April 19, 2013
It is easy to get all aquiver with excitement over the stories published and broadcast somewhere in the world everyday heralding Africa as the next big thing. Our time has come!
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done.”
From Nazi author, Karl Hänel, in Vom Sudan zum Kap (1939):
Africa is the last place which is still open to Europe. Its economic importance can scarcely be overestimated … It is the last economic leveling place … that can provide for us the riches for which we have set up our economy and which will not again give up without a fight.
And there is no new thing under the sun.
(Translation hat tip to Kai K. Gutschow whose paper on Ernst May’s Kampala Plan I am currently reading.)
May 4, 2012
I apologize if you were deceived by the title of this blog and are expecting shocking revelations that your Converse are fuelling war and corruption in Africa.
But wait! There’s a link.
We also need a new economics of fractured societies. Accepted economic theories work well enough in western societies; these theories are usually painted on one large canvas. But when the canvas is rent into pieces, as it is in many African states, the theories fail or work strangely.
From Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African Oil by Nicholas Shaxson
I made these two wonderfully different purhases in Juba on Saturday last week.
That’s right. All SRAGs.
What does srag even mean?!!
Without really looking at the shoes, I gasped in wonder when a vendor at Juba City (Customs) Market told me I could get a brand new pair of All Stars at SSP35 ($7). I believed him and bought them.
Yes, I am that stupid.
Juba feels much like Kampala, but with networks and norms far more complex than anything I have experienced in an eastern African city. Everything is acceptable, but little is permissible. So bring in your fake Chinese shoes, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and chocolate. Import everything, anything, you can gather from the streets of Kampala and Nairobi (South Sudan has no real industry), but be ready to pay. On time. In full. To pay not the tax man, not the government. To pay to a system so obscure, so illegal, but so open and acceptable.
Import everything! Sell everything! But books …
read more »
April 26, 2012
So you won’t get indigestion …
… or lose your appetite …
… or die of starvation …
This is Henry Dilang Odwar (Honorable Member, distinguished geophysicist, eloquent debater, spirited political interlocutor).
This is Henry Dilang Odwar, respected chair of the committee on energy, mining, commerce and industry in the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly.
He has a reason to boast, Henry Dilang Odwar. Under his stewardship, the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly has passed a comprehensive oil bill that puts Uganda’s proposed legislation to shame. It leaves no room for debate about transparency and accountability. Born out of a long history of abuse and obscurity, it wants more; it demands more for all.
Henry Dilang Odwar on the legislative requirement to protect the oil resource:
These (oil) resources are vested in the people of South Sudan. We have learned from experience that vesting them in government on behalf of the people is a wrong move. Governments are unstable, but the interests of the people largely remain the same.
On use of oil revenue:
The bill requires government to put aside money for future generations. We must ensure that the assets exploited by us benefit our children; otherwise, what’s the use? Considering only a small percentage of the area with potential oil reserves has been explored, we have enough to ensure that generations to come will receive something.
All the right words, no? Slowly slowly.
On the legacy of past failures:
read more »
April 26, 2012
This video from Mama Hope has put the largest smile on my face today.
Thank you for the tip GloMugs.
April 25, 2012
“Learn from my mistakes!”
How many times I was told that as a child! How many times I ignored it and still do.
Force-feeding the wisdom of the ages to toddlers just makes them resentful.
It’s like this sculpture I saw yesterday at the Nyakuron Cultural Center in Juba: help is offense; passion is power; love is trial.
It’s easy for me to be frustrated by South Sudan. Angered even. Then I remember: the folly of youth is youth.
Ah, the endless possibilities! The world is for your taking, but it’s just out of your reach. It’s all exciting and new.
There’s so much you can learn …
… but you won’t.
There’s so much you can take …
… but you don’t.
There’s so much you can do …
… but …
Their mistakes are your mistakes and yours for your children’s children to inherit. Even when you have the upper hand. Even when you are growing backwards.
So the politics are as dry as the taps. The streets are filled with garbage. The city is an unplanned mess. The politics is as dry as the taps. The disillusionment of a nation so new is palpable.
Maybe there’s hope.
If only South Sudan can stop making our mistakes.
November 22, 2010
(Otherwise titled: Mbu)
You know the myth about the mzungu who, just by his appearance, scared grown African men to death? That he caused women to abort, crops to fail and hail to fall. That when he spoke his strange tongue, it was like thunder or the peal of bells or the roar of a lion or the song of the angels or something.
Writing in The EastAfrican this week, Kenyan author John Mwazemba claims that this fear still exists and is pervading African literature.
Of African fiction writers he says:
… they have not dared to strongly criticize the white man. There must be many disappointed readers out here who have been waiting for years for fictitious full-length works about the white man, critical and satirical of his ways so we can also laugh at him …
This may be due to two reasons: one; that our writers in the Diaspora see the white man as an angel who makes no mistakes or a deity that can’t be laughed at, or that our writers in the Diaspora are timid (which is more probable) or feel intimidated by white people and their ways as they live in their midst; eating their good food and breathing their clean air.
After living in some parts of Africa where nothing works, the African writer finding himself in the West may be too overwhelmed to even think of writing a novel to satirize the life there.
The result of this lack of adventurism is that African writers are stuck with predictable themes like colonialism, neo-colonialism and dictatorship, coup d’états, HIV/Aids, poverty and child soldiers. It’s time African writers advanced to new frontiers of fiction.
Mwazemba, not me.
What say you?
June 30, 2010
Indépendance cha cha tozui e
Oh! Kimpuanza cha cha tubakidi
Oh! Table Ronde cha cha ba gagné o
Oh! Dipanda cha cha tozui e
Happy 50th independence, dear Congo. It’s been a lousy half-century, but considering how far you’ve fallen, things can only get better.
August 26, 2009
Date: Saturday August 29, 2009
Time: 1430 – 1530 hours
Place: Aristoc Booklex, Garden City Mall
The African Book Experience is an event of Word Alive Publishers, a company that purports to “trigger people’s imaginations and to open them up to new possibilities in life, helping them reach their full potential.”
A work friend was the recipient of a number of freebie publications from Word Alive. The blurb of one of the books, Africa’s Enigma and Leadership Solutions, says the author Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo, “calls for a new paradigm: prophetic leadership – anointed leadership that is transformational.”
Not everyone’s piece of cake, I know, but just in case you are interested, Dr. Adeyemo and six other authors will be at Aristoc to talk about their books and to sign copies. Most of the Word Alive publications are inspirational, personal growth and theological texts. However it has also an impressive range of fiction, biography and children’s books.
Uganda’s Principle Judge, Justice James Ogoola, is one of the seven authors who will be at the African Book Experience. Your chance to get a signed copy of his new book Songs of Paradise, A Harvest of Poetry and Verse.
Now somebody pay me for this advert already!
August 25, 2009
From the Daily Nation today:
Berlin — It is now emerging that the domination of cross country running by Kenya and Ethiopia is ultimately killing the sport.
At their council meeting held on the fringes of the World Championships in Athletics here, the International Association of Athletics Federations ruled that the World Cross Country Championships will now be held once every two years rather than annually.
The World Cross Country championships have become not only an African affair but an East African affair, and these days you don’t even get athletes from West Africa competing,” IAAF president Lamine Diack said when confronted by the Daily Nation at the Berlin Intercontinental Hotel. “Even the Kenyan delegates at our meeting agreed that East Africa’s dominance was killing the sport.”
Now that’s some serious nnugu.
First, they buy off our atheletes, then they call our women men; now they can’t stand our success …
*Photo credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images
July 22, 2009
Mobile phone users will soon have to register their personal details if they are to remain connected.
Companies providing mobile phone services were on Tuesday given six months to register the details of their subscribers as the government moved to deter criminals from using their gadgets for illegal activities.
Those who will not have complied with the directive when the deadline expires will have their telephone lines disabled under the directive issued by President Kibaki on Monday night in a speech read for him by Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka at a ceremony to commemorate the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) 10th anniversary and ICT Expo at the Carnivore Hotel in Nairobi.
Kenya has 17.6 million mobile phone users. Once they are registered, the information will be kept under CCK’s custody.
The new regulation comes in the face of an upsurge in sophisticated crimes and a series of abductions after which the kidnappers demand ransom through mobile phone calls and text messages.
(Full story here.)
Is it Big Brother season already?