2010 SABAs – who to vote for

Despite an understated (ie. I didn’t do anything) campaign, 6000 miles… is honoured to have been shortlisted as a finalist for not just one, but two 2010 South African Blog Awards. Unfortunately, it seems that both nominations are in the same category, which should split my vote nicely and allow others a chance to win.

The category in question is Best Post on a South African Blog and my posts that have been shortlisted are:

Dear Uruguay – an open letter to that country in which I explored the somewhat irrational reasoning behind the apparent South African hatred of all things Uruguayan during the recent (and epic) FIFA World Cup.

And Popular Cape Town Website Gets New Look – which was really just a brainfart, but which, for some reason, many readers took as being some sort of parody of popular Cape Town website 2OceansVibe.com.

Should you wish to vote, you can do so by clicking here or on the big icon in the sidebar on the right, which will remain there during the voting period. Then select the post (preferably one of mine) you wish to vote for (and see my other recommendations below), scroll down to the bottom for the verification bit.
You can vote once per day per email address throughout the voting period – so do.

Despite the fact that the blog has done really well in terms of visitors this year, I’m not expecting to win at all – it’s just nice to be read. I do appreciate the nomination and shortlisting, which means that I’m already in the top 10. In fact, since I got two spots in the top 10, I guess that means I’m top 5, right? Bring it.
Hopefully it will be a fair and transparent process this year, aside from my plan to smear each of my fellow contenders in the Best Post category with some sort of dirt. Once again, the Awards have already been coated in a nice sticky layer of controversy which has upset a few people (several of whom coincidentally didn’t make the cut), but you can’t please all of the people all of the time: “h8rs gotta h8”, or so I’m told.

I haven’t had a LONG look at the LONG list of finalists yet, but there are some that stand out immediately as being obvious choices and which I would like you to consider voting for in order that they can go up on stage to collect an award alongside me.

Up front, I’m going with Bangers and Nash for the Exclus1ve Best Entertainment Blog.
In Best Politics Blog: Jacques Rouseau’s Synapses.co.za
Miss Moss in Best Design Blog (sponsored by Havana Club Rum)
Joyanne’s Portfolio Collection Travel Blog in er… Best Travel Blog (sponsored by Kulula.com)
And for the “Ogilvy Microblogger of the Year” (ie. Best Twitter Stream) Mandy Wiener

All of which I nominated and all of which I will be voting for.
Consider yourselves endorsed.

Please feel free to add your suggestions (together with your reasons) in the comments below.

UPDATE: Must see video from GottaQuirk – Hitler doesn’t get nominated for the 2010 SA Blog Awards .
(sorry Geoffrey – I saw this and thought of you…)

Thank you, Cape Town

Spotted at the Netherlands v Cameroon match the other night:

Even the fans whose teams aren’t here are having a good time.

And I can see why. I gave the Cape Town Fan Mile a go for this game and I have to say that it was superbly organised and there was a great vibe along the whole route. Great shows, bands, bars and more.
You can see my photos of the evening on flickr.

Hello 2010

I was busy braai’ing as the sun set on 2009 and – thanks to a couple of wonderful, near-textbook examples of the always enjoyable pavor nocturnus – I was busy playing catch-up on my sleep as it rose again on 2010.
Fortunately, there are a band of willing photographers who don’t seem to require quite as much red meat or slumber as I do. One of those is Joy-Anne Goodenough, whose work has previously graced the pixels of 6000 miles… twice before: here and more notably here, with a couple of shots from the last light of 2008.

Well, this is Joy-Anne’s photograph “Sunrise from Red Hill, New Years Day 2o1o” which pretty much tells you the what, where and when of things and saves me from having to do the same.

Incidentally (and neatly completing the circle) Joy-Anne was out and about on New Year’s Eve as well, capturing the very last light of 2009 (and here) and (of course) they’re damn good; but I remain a huge fan of her 2008 efforts.

A negative end?

The plan was to end off 2009 as this blog has seen 2009: a look forward with typical realistic optimism to what 2010 has to offer for South Africa.
And then the Mail & Guardian reproduced this little gem from The Guardian in the UK.
It’s one of those opinion pieces which is written with a cheeky gleam in the author’s eye, the well-known “this should prompt a reaction” gleam. It’s not a difficult thing to do: pick an emotive subject, cherry-pick facts to suit your agenda, sprinkle with a couple of disingenuous statements and rely on the reading public not having the knowledge to question them, hit PUBLISH, sit back and watch the sparks fly. Jonathan Steele did it in this case for The Guardian and then Nic Dawes et al picked it up and used the same techniques to keep the M&G website ticking over while everyone should actually have been on the beach.
But no one falls for that sort of trap anymore, do they? So, it didn’t work, did it?
Of course it did:

…written by a Brit, I must point out. Typical whingey, onanistic bluster.

(the full irony of which is fully revealed after this comment on this post)

It amazes me that the Brits have so much to say about SA.
It’s not as if we’re still a colony.


A bunch of whingy Brits have a go at South Africa (see the comments).

Honestly, if you’re going to judge an entire country on the work of one journalist on a slow news day, we’re in trouble. And if you’re going to judge an entire country on the comments on a website news article, then we’re really in trouble. Especially South Africa.
No – much better to judge an entire country on their cricket team, I always say. *ahem*

Moving on to the article itself, it’s actually rather cleverly written, reminding me of that Peter Hitchens one from last March, except that it’s rather cleverly written. There’s no one fact in there that is actually incorrect, but there’s a good deal of careful omission and use of “opinion” to put a negative spin on things. And then there’s the fact that while the title “Why 2010 could be an own goal for the Rainbow Nation” hints towards something about the World Cup going awry, the article is primarily about the supposed failings of the ANC  Government over the last 15 years – and nothing to do with next year at all, save for a passing mention in the first paragraph and a vague assertion that next year will bring further scrutiny on the ruling party. Who knew?

The only moment of positivity I could find in this otherwise one-sided effort was that Jacob Zuma is “more accessible to ordinary South Africans than his aloof predecessor, Thabo Mbeki”, which is hardly much of an earth-shattering epiphany either. And then it’s tempered with a nice dig at everyone’s favourite enemy of the world… er… Nelson Mandela, “who, according to former ministers, could be brutal in cabinet, shutting speakers up by saying he had already taken his decision”.

But from then on in, it’s all doom and gloom; flirting with the full truth on occasion:

Instead of scapegoating the innocent, poor people are aiming their criticism at officials of the ruling party, the African National Congress, and demanding delivery of long-promised improvements. The bad news is that the government and the media seem unwilling to engage in serious debate, let alone action, on how to supply people with what they need.

hiding behind the author’s own prejudices opinion:

South Africa’s press and blog sites are dominated by rightwing thinking. They regularly headline claims that the government is “lurching to the left” and that the Communist party and trade union allies are getting the upper hand.

and being downright disingenuous with others:

Zuma was unlucky to come to power just after the onset of the global economic crisis. Growth in 2010 is projected to fall by 2.6% at a time when western economies are already reviving.

I don’t think that Zuma doubts that South Africa has problems. Nor do I think that he is afraid to stand up and face them or those who rightfully demand service delivery. The trouble is that for every township that riots, there are another [large number] that also face exactly the same problems. Apartheid left a huge wound on South Africa which is going to take many decades to heal. To expect everything to be sorted out already is laughable: these people are politicians – they are just human beings.
South Africa is going the right way – but too slowly. Zuma’s task is to speed up that change.
How? I don’t know. I’m a microbiologist. But I will suggest that if anyone had a magic wand, they surely would have waved it by now.

I felt sure that I was going to disagree with Steele about his view of South Africa’s prospects in 2010. But if the only conclusion he comes to is that “The spotlight on the country’s progress since apartheid will be more intense than ever”, well then maybe I agree. But I do think it will stand up to that spotlight.
It’s all very well talking of an (unreferenced) average class size of 50: 15 years ago, there weren’t even any classrooms.
It’s all very well talking of the “brutal” police service: what were they doing pre-1994?
And yes, the people are now turning to the justice system to bring change: how is that not progress?

Next year promises to be huge for this country. With the FIFA World Cup comes a massive opportunity to showcase what South Africa has to offer. I’ve said before that there will be dissent; that there will be articles (like Steele’s) which will seek to derail the occasion and pounce on every little error or problem. But we don’t have to live our lives like that.
It should be a year of progress – not by overlooking the problems, but by tackling them.
It should be a year of celebration – enjoying the successes and learning from the failures.

South Africa isn’t perfect. Nowhere is perfect.
But in 2010, SA is going to shine.

Happy New Year.

Long Street Updates Tonight

I’m heading down to Long Street for the FIFA Fan Fest street party ahead of tonight’s FIFA 2010 World Cup Draw.

For live updates and photos, please follow me on Twitter.
“Proper” photos will appear some time later on my Flickr (RSS).

Cape Town has gone more than a bit mental. It’s going to be wild and it’s going to be busy.
It may help you to know that I’ll be the good-looking oke in the Bafana shirt. Do come and say hi.

UPDATE: I get to see:

Uruguay v France, Italy v Paraguay, ENGLAND v Algeria, Portugal v North Korea & Cameroon v Netherlands.
Plus, winner H (probably Spain) v Runner-up G (Portugal or Ivory Coast?)