Links to Online News Stories written for Voice of the Cape Website:
Short radio news inserts that I compiled for Voice of the Cape radio.
[Originally aired 31 March 2017 on the Breakfast show]
Social Justice Coalition members staged a silent protest during the City of Cape Town’s (CoCT’s) budget where SJC members put on masks of Mayor Patricia de Lille’s face and held up posters that indicated what the CoCT’s budget really says. The posters included statements such as “Cape Town is not for poor people” and “My budgets are always anti-poor”.
Rafieka Williams spoke to SJC’s Axolile Notywala who said their actions during the Mayor’s draft budget speech were motivated by the City’s exclusion of poor communities from the budget process.
[Originally aired on 24 March 2017 on the Breakfast show]
The Worcester community of Riverview and Avian park has recently made headlines from a video where a young male was documented being shot and killed in a gang related incident. Police say they are investigating two cases of murder, four of attempted murder and others of public violence and malicious damage to property.
Rafieka Williams spoke to residents to understand what effect this violence has had on the community…
[Originally aired 17 February 2017 on the Breakfast show]
The Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) picketed in the CBD for the protection of natural water sources and the end to selling of land to developers and big businesses. Rafieka Williams was there and filed this report…
[Originally aired on 8 February 2017 on the Breakfast Show]
The State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by the President focuses on current political and socio-economic state of the nation based on government assessments. But, we cannot assume that the address fully incorporates the views of the ordinary people of South Africa.
Rafieka Williams was at the briefing of The PSONA report which looks at the public opinion perceptions of ordinary South Africans, who were surveyed by the (IJR) through the South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB) and the Afrobarometer.
[Originally aired 27 October 2016 on the Breakfast show]
Several thousand students marched through Cape Town to demand “free decolonised education”. Just as the march was set to end and disperse, violence broke out, bringing chaos to the CBD. VOC’s Rafieka Williams was on the ground and filed this report.
[Originally aired 30 September 2016 on the Breakfast show]
Now tensions are still high at Universities across the country with the #feesmustfall movement refusing to budge on their mission for free education and it seems disruptions might be continue if their call is ignored. Whilst students are gearing up to intensify their campaign, vice Chancellors from some of the top universities got together earlier this week to discuss the national issue. VOC Rafieka Williams filed this special report on the Private security measures at University campuses across the country.
Features for Voice of the Cape radio, written, produced and narrated by Rafieka Williams
[Originally aired 17 March 2017 on the Breakfast show]
President Jacob Zuma and Social Development minister may have assured that 17 million grant beneficiaries will be paid out next month but fears of non-payment are brimming among those who most affected. VOC news spoke to some of the people to understand their thoughts and fears about the only income they receive not being paid on April 1st…
[Originally Aired on 9 February 2017 on the Breakfast show]
While the state of the Nation Address will be focusing on government’s policy, there are also many organisations that assist government and civil society in achieving development. These organisations make vital contributions when it comes to ground work where government lack’s in service delivery.
VOC’s Rafieka Williams spoke to The Development Action Group to understand the areas where the state can improve in terms of achieving adequate housing.
[Originally aired 16 December 2016 on the Drive Time show]
Despite progress since 1994, South African society remains divided. The privilege attached to race, class, space and gender has not yet been fully reversed. There have been rapid improvements in access to basic services, but their quality continues to be affected by who you are and where you live.
Rafieka Williams speaks to Benjamin Roberts from the Human Science Research Council to find out why racist attitudes continue to exist in South Africa.
[Originally aired on 8 December 2016 on Breakfast Beat show]
As part of our 16 Days of Activism coverage. Rafieka Williams looked at how male dominance, masculinity and patriarchy is considered contributing factors to the issues of gender and sexual violence.
The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, hosted a public dialogue on the Identity and Being Coloured in a Black and White South Africa. VOC news reporter Rafieka William was at the event and filed this report.
The call for free decolonised education is one of the hallmarks of the current Fees must fall movement. What was last year, a movement to bring an awareness to the outcry of non-privileged students at universities across the country has now transformed to a broader agenda that speaks to the experiences of the non-privileged student, rather than just accessibility but what that accessibility entails. Rafieka Williams has more on this story…
The advent of the “rainbow nation” was an idea coined by Desmond Tutu to ensure stability and cohesion among the diverse people in South Africa. With the advent of democracy, there was a promise from the newly elected ANC government to correct the imbalances of Apartheid and create an inclusive society where all citizens had equal opportunities and freedom. But 22 years later the promise of freedom has been lost. Rafieka Williams, interrogates the idea of a rainbow nation.
A list of interviews I did with writers discussing literature and the arts.
Khadija Tracey Carmelita Heeger was born Cape Town. She was raised on the Cape Flats in the township of Hanover Park. She started performing when she was nine years old, her dream was to be an actress, but at 15, she started writing seriously and this is how she expresses herself now. She is a well-known and popular performance poet. Rafieka Williams spoke to her on the significance of poetry.
Yolisa Qunta is an associate editor at Jucyafrica.com and a columnist at allforwomen.co.za. She spent her formative years in Zimbabwe and Botswana as a child to political exiles and returned to South Africa with her family in 1993. She is the first time author of the book “Writing What We Like”, a compilation of essays which includes the voices of Shaka Sisulu, Ilhaam Rawoot, Nama Xam, Lwandile Fikeni, Sibusiso Tsabalala among others. Released last month her book is already on the top ten seller’s at Exclusive books. We chat to her today about the what has been described as a snapshot of what smart, young South Africans think about… Guest: Yolisa Qunta
Covering a wide range of topics, including politics, history, current events and celebrity gossip, this compilation of recent and new writings contains Fred Khumalo’s trademark blend of humour and shrewd analysis, as well as his treatment of everyday issues from a uniquely South African perspective. An entertaining collection of thoughts from one of the country’s most seasoned journalists, offering many questions, and tongue-in-cheek answers, on who we are as a nation, where we are going, and how we compare to the rest of the world. Rafieka Williams spoke to Fred Khumalo on his latest book.
People who visit Johannesburg from any other part of the country will always be overwhelmed by the fast pace and hum-drum of it all. This vast space of land with it’s complex social, economic, cultural, political and historic dynamic continues to evolve. However people may have the wrong idea about what exactly the city consists of. Here are a few pointers for the average young South African who doesn’t know Johannesburg very well.
- An ever-changing city: Johannesburg was founded on the mining industry. Prospectors traveled here in search of gold before the city was even declared “Johannesburg”. The city has always been at the forefront of innovation and new developments, on par with London and Paris in it’s earlier days. Today Johannesburg continues to gain international recognition as the heart of economic and technological development. The city is growing bigger and faster every day and it stands still for no man.
- The rich people: The highest percentage of the wealthiest people in South Africa reside in Johannesburg. According to a report by Business Tech the the wealthiest people of Johannesburg reside in areas such as Sandhurst and Houghton. If you’ve been to those areas, you are met with high walls and 24hr security. Intimidating to say the least. Conversely, the poor live in the open, on the streets – they are accessible.
- The Gyms: One would think that a gym is a place mainly enjoyed for sweating and looking attractive but scare tactics seem to seep into the most controlled spaces in Johannesburg. Muhammed Desai, a member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement was thrown out of his local gym for wearing a t-shirt that showed his solidarity with Palestine. He was the asked to leave because fellow gym members found it offensive.
- The job market: Wealth streaming in from all sectors, Johannesburg is the city that people flock to from all over the world to make money. However, Johannesburg is also crawling with scams masquerading as employment opportunities. There are illegitimate companies that use the Internet to lure desperate people in for jobs. In many cases these scams ask their victims for money in order to secure their jobs in other cases the scams advertise jobs falsely and will have you handing out flyers instead of the office you were promised.
- Street culture: It’s no secret that Johannesburg is host to a plethora of cultures all interacting on a daily basis. So much so that cultures are easily appropriated and distorted for the sake of cosmopolitan ideals, alienating people further and further from their roots.
- The taxi industry: The air of Downtown Bree and Noord Taxi ranks permeates with strong smells of urine on a hot day and sewage on a rainy one. This does not deter the working class from filling these ranks – jumping in and out of taxi’s, immersed in the hustle and bustle. These taxi ranks are also governed by relentless taxi officials always hovering in between lanes, policing which taxi you get into. If you give either of these officials any type of attitude, you’ll end up not getting a taxi at all.
- The foreigners: Foreigners are here to make a living. That’s all.
- Buildings: Johannesburg is home to the tallest building in Africa – The Carlton, located in the middle of the CBD. The view from the Carlton overlooks the beautiful Johannesburg skyline, a closer look and you will be able to spot the numbers of neglected and abandoned buildings. These buildings, although unfit for human habitation continue to be occupied by residents, endangering their health to get cover from the harsh city streets.
- The youth: The youth of the Johannesburg have been deemed the drivers of change in the city. Heading their own businesses and movements by utilising social media to brand themselves, young people in Johannesburg are taking their futures into their own hands. Bloggers turned business owners such as Frypan Mfula and twitter personalities turned socialites such as Sadie Wiggles have made it big just by using the Internet to their advantage. Watch the space.
- The food: Bloggers will tell you that street food consists of Maboneng food stalls that sell Mexican food and Markets that sell coffee flavoured ice-cream but the only consistent type of food is cheap snacks that go for one rand. Sold by someone with a pop up crate store that you can find in any area of Johannesburg, no matter how far North.
- The environment: Johannesburg weather patterns are erratic and hard on your skin. Winters are dry and summers are wet. In addition to that, the city has gone through at least three tremors in the last three years.
- Crime: South Africa may be known for its high crime rates and Johannesburg andi you haven’t been a victim to it, you know somebody who has. The city streets may be over-populated but it’s the quiet streets where there are few witnesses one should be equally afraid of.
- The entertainment: Buzzing with hotspots such as Melville, Rosebank, Braamfontein and not to mention the famous Vilakazi street, one could never be bored in Johannesburg. But beware of the mundane company you may have to endure among these middle to upper class socialites.
- The uninvited guests: Once you’ve been in Johannesburg long enough, you’d understand that your racial identity is an important part of who you’re meant to be. Unfortunately if you’re not black or white, your ideas on race do not matter. Racial discussions in Johannesburg exclude any other race that is not black or white. Better pick a side.
- Safe Havens: Given all the reasons that Johannesburg is a scary place to be in, there are also spaces of safety that you can enjoy without feeling pressurised or fearful for your life… the malls. Where you won’t lose your life but you will spend all your money buying overpriced goods.
All Photographs taken by Rafieka Williams
Young people from Johannesburg used social media to mobilise a march to the Gauteng Legislature in an anti-xenophobia silent protest
Using social media and the hashtag“#SilentProtest”, a group of young people came together in an anti-xenophobia silent protest in Johannesburg CBD (Central Business Dsitrict), yesterday.
Starting with a twitter rant, organisers Thabang Manyelo and Sandiselwe Gamede decided to put their concerns about the recent attacks on foreign nationals into action. They asked fellow twitter users to join them in a protest at Luthuli house at 10am yesterday morning.
In response to Manyelo and Gamede’s tweets, a group of approximately 100 youngsters, many of whom had never met before, came together to show solidarity with foreign nationals living in South Africa.
Manyelo said his hopes for the march were about “Applying pressure on the government, saying that we won’t stand for this and we’re hoping you [government] see us and actually do something about it, not just make a statement and then let it be”.
From Luthuli House to Gauteng Legislature
The march started at the ANC (African National Congress) headquarters, Luthuli House where the protestors stood quietly holding up signs condemning ‘xenophobia’. They then moved silently, with tape over their mouths, through Beyers Naude Square to the Gauteng Legislature.
When they arrived at the Gauteng Legislature building, they remained completely silent for an hour before singing the national anthem.
Acie Lumumba, Chairperson of the Youth Council of Zimbabwe, thanked the youth for their support.
Lumumba said the march changed his perception of how the majority of South Africans felt towards foreign nationals.
“I came here specifically against the advice of many Zimbabweans because I wanted to know, is this really what South Africa has become. And I’m happy to go back with a message to say even if it’s one, even if its two, there is still hope where Zimbabwe and South Africa can have a young generation that intertwines and builds towards a more prosperous region in Africa.”
Silence is Golden
Explaining the reason for silence, Gamede said they wanted, “To start peacefully and end peacefully… We need to find pro-active ways to challenge views that we disagree with, without killing each other.”
According to Manyelo, the big message that the march is trying to drive is that social media can be an effective part of activism. He believes that their efforts will have a ripple effect on the government to be more pro-active in doing something about the violence.
Smash Afrika, Yfm presenter and a former Witsie also heard about the cause through social media.
“The reason why I came here is because we have a f*cking crisis in our country that we need to fix ASAP and the only way we can fix it, is if young people come together and stand up against this … Xenophobia is whack (sic) and it needs to come to an end,” said Afrika.
Kirsten Leo, a 23 year old former Witsie said, “People are frustrated and they are directing their energy in the wrong way … As South Africans we can’t allow this.”
In light of the start of Johannesburg cycle week there is a difference in opinion between public transport and cyclists.
This week will be used as a way to educate commuters about the use of cycling lanes. But taxi drivers and bus drivers, are complaining about the space that lanes take up on the roads in Braamfontein.
Luka Sibiya (59) who has been driving buses for 25 years said, “It’s an interruption because you stand here for one hour but you won’t see a single person riding a bike.” He added, “Now we have to stop in the middle of the road and that is going to hold up traffic.”
“It’s disturbing because it makes the roads smaller,” said 33-year-old taxi driver, Sifiso Thwala. He thinks the lanes are unnecessary and that it threatens taxi drivers’ job security because people will want to cycle instead of taking taxis.
Making Johannesburg a more cycle friendly city
Cyclist Mehita Iqani of the Johannesburg Urban Cycling Association (JUCA) believes that Braamfontein is an ideal place for cycling lanes. According to Iqani the lanes provide a protective space for cyclists on the road. When asked about other commuters who don’t respect the cycling lanes, she said “they’re not interested in sharing the road … Cars that park in the lanes need to stop doing that”.
Simphiwe Ntuli of Johannesburg Road Agency said the reason for the lanes were on the basis that there are a large number of students who cannot afford public transport and don’t have their own cars.
“As the City of Johannesburg, our strategy is to educate our community with one on one talks and leaflets” said Ntuli. The next step would be to enforce the rules of the road said Ntuli, “if you park on the lane you get a nice big fine.”