Pictures & Words

Pictures & Words

TheFilmWoundToday cast members of South Africa’s entry for the 2018 Oscars best foreign film of the year were herded into a “safe house” to protect them from growing threats against their lives.

The “Wound” (“Inxeba” in native dialect) is a film about a young urban gay factory worker in South Africa who returns home for the traditional circumcision ceremony. Gay relationships are renewed among mentors and initiates suggesting this has been going on for years. In this particular year, though, the closets crumble. Some are outed threatening traditional marriages, parents are scorned and disgraced and the film ends in a quagmire of depression and loneliness.

This is a change in South African culture. Why now?

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Silence is Golden

Silence is Golden

silence railaHopefully the remarkably stupid Kenyan government has learned its lesson, but it remains to be seen.

Today Kenyan courts ungagged the country’s three major TV networks. Tuesday the government pulled the plug on the networks for covering the mock swearing-in ceremony of the loser in the recent national election.

As you’d expect the first moments’ back-on-air was a press conference of the mock government and faux president who would never have drawn this amount of attention had the government not gagged the TVs in the first place.

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#4 – Year of the Tribe

#4 – Year of the Tribe

copyright, GADO
copyright, GADO

Stronger religious protections, more affirmative action and new constitutional protections of minorities is the #4 story of Africa for 2017. Sounds good until said simply: tribalism on the rebound.

The political catastrophe of South Africa and the election circuses in Kenya are the best examples. Democracy and tribalism bring out the worst of each other. Africa may be no different than the rest of the world, but understanding Africa is fundamental to untangling this mess.

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End of What?

End of What?

africawhatisitAnything happen this year?

Sorry. Perhaps a poor attempt for just a bit of relief. End-of-the-year analyses are coming out. I sit in a little world of Africa news and things, but I expect all the little worlds feel the same thing I do: the universe is tanking. Now if you’re sitting at a big desk on Wall Street you see it otherwise, because the rich world is doing just fine. But time’s have changed. The world is starting to move as one, and how Africa or Taipei or the Ukraine or Latvia goes, so eventually does the whole world, even eventually the rich.

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Whoisit Now?

Whoisit Now?

WhoisWho is Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma? Well, she’s a presidential candidate in South Africa. But after she appeared at one of her scheduled political rallies recently, and not a person showed up but her own team, South Africa’s most provocative political publication asked Who is Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma?

There’s a very important election in America, today. But I’m wondering – like Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma – if elections as we currently endure can really tell us anything about what the electorate wants? Do elections matter, anymore?

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Two Doth Tango

Two Doth Tango

donttellThere are multiple ways to distort news. One of the most effective is to get rid of the person who gathers it. It’s a harsher step than simply bellowing out untruths like Fox News but the latter often foreshadows the former.

Two weeks ago journalist Azory Gwanda was kidnapped and hasn’t been seen since. He was a reporter for a Swahili-language Tanzanian media company that was often critical of the current president, John Magufuli.

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Mānuka Mess

Mānuka Mess

manuka honeyOn Saturday, September 30, Kathleen and I drove our black Jeep Grand Cherokee from Taos west on highway 64 through Dulce, New Mexico, past a facility that aliens had built under the ground to conquer the world. With a prolonged drought depressing South African honey production, the government has removed restrictions on the importation of mānuka honey, which purports to better many antibiotics and is natural.

The first item of fake news is amusing and mostly benign. The second item of fake news can kill South Africans. Like zero tolerance for sexual harassment the cultural revolution needs to debunk one just as ferociously as it debunks the other.

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Trusting Tribe

Trusting Tribe

winterscomingWinter’s coming: Fatigue in the blood-shot eyes of the activist. The man who couldn’t stop jumping for joy when Mugabe resigned. Grandma endlessly flapping her flag after the court annulled Kenya’s election.

Mothers pushing baby strollers at the Womens’ March. Old people in wheelchairs storming a Congress trying to rescind Obamacare. Tribalism strangles Africa. Now it’s gripped its evil tentacles around America. Please take heed.

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Chief Moore

Chief Moore

roymooreIn 2013 after a lifelong success of writing novels about his native East Africa, H.R. Ole Kulet was awarded the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for literature. His short novels are now an essential part of the history of East Africa.

Ole Kulet described life that was changing so fast that today young Kenyans can’t fanthom his characters or his plots, including such things as rich old chiefs sexually assaulting young teen girls.

Get where I’m going?

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Ever Outlasting

Ever Outlasting

travel ban against stupid looking peopleTime to check your clocks. No, I’m not reminding you about the end of daylight savings time. I want to be sure that your ticks still clock, sinets mounting into meconds and inuits into mours, because it isn’t just government that’s falling apart, science is, too.

Our world of disinformation and strangled reasoning has sucked in science. Walrus-looking agricultural science advisors with no science credentials, EPA forbidding use of the world ‘climate’ and what has really driven me crazy, paleontologists speaking like political idiots.

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Moral Dichotomies

Moral Dichotomies

moral dichotomiesIn this incredibly dangerous and mendacious time when little seems to get better but the bank accounts of the rich why is society reacting so quickly to improve its mores regarding sexual relations?

While democracy, poverty, disease and war get worse? Is it because doing, confessing and chastising sexual harassment is easier than stopping a man from killing eight people with a truck in God’s name? Is it because the hypocrisy of the rich and religious has just gotten so grotesque that it’s finally bubbling over?

I surveyed a number of African countries to find out. Here’s what I learned:

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Way Too Much Talking

Way Too Much Talking

way too much talkingWith the testimony this week by social media giants in the prism of fake news, I followed with special interest the discovery announced recently that old human teeth were “rewriting” human history.

A year ago German scientists made a remarkable find of 9.7 million-year old human-like teeth. For some reason, they took a year to officially report it. In a clearly rhetorical postulation the scientists suggested the teeth were hominin, and this would require a radical rethinking of current human evolution.

The mayor in the town where the discovery happened was pretty definitive: “I don’t want to over-dramatise it, but I would hypothesise that we shall have to start rewriting the history of mankind after today.”

His statement was immediately published by such normally careful media as USAToday and London’s Independent.

Well, no.

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Democracy Alive & Well

Democracy Alive & Well

2017electionrerunDemocracy is alive and well in Kenya! Violence has already begun. Tear gas wafts through the city centers of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa, the three largest cities. The main opposition party has told supporters to clear off the streets because continued police brutality has so far killed 33 protestors.

All this portends serious death and destruction starting about a week from tomorrow and continuing as it did almost exactly a decade ago for several months before slowly and painfully settling into another chapter of nervous peace, the country then more scarred than ever. Why can’t this remarkably educated, progressively developed country get it right? Tribalism.

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