The Old Man Won’t Nod

Reading the Inyanga tea leaves, studying the day-old photographs, it appears to me that Robert Mugabe wants to turn control of Zimbabwe over to the Army but just can’t. He just can’t give up the reins of power. If he did it could avoid more bloodshed but at the same time might even further perpetuate […]

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Young Discontent

You know, it’s not just US. Enormous discontent is sweeping across the most important countries in Africa with a heavy involvement by the youth. Such generalizations are dangerous, so I’ve thought about this a lot. I’ll stop making conclusions: you make them. Let’s just survey today’s news. Yesterday was budget day in South Africa. In […]

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A Stable, Stagnant World

Trickle-Down economics slams Africa and its leaders line up like misbehaving school kids to take the paddle. President John Magufuli of Tanzania just reduced taxes. There’s no worse move at a time when Tanzania needs stimulus not austerity. All the creativity and imagination Africa has shown in the last several decades has been smothered by […]

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You Can’t Burn Ivory Towers

No matter how much ivory Kenya burns or how widely NPR publicizes it, the poaching of elephant will not stop until individuals stop buying ivory and until rich people cede much of their wealth to the poor. Conservation will not succeed if its implementation is so narrow as to neglect those who it could hurt […]

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Of Shoes & Planes

While one current election debate is about the immorality of American multinationals using slave labor abroad, it’s time to understand how entire societies are now doing this. America’s alliance with the Gulf States is preeminent foreign policy. But the Gulf States are enslaving Africans as if it were the 18th century, again. Gulf States need […]

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The Year of the Beast

“T’is the autumn of treason.” Things are heating up in South Africa: “Twenty-two years into democracy and nearly three years after Mandela’s death, the air is again thick with political paranoia… of high treason … sedition and betrayal, with talk of mysterious foreign… agents who have “infiltrated” the mass media, business, foreign multinationals, NGOs, religious […]

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Symbol Savvy

According to a successful white South African male progressive, “Anyone who cares about gender equality [should vote for] Hillary Clinton, irrespective of her policies and …whether Donald Trump is the alternative.” Jarred Cinman argues on a number of fronts, but the one that struck me right away was, “Her symbolism is more powerful than her […]

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Bioinformatics BS

Remarkable disarray at the moment among paleontologists, a virtual Guy Fawkes day for creationists. Findings about homo naledi, continuing excavations at Dmanisi, even a new thesis that dinosaurs started to die before the meteor struck have just been waiting for something for creationists to exploit. Well, they got it. Last October the respected journal Science […]

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COP21 Obfuscation Detritius

Today on Earth Day only one major head of State (from France) attends the signing statement at the United Nations of COP21, the breakthrough global climate agreement negotiated in Paris last year. French President François Hollande is the star. He was instrumental in negotiating African developing countries into the deal, but there aren’t any African […]

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Facebook Reject

When a wild animal kills a person, should it be killed? Kenyan park rangers killed the lion Mohawk last week after he killed a man. But zoo authorities in Palm Beach didn’t dispatch the tiger that killed its keeper. The protocol especially since the days of the Man-Eaters of Tsavo has been to kill any […]

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Discounted Business Class

The Somali war began in 1993; Ethiopia’s various versions of terror started in 1979. Yesterday, more than 450 mostly Somalis and Ethiopians drown in the sea when their refugee boat capsized near Greece. It seems this is the first large “migrant” incident with mostly East Africans. Why now? I don’t doubt that many of those […]

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Conservation vs. Development

Is conservation just? Not always, according to a study in Uganda’s Bwindi National Park. “Conservation [needs] to get serious about environmental justice,” a September study from the University of East Anglia claims, one of the world’s top universities for developmental studies. This is just one of lots of recent intellectual fistfights between sociologists and conservationists. […]

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Acting Right

Why in America do we have national student sports contests, national science fairs, national spelling bees … but no national performance contests? Africans know why: Because the American entertainment industry is a monopoly of big money and nepotistic connections and the arts are no longer being taught in schools. “In Kenya,” Dr. Hassan Wario explains, […]

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Let the Animals Live

For sure a melancholic tale: Lions survive by growing tame enough to live side-by-side with people. Last night’s PBS premiere of ‘Wandering Lions’ is one of the best nature documentaries I’ve seen recently. It tells a hopeful story of India’s critically endangered lions. The lion population in India for my entire life time has been […]

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Click or Bang

The tug between conservation and hunting has reached a crescendo in Zambia where 30 years of effort by the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) is in jeopardy. The vast wilderness of eastern Zambia is divided into two great reserves, North & South Luangwa. Like the Serengeti some of the land at the periphery of the these […]

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