South Africa follows UK with proposal to block porn by default

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South Africa it on track to follow the UK’s example by implementing an online porn block. In a report released last month by the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) titled Pornography and Children, provisional recommendations were made to block all digital pornography. However, while the UK is approaching things by requiring websites to verify the identity of users, the SALRC proposal suggests “all devices (new and second hand) be issued or returned to a default setting that blocks inappropriate content.”

The proposal also emphasises that anyone who uninstalls or works around the default block setting, allowing a person under the age of 18 to access adult content, would be guilty of offence.

The suggestion coincides with the upcoming UK Digital Economy Act changes, an age verification system that will come into action July 15 in the UK. The UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport has taken several years to come up with an Age Verification solution, which was ultimately outsourced to the British Board of Film Classification, and has thrown up many concerns regarding data protection.

The SALRC not only proposes rules around default settings on devices, but also seems to seek to emulate the UK, where all major adult porn sites are blocked and there is an opt-in option for proof of age, either via uploading your ID or retrieving a “porn pass” from a public store.

Whatever the outcome of the South African ‘porn block’, there seems to be a misguided consensus that blocking adult content is the solution for protecting those under the age of 18, with the UK as the guinea pig. In reality, these blocks will only make the situation worse.

A Valentine’s Kiss

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A Valentine’s Day video of a schoolboy in South Africa standing in the school yard waiting to surprise his Valentine has started to go viral for all the right reasons.

As he waits with a bouquet of flowers, a gift and an ‘I Love You’ balloon, he is surrounded by his very excited class mates. Moments later another schoolboy emerges from the building to excited screams, and the two embrace before kissing each other on the lips.

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The Wound

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Protests erupted over the The Wound, a queer film that premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and its director John Trengove for appropriating African culture and publicising a secret tribal circumcision ritual depicted the film.

The traditional Xhola circumcision ritual  that is a  major topic in the film marks a boy’s passage into manhood. Considering that the ritual has resulted in over 800 deaths, it makes sense why young Kwanda, the youthful initiate in the film, wouldn’t want to go through it. His resistance forces his mentor Xolani to reconsider the traditions and the tribal notions of manhood altogether.

The actual ritual has gotten public exposure before. Former South African president and civil rights leader Nelson Mandela wrote about the experience in his autobiography.

The ritual involves a traditional surgeon (called an ingcibi) who severs the initiate’s foreskin using a spear, which is then tied to the initiate’s blanket. The penile wound is covered with a healing plant and for the next eight days, the initiate is confined to a hut (called a bhoma) and forbidden from eating certain foods. After eight days, an ukosiswa rite removes the food restrictions and marks the start of the second phase, which lasts two to three more weeks. The initiates’ seclusion ends when they race to the river to bathe themselves. Finally, the initiates’ hut and possessions are burnt, each initiate gets a new blanket and is called an amakwala (new man) henceforth.

Quartz Africa reports that protestors, like South African journalist Lwando Xaso and the current Xhosa king, say Trengrove (a white South African) appropriated Xhosa culture, particularly “jealously guarded secrets of a tradition that has managed to endure oppression and modernization.”

Xaso said, “It is not okay to subjectively delve into traditions and practices you are not a part of under the guise of sparking debate and engagement. It is not your place because you are not speaking as a member of that society.”

Two South African cinemas stopped showing The Wound over security threats, but it remains available elsewhere internationally.

Troye Sivan goes Wild

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Released from the new EP under the same name, Wild comes following a hugely successful YouTube career and his TRXYE EP last year, gaining almost three million Twitter followers and over three and a half million YouTube subscribers in the process.

The electro-pop track follows a friendship between a younger Troye and what appears to be his best friend. As the story progresses, we jump between the friendship and the current Troye clinging onto this childhood boyfriend before ending as the duo kiss.

Wild is the first of three in his Blue Neighbourhood series. Fingers crossed we see more of the adorable couple in part two and three.

teen-troye

Tryoe a few years ago

Talking to Popjustice, Troye revealed that he’d like to work with Years & Years’ Olly Alexander: “I think we’d have to write something new. A nice pop ballad would be really good. A GAY BALLAD. There’s not many romantic male-on-male duets.”

via GayTimes

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Swallow Troye’s Happy Little Pill

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Teen idol Troye Sivan had a Hollywood gig at age 13, a lead role opposite John Cleese at 14 and a recording contract on his 18th birthday – all after a career “failure” at 12. How, exactly?

To most shoppers out at Perth’s Murray Street Mall, 19-year-old Troye Sivan probably looks like any other local teenager – albeit an elvishly pretty one – out running errands with his mum and little brother. But to girls of a certain age (say, 12 to 17), Sivan seems to exist on a different plane altogether. Sporting his trademark quiff and oversized T-shirt promoting Tumblr, he could be a good 100 metres away and still the girls somehow sense him, the way birds detect unseen disturbances in their immediate environment.

Soon enough – in Topshop and City Beach; outside Fossil and the newsagency – Sivan is surrounded by teenage girls in the process of thoroughly losing their minds. To be fair, most of them are lovely and sane, asking Sivan to pose with them in selfies before running off for a private group squeal. But on other days, Sivan’s fans have proper, pituitary-induced meltdowns. Some scream at his face point blank, while others shed hot, silent tears.

Last Halloween, fans tracked down Sivan’s home address and waited outside the front door, calling out tauntingly, “Trick or treee-eeat?” Troye’s younger brother Tyde – who has a face that belongs in Dolly magazine and is fast becoming famous in his own right – deadpans that it was more like “Troye or Tyyy-yyde?” The brothers spent the evening hiding indoors, held hostage in their own home. Later, Sivan tells me that this kind of behaviour is why he avoids being near local schools after 4pm. Sivan’s mother, Laurelle, adds that she’s in the process of having their home de-listed from the White Pages.

Read on…