Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Today was a difficult day. Although I ask myself why so, I cannot even remotely come up with an answer. After a great, long night's sleep I found it challenging to get up, to generate any excitement whatsoever about the day. And what a beautiful day it started out as....
I so missed taking the initiative that comes with the dawn, and from then on consistently lost the battle of my mind.
Most of today was spent lying reading the captivating 'Around Africa on my Bicycle', sleeping, or moping next to two ecstatic (not that it was obvious) cats. Not on, it is Tuesday not Sunday after all.
I'm on a long flight northwards at the end of the first week of December, which means I've got a lot to do before then. I don't feel that, right now, I'm able to afford days like today. But in the same breath, somehow everything always works out.
While today I'm not 100% sure I'm exactly where I should be right now, there's no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I have been utterly true to myself and to my life journey...and if I'm not yet where I should be, I'm at least definitely on the right path. And that I have a lot less obstacles in my way of getting there than most.
It's raining.

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Late night storm

Thunder reverberating off Imemeza (Siswati for 'place of shouting'), the mountain behind the house, and fresh air from the storm gusting in through the open windows as I turn off the light.
I'm reading two travel books concurrently; I started Riaan Manser's 'Around Africa on my bicycle' yesterday then, tonight, remembered that I had crazy Irish woman and cyclist, Dervla Murphy's 'South from the Limpopo', unread on my bookshelf.
I'm loving them....

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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Beautiful day

It's a beautiful day. I'm well rested after lingering in bed between in the half light space between dozing off and reading until about 13h00. Then a slow, cool shower spent wondering what to do next.
Dressed, relaxed and rested I'm ambling slowly down the Schoemanskloof road towards, probably, Nelspruit.
It's a scorcher of a day, but fresh and bright after last night's rain.
I'm listening to Richard Moambo's sounds of Africa show on SAfm - music from all over the continent. It's good.
I'll take off at any road that catches my fancy... yes, fancy-free I am.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Speaking to Wikileaks' Julian Assange

Talking live on Skype - at the Power Reporting conference in Johannesburg - to Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange about the protection of sources, as well as about the Iraq war 'leaks'.

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CAR at Power reporting

I've just walked into my second computer assisted reporting session, which is all about using Excel for investigative journalism...and it's blowing my mind.
I had absolutely no idea whatsoever of the possibilities inherent in mining data for stories.

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I've got a thing for storms

It's the moodiness that draws me, that inspires me. These images were taken after the conference yesterday, as I was leaving the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Hail storm

These are just some of the images I managed to capture of the storm that engulfed me during my journey between Mpumalanga and Johannesburg on Sunday. It was exhilarating, and summer was instantly transformed into winter.

Monday, November 01, 2010

AIJC power reporting conference - Joshua Prager

Some notes:
The Wall Street Journal's Joshua Prager has been blowing our minds for the last hour and half. He's spent the time focusing on four of his stories in his 'writer as sleuth: bringing narrative to investigative journalism' slot.
He's adamant that it's good for people to know the truth. He says the best way to do it is to just tell a story: "And subtlety works...tell it simply.
And remember that understatement always rather than overstatement; don't hit people over the head!"
He also emphasised that authentication is crucial: "I'm obsessive about checking the details! You have to get the facts straight."
"I'm also a big believer in chronology. And define one character for each component of the story, so that they can bring it to life."
Joshua highlighted that when he writes the narrative he thinks about the five senses over and over: "Description! Describe things. Describe what you witnessed."
He said that what guides him is honesty and decency; that's why he believes people should always be given a chance to respond before publication.
While he doesn't want to hurt anyone, he also is adamant to not allow the possible outcry, reaction to the end story hold him back from writing it. "It's good for people to know the truth."
The man, who walks with a cane as the result of a bus accident when he was younger, has got a brilliant, sharp sense of humour. His talk this morning was inspiring and immediately put my future into perspective.


Coffee before AIJC

Thoughts getting snarled in unbearable traffic knots inspired me straight out of bed at 5h30. For that I was rewarded by a magnificent summer's morning...one that is 'deteriorating' into moodiness and a cold front chill from Mozambique in the west.
Walking past Wits university's senate house all I could dream of was a great cup of coffee. Well, I'm satisfied with hot and strong for now...
Registration for the African investigative journalism conference starts at 08h30n but between then and now I've got a sh*tload of work to get done.
Oh yeah, happy Monday.

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