SA to combat social media racism

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Facebook and Twitter are two of the most commonly-used social media websites

Government plans to eradicate racist posts on social media

Government condemns the alarming increase of racist posts on Twitter and Facebook, which deliberately undermines the progress made towards social cohesion, nation-building and strengthening democracy.

With social tensions at its proverbial peak in light of a recent altercation inside a restaurant, many citizens took to their social media accounts to voice their displeasure which leaves the floor open for racism to get involved. As we all know, it only takes one comment or post to get the ball rolling. Acting GCIS Director General, Donald Liphoko, said, “It is unfortunate that such comments follow hot on the heels of the country commemorating Human Rights Day.

Nowhere to hide on social media

Liphoko continued, “Government will actively pursue offenders through all available mechanisms including confronting employers and will not allow incidents of racism to define us as a country. What we do in defense of our country today will define who we are as a country in the future. Those found guilty of racist utterances and acts must face the consequences of their actions. ”

Penny Sparrow, is a name that is not unfamiliar with racism nor social media. The disgraced Sparrow caught everyone’s attention after she had openly labelled black people as “monkeys” on her Facebook page. She was subsequently fined R5000 and claims to have been “stating the facts”.

There have been many more cases regarding the racist narrative where offenders have been charged, albeit rather leniently, and required offenders to undergo racism rehabilitation. Racism is a serious problem not only in our country but on a global scale and as such the public has been encouraged to become more active in counteracting racism, within the confines of the law.

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Image courtesy of SABC

Public must play their part

President Jacob Zuma described racism as “one of the most despicable human rights violations” and called for the nation to unite in order to rid ourselves of the problem. Racism is a direct violation of the Constitutional Rights of each South African. Victims of racism can open a case at any local police station, or through the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Equality Courts.

President Jacob Zuma, “the ideology of racism remains firmly entrenched among some in our population, and it represents one of the most despicable human rights violations.”

The Department of Justice is finalizing the National Action Plan against Racism and Related Intolerances which will strengthen the fight against racism and related intolerances. Ultimately, government will look to prevent the occurrence of such crimes through the passing of the Bill as it will criminalize hate crimes and hate speech.

Related:

South Africans urged to use social media to combat racism

Rise of social media complicates efforts to fight racism: SAHRC

Racism needs a Madiba moment

 

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Why the Barclays Premier League will be the world’s best watched league in the 2016/17 season

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A host of Premier League managers eyeing silverware come May 2017

The 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season was the most entertaining and unpredictable season yet. With teams battling it out to stay in the league ahead of the new television deal that will see Premier League teams pocket a £40 million incentive and the race for European football places at its most fierce.

What unfolded was a dramatic season which saw a number of managerial casualties, an absolute meltdown from defending champions Chelsea FC and the sheer brilliance of the most unlikely and eventual champions Leicester City. With everything that unfolded in the season past from managerial appointments with the likes of Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool FC, Pep Guardiola at Manchester City FC, Antonio Conté at Chelsea FC and more recently José Mourinho at Manchester United FC, next season is already shaping up to be quite the humdinger!

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Image source: Football Wiki

For starters, Leicester City will be looking to defend their Premier League crown which they worked so incredibly hard for. The most overwhelming, underdog story in Premier League history unfolded as Claudio Ranieri guided The Foxes to their first ever league success – not bad for a team that were tipped to fight relegation. Next season Ranieri’s men will be looking to prove that they weren’t ‘just a flash in the pan’ and maintain their ‘top four’ status and, hopefully, retain their Premier League title.

Runners-up Arsenal, frustrated with their constant buckling finishes to the league campaign will hope that next season they can go one better and claim the trophy they last won back in 2004. With the club’s fans growing impatient with Arsene Wenger’s lack of silverware over the past few seasons accompanied by the lack of success in Europe, next season could very well be Wenger’s last at the Emirates Stadium.

Manchester City will be under the guidance of flamboyant Spaniard Pep Guardiola who will get his first taste of managing in the English league. Guardiola has made waves in his short managerial career, winning the league title in his first seasons with both FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively. At both his previous clubs, the stylish Spaniard inherited squads consisting of the world’s best footballers in their prime. This time however, Pep may not have it all that easy with the Man City squad a mixture of exciting, world class talent and players coming towards their successful spells. It is going to be very interesting to see how Guardiola fares in his first outing as an English football manager.

Tottenham Hotspur will have a tough act to follow after last season’s third place finish. Mauricio Pochettino’s men came within touching distance of lifting the Premier League crown but fell well short of the mark. Spurs will be encouraged by the dazzling season experienced last term by their stars, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and the sensational Dele Alli all stealing the show while pushing Spurs up the table in the process.

Manchester United had the pleasure lifting the FA Cup and equalling Arsenal’s record of 12 FA Cup successes but had a season to forget after finishing fifth behind neighbours Man City in fourth. With the majority of former Old Trafford players (and fans alike) voicing their displeasure at the style of football under Louis Van Gaal, the Dutchman saw his time at the helm come to an end soon after guiding the club to the FA Cup. The Red Devils are determined to step out of the shadows of their noisy neighbours Man City and reclaim their place as the dominant force in Manchester and England. The appointment of new manager and ex-Chelsea boss José Mourinho gives the Old Trafford faithful hope that the glory days will soon return while providing the league with a new and potentially ‘special’ dynamic.

Liverpool were among the big guns that failed to fire last term with a disappointing eighth place finish. The Reds suffered in the opening stages of the campaign under then manager, Brendan Rodgers who was eventually sacked in October. Jürgen Klopp, formerly of Borussia Dortmund, had taken over the Anfield hot-seat and aimed on building for the upcoming season. With the German at the helm, Liverpool were somewhat inconsistent for the remainder of campaign with a number of injuries to key players. Something Liverpool and their fans can take from the past season is the fact that Klopp guided the Anfield club to two finals, The Capital One Cup and Europa League respectively, in his short seven month spell in charge. The future looks bright for Liverpool under the guidance of the passionate German.

Defending champions Chelsea were dismal in their attempts to retain the title they had won under previous manager Mourinho. A fallout between Mourinho and the club’s hierarchy and players lead to Chelsea’s demolition and the eventual sacking of Mourinho. Caretaker manager Guus Hiddink stepped in to steady the sinking Chelsea ship and help ensure that The Blues finished as high as possible. Antonio Conté takes over the reins at Stamford Bridge next season and will be determined to give a good showing of himself and his footballing philosophy.

Apart from the so called ‘big guns’ of the English game, the rest of the top flight will be sure to follow from Leicester’s miraculous feat last season and reach for the proverbial brass ring that is the Premier League crown. With the new season well over a month away and Euro 2016 on the horizon, the 2016/17 season is shaping up to be a mouth-watering affair.

Fast or First? Being right or being first in Social Media reporting

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We have all read a badly written article or column in a tabloid, newspaper or online publication that has left us scratching our heads asking the question, “How was this even published?” In today’s society, everything revolves around the latest trend or being the first to spark off a trend and much is the same with news and its reporting.

Journalists are starting to pop up left, right and centre with social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to name a few. These platforms have given journalists a more effective and interactive way of reaching their audiences and followers but has also given rise to the existence of “overnight journalists”.

The aforementioned platforms give voices to individuals who are not necessarily trained or equipped with being journalists and reporters but hey, they have a live feed and a working internet connection so why not? Social media allows the broader public to stay in the know and be informed about breaking news and the latest trends but some of its users get ahead of themselves and that they now qualify as journalists because “it’s easy to put words on a page” – which is not the case! I am in no way trying to imply that social media users shouldn’t have their say but rather leave the reporting to actual, trained journalists.

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Another issue that has reared its ugly head within the realms of social media is ‘clickbait’. These are stories that have been created and published with the sole purpose of attracting a reader’s attention, luring them to a specific web page and generating a large number of readers through the use of either catchy or intriguing headlines. Sound familiar? These are stories or so called “reports” that are not likely to be published further than these online websites and are circulated via social media which essentially serves as spam.

Clickbait stories generally contain numerous amounts of grammatical and spelling errors whilst containing fabricated “truths” with an inconclusive conclusion. By having a brief read of these stories these errors would be easy to spot much like when dealing with social media accounts who claim to be ‘in the know’ (ITK). Often we find a great deal of fault in the manner in which these accounts engage with their audiences as well as the structure of their updates.

Granted, a journalist as well as media houses make mistakes from time to time but with these self-proclaimed ITK sources and ‘social media journalists’ the focus is all about being the first to break the news – and they like to remind you by using phrases like, “You heard it here first” or “EXCLUSIVE”. It is one thing to advertise and promote your brand (or yourself) but social media journalists tend to oversell which removes a bit of their credibility, or lack thereof.

Social media journalists and clickbait aside, what frustrates me about the idea of faster being smarter is how careless people can be when trying to get their messages across. Well known, accredited journalists tend to lose the plot over the speed at which they deliver their stories and updates via social media. The slightest misspelling could lead to the reading of a story being completely different and ultimately a retraction. Not a good look for the journalist or their publication.

Gone are the days of traditional news where we would have to wait for the prime time news bulletin or tomorrow’s newspaper but with that era of news reporting came the guarantee of a top quality, polished news product. This unfortunately is not always the case when dealing with social media reporting as a whole.

With this new era of journalism and news reporting, professionally trained journalists (and aspiring journalists) need to adopt certain ethical approaches to ensure that they always deliver on their basic job description – telling the news. As a journalist, you need to make sure that you inform your readers, listeners or viewers first and foremost. Obviously there are deadlines that need to be met but that does not mean that you have to be careless in and with your work.

The question of ‘fast or first’ is an ethical one that can be unravelled when considering the ‘Golden Mean’ ethical issue. “It is suggested that journalists take a lesson from Aristotle, who argued for practical experience and theoretical substance. Aristotle’s “moral mean”; is recommended as a moral compass that will serve journalists who seek to be virtuous and avoid both defective and excessive practices.” It is a simple one in actuality, rather take the time to do the job well or don’t do it at all – leave it to the real journalists.

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There is however, an ethical approach that helps social media reporters justify their actions and mistakes and this is known as the ‘Categorical Imperative’. This ethical approach looks at and deals with evaluating motivations for one’s actions. A lazy reporter would rather try to justify his/her laziness than account for it, take it on the chin and ensure that it does not happen again.

It is the finer details that come with the territory of being a journalist that help distinguish between an “overnight journalist” and a professionally trained journalist. These intricate ethical questions and approaches are more likely to be consulted and evaluated by a good, professional journalist as opposed to the ‘lazier’ social media reporter. In conclusion, the end products of the two will inevitably end up in the same cyber sphere but the quality of the content is where the reader will see the difference between the question of ‘fast or first’.

 

Fast Foods and Rising Food Prices taking its Toll on Cape Town’s Youth

We all love to indulge in meal or two from a fast food franchise like a McDonald’s or KFC or the local takeaways in your respective community but what we tend to turn a blind-eye on is the nutritional value (or lack thereof) in those meals. With food prices on the constant rise, we have to alter our dieting habits in order to accommodate our pockets which isn’t always the healthiest thing in the world.

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Image courtesy of listovative.com

The biggest problem that is associated with fast foods and take-outs is obesity, no pun intended. While it’s all good and well to spoil ourselves every once in a while, it is also very easy to fall into the trap of becoming a frequent consumer of these unhealthy foods. Now I’m not saying that all takeaways and fast food restaurants are bad and we should boycott them but rather consume them in moderation.

I, myself have fallen into the trap of binging on fast foods for the best part of two weeks because it is quick and easy or because it’s “on the way home”. It’s a very easy trap to fall into and before you know it, your trashcan is filled with take-out packaging which leaves you scratching your head asking, “Did I really eat all of that?!”.

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Image courtesy of kfc.co.za

In my local community of Kensington, Cape Town, there is a local takeaway at nearly every stop and avenue each containing a special, haunting aroma that virtually pulls you in.

The notorious ‘Gatsby’ and popular ‘Chip and Vienna parcels’ are the usual suspects in terms of these local takeaways that we are all tempted by from time to time and they contain very little, if any nutritional value. Today’s youth are more susceptible to buying a fast food meal than actually preparing a simple, nutritious meal at home especially if the local ‘gatsby place’ is just around the corner.

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The notorious ‘Gatsby’. Image via twicsy.com

This is a common trend not only amongst the youth but also in young adults as there are negative connotations that get attached to healthy foods. Some would even go as far to say, “I was being healthy when I went to buy my gatsby because I walked there and back – see exercise” (and no I did not make that up).

With the price of a basic basket of goods getting increasingly higher, the cheaper and “simpler” alternative lies in takeaways and fast food franchises who have now started to add ‘budget meals’ as a new model for marketing. These franchises try to sell the idea of their food being healthy and nutritious but in actuality we all know the naked truth about our beloved take-outs. Yes, it is delicious but it is not the most nutritious.

Review of Brent Meersman’s ‘Body of Work’

South African writer and novelist Brent Meersman has a knack for writing compelling reviews for a number of different social interests. In his various pieces of writing, be it reviews or his column in the Mail and Guardian, he takes a hands-on approach while maintaining a somewhat laid-back style to his writing.

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Brent Meersman. Picture courtesy of Books LIVE, on Flickr

He possesses a wealth of experience when it comes to review writing which he displays in his column with ‘This is Africa’ as well as in his ‘Once Bitten’ restaurant review blog. He also currently plies his trade as one of the co-editors for groundup.co.za.

Meersman’s blog called “Once Bitten’ is dedicated to restaurant and food reviews. An article in which he ‘looks back on 150 restaurants reviewed’ he speaks of his personal experiences with regard to these 150 reviews. The article is one that holds a comical element to it but is able to lose its readers through the use of culinary jargon.

The style of writing he displays is one that is nonchalant as would be the case if he were having a conversation. A telling sign of the type of writer he is, one that looks to actively converse with his readers. However, there are instances where he makes statements that lack factual evidence, making it his opinion. It is a good piece of writing that can be bettered through some visuals to further open the reader’s imagination while simultaneously making the article look a little less dull.

His second article, ‘The chef’s table at Masala Dosa’ from the aforementioned blog takes a detailed look at a specific meal that the restaurant offers. There is no great deal of contextualising, he just makes mention to his “ingenious friend, Amit Raz, owner of Masala Dosa”. A simple description of ‘chef’s table’ at the start of the article would have made for easier reading and understanding.

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The amuse-bouche, a finger-sized dosa. Picture courtesy of ‘Once Bitten’ blog

However where he lacks with background information he makes up for with visual content which tells the reader’s what can be expected should he or she visit the restaurant. The images supplement the descriptions of the dishes yet could have been better captioned.

In his third article, ‘Why so many African writers leave?’

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Nimrod Djangrang Bena. Image courtesy of This is Africa

Meersman sets the tone by using an effective quote which introduces the story before even reading the article. This article is based on an interview with Nimrod Djangrang Bena which is accompanied by a picture of him [Bena] as well as in-text links which shed more light on the story. This story was more informative and polished than the two formerly mentioned.

Brent Meersman is a very creative and witty writer who plays on the emotions and senses of his readers through his descriptive images. I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing his different styles of work.

 

 

Conflict between Black and Coloured South Africans – Cape Town

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A beautiful shot of Cape Town. Picture by Jeidi Thompson

Racism is often referred to as a timeless struggle that has been passed down from generation to generation, decade after decade. A problem as old as time, is racial discrimination and the inequalities that go hand-in-hand. Throughout the history of South Africa both pre- and post-Apartheid, racism has reared its ugly little head whether it is institutionalised, stereotypical or internalised.

Cape Town, on the surface is arguably one of the world’s most beautiful cities and one of Africa’s biggest tourist attractions. However brewing under the surface is an unpleasant conflict amongst two of the larger ethnic groups within the city.

Previously disadvantaged during the Apartheid era people of colour (both black and coloured) had limitations and laws put in place against and in some cases, inflicted upon them. The history of Apartheid and the downfall thereof is well documented but the intricacies involved as well the aftermath remain somewhat of a grey area.

Prior to this piece of writing, I had conducted brief interviews with a few people who have lived in Cape Town all their lives about the aforementioned conflict pertaining to black and coloured citizens. We all hear stories through the grapevine of this incident or that but in order to achieve definitive answers and opinions one has to do some digging. The only way to gain a better understanding of the issue at hand was to obtain opinions from both sides; from a black perspective and from a coloured perspective.

When first asked about the conflict, a 20-year old coloured female (who wished to remain anonymous) responded with, “Why are you asking me that?” followed by “Yeah, I guess there is”. This response leads me to believe that the talking points are there, lying dormant until the issue needs to be addressed. During the same interview, the young woman referred to stereotypical racism as being a part of her everyday life in a post-Apartheid era. She said, “We all know about the general stereotypes that exist across all races whether it’s black, coloured, white or purple! I was made aware of these stereotypes growing up but it was for me to decide if I wanted to look at someone based on their colour or the actual person”. Based on that statement alone, it is easy to say that the stereotypes and the effects thereof vary from person to person but that presumption cannot be made based on one person’s opinion.

Speaking to 22-year old black male (who also wished to remain anonymous), I had learned that he had a similar view to that of the young woman. Baring in mind that they live in the same neighbourhood in Athlone, they had similar views on racism and stereotypes. He said, “It’s a choice. You can choose to be racist or not but there are some cases where you are born into it and just can’t help yourself”. As contradictory as that last statement sounds, it makes sense with regard to how you are brought up and what your parents lead you to believe.

Parents and elders shape the beliefs and thinking of their children and families which is why I found that when speaking to older folk about the conflict they seemed more stern in their approach to other races. Almost as if they were speaking from a place of anger and frustration with a pre-1994 way of thinking about race.

This anger and frustration was somewhat justified when contextualised in an Apartheid era type of mentality for a person of colour. Black people had no rights and were the ‘target’ and on the receiving end of Apartheid laws and policies, however coloured people were able to find loopholes and in some cases fall through the cracks of the oppressive system. Coloured people were able to claim their “whiteness” as a result of having  a fair colour of skin or straight hair (to pass a pencil test) and as a result live a better life. Black people were not as fortunate but were able to ‘pass’ as coloured due to having a lighter skin tone. Naturally those “who were left behind”, so to say, were enraged and this is ultimately where more of the older interviewees believed that conflict stemmed from. Another interesting point that was made by one of the interviewees was that “the blacks are getting more opportunities than the coloureds”. Essentially what is happening is that there is no equality in terms of the opportunities being made available as black people are getting first preference.

In a post-1994 ‘Rainbow Nation’ South Africa we have seen our decision makers that be, try to correct the injustices of Apartheid and use this particular conflict to their political advantage. These occurrences have come in the form of government implementing systems that aim to ‘aid’ and benefit black people in previously disadvantaged areas first before any other ethnic groups within the country. Essentially, what this means is that black people are looking to better themselves first in order to make up for the injustices of Apartheid but ultimately it is the coloured people who get left in the middle as they were during Apartheid.  Policy makers and government officials use the conflicts and evident racial issues for their own political gain instead of trying to resolve the issues at hand as well as issues that should have been addressed well before embarking into our second decade of being a democratic country.

In closing, based on the interviews and conversations that were conducted held respectively there is the notion that there is a conflict that is lying dormant just waiting to be sparked off by a racist rant or something of the sort.

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ – More than just a saying

This may be a bit late but in honour of the TRUTH behind Hillsborough tragedy and the aftermath of that famous comeback against Borussia Dortmund I had worked on an academic writing piece based on Liverpool Football Club and the famous anthem of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Enjoy!

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Pciture by Rafid Fatkhurohman

 

In this essay I will discuss as well as analyse one of the most iconic songs in sport and the various images, emotions and conceits that it contains and evokes out of its listeners and singers alike. The song that I will discuss in this essay is one that has become as iconic as the sport and club with which it is associated, Liverpool Football Club’s anthem of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Pacemakers.

This song carries inexplicable amounts of sentiment to those who revere and cherish the beauty of this musical master class. Sung by millions all over the world regardless of their ties with Liverpool FC or not this song has reached out to individuals in the most difficult of times. Before divulging into the main topic of discussion, here is an extract of the song’s lyrics below:

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high

And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky

And the sweet, silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind

Walk on through the rain

Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart

And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart

And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

(Gerry and The Pacemakers 1963)

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Picture by Kieryn Thompson at Anfield

Firstly, some background history about the world-famous Anfield anthem in order to contextualise the matter. The song was originally written by the pair of “Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein who wrote it for their musical Carousel in 1945” (Kop Left 2016). Hammerstein wrote the lyrics while Rodgers had composed the required music. In the same year, Frank Sinatra had become the first well-renowned artist to do his own rendition which eventually ended up being ranked ninth “on the Billboard charts in 1945” (Songfacts 2016).

The Football Supernova’s Antoine Choueri provides a more in-depth look at the song that is no0w etched in Liverpool folklore, not just the football club but the city as a whole. He looks back to a time just after World War II had begun where “what [was] arguably the biggest empire in history is on the brink of defeat. In the North-West of England, between the River Mersey and the Irish Sea, Liverpool is witnessing the heaviest destruction it has ever seen, being the most bombed city in the Nazi Blitz after London” (Choueri 2012). In addition, Antoine Choueri much like me is “a die-hard Liverpool fan” who has a better knowledge of  and claims to know “the club’s history inside out” (Choueri 2012).

According to Choueri, “Fast-forward a couple of decades later, and Liverpool has barely recovered from the Blitz and post-war crises. The birth of the Manchester Ship Canal means the ships coming from America and the rest of the world would bypass the destructed Liverpool Docks to go straight to Manchester. What was once the Empire’s second-city and the biggest seaport in the world is on the verge of extinction, half of the city’s inhabitants having fled to London or the US” (Choueri 2012).

This may all seem overly-contextualised but the aforementioned explanation courtesy of Antoine Choueri makes reference to the lyrics, “When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high” (Gerry and The Pacemakers line 1). The proverbial ‘storm’ refers to the tough times that England’s once proclaimed “second-city” (Choueri 2012) were experiencing.

A once-great city in a state of turmoil and under threat of becoming obsolete had then begun to see an upturn in their fortunes as the early 1960s rolled in.

Liverpool the city, began to see its “the golden sky” (Gerry and The Pacemakers 3) like the song goes, as pivotal events had taken shape. A 47-year-old Scotsman by the name of William Shankly had entered the helm “to manage a mediocre Division Two Liverpool FC side. On July that same year, four teenagers change their band name from “Silver Beatles” to “The Beatles”. Liverpool was meant to change history forever” (Choueri 2012).

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Bill Shankly in front of the Kop following Liverpool’s 1973 league title win. Courtesy of Skysports.

Almost like clockwork, Shankly’s Liverpool FC were back in the top-tier of English football challenging for the title while The Beatles had a host of number one hits which had lead “the Merseybeat movement” (Choueri 2012) by 1963.

“At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky” (Gerry and The Pacemakers 3) points to the upturn of Liverpool’s fortunes as The Beatles’ top-chart records accompanied by Bill Shankly’s mighty Reds had helped put the once extinction-bound city back on the map.

Choueri (2012) explains how  Liverpool’s world-famous ‘Kop’ end, the terrace where the Liverpool home fans are seated had erupted to the tune of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” “on one cold November afternoon” (Choueri 2012). “The Kop suddenly erupts into singing a tune one would have thought they’d known for ages” (Choueri 2012), this had added to the romanticism associated with Scousers and music but the irony of it all was that the fans had taken to the tune like a fish to water.

“As the years went by and silverware ridiculously piled up in the Anfield Trophy Room, the song vigorously accompanied the men in red, win or defeat, home or away, locally or abroad” (Choueri 2012). Liverpool FC’s home ground, Anfield had become a cathedral of 30,000-plus fans singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in unison before, during and after matches. The atmosphere that this sheer, awe-inspiring tune had created was nothing short of bone-chilling, goose-bump filled moments that helped usher in the club’s most successful period in its rich 124-year history.

It was in the midst of Liverpool’s ‘roaring 60s and 70s’ that the “You’ll Never Walk Alone” had become the club’s official anthem while, “a banner containing the song’s title was added to the Liverpool Football Club’s official emblem” (Songfacts 2016). Other football clubs such as Scotland’s Celtic Glasgow and Germany’s Borussia Dortmund soon followed suit and adopted the famous tune as a club anthem and pre-match ritual.

In a sense, Liverpool FC and more importantly Gerry and The Pacemakers can be regarded as pioneers of the modern football atmosphere as what was once just a theatre for football and noisy clapping and roaring had transformed. Transformed into a cauldron of “noise volume, humour, generosity, banners, flags, scarves, originality, creativity, and most importantly, its unity made it the most famous football terrace in the world” (Choueri 2012).

This song made fans unite in chorus and has been regarded as ‘the 12th man’ that has been known to get their men in red across the line on numerous occasions throughout history.

“Walk on through the wind/ Walk on through the rain” (Gerry and The Pacemakers 5-6) are the persevering words that inspire not only Liverpool FC fans but the players as well to continue to fight and believe with passion. “Though your dreams be tossed and blown” (Gerry and The Pacemakers 7) points to the evident struggles of both the city and the club which had been met with the persevering “Walking on through the wind [and] rain” (Gerry and The Pacemakers 5-6).

Undoubtedly, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has united fans worldwide and willed the players on through the toughest of times.

Nothing is more evident of this than the club’s periods of ultimate high and ultimate low. This being the ‘Hillsborough tragedy’ in 1989 and The Champions League Final in Istanbul 2005 respectively. “On the 15th of April 1989, 96 Liverpool fans went to watch their beloved side go through to yet another Cup final, but never made it home”. The city of Liverpool stood together and “united, mourning and standing by its own, those 96 brothers who lost their lives at a football match. The first football game Liverpool played after the disaster was a friendly at Celtic, set up as a tribute to the 96, and both sets of fans went on to sing their anthem in unison in the most emotional way. Similar scenes at Wembley, just before the FA Cup final between Liverpool and Everton, where 90,000 Scousers sang YNWA, reminding the world that there are things that are just bigger than football, and their rivalry was only on the pitch”(Choueri 2012). The events of Hillsborough still live long in the memory of those who were there that day and those who continue to show their support with the common denominator being the famous words of, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

The evening of May 25th 2005 marked Liverpool FC’s first European Cup final in over 15 years and had kicked off in ‘tragic’ fashion after being ‘left for dead’ at 3-0 to Italy’s AC Milan. Almost as if they were scenes from a Hollywood box office best-seller, The Reds had emerged from the half time break to the most emphatic, emotional and passionately sung “You’ll Never Walk Alone” that had spurred the Reds on to come from behind and win the cup on penalties in the most dramatic of finals in history.

It is abundantly clear that this anthem, a hymn if you will, passionately unites people beyond more than just the game of football. It evokes emotions out of the most stern of characters in time of deep sorrow as well as incredible jubilation. It is more than just a song or anthem but rather a symbol of hope and remembrance.

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Picture by Kieryn Thompson at Anfield

The Hidden Gem That is Roeland Street

The Mother’s City, Cape Town, is home to numerous historical sites and landmarks such as the breath-taking view of the Peninsula and the ever-magnificent Table Mountain. I could go on all day about the various sites and beauties that can be located in and around the city but that’s just one Google search away.

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The House of Parliament. Image courtesy of EWN

Cape Town’s notorious nightlife attraction Long Street is the most frequented night club spot in the city that both the locals (myself included) as well as thousands of foreigners flock to night by night. The city’s streets are popular for their constant aura of flamboyance with the aforementioned being the most notable, however it is another that is the so called unsung hero of the ‘Cape streets’.

Roeland Street is located on the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of this vibrant and welcoming city. Just a few minutes away from the Central Business District (CBD) this long stretch of road is able to provide a really unique Cape Town experience with the house of Parliament being situated right at the foot of the road, almost as if it is the main entrance to The Mother’s City.

A simple walk of this street provides you with the different elements of everyday life with the sounds of cars on the busy road, children’s laughter at a nearby school and the calls of the infamous minibus taxis.

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Afternoon traffic on Roeland Street. Image taken by Kieryn Thompson on 26/02/16

Roeland Street essentially has everything ranging from the people all the way up to the House of Parliament. Petrol and fire stations, schools, grocery stores, gyms, car and motorbike dealerships, coffee shops, pubs and takeaways, the list go on and on.

This busy stretch of road is a vital part of the ‘Cape Town way’ as there are so many different cultures on display at any given moment. The working culture, exhibited by the constant flow of traffic going both in and out of Roeland Street as well as the men and women dressed in their suits and dresses or working apparel that can be seen during a day’s work. The culture of schooling is made quite apparent due to the fact that a high school as well as two tertiary education institutions can be seen on this long stretch of road.

It is not only a place of work and learning but a place of leisure too as a result of the numerous selections of pubs and social hangout zones that are accessible throughout the day and well into the evening; provided that you are of age.

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Viglietti Motors. Image courtesy of autoevolution.com

Apart from Parliament, one of the bigger attractions came in the form of a car dealership, ‘Viglietti Motors’ where some of the world’s most luxurious, expensive and beautiful Ferrari’s were for sale as well as on show. Funny enough, this eye-catching showroom was situated right next to the very individuals who are (in some cases) working towards owning one of these beautiful pieces of machinery. Situated right next the Ferrari dealership is a tertiary education institution by the name of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

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CPUT Roeland Street Building. Image courtesy of cput.ac.za

Yes, I used the past tense when referring to the car dealership as a result of the showroom being moved elsewhere which can be seen as a positive in the sense that there aren’t too many more distractions.

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An empty Viglietti Motors. Image taken by Kieryn Thompson on 26/02/16

As I mentioned previously, Roeland Street is home to two higher learning institutions in CPUT as well as City Varsity where students mix with both folk of the working world as well as their respective peers.

While on the topic of students and the aforementioned street it was only just a few months back that protesting students had clashed with police forces right on the doorsteps of Parliament as a result of the #FeesMustFall protests. A struggle that has yet to be resolved but the events are still very much alive in the memories of those who were on hand to this momentously historic incident.

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A local pub during the middle of the day; The Kimberley Hotel. Image taken by Kieryn Thompson 26/02/16

Perhaps the biggest dampener to a street consisting of such zest and character is that the most recent memory involves the inexplicable actions of police forces who had essentially assaulted unarmed students right at the front door of the House of Parliament.

In a sense, the common nature of Roeland Street is what makes it so fascinating. I, myself learned that as I took a stroll down this lively road. With everything casually ‘normal as it ought to be’ I found myself very short of words. However the further I diverged down the path of Roeland I came to realise just how important ordinary life is to such a simple, yet spectacular street.

‘Data Journalism’ a South African Journalist’s Friend or Foe?

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The digital age is well and truly underway. With more and more gadgets and appliances being introduced to spur on the shift to all things digital, life as we know it is becoming centred around new, and ever-evolving technologies. Every aspect of our various jobs and lives as a whole is affected by technology in some way, shape or form as is the case with journalism with ‘Data Journalism’ in particular.

Data Journalism as one would have thought, is the creation of journalistic news stories through the use of data. In essence, what this form of journalism entails is that journalists need to find and make meaning of recorded data that is predominantly used for social science research methods. The information and data that is acquired can be used to find patterns and correlations amongst different sources to create more (and better) contextualised news stories.

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This new and important skill is proving to be crucial in the new age of journalism as the sources of information is more freely and easily accessible than one would think. Mandy De Waal explains just how effective the proverbial ‘art’ of data journalism can be in her article, ‘Data journalism’ draws the line between the quick and the dead in The Daily Maverick available at: http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2011-12-05-data-journalism-draws-the-line-between-the-quick-and-the-dead/#.ViV7gH4rK1s.

This new and effective approach towards journalism should be embraced and welcomed by South African journalists both and old as key issues can be addressed through different avenues and from a newer perspective.

Members of the South African public and journalists alike are only scratching the surface with regard to traditional and more popular forms of journalism whereas data journalism provides somewhat of a smarter, more innovative approach. The amount of news stories that can be created and produced will definitely see a significant increase but more importantly so will the content thereof.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA_tNh0LMEs

Data journalism has been welcomed in other countries and media environments and has thrived as it has proved to be more effective than first suspected. It is easy to stick to the norm and rather ‘play it safe’ but the times are and have changed and if you don’t move with the times you will be left behind.

We have great renowned and aspiring journalists in this country and it would only hinder their development and individual brands if this vital skill were not to be used and taken advantage of.

In closing, the people deserve better, deepening stories and we as the [aspiring] journalists owe it to ourselves to enhance not only our writing skills but the new and improved digital journalistic skills as well.

https://africacheck.org/factsheets/guide-how-to-get-started-with-data-journalism/

News Agencies Take A Stand Against ‘Open Journalism’

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User-generated content (UGC) has become an integral part of online spaces and the current field of journalism. Social media platforms and various other websites alike enable the public to have their say on matters through available comment boxes on their respective pages.

While it is always useful to have feedback from fellow readers and users, the ability to post comments on sensitive issues allow people to air their opinions and thoughts. As we know, thoughts and opinions have the potential to be somewhat biased which can create very combustible environments, even on virtual spaces.

With UGC’s enabling users to submit the likes of comments, photographs, videos and other forms of recordings, the potential for ‘open journalism’ is created. What this entails is very similar, almost identical to citizen-journalism whereby everyday ordinary citizens who are closest to ‘the news’ are able to capture and report the news (as is the case on social media). A proverbial news publishing ‘free-for-all’ environment would then be created, slightly chaotic if you ask me.

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At first glance one would think, “That’s not so bad. People are allowed to have their say”, however the issue of credibility begins to surface. After all, what is news without credibility?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/collegeofjournalism/entries/2ce382f2-b584-332f-b6c7-6f45390d45b7

Comments between users available on these platforms can prove to be problematic at times where a few users disagree on a specific matter and things spiral out of control. We have all seen it happen online before, whether it’s between two celebrities on Twitter or two Facebook friends. The website owners, in turn can be held responsible for publishing the comments of their users which is a whole other issue on its own.

Apart from the possible negativity between users, there is the possibility of abuse toward the news agencies and the article writers themselves. Much like celebrities have to endure abuse on their social media pages, so too do some journalists and news agencies. In some cases, [open] ‘journalists’ blatantly abuse the writer without even commenting on the article on hand which has left plenty of writers infuriated and “traumatized”.

News agencies aren’t helpless to the defamatory comments made by online users as certain websites have set a limit on the amount of characters that can be used in a comment. Alternatively, some news agencies clearly specify that any new information in terms of multimedia be shared and that irrelevant content will not be used. http://www.niemanlab.org/2015/08/user-generated-content-can-traumatize-journalists-who-work-with-it-a-new-project-aims-to-help/

What this means is that the potential for ‘open journalism’ is limited but within understandable reason as some individuals abuse the tools and privileges that they are provided with. The growth of the concept of ‘open journalism’ is indeed inhibited but is a ‘necessary evil’ if will as people are still able to comment, just not as vividly as they would like.