It is Thursday evening and I am tired. I have had a full-on week and it’s not even finished yet. I am sitting at Durban airport waiting for my flight back to Johannesburg. My blogging day at TomorrowToday is a Friday. This means that every Friday at roughly 8am there is supposed to be a wise contribution from Saffron Baggallay on our website. I really enjoy blogging. I like writing, I like having an opinion and it gets me thinking about and looking at news in different ways, which I appreciate. I don’t always get it right though. I don’t always write a good blog I am sure; and sometimes I don’t manage to put one out there, because there are just not hours in the day to get through all that I have to get though; and unfortunately it is often the blog that has to give.

Last Friday was one of those days when I didn’t manage to put anything out there. I had loads of things in mind to blog about. I wanted to talk about Ingrid Jonker, South Africa’s very own Sylvia Plath, who drowned herself in the sea in Cape Town in 1965, but whose poem ‘The Child’ was catapulted to fame in 1994 when Mandela read it out the first time he addressed Parliament as President of the new South Africa. I went to see the film ‘Black Butterflies’ about Jonker’s life and thought that blogging about how South Africa has changed would be interesting.

I also wanted to comment on Julias Malema’s economic freedom march from Johannesburg to Pretoria, which was held last Thursday the 27th October. Dubbed the ‘Comrades Marathon’ and the ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ (journalists must have been chuffed with those headlines). I thought it would be interesting to comment on the pros and cons of such an undertaking: it’s relevance for those whose lives seek economic freedom, it’s message in relation to the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests and the positive ways in which marchers behaved.

I thought talking about Kaizer’s (as in the owner of Kaizer Chiefs soccer club) apology to the some 14 million strong fan base who probably took offense to his son Bobby’s tirade about the soccer club being a family business; and how essentially he is untouchable as manager of the club because of who is father is. Bobby’s behaviour was (not surprisingly) not well received by the fans who were very focal about their disapproval. Bobby’s behaviour speaks to the sense of entitlement young people are sometimes accused of having. It also speaks to the ills of nepotism and the fans reaction speaks to how social media and other modern communication tools facilitate the sharing of wide-spread opinion, quickly. From the little I know of old-man Kaizer my impression of him is that he is a shrewd and emotionless businessman, but in this instance, I have to admire his humility and dignity as a leader. His apology was gracious, even if it was not sincere (and I am not saying it wasn’t).

But a week later all of the above is old news, almost forgotten. Lots of other sensational breaking stories have consumed our thoughts and distracted our minds this week, but somehow I cannot think of any of them. But this got me thinking: we live in a crazy world where things are so important one minute and almost forgotten the next. There is so much going all the time I wonder what’s important to us. What information is sustainably relevant? What do we care about? Do useless facts like:

  • the Ik tribe in Uganda still rely on bartering and agriculture for surival
  • Kulula and British Airways are going to start charging for more than one bag and for luggage that exceeds 20kg as of next week
  • South Africa’s Janet Suzman became a Dame of the British Empire
  • Denis Beckett warns tourists to beware of South African cultural markets
  • 1796 people got married on the 14 February 2009 in Las Vegas
  • British Airways did not have any vegetarian food on their flight the other day

matter? And does it matter that:

  • the sound of a baby crying is heart-wrenching
  • people are starting to wear fur again
  • the biggest health to future generations is obesity
  • Tu Pac Shakur is named after a Peruvian king
  • there are 7 billion people now living on the planet
  • Michael Jackson’s trial is coming to an end
  • Justin Bieber is the first person to get 2 billion hits on YouTube

Every thing is relative.

What’s useless and what’s important in this over-informationised age? How can we decide? What do you think?

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