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Pambazuka News: Blogging Africa

By Sokari Ekine for Pambazuka News:

Oluwole Akindutire of African Loft celebrates Nigeria's 47th year of independence and asks "Nigeria at 47: Who are our heroes?" and lists 10 of his. A somewhat strange list that includes, Mungo Park, four head's of state (3 rolled into one) and possibly the strangest of all "the British business men called colonialists"!

He does however include Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka but what about Fela and his mother Mrs Fumilayo Ransom Kuti who fought throughout her life for women's rights? At number 10, Akindutire remembers the real heroes, those "unsung or sometimes popular heroes who for one reason or the other became victims of the failed Nigerian project, the millions who died in the civil war and other religious or political riots in Nigeria; those felled by armed robber's, militant's, (occultist's) and or assassin's bullets; those felled by accidental discharges at check points and those who died as a result of extra-judicial killings or from political scheming and schisms; those who died because of inadequate, unavailable, unaffordable or untimely medical care; those whose careers were either truncated or compromised as a result of inefficient systems or parastatals"

The Blogazette has a more interesting question of Nigeria's 47th anniversary - "Nigeria must stop killing poets and other citizens"

"On October 1, 2007, Nigeria celebrates 47 years of independence from British rule. Many in Nigeria and elsewhere will be asking themselves what the independence has been all about. If Nigeria were a man who had set forth from home at the age of twenty-one to lead an independent life, should he, forty-seven years later appear unable to function with maturity, certainty and fairness? More importantly, should he have the blood of his offspring on his hands?"

Women in Europe report back on the Black Women in Europe Congress being held in Vienna last week. From her account the conference was a success with much bonding of women and also the fact that the event was reported in the local Austrian press.

"Emotions ran high as discussions and debates revealed our deep desire to participate in a dialogue about what it means to be a Black Women in Europe. I wept because I was so overwhelmed at the amount of abounding love, and the intense feeling of belonging. This is something Black Women in Europe seldom feel."

Sociolingo reports from Namibia and Senegal on indigenous language policies in schools. In Namibia children will be taught in their mother tongue from Grade 1-3 and from there on English classes will be taught in English but mother tongue languages will continue to be taught as a subject. In Senegal no decisions have been taken as yet except to say that children should "be able to learn in their own languages".

Why South Africa Sucks . For those who doubt there are still left over racists lurking on the streets (well behind their 10ft fences in urbanland or in other shady places - this blogger reminds us of the myth rainbow nation/people in post oops - apartheid South Africa.

"Ever so often, we get comments from readers of this blog, who froth at the mouth because we are so "racist". A friend of mine wrote the following piece and he emailed it to me today.....I reckon he succinctly sums up the bottom line. To those bleeding hearts who flatly refuse to acknowledge the hard facts about SA - take note. Thanks Fred.

Everything in South Africa is so politically correct, that very few Whites want to face up to the fact of what is really happening in our beloved country!

Answer the following questions and you will realise why South Africa is fast becoming another African basket case country."

His solution? "If each of us must seize the opportunity to take active steps to make the necessary changes, we are all destined to be slaves under depraved politicians in our own fatherland."

Kubatana comments on the latest "Poverty Datum Line" in Zimbabwe which has risen from ZW$8.2 million in July, ZW$11 million in August to ZW12 million in September.

"Last week, the teachers rejected the government's offer of a 91% salary increase. The increase would have added ZW$2.6 million to the present basic wage of ZW$2.9 million, making a total of Z$5.5 million dollars. But PTUZ described the offer as "pathetic," and is standing firm on its demand for a monthly minimum wage of ZW$15 million.......... As inflation spirals, the teachers' demands have increased - they are now demanding a basic salary of ZW$18 million plus another ZW$14 million in housing and transport costs....This would put teachers just barely above the Poverty Datum Line - for now, until it goes up again. It would certainly leave them far better off than those in the agricultural sector."

One wonders if anyone in Zimbabwe other Government ministers and senior members of the military are much above the PDL?

KumaKucha - You've Missed This reports on the outcome of an election rally in Uhuru Park, Nairobi following which violence erupted in the informal settlement of Kibera.

"I was very disappointed with the violence that erupted again in Kibera when Mr. Money bags Livondo decided to move with his entourage of vijana na Kibaki to Kibera after holding a rally at Uhuru Park.....I do not support political violence in any form or from supporters of anyone even my favorite Presidential candidate. I also agree that it is every ones constitutional right to vie for a civic or parliamentary seat anywhere in this Country. Freedom of movement is also every Citizen's right."

Sudanese Thinker links to "two new excellent blogs on Sudan".

"Anyways, today I want to bring your attention to two excellent blogs which don't contain the usual and annoying inaccuracies you see elsewhere.

Andrew Heavens, a journalist, has been writing a nice series of short posts at his blog. He's now based in Sudan. Rob Crilly is also a journalist who travels to Sudan quite often. In fact he just returned from Darfur back to Nairobi recently. They've got some good stuff and by going through their posts, one can observe they have a deep understanding of what's happening."

Committee To Protect Bloggers has been reactivated after a year's hiatus due to lack of funds. The aim of the CTPC is "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government. We support the right of bloggers, regardless of professional status or engagement in activism, to speak and we do so regardless of their ethnicity, national origin, religion or political beliefs."

The CTPC can also be found on Face Book causes at Committee To Protect Bloggers

Sokari Ekine is Online Editor of Pambazuka News and blogs at

This article is reprinted with permission from Pambazuka News, published by Fahamu. Fahamu aims to contribute to social movements and social change in Africa through information and communication technologies, education, media, publishing and advocacy. Fahamu is headquartered in Oxford, with regional offices in South Africa, Kenya and Senegal.

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