http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/308/blogs_01_tumwine.gif blogs primarily about the tobacco industry. An excellent resource as she monitors and reports on tobacco related issues from across the continent. In this piece she reports on the plight of tobacco farmers in Uganda’s West Nile region
'It reiterates Uganda’s Vice President’s recent plea for alternative crops to tobacco and highlights the fact that tobacco is labour intensive, environmentally destructive and impoverishes the tobacco farmer.'
One noteworthy mention is that the 'WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),” supports the development of alternatives for tobacco farmers and the report will be ready in July 2007 so check back on Jackie’s blog for more news.
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/308/blogs_02_countryboyi.gifCountry Boyi tells us why Idi Amin is his hero. Growing up he was repulsed by an Idi Amin presented as a wicked, torturing, human flesh eating dictator. Boyi takes issue with these stories of Amin and finds justification for making him a hero because he encouraged Ugandans to work with determination and there were more women managers in the country than elsewhere in Africa.
'He wanted Africa for Africans...He sent a telegram to Julius Nyerere that said, 'I want to assure you that I love you very much, that if you were a woman I would have considered marrying you'. Long after his death (2003), Uganda continues to reap big from his friendship with Libyan leader Muammad Gaddafi.
Further, he gave full economic independence to the people of Uganda after expelling 80.000 Asians. His attempted Islamisation of the country was aimed at uniting a citizenry that are known to tear each other on religious grounds.'
I think you need to find another hero Boyi!
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/308/blogs_03_afromusing.gifAfro Musing was one of the African bloggers present at the recent TED-Africa held in Arusha, Tanzania.
'How to help Africa? Do business there TED Global felt like a seminal moment in Africa. I may have said this already but i will say it again. It was unlike any conference i have ever attended. Stupendous, challenging, interesting, eye-opening, heart-opening literally with Dr. Seyi Olesola and figuratively with Binyavanga Wainaina, Chris Abani and the music of Vusi Mahlasela. It was not uncommon to see people quietly wiping away tears during some of the talks. I would be curious as to the psychology behind the organization of the conference, it literally does something to your brain, sort of like neuron shock-therapy. By this i mean the speed, content, superb production, entertaining ‘mental breaks’ and the mix of amazing people. Its like being given knowledge speed in an engaging syringe with extra tablets of wonderful food.'
Sounds pretty grim, like a revival meeting of entrepreneurial evangelists using sleek media and marketing presentation – Who is the 'God' here? I just hope its not catching via cyberspace. For sure it is the talk of the African blogosphere everyone that attended has nothing but praise – my only regret is missing Vusi Mahlasela who would bring tears to my eyes!
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/308/blogs_04_mental.gifMental Acrobatics raises an interesting set of questions around the responsibilities of bloggers in reporting news events. In reporting the bombing in Nairobi this week he like other bloggers is full of qualifiers as the news is updated by the hour via Reuters and other news sources. Mental argues that this is an example of why blogs are an important news source
'I would argue that it is stories like this that rather than showing the danger of blogs, HIGHLIGHT the importance of blogs and other citizen media. While the MSM was stuck in its procedures, bloggers wrote about what they had heard, seen or were told. There is nothing wrong with quoting primary sources. The historians amongst us can confirm the importance with which primary sources are regarded on any historical event. The eyewitness account, the man on the street as it were. If you wanted to know what Kenyans were thinking and feeling at the time the blogs were a very good place to start...As for waiting for an official police statement before commenting on this blast, to that I would ask: where is the lengthy police statement on the Mungiki crisis? Where is the lengthy police statement on the Mount Elgon clashes? Both were major incidents in the past month which claimed more lives that the blast this morning, yet we haven’t seen the same coordinated response to dishing out information as we have on this blast. Are we to await the official statement on those events as well before stepping in with our take on events? How long are you prepared to wait?'
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/308/blogs_05_mettyz.gifMetty'z Reflections - Tanzania in Focus comments on Tanzania and globalisation and refuses to attribute blame for Tanzania’s debt or lack of development to globalisation. His post is in response to comments on globalisation and that 'industrial countries impose barriers on agricultural products from Africa' and he concludes he is not 'willing to jump on the ‘we are not developing because of the West’ bandwagon'. Much easier to blame Tanzania’s and Africa’s 'bad attitude' whatever that is.
'With regards to ballooning of the African debt, we can’t simply run and attribute that to globalization. First of all, how that does globalization, which is pretty much a free market concept, cause African countries to acquire more debt? I would seriously need more education on that. As far as I know, the expansion of debt is an outcome of strategies, vision and policies. Case in point: the United States’ debt , which has grown over time, but has increased or decreased based on whether Democrats of Republicans are in power. All that happens when the country is a capitalist country. So why would one tell us the African debt has grown because of globalization?'
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/308/blogs_06_bl.gifBlack Looks writes on World Walls – apartheid walls of segregation built to keep out the unwanted and protect the wanted internally and externally.
'Insiders, outsiders anyone from a different world or who is trying to make a different world. Will you be inside the wall living as a caged animal or outside, excluded and destitute? The G8 wall has shown that WALL BUILDERS are capable of constructing internal walls - walls that criminalise the poor, migrants, unwanted people and to keep them away from the the acceptable amongst their nations. The walls are symbols of a concrete and metal apartheid as nation after nation seeks to divide those who are legal and those who are illegal; those who are the right religion, colour, class, gender, have the right sexual preference. For the preferred insiders there is the superiority of knowing you are inside looking out. You have what THEY, the other, want as in Castillo’s diagram. The newer walls include sophisticated surveillance technology that can sense people approaching the fence/wall and prepare for attack. One wonders if the Spanish walls in Ceuta and Melilla will be able to pick up the colour of the approaching people and trigger some sort of automated reaction of bullets to shoot would be wall jumpers.'