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Music Reviews: Despacito by Luis Fonsi ft Daddy Yankee as Seen by Stephanie Madrian.

Luis Fonsi

In this series, we are reviewing popular music and songs that have topped the charts. Today, in this article, we are reviewing a song by Luis Fonsi, featuring

Daddy Yankee, when they say Despacito, which means slowly in Spanish. But first, who is Luis Fonsi? DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR CHANNEL TO RECEIVE MORE VIDEOS OF THIS NATURE.

Luis Alfonso Rodríguez López-Cepero, known by his stage name Luis Fonsi, is a Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, and actor. He is known for multiple songs, one of them being Despacito featuring Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee.

Luis Fonsi received his first Latin Grammy Award nominations in the Record of the Year category and won Song of the Year thanks to the song ”Aqui Estoy Yo”. The song also won three Billboard Latin Music Awards. “Despacito” became Fonsi’s biggest success winning four Latin Grammy Awards, seven Billboard Latin Music Awards, five Billboard Music Awards. and received three Grammy Awards. nominations. He also won one Latin American Music Awards.Billboard for “Echame la Culpa” with Demi Lovato.

As of 2018, he has broken six Guiness World Records and sold more than 11 million records with “Despacito”.As of February 2020, “Despacito” is the most watched YouTube video of all time, with over 6.7 billion views.

Fonsi was born on 15 April 1978 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the oldest child of Alfonso Rodríguez and Delia López-Cepero. He has two younger siblings: Jean Rodríguez, who also is a singer, and Tatiana Rodríguez.

Growing up, Fonsi idolized the stars of the popular group Menudo, and the San Juan Children’s Choir.

He attended Dr Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida, and participated in a group called “Big Guys.” They sang at school parties and local festivals. One of the members of the group, Joey Fatone, later joined NSYNC.

In 1995, Fonsi enrolled at Florida State University School of Music on a full scholarship, He also joined the school’s choir, the Florida State University Singers, and sang with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.  Eventually, he dropped out of university in order to pursue a career in music. Soon after, he was offered a recording contract by Universal Music Latin.

Despacito

In January 2017, Despacito featuring Daddy Yankee. was promoted and released. On 5 April  2018, the music video reached five billion views on You Tube, with the song becoming number one in nearly every Latin Billboard chart, and the most viewed video in the world. In April 2017, the song was given an English remix featuring Canadian singer Justin Bieber. The remix featuring Bieber reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending 27 May 2017, becoming both Fonsi and Yankee’s first number one on the chart, and Bieber’s fifth. Bieber promoted the remix at one of his shows in Puerto Rico, inviting Fonsi onto stage to perform the duet with him. The song remained number one for 16 consecutive weeks, tying One Sweet Day, by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men as the longest reigning top song in the chart’s history.

Here are the original Spanish lyrics (the English translation appears below):

Ay
Fonsi
DY
Oh
Oh no, oh no
Oh yeah
Diridiri, dirididi Daddy
Go
Sí, sabes que ya llevo un rato mirándote
Tengo que bailar contigo hoy (DY)
Vi que tu mirada ya estaba llamándome
Muéstrame el camino que yo voy (Oh)
Tú, tú eres el imán y yo soy el metal
Me voy acercando y voy armando el plan
Solo con pensarlo se acelera el pulso (Oh yeah)
Ya, ya me está gustando más de lo normal
Todos mis sentidos van pidiendo más
Esto hay que tomarlo sin ningún apuro
Despacito
Quiero respirar tu cuello despacito
Deja que te diga cosas al oído
Para que te acuerdes si no estás conmigo
Despacito
Quiero desnudarte a besos despacito
Firmo en las paredes de tu laberinto
Y hacer de tu cuerpo todo un manuscrito (sube, sube, sube)
(Sube, sube)
Quiero ver bailar tu pelo …
 
Echame la Culpa
 

In November 2017, he released the song Echame la Culpa, featuring Demi Lovato., which debuted at number three on the Hot Latin chart. The song won Song of the Year at the Latin American Music Awards of 2018 and received one nomination for Best Latin at the MTV Video Music Awards. As of 2018 the song sold more than 1 million copies worldwide.

In 2003, Fonsi started to become romantically interested in actress Adamari Lopez, who, as an Univision artist and fellow Puerto Rican, constantly found herself near Fonsi That same year, Fonsi released the song “Abrazar la vida” (“To Embrace the Life”), off the eponymous album. The song would later become one of López’s favourites.

During 2005, Fonsi was in the middle of an international tour that was abruptly cancelled when López was diagnosed with cancer. Fonsi promised to stay by her side, and travelled with her to Mexico, Miami, and Puerto Rico for various treatment- and work-related trips. She has been in remission since 2006.

On 3 June 2006, Fonsi and Adamari López were married in a religious ceremony in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, attended by many celebrities, including Joey Fatone, Charytin Goyco, Ednita Nazario and Carlos Ponce, as well as his brother, aspiring singer Jean Rodríguez, professionally known as “Jan”. On 8 November 2010, they officially divorced.

Fonsi and Spanish model, Águeda López were married on 10 September 2014, after three years of living together. They had their first child together, a daughter named Mikaela, in December 2011 in Miami.  On 20 December 2016, they welcomed their second child, a son named Rocco.

Let’s look at the English translation of the Spanish lyrics. Here is what the song says in English:

Yes, you know that I’ve been looking @ you for a while

I have to dance with you today (Daddy Yankee)

I saw, that your look was calling me

Show me the way that I’m going oh

You you are the magnet and I’m the metal

I’m getting closer and I’m setting up the plan

Just the thought of It accelerates the pulse

now I’m enjoying it more than usual

All my senses are asking for more

This must be taken without any trouble

Despacito.

I want to breathe your neck slowly

Let me tell you things in your ears

So that you remember when you’re not with me

Despacito.

I want to undress you with kisses slowly

Sign the walls of your labyrinth

And make your whole body a manuscript

Turn it up turn it up….. turn it up, turn it up

I wanna see you dance

I wanna be your rhythm

I want you to show me

Your favourite places places places Places

Let me surpass your danger zones

To make you scream

And forget your name

Daddy Yankee

If I ask you for a kiss, come give It to me

I know that you’re thinking about it

I’ve been trying for some time

Mommy this is giving and giving it

You know that your heart with me makes you bom bom

You know that this baby is looking for my bom bom

Come test my mouth to see what It tastes like to you

I want to see how much love do you have

I’m not in a hurry, I want to do the trip

Let’s start slowly then wildly

Step by step, soft softly

We are going to get caught little by little

When you kiss me so skillfully

I think that you’re malicious delicately

Step by step, soft softly

We’re going to get caught, little by little

And it’s just that this beauty is a puzzle

But to put it together here I have the pieces

Despacito.

I wanna breathe your neck slowly

Let me whisper things into your ear

So that you remember if you’re not with me

Despacito.

I wanna undress you with kisses slowly

Sign the walls of your labyrinth

And make your whole body a manuscript

Turn it up

I wanna see you dance

I wanna be your rhythm

I want you to show me

Your favorite places

Let me surpass your danger zones

Till I make you scream

And forget your name

Despacito.

We will do It on the beach in Puerto Rico

Till the waves scream dear lord

So that my soul stays with you

Step by step, soft softly

We’re going to get caught little by little

I want you to show me

Your favourite places places places Places

Step by step, soft softly

We’re going to get caught little by little

To make you scream (Fonsi)

And forget your name (Daddy Yankee)

Despacito.

THANK you for visiting our site. WE WILL BE publishing more music review articles in the coming weeks. You can watch the music video on Luis Fonsi’s YOUTUBE CHANNEL.  If you would like to receive notification of these videos please subscribe to our YOUTUBE CHANNEL and hit the NOTIFICATIONS bell and we will notify you when new videos are released. Please also, leave a comment and a like below.

 

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Background to the Arrest and Death of George Floyd in Police Custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Subsequent Mass Protests Across the United States. 

THE GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS are an ongoing series of protests and riots against police brutality that began as a local protest in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan, Minnesota, before spreading throughout the United States and then worldwide. The protests began in Minneapolis on 28 May 2020, following the death of George Floyd in which Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for about 08 minutes, assisted by three other police officers—after pinning Mr Floyd the deceased to the ground during an arrest the previous day.

Protests quickly spread across the USA and to other countries in support of Black Lives Matter. Demonstrations that began on May 26 in Louisville, Kentucky, over the shooting of Breonna Taylor by the police on 13 March intensified after the 28 May release of the 911 call made by her boyfriend moments after the shots were fired. The Louisville protests have continued as part of the nationwide reaction to George Floyd’s death and the subsequent police shooting of David McAfee in Louisville during these protests on 01 June. Twelve major cities declared a curfew on the evening of Saturday, 30 May 2020, and as of 02 June, governors in 24 states and Washington, D.C, had called the National Guard, with about seventeen thousand troops activated. From the beginning of the protests to 03 June 2020, about eleven thousand people had been arrested, including all four police officers responsible for the arrest resulting in the death of George Floyd. The mass protests occurred during the global Covid-19 pandemic and health experts as well as political public authorities warned that the protests will likely facilitate an accelerated or rebounding spread of Covid-19 or become a “seeding event” for further coronavirus outbreaks.

History of police brutality in the United States

Frequent cases of police brutality and excessive use of force by the police, particularly against African Americans, in the United States have long led the civil rights movement and various other activists to protest against the lack of police accountability in incidents involving the use of excessive force. The Watts riots in 1965 were a response to police brutality during the civil rights movement. Confrontations with police during the 1965 riots resulted in the deaths of 34 people, most of whom were African-Americans. The 1992 LA riots were a response to the acquittal of the police officers responsible for excessive use of force on Rodney King.

In recent times, these incidents have included:

  • the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri;
  • the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore in 2015; and
  • the 2014 death of Eric Garner in New York City, who, like George Floyd, said, that he couldn’t breathe in his final moments. Several of these nationally publicized incidents occurred in Minnesota, including,
  • the 2015 shooting of Jamar Clark in Minneapolis,
  • the 2016 shooting of Philando Castile in neighbouring Saint Paul, and
  • the 2017 shooting of Justine Damond, also in Minneapolis.
  • In March 2020, the Kentucky shooting of Breonna Taylor by police at her own apartment was also widely publicized.
  • In 2016, Tony Timpa was killed by Dallas police officers in the same way as George Floyd.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Measures taken against the growingCovid-19 pandemic, including closure of non-essential businesses and implementation of a lockdown, had significant economic and social impact on many Americans as millions lost their jobs and were made more economically vulnerable. Keith Ellison, Attorney General of Minnesota, said he was of the opinion that people “have been cooped up for two months, and so now they’re in a different space and a different place. They’re restless. Some of them have been unemployed, some of them don’t have rent money, and they’re angry, they’re frustrated.

George Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, speaking from Faeford, North Carolina, said that the family was traumatised by what happened and that the police officers involved in the case should not only be suspended, only to return to work later, but should be charged with murder. The family’s legal representative, Benjamin Crump, speaking from Tallahassee, Florida,  said that had it not been the videos taken by members of the public, the police would have distorted what actually transpired on the day in question and the matter would have been swept under the carpet.

In a strange twist of events, Minneapolis Police Chief, Madaria Arradondo, joined the protestors at the scene of the death of Mr Floyd and said he came to pay his last respects as what happened to Floyd was wrong. Taking his hat off, he apologised to the Floyd family for the death of George Floyd and said that he was terribly sorry.

WHILE the issue of police brutality in the United States is currently in the spotlight, some of the police forces around the world who top the list in terms of their harsh treatment of offenders are, in the following order, Sudan, China, Pakistan, Mexico, Burma, North Korea, Brazil, Afghanistan, Iran, Haiti, Kenya, Russia, Somalia, Egypt, South Africa, Iran and the United States.

 WE WILL BE publishing more on this issue in the coming days as it develops further. Please watch this space.

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The United States of America Engulfed in Riots following the Death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This is how it Began.

The United States of American has been engulfed in riots following the death of an

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African-American man, George Floyd, 46 years of age,  in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the evening of 25 May 2020 while he was being taken into custody by the police. The National Guard is activated in many states amid violence and damage.

He died after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis.

Footage of the arrest on 25 May shows a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on the deceased’s neck while he was pinned to the road surface.

Mr Chauvin, 44, has since been taken into custody and charged with murder.

The incident that led to Mr Floyd’s death lasted about 30 minutes. Eye-witnesses accounts, video footage and official statements of the incident has revealed the following sequence of events.

It began with a report of a fake $20 bill by a store employee at Cup Foods grocery store in Minneapolis  where the deceased had just bought  a packet of cigarettes. The employee, believing the $20 note to be fake tried to claim the packet of cigarettes back from Mr Floyd. When he refused, the employee made a call to 911 and requested for help. It was around 20:00.

The employee said the man appeared to be “drunk” and “not in control of himself”. A few minutes  thereafter,  police arrived at the scene.

According to the store owner, Mike Abumayyaleh, Mr Floyd was a regular at Cup Foods. He was a friendly face, a pleasant customer who never caused any trouble. But the owner was not at work on the date of the incident. In reporting the suspicious bill, the employee was just following standing procedure.

When the police arrived, Mr Floyd was sitting with two other people in a car parked around the corner.

After approaching the car, one of the officers, Thomas Lane, pulled out his gun and ordered Mr Floyd to show his hands. It is not clear why Officer Lane considered it necessary to draw his weapon.

According to prosecutors, Officer Lane put his hands on Mr Floyd, and pulled him out of the car. Then Mr Floyd “actively resisted being handcuffed”.

As soon as he was handcuffed, Mr Floyd’s resistance subsided and Officer Lane explained to him that he was being arrested for “passing counterfeit currency”.

It was when officers tried to put Mr Floyd in their squad car that a struggle ensued.

At around 20:14, Mr Floyd “stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic”,  meaning he was extremely afraid of confined spaces, according to the report.

At this stage Officer Chauvin arrived at the scene. He and other officers were involved in further attempts to put Mr Floyd in the police car.

During this attempt, at around 20:19, Officer Chauvin pulled Mr Floyd out of the passenger side of the car, causing him to fall to the ground, according to the report.

He lay there, face down, and still in handcuffs.

That’s when witnesses started to film Mr Floyd, who appeared to be in distress. From this time on, the incident was captured on multiple mobile phones and shared on social media.

Mr Floyd was restrained by officers, while Officer Chauvin placed his left knee between his head and neck.

For about nine minutes, Officer Chauvin kept his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck, according to the prosecutors’ report. Mr Floyd repeatedly said that he couldn’t breath.

In videos of the incident, this was when Mr Floyd fell silent, as bystanders urged the officers to check his pulse.

One of the officers, JA Kueng, checked Mr Floyd’s right wrist, but couldn’t find a pulse. Yet, the officers did not move.

At about 20:27, Officer Chauvin removed his knee from Mr Floyd’s neck.  Motionless, Mr Floyd was rolled on to a gurney and taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center in an ambulance.

He was pronounced dead about an hour later.

The Governor Minnesota said: ‘Thank God a young person had a camera to video it’

This is what Rapper Killer Mike had to say about the riots: “It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy”

As America burns, this is how it all began. The officers have been dismissed and some taken into custody. However, the protests have taken a violent turn, characterised by arson, looting and malicious damage to property. The White House blamed the protests and the violence on Antifa, a militant organisation with its stated objective being to oppose fascism.

In the coming days, we will be following this story and giving you an independent analyses as it unfolds looking at it from the various points of view of the participants. Protests have spilled into nearly every major city in the United States and abroad with Berlin and London reporting incidents. Amid the corona virus pandemic, America also has to deal with this major unrest.  President Trump has promised to take steps to end the riots but the federal government has not stepped in as yet.

 

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Has Gilead Sciences Inc finally found a cure for corona virus?

Gilead Sciences Inc is currently busy with clinical trials on remdesvir, a drug that could finally bring hope to millions of people around the world involved in the fight against the corona virus.

In clinical tests involving acute covid 19 patients, the drug has been shown to accelerate recovery in both the fever and respiratory difficulties. These are very promising results and while the drug is still being tested to determine its safety and effectiveness, it may well be the answer that the whole world has been waiting for.

Gilead has indicated that it is ready for large scale production, should the tests be successful and the drug is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration- the FDA. Meantime severe covid 19 patients in various countries have been rushing to take part in the trials.

Tests have also been done on two groups of 6 rhesus macaque monkeys with both groups infected with SARS-CoV-2 and only one group receiving treatment with remdesvir while the other set not. The group that was receiving treatment showed remarkable health during the course of the study while the second group, which did not receive treatment experienced breathing difficulties. According to the National Institutes for Health Scientists in the USA, early treatment with remdesvir significantly reduced damage to the lungs of subjects.

According to Gilead chairman, Daniel O’Day, there are various trials currently taking place around the world and that results should start to come in soon. He thanked all the patients who agreed to take part in the trials as well as their physicians. Studies in China have been suspended mainly due to lack of patients to volunteer to take part in the trials.

Should the tests be successful, lockdowns that are currently underway in various countries around the world may soon be something of the past as people are anxious to return to work and normal life. Students are also anxious to return to their studies.

US President, Donald Trump has been confident that US industries will soon return to full production, without disclosing the reasons for his confidence.

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The Battle Against the Corona Virus. What is Germany and China Doing Correctly?

As the World battles its worst enemy in modern history, it is important to make certain observations that are worth considering by those who are leading the fight in various countries. The number of reported infections throughout the world has reached 1 652 655 as at Goodfriday, 10 April 2020. The total number of confirmed deaths from the virus stand at 100 371 and those who have recovered from the virus stands at 369 938, leaving the total number of active cases at 1 182 346. Italy has suffered the highest number of confirmed deaths in the whole world at 18 849 followed by the USA at 17 927, Spain at 15 970 and France at 12 210.

What should be mentioned however is that Germany, with nearly the same number of infections, at 119 624, as its neighbours, Italy (at 147 577), Spain (at 157 053),  France (at 117 749), the UK (at 70 272), has managed to keep the casualty rate at 2 607 with a high number of recoveries at 52 407. It may be too early to make any conclusions, but it seems so far that there is something that the Germans are doing right which the other countries are missing. The same can be said about China, where the virus was first discovered. Total infections in China are standing at 81 907, with 3 336 deceased and 77 455 recoveries leaving only 1 116 active cases. Those countries that are the hardest hit by this pandemic should take some lessons from China and Germany and they must learn fast in order to bring the monster under control without any further delay. What is it that these two countries are doing right to keep the mortality rate so low and the recovery rate high? Can it be a question of resources?

It has been said that resources such as the availability of  hospital beds, ventilators etc play a very crucial role in determining whether a covid 19 patient will survive or not. Countries such as the USA and the UK are very well resourced and yet their rate of mortality is very high with the UK currently standing at 8 958 deceased and only 135 recoveries. What is it that distinguishes Germany and China from the rest of the countries under observation?

For a start Germany took a while before it could react to the threat of covid 19. As late as January 2020 Germany still regarded the virus as a distant threat to the German health system. The first few covid 19 cases in Germany were discovered as late as 27 January 2020. China on the other hand took an aggressive approach towards tackling the disease right from the start. Experts suggest that the high number of hospital and ICU beds, its reliable testing facilities both in the private and public health sectors, could be responsible for Germany’s success in keeping the mortality rate low. China on the other hand, had managed to drop the curve dramatically towards the end of February 2020

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Visit the Kruger National Park via Phalaborwa.

The town of Phalaborwa offers a unique opportunity for both domestic and international tourists visiting the northern parts of the Kruger National Park. In the north, the Park boasts beautiful rest camps such as Satara, Olifants, Letaba, Mopani, Shingwedzi and Punda Maria as well as bush camps such as Roodewal and Balule near Olifants Camp, and Boulders, Shimuwini, Bataleur and Sirheni Bush Camps near Mopani Rest Camp.

Zebra near Satara, Kruger National Park, South Africa

The people of Phalaborwa are very friendly and welcoming to tourists. The town is virtually crime-free and is very safe both during the day and at night. Visitors can do their shopping at a number of national brands such as Pick n Pay, Checkers, Shoprite, Spar etc where you get a variety of food items as well as household goods. For those who would like to quickly get something to wear, you will not be disappointed as many top brands are represented in the two major shopping malls which are situated within walking distance from each other and while walking there, you will come across a number of other stores which sell a variety of goods that are a haven for shoppers.

A giant baobab tree near Phalaborwa, South Africa.

The prices are on a par with national standards and it is not unusual to find beautiful merchandise at reduced prices. For international tourists shopping in Phalaborwa is like heaven on earth as the exchange rate for many countries is skewed in favour of the international tourist. There are also street vendors selling unique products for someone who would like to take souvenirs back home.

Loxodonta africana (the african elephant) in the Kruger National Park near Phalaborwa South Africa.

However, domestic and international tourists agree that the town of Phalaborwa offers the best place to stay just before entering the Kruger National Park as it is situated a mere five minutes’ drive from the entrance to the Kruger National Park, the only town in the whole of South Africa that is situated so close to the world renowned wild life sanctuary.

Family rondavels at Letaba Rest Camp, Kruger National Park, near Phalaborwa, South Africa.

The people of Phalaborwa are well-known for their rich culture and rare ability to prepare unique dishes of food. At night, when you need to dine, Phalaborwa offers a variety of restaurants serving uniquely South African dishes as well as those dishes that will be familiar to international guests. To arrange for dinner, please enquire at your hotel or guest house reception for the best restaurant for the type of food that you need.

In this article we feature the Beverly Hills Guest Lodge in Phalaborwa.

The Beverly Hills Guest Lodge, Phalaborwa.

We spoke to the lodge manager, Violet, who agreed to share the following information with our readers:

Sleeps 36  Type: Lodge  Check-in: 2:00 PM  Check-out: 11:00 AM Location: Phalaborwa, 5 minutes’ drive from the Phalaborwa Gate to the Kruger National Park.

The Beverly Hills Guest Lodge is situated 1 km or 5 minutes away from the famous Kruger National Park. You can relax around a beautiful subtropical pool area, and enjoy the hospitality of the staff as they organize your game drives, hikes and tours to make your stay even more exciting.
In the evenings allow the lodge to pamper you to drinks in our cocktail bar followed by a delectable 3 course dinner.
Our 16 rooms, ranging from twins, queens and suites, all have shower en-suite with mini-bars, free wifi, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities.

Comfortable queen rooms sleeps two guests.


Our cocktail bar is open for your enjoyment. The swimming pool is for the exclusive use of guests. Our lounge, which overlooks an expanse of parkland, is open all day.
The Beverly Hills will be glad to assist you with arranging car rental, game drives, river safaris etc. It is just 1 minute away from the Phalaborwa Airport.
Packed picnic baskets are available by prior arrangement, to make your day in the park more enjoyable, for those guests who choose to use their own vehicles to tour the Park.

Game Drives into the Kruger National Park.

For your dinner after a long day, you may also book a bush braai, which is a uniquely South African experience at ZAR350.00 per person. Accommodation at the Beverly Hills is charged at ZAR495.00 per person sharing bed and breakfast. To book your accommodation, bush braai, game drives etc, please contact Violet at +27 63 288 3697 or +27 15 781 7391 or send an email to info@thebeverlyhills.co.za or book through Mananga Safaris to claim a 15% discount on your accommodation at thete-at@nix.co.za or +27 79 581 1841.

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MEC Panyaza Lesufi Does not Want University to Teach in Official Indigenous Language.

While the country is celebrating indigenous languages on Heritage Day, Gauteng Education MEC, Mr Panyaza Lesufi, is opposed to the establishment of a new university that will teach in Afrikaans, one of the official and indigenous languages of the Republic of South Africa. His reasons for the serious objection are not very clear but it seems that around 1988 while he was still at high school, he was involved in school protests, was arrested and detained at Modderbee prison, and upon his release, a letter was written to his school in Afrikaans instructing the school to expel him. He was assisted by the late Rev Beyers Naude to gain admission at another school and a scholarship was organised for him. He completed his high school studies and proceeded to study at the University of the North and the University of Natal for his tertiary education.

That is how his hatred for Afrikaans was born. Although one would sympathise with what he experienced being arrested as a youth and being expelled from school, it is difficult to see why he would make it his personal mission to fight Afrikaans as a language. Afrikaans is the third most spoken language in South Africa after Isizulu and Isixhosa. It is a home language for a majority of the white population of South Africa and nearly all the coloured people. It is a medium of instruction at a number of primary and secondary schools and is now spoken by a sizable number of black South Africans. And yet the MEC appears to be oblivious to these facts and cannot comprehend how anyone in modern day South Africa would regard Afrikaans as his/her mother tongue.

That an MEC for education is opposed to the establishment of a university, when there is an accute shortage of places for high school graduates at tertiary institutions, particularly universities, is even more sinister. The trade union, Solidarity, is doing the fund raising itself, does not rely on government funding either to build or to run the university. This is a first in South Africa that a trade union would show such interest in the education of the children of its members. Instead of opposing them on petty political grounds, the MEC should have been applauding them and using them as an example for other bigger trade unions to follow.

If the University was going to teach in English, would MEC Lesufi not have any objection? If he would not have any objection, is he saying that English speaking children are more special than Afrikaans speaking children? If yes, on what basis?

If the MEC believes that English speaking children will have no opportunity to enter tertiary institutions because of this one Afrikaans university, then he should explain the basis for his belief when there are 20 public universities and 6 universities of technology, many tvet colleges and private universities and colleges in South Africa. All of them offering courses in English. The MEC is only concerned about this one university because it has stated that it will offer classes in Afrikaans. The children who will be attending this university or college are Afrikaans speaking. The MEC feels that it is wrong for them to speak Afrikaans in the new South Africa. He wants to force them to speak English, or if they can’t, then they should forget about tertiary education. Thirty years ago, during the apartheid years, the MEC was offered an opportunity to study at a university in English, by people who occupied the position that he is occupying today. Today, he wants Afrikaans speaking children to be deprived of that opportunity and be doomed to life in the streets.

The fact that Solidarity has decided to build a university shows their level of maturity as a trade union. Their members should be both English and Afrikaans, but they decided that their university should offer courses in Afrikaans. Shouldn’t they have the right to make that choice? After all, the one who pays the piper chooses the tune. Eventually, when they or anyone else, including the MEC, identifies the need for a university in another South African language, then , funds permitting, the university shall be built. The Minister of Higher Education has even said that the institution cannot be called a university because it may not meet certain requirements for accreditation as a university, but rather as a private college. You cannot develop your children by oppressing your neighbour’s children. The MEC should encourage private initiative rather than to pull it down.

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Former Johannesburg State Attorney, Webster Sekwati, is buried at Mohlaletsi in Sekhukhune Land, Limpopo Province.

Former Johannesburg State Attorney, Tswaledi Webster Sekwati, was laid to rest at Mohlaletsi village in Sekhukhune land on Saturday, 14 September 2019. It was an emotional ceremony as speaker after speaker described how the former state lawyer had touched the lives of many who came into contact with him. The funeral service was attended by dignitaries from all over the country including his long-time friend, former minister of Justice and Correctinal Service, Adv Michael Masutha, his colleagues from the office of the State Attorney and Acting King KK Sekhukhune of the Bapedi kingdom.

Barney Barnato, the university residence where Mr Sekwati stayed as a student at Wits Law School

Mr Sekwati was killed by a minibus taxi in downtown Johannesburg on 09 September 2019 while crossing Pritchard street from his office to the South Gauteng High Court to attend to a case that was due to be heard that morning. According to Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesman, Wayne Minnaar, the driver of the taxi was taken in for questioning and would be charged with culpable homicide.

Mr Sekwati was addressed by many of the speakers at the ceremony by his clan name, Dimo ‘a Hlabirwa, signifying his royal ancestry. King Sekwati, (1775-1861) is the father of King Sekhukhune 1 (Matsebe Sekhukhune:1814-1882), who succesfully defended the Bapedi Kingdom against the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (the ZAR) and the British in the second half of the 1800s. He managed to do so because he was able to buy weapons from the Portuguese in Delagoa Bay using earnings brought home by young pedi men from the diamond fields in Kimberley.

Mr Sekwati (in white shirt) at a student canteen, University of the Witwatersrand, circa 1990.

The Bapedi have been locked in a dispute for the control of the kingdom between acting King KK Sekhukhune and his half brother, Rhyne Thulare since 1976. Rhyne died in 2006 before the dispute could be resolved. His son, Thulare Victor Thulare, inherited the disputed leadership from Rhyne and the dispute continues between Thulare Victor Thulare, also known as Sekhukhune 111 and his uncle Kgasudi Kenneth Sekhukhune. The High Court in Pretoria has decided that Thulare was the rightful king of the Bapedi, a decision against which KK has appealed.

Oliver Schreiner School of Law Building, Wits University

Sekwati was partially blind but despite his disability, he completed his Matric at Siloe School for the Blind in 1985 and enrolled for a B Iuris degree at the University of the North outside the then Pietersburg in 1986. He completed this degree in record time in 1989 and registered for an LLB degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1990 completing it in 1991. He went on to serve his articles of clerkship at the Legal Resources Centre in Johannesburg from 1992 to 1993. He was admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa early in 1994.

Law Clinic, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand

He first practised for his own account under the name and style of TW Sekwati Attorneys in Johannesburg.  Later on, he joined the State Attorney in Johannesburg.  He worked for a few years there and then moved to Pretoria to become advisor to the then Minister of Justice and Correctional Service, Adv Michael Masutha.  He returned to the State Attorney in 2017 where he was working at the time of his untimely death.

The German class at the University of the North, 1987, Mr Sekwati is on the far right.

While at the University of the North, he studied German as a language and was a fond German speaker.  He often preferred to be called by his German nickname, Herr Grossman. I met him in Braamfontein on a Thursday afternoon about four days before he died. Although he was in a happy mood, he was very much concerned about his life and worried that the speeding vehicles are going to kill him.  We spent sometimes that evening at the Saratosa Spur Restaurant in Braamfontein. He mentioned that in February of 2020, he would have been in Johannesburg for 30 years. He said that he did not want his friends to die before him as he did not want to be left alone with unpleasant characters. Later that evening   he took an Uber taxi to his home in Struben’s valley in Roodepoort.  He called to confirm that he arrived safely. He called again on the Friday morning at 7am and said that he was already at work. The last call he made was at 9pm that evening to confirm that we were travelling very well to Phalaborwa.  That was the last time I heard from him as on Monday morning news began to spread that he was killed by a speeding taxi in front of the Johannesburg High Court.

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Are the Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies Hurting Farmers in the US?

It is harvest time across the US. Fruits and vegetables are ripe on the fields ready for picking, packaging and distribution throughout the length and breadth of the land. And some destined for the export market. The agricultural industry in the US accounts for approximately $170 billion to the gross domestic product per annum. However, that contribution to the GDP may be under threat as US immigration laws are tightened under the Trump administration.

US farmers depend on migrants, for a large percentage of their 2.4 million farm labor force, particularly, migrant workers from Mexico. It is estimated that up to 50% of these workers are undocumented and cannot work legally in the US. That is what the Trump administration is trying to stamp out. It is clamping down on illegal immigrants. The stated purpose is to preserve US jobs for US citizens. However, few US citizens are prepared to do the back breaking jobs required on the farms. They have many other easier options available to them.

The number of farm workers has been gradually declining in recent years. States like California, Arizona, New Mexico,Texas and Alabama have been the hardest hit. In the past five years 40% of farmers have not been able to get all their labor requirements for the year in California. The situation is not better in the other states. Farmers in the citrus, grape, berries, sweet potato and other products are on the receiving end of this labor shortage. Wages in the agricultural sector have also improved in recent years. As a result of these farmers are resorting more and more to machinisation to try and alleviate the labor shortage problem.

Many immigrant farm workers are now returning to their countries of origin as they find US immigration laws to be difficult to contend with particularly as border patrols are strengthened and in some cases resulting in separation of families. The H-2A visa introduced by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 is intended to allow farmers to apply for a specific number of temporary or seasonal workers to supplement their seasonal labor requirements throughout the year and may be granted up to a full year. Farmers are feeling the pinch of increased border patrols as the number of migrant workers decline and their crops are left unharvested and rotting on the fields resulting in huge losses. It is predicted that if the trend continues, the US might increasingly be forced to supplement its food requirements via imports, despite the fact that agricultural land is availlable but cannot produce enough due to shortage of labor.

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Is this a freak accident? The bus is reversing on its own. The oncoming traffic has no way of avoiding a crash. See the pictures on the link.

This is definitely what you would call gross negligence. Look at the damage caused. Proper training with regards to safety rules is essential to avoid these kind of accidents. Thanks City of Johannesburg for sharing this.