Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom is not scared of Ebola. I have become an ebola expert. I know about virus loads, bodily fluids, contaminated surfaces and transmission. No, I am not scared to get it, since I haven’t been to the countries where it rages, but I have read up because people here in Holland seem to be scared of me. I don’t blame them. I could be West African. People don’t want to die. But it is unpleasant when you are looked at like you’ve got the plague. As an old black stranger I am used to getting some... Uncle Tom is not scared of Ebola. I have become an ebola expert. I know about virus loads, bodily fluids, contaminated surfaces and transmission. No, I...
Professor Oyewale Tomori
It’s not poverty that is to blame for the weak African responses to Ebola, but bad leadership, says the head of the Nigerian Academy of Science, professor Oyewale Tomori. In an interview in the Science Insider, Nigerian Academy of Science head, virologist professor Oyewale Tomori, didn’t mince his words criticizing bad government leaders for the raging Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Isn’t that a bit harsh? No, it is the truth. These government leaders can build monuments that cost millions of... It’s not poverty that is to blame for the weak African responses to Ebola, but bad leadership, says the head of the Nigerian Academy of Science,...
ZAM Reporter
Up to today, Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso featured on a tongue-in-cheek Facebook chart called ‘Africa Presidents’. Timeline that dates this particular old man’s rule back to the introduction of the cellphone (1988): a bit after Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (the walkman, 1979) and a bit before the ‘old fat white chicken’ Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia (the DVD, 1994). But he is finally, finally gone now, Compaore, ‘le très françafricain’ as the French website Survie calls him, the... Up to today, Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso featured on a tongue-in-cheek Facebook chart called ‘Africa Presidents’. Timeline that dates this particular...
Evelyn Groenink
Halloween seems a perfect time to scare the world with the Dutch tale of the bone snatcher. Dutch artist Tinkebell, previously known for provocative art that denounced battery farming, has taken to dead people as art material. Specifically, in this case, the victims of the textile building collapse disaster in Bangladesh last year. Tinkebell went to Dhaka, snatched some of these victims’ bones, successfully smuggled them into Holland and waved them around on Dutch TV. She is now invited by the NGO... Halloween seems a perfect time to scare the world with the Dutch tale of the bone snatcher. Dutch artist Tinkebell, previously known for provocative art...
ZAM Reporter
Dutch-resident Nigerian ‘Comrade’ Sunny Ofehe, portrayed last June 2014 in the ZAM Chronicle , stands accused of fraud and human traffic. The Dutch daily newspaper Trouw of 30 October, reporting on the current court case against Ofehe in the Netherlands, calls him a suspect ‘with two faces’. In development aid and some NGO circles in the Netherlands, Ofehe is known as a human rights activist who has dedicated his life to fighting for the people of the polluted Niger Delta and against oil company... Dutch-resident Nigerian ‘Comrade’ Sunny Ofehe, portrayed last June 2014 in the ZAM Chronicle , stands accused of fraud and human traffic. The Dutch daily...
Bart Luirink
The significance of Teju Cole’s Every Day is for the Thief lies in the refusal of the author to buy into this back-and-forth discourse. The book is a report -in thrilling prose- on the author’s visit to Lagos, the city where he grew up. Whilst reading it, it soon becomes clear that if Cole had any ideological baggage that could possibly influence his view, he left it in New York, the city he has resided in for many years now. He has no interest in answering the question whether Africa is ‘rising’... The significance of Teju Cole’s Every Day is for the Thief lies in the refusal of the author to buy into this back-and-forth discourse. The book is a...
ZAM Reporter
‘The Nest’ in Nairobi, Kenya, has issued an invite to any African person who has travelled or hoped or attempted to travel across borders to share their ‘visa stories’. The Nest, which subtitles itself as the ‘Home of Nairobi’s Alternative Art Thinkers, was most recently in the news because a film it made, Stories of Our lives, was banned by Kenya’s censors for ‘promoting homosexuality’. It has also produced films and videos on other subjects such as mob violence and materialism, as well as music... ‘The Nest’ in Nairobi, Kenya, has issued an invite to any African person who has travelled or hoped or attempted to travel across borders to share their...
Evelyn Groenink
There should be no censorship and the powers-that-be should exhibit whatever they want, but is looking at human pain really art? A long time ago, in the anti-apartheid movement, there was a pamphlet with a naked black bottom on it, full of scars and blood. “Tortured blacks show their wounds,” the caption read. The pamphlet protested police violence, but we activists who were to distribute it felt too embarrassed to do so. The furore about Brett Bailey’s Exhibit B, which shows real chained black... There should be no censorship and the powers-that-be should exhibit whatever they want, but is looking at human pain really art? A long time ago, in the...
Lara Bourdin
Showings of white South African artist Brett Bailey’s 'Exhibit B' at the Barbican in London have been cancelled due to protests. 'Exhibit B' is an art piece composed of thirteen tableaux vivants showcasing black actors in a variety of dehumanizing scenarios. In some they are chained, in others imprisoned in cages. As a literal re-creation of the 'human zoos' that were organized during 19th-century world fairs for European audiences, the work is intended as a critique of the evils of slavery and... Showings of white South African artist Brett Bailey’s 'Exhibit B' at the Barbican in London have been cancelled due to protests. 'Exhibit B' is an art...
ZAM Reporter
It took four years and considerable risk to own life and limb, but Ghanese investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas finally achieved his goal: not just to name and shame, but to actual jail wrongdoers, especially wrongdoing civil servants. His undercover-camera-infiltration of a cocoa smuggling syndicate allowed him to catch corrupt Customs, Police and Immigration officers on tape, greedily counting money. The eight officers were arrested after Anas aired his tapes. The trial finally came to an... It took four years and considerable risk to own life and limb, but Ghanese investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas finally achieved his goal: not...
ZAM Reporter
When Ebola first appeared in Liberia, many of the people in the country thought it was a scam crafted by the government to attract funds from international donors. This is reported by the US digital daily The Nation . The Nation’s sources, among whom foreign and Liberian activists, civil servants and medics, state that the belief that “this was a way the government could get money from the World Health Organization so that it could then put the money in its pockets” was and is widespread. (A belief... When Ebola first appeared in Liberia, many of the people in the country thought it was a scam crafted by the government to attract funds from...
Evelyn Groenink
South African social critic Jonny Steinberg described the outpourings of anger from fellow whites at girlfriend killer Oscar Pistorius as ‘racial shame’. And unleashed much wrath in return. In his column in Business Day, Steinberg noted that “white people I’ve known for years, usually calm and thoughtful, grow red with anger when they talk about Pistorius.” He contrasted that with the relatively calm response from within South Africa’s black community and theorized that whites were probably enraged... South African social critic Jonny Steinberg described the outpourings of anger from fellow whites at girlfriend killer Oscar Pistorius as ‘racial shame’....
ZAM Reporter
The Peace Parks Foundation in South Africa has paid back one-and-a-half million Euros to a Dutch Lottery, admitting that their project to protect rhinos from poaching by poisoning the horns doesn’t work. Scientists had been pointing out all along that there was no evidence to support the ‘poison solution’. The ‘Postcodeloterij’ had made more than 14 million Euros available to Peace Parks for a number of anti-poaching projects in February this year. “They finally admit that they knew all along that... The Peace Parks Foundation in South Africa has paid back one-and-a-half million Euros to a Dutch Lottery, admitting that their project to protect rhinos...
ZAM Reporter
Even if President Jonathan has disowned the slogan, "the damage has been done," Soyinka writes, with "the rot in a nation's collective soul bared to the world." The vast majority of the 'Chibok' girls, -so named after the northern Nigerian village they were abducted from- are still held captive in Boko Haram camps. They are not the only youngsters who have been kidnapped by the violent insurgents, who have been sowing death and destruction in the region for years. The Nigerian government has, so... Even if President Jonathan has disowned the slogan, "the damage has been done," Soyinka writes, with "the rot in a nation's collective soul bared to the...
Uncle Tom
Could there be something really wrong with Dutch people? Don’t get me wrong, I generally like people in Holland. Whenever I visit my niece Ingrid in Amsterdam, I am always pleasantly surprised at the helpful pedestrians on the streets. The greengrocer steadfastly explains the names of all his fruits to me and worries about my likes and dislikes. It takes time, but it is meant well, and I appreciate it. But there are Dutch people that puzzle me a lot. Like my niece Ingrid’s husband, Henk, who has a... Could there be something really wrong with Dutch people? Don’t get me wrong, I generally like people in Holland. Whenever I visit my niece Ingrid in...
Steven Friedman
Director Steven Friedman of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Johannesburg, disagrees with the allegation made by some, including in the recent documentary ‘Miners Shot Down’ by film maker Rehad Desai, that South Africa’s deputy president and former mine boss Cyril Ramaphosa is personally to blame for the massacre of mineworkers at Marikana two years ago. In emails to his business partners at the Lonmin mine, Ramaphosa stated that he had prevailed upon government to take... Director Steven Friedman of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Johannesburg, disagrees with the allegation made by some,...
Evelyn Groenink
It was a small note in the newspaper that caught South African columnist Marvin Meintjies’ eye: it said that the diamond-rich country of Lesotho had signed a ‘relation strengthening’ agreement with the tax haven island of Barbados”. Meintjies chuckled, imagining Lesotho’s new friends, the mining billionnaire Gupta family from India, snorkelling on Barbados’ beaches. The Guptas, also great friends of South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma, -they had been introduced to Lesotho by Zuma himself-, would... It was a small note in the newspaper that caught South African columnist Marvin Meintjies’ eye: it said that the diamond-rich country of Lesotho had...
ZAM Reporter
The furore about South African President Jacob Zuma’s mansion in Nkandla, KwaZuluNatal, has far from died down. Now that the independent report by the Public Protector on the whole saga is out, twitterati and political bloggers are all over one another to announce –or dispute- the death of South Africa’s democracy. According to some, proof of said death is the fact that the ANC is using its majority to protect Zuma. Others, like columnist Steven Friedman , argue that the use of a parliamentary... The furore about South African President Jacob Zuma’s mansion in Nkandla, KwaZuluNatal, has far from died down. Now that the independent report by the...
Bram Posthumus
Bram Posthumus is an independent journalist who lives and works in West Africa. He recently experienced the failure of UN peacekeepers in Mali and reports that this has added to his now twenty-year long frustration with UN ‘peace-keeping-but-not-really’ in conflict zones like Angola and Ivory Coast. “It always goes wrong. If they can’t do it differently, they should just stop.” Shouldn’t we have more UN peacekeeping, rather than less? Critics always complain that the UN is not doing enough. Rwanda... Bram Posthumus is an independent journalist who lives and works in West Africa. He recently experienced the failure of UN peacekeepers in Mali and...
Uncle Tom
A trader who calls himself ‘fair’, is just like my local neighbourhood nightclub boss, Honest Jimmy, says Uncle Tom. My grandson Harold is an earnest chap. He worries about his carbon footprint, eats only local vegetarian food and refuses to wear any cheap clothing because it is made by exploited workers in Tanzania and Vietnam. I used to be like that, but in those days we called it being a revolutionary. We used to go to such places to be part of the liberation struggles. Only Harold can’t do that... A trader who calls himself ‘fair’, is just like my local neighbourhood nightclub boss, Honest Jimmy, says Uncle Tom. My grandson Harold is an earnest...
ZAM Reporter
Amidst all the panic about ebola, serious as the scare is, it must not be forgotten that infectious diseases are actually on their way out as the biggest health problem in low income countries. The World Health Organisation warned already three years ago that a disaster was brewing among the populations of these countries in the shape of cancer, and that unlimited marketing of tobacco, alcohol and fatty and sugary foods, combined with a rising standard of living, were largely to blame for this. At... Amidst all the panic about ebola, serious as the scare is, it must not be forgotten that infectious diseases are actually on their way out as the biggest...