Finally international media have caught up with the sentimental counterproductive patronising Band Aid initiative. We hated ‘Do they Know It’s Christmas’ the first time around and hoped they would go away. But they are doing it again with the Ebola epidemic, which only adds insult (patronising untruths) to injury.
Up to today, Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso featured on a tongue-in-cheek Facebook chart called ‘Africa Presidents’. Timeline that dates this particular old man’s rule back to the introduction of the cellphone (1988): a bit after Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (the walkman, 1979) and a bit before the ‘old fat white chicken’ Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia (the DVD, 1994).
Halloween seems a perfect time to scare the world with the Dutch tale of the bone snatcher. Dutch artist Tinkebell, previously known for provocative art that denounced battery farming, has taken to dead people as art material. Specifically, in this case, the victims of the textile building collapse disaster in Bangladesh last year.
Dutch-resident Nigerian ‘Comrade’ Sunny Ofehe, portrayed last June 2014 in the ZAM Chronicle, stands accused of fraud and human traffic. The Dutch daily newspaper Trouw of 30 October, reporting on the current court case against Ofehe in the Netherlands, calls him a suspect ‘with two faces’.
Most of the time, understanding ‘Africa’ reads like a pendulum. One article on the state of the continent exhibits hysterical optimism. Another analysis swings right back to a fundamentalist apocalyptic view. The Economist’s cover pages shouted Hopeless Africa in 2000, and Rising Africa in 2013. Ever since then, the two co-exist. In 2014, we are swinging between ebola paranoia and ‘Africa Works!’, the motto of a recently held conference.
‘The Nest’ in Nairobi, Kenya, has issued an invite to any African person who has travelled or hoped or attempted to travel across borders to share their ‘visa stories’.
There should be no censorship and the powers-that-be should exhibit whatever they want, but is looking at human pain really art?
Showings of white South African artist Brett Bailey’s 'Exhibit B' at the Barbican in London have been cancelled due to protests.
It took four years and considerable risk to own life and limb, but Ghanese investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas finally achieved his goal: not just to name and shame, but to actual jail wrongdoers, especially wrongdoing civil servants.
When Ebola first appeared in Liberia, many of the people in the country thought it was a scam crafted by the government to attract funds from international donors.
South African social critic Jonny Steinberg described the outpourings of anger from fellow whites at girlfriend killer Oscar Pistorius as ‘racial shame’. And unleashed much wrath in return.
The Peace Parks Foundation in South Africa has paid back one-and-a-half million Euros to a Dutch Lottery, admitting that their project to protect rhinos from poaching by poisoning the horns doesn’t work. Scientists had been pointing out all along that there was no evidence to support the ‘poison solution’. The ‘Postcodeloterij’ had made more than 14 million Euros available to Peace Parks for a number of anti-poaching projects in February this year.
The 'funny' slogan used by Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan for his re-election campaign, "Bring Back Jonathan 2015", is the subject of a recent, vehement attack by Nobel laureate author Wole Soyinka on the country's leaders. Soyinka wrote in the online Premium Times this week that "the dancing obscenity of (Boko Haram's) gang of psychopaths and child abductors, taunting the world, mocking the BRING BACK OUR GIRLS campaign on internet, finally met its match (...) by the unfurling of a political campaign banner."
It was a small note in the newspaper that caught South African columnist Marvin Meintjies’ eye: it said that the diamond-rich country of Lesotho had signed a ‘relation strengthening’ agreement with the tax haven island of Barbados”.
The furore about South African President Jacob Zuma’s mansion in Nkandla, KwaZuluNatal, has far from died down.
Amidst all the panic about ebola, serious as the scare is, it must not be forgotten that infectious diseases are actually on their way out as the biggest health problem in low income countries.