Posts Tagged ‘nelson mandela

21
Feb
11

The Tiger Hits The U2 Concert, Has The Time Of His Life

I wouldn’t call myself the world’s biggest U2 fan, so it’s safe to say I went in there with pretty much zero expectations and had my mind blown in every conceivable way.

 

 

J-Rab and I hit the Cape Town stadium at about 4.30 to beat the (non-existent) traffic and make sure we got into the VIP lounge that Nokia very kindly provided us with tickets for. Problem was the lounge only opened at 6pm so we bought a couple of beers and killed a bit of time wandering around the stadium and checking out THE CLAW.

 

 

THE CLAW has gotten a shiteload of press over the last two weeks and for good reason. It’s possibly the single coolest staging rig I’ve ever seen. It’s colossal and looks like it could get up and start walking like some giant killer spider-robot, blasting the audience with intense death rays at any minute.

We got a lot of pics of it before it was all lit up, much to the dismay of one of the security guards we had a chat with who was like, “You’re not allowed to take pictures.”

“What?” I said, “We’re allowed to take pictures?”

“No,” he replied, “not allowed.”

“Ok,” I said, and took some pictures. He smiled at me, I smiled back. What a rad guy.

Once they opened the VIP lounge, I was so excited I bounded in there and immediately ordered two suitcases (what?! They didn’t have any tequila ok?) and a couple more beers. Nokia really pulled out all the stops – for the next two hours I was like a kid at Christmas, munching all manner of froo-froo finger ding-a-lings, taking goofy pictures with J-Rab and drinking suitcases like there was no tomorrow.

 

 

At 8 they closed the VIP lounge and we headed upstairs to catch some of the Springbok Nude Girls set, which would have been a lot better if the sound was sorted out. As it was, it sounded a little like the guys were playing underwater which is apparently an old trick that’s been used for years in the industry – the headline act gets the killer sound and the supporting guys play through amplifiers made of rusty tin cans.

After the Nudies finished up, J-Rab and I went in search of some more free drinks and were immediately drawn, like moths to a flame, to this mesmerising green light that was glowing at the Heineken VIP bar.

“What do you think that is?” J-Rab asked in awe.

“I dunno…” I replied, “but Jeannie D’s in there so it must be important.”

“Go see if you can get us some free drinks.”

“Roger that.”

I approached the security guy at the entrance with the kind of total confidence only 7 suitcases can give you and proceeded to walk straight past him.

He gripped my arm like a vice.

“Where’s your wristband?”

“Right here brother,” I said, proudly displaying my white Nokia lounge VIP wristband.

“That’s the wrong colour,” he said, sternly.

“What! I’m the wrong colour?! What the hell is this, the Apartheid Bar?”

“Your WRISTBAND is the wrong colour.”

“What in God’s name are you talking about?”

“It’s white. It’s supposed to be black.”

“So it’s the REVERSE Apartheid Bar? Man, I can’t wait to blog about this unfair discrimination!”

“Please step aside sir, this is for people who were invited to the Heineken bar ONLY.”

“Cool. Whatever. I’m too white for this bar. It’s cool, I understand…”

As I was sulking off to tell J-Rab the bad news, I saw a MAJOR flaw in the security setup. White blocks.

 

 

They were at the perfect height for sitting on and then, when no one was looking, casually swinging your legs over onto the other side and then casually standing up and WAPOW! You were in the Heineken Reverse Apartheid Lounge.

The second both J-Rab and I had executed this security-defying manoeuvre we whipped out the camera and took about 15 pictures of ourselves pulling more goofy faces while we talked to each other in very snooty voices indeed because we were in the HEINEKEN LOUNGE BABY!

 

 

We swanned over to the bar to start klapping some more free drinks and very quickly froze in our tracks. The people here, they all had cards. Heineken cards! And these cards, you had to produce them to get the sauce – no card, no sauce. J-Rab and I hovered at the bar, furiously trying to think up some way to beat the system when who stepped in front of us? Liesl Van Der Westhuizen, that’s who!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, Liesl V, Schmiesl V, who cares. Well, I’m here to tell you that Liesl Van Der Westhuizen is a fucking cool person. The second her and her boyfriend stepped in front of us she turned around to apologise for cutting in front of us to which I calmly replied, “No sweat. We’re not even supposed to be here, we slipped past security to score some free drinks but apparently you need a green card or something…”

“Do you guys want some drinks?” she said, without even skipping a beat, “We’ll get you some!”

And that’s how we ended up drinking in the Heineken bar for free with Liesl V. Until security kicked us out. That was kinda embarrassing. But we met up with Liesl outside again and they got us a SECOND ROUND OF DRINKS!

What a lovely person, seriously. I don’t care what anyone says about her, Liesl is cool in my books. She helped a Tiger out so I’ll have no more Liesl-bashing on this site thank you very much. Um. Not that there ever was any to begin with, but yeah. Just so you know.

 

 

After that U2 took to the stage and THE CLAW came to life in a multitude of colours and images and flashing lights. Unfortunately by this stage J-Rab and I were about twelve sheets to the wind so it’s hard to recall the exact details of the concert, but I can confirm this much – U2 put on an INCREDIBLE show and no, I’m not just saying this because I was there and you weren’t.

About halfway through the set, J-Rab and I somehow managed to get into the outer golden circle to get some pics from the ground just in time for them to play “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “One” which, I’ll be honest, was an emotional moment for me. It’s my favourite U2 song of all time and hearing the guys play it live right there in front of us was intense.

 

 

Not sure if I was cool with all the Nelson Mandela / Desmond Tutu references and imagery that we were bombarded with and the snippets from interviews with both of them, I just think it’s a pretty obvious ploy to get the crowd all gooey with emotion (it worked like a bomb).

But I’ll let it slide because U2 have always been a political band and have actually done a lot of good in this world. Also, in all fairness, I don’t think I’ve ever watched a band play in this country and NOT mention Nelson Mandela or Desmond Tutu in some way so I’ll reserve judgement on this one.

It was a brilliant experience and an amazingly well-executed concert. Big up to Nokia for making it all possible, you guys spoiled us and we really appreciated every second of it, let’s be pals forever.

In closing, here’s a pic of THE CLAW in its full glory after a massive CONE of TV screens extended down towards the stage like it was going to tractor-beam the band into space.

 

 

Good times Winking smile

-ST

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05
Apr
10

The Nervousness Of Being White

You can play it down as much as you like, but there’s a kind of nervousness associated with being a white person in this country that goes through palpable peaks and troughs depending on the current social or political climate.

 

 

Generally though, I think we’ve learned to just let it be. There’s very little we can actually do to effect political change in this country except stand on the sidelines and shout the odds at no one, and so we go on with our lives and try to make the best of them because it’s easier to live in the moment than it is to live in fear of a future that may or may not come.

‘This country is going to the dogs’ is a sentence I’ve heard more times than I’d care to admit, and yet somehow this country hasn’t gone to the dogs.

The doomsayers have gotten egg on their faces more than once and it is for this reason that I generally steer away from South African politics and try to remain as positive as possible about the future of our beautiful country.

And yet, I couldn’t help but feel a fresh swell of anxiety when my aunt told me yesterday morning that Eugene Terreblanche had been murdered by his farm workers on the outskirts of Ventersdorp on Saturday evening.

 

 

The official story is that two of his labourers killed Terreblanche over a wage dispute and that his murder was not politically motivated, but try telling that to the right wing extremists that followed Terreblanche their whole lives and I’d wager you’ll be met with more than a healthy dose of skepticism.

The major problem here is that Terreblanche’s murder follows close on the heels of the charges laid against Julius Malema for leading students at the University of Johannesburg in singing the words, “Shoot the boere [farmers], they are rapists.”

At the time Malema sang those words, I admit I thought very little of them. To me, it was just another ploy on his part to get a few more front page headlines, something which he’s proven alarmingly good at.

But now that Terreblanche is dead, hacked to death by his farm workers, a very powerful message has been sent across South Africa, whether it was intended or not, and the repercussions of that message are what’s making me nervous.

More than anything, I hope this doesn’t escalate. We forget that there are still people that would give their lives for the AWB. They may have been under the woodwork for a long time, but they are still there, armed to the teeth and waiting for an excuse, any excuse, to fight for what they believe in.

 

 

It’s a tense situation though because if they don’t fight back in some way, what’s to stop Malema from spreading more hate speech and inciting another incident like this one?

I wish it hadn’t come to this. Sure, Terreblanche was a wretched bigot and was the cause of a lot of racial atrocities and tension in this country, but until now the most overriding public image most of ol’ ET was of him falling off his horse during a parade in Pretoria.

It was a seminal moment in his life because in it he was reduced from the feared and respected leader of one of the most extreme organisations this country has ever seen to a doddering old fart who couldn’t ride a horse if his life depended on it.

And that’s how he should have died, in his sleep, alone on his farm in the middle of nowhere and largely forgotten by the country he sought to control.

Instead, his violent death has instantly elevated him to the status of a martyr for a group of people who are the very worst examples of the old and bigoted mindset that caused this country untold damage in the past.

I strongly believe that South Africa has a rich abundance of intelligent and benevolent people who want nothing more than the very best for this country and everyone living in it, regardless of their colour or creed.

It is them, and not the Malemas of this world, who should be leading us, but they aren’t and who knows if they ever will.

At that same rally where Malema sang “shoot the boerre”, he also told students that Mandela had convinced blacks to forgive, but they should never forget what was done to them.

 

 

How sad it is to have the legacy of the greatest political figure this country has ever seen eroded by a careless individual whose words encourage everything Mandela has fought his whole life to prevent.

I don’t have all the answers, I wish I did, but I know one thing for sure, for as long as Malema is allowed to get away with inciting violent and hateful behaviour, we’re playing a political game of Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.

And the first casualty just fell.

-ST




A Word From The Kind Folks At Nokia

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