Monthly Archives: Aug 2013

Treat yourself to ME Time!

Guilt-free ME Morning
You are invited to enjoy a morning of Quality, effective ME time! Leave your chores and troubles behind & take a drive to the spectacular site of The Barn, at Kwanyoni, Hilton
On Wednesday, 11 September
From 8.00 – 12.30

a presentation on Self Esteem
a talk on a New Season for YOU
a circle dance, some Tai Chi, much conversation,
coffee, tea & eats, and
The subject is ME!
That’s YOU! Celebrate who you are…..
You’ll receive and share information, ideas and concepts –
some new, some old, some you know, some you don’t want to know, some you’ll want to explore & others you’ll want to embrace!
Just come, relax and enjoy yourself.

The cost is R 200 per person

Details and RSVP: Desiray Viney

Cel: 082 875 7194 Fax: 086 648 9895 Email:

A practicing alternative therapies and self-esteem counsellor

A practicing alternative therapies and self-esteem counsellor

Neuro-linguistic Programming practitioner and Life Coach

Neuro-linguistic Programming practitioner and Life Coach

Learning to live with conflicting myths

Learning to live with conflicting myths

Learning to live with conflicting myths

Learning to live with conflicting myths

Let me clarify, at the start, in Media and Cultural Studies the term ‘myth’ does NOT mean ‘a lie’. It means ‘stories or beliefs we live our lives by’. These myths contribute to and/or are influenced by our belief systems which drive our decisions, behaviour and lives.
Having spent the past 12 months setting up my own consultancy where I have to ‘sell’ myself to everyone I meet and to consciously go out and network with others to get my name ‘out there’ has got me tapping into one of the myths we live our lives by. In this case, the myth that is driving me goes something like this: “you can do anything you set your mind to; you are the captain of your ship and therefore your destiny; it’s up to you what you make of your life”. And I am finding it is working for me – that is, until another myth pops up and alters my attitude, making it quite difficult for me to move forward on my quest of self-promotion and success.
That myth goes something like this: “you are but a grain of sand in the whole terrain; what you do is subject to forces moving against you; in the greater scheme of things you are nothing”. This type of myth creates a mind-set that could stifle one’s growth, sense of adventure, risk-taking and possibly one’s belief in self.
However, instead of living my life with a ‘one-or-the-other’ approach, I have decided that, because deep-seated myths like these can’t be totally eradicated from the psyche, I am going to use them both appropriately at any given point in this journey.
There are times, I have found, when self-promotion is absolutely necessary in order to inform and build credibility around who you are and what you do. However, choosing a collaborative approach to what and how I do things, stemming from the belief that alone I can only do x, while together we can do x^2 plus more, has certainly proved to be very rewarding and satisfying for all involved.
Shifting the focus from competition to sharing can become an effective means to achieve one’s goals.
So, I maintain the myths we live our lives by are not mutually exclusive, they can work together, complementing each other in a way that gives our lives more meaning, purpose and satisfaction.

Great news for REAL growth in the future

REAL and Ifutho form a collaborative partnership

REAL’s Dee Viney and Mpume Mthembu, owner of Ifutho Consulting, are pleased to be offering a combined service in values-based, strategic communication and ethical branding. Mpume holds a B Comm Hons and an MBA degree and has been head of Corporate Communication at Hulamin. She recently set up Ifutho, a Level 1 BBBEE company, a goal-driven front-runner in strategic ethical branding, aimed at encouraging business leaders to transform their approach to focus on good governance through real, authentic and ethical communication. This new approach will result in more effective leadership, an empowered and driven workforce, growth and ‘reputational’ capital for any organisation that takes the step forward.

Viney’s and Mthembu’s skills, experiences and knowledge come together to form a powerhouse of forward-thinking strategies in corporate communication and branding. They are working with growing SMEs and receiving highly inspired and stimulated responses.

Mpume Mthembu

Ifutho and REAL form a collaborative partnership offering Strategic communication and ethical branding

Ifutho’s Mpume Mthembu and REAL’s Dee Viney form a collaborative partnership offering Strategic communication and ethical branding

Watch this space………

Controversial film banning at Durban International Film Festival

Issues around the banning of the film, Of Good Report (2013)
Of Good Report is the first film to be banned by the Film and Publications Board (FPB) since 1994 (the year South Africa became a democracy) at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). The screening was cancelled on the opening night of the Festival, 18 July, much to the outrage and indignation of many. Debates have been raging ever since.
As a result, very few people have actually seen the film and yet the media has been filled with reports and comments from various individuals and groups, from film directors and producers, media academics, film enthusiasts to the general public, reopening debates on secrecy and censorship, as well as issues around child pornography.
Because I had not seen the film, I felt I needed to temper my initial outrage at the banning of a film aimed at an audience of mainly mature, adult and international film ‘officianados’. At least, they were viewers who appreciate not only what’s on screen but also the background to the film and its place in society. So here I refer to comments made by UKZN’s Professors Keyan Tomaselli and Anton van der Hoven, as well as award-winning film-maker and lecturer, Mike Hatton. None of these film ‘fundis’ has seen the film, but their comments are based on years of experience in the study and making of film and its role in society.
Expanding on the context of the banning, Tomaselli states, “Film festivals have traditionally been known to screen movies that are ‘difficult’- films that challenge societal norms or depict unconventional scenarios that would offend the average viewer.”
The following very important points must be considered regarding this case and its impact on future decisions in film production and regulation:
1. The Film and Publications Board and its role
According to Prof van der Hoven, “It seems to me to be the product of an immature culture in which state functionaries have little understanding of the overall purpose of their role and, as a result, are not able to exercise intelligence and judgement in the name of the social good. Instead, all they can do is ‘follow the rules’.”
Mike Hatton adds his view: “I do think that the publications board has a role in age restricting films. Does this really stop underage children from watching inappropriate films – no I don’t believe so – but it can be used as a guide. Ultimately I believe the publications board’s role is not to ban anything but rather alert us as to what might be problematic for an audience. In the case of a film festival one is expecting an educated audience that is able to understand films on more sophisticated levels. Thus banning the film is suggesting that knowledgeable film audiences cannot make their own decisions – wrong! There may be a case for limiting the film’s release on normal circuits though.”
Tomaselli explains that, according to the Film and Publication Board (FPB): “Censorship…. is a system that denies and prohibits access to certain materials determined by a government to be inimical to its own interests or the ‘national interest’.”
The argument that many have raised against the FPB’s banning of the film is that the decision was paid after watching only 28 minutes of the full film. Hatton says, “In my opinion one can never make an overall assessment if one has not watched the entire film. The nature of most scripts is that the first act sets up the characters and has an inciting incident. The resolution to this only comes in the third act and this is where the director’s intent becomes more explicit.”
However, Tomaselli points out that the FPB had two options, “The ethical option which would have seen them make a stand and to have watched the film in its entirety (in contravention of the Act) to get a holistic perspective on the narrative as a whole and the POV [point of view] it takes, [OR ] The legal option to which they held themselves (and thus attracting the ire of the Festivals delegates).” He also maintains that the FPB is a “classification body, with a special brief regarding the prevention of child pornography. It is not a censor board. The Classification Committee is the (I think, the misplaced) target for conducting its work within the requirements of an Act of Parliament. The Committee did not describe the film as pornographic, but in terms of the definitions of the Act. The word ‘pornography’ is a media invention.”
2. The Question of Age and Child Pornography
In Hatton’s view, “The fact that the main actress was not underage is in the films favour.” However, Tomaselli explains: “In terms of South African law, ‘child pornography’ is any picture, regardless of how it was created, or any description, of a real or imaginary person who is under the age of 18 years, or who is represented as being under the age of 18 years –
• engaged or involved in any form of sexual activity
• participating in or assisting another person to participate in any form of sexual activity, or
• any picture which shows, or any writing which describes, the body or any part of the body of a real or imaginary person under the age of 18 years in circumstances that amount to sexual exploitation or in a manner that makes it capable of being used for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Tomaselli adds, “Nearly every country in the world has legislated against depiction (actual or imaginary, in whatever form) of underage sexual activity in one way or another.”

3. The Producer’s Intension
According to Hatton, “The difference between what is porn and not porn is quite simple in my opinion and is related to the people who make the film and their opinions about why they want to make the film. The porn industry is quite explicit about their intent as are art-house or more ‘avant-garde’ filmmakers. It is time filmmakers’ opinions are taken into consideration. In the cases where people perceive that a filmmaker is testing boundaries simply for the sake of it, then the filmmaker should have an opportunity, as in a court of law, to defend his/her film. Only after this should the film be categorised.”
For Tomaselli, “A key question becomes, what is the director’s position on the issue of underage sexual activity involving sugar daddies? Might the film, for example, have the (unintended) effect of promoting teacher-pupil sexual relations amongst some communities of viewers? Does the film criticize such relations?” He adds: “The producer and director’s response is, “It happens! Therefore, we have every right to show it” (sexual encounters between underage girls and sugar daddies).”
Another important question, for Tomaselli, is “How are viewers positioned? as voyeurs or as repulsed, though this can be a fine line”.
4. Further Considerations, Issues and Contradictions
Tomaselli raises a number of issues to be considered. It is these we need to debate and discuss in order to move forward and avoid another controversy:
“There is that small DIFF constituency that has seen the film. These are film scholars and critics, whose opinions are therefore to be taken seriously. They feel that the film did not cross the line into pornography involving children.”
“Some commentators have implicitly linked the Of Good Report banning to the broader environment of state secrecy.” Was this, then, a political decision?
“Many feel that the opening night issue could have been handled differently.”
“The Act defines under age sexual activity as below the age of 18 BUT the age of consent in South Africa is 16.” The legislation and statutory bodies appear at odds.

In conclusion, the real issue now, according to Tomaselli, “is not the banning of the film but the conducting of a broader public debate that enables our policy makers to respond intelligently, accountably and appropriately to bigger issues relating to the public sphere.”
Film-makers, media academics and regulatory bodies, together with other relevant stakeholders, must collaborate in a transparent, intelligent and rational manner to ensure our society benefits from media productions on every level: aesthetic, philosophic, societal, economic and ethical.

Another successful REAL PR Boot Camp

Workshop participants "at work"!

Workshop participants “at work”!

On Wednesday 23 July fifteen people attended an intensive morning PR workshop. From a range of businesses from attorneys, media, newspaper,and nature reserve staff, organisational risk managers, a printer, an health therapist, a refrigeration and air conditioning specialist, and a wealth navigator, participants were given an overview of the role of PR in an organisation. Topics covered included developing a corporate identity, planning a PR programme and writing media releases for publicity.

The evaluation indicated that time was too short to cover all these in enough depth, so – guess what? – plans are afoot to run a series of workshops specifically for activities like writing for the media, corporate social responsibility, and planning a PR programme.

If anyone is interested in any workshop relating to corporate communication, contact me and I will add you to my database/mailing list. There are so many exciting workshops in the pipeline. We also offer CUSTOM-made formats for presenting information and skills development to suit specific companies’ needs.

Participants enjoying the workshop

Participants enjoying the workshop