Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version is a new blog from Senegal by Ndeyefatou. Her latest post “Discover Dakar, she posts a photo essay showing places and monuments in the city – one of my favourites is a piece of modern art depicting “Mother Africa”

“The Millenium Door. This was constructed in 2000 on the Corniche of Dakar. It has a door in its middle thats known as the Millenieum door . This door symbolizes the entry to a new century or millenium. At the top of the door there is a statue of a woman named Yaye Boye= Mother in wolof. She symbolizes mother Africa watching over its children.” is another new blog this time from South Africa. Referring to the new South African blog aggregator, Amatomu, produced by the Mail & Guardian, Khanya asks “where are all the African bloggers”. Yet again that same question we have heard so many times before both referring to African men and women bloggers.

“Look at South African blog aggregator sites like Amatomu, and the vast majority of the bloggers there are white. And this in spite of the fact that it is run by the Mail & Guardian newspaper, which has several black journalists. So if there are black bloggers out there, why aren’t they showing up on Amatomu?............The disparity not confined to blogging, but is seen in other parts of the Web and in electronic communications generally. In Usenet newsgroups, for example, most of the South African newsgroups are dominated by whites, with a high proportion of whinging whenwes. The soc.culture.south-africa newsgroup did have one very articulate black poster a few years ago, but he was not one to suffer fools gladly, and went off to play golf instead.”

I don’t know why Black bloggers are not showing up on Amatomu but I do know that issues of access to technology exist for the not white population who make up the majority of the poorer sections of SA. With most Black people still living in townships and a further 20% living in shacks it is not surprising that blogging and technology in general is not being taken up. Most Black and people of colour complain about the cost of internet connection at home and lets face it if you have just spent 2 hours struggling to get home the last thing you want to do is go and find an internet café and start blogging. is possibly the only blogger to write about the recent elections in Lesotho. Knowing so little about Lesotho and Lesotho politics I welcome this short piece especially as he raises the question will the prime minister, Mosisili be taking after Mugabe?

“On Sunday elections were held in Lesotho. The small southern African “kingdom in the sky” was the continent’s first country to use a mixed-member proportional (MMP) system, in 2002. Sunday’s election was Lesotho’s second under MMP, and as I am not aware of any other African countries having opted for MMP (as opposed to MMM/parallel, which is used by several countries*), it must have been only the second African MMP election……………Lesotho politics is fraught with fallacies. There are even suggestions that the tiny mountain kingdom should be incorporated into South Africa before its tool late. In fact the only hope for the poor country is its big neighbour where there are more than 50 000 Basotho employed in the gold mines. Lately, its educated citizens are leaving in droves for greener pastures in the SA provinces. Is Lesotho becoming the next Zimbabwe? Is prime minister Mosisili taking after pres Mugabe?” City reports on a court ruling in Joburg that will allow the government to evict squatters.

“The Supreme Court of Appeal decision allows the government to evict approximately 300 people from six buildings in the inner city that it argues are unsafe and unhealthy. The court ruling does, however, require the city to provide temporary relocation housing for the people it evicts”

What Squatter City is reporting on is the move by the Johannesburg government to gentrify downtown Joburg and in the process remove the last remaining black population so that it may refurbish and construct new high rise expensive apartments for wealthy people. Black Looks Kameelah questions the way in which we speak about the highly complex situation in Zimbabwe and asks that we do not assume the MDC as the given and best alternative to Mugabe.

“This delicacy in speaking about Zimbabwe does not mean we stay silent—engaging in the quiet diplomacy that South African president Thabo Mbeki has seemed to master; it means that we develop the strategies to speak about Zimbabwe in productive ways.”…………. Granted–any words uttered about the negligence and brutality of specific African governments will be an invitation for the West. If it is not a formal invitation, then it is an instigation of the desire for greater Western involvement in Zimbabwe (and by extension Africa)—a desire that lingered below the surface awaiting the opportunity to exploit—and at the moment Africa has many crisis opportunities to exploit. It is a desire for involvement that can only be staged as legitimate when certain people speak in certain ways. With that said, how do we speak? When? Where? And to whom? Or, do we stay silent? Do we pussy-foot around the crisis at hand to preserve the sanctity of African political leadership? If we choose to speak, how do we speak in a way that does not invite neocolonial intervention, or mimic Western neo-con and neo-liberal narratives?”

Kameelah raises an important point in asking how do we speak of Zimbabwe. We need to be very careful of the kind of language we use and avoid language that is racially loaded and feeds into the West’s vision of Africa as opposed to a progressive vision which seeks a new form of African leadership.

* Sokari Ekine produces the blog Black Looks, and is Online News Editor of Pambazuka News.

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