Saturday, February 26, 2011

Did Gordhan say R260 a month? Let’s make more babies quickly!

Like everything else in life, the government’s social development initiatives have both advantages and disadvantages. Take for instance the child support grant; while this may come as some sort of a relief to financial needy single mothers, it is also a stimulus for our staggering teenage pregnancy rate. I know of a few young girls from my neighborhood that saw the child support grant as a good enough reason to get pregnant. To them, free cash from the government just for having a baby sounds like an easy way to earn a survival.
Before you gasp in dismay please be informed that these girls’ idea of survival is being able to afford a few quarts of beer and maybe some cigarettes every weekend all in the name of having “fun”. Unknown to them is the fact that babies are very expensive to rise but that’s the least of their worries and I don’t blame them.  I mean, who would stress about the realities of bringing up a child when you have a mother that will gladly do it all for you at her expense? Besides there is a fun element to being pregnant:  a baby shower!
I’m very certain that some of these girls jumped for joy when Pravin Gordhan announced, on Wednesday, that the child support grant will increase to R260 a month in April and R270 in October this year. This may sound as absolute nonsense to you but R260 a month is quite a fortune to a na├»ve 16 year old girl whose only priority in life is getting wasted at every chance she may get.  
Like every year, the increase in social grant will make a notable difference in the lives of its beneficiaries. R10 more will perhaps afford some of them an extra  tin of baby formula and to some this will be enough for a taxi fare to that new ‘happenin’ shebeen! South Africa as a country will benefit as well, more births mean the growth of our nation, right?  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentines Day…Bleh!

So tomorrow is Valentines Day. Most lovers are preparing or have prepared various surprises for their better halves. Gifts will be exchanged, dinners served and the three big words, ‘I LOVE YOU’, will suddenly occupy a special place on most people’s vocabularies. I say yaaaaaaaaawn!!!!

I won’t even base this post on the origins or the “significance” of Valentines Day simply because I personally feel that this day is soooo overrated. It’s commercial, a total waste of money and time just like Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day and all the other “special” days on our calendar. The celebration of love should be an all year affair; the romantic dinners, gifts and bunches of red roses should be a prominent feature of every relationship.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Designer PR?

I absolutely enjoy creative writing, so it came natural to choose a career path that would allow me to make use of my writing abilities. I knew from the beginning that I had a special position in the public relations/communications world. I’m very passionate about my profession; I look at it as art and I regard myself as a designer.

How is PR writing a design component? You would ask.

As PR practitioners, we design and formulate copy for communications material such as adverts, websites and press releases. We also design and produce publications like newsletters and brochures. Most importantly, we invent effective communication strategies.

We communicate to different target audiences on behalf of our clients or organisations. In most cases the communication is sent across in written word. Each audience differs from the other; therefore all information addressed to them has to be designed in a way that will appeal to them.

In doing so, we take into consideration the audience demographic profile and construct the information in a manner that will be best suitable to the audience’s understanding. Using their demographic profile again, we then choose a medium that will deliver the communication effectively. For example, a more serious tone/style of writing would be used if the target audience is business people. Publications such as The Business Report would be selected to carry the message across.

So yes, that is how PR writing forms part of the design world and I call what I do ‘Designer PR’.

What’s cool anyway?

Have you noticed how almost everyone these days tries really hard to be cool and unique? Just take a walk around Cape Town City Centre and you will see young people donning some…ahem…very interesting outfits and hairstyles. Thanks to Rihanna and Willow, the long Mohawk has become a must have “cool” hairdo and the City Centre looks like a set of Marilyn Manson’s music video.

It seems as if everyone is on some quest to appear unique and cool but what is the actual definition of the term “cool”? Below are three definitions of cool that I came up with deriving from my observations of the cool crowd

  1. Putting on weird clothes because a certain celebrity is doing it.
  2. Colouring your hair blood red because it sets you apart from the rest.
  3. Hanging at certain places because all the cool people frequent those places.

Someone told me that dressing like a drag queen has suddenly became cool because of Lady Gaga [gasps]. So I suppose you can use definition 1 above for “cool”. So far I have seen three girls with red hair extensions. This is of course after the release of Riri’s latest album, LOUD (refer to definition 1 & 2).

Some of my friends are willing to cough up a cool R200 cover charge to hang out at ZAR Lounge because the Kardashian sisters have been there, Julius Malema parties there and the owner, Kenny Kunene, made it look cool to eat sushi off naked women (see definition 3).

I don’t understand how Julius Malema made it to anyone’s cool list though, but this cool madness must come to an end before people start acting tjatjarag.   

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I am…

In a connected world where trends and gadgets have crippled people’s sense of individualism, I AM on a mission to claim my peculiarity. I am not ready to let societal opinions and norms determine my way of doing things but I AM prepared to be a deviation. I AM a free spirit and I will continue exploring my capabilities to the best of my ability.

Amongst my peers, I AM the one that is not going to take the easy way out. I AM equipped with intelligence to tackle all the challenges that may arise along the way to success.  I have drive and ambition and I AM going to see the realisation of my dreams.

In my community, I AM going to make a difference. I aim to be the inspiration of the upcoming generations. Achieving that aim requires tremendous focus and hard work and I AM determined to abide. I AM not afraid to face the harsh realities of following my dream but I fear failure.

In myself, I AM a firm believer. I feed my brain with knowledge as I go along so to broaden my horizons. I go with an open mind and I AM open to suggestions and advise of those wiser than I AM.

I am…Siya Mahomba