[WITH VIDEO]: Chinese history in South Africa

The second day of in-depth did not prove very productive to my disappointment. I came into the newsroom  today with the intention to do the most today however things crumbled to pieces.

I sit here in the newsroom at the end of the day writing this blog post with tired eyes and brain storming ways in which I can make tomorrow better. The Chinese in Johannesburg topic is one which is going to require major in-depth research and therefore perfect for what is expected from us in this course.

Today however, I did manage to email my source Mr Pon. He had asked me to send him an email in which I stated exactly what my project was about and what research I wanted to conduct on him and his family with supporting evidence of why I wanted to do this research with his family in particular. I did so as soon as I walked into the door this morning. H e has not gotten back to me but I understand he is a busy man, I plan on calling him first thing in the morning.

I also had to do research of my own today on the history of how the Chinese people came to South Africa. There is a long history indeed which dates back to the early 1600’s, to my surprise. However, the nutgraph of the history started in the early 1900’s, a whole three centuries later when the Chinese people came to South Africa as migrant labourers.

A picture of the immigant Chinese labourers who came to South Africa in the early 1900's. Photo: Provided

A picture of the immigant Chinese labourers who came to South Africa in the early 1900’s. Photo: Provided

I am yet to finish up my reading on this history as it so detailed and long, but interesting nonetheless. Good thing is, I am educating myself in the process of compiling this  report on something I would have never before even thought of investigating and learning of. The video attached to the post is something I found on youtube today when I was trying to learn how to say the basic things in Mandarin. It is quite fascinating.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day as we are pitching our multimedia ideas to our lecturers in the morning and then we plan on going to the Oriental plaza in Bruma, east of Johannesburg. This should be a great place to get some great photos of Chinese culture. I also plan on talking to people and trying to find another Chinese family to speak to about their family history and how they landed in South Africa.

Its tough but very challenging and informative. This is journalism and I love it. It teaches you to be tolerant and aware of what is happening in your surroundings as well as understanding why the things in your surroundings are there. I know by the end of this in-depth project I will not view Chinese culture in Johannesburg the same way, but in a better and more informative way. I will be able to tell anyone who asks the whole story about the Chinese immigration and why it is still a thriving culture in South Africa.

And this is what it is all about!!!!

Mia speaks of miracle Kruger

Dr Ridwan Mia at the Golden Key event last night in the Great Hall after his talk about Pippie Kruger. Photo: Prelene Singh

Dr Ridwan Mia at the Golden Key event last night in the Great Hall after his talk about Pippie Kruger. Photo: Prelene Singh

Dr Ridwan Mia, who is credited with saving the life of a three year burn victim, spoke about his personal journey at Wits yesterday.

Mia, who has achieved national fame as a result of his work with ‘Pippie” Kruger, was speaking at a symposium organised by the Golden Key Society.

“When she first came to the hospital we used to call her the ‘Michelin Baby’ as she was so huge with all the bandages.”

Mia was the last of a group of illustrious speakers, including Penny Heyns and Prof Meyersfeld, who left the audience with a sense of positivity and the realisation about the change a single person can make in someone’s life.

Using graphic images on a presentation Mia talked the audience  through Pippie’s surgery from the time she was first brought to the hospital. He contrasted these with photos of her now which clearly showed the remarkable change.

Mia said: “When she first came to the hospital we used to call her the ‘Michelin Baby’ as she was so huge with all the bandages.”

Three year-old Pippie was severely burnt in an accident at home when hot braai gel landed on her entire body and burnt through her skin and her fatty tissue. 80% of her body was burnt.

Mia explained that this happened when she was two and a half years old, on New Years Eve of 2011. It took her four hours to get to the hospital after she had been burnt and a gruelling six months of intensive surgery to stabilize her.

Pippie was put under anaesthetic an astounding 52 times and went into cardiac arrest 5 times before doctors managed to resuscitate her.

Mia said: “Her mom was very distressed through the process but later she became a very strong woman. Her dad, who is a professional hunter, was consumed with guilt and trauma and need psychology during the process.”

Mia performed a ground breaking surgery in medicine when he was the first doctor to use cloned skin in Africa.

“We had to apply to the department of Health to deport skin,” said Mia. Two pieces of Pippie’s skin each sized 2 x 6 cm was sent to the Genzyme Laboratories in the states where they have machinery which is able to clone skin to 10 000 times its size.

“It was an emotional journey for me and the family and there was times when we had to stop surgery because it became too much.”

Mia explained that this process alone was difficult because transporting the skin back to South Africa was stressful as the skin is only usable within 24 hours. Mia said: “We put the skin on Pippie with no less than 15 minutes to spare. “

Although Pippie constantly shows signs of further improvement, in the future she will be at high risk of cancer, she cannot be exposed to the sunlight and she cannot be a donor of any kind. However, she is can now walk, talk and recognise faces. “She will continue to recover,” said Mia.

After this long journey with the Kruger family Mia said: “It was an emotional journey for me and the family and there were times when we had to stop surgery because it became too much.”

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The art of afroculture

MAGICAL ILLUSIONS: Phumzile Sitole, BA theatre graduate from UCT in a timeless surreal space of dreams while performing the play Afrocartography at the Wits Theatre. Photo: Prelene Singh

MAGICAL ILLUSIONS: Phumzile Sitole, BA theatre graduate from UCT in a timeless surreal space of dreams while performing the play Afrocartography at the Wits Theatre. Photo: Prelene Singh

A stage performance called Afrocartography: Traces of places and all points in between launched at the Wits Theatre on Friday July 19, as part of its 30th birthday celebrations. Produced in conjunction with the Wits Repertory Company, the piece is billed as an explorative and truly African performance piece.[pullquote align=”right”]“Its new, fresh, exciting and poetic and a seminal work for every South African,”[/pullquote]

The main character is Traveller, who takes the audience on a mystical journey of self-discovery. The play takes its audience through a walking route around the Wits Theatre. “It serves as a walking metaphor to capture the essence of travelling, identity, location” as an African person, said co-director Khayelihle Dom Gumede.

Afrocartography carries overriding themes of migration in Africa. The experiences of black people who were faced with dislocation and its emotional consequences are depicted in the stage performance. The play incorporates issues faced by African people through the decades on this continent.

Phumzile Sitole, a graduate from UCT plays the role of Traveller and Tshego Khutsoane, a Wits graduate, plays the map maker who directs The Traveller in her journeys.

The performance is written by Mwenya B Kabwe. She co-directed the play with Gumede, who won the Emerging Theatres Directors’ bursary from the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts. Liya Gonga choreographed the performance.

Kabwe is a well-travelled, Zambian-born writer who has studied at many institutions in the UK and South Africa, including UCT. Gumede said the play was based on Kabwe’s journey in different parts of the world and it was her experiences that led her to “redirect her identity and her journey as a ‘politan’ of various kinds”.

The performance has been described as “Afropolitan” and as an alternative way of being in the world.

The play was first shown in Barcelona in 2009 and again in Cape Town, said Gumede. However, this was the first time it was having a full run. The play took seven weeks to produce, from rehearsal to performance night, said Gumede.

Audiences can expect a mixture of mystery, curiosity, humour and a suitcase of emotion. “Its new, fresh, exciting and poetic and a seminal work for every South African,” said Gumede.

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Disease transmitted by tick bite

This article first appeared in the Sunday Times on July 14, 2013

THE mere mention of Congo fever sends shivers down one’s spine – and with good reason: the disease claims the lives of 10% to 40% of infected people.Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever cause its carrier to bleed out through every orifice. People become sick within one to nine days after exposure to the virus.

The symptoms include severe fevers, muscle ache, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Patients often develop a rash and may bruise easily, vomit blood or have gum and nose bleeds, or pass blood through their stool or urine.

There can be internal bleeding including in the brain or the lungs. Patients can slip into a coma from organ failure and death occurs within five to 14 days.

Congo fever has been widely reported in Africa and in South Africa. It is transmitted by the Hyalomma tick, known in South Africa as the “bontpoot” tick which thrives in the arid north-western parts such as the Karoo and the Western Free State.

people can be infected through a bite from an infected tick, or if fluid from a tick enters into a cut or graze on the skin or splashes into the eye, nose or mouth.

Infections can also occur by coming into contact with infected animals. this places farmers, herders, abattoir workers, veterinaries and hunters at high rsik.

Cases of Congo Fever have been reported in South Africa since 1981, when it was first identified. According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, about 20 cases are diagnosed in South Africa each year.

The World Health Organisation rates the fatality rate at 10% to 40%.

Patients who recover usually show sudden improvement on the 10th day, but they should refrain from intimate contact with others for six weeks.