Archive for March, 2008
In 1906 the Bronx Zoo brought a Congolese Pygmy named Ota Benga over from Africa to exhibit at the zoo and housed him in the Zoo’s ‘Monkey House.’ Two years ago, the New York Times in a long report recalled the event and criticized the paper’s own coverage then. As the New York Times reported in 2006: ‘One hundred years later, the Ota Benga rage.episode remains a perfect illustration of the racism that pervaded New York at the time.’ So you’d think they’d learn. This Sunday in the City section, a headline on page 3 screams ‘Out of Africa, the Wisdom of a Warrior,’ by one Josh Weill. Weill is an assistant to a photographer Elizabeth Gilbert who had brought over ‘the warrior,’ Andiri Lekelani, to help promote her new book “Tribes of the Great Rift Valley.” As for the launch it appears from the article that was held at, stop, wait: The American Museum of Natural History. Yeh. The rest of the article consists of Weill’s impressions ‘chaperoning’ Mr Lekelani around New York City. What follows is one of the stupidest things I read in a while, filled with outdated stereotypes. Samples:
I wondered if the Masai saw the beauty of the stuffed animal the way I did, or if the sight just made him homesick. Was he awed by the beasts plucked from his land and hoarded half a world away?
and the prize quote:
By the time he and I were sipping our Cokes, he was guiding me through his world. Watching him tear off a quarter of his paper napkin and reserve the rest for later, or sip on a straw to avoid touching the glass’s rim, I felt as if I were in Africa, with its scarcities and health dangers.
The full piece here. I am tired.
Posted in hip hop, New York City, Not just about Africa, South Africa, tagged art, art and artists, Lolo Veleko, Mounir Fatmi, Mustafa Maluka, Nicholas Hlobo, photography, Studio Museum of Harlem on March 30, 2008 | 2 Comments »
‘Flow‘ is a show of about 80 works by 20 different African artists currently showing at the Studio Museum of Harlem, including the work of Nontsikelelo “Lolo” Veleko, France-based Mounir Fatmi, Johannesburg’s Nicholas Hlobo, and Berlin-based Mustafa Maluka.
The Wall Street Journal‘s culture page gives its take. Here.
A prominent businessman who has close ties to Zanu-PF but is hoping for change told the Financial Times there was only one chance for the MDC: “We must hope the old man [Mugabe] is so arrogant that he believes his propaganda that he is still loved. If so, he just may not have rigged this enough.”
Full story here.
David Scott, world editor (that’s basically everything but the United States) of the Christian Science Monitor on one of the paper’s reporters covering the Zimbabwean election:
My Millionaire Kids:
Who wants to be a millionaire? In Zimbabwe, it’s rather hard not to be. In a country where a loaf of bread costs 10 million Zimbabwean dollars (if you can find a loaf in the stores), just about everyone is a millionaire.
Staff writer Scott Baldauf says that before he arrived there to do the story about Zimbabwe’s economy, “I was a bit worried that I would have to push around a wheelbarrow of cash just to buy a soda. Fortunately, the government of Robert Mugabe has recently started printing $10 million notes (which were worth about US37 cents when I was there).
“That means that wheelbarrow can be used for hoarding bags of cornmeal and sugar instead of carting around cash,” says Scott. “When I returned to South Africa, it was easy to come up with gift ideas for my two girls. I gave each a crisp $10 million note. ‘Wow, thanks Dad!’ they said, and then immediately gave each other high-fives.”
Footnote: The German Heinrich Boll Stiftung has a great web ‘Election Dossier‘ containing lots of background, history, analysis and interviews with the main players.
Whether Robert Mugabe (who has governed Zimbabwe since independence in 1980) can rig this weekend’s Presidential elections in Zimbabwe is still not clear, but we sure he is deluded.Evidence of Mugabe’s oddness here [via Al Jazeera English, the only 'international' news network allowed to report the elections and whose 'reporter' Supa Mandiwanzira seems to channel Mugabe and ZANU-PF's propaganda occasionally, which is not surprising given his past exploits] as well as here (via the Washington Post).Other burning issues: Is this Simba Makoni’s moment? Is Makoni a ‘third force’ set up to divide opposition to Mugabe and split the opposition vote? (Remember Makoni served in Mugabe’s Cabinet and his wealth is partly a result of his state connections). Will the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (now consisting of two or three — depending on who you ask — factions) tear itself apart (kinda like what Hillary Clinton and her surrogates are doing to the Democratic Party in the US? My sources tell me NO.That’s despite word that the army (who do the work of the electoral commission) are supporting Makoni. Makoni is also favored by the intelligentsia and the diaspora whose tired of the infighting inside the MDC. But popularity outside Zimbabwe does not mean votes inside Zimbabwe.MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had the largest election rally of he contest so far (about 30,000 people turned; Mugabe’s best was about 2,000 people), but Tsvangirai is seen as divisive and too close to the West. But my source reminded me MDC is better funded this time.Too close to call. One thing’s for sure the people are tired.
Posted in economy, journalism, money, Not just about Africa, politics, tagged Billionaires, Black economic empowerment, Forbes, money, Patrice Motsepe, Richest People in the World, South Africa, Wabenzi, Warren Buffett, wealth on March 28, 2008 | 3 Comments »
Patrice Motsepe, the new generation South African capitalist, is on the cover of Forbes’ ‘Richest People’ issue (he’s worth $2,4 billion; the richest man is the American investment guru Warren Buffett at $62 billion).Full story here.
* BTW, the quote referenced in the my title is from a statement by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, currently South Africa’s Deputy President. She made this statement when she was still Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs. She was responding to criticism about the government’s ‘Black Economic Empowerment’ policy aimed at creating a black middle class, but which has instead contributed to growing class disparities among blacks.