Vavi’s Illicit Sex Scandal – Ethical?

Zwelinzima Vavi. Secretary General of Cosatu.

This man is no stranger to bad press. That considered, he is no different from many other South African politicians in that respect. However, Vavi’s “sex scandal” has been debated as to whether or not it was ethical. In my opinion, to question the ethics is unnecessary. It is outlined in Cosatu’s code-of-conduct policy that (as with any other place of work) sex within the workplace, whether it is part of an illicit affair or an established relationship, is to be considered inexcusable, unethical, and warranting investigation and disciplinary action against the perpetrator(s).

As such, with the above information, one can conclude that Vavi’s actions were not ethical. Despite this, people still seem to be debating the ethics of this scandal. I believe that understanding Vavi’s motivations, the reasons behind why he did what he did, will provide a greater understanding of the situation, as well as backtracking through the events that lead to the publicity explosion surrounding Vavi at the moment. Likewise, looking at Vavi’s sex scandal from a political standpoint will provide another angle of analysis and further understanding.

Moses Melini, SABC Radio News Senior Reporter, posted an opinion article on the SABC News website in which he wrote (referring to Vavi’s wife):

“He probably tried to rationalize his behavior. Hell, it was probably her fault. Pregnancy had messed with her hormones, and she hadn’t been treating him right. In fact, she’d also lost her sex appeal, and his libido was demanding more. The other woman understood him better. She didn’t complain that he wasn’t helping out with the daily chores. She didn’t nag or demand attention.”

This perspective considers his conduct in a more personal and family oriented direction. This is my preferred approach to the Vavi scandal, but in no way do I condone his actions by any stretch of morality.

Political Science studies suggest that high-ranking political officials generally do not have their personal lives separated from their public profiles as well-known leaders of society. Vavi’s sex scandal, because of its direct relation to his working for Cosatu as Secretary General, it can not be separated from his public image anyway. Regardless, even if it was a completely private affair, unrelated to his employment, it would have still brought him under scrutiny. This, much like President Zuma’s “shower scandal” before he succeeded the presidency. Many have speculated that this was used to discredit Jacob Zuma, make him unpopular, and lose him the presidency.

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In an IOL News article by Poloko Tau and Baldwin Ndaba, titled “Sex scandal used ‘to get rid of Vavi’”, the writers state that Vavi had been victim to numerous previous attempts to remove him from his post as Cosatu Secretary General. They say this was through the use of corruption charges and disciplinary investigations in the hope that they would lead to Vavi’s censure, suspension and total removal from Cosatu. If one follows this train of thought, one can surmise that this ‘plot’ to use scandalous stories to discredit Vavi has been going on for some time.

Taking a step slightly backward in time to the rape case against Vavi shortly after his marriage, this is one he completely denied. Furthermore, his ‘victim’ retracted her accusations against him and he was effectively let off the hook without too much damage or too much hype in the media. His recent scandal however, is one he did admit to having done, merely days before his twins were born. Many say this amounts to him shooting himself in the foot through his admission. He is now suspended and the scandal has slightly quietened down in the news.

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Either way, there is still not argument as to whether or not his actions were ethical, because as I am sure anyone will agree, his actions were in direct contravention of what is written in Cosatu Code-Of-Conduct policy as downright unethical.

He has no excuse.

Hope, The Last

Hope, the Last

A short story based on part of the final quest encounter of the Bethesda Game Studios’ RPG,
The Elder Scrolls V – SKYRIM.

Disclaimer

Dialogue lines and story progression inspired by character interactions and composed from scratch. Character “Hope” is the creation and intellectual property of Frank Jakat. Credit given to the original creators of the Dynasty Armour, I’Hara Greatsword, Apachii SkyHair, and Flan’s Eyes applied to Hope as depicted. All other characters and described locations credited to Bethesda Game Studios.

Not for reprinting without the express permission of Frank Jakat.
Not for publishing without the express permission of Frank Jakat and Bethesda Game Studios.
All rights reserved:
Original SKYRIM content under Corporate Copyright licensed to Bethesda Game Studios.
Written content as per this document, post this disclaimer is the property of Frank Jakat and protected under the Creative Commons Copyright License.

11 July 2013

Hope, the Last

And so the Dragonborn arrived in Sovngarde. A valley hidden in a sinister mist, a fateful fog. Doubtless one of the machinations cast forth – “Ven Mul Riik!” – by Alduin, eater of worlds, the bringer of the end times, first born of Akatosh. His evil cloud, sitting full within the valley, darkening the path to Shor’s Hall. Many of the honoured dead had lost their way when they lost their sight of the shimmering wonder in the distance that was Shor’s Hall. Alduin’s roaring rang through the valley, just as the Dragonborn’s call for clear skies sang through the valley.
“Lok Vah Koor!” She would shout as she traversed the shadowed paths among the souls of heroic dead, lost in their wanderings seeking the way to their salvation, the reward for their deaths, their right as heroes to enter the hallowed halls of Sovngarde.

Hope was the Dragonborn’s name. Known only as Hope, with no family to speak of, no inheritances, no glorious history. But Hope was many things. A Breton from High-Rock, born of the union of Imperial and Altmer, though she knew not what whichever parent was.
Many knew her upon sight, indeed all of Skyrim likely recognised her glowing orange eyes, the mark of the Dawnguard. Many recognised her snowy, bright, pearlescent hair, the mark of the Planetouched. Many recognised the white war-paint upon the dark sandy coloured skin of her face. But few knew of the seal of the Dragonborn tattooed on her belly. Many knew her suit of Argent armour, pale as ice and shining like quicksilver, made from the finest mix of steel and ebony, beaten to shape at the famed Skyforge by her own hand and hammer. Revealing enough to set men’s hearts and minds alight with erotic imaginations, but protective enough over the right places to soak a devastating blow with no injury incurred. Many knew her greatsword, I’Hara, left to her by an old Khajiiti warrior whom she’d fought alongside many years before her legend as the Dragonborn was realised. And many more still, knew the power of her voice, strong enough to bring a dragon to heel, and call down furious lightning from the skies above. Powerful enough to command fire and frost and send them forth on her breath just as the dragons do. Great enough to simply shout at Time itself and command it to slow so that the world moved at a crawl for a moment, bent to the will of the Master of Time. Wealthy beyond measure and famed across all of Tamriel, respected by men and mer of great import and power, and feared by those who would rather not have her wrath visited on them.
But these things mattered little to the Dragonborn, for she was the last hope for mankind and elvenkind alike. Just as her name.

And as the Dragonborn found the final path, with Shor’s Hall in sight, so close that even Alduin’s soul-snare could not obscure the wondrous structure, she found a great warrior, standing guard at the gate of the bridge. He was twice the size of an imperial man and thrice the size of Hope herself, whose Breton blood made her small in stature, but by no means small by measure of her courage.


“Who are you?” He asked.
“I am Hope, of Tamriel. And I am not of the dead, though I may walk among them this day. Who are you?”
The great warrior spoke. “None may pass this perilous bridge ’til I judge them worthy by the warrior’s test. I am Tsun. Shield-Thane to Shor. The Whalebone Bridge he bade me guard and winnow all those souls whose heroic end sent them here to Shor’s lofty hall. Where welcome, well-earned, awaits those I judge fit to join that fellowship of honour.”
The Dragonborn in response said, “I pursue Alduin, the World-Eater.”
To which Tsun replied, “A fateful errand, no few have chafed to face the Worm since first he set his soul-snare here at Sovngarde’s threshold. But Shor restrained our wrathful onslaught – perhaps, deep-counselled, your doom he foresaw.”
Hope, knowing that she would have to seek the knowledge of how to defeat Alduin through an audience with the god of War, Shor himself, or at the very least the wise counsel of the great warriors and mages within the hall, she asked, “I seek entrance to the Hall of Valour.”
“No shade are you, as usually here passes, but living, you dare the land of the dead. Shor’s mein is too bright to be witnessed by mortal eyes, lest you go blind and mute and deaf and dead. You shall not share space with his divine presence, but you will doubtless feel it. By what right do you request entry?”
At this, Hope sought within her the answer that would lead Tsun to open the way. She drew her greatsword I’Hara, and said. “By right of plunder. I am a Nightingale of Nocturnal, Daedric Prince of theft and stealth. She is Lady Luck to all those who walk with the shadows and favour no light. I am the dark one, unseen, her agent penumbra. I am the one who opened the way to the Evergloam with the Skeleton Key.”
Tsun replied, “Do not mistake the night-shrouded thief’s stealthily-taken spoils, stolen and unearned, for a warrior’s plunder, won in honourable battle. I shall not fight you by this right. You shall not pass.”
Hope spoke again. “Then by right of blood. I Listen for the Night Mother, and I am She that killed Titus Mead, second of his name, and Emperor of all of Tamriel. This, for the glory of Sithis, Father of the Void.”
Tsun drew his great battleaxe from behind his back and with a grim look upon his face said, “You trespass here shadow-walker. Shor does not know you. Perhaps before the end, you will earn the right to pass this way. Welcome I do not offer, but your errand I will not hinder, if my wrath you can withstand. Yet by this said right you have voiced, I find no honour, and hence I will not strike you lest you strike me first.”
Hope, wishing to avoid fighting the vast and immortal Tsun keeping her way shut, she said, “What of by right of Cleverness? I am Master of the College of Winterhold. Arch Mage and Lord to all honourable scholars and mages of Skyrim who command the arcane arts and the power of Aetherius, from which all things were made.”
Tsun sheathed his massive axe and spoke. “Well met, mage of Skyrim. The Nords may have forgotten their forefathers’ respect for the Clever Craft, but your comrades throng this hall. Here in Shor’s house we honour it still. If by this alone you wish to seek passage, I shall test you in single combat should you decide to test your magefire against my skin and blade.”
Hope felt wary at this comment, understanding that her power as a mage, though great and grand, was still not to the scale of the power commanded by Shalidor the Master of Destruction. She would likely fail to singe Tsun’s golden skin in time to set him upon the ground. She wished maybe something could be found among her many accomplishments that could allow her passage without having to strike at this colossal behemoth. And so she said with great confidence, “By right of glory. I lead the Companions of Jorrvaskr as their Harbinger, successor to Kodlak Whitemane, who roams this very valley seeking the way to this bridge. I defeated the Glenmoril Witches and lifted the curse of Lycanthropy from the Companions, saving them from the Beast Blood that upon death would bind their souls and set them roaming the planes of Oblivion for all eternity, slaves to the Daedric Prince of the hunt, Hircine.”
Tsun responded in a good clear tone. “I welcome the chance to challenge the blade of Ysgrammor’s heir, honoured shield-sister to Kodlak Whitemane, whom I’ve watched for in vain. Would you test your skill and attempt to match that of the great Ysgrammor himself as he was when he stood here before me two thousand years ago? I sense greater purpose in you than merely following in very large footsteps and filling the boots of great, gone pioneers of war.”
Hope had only one possible answer left, and this had to be the one. She spoke, “By right of birth. I am Dragonborn. Dovahkiin. Charge of the Greybeards and their way of the voice, loyal pupil to the good dragon Parthurnax, and third member of the Blades of Akavir, the dragonslayers of old.”
Tsun had no look of surprise upon his stony visage as he simply said, “Ah, it’s been too long since I faced a doom-driven hero of the dragon-blood. Come Dovahkiin, show me that your Thu’um can match that of the Dovah themselves.”
Hope knew at this point that she would likely have to battle this vast warrior. A god in his own right. A true test indeed before her final battle with the first dragon, Alduin.
She asked once more, fingers crossed behind her back, “Can I enter the Hall of Valour?”
To which Tsun answered as he drew his battleaxe again, “Living or dead, by decree of Shor, none may pass this perilous bridge ’til I judge them worthy by the warrior’s test.”
This was it. The final battle before the final battle.

Clashing of steel against steel and the great loudness of Thu’um against Thu’um rang far across the valley for many hours. Hope wondered if this juggernaught could be beat, as he took hit after hit, cut after cut, and was knocked down shout after shout – “Fus Ro Dah!” – repeatedly, and yet he would simply return to his feet, straight faced and calm as ever, still dealing staggering blows with his colossal axe. Hope’s armour would fail at some point, soon, and she was quickly tiring after fighting evasively for close on six hours. But she did not let up. She swung as hard as she could upon finding an opening, sure it would land and set this giant guard to one knee, mirrored in a puddle of his own blood. But mere inches from impact she saw his shoulder tense and knew he was reacting. Hope called on her power as the Master of Time and slowed all the universe to a crawl knowing he would never match her speed if she dilated the passing of time to her advantage. And yet, to her great surprise, Tsun moved faster still and grasped I’Hara’s blade in his hand so tight it would not move. Time returned to normal pace and Hope struggled to release her blade from his grip, wondering why his palm failed to bleed from holding the sharpest sword in all of Tamriel. Panic wrapped itself around her rapidly beating heart just as her sword was held fast by the unyielding Tsun. “This is the end,” she thought to herself.
“This is how the Dragonborn’s mission is failed. Defeated at the gate of Sovngarde while Alduin flies free to devour the souls of the honoured dead and the grateful dead. Regaining his strength so he may once again return to Mundus, the mortal world, and rend all life from its surface.”
But to her even greater surprise, Tsun stood, her blade held fast by his superhuman grip, and he said, “You fought well, Hope of Tamriel. I find you worthy. It is long since one of the living has entered here. May Shor’s favour follow you, and your errand.”
Hope, grateful and quietly celebrating within herself, walked towards the Whalebone bridge, thanking her luck and cursing her mortality all in the same thought. There was a harder fight ahead, but this bridge would lead her to whatever knowledge or power she would need to finally fulfil her destiny as the Last Dragonborn. Hope. The one who would defeat Alduin, first born of the great divine Akatosh and the crown of his creations. Alduin, eldest of all the Dovah. Alduin, the World-Eater. Alduin, the bringer of the end-times. All the young Dragonborn girl had from this moment was her name. Hope…

“And a sudden plunge in a sullen swell, ten fathoms deep on the road to hell.” ~Abney Park – The Derelict

“And a sudden plunge in a sullen swell, ten fathoms deep on the road to hell.” ~Abney Park – The Derelict

“And a sudden plunge in a sullen swell, ten fathoms deep on the road to hell.” ~Abney Park – The Derelict

The Digital Divide and ‘ePolitics’

Mobile technology and internet is an inexorable force that is, at this point, completely unavoidable to those who have access by default. What I mean when I say ‘by default’ is that those who live in urban areas, whether they have internet access or not, cannot avoid it completely. They have access simply because they live within a geographic location that, by its level or infrastructural and technological development, will create access to mobile technology for them in various ways and means. However, this is not within the scope of this text. What I aim to discuss here is the effects of the Digital Divide on eDemocracy and eGovernment.

The Digital Divide

The following image graphically explains the Digital Divide:

world

(http://wireless.ictp.trieste.it/simulator/img/world.jpg) This world map bar graph shows the level of internet access as per country, and we can clearly deduce from it that the global superpowers (Europe, US, Australia and Far-East Asia) have most internet accessibility. The rest of the world is generally at a similar level with the exception of Africa, parts of the Middle-East and India. 60% of the top ten are European nations and 30% are Far-East Asia. The bottom five countries are all African nations. Most of Africa seems to dominate the bottom of the accessibility list with the exception of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Nigeria and Ethiopia. The Digital Divide is the difference between those who have access to internet media and those who don’t. This is a comparison that can be levelled on a global level, continental level, national level or community level. In South Africa, the Digital Divide extends between those living in rural areas, suburban areas and urban areas. Those in the urban areas generally have internet access on demand, those in suburban areas are similarly enabled, and those in rural areas (the bulk of South Africa’s population) are generally left without.

eDemocracy and eGovernment

“Establishing a clear and comprehensive definition of eDemocracy is a difficult task. It is a term of two components; ‘e’, which signifies the online component, and ‘democracy’, which refers to a theory and system of governance. While this may, at first glance, appear to be an obvious statement to make, it in fact underpins the complexity of the concept. eDemocracy is a relatively new notion and remains somewhat fluid due to its fundamental relationship with technology and the internet – fields that are themselves ever-changing, and somewhat unpredictably so. Any outline of precisely what constitutes the ‘e’ of eDemocracy is thus at risk of obsolescence within a short time-frame.” (http://edemocracy.weebly.com/what-is-edemocracy.html)

Rachel Silcock (p. 88) describes eGovernment as the “use of technology to enhance the access to and delivery of government services to benefit citizens, business partners and employees… has the power to create a new mode of public service where all public organisations deliver a modernised, integrated and seamless service for their citizens.”

Conclusion

With the above aspects considered, I conclude that the effects of the Digital Divide on eGovernement and eDemocracy in South Africa are limiting service provision and delivery of technological services, as well as the ability for people to speak and give feedback to their government through the internet medium is limited. Until regular, affordable and reliable access to new technologies is provided to those is rural areas, this will continue to be a hurdle for the South African government. Contrariwise, those with access are already actively giving internet media based feedback to their government, usually involving issues such as eToll and internet censorship. This is evidence that ePolitics is a growing phenomenon and cannot be ignored.

References

 

Network Society

 

“Mobile and wireless technology will spread the network society to the most remote places and the deepest pores of the world” (van Dijk, 2006:59)

               

The truth in the statement above is as I illustrate in giving an account of a personal experience with the inexorable spread of mobile technology to even the most remote places of the world.

 

Sometime during 2010 I was sitting in my tent camped out somewhere in the Bubye Valley hunting conservancy near Beitbridge in my home country Zimbabwe. I had my laptop powered by an inverter juiced by a truck battery and connected to the internet through a crude little application that hacked my satellite phone to allow me internet access. I had just come from posting a status update on Facebook about a rather eventful afternoon of hunting when I saw on my news feed a picture someone had posted. It was of an extremely rural looking old grandma with a laptop on a stool in front of her and a mobile connect card hanging precariously out of one of the laptop’s USB ports. She had a thatch roof mud hut behind her and a crowd of extremely dusty children shoulder surfing around her with smiles much bigger than was natural. The caption read “Facebook yasvika!” which is Shona for “Facebook has arrived. I dismissed this as an orchestrated image that was not real in any way considering just how troublesome it was for me to log on all the way out in the middle of nowhere. As it turns out, that image may well have been completely accurate because on my return to the Quiet Waters game reserve in Esigodini (my base at the time) I found that many of the staff there did indeed have internet access as well as Facebook profiles, email addresses, Twitter accounts and so on. I was taken aback by this almost sudden realisation of the unavoidability of mobile technology and the omnipresence of the internet. Van Dijk was absolutely right.

 

To illustrate this spread of mobile technology:

 Image

http://www.wonderlol.com/the-future-is-better-than-you-think_7599.html

The network society itself is, in fact, a society where the key social structures and activities are organized around electronically processed information networks. It’s about social networks which process and manage information and are using micro-electronic based technologies. (Prof. Manuel Castells, 2001)

 

The above image is a very clear expression of the reach of mobile technology at present. This is network society. And without the technological advances that have allowed the internet to be anywhere and everywhere anytime and all the time, this massive spread would not have been possible in even half the time it happened in, and it is still happening. With mobile phones getting “smarter” as well as the sudden rise of tablet PCs coupled with the power of wireless internet connectivity, this inexorable spread will continue, seeking out the most remote corners of civilisation, bringing with it the realisation that the world is not as vast as anyone once thought anymore. Mobile devices and internet upload have allowed skills such as photography to be explored by just about anyone, and Instagram has truly exploded that potential with people becoming Internet celebrities for their photography. Likewise, YouTube has made people famous and this was all made possible because of mobile devices. Ray William Johnson, owner of the YouTube channel Equals Three (=3) is the first example that comes to mind about YouTube global fame. His YouTube channel has over 8.1 million subscribers, myself included, and has accumulated over 2.2 billion video views.

 

 Facebook seems to be completely dominating some people’s social lives and Twitter is starting to look like the only place where people can put up needless trivialities and irrelevant information about their lives. But without seeming one-sided about the usefulness of these social networks, I must point out that they are all now major contributors to the global economy and this is an obvious fact to just about anyone with two brain cells to rub together. If anyone has been watching the news over the past couple of years, they would realise the massive role that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube had to play in the Arab Uprisings and the silent revolutions of Eastern Europe. Not to mention the fact that Facebook has been a major tool in the campaigns of leaders around the world looking to get voted into power. Twitter has been extremely useful in the industrial sectors of the world. Twitter’s purpose of providing concise and current information in all but a line of text has allowed businesses and institutions everywhere to make announcements to the world as events happen. Want to know when Porsche will be launching the new 918 supercar? Consult Twitter. YouTube was the one with all the interesting footage during the Egyptian Revolution. News agencies seemed only to have a very wide angle view of a monument square of some kind with a massive crowd in it while YouTube submissions (though not as good quality) were where the real news was being taken from. It was the perspective of the people on the ground and suddenly the world was not confined to watch a newscaster talking monotonously and pointing into a background of civilian violence and somewhat picturesque building fires. YouTube videos became the news and news agencies became the opinionated discussion forums about the news.

 

VoIP, or voice over internet protocol, is the new “phone call” as it were. It has almost eliminated the need for phone to phone calling in favour of applications like Skype which exist on computers and mobile devices, as well as applications exclusively for mobile phones, tablets, and hand-held game systems such as Talkbox, Voxer, Viber, Octro Talk and many others. These applications are also intercommunicable meaning that someone can call using Skype and the receiver will answer on their phone using Viber, for example. People’s cell phone bills are now far less when added the fact that instant messaging applications, most notably WhatsApp, MXit, BBM and the rest too numerous to list, have also lessened people’s spending on cell phone credits, airtime top-ups, and contract bills altogether. It is now much much cheaper to stay connected.

 

At this point in time, with technology progressing faster than I can process in one day or describe in one sitting, I am forced to wonder what the next stage of mobile technology will be when the cell phone, the tablet and the laptop are no longer enough, and what that will mean for both the global network society and the entire world as we know them. There are plans in effect already but describing them is not within the current scope of this essay. Speculations abound however, ours is a world where reality will show you something you thought could only be imagined, and reality will do so within your lifetime. Ours is a reality where science fiction is fast becoming science fact.

 

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indiscernible from magic.

~Arthur C. Clarke

 

References

 Prof. M. Castells, Identity and Change in the Network Society – Conversation with Manuel Castells, Availlable: http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people/Castells/castells-con4.html Acessed: 7 April 2013

The Little I See

What little i see of the twinkle twinkle between the tree and the wall,
Once used to be more than the little it is…
This minimal twinkle twinkle was once much much more,
More of a grand twinkle sparkle,
A ragged glitter ribbon that cuts my thoughts into twinkle shiny pieces, a thousand times over until they twinkle trickle inspiration into my mind…
What little i see shines out of my eyes as a reflection of these city lights…

What little i see of the love in your heart betrays the facade of hatred you apply in my presence… What little i see of the kindness with which you paint your voice betrays the exhaustion you feel for this pretence… What little i see of the peace in your soul betrays the chaos you are at war with in every aspect of yourself… What little i see of you betrays your escape, to your guitar and your books…
What little i see of a change in you betrays your fruitless search for meaning and solace, all in the wrong places…
What little i see of your conclusion betrays that you have not found an answer, or a reason, or even a question…
What little i see of the nothing you have found betrays the mistake you made: What little you saw in me…
What little you see in me has had me removed from you for all intents and purposes…
So i continue to watch the little i see, peaceful, content, inspired and unhurt…
Hoping that maybe one day you may see more than the little you see in me,
And that is the little i see…

“And a sudden plunge in a sullen swell, ten fathoms deep on the road to hell.” ~Abney Park – The Derelict