Photos: #Feesmustfall protest in Cape Town

Protest 10Student protests against university fee increases intensified across the country yesterday. In Cape Town, hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside parliament where Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was delivering his mini budget speech. Protesters are demanding that the planned fee increases for 2016 be scrapped, and have rejected a deal struck between Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and university vice chancellors on Tuesday that would see fee increases for 2016 capped at 6%.

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Longboard skating on Table Mountain

I have a friend I used to ride the Colorado skate parks with who always said “longboards are the wrong boards.” After eating some tarmac last year while trying out a friend’s board I wholeheartedly agreed with him and vowed to keep riding my street board only.

Here’s me eating it:

But this year I decided to give longboarding a second chance and bought a new set-up. I’ve been cruising with my good friend Shaun and we’ve been finding some magic up on Table Mountain. I made a short film about our endeavours. No face plants this time.

Offsets to Cushion South African Carbon Tax

CAPE TOWN, May 28 2014 (IPS) – To curb greenhouse gas emissions, South Africa wants to put a tax on carbon emissions from big polluters.

The aim of making polluters pay for the carbon they pump into the atmosphere is to help South Africa, the world’s 12th highest emitter of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, transition to a low-carbon economy.

“We have one of the most carbon intensive economies in the world,” Anton Cartwright, a researcher on the green economy at the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities, told IPS.

Coal-burning power plants provide close to ninety percent of South Africa’s electricity, making the economy highly carbon intensive.

“We don’t get a great bang for buck on our coal,” said Cartwright. “We use a low-grade coal with a very high CO2 content.”

The tax was slated to take effect in 2015 but in February this year National Treasury announced it would be pushed back to January 2016, citing the need for “further consultation.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AND INFOGRAPHIC AT IPS.

Jozi

ImageGrowing up in Cape Town I seldom heard a good word about Joburg. The city was commonly denigrated for not having a coastline and for being a hotbed for hijacking, murder and robbery.

But lately I’ve also heard good things. Particularly, how welcoming people are, unlike the insular Cape Town set.

At times I’ve flitted with moving to Joburg and trying to seek my fortune among the rest of the people hustling in the city space. Through work and travel I’ve become increasingly attracted to world cities and the urge to know Joburg has grown ever stronger.

Today was the fourth of a five-day trip to the city of gold. A break from Cape Town, a chance to watch Bruce Springsteen rocking the FNB stadium, and a chance to explore the city spaces. Newtown, Braamfontein and the rest. It was also an opportunity to get robbed.

I pulled up to a red light in Newtown at about noon, window rolled halfway down, driving alone, on my way back from Museum Africa. Out the corner of my eye I saw two guys at the window. “I don’t want to hurt you,” said one. “But give it.”

The second guy was standing right behind him. I’m still not sure if they were holding weapons. Could have been since the guy in front seemed to be holding something under his shirt. Automatically, I reached for my wallet and handed it to them. That wasn’t enough. They also wanted my phone, which I handed over, meek as a lamb.

After parting with my valuables I pulled off, and immediately began beating myself up for not checking to see if they had weapons, and for not just dropping the car into first and pulling away before they could rob me. I could have been a lot tougher about the whole thing. Not an easy victim.

The rest of the day was consumed by an unmemorable wash of admin: cancelling bankcards, getting my sim card blocked, changing passwords for email and twitter.

Jozi screwed me today. Part of me wants to write the city off and not give it another chance. But that would be shortsighted. I have the feeling I’ll be back, hopefully a little more streetwise. And since I met someone minutes after he’d been stabbed during a mugging on the path up to the car park from Sandy Bay in Cape Town last Wednesday, I can’t say I feel much safer in the mother city either.

Water Debt and Leaks Plague City Residents

Bulana_home_IPSCape Town water activist Nokuzola Bulana says water management devices are not the way to solve water waste and debt for the poor. Credit: Brendon Bosworth/IPS.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, May 23 2013 (IPS) – Nokuzola Bulana has a problem with leaks. The water that drips from the pipes of the toilet outside her home in Khayelitsha, a large semi-informal township on the fringes of Cape Town, South Africa goes to waste and drives up her water bill.

Bulana, a water activist, says she fixed the leaks in January but water on the floor at the base of the toilet, which is inside a stall painted with pink, yellow and purple stripes, and pooled on the ground outside the stall, shows that seepages persist.

In March, her eight-person home used over seven times the amount of water the city of Cape Town gives indigent households for free in a month. Bulana blames the leaks for this.

“We don’t mind to pay for the water we drink or cook with but now the water goes down the drain,” Bulana tells IPS when interviewed at her home. “I love the environment. I want to look after the water.”

Bulana is one of many South Africans whose wasted water contributes to the country’s yearly loss of more than a third of its water – a shortfall driven chiefly by leaks, according to a 2012 report from the South African Water Research Commission. These losses cost municipalities more than 731 million dollars annually and drive poor citizens into debt they often cannot afford to pay.

South Africa is also the 30th driest country in the world and could hit water shortages as early as 2025. It can scarcely afford to squander this resource.

Read the rest of my story at Inter Press Service.

Moonlight Mass

I don’t usually attend mass. But last night I joined cyclists and skateboarders from Cape Town for moonlight mass, which involves spinning slowly from Green Point through Moullie Point and back into town. The full moon gave us light and the motorists gave us their patience. Here are some pics I took while freewheeling through an easy evening.

Group

Legs and bikes

 

Balloon

Bike in church