The weekly pop sack: Paved with good intentions

Despite trying to hang on to holiday memories and maintain a view of the world through purple-tinted sunglasses, it’s disappointingly clear that the world is in serious need of some TLC. We are in need of those famous sprinklings of magic from #SaltBae himself. The Obamas are truly gone and Chrisette Michele endorsed Donald Trump in the face of anti-Trump demonstrations. We are missing a journalist and, naturally, acres and acres of land.

Somizi speaks out
First up, from a Sunday church service turned offensive, it’s a vote of no confidence for Grace Bible Church and homophobia everywhere. Choreographer, radio host and Idols SA judge Somizi Mhlongo stood up and walked out in the middle of a sermon, irked and repelled by the hateful remarks visiting church leader Bishop Dag Heward-Mills was making.

Somizi expressed his outrage on social media in an Instagram post, commenting on how the Ghanian bishop was drawing parallels between homosexuality and animals that were simplistic and problematic, but most of all violent and abusive. The debate ensued and stewed throughout Monday, and Somizi has received mixed reactions. Wouldn’t it be swell to read good news for once about churches not spraying poisonous insecticides in congregants’ faces, coercing and violating minors or spreading the kind of miseducation that cost Noluvo Swelindawo her life in the recent past?

Bring back the land
A revealing article by Khaya Sithole made its merriless way on to our timelines and into our inboxes last week. It became a topic of discussion turned cutting critique that picked at wounds and ended up in a huddle of fallists around a colleague’s desk, where we ranted under our breaths about how unlucky a thing it’s often been to be black.

In short, Sithole tells the story of how several black families were dispossessed from the land on which prestigious private school Hilton College is built. These families lived on the land long before Hilton arrived and took ownership in 1872. Back then, and especially after the 1913 Land Act, the original inhabitants of the land, as black people, were turned into labour tenants and for a long time were forced to work for free in order to stay on the land.

What’s scary is how slow and ineffective the ANC government’s land reform processes have been and how much the government has failed these families, most of which are slowly dying out. The article is one sordid, endless reality check on how colonial laws have not been dismantled when it comes to land ownership.

Shiraaz Mohamed
We are going into the third week since a group of armed men abducted South African photojournalist Shiraaz Mohamed in Syria while he was on a mission with aid group Gift of the Givers. The group says the reasons behind the abduction are unclear, but news came in on Monday that Mohamed might still be alive.

Brands and Stacey Dash behaving badly
Although the internet may seem like one big virtual party from the outside, it’s far from being your momma’s house. Especially if you’re an international brand like Puma.

It’s difficult to tell whether Puma South Africa’s Twitter account was hacked or not, because they certainly tweeted like they were invaded by Kanye West. The way things are going on public platforms these days, you simply never know.

Stacey Dash’s days with Fox News are over and her controversial claim to fame is fast fizzling out.

The former actress refuses to see colour and reckons Black History Month and BET are examples of double standards. She thought she’d make fun of transgender people in the process and is not sorry for her comments on air. Sadly, she will continue to tweet.

Trump is here
Anti-Trump fever gripped the divided nation of America as The Donald’s inauguration inched closer and closer like an ending of sorts. It appears, though, that all the protests and incisive #WomensMarch placards in the world couldn’t keep their new president away and winter at bay. That didn’t stop them from trying.

From Beyoncé and U2 to Steve Wonder and Sheryl Crow, every musician with a career took the moral high ground and snubbed offers to perform at Trump’s pageant.

Singer Chrisette Michele wasn’t going to be the one to turn down a job and she was the lone black voice performing at the inauguration, much to black America’s collective “WTF? What are you doing, girl?”

She joins the troubling list of celebrities who’ve appeared on our timelines pictured as besties with Trump.

On his first day in office, Trump pulled one hell of a throwback out of his hat of backward tricks. He signed an anti-abortion order and reinstated a ban on United States funds promoting abortion.

The cruel joke here is on those who believe that the new president of the US is pro-life by any stretch of the imagination.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

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Kuntha Ndimande
Guest Author

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