King’s 2018 page-turners

Welcome back, dear readers, to another year. While we need to it’s important that prepare ourselves for what lies ahead, it’s equally important that we reflect on where we’ve been.

And so to kick off 2019, I would like want to share some of the stories from 2018 that stood out for me. my some of my top news stories from 2018.

They’re not all the most groundbreaking stories but, in my opinion anyway, they were all interesting in their own unique ways.

08: Tristan Hogge

Let’s start with a nice feel-good story. Back in August, Brian McLane interviewed a former Dale pupil who had moved overseas to South Korea to work as a teacher. I found this a really interesting story because I like hearing about locals who have managed to find success overseas.

It’s also nice to hear about how other countries differ from ours. the interesting ways in which that our country differs from to others.

TEACHING ABROAD: Old Dalian Tristan Hogge, who has been teaching in South Korea for the past three years
Picture: Brian McLean

According to Hogge, South Koreans place great value on mathematics, English and Chinese calligraphy. They also have a culture of “complete politeness”, which I’m sure some of our readers wish was the case back here.

I’m not sure if Hogge is still teaching in South Korea but whatever it is he’s doing, I wish him the best of luck.

07: Carlos Fritz
Speaking of locals finding success overseas, in May our King reporter Desmond Coetzee reported on how Breidbach-based fashion designer Carlos Fritz was chosen to represent South Africa at an international fashion exhibition in Torino, Italy in June.

Fritz was one of more than over 600 competitors who took part in the event under the theme “Modest Modern Islamic”.

Again, it’s always nice to see locals making it big overseas and representing our country.

06: BCM Inland Libraries
Moving away from individuals, our next story was is also a rather positive one and was about an outreach programme organised by BCM Inland Libraries.

The Inland Libraries – along with the BCM Gospel Choir, the traffic department and fire department – visited Jafta Lower Primary School to donate items such in order to donate a number of important provisions such as like sanitary towels, as well as entertain the pupils children with activities such as face-painting, dancing, and story readings.

As an avid reader myself, this story combined some of my favourite things – reading, libraries, and social outreach. Not only did BCM Inland Libraries provide the pupils with vital health products that will surely improve their quality of life, they also helped foster a love for reading among the pupils.

05: Breidbach Sports Hub
Moving from the classroom to the sports field now – in September we covered the launch of the Breidbach Community Sports Hub (BCSH). The launch was attended by community members, as well as representatives of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the BCM fire department.

The hub was a long-time coming and was organised almost exclusively by dedicated community members and organisations.

The hub will serve as a main sporting centre, where players can access facilities such as sports fields and tracks, which will surely be a major boon for the many clubs in the area. There are also plans to use the hub as a hosting site for future festivals.

04: Body Positivity Rally
Our next spot comes courtesy of one of our other King reporters, Zavela Makwabe. KWT youth Zuko Gugu Silwana was fed up with being constantly shamed for being plus-sized and so, in November, she organised a rally, during which she and other plus-sized girls and women marched down Alexander Road, while carrying signs calling for an end to body-shaming.

UNASHAMED: Posing in King’s Alexandria Road are, from left, Bulie Mahola, Zuko Gugu Silwana and Liyema Sotenwa
Picture: SUPPLIED

As someone who is also a bit on the heavier side and continues to struggle with my own set of issues surrounding body image, I can really sympathise with Silwana’s cause. It is especially hard for women who are held to ridiculously high standards of beauty, which dictate that thin and slim is the peak of attractiveness.

It is important that these issues are brought to light and the fact that young people such as like Silwana are taking up the cause is heartening.

03: Grey Hospital
Here is a story that was important for all the wrong reasons. In November 2018last year, Desmond Coetzee reported on the crippling shortage of medical practitioners that had brought service at Grey Hospital to a near standstill.

Patients were forced to endure long queues, with many going days without even seeing a single doctor. There was also a shortage of food, cleaning supplies, and medicine.

It’s a well-known fact that the South African healthcare system is in a serious rut at the moment, with every city having stories similar to this (just look at Frere Hospital in nearby East London). In order to force government to improve, it is vital that journalists shine a light on these situations and make sure the public is informed.

02: Coffin Protest
This story would make the list for novelty value alone, although the fact that it was done for an important cause, residents of Bhisho woke up to an unusual sight outside the EC premier’s office in November. A large tent had been erected outside the office, which was surrounded by 75 white crosses and three black crosses. Inside the tent was a coffin and inside the coffin was a man!

Thankfully the man was alive and turned out to be ANC MPL Christian Martin, who was taking part in a protest with Khosan chiefs Crawford Fraser and Cora Hennings against gang violence in Port Elizabeth.

The cause was certainly noble – gang violence is a national tragedy that claims many innocent lives each year – but sleeping in a coffin outside the premier’s office is certainly a unique way to raise awareness.

01: Strikes
If there was one thing word that could be used to summarise the news cycle in King during 2018, it would probably be “strikes”. There were plenty of them, from the Post Office strike in July to the strike by municipal workers just a few weeks ago.

Some areas were more affected than others. Sweetwaters (Ward 44) in particular made the news a lot, thanks to a the series of strikes that dragged on for months and even threatened to disrupt matric final exams (although thankfully an agreement was reached which prevented this).

Plenty of column space was dedicated to the strikes and photographs of the event became viral almost overnight. For better or worse, they have earned their top spot here.

Picture: DESMOND COETZEE

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