ZAM Reporter
The furore about South African President Jacob Zuma’s mansion in Nkandla, KwaZuluNatal, has far from died down. Now that the independent report by the Public Protector on the whole saga is out, twitterati and political bloggers are all over one another to announce –or dispute- the death of South Africa’s democracy. According to some, proof of said death is the fact that the ANC is using its majority to protect Zuma. Others, like columnist Steven Friedman , argue that the use of a parliamentary... The furore about South African President Jacob Zuma’s mansion in Nkandla, KwaZuluNatal, has far from died down. Now that the independent report by the...
Bram Posthumus
Bram Posthumus is an independent journalist who lives and works in West Africa. He recently experienced the failure of UN peacekeepers in Mali and reports that this has added to his now twenty-year long frustration with UN ‘peace-keeping-but-not-really’ in conflict zones like Angola and Ivory Coast. “It always goes wrong. If they can’t do it differently, they should just stop.” Shouldn’t we have more UN peacekeeping, rather than less? Critics always complain that the UN is not doing enough. Rwanda... Bram Posthumus is an independent journalist who lives and works in West Africa. He recently experienced the failure of UN peacekeepers in Mali and...
Bart Luirink
Don't just do something. Stand there. The list of calls to ‘do something about it’ is endless. They are heard from Washington to Worcester and from Paris to Perth. To catch and arrest a warlord in the Congo, to improve working conditions for workers in the textile industry in Bangladesh, or to stop violence altogether in Darfur. It’s about trafficking and forced prostitution, child labour and oil pollution, anti-gay laws, abducted girls, endangered Bushmen and rhinos. One campaign after the other.... Don't just do something. Stand there. The list of calls to ‘do something about it’ is endless. They are heard from Washington to Worcester and from Paris...
Uncle Tom
A trader who calls himself ‘fair’, is just like my local neighbourhood nightclub boss, Honest Jimmy, says Uncle Tom. My grandson Harold is an earnest chap. He worries about his carbon footprint, eats only local vegetarian food and refuses to wear any cheap clothing because it is made by exploited workers in Tanzania and Vietnam. I used to be like that, but in those days we called it being a revolutionary. We used to go to such places to be part of the liberation struggles. Only Harold can’t do that... A trader who calls himself ‘fair’, is just like my local neighbourhood nightclub boss, Honest Jimmy, says Uncle Tom. My grandson Harold is an earnest...
ZAM Reporter
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. The World Health Organisation warned already three years ago that a disaster was brewing among the populations of these countries in the shape of cancer, and that unlimited marketing of tobacco, alcohol and fatty and sugary foods, combined with a rising standard of living, were largely to blame for this. At... 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...
John Penn de Ngong
The killing in South Sudan has little to do with tribal hatred and more with competing government salaries, says child soldier-turned-peace negotiator John Penn Ngong. As a child, John Penn de Ngong joined the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement SPLM in South Sudan, simply because a life with the rebels was better than life in a village that had no school and suffered dictator Omar al Bashir’s bomb attacks. The rebels offered schooling and, when independence was won in 2011, access to a state.... The killing in South Sudan has little to do with tribal hatred and more with competing government salaries, says child soldier-turned-peace negotiator...
Uncle Tom
Companies and NGO’s are buying up African journalists, says Uncle Tom. Poor Adedeji Ademigbuji and Birame Faye of The Nation in Nigeria and Le Quotidien in Senegal. They have been seduced, wrapped up and taken to Paris by the French multinational Schneider Electric that produces electrical goods, military battleships and nuclear submarines. All Schneider had to do was announce an award: the Schneider Media Awards on Electric Counterfeiting in Africa. Just like that, they got African journalists... Companies and NGO’s are buying up African journalists, says Uncle Tom. Poor Adedeji Ademigbuji and Birame Faye of The Nation in Nigeria and Le Quotidien...
Anand Govender
South African ‘Blade Runner’ athlete Oscar Pistorius, who shot and killed his girlfriend, defends himself with the argument that he thought the person in his toilet was ‘an intruder’. But even if he really thought that, that argument shouldn’t hold, says Anand Govender (48). Govender, a former anti-apartheid activist–turned-engineer is the brother of Elvis Govender, who was hacked to death, aged 37, by a South African yacht owner on whose boat he had ‘trespassed’ in 1995. Many progressives in South... South African ‘Blade Runner’ athlete Oscar Pistorius, who shot and killed his girlfriend, defends himself with the argument that he thought the person in...
Uncle Tom
Even my cousin Amos doesn’t want to wear strange hats in the jungle, says Uncle Tom. Cousin Amos has researched his African ancestry and found out that he is really an Agyemang-Addo from Ghana. He now walks around in those flowing shirts that he buys when he goes all ghetto in 125th Street in Harlem. He also gets his dreadlocks maintained there. It costs him a lot of money but it makes him happy and that’s what counts. But when I saw him last week at Aunt Flora’s birthday he was pretty angry. He... Even my cousin Amos doesn’t want to wear strange hats in the jungle, says Uncle Tom. Cousin Amos has researched his African ancestry and found out that...
Uncle Tom
When I read about women who leave their villages and families to go become prostitutes in big towns or even in other countries, I think of Jeannie. Jeannie stood out among the other street girls where I lived back then, in South Central Los Angeles. There was something bright and fiery and determined about her. As a messenger boy I passed her spot often, and then we chatted. That was all. I earned so little that I could not afford her even if I had wanted to pay. Jeannie would only do it for money,... When I read about women who leave their villages and families to go become prostitutes in big towns or even in other countries, I think of Jeannie....
Judith Sargentini
Judith Sargentini, member of the Green Left delegation in the European Parliament, opposes new strict rules, advocated by some European countries, concerning border controls and criminalisation of sex work. After seeing the report by Tobore Ovuorie, don’t you think that human traffic is so bad that Europe simply has to keep it away from its borders? It is nonsensical to think that stricter controls are going to keep people away. They are already prepared to risk their lives getting into overcrowded... Judith Sargentini, member of the Green Left delegation in the European Parliament, opposes new strict rules, advocated by some European countries,...
Ward Anseeuw
University of Pretoria-based Dr Ward Anseeuw, of the French CIRAD Centre for Agricultural Research for Development, has just returned from discussions with counterparts in Central Africa intended to convince governments to ‘become serious’ about land investment and food production. “Selling off the land was easy. We need locally driven agricultural development. It’s dangerous to just blame investors, local governments are also to blame.” New data show that the number and size of land grab deals are... University of Pretoria-based Dr Ward Anseeuw, of the French CIRAD Centre for Agricultural Research for Development, has just returned from discussions...
Uncle Tom
Now if my sister Doris knows anything, it’s violence. So when we both found ourselves in Johannesburg, we went to see the ‘Women and Violence’ exhibit in the local Art Gallery. It was a bit difficult to find the art through the lengthy writing on the walls -by someone who was clearly not in favour of violence against women-, and the big pictures of Amnesty International, a peace NGO and an agricultural project from Sierra Leone. “I didn’t know this was a workshop”, Doris hissed at me. Oh boy. Ever... Now if my sister Doris knows anything, it’s violence. So when we both found ourselves in Johannesburg, we went to see the ‘Women and Violence’ exhibit in...
Timothy Kalyegira
Timothy Kalyegira (45) is a researcher, columnist and regular suspect of the Ugandan state. He was arrested and detained twice, for ‘sedition’ and ‘criminal libel’, as a result of opinion pieces he wrote in his blog Uganda Online. His columns for the respectable Daily Monitor newspaper have also landed him in hot water. It has been said that African conflicts should be resolved through the African Union and regional African states. Foreign powers should stay away from conflict on the continent. But... Timothy Kalyegira (45) is a researcher, columnist and regular suspect of the Ugandan state. He was arrested and detained twice, for ‘sedition’ and...
Uncle Tom
How the Maasai make a business out of their traditions and how that is good for them. So a little girl called Mindy Budgor went to the Maasai in Kenya and made a fortune after she got herself a spear, killed a buffalo and became a Warrior Princess. She wrote a book about it and it’s all native and noble and full of love for red-dressed, barefoot Maasai and standing firm against lions, but mostly against Western influence that wants Maasai to live in houses and have TV’s. Oh yes and she also fixed... How the Maasai make a business out of their traditions and how that is good for them. So a little girl called Mindy Budgor went to the Maasai in Kenya...
Tobore Ovuorie
For many girls in Nigeria, child marriage is a choice families make out of the despair of poverty, argues Tobore Mit Ovuorie. Ovuorie (32) is a senior reporter with Premium Times , a Nigerian based investigative media house. A psychologist by training, Ovuorie won awards as Nigeria's investigative health reporter of the year, humanitarian reporter of the year and several others. There is a big protest movement against child marriage in Nigeria now, prompted by the failure of the Senate to clearly... For many girls in Nigeria, child marriage is a choice families make out of the despair of poverty, argues Tobore Mit Ovuorie. Ovuorie (32) is a senior...
Uncle Tom
Telling other people what to do is a puzzling business. Uncle Tom is quite shaken after reading up on a practice he didn’t know existed. Thanks to reports written by Unicef, I now know that in 29 countries, parents cut their daughters’ private parts. I now know about percentages, ways of cutting, ages of cutting, and the tools used to cut - much more than I would like to know, actually. Because Unicef asked over 200 questions of the cruel folks who do this thing. Sadly the answers that these... Telling other people what to do is a puzzling business. Uncle Tom is quite shaken after reading up on a practice he didn’t know existed. Thanks to...
Atunga Atuti O.J.
Customers should not boycott clothes that have been made by exploited workers, says the director of the East African School of Human Rights, Atunga Atuti O.J. . It’s a good idea, though, to question the origins of the goods you buy, and to engage the brands. When a clothing factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over a thousand workers, consumers worldwide felt guilty. “It’s partly our fault, because we want to buy clothes made cheaply in sweat shops” was a recurring outcry on social and in... Customers should not boycott clothes that have been made by exploited workers, says the director of the East African School of Human Rights, Atunga Atuti...
Uncle Tom
When Uncle Tom visited his relatives in Crossroads informal settlement in South Africa, no reporters were surprised to see us eating porridge and tomato gravy, taking the bus to town and having an alcoholic uncle (not me, mind you, it’s uncle Boetie) who walks around in a vest and scratches himself. That is, perhaps, because practically all families in Crossroads, South Africa, eat porridge, take the bus and have an alcoholic uncle. But when a BBC man called John Simpson saw white people living... When Uncle Tom visited his relatives in Crossroads informal settlement in South Africa, no reporters were surprised to see us eating porridge and tomato...
Benon Herbert Oluka
There is an unwritten rule in the Ugandan media. It is that the media can't report extensively on President Museveni's personal conduct, his family or the army. Every time someone writes about these things, Museveni gets jittery. On 7 May, Uganda’s leading independent newspaper, Daily Monitor , did not just write about one of these taboo subjects, but about all three. It quoted a confidential memo written by General David Sejusa, the Coordinator of National Intelligence Services, in which he... There is an unwritten rule in the Ugandan media. It is that the media can't report extensively on President Museveni's personal conduct, his family or...
Joe Hanlon
Zimbabwe's land reform. Tens of thousands of violent Mugabe-supporters invaded prosperous white farms, wrecked them and reduced the country to ruins. Not true, says 'Zimbabwe takes back its land', a new book by Joe Hanlon, Jeanette Manjengwa and Teresa Smart. The ZAM Chronicle Q & A with Joe Hanlon You say the invaders weren't sent by Mugabe? Mugabe didn't support land reform at first. He decided to grab back control later. Some of the new farmers were cronies, the vast majority was not. Aren't you... Zimbabwe's land reform. Tens of thousands of violent Mugabe-supporters invaded prosperous white farms, wrecked them and reduced the country to ruins. Not...