Not A Drop To Swim

Not A Drop To Swim

No swimming CapeToday Cape Town authorities announced that the city’s water supply will likely end in 80 days. The normal dry season extends into April. “Day Zero” on April 15 presumes Capetonians will continue restricting themselves to 50 liters of water daily.

The severe drought effecting the city, the winelands and extending up a fairly narrow sliver of the country’s west coast is climate change at its starkest: The rest of the country including its agricultural regions have had normal to above normal rainfall.

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Radioactive Backslide

Radioactive Backslide

The Dodd-Frank Act is our victory!
The Dodd-Frank Act is our victory!
Did you get that new iPhone? How’s your Sony stock doing? Did you realize you might have just killed a few kids in The Congo?

The rapid deterioration in the peace of the eastern Congo is because western powers – especially the United States – are withdrawing their involvement and letting giant digital multinationals once again fund The Congo War.

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#6 No News

#6 No News

fake news in africaThe Number #6 story in Africa for 2017 was the loss of journalistic freedom and the ensuing loss of news for Africans.

A big cause was the profusion of fake news, which more traditionally had been called propaganda. Because Africans have dealt with propaganda for so long, they think incorrectly they can also deal sufficiently with fake news.

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#5 Post Trumpism

#5 Post Trumpism

TrumpRacism is the first first pedestal the demagogue plants himself on. “The salient fact is that in both England and the US electorates have turned to charlatans peddling a set of poisons as medication with the toxic allure of whiteness at the centre,” – Richard Pithouse, Rhodes University, South Africa.

The #5 story in Africa this year is the mindpower among intellectuals that has gone into formulating the post-Trumpism New World. This hope for the future resides almost exclusively in Africa; it’s an African story. It makes sense, too, because if it’s true that many of our ails are linked to racism, who would understand this better than an African?

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Holiday Horror

Holiday Horror

MLKDay14Today is one of the most important holidays for political America, Martin Luther King Day. It’s impossible to overstate its importance this year.

The current xenophobic administration is poised to make illegal 800,000 young people Friday at midnight. Starting in the wee hours Saturday morning, the embodiment of “I Have a Dream,” King’s famous speech, today America’s “Dreamers” face being deported to places they have never seen.

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Apology from America

Apology from America

verysorryTo my colleagues and friends in Africa:

We’re very, very sorry.

Trump’s denigrating, vulgar remarks yesterday do not reflect the vast majority of us Americans. We apologize for them and we’re horribly, unthinkably ashamed. Unfortunately a small very radical minority currently controls America. So, unfortunately, at this moment in time those remarks do represent “America” and it makes most of us Americans sick to the stomach. Ashamed isn’t a strong enough word.

Most Americans feel as aggrieved as you must.

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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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#3 – The Dictator Knows

#3 – The Dictator Knows

lossmoralauthorityThe West’s loss of moral authority has created a vacuum. The rise of far-right movements and the election of President Donald Trump has buoyed the anti-democratic forces in Africa. I didn’t write that. Editors at Nairobi’s Daily Nation did. My #3 Top Story in Africa for 2017 is the rise of the dictator in Africa.

I’m not convinced that Trumpism in the U.S. is directly responsible for the growing authoritarian regimes in Africa. Trumpism could be a world-wide not just an American phenomenon. But if so then Trump’s Trumpism is the most powerful of the lot, and the America for so many years that so arduously promoted freedoms and democracy is no more. The dictator knows.

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#2 – More U.S. Bombs

#2 – More U.S. Bombs

dronestrikeThe #2 of top stories in Africa for 2017 is that a lot more innocent Africans are being killed and maimed by the U.S. military than ever before.

Americans may have an impression that our military is the one arm of Trump’s government that’s not in complete dysfunction. Even putting aside a few gigantic megalithic ship crashes in the Pacific and Air Force plane crashes at an all time high, I believe that our increased military in Africa is as undisciplined and misdirected as the rest of Trump policy, so clearly the most dangerous of all.

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#1 – Trump Diplomacy

#1 – Trump Diplomacy

sleepnomoreDiplomacy with North Korea, now Pakistan and other Middle East actors has arguably always been more important for the U.S. than diplomacy with Africa. My better knowledge is with the diplomacy of Africa, and what I saw happening over the course of 2017 remains terrifying.

There’s no reason to suppose it’s much different in other parts of the world. The #1 story in Africa for 2017 is the wreck of U.S. diplomacy in Africa.

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Top Trumps for 2017

Top Trumps for 2017

trumpsworldIn hindsight even as adults we behaved like children. We never shook off the mantle of goofiness justifying our exaggeration, so that now when it’s absolutely true that “there’s never been a time like this before” it’s hard for us to accept it.

I don’t have ten top stories for Africa in 2017. I’ve just got one with five subtopics, and then just four others, because almost everything in Africa like in the whole-wide world is now overshadowed if not effected by Trump.

And remember, folks, it’s not Donald J. Trump. It’s Trumpism. It’s Zumaism. It’s Kenyattaism and Kagamism – it’s Tribalism, plain and simple, and it’s destroying the human species. Return over the next few days for the specifics, but here’s the summary:

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Reindeers Flying

Reindeers Flying

See Andrew Eddy's 'Why Do Reindeers Fly?'
See Andrew Eddy’s ‘Why Do Reindeers Fly?’
See Andrew Eddy’s ‘Why Do Reindeers Fly?’ So many unanswerable questions as Americans watch this miserable year come to a close. Like our Congressmen we carve out of this year’s calendar one extra holiday day, because we need some peace. But hope springs eternal: perhaps this slightly longer hiatus from the smog of badness will clear people’s heads. Reindeers fly because we believe they do, or want to believe they do, or pretend that they do, and whether they do or not is as innocent as an unremembered smile and at least until now one of the most precious pieces of my childhood. The horror of my world today is that Fox News has kidnapped that innocent childhood memory and treats life and death as simply as the flight of reindeers, and the terror is that so many believe them.

Donald Descent

Donald Descent

trumpbyflagThe Mideast has not exploded because of Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, but the effect on the U.S. is substantial and getting worse.

In response to our UN Ambassador’s childish threat that she’ll be “taking names” when the UN General Assembly votes on the resolution she vetoed last week, many African countries responded quickly but much more maturely. Their actions reflect not just how much of the world discounts the U.S., but how they now see us as the evil power in the world.

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Pay To Pedagogue

Pay To Pedagogue

tan performancepayShould teachers be paid bonuses when their students achieve better test results? What would you think about giving a 6th grade English teacher a bonus equivalent to half his salary if more than half his students ranked in the highest 5 percentile of the No-Child-Left-Behind tests?

That’s what Tanzania is currently doing, and the approval from all parts of society is so high that foreign NGOs are now kicking in some of the funds.

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