TagSouth Africa

Spoek Mathambo – “War on Words”

Spoek Mathambo’s official site.

Mobile journalism production and news distribution in South Africa

Ethan Zuckerman writes:

The journalists behind the Lindaba Ziyafika project are largely unemployed adults in their early 20s. They’re producing content that’s ending up in the 140 year old newspaper that serves Grahamstown. The content is distributed first via online media – SMS, messages through systems like MXit (an incredibly clever hack that uses the cheaper data connectivity available on African cellphones to evade the huge expenses of SMS messages), Twitter and Facebook. Facebook is now the most used site in South Africa, and Twitter is the 9th. […]

What can we learn from the project? Making citizen media work in poor countries requires:
– heavy training and some cash incentives for participants
– mobile news first, print second
– embrace of mobile-friendly platforms

In the long run, revenue may come from time-sensitive advertising – coupons that expire quickly, requiring users to watch closely and act fact – 50% off bananas at the local market… now 49%, now 48%. They’re just starting to implement this and waiting to see what comes next.

Ethan Zuckerman: Lindaba Ziyafika – The News is Coming

What from that plan isn’t also applicable to the United States, with its failing old media business models, high youth unemployment, and high cell phone penetration?

Draconian copyright laws in the States. Consider Canada?

Good ol' Bush Salute

In the context of all the good advancing copyright law can do for us as we move further into the twenty-first century (see “How creativity is being strangled by the law“), I almost shed a tear for Americans this afternoon because of these two bills being rushed into action:

House vote on illegal images sweeps in Wi-Fi, Web sites

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill saying that anyone offering an open Wi-Fi connection to the public must report illegal images including “obscene” cartoons and drawings–or face fines of up to $300,000.

That broad definition would cover individuals, coffee shops, libraries, hotels, and even some government agencies that provide Wi-Fi. It also sweeps in social-networking sites, domain name registrars, Internet service providers, and e-mail service providers such as Hotmail and Gmail, and it may require that the complete contents of the user’s account be retained for subsequent police inspection. [cont.]

Download A Song–Lose Your Loan

Page 411 of this 747-page bill is “Section 494(A): CAMPUS-BASED DIGITAL THEFT PREVENTION” wherein the bill’s meaning takes a serious detour from its title. To prevent college students from illegally accessing copyrighted material, the section says all schools shall (when you see the word “shall” in a law, it’s a requirement, not a suggestion):

1) Have “a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property”
and
2) Have “a plan to explore technology based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity.”

The craziest thing about this is that noncompliant schools would lose all their federal funding, for all their students. No more Pell Grants. No more federal financial aid. No more student loans. This is not just draconian punishment for students who break the law, this punishes all students at that institution even if they did nothing!

Beyond that, both requirements actually work against the point of the bill itself–implementation would likely raise school fees. [cont.]

I won’t name names, but recently I helped out a friend occultist in California review Canadian cities to expatriate to. I sent him a bunch of info on crime, lifestyle, popular job markets, and some ethnic/religious backgrounds to the cities to help him decide which was more his flavour.

As we move into an era where identity exists more and more online, and who knows as more transhuman technologies become more mainstream over the next decade. Copyright, essentially communications in general, has become the quiet battleground in the American government. Because these Draconian laws benefit not only the corporations down there, but the right-wing zealous nuts who want the world safe for their Sears-inspired Christian regime, might I suggest you, too, look at moving abroad rather than putting up with the weird Fourth Reich that is bubbling and brewing.

For those of you not caring or fighting your government before it swelters and your personal freedoms are abandoned in favour of a “safe, secure Christian state,” please feel free to inquire with any of us Canadian occultists about which cities might be welcome to you. There’s always South America, Asia, or Europe if you’re thinking more exotic, and I have friends that are always flying down to South Africa to work.

For those of you that decide to fight on your native soil, kudos to you. To the rest of you, if you don’t feel it’s your battle, the world is your oyster. America is not the end-all, be-all of the human experience.

Just a friendly word from Fell. And if there is any interest, perhaps I should put together an Guide to Canada for American Counterculture Expats. Aforementioned Californian seemed to appreciate it and is checking out his city of choice this winter. And I know we’re not exactly 100% sovereign from the U.S.’s influence, but things are nowhere near the psycho state that is growing down there. =]

EDIT — A bit of a perception/context update for the SAFE Act, via the good boys at Ars Technica:

Despite hyperbole to the contrary, the SAFE Act that passed the House yesterday won’t force local coffee shops, libraries, and home users to monitor their network connections for child porn.

Interview with Credo Mutwa

Credo Mutwa: Can your newspaper kindly send somebody to Africa in the near future?

Martin: We are financially not able to do that at this time, but that may change in the future.

Credo Mutwa: Because there are some things that I would, please, like your newspaper to check-out, independent of me. You have heard of the country called Rwanda, in Central Africa?

Martin: Yes.

Credo Mutwa: The people of Rwanda, the Hutu people, as well as the Watusi people, state, and they are not the only people in Africa who state this, that their very oldest ancestors were a race of beings whom they called the Imanujela, which means ‘the Lords who have come’. And some tribes in West Africa, such as a Bambara people, also say the same thing. They say that they came from the sky, many, many generations ago, a race of highly advanced and fearsome creatures which looked like men, and they call them Zishwezi. The word Zishwezi means the dival or the glidal-creatures that can glide down from the sky or glide through water.

Everybody, sir, has heard about the Dogon people in Western Africa who all say that they were given culture by the normal beings, but they are not-the Dogon people are but ONE of many, many peoples in Africa who claim that their tribe or their king were first founded by the supernatural race of creatures that came from the sky.

Are you still with me, sir?

Martin: Oh yes, very much so. Please continue.

Credo Mutwa: Sir, I can go on and on, but let me bring you to my people, the Zulu people of South Africa.

Martin: Please.

Credo Mutwa: The Zulu people, who are famous as a warrior people, the people to whom King Shaka Zulu, of the last century, belonged. When you ask a South African White anthropologist what the name of Zulu means, he will say it means ‘the sky’ (laughter), and therefore the Zulu call themselves ‘people of the sky’. That, sir, is non-sense. In the Zulu language, our name for the sky, the blue sky, is sibakabaka. Our name for inter-planetary space, however, is izulu and the weduzulu, which means ‘inter-planetary space, the dark sky that you see with stars in it every night’, also has to do with traveling, sir. The Zulu word for traveling at random, like a nomad or a gypsy, is izula.

Now, you can see that the Zulu people in South Africa were aware of the fact that you can travel through space-not through the sky like a bird-but you can travel through space, and the Zulus claim that many, many thousands of years ago there arrived, out of the skies, a race of people who were like lizards, people who could change shape at will.

Full Story: Metatech.

See also: Did Clinton shapeshift on TV?

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