do you walk
have you been
where others have

Where do you walk
do you go places

Where do you walk
do you look ahead
or over you shoulder

Where do you walk
do you look back
in order to move ahead

Where do you walk
does it matter
the path you tramp

Has that path been walked
who was there (before)
did they trip
that you might not
that those behind you
will not
when they walk the path
you once walked

DK, Friday, June 16, 2006, pondering our President’s
‘amandlas’ in his June 16 speech.

__________________

Youth what are you now

Youth what are you
now that you are 30
are you a prince
or a pauper

(There are no princesses
due to our princes
and their glass ceiling)

Youth what are you
now that 1976
has come and gone

Are you a better person
than what or who you were

Are you what you
set out to be then

Have your slogans changed
where are your (1976) T-shirts
what label are you today
and does it matter

Are you walking
in the path made
by those before you
what about those
ahead and behind

Youth what are you
now that we all are free
or supposed to be
in terms of our legislation
how free is your mind

Would you do it again
that which you did then

Does it matter
whatever you did in 1976
did you reap just rewards
are you proud or ashamed

Youth what are you
30 years on
what are you worth

Have you made it
a better place

DK, Thursday morning, June 08, 2006, pondering this and
that, 30 years on (30 years after matriculating!)

__________________

Youth, what are you worth?

What are you worth,
unemployed youth
in the townships?

Are you worth more
than your colleagues
in the leafy-clean suburbs?

Are boys worth more
than girls?

Are the blue-eyed and blonde ones
worth more than their frizzy-haired and
flat-nosed counterparts?

Is a rugby player (a "springbok")
worth more than an (Olympic) swimmer?
a sex worker on the streets?
a priest or politician in a 4X4?
a cashier in a fancy shop?
the worker in the factory and on the mines?

(Who built that street?
Who built that priest or politician?
Who built that shop?
Who built the factories and mines?)

What are you worth,
unemployed youth?

Are you just voting fodder
for an electioneering party
(of old men)
making promises,
from time to time?

Youth, what is your value,
to yourself?
your community?
to society?

Who decides? Has someone decided, for you, already?

David Kapp, written a while ago, revisited just now,
wondering about 'Youth Month'

__________________

How sad

How sad
it is that
today when we
celebrate so much
with so much pomp

How sad
that in this
age of technology
of reason
of enlightenment
of transformation
of all our freedoms

How sad
to see that
the more
we go
forward
the more
we go
to days dark
and backward

How sad
it is that
today when we
sing and dance
another mourns
and is exiled
by our celebrations

Have we not (yet)
come back
from our exile

How sad

DK, Sunday, May 07, 2006, on the news, so-called, that
arrangements are being made for the accuser in the Jacob
Zuma trial to 'go into exile'.
__________________

I did nothing

I did nothing
today, April 23,
World Book Day

Except read a bit
a little here and there
trawling through
the Mail & Guardian
the latest Agenda
even a book on
Pink Floyd, wherever
and whoever they are!

I did nothing
today, April 23,
World Book Day

Except shiver in the cold
and drink lots of tea
and read this and that

What about those without
a roof over their heads

What about those without
a book to read

What about those without
the ability, so-called,
to read and write

What about those without
World Book Day

DK, Sunday, April 23, 2006, prompted by Mark Espin on the
telephone on the radio (SAFM) on the day.

__________________________________

2 for the price of 1

2 for the price of 1
are we not lucky
are we not unique
are we not whatever
others say we are

Who are we out here
where we keep our
women and children
in perpetual bondage
are we against progress
are we against transformation
are we out of step (yet again)

How do we describe
ourselves and others still
resorting to old epithets still
calling others names
of a racial and racist nature
like the old order taught us
from the cradle to whatever

Swart gevaar
off the statute books
but still in the minds
still in the homes
ingrained
stuck
stuck with
2 for the price of 1

Do those in fancy attire
(trapped in power)
comprehend what needs
to be done
and how to go about
doing it
going forward
and not back

Who are our priorities
what comes first
impressing tourists,
golf courses or
football stadiums or
RDP houses or
standard grade education

2 for the price of 1
who gets the parking space

Who pays
in the long run

DK, amused at John Perleman's perhaps rhetorical question
'who gets the parking space' on SAFM's AM LIVE, Monday
morning, April 17, 2006, on Cape Town's continuing saga of
City Manager Wallace Mgoqi still reporting for work
notwithstanding being axed by the new mayor.

From David Kapp of Resource Action Group.

How can more people use the whinge? Ninety percent of my friends are constantly moaning about how us development workers are overworked , underpaid , not motivated , reaching the end of our tether.....need i go on. Use the whinge!

From Tian Johnson of the Global Campaign for Education.

The field of development certainly has its fair share of peculiar terminology. In the past three decades we have travelled along the road from top-down development to bottom-up participatory development to all encompassing integrated development to forward looking sustainable development.

As we journey down the discourse of development, we suddenly find ourselves at the juncture of systemic change --- an interesting idiom, which much like its predecessors is open to varied interpretations.

The very quick low down suggests two emergent schools of thought. One rooted in the social justice paradigm and fixed on the issue of inequality (possibly more activism oriented) and the other rooted in development practice, proposing a broad systematic approach to further the dominant development consensus, which in today’s terms relates to MDGs.

For social justice proponents the idea is to find the nexus of opportunity in a pivotal space where the application of resources sets off a reaction that leads to far reaching societal and institutional change. The challenge of course is to identify the levers and agents of social change in society.

On the other hand, for development practitioners the challenge is the synchronization of a system where various macro and micro interventions produce outcomes that act in synergy to reduce poverty and inequality.

Systemic change does sound rather like an assembly of tweaked past paradigms, but is it just another development fad? Well, it doesn’t have to be. It definitely makes positive progress in its analysis of poverty and inequality. This is abreast of the needs of the more sophisticated and better informed public of the new millennium who are increasingly becoming aware that traditional patterns of global ‘development’ are achieving everything but a better quality of life for those most in need.

However, systemic change is also vulnerable to becoming jargonised and mutating further into various watered down expressions that serve the needs of very specific interest groups. I have already come across one account that emphasizes the onus on the individual in the broader development landscape.

The era of systemic change certainly promises some interesting new developments (and debates). This is especially pertinent as we emerge from the final leg of the World Social Forum where the definition and role of NGOs as agents of social change was high on the agenda, notwithstanding other international efforts to clarify the concept of activism.

It must be recognized that engaging with and developing a rational response to these issues is critically important. As NGOs struggle to keep up with stakeholder demands for transparency and impact --- no doubt wrapping one’s head around systemic change concepts will soon become a requirement for successful resource mobilisation and strategic partnerships!

From SANGONeT’s point of view, as the information hub of the local NGO sector, we are particularly interested in hosting a discussion about what social change means for the South African NGO sector. We invite contributors to contact the portal’s editor for the opportunity to present a perspective. At the same time, we encourage you to participate in our April poll which seeks to determine your views on how effective the South African NGO sector is in bringing about social change.

That said; let’s look at the results of our transparency poll that was held during the month of March. In total, 157 people participated in the poll and the results came out strongly in favour of increased transparency.  Participants were polled on whether they believed NGO directors should publicise their salaries in annual reports.  58.6% of poll takers believed that it is absolutely essential. An additional 18.5% argued that it is preferable. Only 8.3% of poll takers believed that it was totally unnecessary while 14.6% believed that it is a discretionary choice.

- Fazila Farouk, Deputy Director, editor@sangonet.org.za

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