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Monthly Archives: August 2012

We are under constant surveillance…it scares me!

 
Few weeks ago I was rambling nearby Rondebosch streets, on the other side of the road there were technicians installing surveillance cameras (Replacing the old ones). It was not just any kind of Camera but it was the motion sensor cameras. I continued my excursion, went into the Jammie Shuttle (Bus) and I saw another camera inside the bus. From that instant, something snapped on my mind. Everything started to make sense.

Likewise, the inspection of the movie titled “Enemy of the state” which is one of my much-loved movies of all times has un-wrapped my eyes in a distinct manner. Likewise, my first Sociology lecture as an undergraduate came in to class and taught us the concept of the strange in a familiar. It is basically the idea that things are not what they seem to be thus, is it for that day onwards that I started to interpret the world in a dissimilar way in order to comprehend the social traits of life.

Call me paranoid or whatsoever, I have a sensation that we` are under constant surveillance. And yes it troubles me. In 1787, a utilitarian philosopher and theorist of British legal reform Jeremy Bentham proposed a model of Panopticon. A Panopticon is a model of a prison which was later used as an illustration by prestigious scholar Michel Foucault in his Theory of Surveillance. The Panopticon (“all-seeing”) functioned as a round-the-clock surveillance machine. Its design ensured that no prisoner could ever see the ‘inspector’ who conducted surveillance from the privileged central location within the radial configuration. The prisoner could never know when he was being surveilled — mental uncertainty that in it self would prove to be a crucial instrument of discipline.

A scholar such as Firmin DeBrabander (2012) shares the same sentiments and contends that our phones are subject to warrantless wiretaps. Our email and internet transactions leave a trail for some to follow. The police can access our GPS location data through our smart phones, also without a warrant. Retailers record our purchasing habits with painstaking detail. In addition, “Congress recently passed a bill that opens the gates to widespread use of surveillance drones on US soil” and this is done as a national security measure, they say.

I cannot tip my nose on the bus anymore because someone somewhere is watching us. Some of these security measures undermine our privacy. Subsequent entities we will hear or see are surveillance cameras on the rest rooms [my prediction-we are moving there soon]. The reason will always be the same “is for national security” all the time. Their installing these things everywhere yet the crime rate skies up. What are they really using them for? Just to watch me tipping my nose on the bus? What will our personal lives be like as so much more of them is made public? Everyone will agree with me that, we are apt to behave differently when we feel we are alone or watched.

In contrast, it’s also ideal for autocratic government in that it’s an extremely efficient form of power: authority doesn’t need to coerce folks physically to behave a certain way; surveillance inserts authority’s eye inside the individual, and he monitors himself. Surveillance enables power to be anonymous, Foucault says, which is especially devastating. You don’t know exactly why you are being watched, or exactly what’s expected of you, and ultimately cultivates a kind of inbred paranoia where you are unsure and timid about everything you do.

All I am saying is that, I don`t want to be under constant surveillance for no apparent or valid reason. At least let me know why am I being watched, elaborate what are these Cameras for? What are they used for? I don`t see their use because people get robbed, marked, killed on the same streets daily. I want freedom; freedom without privacy is no freedom at all. Firmin DeBrabander (2012) sums it up nicely and argued that “democracy requires creative, independent, fearless individualism”.

Alternately, as Boston College sociologist Juliet Schor has argued, we are a society increasingly suffering from ‘time poverty’: we work long hours, commute long distances, ferry our kids to and from countless activities, and in our frenzy, have come to rely on the multiple conveniences offered by the new technology that helps us get through our frantic schedules. In general, these new media are so fully integrated into our lives that we simply can’t imagine living without them. They have gotten us accustomed to levels of convenience such as we’ve never known before—a convenience directly proportionate to the amount personal information we surrender.

For more follow me on twitter @UNkosinathi

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Stop the Insanity!

I am really disappointed in TUT Students barbaric act!

A day ago, a friend of mine Dumisani Mahlangu inspired me to write this piece after what he posted as his Facebook status. He wrote “I get a psychological anguish when I see black people burning their own institution of higher learning. It is like burning your own room and your own PlayStation, when you disagree with your parents. It does not make sense. Does it? TUT kids must learn to engage in critical thinking and inquiring dialogue. ”

A day ago, I have learned about a very unsettling circumstance that I was not cognisant of, the TUT (Tshwane University of Technology) protest. Apparently, the students were protesting against the allocation of the National Students Financial Aid Scheme and the condition of their residences. Perhaps they had valid reason to protest but it is still not a sound motive to stone buildings and threw petrol-bombs, causing extensive damage to property. I just don`t get this perception of vandalizing property.

Why burn down the library that you will need in few weeks again? Why burn down classes that you will need tomorrow? What is wrong with you? How is that going to solve the problem you had initially? How is the University property correlated with the financial aid? This is the same as taking one step forward and taking five steps backwards! It is insane! Snap out of old ways of doing things. We live in the new South Africa; burning University property won’t solve your problems.

I am persuaded to think that some people in South Africa need to wake up and abandon the old way of doing things. Specifically, TUT students need to learn to be civilised. Its time they think critical as it is part of what their taught in varsity. What is wrong with you? How much do you value your education? You elect Student Representative every year; it is their duty to debate such cases in a formal way. I discern your situation and sympathize with you, I am a University student myself, we have glitches of our own but we address them in a formalised and civilised way. Even other prospective Universities in South Africa are civilised in doing things. In addition, if you haven`t apprehended; the South African Universities are leading Africa statistically.

I emanate to you firstly, as a citizen of this country, then a student who adulates and respect the prominence of education, reconsider and stop what you`re doing. Then get back to class to acquire knowledge. This time around don`t just acquire knowledge but apply it when it is required. Please stop these barbaric acts and come down to South Africa, the new South Africa. What you did was a disgrace to the entire country Educational system specifically the higher institutions. Burning down universities is detrimental furthermore, we hardly have enough Universities in the country.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

What are you doing about it?

There are errands confronting us as a society and that need us as a society to contest them.  We look through our windows with our Unimpaired judgment and observe a man beating a woman like he is thrashing a drum yet we treat such incidents as if nothing has happened. Some elders will even act as spectators and applaud the fight on.  We pass by teenagers stoned walking in and out of taverns but we sack it as disobedience. Some adults will even smoke and drink with them.

We cheer old crooks and hoot while they spin their stolen cars yet we sham as if everything is alright. It is shockingly shocking that some of them are seen as role models likewise some even accumulate some of their deeds and money.

While your neighbors kids are anguish, goes to school bare footed on daily basis even in winter and your kids have more than enough pair but you won`t even purchase one pair for them. Teenage pregnancy increased exponentially and parents say nothing about it. Our lovely sisters have turned out to be baby manufacturing machines and the supreme we as society do is to make fun of them. We expound about social mandate on our cherished society yet we don`t do anything about small things that are captivating place underneath our muzzles.

This is the time; were society should take full responsibilities of things that took place on our eyes. We can`t stop crime if we entertained it by buying stolen goods. If something’s are wrong, then do something about it. These things distress us as society. Their not an individual problems but it is public glitches thus, let’s approach them as a society.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Are we coping?

Few weeks ago, I found myself in a state where by I couldn`t respond to a definite question that was postured to me by a nine year old. My aunt daughter is nine year old and most people will know that she is in that questioning phase. She has questions about everything. It is even hard to watch television with her because she will ask questions that you will noticeably don`t want to answers. For instance, the other day she asked me that “What is sex?” immediately I advanced to Mutism moment.

Today I want to speak about one the questions she posed to me about my cellphone. She asked me if I could live without my mobile phone for a month and again I reached the mute moment. When I look at, it is actually a very controversial question to many. I realized that we are hastily becoming dependent on the new technology and it’s rapidly becoming our way of life. For instance, how many adults/teenagers have you seen texting while their walking today? I am not against blackberry or iPhones users so don`t get me wrong. I have so many social networks in my mobile phone and it scares me that I am using all of them at once.

The other day I went into a taxi and I immediately put on my head seats on, sit next to some stranger and I started chatting with someone who’s 1000KM away. I realized later that I didn`t even say “Hi” to the person I was sitting next to. I miss the old days where you went in to a taxi you greet [everyone] and listen to some dialogue that don`t concern you, laugh etc. The other day I was sitting with my cousin`s, none of us was making a conversation with one another because we were talking [chatting] with people who are miles away from us. Apparently, it has become so important to talk to people who are far compared to people who are near you nowadays. I am scared for what we are heading or turning out to be. For some odd reasons, I don`t think I will survive a day without my mobile phones [by the way, I now have two of them, I don`t know why].

The question I want to pose to you is ‘Can you cope without you social networks or your cellphone for a month?’ it has come to my attention that we cannot even cope with them because their multi-tasking and sometimes that waste time. We spend evening’s texting to friends, family, strangers and love ones but the reality is that we waste more time on these social networks. These social networks are taking over our lives. I am scared of what the future will look like. I think they should make a new board in the roads saying, drive slow, people are texting. Some are driving while their texting. What is going on here?

According to the statistics, “Social networking accounted for nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online globally in October 2011, ranking as the most engaging online activity worldwide. Social networking sites now reach 82 percent of the world’s Internet population age 15 and older that accessed the Internet from a home or work computer, representing 1.2 billion users around the globe.” (http://www.comscore.com/it_is_a_social_world).

In conclusion, I want t you to ask yourself few questions. Can cope with your social networking and real life? Can you find the balance between the two? Can you cope without these social networks or without your mobile phone for that matter?

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Ethics of Organ Transplantation

 

The point of departure of the organ transplant could be traced back to 1954, when Ronald Lee Herrick donated one of his kidneys to his brother, Richard. The surgery was led by Dr. Joseph Murray, who later won a Nobel Prize for developing the surgical technique regarding kidney transplants. The surgery took place in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1967, Professor Christiaan Barnard performed the first human heart transplant on the third of December 1967. This even took place in South Africa, Western Cape Province at Groote Schuur Hospital.

The Organ transplant was devised to supplant damaged organs from human bodies. An organ transplant is a surgical operation where a failing or damaged organ in the human body is removed and replaced with a new one. An organ is a mass of specialized cells and tissues that work together to perform a function in the body. The heart is an example of an organ. It is made up of tissues and cells that all work together to perform the function of pumping blood through the human body.
As I was doing some research about this issue, I developed some questionnaire that I would like people to participate on. It has been argued that in Beijing – State media are quoting a top health official as saying China will phase out the practice of taking organs from executed prisoners.

As a result, I have pondered that there ethical issues that needs to be taken into consideration even though they`re may be too complex. Thus, I want people to try and answer these questions as honest as possible. Transplantable organs are scarce, that is a fact. Knowing that there are more people who need organs than there are organs available, how would you answer the following questions?

Before you even answer, be specific if your answers are based on a belief of equal access or maximum benefit distribution?

1. Should somebody who has received one organ transplant be prearranged for a second transplant? Or should individuals who have not had a transplant be given primacy over those who have previously had one?

2. Should individuals whose way of life choices (smoking, drinking, drug use, obesity, etc.) smashed their organ be assumed a chance at an organ transplant?

3. Should suicidal individuals be prearranged an organ transplant? What if they tried suicide in the earlier but are not presently intending suicide?

4. Should individuals who have young children be given a first preference for an organ transplant over a single person over and elderly person? Must age be a determining factor if one gets an organ or not and whether or not a person has children even matter?

5. Should individuals who cannot have the funds for expensive anti-rejection treatments be approved over for a transplant? Should individuals who do not have any medical insurance and cannot afford to reimbursement for a transplant be permissible to go on the countrywide waiting list?

6. Should condemned prisoners receive organ transplants? What if they are serving a life sentence without parole?

These are highly sensitive questions and answers may differ from one person to another. And this is also a controversial topic since anyone can be required to donate or may require donation as time goes, you will never know.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Africa belongs to…

On the 8th of May 1996, the former president Thabo Mbeki who was a vice president at the time stood behind the podium in Parliament and delivered a speech titled “I am an African”. He delivered the speech on behalf of the African National congress on the occasion by the adoption of the Constitutional Assembly of The Republic of South Africa Constitution Bill 1996.

Those who have read, or heard the speech before would harmonize with me that it is a very poignant piece. The speech begins with the appreciation of African continent on the basis of landmarks, weather, and animals etc. However, on the antagonistic annotation, one would ask; who’s African? How do we identify an African? Do we use race as an identifying factor? Do we use the class? Whom does Africa belong to? Who has the right to be called African and who does not?

If you have been following the news recently, you have noticed that the issue of land was trendy. Some politicians who have some sort of influence to certain people have used that advantage to make an impact on who`s land it is specifically Africa. In Zimbabwe after independence; most white people were procured off their farms and some land because it was said that it is being taken back to the owners. Who is the owner? Who gave the owner the ownership of the land? I sense some culture of entitlement here. Perhaps, that’s a debate for another day.

Who does Africa Belong to?  That`s the question that has been pondering me. Does is belong to the black people because they were colonized? What about the white people then? Should they leave Africa because they were not colonized? Keeping in mind that their ancestors are the colonizers not them, do we blame them? If  we take this to be a battle against black and white, what about the coloreds? Do we forget about them and pretend as if they don`t exist? Who has the say in this thing?

Well, it is certainly difficult to answer these questions. However, what we don`t realize is that this questions have been answered already. If you read clearly on the Thabo Mbeki Speech you will realise what he emphasized. He said “It is a firm assertion made by ourselves that South Africa belongs to all who live in it”. I have a question for you…Do you live in Africa? If the answer is yes then you know that Africa belongs to you. I know Thabo Mbeki was talking about South Africa but I think we can apply the same spirit to the entire Continent. I don`t care what color you are, you were oppressed or not. You live in Africa now; make a different because Africa belongs to you. No one has to leave Africa because of his race or class. Africa belongs to those who live in it!

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Uncategorized