The weekly pop sack: It’s going to be a long four years

OPINION
There are no simple answers to some questions. Mostly there are no answers, in the often missed wisdom of Kanye West. Having recently chummed up with his new president, perhaps this is the kind of conversation the troubled rapper had with Donald Trump. How to suck at the hope bone of a nation. How to perplex a people with falsehoods and call them alternative facts. How, in 2017, a president is calling immigrants “illegal aliens” and forcing Mexico to foot the bill for a divisive barrier reminiscent of the Berlin Wall. How Sway?

Operation wipeout
Trump is doing the most. Frankly, he is doing everything wrong. Having only been in office for the past two weeks, the president of the United States (Potus) has enacted an exhaustive list of terms and conditions to wipe out the kind of people he doesn’t like and set them up for failure.

The most recent effort to raise our collective blood pressure — but mostly to infringe on the rights of his least faves, immigrants — Potus ordered a travel ban barring entrance to refugees from Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. Countries that are majority Muslim.

This has been only the tip of the iceberg. A lot went on behind the scenes of his inauguration. Since January 21, Trump has signed a number of unbelievable executive orders.

These include executive orders for homeland security to construct “border security and immigration enforcement improvements”, which includes the wall separating the US and Mexico, and to move ahead with the Dakota Access Pipeline across the Standing Rock Reservation. Construction of the latter came to a halt late last year after massive protests by various organisations, with even the US Army Corps of Engineers backing the protesters.

The White House website was dismantled and turned into something of a shrine to the first lady’s modelling career. Pages dedicated to climate change, civil rights, LGBTIs, immigration and healthcare were the babies thrown out with the bathwater, vanished from the site without a trace.

Never one to leave a tweet unturned, Trump continues to use the social media platform as most of us do — as a personal diary of whim — and not in the way one would expect from a statesperson.

I read another sharp placard from one of the many anti-Trump demonstrations and it read: “Don’t blame Trump, he is just delivering on his promises.”

The Sagas
The 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards were a hotbed of political commentary. Many of the actors who mounted the stage added their twopence about Trump. A moral sense hung on the words of everyone from Taraji P Henson and Kerry Washington to David Harbour. As a practising Muslim, it was Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali — after winning the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role — who gave some perspective on the travel ban.

As far as the actual awards go, the highlights were definitely Denzel Washington taking best male actor in a lead role and Viola Davis as best supporting actress, both for Fences. Outstanding performance by a cast in a theatrical motion picture went to Hidden Figures.

#BlackOutClifton
Last week, a flyer calling for the occupation of spaces of whiteness and exclusion in Cape Town made its rounds on social media. The event happened last weekend and was held together by political will. The organisers were something of a myth and, as such, some felt there was little direction. Some said the idea was for black people to disrupt white sensibilities simply by taking ownership of the space. The agenda would be determined by present, physical black bodies in the space rather than organised activities. Perhaps this is the start of many.

The Williams sisters
It was a spectacular weekend for tennis, with Serena Williams winning her 23rd Grand Slam title and seventh Australian Open singles title. But what made this particular match special was that she played in the final against her sister. And despite Serena being the favourite to win, Venus walked on to court holding a record of her own, as the oldest Australian Open finalist in the Open era. 

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

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Kuntha Ndimande
Guest Author
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