Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Fierce Epidemic
By Nicole Hodnett                             

Dominic Thorburn "Break the Silence" 
Silkscreen print 418 x 598mm
It happened as she laid wide awake at night.Thoughts souring in and out her conscience as she starts to tear up.If only her boyfriend loved her enough to tell her the truth about his status ,if only he loved her enough to use protectection

'If only'

Hiv/Aids has grown to be a fierce academic in the republic of South Africa and if the youth of today fails to be educated enough the future of this beautiful country will be in dire strait.

Statistics of Hiv/Aids are getting fierce, impulsive comments are being thrown at our youth, policemen are pulling the trigger without a second thought and corruption in government is ever so fierce. We ought to fear for the future of this beautiful country.

 It all stems from apartheid. Like the devil in disguise the mind-set of our forefathers still stays etched within the depths of our psyche. Reasons for so much corruption amongst South African citizens today stems from 1 thing, poverty.

Today’s democracy comes with severe responsibility, especially with the youth of today. More and more young people are getting hit with the stigma of Hiv/Aids.

Based on statistics, sample of 32,225 women attending 1,424 antenatal clinics across all nine provinces, the South African Department of Health study estimates that 30.2% of pregnant women (aged 15-49) were living with Hiv in 2010.

South Africa has one of the fastest expanding epidemics in the world.

In our real stories gallery (www.realstoriesgallery.com),an organisation endeavouring to educate society about the Hiv/Aids epidemic that has instated a partnership programme with Art for Humanity.

I spoke to Isabella Malgas, 81, who had a lot to say about the youth of today and during her time.

‘We couldn’t even kiss our boyfriends without going to confession first, everything today is tainted including the food’, she said.

Art for Humanity initiated the Break the Silence Hiv/Aids print in 2000 to instil a greater sense of social morality within the consciousness of our society.

A break the silence artist, Dominic Thorburn expresses the responsibility of halting the horrific Hiv/Aids pandemic and needs to be communally shouldered through emphatic, coordinated and unified national intervention.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Department of Colored Opportunity
By Nicole Hodnett

A man of 16 waits to complete his arithmetic exam for his apprenticeship. He has a heart of gold and the intelligence that had the potential to exceed boundaries. He has one thing in mind when completing it,

‘I am doing this for my family’

According to South African history, South Africa was colonized by the English and Dutch in the 17th century .English of the Dutch descendants (known as the Boers and Afrikaners) resulted in the Dutch establishing the new colonies of Orange Free and Transvaal.

With the enactment of Apartheid laws in 1948, racial discrimination was institutionalized. Race laws touched every aspect of social life, including a prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of ‘white jobs only’. In 1950, the Population act required that all South Africans be racially classified into one of four categories, black, white, Indian and coloured.

According to South African History, long before the inception of apartheid ‘Coloured ‘people in South Africa occupied this precarious position between white and black South Africans. This position was intensified during Apartheid by the creation of a separate identity, reinforced by the various apartheid laws that strived to keep racial groups apart. Some of these laws included the Mixed Marriages act, immorality act and the Group areas act.

As a journalist of the arts I get inspired by everything I witness whether its good or bad. I still take it as an experience and inspiration for my future articles. My inspiration for choosing to be a journalist was an inspiration from my parents and everything they went through to get to where they are today. Apartheid was a true struggle.

I spoke to that man that was once 16 years old as he sits in his home.

“If I lived in your age of generation, I would of definitely went to University, but coloured men were limited with what they wanted to study’, he said.

Back in the day opportunities were limited for the person of colour. Nowadays with Democracy in our grasp, the world is our oyster.

A man of 60 waits at his daughters PhD graduation at the University of Cape Town .He has a heart of Gold and the intelligence that he passed down to his children. Even though opportunity was restricted for him during apartheid he always had this in mind,

‘I am doing this for my family.

His name is Stanley Hodnett and He is my father. I love you daddy!!!



Alleged Defiance of the Unmoved Miners

By Sphe Masondo

Tomorrow a memorial service will be held for more than 46 dead mine workers of Lonmin platinum mine in Rustenburg.

An eyewitnesses account published in the Sunday Times dated  August 19th ,2012 highlights how 3000 miners ,who were defiant and “unmoved” had gathered at the koppie  which they had adopted as a gathering area demanding to see management “we want management to come talk to us ,’ thy demanded. Therefore the question is how did this demand urn into what has been labelled as the “bloodiest day in post –apartheid SA”? Which side to take whose action should be condoned and whose should be condemned?

According to an extract from the Sunday Times, the police had used all available alternatives before using live ammunition, in a section that reads “at 4 pm water cannons were used but this didn’t deter most workers. Then came the tear gas...then the first shots were heard.

On the frontline a large number of miners were walking and crouching along the pathway and moving from the koppie. This may have been a distraction, as a mob of workers, armed with rocks and bricks were seen heading towards the police –crouching low I the bushes like warriors in the middle of a war. It was then that the police opened fire-rubber bullets at first .then several shots of live ammunition were heard.

 Then for barely three minutes, all hell broke loose as what sounded like firecrackers that reverberated all around, with police firing their automatic weapons and pistols. When he dust settled blood soaked bodies lay on the ground”, these were dead mine workers who only wanted management to speak to them.

Looking at these circumstances its beyond obvious that people were robbed of rights and died fighting against an injustice. AFHs new project seeks to educate and promote human rights education in South Africa. It stated in its aims that: “in light of the many social injustices facing South Africa 15 years into our democracy” AFH seeks to embark on an Art and Poetry project whereby we wish to inspire all south Africans with a new realisation of the value and significance to us all of this very important document ‘the South African Bill of Rights.

Therefore believing that there is a way through art and poetry that we can unpack the social ills facing our south African society such as this of Lonmin mine workers who died whilst fighting social and economic problems which were leaving them in poverty through low salaries, deprivation which sets a struggle to the future wellbeing of all those the Bill of rights is meant to protect. South Africa has a young constitutional democracy that needs not only to be protected at all times but also needs to be continuously brought to the attention of all South Africans.

 The following observations illustrate the social, cultural and economic threats to our Bill of Rights.  South Africans comprise a divided society in terms of racial relations, economically between extreme poverty on the one hand and extreme wealth on the other. AFH bridges Human Rights and the Arts advocacy and educational objectives by making visible the ethical values as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through the visual arts and the creative articulation as in poetry.

Therefore without choosing sides lets tackle these issues head with all possible avenues if the politicians and society weak, let’s make art and poetry be the platform that we can use to communicate these flaws in order to make sure that our Bill of Rights does not become undermined by those in power.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Biblical Chapter
By Nicole Hodnett
I remember the story from Exodus. Where people in Egypt were enslaved, babies were killed and the cost of human dignity meant nothing to those in power.
According to an article by Ariela Pelaia, it happened at the end of the biblical book of Genesis. Joseph brings his family to Egypt. Over the following centuries, the descendants of Joseph’s family (the Hebrews) became so numerous that when a new king comes into power he fears what might happen if the Hebrew decides to rise against the Egyptians. He decides that the best way is to enslave them (exodus 1).According to tradition, these enslaved Hebrew people are the ancestors of the modern day Jews.
According to The Abolition project, slavery refers to a condition in which individuals are owned by others, who control where they live, work and do in their daily lives.
To be a slave is to be owned by another person. A slave is a human being classed as property and who is forced to work for nothing.
Although slavery nowadays is illegal in every country, it still exists according to BBC-ethics guide. There are likely more slaves now than there were victims of the Atlantic slave trade.
The last country to abolish slavery was the African state of Mauritania, where a 1981 presidential decree abolished the practice; however, criminal laws were passed to enforce the ban.
According to South African history, many South Africans are the descendants of slaves brought to the Cape Colony from 1653 until 1822.
It is a popular misconception that slavery in South Africa was mild compared to America and the European colonies in the Far East. This was not so, and punishments meted out could be very harsh.
The Universal declaration of Human rights state all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. These are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Permanent Stain

 By Nicole Hodnett

Deep within the depths of our human psyche, apartheid still stays etched within us. No matter how much we strive to look pass our differences; there is some narrow person that stays stuck back in that horrid time.

Apartheid was a system of legal racial separation which dominated the Republic of South Africa from 1948 until 1993.According to Wise Geek, mechanisms of apartheid were set in way before 1948, and South Africa continues to deal with the repercussions .Under Apartheid various races were separated into different regions.

According to an article by Heidi Burgess, stereotypes are generalizations or assumptions that people make about the characteristics of all members of a group based on an image(often wrong)about what  people in that group are like.

The other day I had an interesting conversation with my 81 year old grandmother about the stereotypes back in the day.

‘The old government was preferable to the new one as I feel the rife corruption in the midst of today’s people”, she said.

Will the after effects of Apartheid ever leave us? It seems like we will forever have to hide, run away from the fact that God made us in His own beautiful image and likeness. If the “white” man was superior, God would have made the entire world “white”.

After 1994 when South Africa turned Democratic, people had the freedom to explore the barrier of mixing with other race groups resulting in interracial relationships and marriages.

According to an article by Nadia Kareem, it’s also important to examine your motives for entering such a union.

According to a dictionary meaning, the meaning of tainted is to affect with decay or spoil.

I work for a Human Rights organisation. Art for Humanity stands for all things democratic; we touch base on what affects us in this ‘ever tainted” society.

Dialogue Artist-Kim Berman
I think of Kim Berman in her Art in the Dialogue project and how she shows a representation of what racism is all about.

We break silences on what couldn’t be broken back in the old days of Apartheid when our forefathers would get locked up in their fight for freedom of expression.

It started in the first grade when my teacher called me to the front of the class for news week.

"I would cringe".

 My name is Nicole Bernadette Hodnett and I am quiet. Many establish that through my inability to communicate at times. Whenever people get together I do my best to escape the situation, it used to be very overwhelming for me. I always stood in the shadows of my outspoken sisters. I am the youngest of five and today I describe myself as an outspoken and very irritating person at the best of times. My grade one teacher often describes me as a late bloomer in life.

Nicole Hodnett

It is believed by humankind that we are put on this Earth for a purpose and our purpose alone we shall serve. When we were born our parents looked at us through fresh eyes unaware of the future that awaits us being it good or murderous.

It all started in that legendary Garden of Eden where Adam given strict instructions by God not to touch the forbidden fruit, still went ahead defiant and ate that apple and influencing Eve to taste it too.

 It symbolises that yesterday, today and tomorrow will be forever tainted by influence.

Back in the day apartheid separated the different races and put us according to category. We got arrested when associated with a colour higher than us.

These days we meant to be free, have the ability to allow the apartheid era to leave us.

Last year I attended my oldest sister’s graduation. I felt proud of her and planned to focus all my holiday bonding with such a great mind like her. She always taught to see out my box and explore the world with an open mind.

An aunt of mine, my sister Godmother came to my father and started making all kinds of accusations about my relationship. I was told to leave him immediately or I will embarrass my family.

Is this all through colour? Is our South Africa still so caught up on racism?

It’s been two years on and we still very much together. It pains me that I could never have an open relationship with my mother when it comes to the person I have chosen to be within my years of study I was taught to be non-biased when it comes to judging a situation. I thank God I don’t see colour when it comes to other people. God made us in his own image and likeness, once we appreciate the beauty of humanity is the day apartheid will truly leave us.

Nelson Mandela

Through the conquering of my curves in life I aspire to be a journalist that inspires and changes the lives of people with my words. I thank my mother for teaching me the values of being careful in this world and my aunt helping me to develop a thick skin when it comes to criticism. I am glamorous through my drive to be different and that’s the best thing in life a person could ever be.

I look up to Nelson Mandela for his fight against the struggles of Apartheid and showing people that we have the potential as a rainbow nation.

 I feel it the duty of our ancestors not to pass the ills of the past to the generation where we are supposed to be born free.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The View

By Sphe Masondo and Nicole Hodnett

Nabeelah Shiek
I have always been shot down for realising thoughts I felt strongly about from the brain my mother so carefully formed. If there were subjects I felt strongly about I was often taught to speak out, open my mouth.

Back in high school I was always branded as the quiet person who preferred keeping thoughts to herself. This is the main reason two teachers often tried getting the best of me since grade 7 till matric.

In journalism we are entitled to explore avenues that make us comfortable with Freedom of expression.

As a woman I always feel our entitlement to speak out when we feel dissatisfaction about a specific topic that affects society.

Women in society contribute to humanity and the increase of humankind, without women as bearers to humanity; we will not have leaders, presidents or teachers.

Nomvelo Bhengu
Art for Humanity gives platforms to matters necessary to society, art is life, and without art in the world life is lifeless.

We celebrate international women’s day that has been observed since the early 1900s.A time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

A woman has given birth to leaders, presidents and C.E.Os.

 “Nowadays women and black women in particular are still economically disadvantaged and make up a disproportionate section of the unemployed and tend to occupy more of the lower paid jobs as domestic and farm labourers”.
Chelsea Pietrse
Nasiphi and Sasa

The written scenario may have changed a bit lately and recently we celebrated women’s day her in South Africa and we can be proud of women such as Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who chairs the African Union a true symbol of change but is what being written in section 9 of the constitution really taking place everywhere in our society.

 Section 9 on equality reads “The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth." The prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of gender, sex, pregnancy and marital status is clearly intended to protect women.

 The grounds "sex", which is a biological feature, and "gender", a social artefact, is both included - perhaps unnecessarily. But the result is that this section leaves no doubt that no unfair discrimination based on any feature of being a woman will be tolerated.

I spoke to a women who is an inspiration to hear her view on women’s day and its importance today on which she highlight a few  important facts such as that “women’s day is “incredibly important” besides being just a national day where we look at the achievements of the past but it’s should also and is a day of reflection “reflect on millions of other women  who’s realities are unchanged due to abuse, sexual assault and still remain victims of hate crimes”, so the day should really be a day for a reality check on the social issues facing women.

Her name is Rene Smith who works as Head of Department in journalism at Durban University of Technology. She gave her view on what the values of womanhood mean to her.

“We ought to reflect on other women and realities that are unchanged in the world. We shouldn’t only focus on 1 day, the 9th of August is commemorated of what women achieved”, she said.

This view is supported by the many other people interviewed who had this to say about women’s day.

A first year student, Chelsea Pietrse gave her view on what the value of women means to her.

“It shows appreciation of women and I’m glad it’s being taken seriously then previously and it helps us as young ladies to appreciate the role of those who suffered for our freedom as women, she said.

Rene Smith
 "It should be celebrated as it helps us especially young black girls feel that as we grow we are also appreciated because we are seeing our mothers and other women being appreciated", said Nomvelo bhengu

Nasiphi and Sasa, Durban University of Technology students stated” it’s good that women are celebrated, it shows that we haven’t forgotten about the sacrifices of women of the past to name some, Helen Joseph and Lillian Ngoyi”

“Women play a significant role in society and the presence of women’s month and women’s day promotes the role that women play in society”, says Nabeelah Shiek, a second year journalism student.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Proud Endorser

by Sphe Masondo

Art for humanity as an organisation that deals with artistic freedom and artistic expression through art and advocates for human rights issues in South Africa and internationally celebrates and salutes leaders and endorsers such as Kofi Annan who serve with interests of human rights.

Kofi Annan’s support and endorsement is noted greatly on the Universal Declaration of human Rights International Print Portfolio where Annan and Dalai Lama applaud the work done by artists in an attempt to promote Human rights. I quote Kofi Annan when he writes “we pay tribute to the minds of those who conceived of these human rights and to the memory of those who died for them” therefore he carries on by writing,

I applaud this effort to bring all "The Articles of The Declaration to life in graphic form". For this anniversary is a time for all of us who enjoy human rights to imagine life without them-and how hard we would fight to retain them. It is a time for those who are still denied their human rights to dream again of asserting them, and to know that their dream is our dream-the dream of human rights for all.”

Human Rights play an important role in society in any form that it’s practiced section 16 0f the South African Constitution states that: freedom of artistic creativity

I highlight C-freedom of artistic creativity, because today I celebrate on of the elders who support the work done by Art for Humanity, Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Aged 33

By Nicole Hodnett

In light of Women’s Day coming up I met up with one of South Africa’s most inspiring women who took time out of her busy schedule to speak to me about her life.

Her name is Sandra Malgas and she is 48 years old and serves as an Insurance Administrator .She has travelled 12 countries in her lifetime and describes what the value of a women mean to her,

“Women are the creators next to God and they are the backbone of humanity”

She started travelling in August 1997.And at the age of 33 she has the honour of visiting the Holy land.

“I see this as an honour as 33 is the age Jesus walked those exact same lands,’ she said. Her dream in life was to sit at the side of the pool, sipping cocktails and distressing.

She is a member of couples for Christ which is a family based ministry in the Catholic Church .Their aim is by trying to renew the face of the earth.

She believes that Catholics in the Media are often portrayed in a negative life and even when something good does come out, people try tainting it.

Her next destinations were Jerusalem and Galilee. She describes it as a beautiful vision in history and real life. She felt goose bumps the minute the plane landed on what is described as Holy soil.

“This is the place where the passion was relived and it felt very emotional doing the way of the cross, also known as (via-dolorosa) leading up to Calvary.

She describes it as a very highly religious Arab, Christian and Muslim with 1% Christian.

Her next destination was Egypt where she describes women who still dress in their cultural clothing especially in the Muslim community.

“The pyramids are what fascinated me the most, it was too much to comprehend”, she said. She describes Egypt as the ancient old wonder of the world at the centre of modernisation and holds so much sentiment and attraction.

Back in biblical times we remember the story of Moses and the freeing of people from Egypt.

As a Catholic woman she describes the Jordan River, baptism of Jesus, as a very emotional experience especially when she place her feet in it.

“It is symbolised as the cleansing of original sin “she said.

In light of women’s month we honour ordinary women that do extraordinary things.

There will be a follow up on the rest of her travels, stay tuned!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

“You must not lose faith in humanity”

By Sphe Masondo

These are the words of Mahatma Gandhi in which he continues by adding that “humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty”.

The beginning of women’s month this year started with a conference held at Durban University of Technology called the “Roots to Fruits” conference at which activists and organisations gathered and engaged on way and issues dealing with non-violence.
In this month the relevance of the words of Mahatma Ghandi and humanity are of great importance as we need not to give up on our humanity and those who still practice violence towards others whether physical or verbal.

 Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas are praised for not being ideal for a certain group but rather universal and the universal application of his ideas and principles can find ways of dealing with conflicts that lead to violence and abuse that we see and fight against women and child abuse.

 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi 
Art for Humanity supports and gives platforms for artists and poets to support such initiatives and is in ties with organisations such as (ICON) international Centre of Non-Violence and the Gandhi Development Trust in carrying the vision even beyond this month of August in saying that “non-violence doesn’t mean we won’t have conflict, but we can have understanding”.

May the universal application of ideas and concepts of Mahatma Gandhi help us in dealing with some of humanities current ills and may we not loose faith.

An Incestuous Reality

By Nicole Hodnett
Ebina TATSUO, 
Yutaka HIROSE, Artist Assistant, Japan
59.5cm X 42cm

Little patter of feet scuttle across the way, she has light brown hair and mesmerising matching brown eyes. She has lipstick in her hand and scribbles across the wall. Tumultuous joy seized the eyes of her mother as she stretched out her arms to welcome her loving little daughter and laughter etched across the room as she sees the message,

“I love you mommy”

Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment of a child or children. According to News24, one child is raped in South Africa every 3 minutes.

According to a report compiled by Solidarity Helping Hand in 2009, there were about 60 cases of child rape in South Africa, every day; more than 88% of child rapes were never reported.

According to parent24, children are being raped, murdered and abused by those they should be able to trust the most, their families.

The crime statistics are those reported to the police, and don’t express the reality of the violence which occurs in thousands of households across South Africa each day.

According to an article written by Scott Dunlop, there are weekly stories of family murders, brutal rapes of children, kids being assaulted and killed, often by whom they trust the most, their families.

In latest reported the Baby Jayden case renews concern over rickets and child abuse allegations. According to The Guardian, concern is mounting about dangerously low levels of vitamin D in pregnant women and two hospital failures to identify rickets after the death of Jayden Wray who suffered from this disease.

They were accused of killing their son and then robbed of their new-born daughter. The couple were blamed for shaking their rickets stricken baby to death, relive their horrific ordeal.

Jayda Wray was taken by social workers from her mother, Chana, now 19, the minute she was born in October 2010 and at just 17months, only just returned.

Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving 6 million children. The United States have the worst record in the industrialized nation, losing five children everyday due to abuse related deaths.

Art for Humanity serves platform to the Women for Children campaign where poets and artists break silences on topic affecting open society today.

It is a fact that children are a blessing from the highest power. They are the mothers, fathers, Presidents and leaders of tomorrow, children are the future.

Little patter of feet scuttle across the way, she has light brown hair and mesmerising matching brown eyes. She has lipstick in her hand and scribbles across the wall. Anger seized the eyes of her mother as she stretched out her arms to reach for her belt as her loving little daughter waited in response, she beat her child to death before she looked at the message that said,

“I love you mommy”

Child abuse is a deathly reality.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Confidence of Eve

By Nicole Hodnett

Nhlanhla Xaba "AIDS Exodus"
Woodcut 412 x 595mm
When we wake up in the morning knowing all will go well, great or even fantastic. Confidence is the greatest asset we can possess that has the ability to move mountains; Confidence is strength from within the core of our mind, body and soul.

In early biblical times we remember Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. According to a dictionary reference, The Garden of Eden was defined as a biblical earthly paradise inhabited by the first man and women.

It was at the precise moment when Eve offered Adam a bite of the forbidden fruit that showed women as fruit bearers till the end of time.

According to an article written by Rene Wade, confidence is everything. If you don’t have unshakable confidence, then you’ll probably never live your dreams. A lack of confidence means you don’t offer much value as a woman. Confidence is knowing that you have high worth, as well as knowing you have value to add.

Confidence is having the strength and courage to say no in situations of torrid difficulty. It is also standing up for what is right when all forces are against you.

Art for Humanity gives platforms through artists and poets to express topics such as these.

Representation of The Garden of Eden
When we think of the poorest communities in Africa, we think of the Aids epidemic and lack of education. In a place where Education is not widely accessible and the culture of the male dominance still prevails .An unfair playground of the opposite sexes, where aids becomes a big game.

According to Article Alley, women of today are not women of yesterday, they are not just mothers but executives ,Prime Ministers and Presidents of nations.