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Tag Archives: Africa

IN 2000, when I turned 16 and was now eligible to travel on my own passport, I decided to apply for one. By this time, I had already been in and out of Malawi on several occasions, on either of my parents’ passports. You can understand my excitement at the thought of owning this document – the prestige among peers, the satisfaction of presenting it to border authorities and of course, the occasion to relish various immigration stamps and the memories they come with.

As it turned out, however, it was not as easy as it seemed. There were a number of significant obstacles that stood in my way. Read More

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AFRICA’S OLDEST political party, the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, is going through a tough time. As the party approaches its 105th birthday next month, you can say such times are to be expected. Of those impressive 105 years, the ANC has only spent 22 years in power, meaning for the greater part of its life, the party has been engaged in the active fight for freedom. Naturally, therefore, the party can be forgiven for showing signs of fatigue, having been worn off by an oppressive apartheid regime.

But that is not the case. Read More

HE STARTED as a joke and now he is here, as the president-elect of the United States of America, one of the world’s most powerful countries. As the election campaign unfolded, laughter begot intrigue, which then begot despair. And now most of the world is living in suspense, waiting to see what a Donald Trump presidency will look like.

Largely seen as an inexperienced, weak and deplorable candidate, Trump was never supposed to stand a chance against the much-endorsed, experienced and preferred Hillary Clinton. So, what happened?  Read More

Information is power, they say. And, an informed citizenry makes informed decisions. Media play a crucial role in mediating the space between citizens and institutions that make up the State. This allows media to operate within a framework that should be biased towards the most marginalised, dispossessed and silenced in society. eu-media-futures-forum-pic_0

Although we live in an Information Age, values that are at the heart of journalism have never changed –pursuing of Social Justice. As journalists try to fulfil this mandate, they soon discover who the enemies of social justice are. In most societies, these are the rich, powerful and famous, men and women of influence and in whose interest social justice must not be a reality. Read More

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A woman sells groundnuts as an entrepreneurial means to support her familly. Blantyre, May 2015. – Thoko Chikondi

THREE WEEKS before my third birthday, in 1987, then Burkina Faso leader, Captain Thomas Sankara delivered a speech on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Several thousands of women from all walks of Burkinabe life gathered to listen to the speech and many more accessed it across various media. As a man himself, the irony of the occasion was not lost to Sankara.

“It is not an everyday occurrence for a man to speak to so many women at once,” he began by saying, adding: “Nor does it happen every day that a man suggests to so many women new battles to be joined.”

It is in a similar context of thinking that I frame this entry this week. “A man,” Sankara further says, “experiences his first bashfulness the minute he becomes conscious he is looking at a woman. So, sisters, you will understand that despite the joy and pleasure it gives me to be speaking to you, I still remain a man who sees in every one of you a mother, a sister, or a wife.” Read More

The world’s first self-driving taxi service was recently launched in Singapore. Here is an abridged version of how The Guardian (international) reported on this world-first.

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A nuTonomy car vehicle. Photo-credit: Yong Teck Lim/AP.

“The world’s first “self-driving” taxi service has been launched in Singapore – albeit with a human backup driver and co-pilot on board for the time being.

While multiple companies, including Google and Volvo, have been testing self-driving cars on public roads for several years, nuTonomy said it would be the first to offer rides to the public, beating Uber, which plans to offer rides in autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, by a few weeks.

The service would start with six cars, growing to a dozen by the end of the year, said nuTonomy, adding that it aimed to have a fully self-driving taxi fleet in Singapore by 2018. Read More

Rhythmic Revolution: Captain Sankara on his guitar, one of the few things he owned

Rhythmic Revolution: Captain Sankara on his guitar, one of the few things he owned

EARLIER THIS month, the people of Burkina Faso celebrated the anniversary of the August 4 Revolution that brought Captain Thomas Sankara into power. Given recent developments in the country – the ouster of long-ruling president, Blaise Compaore – and subsequent attempts at destabilising the transition government, the occasion was marked with great reflection.

The memory of Sankara is not only for the Burkinabe to hold. As a committed pan-African, Sankara’s contributions towards the shaping of African consciousness are not only enormous, but they have also stood the test of time. From renaming Upper Volta to Burkina Faso – Land of the Upright People – to challenging practices of post-colonial States in relation to the colonising presence, Sankara set a solid and futuristic framework for thinking about governance and development. And, he was not just about the talk!

“We must make every effort to see that our actions live up to our words and be vigilant with regards to our social behaviour so as not to lay ourselves open to attack by counter-revolutionaries lying in wait. If we always keep in mind that the interests of the masses take precedence over our personal interests, then we will avoid going off course,” once thundered Sankara. Read More