Interesting articles about insurance

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I Love South Africa’s Diversity

South Africa is known the world over for its diversity of peoples, languages, and cultures. While everyone has their favourite local dish, the delicious rooibos tea is exported worldwide, and we focus on the small things that make us love South Africa, we must also remember that the country boasts with eight UNESCO World Heritage sites.

UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) strives not only to identify, but also protect and preserve heritage both cultural and natural, which are considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. These Heritage Sites include the Pyramids of Egypt, the Serengeti, and the Great Barrier Reef. South Africa’s own UNESCO Heritage Sites attests to the rich cultural and archaeological diversity and biodiversity of South Africa. Through these Heritage Sites I am reminded why I love South Africa and its diversity, and shows a part of the positive side of South Africa when you feel that crime and politics are getting you down.

South Africa’s UNESCO Heritage Sites include sites that are considered to be of great cultural value. This value is not simply cultural, but also archaeological and historical. These four sites are: the Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai, and Environs (the Cradle of Human Kind), the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Robben Island, and the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape. One of the heritage sites, the UmKhahlamba/Drakensberg Park, is considered to be of both cultural and natural value. South Africa also boasts with three Natural Heritage Sites. These sites are: the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park and the Vredefort Dome.

Through remembering the great amount of diversity, history, and beauty of South Africa, I am reminded that I love South Africa; that those problems, which South Africa faces, can be overcome with hard work, and that diversity should be something that is embraced. The diversity is also something we should strive to understand. The rich fabric of the country – of its peoples, landscapes, cultures, and even ancient history – actually makes South Africa very easy to love.

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Fifty Shades of Grey – a Money-Making Leviathan

When it was published in 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey became what some have called a “publishing phenomenon” and a “money-making leviathan”. The erotic novel by E.L. James started out as Twilight fanfiction, and went on to sell more than 100 million copies. Forbes also named James the world’s highest-earning author after earning some $95 million. In 2012 Universal Pictures and Focus Features paid $5 million for the film rights. The screenplay was written by Kelly Marcel and Sam Taylor-Johnson directed the “Fifty Shades of Grey” adaptation which cost $40 million to make. Fifty Shades of Grey has gone on to break many more records in its opening weekend.

After opting to move the release date from October 2014 to Valentine’s Day 2015, the story of the millionaire Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, a naïve student, became the biggest R-rated movie debut in history with earnings upwards of $94 million. Fifty Shades of Grey also became the biggest opening in South Africa, giving Ster Kinekor its busiest Saturday and becoming the most pre-booked movie in Ster Kinekor history. Universal Pictures are reported as not pursuing a theatrical release in China and the film has been banned in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Kenya.

For all the hype there are many questioning the portrayal of the Christian-Anastasia relationship in the books, the movie, and its broader cultural context. There have been calls by domestic violence activists to boycott the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, while others, like Mark Hughes, are questioning the “Abusive Gender Roles Disguised As Faux-Feminism” in the movie. This is especially not surprising as many of the same questions have been asked about the relationship violence and abusive relationship portrayed in Twilight.

How many watch or read Fifty Shades of Grey out of simple curiosity, because they don’t want to feel left out, or because they feel like they’re breaking a taboo by doing so – instead of truly enjoying the material – is not a question easily answered. But, whether you enjoy it, or are weeping for humanity, its popularity remains staggering.

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The month of love

The first images that probably pops into people’s minds when they think about the month of February, is Valentine’s Day. This day has different meaning to a lot of people around the world. Some of these views are accurately portrayed in Garry Marshall’s movie, Valentine’s Day (2010), starring Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Swift, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Alba.

Examples of these views are the old married couple, young love, love for your family, unrequited love and the one women most probably fantasize about is the unexpected love one can find in a stranger or a friend.

Then to others February is only another month and the 14th is just like any other ordinary day. To businessmen, whose shops get decorated almost a month beforehand, it means good business and money.

With all these different views of Valentine’s Day, one can’t help to wonder what the true meaning of this day is suppose to be. According to history a Christian Martyr was executed on the 14th of February for defining a Roman emperor, who ordered all Romans to worship twelve gods. Valentinus, dedicated to the ideals of Christ, was arrested and thrown into jail. There he spent his time teaching the jailer’s daughter, Julia, of Roman history, of nature and of God. On the day before his death, Valentinus wrote one last note to Julia encouraging her to keep faith in God and signed it “From your Valentine”.

Today on Saint Valentine’s Day people from all around the world celebrate this day by exchanging gifts or spending time with loved ones in order to show their love and devotion to each other.

So maybe Valentine’s Day is only a marketing stunt or an excuse to demand expensive gifts or even alone time with a lover. But then again maybe it’s a message from the third century about what friendship and love is really supposed to be about.

 

 

Author: Irene van Staden

Irene van Staden is currently a third year student at the University of Stellenbosch, studying BA (Art and Culture). Her interests range from, visual art, literature, art festivals, theatre, cultural movements and student life.
Contact details: 17497485@sun.ac.za

Reference:

Story of St. Valentine.n.d.Online. Available: http://www.olrl.org/lives/valentine.shtml [10 Febuary 2015].

Film: Valentine’s Day (2010)

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