Uncle Tom
My old ANC-buddies and I still fondly remember those days at Bra Boet’s bottlestore in Khayelitsha, when we used to sit there on the stoep pretending to be drunks –granted, we also did drink, just a little-, whilst plotting to collect some guns and grenades from Botswana to fight the Boers with. The contact has watered down over the past twenty-five years or so. But I took a plane just to hear, directly, from comrades what the witblits is going on there? Some nouveau-riche family from India called... My old ANC-buddies and I still fondly remember those days at Bra Boet’s bottlestore in Khayelitsha, when we used to sit there on the stoep pretending to...
Bart Luirink
Former members of the leadership of the Anti Apartheid Movement Netherlands (AABN) have spoken out in solidarity with 'many South Africans who raise their voice against state capture and the defilement of shared ideals'. In an Open Letter to the ANC they express their 'grave concern' about recent investigation by the South African police. The Letter reads as follows: We, former members of the Anti Apartheid Movement Netherlands (AABN), express our grave concern about recent police and other... Former members of the leadership of the Anti Apartheid Movement Netherlands (AABN) have spoken out in solidarity with 'many South Africans who raise...
Bart Luirink
ZAM editor Bart Luirink wonders why his former comrades in the Anti Apartheid Movement are investigated by the South African police. On Saturday (26 February, 2016), Dutch TV broadcast a remake of a 2010 documentary on the Dutch involvement in the release of Nelson Mandela. The film portrayed Dutch Anti Apartheid Movement chair Conny Braam and her contribution to Operation Vula. This underground ANC operation was aimed primarily at smuggling exiled leaders of the movement into the country. Because... ZAM editor Bart Luirink wonders why his former comrades in the Anti Apartheid Movement are investigated by the South African police. On Saturday (26...
Anneke Verbraeken
"Honestly, couldn’t we have done this on Skype?” inquires one of the team members after our first meeting. Comparing notes has been a cautious and not very exciting exercise at first. We only know other team members from social media and are still getting to know one another in real life. Seated around a large table on the hotel terrace in a warm, windless Accra, Fidelis Mac-Leva talks about himself and his job as an investigative journalist for the Nigerian Daily Trust . His newspaper is known for... "Honestly, couldn’t we have done this on Skype?” inquires one of the team members after our first meeting. Comparing notes has been a cautious and not...
Evelyn Groenink
Based on the average track record of FIFA presidents so far, Tokyo Sexwale seems the perfect candidate. He is charming, charismatic, great at meetings and has extensive experience in deal-making –even if his plans, like the million houses he promised to build for the poor in South Africa, don’t always actually materialise. But one thing is sure –and this alone would make him a great fit with many other FIFA dignitaries-: whatever he undertakes generally results in fabulous wealth for himself.... Based on the average track record of FIFA presidents so far, Tokyo Sexwale seems the perfect candidate. He is charming, charismatic, great at meetings...
ZAM reporter
Ten days of student protests have won a victory. It was like a comatose giant briefly awakening from his slumber. Filling South African TV screens (for he spoke only on camera, having refused to go out to face ‘violent’ students protesting at his government buildings), South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma slowly spoke the words ‘0 % university fee increase’. The rest of what he said lasted only a few minutes, during which he stayed fully motion- and expressionless. There was no explanation, no... Ten days of student protests have won a victory. It was like a comatose giant briefly awakening from his slumber. Filling South African TV screens (for...
ZAM reporter
At the occasion of Rwanda Day in the Netherlands on 3 October supporters of that country’s President Paul Kagame targeted known opposition-friendly journalist Anneke Verbraeken and snatched the phone she used to take photographs of a pro-Kagame demonstration outside the Amsterdam venue. “It’s not so much the phone itself, it’s the fact that it contains many contacts of mine in Rwanda,” says Verbraeken. “It is very worrying that these are now in the hands of the regime.” Other journalists, among... At the occasion of Rwanda Day in the Netherlands on 3 October supporters of that country’s President Paul Kagame targeted known opposition-friendly...
Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom has been preoccupied with pictures lately. First there was the one of the happy young men who had reached a Greek beach after crossing the Mediterranean from Syria. They made victory signs and took a selfie. With a stick. That stick caused a tsunami of comments in the European media. (See on of the articles here .) Where did they get this selfie stick from? How did they pack a selfie stick when fleeing their burning, grenade-shelled homes in Syria? They had all the time in the world then,... Uncle Tom has been preoccupied with pictures lately. First there was the one of the happy young men who had reached a Greek beach after crossing the...
Elnathan John
NGOs in his country are not the benign civil society activist groups they purport to be, says Nigerian satirist, former lawyer and novelist Elnathan John. Elsewhere in this issue of the ZAM Chronicle you launch a biting attack on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Nigeria. You compiled an ‘instruction manual’ for those who want to start NGOs, full of tips for getting the most out of donors and doing the least for the people you pretend to support. But surely not all NGOs are like that? There... NGOs in his country are not the benign civil society activist groups they purport to be, says Nigerian satirist, former lawyer and novelist Elnathan...
Bram Posthumus
On Wednesday 16 September the military in Burkina Faso –or rather an armed gang of 1,300 men who consider themselves above the law- staged a coup d’etat in that country. The Régiment de Sécurité Présidentiel (or RSP), intimately associated with Blaise Compaoré, -the autocratic ruler the Burkinabè people chased from power in October 2014-, clearly feels it needs to be back on top, if only to avoid ever being called to account for its many crimes. Ever since the demise of the dictator, and the... On Wednesday 16 September the military in Burkina Faso –or rather an armed gang of 1,300 men who consider themselves above the law- staged a coup d’etat...
ZAM Reporter
In his biggest undercover project ever , Ghanaian ace investigative journalist and ZAM partner Anas Aremeyaw Anas has recorded 34 judges –among whom a High Court judge and a Human Rights Court judge- promising to throw big cases in exchange for money. The thirty-four now all face impeachment. The high profile judges were videotaped and audio recorded in separate conversations with suspects, or persons acting as agents of suspects, before them to compromise big cases. Video footage to be released... In his biggest undercover project ever , Ghanaian ace investigative journalist and ZAM partner Anas Aremeyaw Anas has recorded 34 judges –among whom a...
Gustavo Costa
Thousands of Cubans working in Angola feel let down after the government of José Eduardo dos Santos has failed to pay a debt of 300 million Euros to their country. The money was meant to cover the salaries of the skilled workforce who worked in the African country as doctors, university professors and technicians in the water and energy sectors. But, with oil prices falling, Angola's state coffers are empty and water plants and hospitals, once staffed by Cuban comrades, have been abandoned. Having... Thousands of Cubans working in Angola feel let down after the government of José Eduardo dos Santos has failed to pay a debt of 300 million Euros to...
Evelyn Groenink
Anti-FGM (Female-Genital-Mutilation) campaigners in the West use shock tactics (often pictures of screaming and bleeding girls, held down by ‘cutters’) to canvass support. True, the practice in the pictures is horrific. But sometimes the ‘do-gooders’ don’t accept that the wrong they are fighting is close to being righted. In Somalia, for example, -historically one of the worst ‘FGM’ countries-, the old practice has been replaced in 75 % of cases by much more benign clitoral hood removal, comparable... Anti-FGM (Female-Genital-Mutilation) campaigners in the West use shock tactics (often pictures of screaming and bleeding girls, held down by ‘cutters’)...
Uncle Tom
Last week my home girl Jeanie, who is now making it big in New York, Rome and Monaco as what I fancy to be the wealthiest escort-girl of all time, sent me this link to the story of a migrant woman . The intro was catchy. The woman had come from poverty, crossed borders, defied challenges and made many sacrifices to provide for her own needs and those of her family. But as soon as I saw the sentence “I am called illegal, disease spreader, prostitute, criminal, trafficking victim,” I knew what Jeanie... Last week my home girl Jeanie, who is now making it big in New York, Rome and Monaco as what I fancy to be the wealthiest escort-girl of all time, sent...
ZAM reporter
A story taken from the AFP news agency by the South African Sunday Times, last weekend, highlighted how desperate prosecutors pass stiffer and stiffer sentences on poachers of rhinos in the country’s famous Kruger Park –without much hope that poaching will actually get any less. Interviewed by the AFP reporter, prosecutor Ansie Venter –who is attached to the Skukuza Magistrates Court inside the Kruger Park- confessed to be close to despair in this regard. “Somehow we have to believe that passing... A story taken from the AFP news agency by the South African Sunday Times, last weekend, highlighted how desperate prosecutors pass stiffer and stiffer...
Bart Luirink
A sharp attack on US President Barack Obama in an Al Jazeera column by Ugandan media owner and opinion leader Andrew Mwenda went viral yesterday on social media. Following Obama’s recent visit to Kenya and Ethiopia, Mwenda, founder and owner of the Ugandan newspaper The Independent , accused the US President of being a ‘colonial headman’ who came to tell ‘the natives’ how to behave. "Obama, being of African ancestry, is a puppet used by the US to disguise its contempt for Africans," Mwenda wrote in... A sharp attack on US President Barack Obama in an Al Jazeera column by Ugandan media owner and opinion leader Andrew Mwenda went viral yesterday on...
ZAM Reporter
American-Nigerian writer Teju Cole on the Bill Cosby candal: 'We (men, Ed.) must be allies in this, in a subsidiary but vital role, to the generations of women who have been fighting it (rape, Ed.) since forever. Why should it be easy? It can't be. We have to face even the complication of confronting those few women who are themselves invested in perpetuating rape culture. It will cause us extreme discomfort, but our discomfort will be nothing compared to the pain of being a victim of rape or... American-Nigerian writer Teju Cole on the Bill Cosby candal: 'We (men, Ed.) must be allies in this, in a subsidiary but vital role, to the generations of...
ZAM Reporter
If Africa was a bar, Nigeria would be the guys manning the toilets and making more money than the bar itself; South Africa would be that light-skinned girl who is haughtily refusing to mix with anyone else and Uganda would be the drunk uncle repeatedly asking his neighbour Kenya to return his ‘stolen’ cows. In turn, Kenya, whilst unable to pay for own drinks, would keep droning on about how his countryman Obama made it in the USA. And Zimbabwe would be daring a white guy to step on his toes. If... If Africa was a bar, Nigeria would be the guys manning the toilets and making more money than the bar itself; South Africa would be that light-skinned...
Evelyn Groenink
Never mind Fox News’ remarkable phrasing of the Charleston church shooting as an ‘attack on Christianity,’ or lists of mass shootings by mentally ill individuals such as this one . If ever there was a massive gun murder by a white male that cannot be explained as an ‘individual act caused by mental illness,’ this was it. Sure: normal, mature, balanced people don’t generally go out and bomb or machinegun civilians. One would guess that most other violent extremists of the kind that guns down... Never mind Fox News’ remarkable phrasing of the Charleston church shooting as an ‘attack on Christianity,’ or lists of mass shootings by mentally ill...
Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom finds out about fund raising in the Gambia. I was interviewing activists in Banjul, Gambia, about their careful efforts to mobilise against that ‘fat white chicken’ dictator Jammeh , when one of them suddenly suggested going to the beach. I was game and so were the others in the group. The regime and its secret service might be oppressive and vicious, but, hey, the place is also just all beaches and palm trees and sunshine. And even the most dedicated guerrilla fighter needs some fun... Uncle Tom finds out about fund raising in the Gambia. I was interviewing activists in Banjul, Gambia, about their careful efforts to mobilise against...
ZAM reporter
A ‘gay revolution’ in Africa. Very likely, states Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina in Boldly Queer, African perspectives on same-sex sexualities and gender diversity . The book, published by Hivos, was launched in The Hague on Friday 5 June 2015. Mozambique has already joined the revolution. President Filipe Nyusi signed a new penal code decriminalizing homosexuality. Congratulations to Lambda, the activist group, who fought against anti-gay-legislation introduced in 1887 by the Portuguese... A ‘gay revolution’ in Africa. Very likely, states Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina in Boldly Queer, African perspectives on same-sex sexualities and...