Human Rights Day In South Africa

Nelson Mandela‘s words… Hmm…

Today is human rights day in South Africa. The challenge of holidays is holding healthy tension between the rest / time off AND keeping their integrity.

For South Africa it is a day to remember the Sharpeville massacre where sixty nine people were killed as students protested an injustice of their day.

Injustices in different forms still exist. My thoughts today: what is the most effective way to pretest for significant change in our time.

We must see AND act.

Rihanna Has No Demands – Page 1 | Students’ Violence – Page 17

IMG_1089

The Saturday Star (12 October 2013) covered a number of incidents where students assaulted teachers.

While I applaud the Saturday Star for covering these stories, could the fact that it was put on page 17 be a reflection of how seriously we’re taking this as a country? On the front page, instead, is that Rihanna, who was due to have a show in Johannesburg the following day, was not making a “diva demands”.

While “RiRi’s news” for not making news is pertinent to some, “the news” has nothing on the future of South Africa, in the form of young people in the education system. Should it not bother us that violence on teachers, by their students deserves our attention more than a rockstar not making certain demands?

I like some of Rihanna’s music. And I am impressed that she wasn’t a pain for the concert organisers but I’m not convinced this was front-page material. I’ve got nothing against Rihanna, just questions about what should be priority and deserves more attention.

Perhaps I’m working off my journalism and publishing rules… In my mind (maybe that’s where the problem is) the stories about the violence in schools should be front page and Rihanna page 17.

IMG_1090

Oh, I have nothing against the Saturday Star, I’m just wondering if what they did is reflective of what we deem as important in South Africa. We could say, it was a Saturday publication and needed some entertainment in it. Should entertainment be priority when there’s a crisis to highlight?

Well, alongside Rihanna’s story is that residents take on the Guptas for flouting building regulations. It is right that the residents pursue what is right and fair as far as the law is concerned, but what is more important?

Then again, who is custodian of these priority standards I’m going on about? The custodian of priorities in terms of what gets priority in publications such as the Saturday Star must be the future of South Africa and her children’s future.

I’m no editor and know nothing about determining what should appear where and what story deserves which spot, I’m just trying to make sense of things…

Objective journalism is important for healthy nations. It is necessary in securing the future of nations, by being a conscience, a mirror to the nation. If the mirror is broken we don’t see ourselves as clearly as we should. This means we will value and act in ways that are irrelevant.

IMG_1091

Interventions are only as effective as understanding and acknowledging reality. Does burying a story about violence in schools under a rock star’s lack of demand suggest that we are burying things in favour of entertainment as a form of denial of the obvious reality?

I applaud the Saturday Star for covering what I found as disturbing in some of our schools. Without them and others, bringing this up we might not know.

I am a little bothered by this… My questions and reasoning may not be coherent but that is not what I’m after… This is how I process things and I’d love to have you as a part of a conversation I’ve had with others and myself.

Are our priorities amiss?