When you sit on a bench at Main Mall, Gaborone, you will see many things: two girls in matching tops holding hands, their faces turned to each other to trade girlish whispers; a woman bowing down to hand her grandchild a juice-box, his face glistening under six layers of Vaseline; a stall occupied by an unoccupied woman, her wares hanging on the wires beneath her shade. If you are sitting by the embassies, you may also see a stream of hopeful young people going in and out of the British High Commision, folders filled with letters and forms and … Continue reading when you sit on a bench in main mall [Fiction]
Don’t be jealous of the Rwandese!
Today the people of Rwanda decide if Paul Kagame can change the constitution to enable his term to increase another 5 years (possibly 30). That’s a long time. Many of us are weary with African leaders who cling to power forever and drag the country down with them.
The Rwandese issue is complicated (what country is not?), but they have a special history. In 1994 close to a million people were slaughtered in the space of one week. The fear of that happening again is ever-present in Rwandese life.
So…if indeed this is a free and fair referendum, the people will make the decision based on their desire to have a prosperous and united Rwanda in the face of their history.
They have a serious number of systems to ensure the country isn’t run like a night-club. Google their parliament systems, judicial systems etc, many are exemplary.
There are alleged human rights violations by the current president, Paul Kagame, google and read about that too.
We talk about corruption a lot. Sometimes we even discuss its causes, but often in very abstract, macroeconomic and historical terms. We talk about corruption in a very “big picture way.” However, for a time, I’ve wondered why we don’t zoom in. But not too far so that we are looking only at the psyche of the singular corrupt-or, but just far enough that we look at his family too. How does the African family contribute to corruption? This year we were given front row seats to the breakdown of football legend Emmanuel Adebayor’s family. In a move that many … Continue reading How does the African family contribute to corruption?
I am absolutely exhausted by the argument that says we cannot complain about inefficient and corrupt African leaders because, “even Western leaders do it.” The follow-up to this point is usually the indignant “How come when white people do it, its OK?”
And by ‘it’ here the speaker is referring to plunging a population into a well of suffering simply because one can.
A few days ago I happened upon an article on The Root in which the gripes social media users have with the royal family were brought to light. The article was short and simple: a report on a report really.
In fact, ‘Swaziland’s royal family has found itself ensnared in the firm grip of social media users who are determined to expose the lavish lifestyle of “Africa’s last absolute monarch,” while most of the country’s people barely subsist on $1 a day per person, Agence France-Presse reports.’
Was basically the gist of it.
But the responses to it are what angered me. Of the hundreds of comments that this post attracted, many of them repeated the same idea: if the [insert white royal family] can do it, why can’t we?
I was so overcome with rage, I found myself doing the one thing I promised myself I never would: I left an angry Facebook comment. But that was not the end of it. The rage at the commenters, many of them African American echoing a sentiment often uttered by Africans too when our own leaders are to be held accountable for one act or another, did not go away.
Your Highness I know you may be wondering why a mere peasant dares to write you a letter—and an open one at that. I imagine you’re having one of your aides read this out loud to you while you stare out of the window in absolute repulsion at my gall. I apologise in advance for upsetting your day. Please bear with me. It is officially 2014 now, and I’m sure you welcomed the New Year in a most majestic way—clinking glasses with your fellow oligarchs and marvelling at the sheer magnitude of wealth you all will be amassing in the … Continue reading Open Letter to the African President
Last night the president of South Africa told a roomful of students, academics and businesspeople at Wits University in Johannesburg, in a ANC manifesto forum, to “not think like Africans.” Discussing the need for Gauteng residents to pay e-tolls, Zuma remarked: “We can’t think like Africans in Africa generally, we’re in Johannesburg.” Now, when I first got wind of this my first reaction was of course, anger. As a full-time African (except when there’s a World Cup Final and it pays to be Brazilian); I found myself wondering why he believed that my manner of thinking would destroy his beloved … Continue reading The Dangers of Thinking Like An African