Angry Fathers and Searching Sons

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Whenever one turns on the TV, there is some image of raging, furious men on the screen. It seems that the glorification of violence, whether entirely arbitrary and pathetically fake (as in the wrestling programmes with their trumped-up ravings about past insult and future humiliation) or driven by irrational religious righteousness (as in the insane rampages of ISIL and Boko Haram, with oil fields a neat bonus), the vengeance vendettas of gangster movies (where injured pride is the motive and drug dealing territory a by-product) or the superficially reasonable sounding justifications of World Powers (whose moral imperative is to bomb democracy into another country), the world is bursting with male anger. The flip side of that fury is ‘duty’ – American boys that died in Vietnam and Afghanistan ‘served their country’ we are told.  Some sectarian group has been ill-treated so surely it is their turn to ill-treat others. The mothers must glean some comfort from this I suppose, while the fathers swell with pride, and assuage their guilt with even greater adherence to the militarisation of the male image.

Whether the cause justifies the fury or whether the existing fury needs expression and will invent a cause, is difficult to say. During the Second World War, German soldiers had belt buckles that said “God with us”.  The allies believed they were fighting a just war, and because it was so just God would bless their bombing of Dresden. God supported both sides, did He?  All the horrors of the Berlin ghetto and the holocaust, and the ‘lest we forget’ memorials have not prevented Israel from turning the West Bank into another ghetto and smugly justifying the oppression of Palestinians. And British colonialism (and mass murder) was of course prompted by a noble intention: to bring Christianity to the heathens! (The gold and diamonds of two fledgling republics were collateral advantage I suppose, and the forced urbanisation of Africans for mining fodder a good Christian thing to do, as was the crippling of millions by their opium trade in the east.)

Examples to be proud of: Fathers and sons

Of course there are angry women too! But women have to look after their children, find clean water and scrounge for food, clothes, shelter, heat, and the safety of their children – protecting them from rape, being forced into prostitution or recruited as soldiers, being suicide bombers, freezing to death or dying of hunger. That does not leave much time and energy for fighting the ready-made foe, so the vast majority of fighters remain men … and boys. In the local news we have taxi drivers (did you see many female ones?) threatening to claim territory at gunpoint, and police being exonerated from murder at Marikana (at least here is one woman who might be culpable ) All this chasing down of causes means that fathers are mainly conspicuous by their absence in the lives of most children. And when they do put in an appearance, the only strong emotion they are capable of expressing is


So this is what boys see. To be a man I must be filled with fury and find a cause on which to expend it. No wonder recruiting them into the armies of the world is easy! The sins of the father are most decidedly visited on the son. Obama expresses his convictions about America’s Christian duty in a milder voice than the sectarian and shifting proponents of Allah, but the basis message is the same:

Might is right.

Fathers of the world, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? In your own inner life, consider what example you present to your sons. What need that is so deeply unmet in your life makes you furious? In your public life, read the eight beatitudes of Jesus Christ in the Bible, and the Five Pillars of Wisdom of Islam. Nowhere will you see a call to arms and blind fury.

Can this cycle be broken? Only men can do it, but will they?

The experience of loss without decent Insurance cover is reason for anger.



FIFA’s corruption scandal

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Fifa crisis

27 May 2015 is definitely a date that will go down in the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) history books, but for the wrong reason. After what has appeared to be a lengthy investigation, nine FIFA officials and a number of executives of sports management companies were arrested on, according to the United States Department of Justice, suspicion of receiving bribes totalling some $150 million.

Amid this scandal, which have been reported to stretch back some 24 years, Sepp Blatter were re-elected as FIFA’s president. Blatter was not part of the accused officials taken into custody and this will be Blatter’s fifth term as FIFA’s president.

The Swiss authorities have, in the meantime, started criminal proceedings regarding the awarding of the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) Soccer World Cups, citing possible criminal mismanagement and suspected money laundering. Qatar – who won the bid to host the 2022 Soccer World Cup – have already been in the news with reports of some 1 200 workers dying at the building sites of the soccer stadiums being built for the World Cup.

Meanwhile Danny Jordaan – the head of the South African Football Association (SAFA) – confirmed that an amount of $10 million was deducted from a FIFA payment to the country in 2008. This amount was said to have been paid to a football body led by Jack Warren, who now finds himself at the centre of the FIFA corruption allegations.

Jordaan denies that the amount deducted from the payment was a bribe to secure South Africa as host country for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. US prosecutors, though, insist that this money was intended to secure South Africa becoming the first African country to host the Soccer World Cup.

The BBC journalist Andrew Harding noted that unnamed officials confirmed that the payment referred to were made to support football development among members of the African diaspora. He also added that this payment makes sense if regarded in the political context of the time.

It is still unclear at this time whether sponsors like VISA, Adidas, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Budweiser will withdraw their sponsorships.

Credit Card – Blessing or Curse

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Credit Card – Immediate access to funds

A credit card affords those who qualify for it to be awarded on the spot credit for a pre-determined amount. In other words, the card issuer grants you an instant loan for a certain amount of money. Having immediate access to funds on demand can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you choose to manage this privilege.

Paying with plastic and swiping your credit card indiscriminately can soon land you in hot water. Spending money you don’t have on something you don’t really need is a recipe for disaster. Hefty monthly interest charges may balloon to such an extent that your monthly installments may go toward paying off the interest instead of the amount borrowed. The ‘purchase now, pay later through your neck culture’ can cause personal debt to spiral out of control.

Your credit card can be a blessing if you treat it with respect and only apply it in conjunction with a strict budget. The rule of thumb is to know what you can afford and to only swipe plastic to pay for a purchase when it’s a case of life and death and you simply can’t go without the item or service you’re paying for. Then proceed to promptly pay of you debt with regular installments – and do try to pay off more than the minimum amount required in order to avoid incurring cumulative debt.

Credit card – A means to an end

Having access to a direct, instant loan may, for instance, help you to pay for an unexpected medical emergency when you don’t have cash readily available. Use your card only as a means to an end and not as a crutch or an excuse to shop for things you want and not necessarily need. Stick to a strict budget and save to buy cash. View your credit card as a true friend in need – don’t abuse it, and it’ll be there for you when you need it most.



10 Reasons to enjoy your Easter holidays in Durban

What Durban offers for Easter

As most holiday cities in South Africa, Durban is as friendly as they come. During Easter, which is autumn in SA, the climate in KwaZulu-Natal is perfect for holiday time. Why not enjoy Easter with you family in Durban this year?

Here are ten reasons to consider:

1.    Hit the beach. Durban is renowned for its fabulous family beaches. For some the attraction is the thought of lazing around on the white sands and for others catching the waves will do it. During Easter it is not as jam-packed as during the Christmas holidays and the worst heat have subsided. Still, don’t forget the sunscreen and hats.

2.    Pack a picnic. Durban offers some outstanding nature parks which include the botanical and Japanese Gardens. African flowers are breathtakingly beautiful. These parks offer a huge assortment of our very best indigenous fauna. Imagine a relaxing day in the beauty of Mother Nature.

3.    Rickshaw rides. This is something that will bring out your inner child. These traditional and very colourful Rickshaws are a landmark in Durban. A short trip in one of these man-drawn buggies reminds of an early means of travel in the area. This is an opportunity for sightseeing, family bonding and chomping Easter eggs at the same time.

4.    Roller-blading. Gliding along the Golden Mile, the paved paths along the beach or the roller rink, accessibly situated for kids to use while parents do shopping. So pack the skates, mom.

5.    Become adventurous. In the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean you can swim down into the amazing underwater world with only your wetsuit and aqua lung. No phones or pagers, just you and the splendour of the Indian Ocean. Spectacular coral reefs make this an exceptional location for diving and snorkeling.

6.    Visit the snake park. See a variety of indigenous snakes from the lurking boomslang to the spitting cobra, as well as some imported species. This will be a spellbinding experience. On weekends, feeding of snakes and crocodiles can be seen.

7.    Go on Safari. Spend a day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Wildlife Reserve on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, positioned conveniently in the heart of Zululand. An amazing way to get close to the wild species of South Africa.

8.    Get to know Ushaka.  Durban’s very own top-notch saltwater aquarium, Ushaka Marine World. More than 30 indoor and outdoor exhibits offers fun and delight for everyone.

9.    A paradise of Birds. Umgeni River Bird Park yields birds that you only see in story books, in every colour of the rainbow. It’s enough to brighten up a whole day for the whole family.

10. Remember the reason for Easter. Be sure that your family remembers what Easter actually symbolizes. Visit one of many church denominations, to share in the celebrations of Easter.


Heat: Record-setting Heat-Waves in History

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Understanding  Heat

Heatwaves are uncomfortable to say the least, and the heat causes many to change their routines to try and stay out of the sun as much as they can. While the local heat we’ve experienced this year have been relatively short, other heat-waves have set temperatures soaring over many weeks or even months. These extended periods of high temperatures can lead to heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses and can prove extremely dangerous or even deadly. We tend to underestimate the danger high temperatures hold, yet, over the past few centuries, severe heatwaves have caused tens of thousands of deaths.

In John Withington’s 2008 book A Disastrous History of the World: Chronicles of War, Earthquake, Plague and Flood, he specifically sites the heat-waves that struck the US in 1936. Temperatures started to rise in June, with no sign of letting up in July and August. The heat caused thousands of deaths in July alone (Withington, 2008:93). “Altogether, the heat-wave killed perhaps 15 000 in the three years from 1934 to 1936” (Withington, 2008:93). Another deadly heat-wave struck the US in 1980, leading to some 10 000 deaths (Withington, 2008:94).

In August 2003 a severe heat-wave hit Europe, breaking temperature records – some of which were 500 years old! The weather caused crops to wither, rivers to dry up and fuelled devastating fires. This heat-wave also showed just how dangerous it is to underestimate the devastation such intense heat and weather conditions can cause. France’s Ministry of Health’s refusal to acknowledge the problem led many to disregard the warnings given. The intense heat lasted for weeks and left more than 52 000 dead. In France alone 15 000 people died.

The record for the most consecutive days above 37.8 °C was set in Western Australia when the temperatures remained at these extremely high levels for 160 days – from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924. Australia has been hit with severe heat-waves over the past decade as well, some leading to devastating wild fires.

Countless other extreme and deadly heatwaves have been recorded across the world. What these examples of some of the worst heat-waves must teach us is that heat and warnings of heatwaves must be taken seriously. The elderly, children, and ill are especially vulnerable to heat-related illnesses and care should be taken to look after one another during a heat-wave.


Author: Carin Marais

Carin Marais writes web articles, guest and blog posts, and fiction. With interests ranging from pop culture and technology to literature, mythology and archaeology, her writing covers diverse subjects. To contact Carin for articles and guest posts, or to read her work, go to her home page, her blog Hersenskim or follow her on @CarinMarais.



Yours Truly, Your Valentine

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With these famous last words Saint Valentine signed his farewell letter to the blind daughter of one of his judges, Asterius, before his three part execution. He was a Roman priest in a challenging time around the year 270, when polygamy was very popular. Emperor Claudias II, hostile to the church, believed that unmarried men made better soldiers and therefore prohibited young people to marry. Valentine on the other hand, secretly married anyone in the church who was attracted to the Christian faith. For that, he was convicted, imprisoned and executed. As legend would have it, he prayed and healed the young blind girl while in prison and Asterius himself became a Christian as result.


As Juliet said in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: “Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.”

For these two young lovebirds, their family feuds and -names were the biggest obstacles to their ‘Happily Ever After’. We all know in what terrible tragedy it all ended. Unlike what many might believe, you are not your family, neither your family name. You shouldn’t be like them if you don’t want to. You are you, unique in your own way. Juliet wanted Romeo to give up his family name. How many sadly lost the love of their life, simply because they made the wrong choice in the eyes of their parents or family?

Then there are certain cases where anyone can see how wrong a specific relationship is. It would only be natural to want to “save” someone from obvious disaster. Is it really such a noble thing to do? After all, no-one can tell for certain what the future holds. Shouldn’t we all be free to make our own choices (and mistakes) in life?


This is what Saint Valentine stood for and he too paid a terrible price. He wanted love to conquer in the end, no matter what. Isn’t this how we should celebrate Valentines’ Day? A very famous anti-war slogan from the 1960’s hippy era was “Make Love, Not War”. They would argue that no-one ever died from love. Well, literally or figurative spoken, they had a point. On the other hand, dissolute love could result in HIV AIDS and well, from that you could die in the end. Although the Roman priest paid with his life for his belief in pure love and marriage, this day will always be our reminder.


Other than Romeo and Juliet, most people care very much for a name. We see it as something really important, our special identity. To have a city, town, street or anything else linked to your name, is a great honour. Saint Valentine stood steadfast in his faith. For his noble deeds, he was honoured with a special holiday.


In modern times, love and romance are celebrated worldwide on Valentine’s Day. It depicts the freedom to choose and love who we want. It became such a wondrous, mysterious occasion where we not only honour Saint Valentine, but love itself. What a glorious festival of true love! Let us rather love each other instead of fight. Why not celebrate every single day as Valentine’s Day!

 In modern times you should not go without decent Insurance cover.

Valentine’s Day: How to propose.

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VALENTINE’S DAY PROPOSALS – Romantic ways to pop the question

More marriage proposals occur on Valentine’s Day than on any other day of the year. The 14th February proposal rate is not surprising, of course, so the challenge is to find an original, unique way of popping the question. On the one hand one does not want to move to far from the traditional because the day lends itself to custom and the outward expressions of romantic love. On the other hand, one wants the occasion to be true to the personalities of the people involved and to honour the special character of a specific relationship.


1.    Hide the ring in food. People have swallowed, choked, spat, landed in hospital and ended up marrying the surgeon who saved their lives instead of the guy who proposed.

2.    Propose in a crowd or in front of other people, unless you are very, very sure you will be accepted. People have said yes because they wanted to avoid embarrassment, resented getting married because they felt coerced by the presence of family or colleagues or married the psychologist who had to deal with their dislike of surprises.

3.    Go down on your knee if you have an old injury and can’t get up, the lawn is soggy or you are wearing white or planning to go out afterwards. People have ended up marrying the dry cleaner who understands that they feel upset that the raw silk trousers they brought their fiancée from India is stained beyond repair.


1.    Indulge in the treasure hunt build-up. Use the fourteen days leading up to “The Day” to prepare the love of your life for the moment. A series of daily gifts placed in surprising places – a coat pocket, balanced on the steering wheel, on the pillow to be discovered at bedtime, in the ‘fridge where it is impossible to miss when you get milk for the morning coffee.

2.    Sweets and more sweets. Fortune cookies and love message candies are ideal. On the actual day, shower her with ones that say “Marry Me”. Cards can do the trick too, but sweets or cupcakes are better and … well, sweeter.

3.    Music is the food of love, so play on! For fourteen days, send links to shared favourites or songs that really get the message across. U Tube has a placed this possibility within the reach of those with even the most unusual tastes in music, so find it!


Who is Christmas for?

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Your Christmas bonus spending.

Is Christmas only for Christians?

The reason why there is a public holiday called Christmas, is supposed to be for Christians to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Who are these Christians? They are Christ followers, who accepted Jesus Christ as their saviour and declared Him the Lord of their lives. Or they are supposed to be!

Looking around in shops and Malls this time of the year, what I see tells a very different story. Let me tell you what I see. I see the Hindu shop owner and the Muslim and the Jew and the Buddhist alike, setting up Christmas trees with bright lights flashing, luring the ‘Christians’ to come and spend their hard earned money as well as their December bonuses, in their shops. To buy two items for the price of one, but the one item’s price is inflated enough to cover both items any way. So the customer buys two, when he actually only really needed one.  What am I saying? He actually didn’t ‘need’ any!

These non-Christmas-celebrating business people smile merrily all the way to the bank. No wonder they are so generously wishing all a merry Christmas, because theirs certainly will be!

Christmas has become the time of the year to waste money, buying expensive gifts for people you don’t really care about, but will feel guilty and what will they think of you if you don’t? No matter that you don’t think much of them anyway.

Even in an opulent Muslim country where I lived, business owners grabbed the opportunity to help ‘Christians’ get rid of their money by creating an atmosphere with stars, bright lights, red pointed caps with white fur and pom-poms, playing BZN’s Little Drummer Boy and Hark the Herald Angels loud and clear. Employers who put the money in your pocket did not share the celebration, oh no. If you wanted the day of to spend with your family, you had to apply for a day’s leave.

Again I ask: Who is Christmas for?

Can I go on holiday?

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Stressed out and need a holiday?

But of course you can go on holiday!

Ahoy, ahoy! On holiday we go! Which family does not look forward to a break? All year round the kids have to learn, the parents have to earn and everyone is stressed all the time. Better marketing and better facilities have seen to it that there are now so many more choices. Perhaps those families with holiday homes still return to their family properties every year but many others are opting to explore the world and the country.

Looking forward to a vacation and actually enjoying the vacation are two very different things. First of all: where to go? Next: can we afford it? Also: will it be enjoyable for everyone in the household? These are important issues and they must be addressed when planning a family vacation.

Going to the same location every year may be comforting because everyone knows what to expect. On the other hand, exploring new options may be exciting and may unlock new treasures. There is a risk, however: if it is a disaster it is almost impossible to fix. Luckily, South Africa is a wonderfully diverse country with numerous destinations that are guaranteed to thrill and enthral.

Consumer feedback sites are a truly wonderful way in which to get an idea of whether a specific location or venue can deliver on its promises. Modern consumers are sophisticated and they will not tolerate shoddy service, false promises or overrated activities and events. So, visit sites such as Hellopeter before making a final decision.

If finances are tight, consider a vacation close to home, or actually stay at home. With a little bit of imagination it is possible to stay home and plan excursions that will still be exciting and enjoyable. In addition, a holiday at home saves a lot of money on accommodation and transport. Perhaps a portion of that money can be spent on special treats that would not even be affordable on a vacation elsewhere!

One thing you should never forget when you go on holiday – INSURANCE!

Understand Life Insurance

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How Life Insurance Premiums are Calculated

One need only watch the news to realise why it is important to make provision for your loved ones after your death. Whether you pass away from natural causes, violence, or are struck with a dread disease, getting life insurance will ensure that those who depend on you will not be left with debts or other expenses. While life insurance premiums may seem arbitrary, it is anything but. Insurance premiums are calculated based on specific risk categories. Charging different premiums to different risk categories ensure that each policy holder pays a fair premium.

The risk factors taken into account when taking out a life insurance policy may include age, gender, income, occupation, access to healthcare, lifestyle factors, and pre-existing conditions. ASISA states “By applying the rating factors insured lives are divided into groups where the risk of dying is similar. This enables the insurer to charge a fair premium”.

Why are these risk factors taken into account?

Statistics are used to determine if a person has a bigger or smaller (statistical) chance of dying in a set time period. For instance, gender is used because women, on average, live longer than men. A higher income also means that a person will most likely have access to better healthcare. If you have been diagnosed with any medical condition, it may mean that you fall in a higher risk group than someone without that medical condition. Your occupation may be taken into account to determine if the work you do places you at a higher risk of death. For instance, a police officer’s job may be deemed to be more dangerous than that of an admin clerk working for a company.

Do I have to disclose everything?

It is your duty to disclose any information required by the insurance company. If it is found that there has been non-disclosure or misrepresentation of any necessary information, the insurer is entitled to refuse to pay claims, may recover monies already paid in claims or may cancel the benefit. This is why it is very important to read all documents very carefully and make sure that you understand everything stated there.

By taking out a life insurance policy with a trusted insurer, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of financially after your death.



Carin Marais writes web articles, blog posts, and fiction. With interests ranging from mythology and books to pop culture and technology, her writing covers diverse subjects. Some of her articles include The Top Reason Why You Need Insurance,  Live Your Own Hero’s Journey, Dare to Live Life Every Moment, and 5 Tips for Surviving Change: A New Job. Links to her writing and her contact information can be found at, or follow her on @CarinMarais.