Law & Order

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I have quite a lot of travelling for my in-depth. Ok, so three times is not that much but the fact that I’ve gone to places I wasn’t familiar with before made the trips very daunting to make. As much as I like travelling and meeting new people, those two ideas were thrown out the window when I thought about the worst thing that could possibly happen to me. I am afraid of getting lost and will admit it to anyone ,at anytime, anywhere.

The trips I made so far have been as follows:

To ADAPT in Alexandra township, making our way there my classmate and I almost got lost. I think it set the precedence for me in terms of always letting the driver know where exactly I’m headed to because they determine their route when they know where everyone is going and it’s a sort of” first come, first serve” type of thing.

The second trip was to Daveyton over the weekend. Two words for the trip: far and FAR! but I enjoyed spending the day with LCD (my central character’s initials).

My third trip was today and I had so many things to consider on this one.

  1. Do I use the Gautrain or taxis?
  2. Do I say Tshwane or Pretoria?
  3. With all the street name changes, am I even gonna make it to my destination?

So the toss between the mode of transportation used was the biggest stress factor and really determined whether one of my biggest fears would happen or not. So I took the question to my Facebook and with the help of my friends finally came to a decision. I used taxi’s and although I passed up a chance to use the train service I got to my interviewee’s offfice in one piece. There would’ve been no thrill in me getting lost in the country’s executive capital city.

I settled to use Pretoria, sorry but I’m still wrapping my head around using Tswhane!

All the street name changes are crazy hey, I get why people are complaining but the signs are still there and with the help of my interviewee I memorised the landmarks and got to her office on time.

So back to the judiciary system topic!

Last week I managed to arrange an appointment with an attorney and wasn’t going to let the distance discourage me from meeting up with her.

She specialises in Human Rights, Labour, Civil and LGBTI rights and definitely the right person to speak. And what do you know? she is actually working on hate-crime case at the Johannesburg Magistrate Court tomorrow.

We spoke about a number of things and she basically told me a number of things I have heard before but I think the fact that she is actually working on a hate crime case at the moment makes her input worth it. No interview is useless, it’s up to the journalist to shape it and get the most out of it.

She gave me the latest stats of people murdered due to their sexual orientation. I must say it helps speaking to people who are clued up and follow the matter extensively rather than searching for the numbers on some government website.

She also invited me to attend the hearing tomorrow and I hope I can! (this should come in very handy for the latest news in conjunction with my topic)

This was the last interview I had left for my final piece and now I need to work at an extra speed to tie the info in and manage to make my piece cohesive.

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It’s all coming together:)

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The last time I updated my blog was October, 10 (Wednesday) and I wasn’t really chuffed about my progress. When the world gets to you, one really ends up thinking of the worst possible scenario and that was my mentality on that day. Working on this project made me angry, not at the course itself but the topic. My optimism and faith in people was being shredded to pieces when I realised the kind of animal man has become  (I will write a book on this someday and use that platform to explain my views further).

Funny enough the following morning I woke up with a pep in my step (I swear this had nothing to do with my mentors postponing the first draft feedback meeting). When a new day breaks I often convince myself that going the extra mile and making up for the previous day’s mistakes or unreached goals will do me good, and that is exactly what I did.

>>>>BBM status October, 11: “WHEN YOU SAY NO, GOD SAYS YES!”

I used the day to find out more from government sources. Took my time and walked to Constitution Hill where, embarrassingly, it was the first time I set my foot there. I managed to find people who were willing to help me and referred me to people they knew at the Human Rights Commission and Department of Justice.

But would a government office be without them giving you the run around? Getting that “official voice” would be great if they actually got back to me or answered their phones every time I follow the matter up. I thought to myself again, “Lebo, don’t forget! People do not have the same urgency that you have okay?!”

I wasn’t going to let anything deter my spirits because I knew that I was meeting with my “face” on Saturday. I also took stock of all the research and people I have spoken to thus far and maybe those extra frills will not be necessary (let’s see what my mentors say)

FASTFORWARD EVENTS        

Yesterday I met up with “LCD” (her initials) in the East-Rand and my day couldn’t have turned out any better. We hit it off like we have known each other for years. I guess being timid wouldn’t help when in a field where one’s constantly interacting with people.

I was happy that even though she had been a source to other international journalists, she was willing to speak to me.

As soon as we boarded a taxi to her home she had already gave me lessons about her neighbourhood and the general dislike of LGBTI persons from people in the community, especially by men. It was funny (weird) to see how people reacted to seeing me with her. Everyone seemed to want to make sense of the “odd picture” they saw and it really made me realise that the prejudice is quite overt in the area. You could see assumption and judgement all over their faces. I suppose that is why there have been quite a number of corrective rape incidences there.

But for LCD this was just another day living her life: “I’m used to it,” she says. She also told me her story and I must say she has gone through a lot and ever since then she’s been advocating for the rights of LGBTI people and tells “her truth” so that other victims will find life through her experiences.

I did not take a lot of photos because I was so caught up in talking to her but I have video footage I hope to use for my multimedia.

My meeting with her left me with mixed emotions and a thousand more questions about this phenomenon. Although our country’s past is characterised by a regime of categorisation, discrimination and prejudice, how different is the “new South Africa”? Are we ready for people with different sexual orientation? Do we realise that the minority and disadvantaged are often the ones to suffer at the hands of the judicial system? *sigh*

Tomorrow I am meeting with an attorney who is currently working on a “corrective rape” case and handing my piece in so I really hope my work speaks for itself and does justice to this issue and stories I have been told.

What a slow one-Day 9

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Today I handed the first draft of my story in and I have to say, for a person who loves  perfection and takes pride in doing the best in tasks, this was not my best.

I could blame it on fatigue or me just being lazy but truth is it’s both.

Yesterday I had all these awesome ideas about the kind of approach I could take: a lead in, nutgraph, quotes, links, sections suitable for the web …you name it, I thought of it but today I was just so weary and wondered where the hell I was going to start.

It’s probably information overload cos it is great meeting people and have them tell you their stories and knowledge of certain topics. But the duty of writing a piece and including information relayed to you and keeping its essence is sometimes very hard. I do not want to distort any data or give a one-sided account of arguments in my topic.

I need to work on what seems to be “writer’s-block” and make sure I have my ducks in a row.

I need to unpack my information and time is running out.

And I keep checking my list but it seems like it keeps getting longer.

However, something good came out of the day.
I had a meeting at Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) and got valuable information, I just wish I didn’t have to write about it*sigh*.

I also contacted an attorney who is currently working on a corrective rape case so I will be able to meet up with her soon.

IT HASN’T BEEN A GOOD DAY, YOU CAN EVEN SEE IT IN THE LENGTH OF MY BLOG . NO DRAMA, EXCITEMENT OR NEW IDEA *shrugs*

If the world could hear my thoughts- Day 9

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I wake up and think about corrective rape.

Walk to the bus stop and still think about the same topic.

While I’m supposed to enjoy a good meal or the company around me, my mind is filled with what I still need to do and this involves, yep you guessed it, thinking about the “uniquely African” concept  .

As I was walking home this afternoon, I thought to myself if people who didn’t know what I was working on could hear my thoughts they’d think of me as such a weirdo. Every sentence , at most, has the word rape in it.

I am inquisitive now more than ever! Always wondering and asking myself questions that I cannot answer.

I cannot help it. I have come to have so much knowledge on corrective rape and issues surrounding gender based violence that I am curious about things that have not been tackled or expanding on those that have been explored .

I am actually saddened that South Africa is thought to be the unsafest country for a woman to live in.

And my main worry is that Africans need to do a lot of work for many of the social and economic issues to be tackled.

During the third quarter, our group had classes with Professor Anton Harber and one discussion we had was whether journalists can assume the role of being activists and remain partial is possible. I think at this point,depending on the in-depth topic that one is working on, it is safe to assume that the attachment that they have with the concept will illuminate points where this is tested.

I really believe that I cannot just leave all this after I handed in my hard and multimedia copies just because my postgraduate degree will be in the bag. One of the things I have always believed in is that  ‘When you stand for nothing, you fall for anything,” and I really want to keep myself on par with discussions surrounding how (if ever) the judicial systems deals with placing sanctions for hate crime and corrective rape in future.

When I met up with my mentors today that was what they suggested I look at too. And this is what I had in mind when speaking to my sources in the past week. If hate crime is not a crime then why call it such??? We need a different phrase to be coined, one that can be recognized by the judiciary so that offenders can feel the long arm of law pull them out of where they choose to hide. And this also applies to the terms of corrective or curative rape. It would really be nice to hear how an attorney prepares for a case of either nature. It must be really draining to know that you are preparing to defend an idea that is not recognised by the law. (This makes me sooooooo sad)

Another stress factor is the multimedia component of my project. I have content but I just need to sort it out and come up with something innovative  that will blow my mentors away (graphs, interactive maps or bland stills are kinda ruled out).

And the thought process alters to: “hate crimes….corrective rape….video? yes, pictures?yes….hmmmm”
If the world could hear my thoughts now they would really think I’m a creep!

Remember a place called the library?

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So I went to the library! And this statement should not amaze you because I am a student you know. This is supposed to be our home because our “job description” entails going through thousands of literature (I exaggerate a bit here) so you can soak up the knowledge that academic greats have left for you to gain.

 

 

But the thing is I am no normal student. Although I am getting my first postgrad qualification, this is no ordinary course. Being part of Vuvuzela made me no ordinary student.

Firstly the course is very practical, so dealing with the standard theory filled curriculum is not the norm. It’s really good that I will be prepared for the workings of a newsroom but I really forgot the immense info that libraries have (I kid you not).

I mean you would really understand what I meant if you were part of #teamvuvu. We really dealt with the latest hard news that our audience expected to see in the weekly publication, and honestly the library was never one of the places where stories could be found.

So right now I’m doing my in-depth research and I realise that we have been so used to being practical that we completely ignored the fact that we can use our undergrad research background to move forth with our topics.

I discovered an entire section on rape (my topic is basically about corrective rape and you would know this if you follow my posts) and this was after my mentor told me to look up a The Sexual Face of Violence: Rapists on Rape by Lloyd Vogelman.

I looked like a kid who just walked into a candy store (no lies) when I saw other books that could assist me in refining my ideas.

I just wonder if my colleagues have gone back to basics even though the stories are out there. It is research after all, right mates?!

 

Steady on: Day 8

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After a good run over the weekend, I wanted to keep the momentum honestly I needed to rest. A late start to the day wouldn’t hurt, right?!

I spent most part of yesterday trying to plan how I will use and formulate a strong piece with the information I have.

I tried storyboarding and that didn’t go far and the thing is that no matter how much information on has, it feels like they need to do more. Basically leave no stone unturned, but when you do that you end up with too much content that will prove too hard to condense or tie it all together.

Some of the data I got yesterday made me think of the  holes that I need to cover and questions to ask my source.

It’s really fine to ask WHY when I don’t understand certain things I am told. My background is not in law it’s always good to put things into perspective.

In the morning I was communicating with the individual I interviewed for my multimedia on Saturday and they reminded me that I should always have my ducks in a row.

Basically, not everyone is going to be open to the idea that you are an honours students trying to get a qualification. Getting proper documentation makes things easier and assures people that they will be protected once their views are out there.

It was really refreshing to have an interviewee who is really willing to help and make administrative recommendations. There are s0me cool people out there! 🙂

Today I spoke to my mentor, Carolyn Raphaely, about my progress and actually realised I am on the right track.

I also contacted Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) and spoke to the Programmes Coordinator. I have an appointment set with her for Wednesday and she also managed to refer me to a Pretoria based organization that has attorneys working on hate crimes and corrective rape cases.

Carolyn suggested a book that would help me understand the “voice of the rapist”, although outdated I found it in the main library and I hope I can get through it in time to include some parts for my first draft on Wednesday.

It’s all about who you know, you know?!- Day 6

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Yesterday I set out to attend Joburg Pride and the day had not even begun and I realised that as a journalist most social events are basically places where you will be sent to work. This could put anyone off but as the day progressed I just had so much fun working in that environment that it motivated me to do my work. Perhaps it was because I was around people who were open to share their thoughts and feelings on issues that affect them, so my day went down quite well.

NO CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION: Joburg Pride, the event hosted on October 6th was less a social one but means aimed at raising awareness on issues that the LGBTI community faces.

Work, work, work!

First of all I missed the entire march and for a person who needs content for the multimedia component of the project I thought I was done for.

I had to improvise. With my camera and flipcam in hand I went out to the showgrounds and park to see the content I could get.

I had to depend on people relating how the march was to them.

My friend gave me an account of what happened and what I got from her was that it was very deep.

The picture she painted for me was that those who really came to stand for LGBTI rights felt that the event was not just a social gathering and there was NO CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION.

There  is also a Youtube video showing what happened because along the way there was conflict between the organizers and some activists.

Social network commentary was full of people frowning upon what they thought Pride had become. However, some took to Twitter and Facebook to show support for the initiative.

Part of the march included a stop where activists asked the crowd for one minute of silence. Although the purpose of the act by 1in9 activist was aimed at mourning the lives of those killed because of their sexual orientation, it did not prove successful from some attending the march.

When I arrived at the park I used the opportunity to speak to a lot of people (sober ones ONLY) regarding my research and I think that getting information at the event was a good idea but the answers were one-sided.

It made me wonder whether people understood the judicial system or does the judicial system not understand and see the grievances of LGBTI.

Sometimes it’s really about who you know…
People are very apprehensive to comment on crucial and not so crucial issues and it gets worse when you mention you would like to film them. I had a tough time with this and missed so many good interviews because of the bloody flip cam.
But two ladies were more than happy to comment as long as I recorded voice notes and not their faces. They just expressed their lack of confidence in how the police service and justice systems deals with hate crimes.
After much walking around and being turned down I was starting to give up.
It became clear to me that indeed some people were just there for fun.

My friend suggested we ask her cousin to refer me to someone who would be willing to be on camera.

And this person was a walking black book! She is very good friends with people I have been trying to contact. JACKPOT!!!!

I spoke to her friend and I’m very happy with what I got. I just hope the audio doesn’t fail me (What I hate about flipcams- you get good material and cross your fingers and toes that the sound is okay).

All in all my weekend was good.

(I say this while sitting with tons of info to get through) 😐