Johannesburg’s lovers are locking their souls together on the bridge overlooking Emmarentia Dam. (Image: Sulaiman Philip)1Sulaiman PhilipEmmarentia Dam in Johannesburg is best known as the home of canoeing in the city of gold, and the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens on its banks.However, the bridge along the dam wall is slowly becoming the scene of a different love story. Over the last six months, padlocks have been discreetly attached to its railings. You notice them as you walk or drive over the bridge: one at first, a shiny brass lock; further on there is another, then another, clustered together close to the park entrance. Most are simply covered with a pair of initials, many in the bold scrawl of teenagers. The locks celebrate the earnestness of first love.The tradition of attaching locks to a bridge as testament of undying love has been around for quite some time – since before the Second World War at least – and now, it seems, the ritual has arrived in South Africa. If South African Antonys and Cleopatras follow tradition, they attach the lock to the bridge together before flinging the key into the waters below. This marks the unbreakable bond of their undying love.If the relationship sours or dies, tradition goes, you are meant to dive into the water to find the key. But the locks creeping across the bridge in Emmarentia celebrate transformational love, pulse-bursting, sweep-us-off-our-feet, turn-your-life-around love.Love struck Joburgers are clipping locks to the railings in a gesture of everlasting infatuation. (Image: Sulaiman Philip)This tradition may be new in the rainbow nation, but some residents have found a very South African way to use it. Morningside in Durban is a racially mixed community of middle class families. The president’s official residence in Durban, Dr John L Dube House, is in the leafy suburb of Edwardian and Victorian homes.In July 2013, to celebrate his birthday while he lay ailing in hospital, the people of Morningside began attaching locks to a fence to show their love for Nelson Mandela. Patrick Coetzee of the Dreambuilders Institute, the NGO that began the programme, explained at the time that it was an opportunity for people to “symbolically celebrate the positive difference Madiba has made to South Africa and the world”.Tradition startsIn Europe, the romantic tradition can be traced back to the town of Vrnjačka Banja in Serbia. The story goes that the Most Ljubavi Bridge, known as the Bridge of Love, was the meeting place for local school teacher, Nada, and her lover, a Serbian officer named Relja. When Relja went off to fight in Greece, Nada promised to wait for him. But he fell in love with a Greek woman, broke off his engagement and never returned to Serbia. Heartbroken, Nada died never having loved again.In her memory, the young women of Vrnjačka Banja began writing their names and the names of the men they loved on padlocks and attaching them to the railings of the Bridge of Love. The tradition was mostly confined to that bridge until Italian author Federico Moccia appropriated the tradition for his books Tre Metri Sopra il Cielo (Three Metres Above Heaven) and Ho Voglia di te (I Want You).In his home country, the most famous spot for lovers to bind love locks is along the path connecting the coastal towns of Manarola and Riomaggiore. The legend that has grown up is that the pathway was once the favourite meeting place for lovers from the towns. Today tourists flock to the area to place locks on the railings of the pedestrian bridge carved into the cliffs. They then toss the keys into the sea below. Over the last decade, the tradition has grown and love locks are now seen in cities across the globe. The superstitious say that the only way to break the love sealed by a padlock is to do to do so with a key (Image: Eurosplorin‘)The Yellow Mountains in China, the Chinese claim, is the birthplace of Love Locking. Here, the sea of clouds and romantic atmosphere of “China’s loveliest mountain”, Lotus Peak, has inspired poets and painters for centuries. A local legend tells of the beautiful daughter of a successful merchant who fell in love with a poor man. But she was to marry a man chosen by her father. On her wedding day, the young lovers fled and died together when they threw themselves off the mountain. The spot has been marked by memorials ever since, and today lovers attach padlocks to the railings on Lotus Peak and throw the keys off the mountain to celebrate their undying love.Love locksCouples looking to escape the noise and crowds of Seoul head to Mount Namsam, in South Korea, and have used the North Seoul Tower to swear eternal devotion. A sign in front of the thousands of locks reads: “A Promise for Endless Love ‘I Love You.’”Puntan dos Amantes (Two Lovers Point), in Tumon Bay on the Pacific Ocean island of Guam, is incredibly remote but it, too, has its legend of an ill-fated love that ended tragically on the cliffs. At the point where the forbidden lovers are said to have died there is a fence decorated with padlocks. You can even buy heart-shaped locks from vendors if you have forgotten to bring your own.Across the world, in Montevideo, Uruguay, the fountain on Avenida 18 de Julio has attracted lovers young and old. A plaque at the fountain reads: “The legend of this young fountain tells us that if a lock with the initials of two people in love is placed in it, they will return together to the fountain and their love will be forever locked.”In Paris, the city of love, where romance is part of the city’s very existence, the bridges over the Seine have become magnets to lovers eager to swear undying love. For Parisians, however, this ritual of the world’s Romeos and Juliets has become an annoyance rather than a celebration. The fussy French complain that the padlocks are ruining the architectural and aesthetic integrity of their bridges. And as a Parisian waiter told The New York Times in 2012: “The fools! They haven’t understood a thing about love, have they?”In his book In Praise of Love, contemporary French philosopher Alain Badiou reminds his audience that love is about constantly risking your heart. It is vulnerable and fragile. It is, as the French believe, about wishing your beloved freedom. And then you have the chance of retaining their endless love. “The idea that you can lock two people’s love once and for all, and toss the key, is a puerile fantasy.”But then, Badiou has spent his life trying to recreate his first love, the one on which he gave up. “I tried to recover that initial love, late, very late but with a unique intensity and feeling of necessity. There have been dramas and heart-wrenching and doubts, but I have never again abandoned a love.”
LOS ANGELES — The tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open who said women’s pro tennis players “ride on the coattails of the men” resigned March 21, ending his 29-year association with the event.Tournament owner Larry Ellison said in a statement that Raymond Moore was quitting as Chief Executive Officer and Tournament Director of the $7 million event featuring men’s and women’s players in the California desert. Moore informed Ellison of his decision when they spoke earlier in the day.“Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and Tournament Director effective immediately,” Ellison said. “I fully understand his decision.”A tournament spokesman could offer no further details on Moore’s resignation, citing only Ellison’s statement.Moore apologized after he was roundly criticized by executives from the women’s and men’s pro tours, players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka and on social media for his comments March 20.The 69-year-old former touring pro from South Africa had been CEO of the tournament since 2012. He was involved with the event for 29 years as a former owner and managing partner before assuming his most recent post.He oversaw the operations of the tournament and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which Ellison also owns. Years ago, Moore and fellow ex-player Charlie Pasarell started PM Sports Management, which oversaw the tournament as it expanded.“In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky,” Moore said. “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”He also referred to women’s players as “physically attractive and competitively attractive.” Moore later apologized, calling his comments “in extremely poor taste and erroneous.”“I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole,” the statement said. “We had a women’s final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”Moore clearly had no intention to leave his post based on comments he made to reporters March 20 on the last day of the two-week tournament. Before the backlash over his controversial comments began, he was asked how long he planned to remain in charge.“Firstly, I love what I’m doing. I’m passionate about it. I enjoy it,” Moore said. “Who knows who the face of the tournament will be down the road. But I don’t think that, oh, I’m going to stop next year or three years.”Ellison, a billionaire and co-founder of Oracle Corp., credited Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Serena and Venus Williams, as well as other female athletes, for their leadership in treating women and men equally in sports.“I’m proud to say that it is now a decade-long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men,” Ellison said in his statement.Ellison thanked the “great women athletes” who fought so hard in pursuit of equal prize money in pro tennis. “All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” he said.(BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
03Jun Rep. Outman applauds House approval of state budget Categories: News The 2015-2016 state budget is one step closer to completion, State Rep. Rick Outman announced today.The Michigan House today gave final approval to Senate Bill 133 and House Bill 4115, the General Fund and School Aid Fund budgets, respectively.“I’m pleased that once again we were able to complete a fair budget months ahead of the October deadline. We were able to spend smart which ensures that Michigan’s communities are able to continue planning for future years,” said Rep. Outman, R-Six Lakes. “The budget makes solid investments in our schools and sets up a long-term solution for our roads, which are two topics residents have said they want to see the focus on.”The state budget includes $400 million for roads. The School Aid Fund budget totals nearly $16 billion, and includes an increase in the per-pupil foundation grant for every school.The budgets now heads to governor for consideration.
Categories: Chatfield News Resolution for Uplifting Faith and Freedom in AmericaState Rep. Aaron Miller of Sturgis today joined Rep. Lee Chatfield of Levering to introduce House Resolution 223 observing Jan. 16, 2018 as Religious Freedom Day in Michigan.Religious Freedom Day commemorates the anniversary of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson. This statute ensured that never again would private citizens suffer at the hand of an abusive state church.“Today is a special day, one of meditation and prayer,” Rep. Miller said. “I hope Michiganders will join me and use this time to reflect and ask God to continue to bless our state and our nation.”The resolution encourages citizens to pray in his and her own manner, seeking God’s blessings on our families and government officials for personal renewal, moral awakening, and a new spirit of harmony across our land.“Faith and religion have always played a vital role in America,” Rep. Chatfield said. “Since before George Washington, religious freedom has been revered. I am honored to continue the legacy of those before us by defending our God-given rights of religious freedom.” House Resolution 223 passed the Michigan House of Representatives unanimously. 16Jan Reps. Chatfield and Miller introduce Religious Freedom Day resolution