Luxury South African safari train where work is forbidden


The 3-day, $2750/person Rovos Rail train safari from Pretoria to Durban is pulled by 1930s steam trains; features giant, luxurious staterooms with their own bathtubs; offers high tea; and, true to its Edwardian time-warp, passengers are prohibited from working in public areas, lest this break the atmosphere of idle wealth and privilege.

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Jacob Appelbaum on Americans' false belief that the NSA isn't targeting them

Al Billings writes, "Jacob Appelbaum discusses the fallacy of Americans thinking that they won't be targeted, passive and active surveillance methods, AI and human analyst systems working together, satellite networks, deep packet inspection & injection, military contractors getting special access to surveillance programs, proprietary vs open source software, OTR messaging, hoarding exploits for self-gain."

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Artistic scanner-photos taken on a coral-reef

Nathaniel Stern straps modified document scanners to his body and then walks around, producing beautiful, glitched out art-images. Now he's taken his scanners to the bottom of the ocean.

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What Nelson Mandela's life tells us about the legitimacy of "democratic nations"

This morning, as I listened to the BBC World Service on Mandela, I found myself pondering what it meant that he was South Africa's "first democratically elected leader."

This is undoubtedly true. The apartheid regime held elections regularly, but only white people were given the vote. The systematic, arbitrary denial of the franchise to a large fraction of the population makes those elections "undemocratic" and their leaders illegitimate. I think that this is indisputable.

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Report: Salaries of mining union leaders in South Africa paid by mining companies

Just one year after the "Marikana massacre," an investigative report in South Africa's Daily Maverick reveals "a furtive conflict of interest, with mining houses footing the bill for top National Union of Mineworkers office bearers’ salaries...unionists are being paid high salaries by the very people from whom they are supposed to protect their members. The 'arrangement' is just about to end, in spite of union leaders' unhappiness and an unpredictable labour and political backlash."

Die Antwoord: Fatty Boom Boom

Warning: Contains explicit/gross content, not for kids.

A new music video from South African rap-rave zef stars Die Antwoord (web, Amazon). "Fatty Boom Boom," from the most recent album, TEN$ION.

Watch for the not-Lady-Gaga cameo. Much about this will be controversial.

Music video + story concept by Ninja and Yo-landi Vi$$er. Directed by Ninja, Terence Neale and Saki Fokken Berg. DP: Alexis Zabe. Full cast/credits here, including details on the background artwork.

Monstrous chocolate bar


Hot damn, that's a nice chocolate bar wrapper. It's from Loom and Honest Chocolate, two South African companies, who explain the design to The Dieline:

"In August 2012 we ran a crowd-sourced design competition on 10and5.com (a local design design website) and invited creatives from around the world to design a unique chocolate wrapper for us. In just 6 days we received over 115 local and international entries from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Namibia, Amsterdam, Toronto and Paris.

The winning design came from Cape Town based illustrator, Miné Jonker. She runs an agency called Studio Muti."

Loom X Honest

Die Antwoord: Baby's On Fire (music video)

Video Link. "Baby's On Fire," from the Die Antwoord album TEN$ION. Video directed by NINJA and Terence Neale. DP: Alexis Zabe. (thanks, Yo-Landi and Ninja!).

South African 3D printing conference

Chris sez, "I'm helping to arrange a conference on 3D printing/additive manufacturing in South Africa. We have some world-renowned professors on the subject coming and its being held in a game reserve so it should be fun!"

Rapid Prototyping remains a key technology in the Rapid Product Development suite of technologies. However, over the past decade we have experienced growing acceptance of this powerful technology in the manufacturing industry, not only as prototyping tool, but increasingly as niche manufacturing technology. The inherent ability of the technology to accommodate part complexity and customization, coupled with an ever-increasing range of materials, has provided industry with unprecedented flexibility in design and production. Resulting from this, Additive Manufacturing has replaced Rapid Prototyping as internationally accepted terminology for this technology. Also in South Africa the uptake of Additive Manufacturing by industry has been breathtaking.

In the calm and pristine environment of the South African Bushveld, the conference programme will offer a variety of opportunities for participants from industry, R&D institutions, academia and government to listen to presentations, engage in discussions, visit exhibitions and just interact informally during the three days of the event.

Rapid Product Development Association of South Africa (Thanks, Chris!)

Die Antwoord: "I Fink U Freeky," co-directed by Roger Ballen (music video)

[Video Link]

A video for "I Fink U Freeky," from Die Antwoord's new release "TEN$ION." Co-directed by the band and Johannesburg, South Africa-based photographer Roger Ballen (the first of what I hope may be many more collaborations between them).

Trailer for Die Antwoord's upcoming "TEN$ION" album

[Video Link] This just hit the internet today. TEN$ION, the South African band's new album scheduled out February 7, will be their first release since breaking up with Interscope.

Desmond Tutu to Trinity Church: let Occupy stay!

An open letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to New York's Trinity Church urges the church to allow the Occupy protest in Duarte Park, which is owned by the Episcopalian parish:

Yours is a voice for the world not just the neighborhood of Duarte Park. Injustice, unfairness, and the strangle hold of greed which has beset humanity in our times must be answered with a resounding, "No!" You are that answer. I write this to you not many miles away from the houses of the poor in my country. It pains me despite all the progress we have made. You see, the heartbeat of what you are asking for--that those who have too much must wake up to the cries of their brothers and sisters who have so little--beats in me and all South Africans who believe in justice.

Trinity Church is an esteemed and valued old friend of mine; from the earliest days when I was a young Deacon. Theirs was the consistent and supportive voice I heard when no one else supported me or our beloved brother Nelson Mandela. That is why it is especially painful for me to hear of the impasse you are experiencing with the parish. I appeal to them to find a way to help you. I appeal to them to embrace the higher calling of Our Lord Jesus Christ--which they live so well in all other ways--but now to do so in this instance...can we not rearrange our affairs for justice sake? Just as history watched as South Africa was reborn in promise and fairness so it is watching you now.

A Message Of Solidarity From Archbishop Desmond Tutu (via Runnin' Scared)

(Image: Desmond M. Tutu - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from worldeconomicforum's photostream)

Die Antwoord album cover revealed for "TEN$ION"

Due out February, 2012. This will be the first independent release for the much-Boinged band since they split from Interscope. The business story behind this one is fascinating...

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South African musicians can't get radio play, turn to taxis

Neil sez, "A cool video from VICE Magazine about how musicians in South Africa used taxi drivers to make their own form of Kwaito House music popular in Johannesburg and around the world."

And because the new Kwaito artists couldn’t get any airplay on the local radio stations, they decided to take their music to the people by using the hundreds of township taxis to promote their music. Smart thinking given a recent Pretoria University study estimated that between five and 10 million South Africans use taxis every day.

Taxi stands or Kombis, are the main source of public transportation in South African townships, since many residents can’t afford to own cars. Taxi drivers played a pivotal role in breaking new Kwaito artists by playing and selling their CDs to their captive taxi audience.

South Africa - Taxi Hit Squad

Update: I just nuked the embedded video, which autoplayed an obnoxious ad for Shlock Holmes. Apparently, Vice's video embeds do this. Argh.

Update 2: Thanks to Vice for providing a non-autoplaying version!

Die Antwoord: "Fok Julle Naaiers" (music video)

[Video Link]

The song, and the video, which apparently led to Die Antwoord's divorce from Interscope to go independent. This will be the first single to be released off their soon-to-be-self-released album TEN$ION.

Warning: If you are afraid of spiders or scorpions, you should not watch this video.