Comebacks of 2014

Twitter/alyankovic

Twitter/alyankovic

Those darn celebrities, politicians, sports people and otherwise gifted human beings. They won’t be the sleeping dogs who lie! I compiled a list of my top 10 comebacks from 2014, including Khanyi Mbau, Julius Malema, Weird Al Yankovic and Microsoft.

Unfortunately the article is no longer available online.

2014’s top music videos

Wikimedia Commons/Ralph AversenI look at music videos that inspired followings around the world in 2014, including Die Antwoord’s ‘Ugly Boy‘, Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX’s ‘Fancy‘, Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda‘, and Shakira and Carlinhos Brown’s ‘La La La‘ – the official song for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Unfortunately the piece is no longer available online.

{Image credit: Ralph Aversen (Iggy Azalea) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons}

Taiji dolphin slaughter begins

By BD Padgett (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

View of Taiji from the south. The marina is in the center, the Pacific Ocean is to the right.

Every year, Japan’s little town of Taiji embarks on one of animal activists’ most hated pastimes: the dolphin slaughter.

The slaughter takes place once a year, with local fishermen claiming it’s a tradition – a relatively new one if their excuse is to be believed – and authorities saying the dolphin meat was a food product. Various activist organisations are involved in exposing the slaughter at Taiji, and according to recent reports, dolphin meat has quickly fallen out of favour after awareness campaigns told people in Japan about the high levels of mercury found in dolphin meat. Yet the slaughter continues, and fishermen relentlessly kill hundreds of dolphins every year.

What the authorities will not admit to is the fact that many dolphins are captured during the campaign, and sold off to entertainment and animal parks around the world.

I look at the history of the film that rocketed it to stardom and current efforts against the slaughter here.

Abstract:

The small Japanese town of Taiji was relatively unknown until 2010 when the Oscar-winning film The Cove launched it into stardom, but for all the wrong reasons.

Read the full piece on SlideShare since NoW! was shut down.

If you would like to find out even more, visit Sea Shepherd’s website.

{Image credit: By BD Padgett (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons}

Reed Dance facts

By Amada44 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Reed Dance Festival 2006

The uMkhosi woMhlanga takes place once a year in Swaziland and KwaZulu-Natal, but it has a unique and interesting history.

I look at a few facts here.

Abstract:

uMkhosi woMhlanga, or the Reed Dance, is an annual event that sees more than 30,000 maidens from around South Africa make their pilgrimage to the eNyokeni Palace in Nongoma, where they celebrate their maidenhood.

Read the full piece on SlideShare after NoW! was shut down.

{Image source: By Amada44 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons}

A look at ukuthwala

The SA Law Reform Commission released a discussion paper on the cultural practice of ukuthwala, or a type of forced marriage where a young girl is abducted and then forcibly wed.

I looked into the practice for a piece on NoW!, which is no longer available as the site has been shut down.

Abstract:

The SA Law Reform Commission has called for forced marriages to be criminalised, legislation that would target those involved in forcing young women to marry in the tradition of ukuthwala.

Initiation deaths in the spotlight

Winter is the time of year many people don’t look forward to – not only is there the constant threat of rolling blackouts a la Eskom, but many people dislike the cold, while many others try and grin and bear it as best they can.

The Department of Health struggles with the season mostly because of the high number of initiation deaths. Winter is the traditional time for the Xhosa ritual, undertaken in many rural parts of the country, but it has been a controversial practice for some time as many boys are killed or maimed in the process, which the government is struggling to control.

There was a particular controversy around initiation last year as an overseas doctor published the grisly results of initiations gone wrong. This year, the SA government has indicated is commitment to stopping the deaths by instituting proper facilities and targeting the issue with funding.

I wrote a piece about the practice for HowzitMSN and NoW! This is a link to the SlideShare version since NoW! has been shut down.

Abstract:

Every year in winter, the media prepares to monitor the rural areas of South Africa, awaiting the grisly reports of initiation deaths.

Read the full piece here.