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Radio Derb: From The Email Bag (Plus Jan. 29 Transcript)
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February 03, 2016, 03:10 PM
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Some follow-ups on my January Diary and last week's podcast (of which the full transcript is now at that link, and will also be posted at my website this evening).

This comes prefixed with the usual blanket apology for emails not replied to.  Everything non-abusive gets read, pondered, and appreciated, but if I answered all emails comprehensively, I'd do little else.  Current batting average is about .300.

● Tokyo Sexwale.  A reader tells me that

Tokyo is a nickname . . . based on his love for martial-arts movies, but seems to have become his real name for all practical purposes.
TOKYO-SEXWALEThis reader also sent me a link to an article from last October at the Mail & Guardian, a South African newspaper.

Based on that article, Mr Sexwale is a major playah in the looting of Africa's wealth for the enrichment of himself, leaders of several African countries (DR Congo, Guinea, South Africa) and their relatives, and shady financiers from all over.

At home, Sexwale remains locked in bitter divorce proceedings with wife Judy, who has turned to the courts for access to the financial information of two family trusts of which she was nominally a trustee. The trusts underlie Mvelaphanda Holdings, the investment vehicle founded by Sexwale and two friends . . .

Most significant among Mvela­phanda’s international controversies was its partnership with Israeli Dan Gertler in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Gertler is a close friend of President Joseph Kabila.

This was a complicated financial relationship . . .

You don't say.
. . . that involved a web of offshore vehicles in places such as Guernsey, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, all financial secrecy havens. Key to it was the Guernsey vehicle Africa Management Limited (AML), which Sexwale launched in 2008.

Gertler, with money borrowed from AML in his pocket, effected the now notorious acquisition of the Kolwezi copper and cobalt mine in the Congo after Kabila’s government had stripped it from a Canadian company, First Quantum. A few months later, Gertler sold the mine at a huge profit, some of which flowed to AML . . .

You following?
In 2010, the same year that AML pocketed the money that flowed from Kolwezi, Sexwale’s right-hand man, Mark Willcox, was dealing with Gertler elsewhere, this time over two oil blocks at Lake Albert in the eastern DRC.

The picture at Lake Albert was similar to Kolwezi: Kabila controversially signed the oil blocks over to two British Virgin Islands companies even though they were already owned by other companies – Irish oil major Tullow and South Africa’s Divine Inspiration Group . . .

Looks to me as though all the Divine Inspiration there was channeling through to Sexwale, Gertler, Willcox, and . . . who else?
Added to Sexwale’s list of controversial associates is Walter Hennig, who, through another offshore-registered company, was a partner in AML.

Hennig made international front-page news in 2012 after he lent the Guinean government $25-million to fund a state-owned mining company. Detractors argued that the contract was stacked hugely in Hennig’s favour, offering him extensive mining interests as an alternative to repayment. Hennig has maintained all was above board.  [Why Tokyo Sexwale is wrong for FIFA by Craig McKune and Stefaans Brümmer; Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), October 30th 2015.]

Meanwhile, back home:
In South Africa, Sexwale’s proclivity for wealth accumulation caused serious unhappiness when it emerged in 2012 that Mvela­phanda was going to unexpectedly take R150million from Absa Bank’s Batho Bonke empowerment consortium.
Tokyo Sexwale, Batho Bonke.  If only Oginga Odinga and Canaan Banana had lived long enough to sit on the board of Batho Bonke!
Sexwale took a lead in assembling Batho Bonke in 2004. It had hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries and was acclaimed for its broad-based character.

But the R150 million bonus was at the expense of small shareholders, many of whom were taken by surprise. The fine print entitled Mvelaphanda to these returns based on the R7.3 million it had lent the consortium to start up.

Not so "empowering" for the little guys, then.

Plainly Tokyo Sexwale is a piece of work.  He looks just right for FIFA.

● Donizetti's Three Queens.  A reader remembers seeing Beverly Sills sing all three in one season at the Met.  "I bought the LPs and wore them out."

That was 1973-74, I think.  According to the Met's current season brochure, that was the last time a singer attempted all three queens in a single season.

If you don't know what an LP is, ask your Dad.

● Z!  A reader has information on the Social Justice Warrior Z! Haukeness, whom I profiled in last week's Radio Derb:

pigtailZ. Lula Haukeness was born Lucas (Luke) Haukeness.  He then became Ze Luke, then Z. Luke, then Z. Lula, and now apparently just Z!

I suppose the way to brown him off is to address him as Lucas.

My reader doesn't give a source, but I do see a Lucas Haukeness on the website of UW-Madison.  Same guy?  . . . Er, I mean "gal" . . . or "gul" . . . "ge" . . . whatever.

I'm guessing, though, that the expression "to brown him off" is not current in Mx Haukeness' circles.

● The Koch Brothers.  A reader, representing several:

In regards the anti-Christ Koch brothers: Please note that they pronounce their name “coke.”  This is the  pronunciation given inter alia by the announcer in their credit for funding the PBS series “Nova” . . . I do note that the former NYC mayor pronounces his name “kotsh” and the fine firearms manufacturer Heckler & Koch pronounces it “cock” so there is no standard pronunciation in the US.
Thank you, Sir.  I meant no disrespect to the Koches, even though I regard them as limbs of Satan for their open-borders proselytizing.

"Ch" can be pronounced by English-speakers as a voiceless palato-alveolar affricate ("chair"); or as a voiceless velar plosive ("Christmas"); or as a breathed velar fricative (Scottish "loch"); or, in words brought over not too long ago from French, as a voiceless palato-alveolar fricative ("Michigan").

The first pronunciation is by far the most common in American English, so when you're not sure, that's the one to go with.  I wasn't sure, so that's the one I went with.

Likewise with the short "o," the normal pronunciation in words spelt consonant-vowel-consonant with no terminal "e":  "dot" vs. "dote."

● Birth Days.  A reader chides me for not having given the birth days of our leading Presidential candidates.Sunday

OK, here they are.

  • Trump: Friday (loving and giving).
  • Cruz: Tuesday (full of grace).
  • Clinton:  Sunday (bonny, blithe, good, and gay).
  • Sanders:  Monday (fair of face).
While grace, blithe gayness, and facial fairness are all of them admirable, each in its own way, I think lovingness and givingness, ah, trump the lot.

One more reason to support The Donald, then.

● Making America Great Again.  A reader offers this:

artdealI agree with your opinion that US commitments to South Korea, Japan, et al are archaic and I share your opinion on Trump's skills as a brilliant politician – or at least as a dealmaker.

Bearing that in mind, couldn't Trump's emphasis on the cost of our defense arrangements be a prelude to a walk-out? Indeed, one of Trump's emphasis in his "Art of the Deal" is having the courage to walk away.

Perhaps that the endgame Trump has in mind? I believe a blunt  "Let's get out of Korea and Japan" declaration would be politically unsavory, so accustomed as we are to having troops stationed there. But once negotiations about paying the cost turn unsatisfactory, America would be better educated about the whole arrangement and returning the troops a more logical outcome.

Maybe.  I guess I'm going to have to read at least one of Trump's books.  Heck, it can't be worse than Playthings.