Plagiarists, paleontologists, and the president’s demons – it’s been some week!
Words: Max Dylan Lazarus
It’s been a busy week in South African news: we’ve had frauds, fossils and alleged philanderers all over our newsfeeds. So hear me out, this issue we’re gonna try something a little different from the usual. We’ll run through the SA stories making us tick, and then we’ll look abroad to see if the rest of the world has anything comparable in craziness to what we find on our own shores. (Ed: turns out the whole world is a mess.)
Skye Grove, Instagram plagiarist
So not too long ago we wrote about The Fat Jewish, the social media aggregator who let the success he experienced off the back of other individuals’ works get to his head. He received a bombardment of criticism upon the announcement that he was to get a representation deal and loads of money, all from stealing other people’s jokes, and he seemed to feel that what he’s been doing is totally legit. Well, it turns out that this business model isn’t exactly a unique one, with one of South Africa’s top Instagrammers Skye Grove being outed this week as someone not exactly opposed to profit via plagiarism. Despite claiming that the works on her Instagram are all her own, it has now become apparent that Skye Grove has presented other artists’ images as her own, exhibited them in public for acclaim, and even gone so far as to sell prints of them for her own financial gain. It’s certainly coming to bite her back, so word of advice if you have ambitions of becoming a big player on social media: be you and only you, and be sure to credit others for their work. This ain’t the Wild West anymore.
Someone pinch me – paleontology is cool again!
There’s no need to be too despondent though, as some genuine original content has been released this week from South Africa: say hello to Homo naledi. The newest human-like fossil discovered in the Cradle of Humankind, Homo naledi was excavated all the way back in 2013 in the Rising Star Cave (which is where naledi – Sesotho for 'Star' – gets its name). This is big news everyone. Yes I know it isn’t The Missing Link you absolute palaeontology snob – ugh, this is why you never get invited to parties – but it’s a pretty big deal in that it could potentially explain so much about our evolution from primitive field dwellers to cave dwellers all the way to today, lying on the couch watching Frasier reruns picking lint out of our bellybutton (I’m peak human evolution.) The Times reports that, “Homo naledi is unique in that it has a mix of primate and human-like features. The shoulders are similar to apes while the feet are distinctly human-like.” They also reported that their appearance in this cave indicated some sort of higher-level brain function, as they would have had to navigate far in, potentially to dispose of their dead. The discovery of naledi leads to more questions than answers, but that is how the scientific method works. Even curmudgeonly old atheist fart Richard Dawkins joined in the fun, tweeting about how much he enjoyed Deputy President Ramaphosa’s speech, and also saying that if evolution isn’t real, then how do you explain the existence of pink dolphins, and dolphin midwives helping pregnant women give birth to ocean-babies? Dawkins 1 – Religion 0. (Note: Dawkins may not have said the 2nd bit.)
The Bonang – AKA – Zinhle debacle
Now I’m no gossip, I try avoid the tabloids as best as I can, so that means when celebrity juice starts entering my field of vision I generally know that it’s a big story. After being given the full rundown over a coffee in the kitchen (#squad *gives some sass, does the worm*) I can officially confirm that the current story surrounding Bonang and her alleged affair with AKA is pretty damn juicy. The basic rundown is this: DJ Zinhle announced this week that she and long-term partner AKA had broken up amicably only a few months after having their first child. SA Twitter, with the combined wit of Trevor Noah and investigative acumen of Derick Watts, started buzzing with accusations that perhaps Bonang had something to do with this, what with her and AKA being spotted together in Cape Town not long ago (you keeping up guys?). So anyway, Bonang very casually dismissed the rumours and got on with her business debuting on E! while AKA released his new track #Composure, when suddenly Zinhle drops the bombshell: a long blog-post accusing the two of having been involved in an affair over the last 5 months all while she was pregnant (ed. This page has since been removed and is now a SANRAL page, which is just hilarious). Twitter has since been having a field day, lambasting Bonang for her rep as a side-chick, throwing back to stories involving D’Banj, and even the Itumeleng Khune incident back in the Euphonik days. All this hate is just the nature of social media I guess, but hear me out: Why on earth is it that Bonang (who I really dig) is getting all this slack while AKA is coming out of this without any ounce of dirt weighing down his character? What type of father cheats on the mother of his baby throughout the pregnancy? Whether it’s true or not, as far as I’m concerned the only person coming out of this saga looking sympathetic is Zinhle.
The maidens and the demons: a South African parable
Meanwhile, in what was – as far as I’m concerned – the most under-reported story this week, President Zuma had to be evacuated from the Reed Dance ceremony when King Goodwill Zwelithini’s speech was interrupted as “the event turned chaotic, apparently as hysterical maidens believed demons were attacking them.” This manifested in young women crying and rolling on the ground en masse, and has resulted in some significant racism from many a white commentator on social media, apparently forgetting how maidens have acted in the presence of royalty from The Beatles all the way through to 1Direction. To attribute it to demons though, that to me seems one stretch too far. Hysteria yes, Lisztomania great reference, demons not so much. Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Majola has denied that it was a supernatural danger that chased the president away, rather explaining that Zuma just needed the toilet (one might say, to release his demons! Heyooo! *High fives the intern*) but just to prove that this isn’t such a weird news story, I’ve decided to spice up this week’s edition with the most bizarre tales making the news around the world:
From maidens to mermaids, it turns out there’s been some supernatural trouble north of the border in Zimbabwe, with Bulawayo 24 News reporting that several residents of Mutare claim to have had nasty encounters with the mythical creatures residing in a nearby river. I highly recommend that everyone read this piece. It’s fantastic. I mean there’s no evidence of anything happening, but still, what a story.
If we head further up north looking for more maiden-themed stories from our continent, we find Reed Dance-level hysteria happening in Kenya, where the women of Kiambu County held a mass demonstration this week to protest over the lack of men available to impregnate them. On paper it sounds like the weirdest protest ever (and also eerily similar to a recurring dream I had through puberty), but turns out the problem is being attributed to alcohol abuse, which is running rampant in the area. The women are pushing for legislation that will sober up the men, and I guess in turn get them pregnant. Listen, I don’t claim to understand how these things work, but I’m pretty certain that my entire existence on this planet can be attributed to alcohol indulgence, so I feel like the bottle is being used as a scapegoat here.
Leading from the front
You guys aren’t keeping up with news from Turkmenistan? What the hell do you do all day in the office while you’re supposed to be hitting targets? Listen, not only does the official Turkmenistan website have the most amazing look and layout ever designed by man, but the content it hosts isn’t half bad either. Basically, the most recent news, as is the case with all news ever reported in the country, concerns the amazing president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. This last month the brave and amazing leader won the national elections by a margin, while simultaneously winning the national motor racing championship by a bigger margin, all while revealing a gold-plated horse-statue reaching into the sky, in an attempt to outshine his predecessor’s gold-plated sky-statue, again by a huge margin. He’s an amazing guy Berdymukhamedov. The guy is a horse-obsessed desert-nation dictator – let’s just call him Khal Drogo and be done with it.
Yes I know it’s not weird world news but Trainspotting 2 is happening. Well it’s based on the book Porno though for marketing reasons they will likely just call it Trainspotting 2. Actually for marketing reasons they might just call it Porno. You know what, who cares, it’s going to star all the old actors, and be directed by Danny Boyle. Will there be another toilet scene? God I Hope so!
Have a wonderful week everyone…