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THE MAGAZINE THAT PROMOTES UNION AND COOPERATION OF AFRICANS AROUND THE GLOBE, ENCOURAGING AN INFORMED, THINKING AND QUESTIONING AFRICAN SOCIETY.

MAY/ JUN 2008

Marula:

Tree of Tradition

Five Reasons

To Fall In Love with Africa

The Church And Tradition

SPOTLIGHTS

Joelle K. Allen

INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE

Joelle K. Allen I S S N 19 41-7 179

Signs of Recession: How To Stay Afloat

8 Reasons To Buy a House

The American Dream

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THE MAGAZINE THAT PROMOTES UNION AND COOPERATION OF AFRICANS AROUND THE GLOBE, ENCOURAGING AN INFORMED, THINKING AND QUESTIONING AFRICAN SOCIETY.

IN THIS ISSUE: Editor’s Column................................................................. 6

8 Tree of Tradition Marula:

14 Growth Outlook

The State of the Sub-Saharian Africa

16 And Tradition

The Church

22 To Fall in Love with Africa Five Reasons

MAY / JUN 2008

24 The American Dream

8 Reasons to Buy a House

26 A Mother’s Day Tribute Poem

Motherhood in Full Circle

40 How to Stay Afloat

Signs of Recession

42 Buying Low airfare tickets

10 Ways to Save on Airline Tickets

SPOTLIGHT: 28 Fashion Designer, Ijo• Inc. Joelle K. Allen

46 BOTSWANA

Africa 101 - From A to Z

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EDITOR’S COLUMN

THE MAGAZINE THAT PROMOTES UNION AND COOPERATION OF AFRICANS AROUND THE GLOBE, ENCOURAGING AN INFORMED, THINKING AND QUESTIONING AFRICAN SOCIETY.

Life on The Fast Lane ERIC ADUNAGOW Chief Editor

L

AST MONTH, I SPENT ALMOST THREE WEEKS in Australia, a couple of days in Wilmington DE , and Savannah GA. Life on the go sometimes means missing some quality family time. Nevertheless, like anything else - good or bad - the key secret to a happy and balanced life is “moderation.”

Say What? -

PUBLISHER: Eric ADUNAGOW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Eric Adunagow eric@adunagow.net

Water is said to be good for the body. True. But, did you know that if you drink more water than your body can tolerate, you can actually drown your cells and die? The same concept applies with anything else taken out of proportion. Moderation is something that needs to be mastered for one to live a happy life. Like the old say: there are times for laughing, and there are times for crying. Laugh a little longer and everyone will think you’re crazy. Cry a little longer and everyone will refer to you as “cry baby.”

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Salimata Barro Constance Rahlane Paul Usungu

If you frequently travel for business, I recommend booking some time to stay home and enjoy the fruits of your hard work. What’s the use of having a home if you don’t “live” in it? I have scheduled vacations as part of my life balance. They provide plenty of opportunity for catching up with family and friends - Yes, family first, then friends after.

MARKETING DIRECTOR: Colombe Adunagow colombe@adunagow.net

Communication One thing that I have found useful during long separation with my family is my e-tools luggage. It contains my cell phone, my Zune player, my recording device, and my digital camera. My cell phone keeps me in touch with my family anywhere I go. Thank God for the technology that we now have (and sometimes take it for granted). I have a little bit of peace of mind, knowing that if there is any emergency, my family has a way to get a hold of me; anytime and anywhere. My Microsoft Zune player (the latest addition in my e-tools) is a wonder. I have stored movies, photos, and music that keep me going: my family pictures (my lovely wife and my kids) are easily accessible, anytime I think of them. With all my music collections in one place (1000+ songs), I can jam anywhere and anytime. Personally, I think we are all made with music in our soul; we are made to praise God. And throughout the day, we move through various beats and tempos; my songs are now accessible 24 hrs not only in my heart, but in my ears as well. I love that little gadget! No more boring flights. I have my movies downloaded into my Zune to keep me company. And yes, the Matrix Revolutions and X-Men are among my favorites. My recording device is also my business tool. I Use it for conducting interviews and recording personal thoughts and ideas; I keep it close with me. You never know when you’ll get that “Eureka” feeling. And most precious of all, I have the recording of my kids’ voices stored in it. I can hear their voices whenever I miss and think of them. My Digital camera is also a business tool. But I carry it with me no matter where I go, whether I need it or not. Photography is an art that can be relaxing; a stress reliever. When I’m bored, I shoot pictures. When I’m too tense, I take a break and pick up my camera and shoot something. I kind of shoot stress out with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. At the end of the day, I find myself pleased with wonderful memories and great materials. In summary, some of us are required to live on the go as part of our business life. But, there are ways to carry with you, a little piece of your home. Trust me; it will make the difference between a successful happy trip, and a crappy, uneventful, and miserable one. Cheers,

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ADUNAGOW MAGAZINE “Reaching Africans Around The Globe”

ADUNAGOW MAGAZINE

MAR/APR 2008

CONTACT US: editorial@adunagow.net (714) 612-2057 voice URL: http://magazine.adunagow.net http://www.adunagow.net

ADUNAGOW Magazine [ISSN 1941-7179] is published bimonthly by Eric ADUNAGOW, PO BOX 691728, Tulsa, OK 74169-1728. Telephone: 714.612.2057. Postage is paid at Tulsa, Oklahoma. U..S.. subscription rates are free to qualified subscribers. ADUNAGOW.NET and ADUNAGOW are trademarks of Eric ADUNAGOW. All contents are copyright © 2008 by ADUNAGOW Magazine. All rights are reserved. Right of reprint is granted only to non-commercial educational institutions such as high schools, colleges and universities. No other grants are given. Send address changes to ADUNAGOW Magazine, PO Box 691728, Tulsa OK 74169-1728. The opinions of our writers do not always reflect those of the publisher and while we make every effort to be as accurate as possible, we cannot and do not assume responsibility for damages due to errors or omissions. LEGAL STATEMENT: All information in this magazine is offered without guarantee as to its accuracy and applicability in all circumstances. Please consult an attorney, business advisor, accountant or other professional to discuss your individual circumstances. Use of the information in this magazine is not intended to replace professional counsel. Use of this information is at your own risk and we assume no liability for its use.

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ROOTS

& HERITAGE

A story by Constance Rahlane

Photography by : Briget Ganske AMAZWI VILLAGERS.ORG

MARULA: Tree of

Tradition

W

HEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL I used to watch my late grandmother while she prepared marula beer during the marula season, which lasts from February through March. She used to wake up early in the morning, go into the bush, pick up fallen marula fruits and carry them home in a full mealie bag. Then she would drop all the marulas under her own marula tree. I enjoyed staying next to her while she squeezed the marula fruit into buckets. She would wear her favourite blue dress and cross her legs on the grass mat and tell me old stories. Usually during the fruit squeezing my grandmother would fall asleep with the fork she used to open the marulas still in her hand. She would jerk awake and say, “Where was I?� Sometimes we would spend six hours under the tree, squeezing fruits and talking. After two or three days the marula beer was ready to drink, and my grandmother would send my cousin and me to call our neighbours and friends to gather. It was very fulfilling for all of us kids to watch the elders dance and ululate after drinking marula beer. One person would get inside the circle and dance while the others sang old songs and clapped their hands.

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That was 18 years ago, and now much of the country has changed. Apartheid fell and I lost a grandmother but gained a son. The marula tree and its varied uses is one constant that remains. The marula tree is not just for shade on a hot day. It is not just for firewood to cook with. Its leaves are not just used for animals to eat. The marula tree tightens relationships amongst inlaws and keeps ancient traditions alive. It contributes money to hard working people who brew marula beer, harvest its nuts, or make marula jam. Its value is cultural and economic. Although marula beer still plays an important role around communities, it is now very rare to find free marula beer. Jamela Ndlovu, 55 with six kids, sells marula beer in the Acornhoek area. Jamela said people sell marula beer because we are living in a different world than the older generation. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, people did not need money very much because they used their hands to make their own food. Ndlovu explained. “We used to farm for mealie. We used to eat vegetables and only ate meat on Christmas,” said Ndlovu. “Most people did not use transport to travel. We used to walk long distances, and it was safe then because there were fewer car accidents. Now we are living in days that demand money every day.” Jamela has a successful marula business, which she started in 2005. Women who were making an income from the tree inspired her. She learned to make marula beer from her mother, who always made it for the people in her community. Most of her customers are men because the

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A family transporting marula beer. majority of people who drink marula beer are men. She charges R7 (Seven South African Rands) for two litres of marula beer. When the season of marula ends, she prepares the dried seeds by punching them with a stone and removing the inside nuts. “I sell the seeds for R10 a mug. Most of my customers are men, but women also buy it to put it in their vegetables,” said Jamela. Jamela not only sells marula beer to her

customers, she also makes xirhwali every year for her son in-law who lives in Manyeleti. Xirhwali is a Shangaan tradition in which the mother of the bride makes marula beer and prepares seeds, called timongo. To show respect, she sends other people to deliver the beer and seeds to the in-laws, who drink, eat and celebrate. Jamela has a good reason to make xirhwali. “I do it to thank my son in-law for being a good husband to my daughter and their four children,” said Jamela. “He has never chased her out of the home.”

The nduna, his grandson, and local councilmen await the arrival of the chief.

MAY / JUN 2008

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A young man announces the chief’s arrival. Just as the marula tree strengthens new families, it keeps old families together as well. Lizzy Shibambu makes and sells marula jam. Lizzy sat under a mango tree, wearing a white and red dress while preparing jam for customers. A big blue basin sat next to her, and her hands were busy slicing each marula down the middle. Lizzy’s two granddaughters brought more raw marula in small buckets to pour into the huge basin. Then they ran to get more marula. “I used to watch my mother making jam when I was a little girl,” Lizzy recalled with a smile. “Now I love this season because I make money.” Though Lizzy does not use much money to make jam—she only has to buy sugar, she cannot survive only on the money she makes from selling jam, because marula season is only two months. She has been working in Hoedspruit at Kopras shop for 18 years but she won’t let anything stop her from making jam, not even her six-day work week. Most of the time she prepares jam during the night. For her, the marula tree provides extra income but perhaps more importantly it strengthens bonds within her family. The fact that she has four children and five grandchildren, all who live at home except two, gives her 10

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the strength to work hard and make sure they are all well fed. “I love my children and grand-children very much. My grandchildren help me by fetching marula while I’m at work,” she said. Jam making, beer brewing, and xirhwali are but a few of the many traditions in which marula figures prominently. Perhaps

the most popular is xikuha. On 16 February 2008, in Cottondale, under a big marula tree with hanging animal skulls nailed to the tree, a crowd gathered at the home of Nduna Daike Mnisi. Induna Mnisi required each family of the village to bring a five litre bucket of marula beer or pay R10 fine. Nearly every woman who entered through the gate carried a bucket on her head and poured its

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contents into the huge blue containers placed under the tree, surrounded by old men. All the women knelt down and drank the beer before pouring it. Then one of the old men in the circle would stand and taste it before the woman was allowed to leave. “We don’t trust each other,” said Aaron Mzimba, 78. “Some people might put bad things in the beer. That is why we taste it while the maker is still here,” he said while pouring himself a cup. Some women sat on the grass after delivering their beer to write their names in the register book that was managed by the induna’s grandson. Others walked out of the gate, unable to or not interested in staying for ceremony.

The nduna’s celebration happens once a year but only if there is enough marula fruit during the season. The money contributed for not bringing marula, the nduna said, is used when there are cultural functions. In the middle of the day, Chief Mr. Phillip Mnisi arrived; people cheered. They all stood up and pulled down their caps and blew the mhalamhala horn while women ululated and chanted. When the

Behind the huge brick house, women moved around preparing food, and the smell of wildebeest meat filled the A woman pours marula beer for the nduna to taste. air. People waited curiously for the chief to arrive to bless the whole function. chief sat, the induna stood and welcomed Though the nduna said some people were everyone. To Chief Mnisi in one voice, the against giving beer or money, he said he is crowd said ladumi zulu, which means not forcing anyone to come or to pay the “thunder rumbling” and refers to the chief’s authority. fine. “If the person does not pay, we don’t care. But the day they have a problem, we shall see,” said Mr. Mnisi. The most The entire crowd cheered when the chief important thing about xikuha the nduna stood and poured marula beer on the said is to preserve the culture, which started long ago. “I don’t know when this culture started. I grew up with it and our forefathers also practiced it,” said Mr. Mnisi.

ground next to the marula tree. “Everything is blessed now. He has blessed the occasion,” said Nduna Mnisi. The chief didn’t have much to say but smiled at the crowd. After the end of the ceremony, people ate the food that had been cooking all morning. Then they drank marula beer. Some people love their culture so much that they travel far distances to attend the marula function. Hwalala Shilubane, 54, who works in Polokwane said, “ It is a big day for me. I came home to attend this ceremony. It is very important, especially for the younger generation not to forget our culture and where we come from.” Even though marula beer requires a lot of time and energy, there was enough beer for everyone at the function to drink. Meanwhile, women who prepared it said they loved the marula season for many reasons. “We drink marula, make xirhwali, and use the seeds to make morogo [a nutvegatable dish] and make nice jam,” said Maisy Mzimba, sitting with a group of women drinking marula. As men and women danced and ululated under the marula tree at the induna’s house, for a moment I thought I was seven-years-old with my cousins, watching the old people

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A man grills chicken for the chief’s marula festival. MAY / JUN 2008

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“Mind you, I had never been to Congo. My first impressions of the richest, but most tormented nation on earth were of the people. The salvation of Congo is its women because I realize that all the essential chores fall to the women. I have never seen so many women carrying loads on their heads, walking along narrow dirt paths that passed for roads on trips to market that take all day, always with flashing eyes and magnificent smiles. One of the memorable scenes I remember is watching two women with gigantic loads on their heads, and one with a baby on her back. Sylvie, one woman, whom I got to know during our stay, was 5’2” and 110 pounds, and the strongest person I know, besides my mother of course. She carried incredible loads, always with grace and in joy. This and other scenes captivated me for they became eye openers. Vats of marula beer. under my grandmother’s marula tree. It come into my mind that culture will always be important no matter how many years have passed. It is up to us to preserve it for the younger generation. Her aunt obliged by leading her mother into the kitchen, reaching into a bucket, and pulling a single grub from a large mass of wriggling caterpillars that she had bought live in the market. She held it in place on a cutting board and deftly slit it lengthwise, its guts bulging yellow through the long cut. Then she plopped it into a pan of hot oil. Pamie’s mother, suddenly less anxious to work on her Congolese cooking skills, declined an invitation to try to outdo the performance and politely excused herself. Pamie recalled laughing at her mother as she and her father sat on the couch. Although she flinched at the thought of cooking insects, the smell of them boiling and frying stuck in her mind till this day. Pamie learned that most of the Congolese food is also smoked or dried to preserve for future use rather than being thrown away. Congolese have to be very resourceful for there is a scarcity of resources. Pamie

“At a small age the truth about my history has been hidden from me. I was brainwashed and as a result, dismissed the importance of my own culture.” found her staying terribly hard in a country of such grinding poverty. What amazingly struck her was the realistic image of Congo- that people work so hard for so little and we work so little for so much. In the following passage, Pamie introduces her thought.

At a small age the truth about my history has been hidden from me. I was brainwashed and as a result, dismissed the importance of my own culture. And as I grow and begin to think about it, the more I realize how little I have learned about not only American history but also the history of my own and other cultures throughout the world. I am just hoping that in telling my story, the reader’s heart will see with clarity that a trip back to one’s ancestral home can be a positive route to rediscover one’s past and to undermine one’s future. Or maybe I should speak for myself on that part. But really, we will learn more so we can teach one another. This is just a thought from a young original Queen of Congo.” Maybe it’s an intuition, but there are some things, which come quite unnatural, like the self. That is something one creates. Pamie’s persona changed tremendously, from being the young sassy little girl who believed she was less than three-fourth human, to an intellectual, open-minded, graceful and confident woman. I hope with these simple stories being told by our own people, the views and perceptions of those who are still blindly led will change.

Article published in collaboration with The Amazwi Villager. For more information, contact us at info@adunagow.net. Please submit all Questions and Feedback regarding this article to forum@adunagow.net or via our web blog at: http://blogspot.adunagow.net

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: AMAZWI Amazwi, a volunteer-driven arts organization, utilizes vehicles of storytelling to build upon and strengthen its founding pillars of empowerment, preservation, and education. Amazwi is a South African nonprofit organization supported by an American 501(c)(3), The Amazwi Foundation. www.amazwivillager.org 12

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BUSINESS / FINANCE

The State of the “Sub-saharian africa” - Growth Outlook

a

CCORDING TO THE 2008 WORLD Economic Outlook released by the International Monetary Fund this past April, the GDP for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) which includes the Great Lakes, Southern Africa, the Horn of Africa, South Africa, the West and Central Africa is projected to be 6.8 per cent for 2008 compared to 3.4 per cent in 2005 2. Some of the countries leading the pact are Angola with 16 per cent, Nigeria 9.1 per cent, the Democratic Republic of Congo 8.8 per cent and Ethiopia 8.4 percent. The implementation of economic reforms and the strengthening of financial conditions in this region have seen foreign direct investment (FDI), useful indicators of economic health and investments appeal, remaining relatively strong since 2006. In 2007, the rise of investments for Africa accounted more than $37 billions in both FDI and through mergers and acquisitions. This inflow of foreign direct investment is geographical and selective, largely concentrated in the petroleum and manufacturing sectors. The global credit market crunch will impact the inflows of FDI to the region for the rest of the year if conditions remain unchanged. An interesting initiative announced by the World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick known as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Plus Plus (EITI++) last April, would help developing countries manage and transform their natural resource wealth into long-term economic growth that spreads the benefits more fairly among their people. With commodity price being at historic highs, many SubSaharan Africa nations must consider taking this opportunity to strengthen their balance sheet.

“By any large, Africa has come a long way and many challenges remain ahead.” Although the region has seen some stability in its GDP since 2006, political and security risks remain. The insecurity of the Democratic Republic of Congo in its eastern region, or the political mayhem in Kenya could have tremendous impact in the Great Lakes region and could leads to its downfall. The region outlook is on a positive trend as long as these countries continue to implement and strengthen sound macroeconomic policy framework, take advantages of the many opportunities offered by globalization, continue investing in infrastructures, institutions and human resources, diversify their economy and technology in order to remain on this up trend of growth and competitiveness in this global market. By any large, Africa has come a long way and many challenges still remain ahead. Overcoming them will require persistence, patience and pride of ownership of development. by Paul Usungu

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SPIRITUALITY

A story by Constance Rahlane

AMAZWI VILLAGERS.ORG

The Church And Tradition

Church Photo (c) ADUNAGOW Magazine

A

LETA CHABANGU’S YARD is scattered with empty mealie bags, and trees chopped in pieces for traditional medicine. An old female trainee sits on a grass mat, wearing red and white clothes and the same colour rounded bracelet. Her dreadlocked hair is all covered with tsumani red ochre. Another young female trainee is grinding traditional medicine in a tshuri, a wooden mealie mortar and pestle. On her wrist, she has red, white and black beads and the same on her hands and legs. Aleta and her trainees all wear the clothes of a sangoma, a traditional healer. Six customers remove their shoes and enter Aleta’s ndumba, a traditional circular hut with a thatched roof where sangomas work. They remove their shoes before entering because ancestors hate shoes. They all want to hear what the future holds for them. Inside the ndumba, different coloured sangoma clothes hang on a line to the right; different medicines sit opposite the door, some in buckets, some in different old bottles. Aleta spreads out a grass mat, and throws the tihlolo (different animals bones, shells, dice, change, and dominoes) and points at each bone to explain what the ancestors were saying through tihlolo. Her trainee helps to translate on the side. Aleta predicts the future for all six of her customers, they agree by saying siyavuma as she speaks. “Your ancestors need you to train to be


Photo by Constance Rahlane

Sangoma Aleta Chabangu sits on her divining mat in front of bottles filled with traditional medicinal mixtures. sangoma. You need to do it sooner or later,” she said to one of her customers.

only then that she finally got R1,800 (South Africa Rands) to pay for her training.

These are the words that led Aleta to become a sangoma nine years ago. Aleta, 58, a mother of seven children, is now a well-known sangoma in Cottondale village and has been a healer for six years now. She says that she didn’t become a sangoma by choice, but because of the demands of her ancestors, “I was very ill with different diseases. If I hadn’t followed my ancestors calling, I would be dead by now,” she explains.

Now Aleta is a famous sangoma in Cottondale. “I was curing people in training, now I am the best,” she says proudly. Aleta is proud of her job, and she also trains people who want to become sangomas. She claims she can heal every kind of disease except HIV/AIDS. She said

When Aleta didn’t find a cure for her illnesses at a hospital, she went to a sangoma to consult through divining bones. The sangoma told her that she needed to be trained. That was only the cure for her, or else she would die. During that time, Aleta had no money for the training but she went ahead anyway. She trained for four years. “ I didn’t have money to pay the sangoma so he could release me from my training,” said Aleta. Knowing that there was no way out if she had no money, Aleta started to cut grass for roofing. It was

I will get sick. The

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“If I go to church, Christians pray and sangomas worship ancestral spirits”

she only gives HIV victims medicine to boost their immune system. “Asthma and TB, I am the best at it,” she said in a loud voice, as her face lit up. Aleta said that if people want to bring back their lovers, they can come to her because it is a small job. She can do it as easily as making tea. “Even if you don’t want your husband or boyfriend, and you want him to live without saying a word or fighting, I can give you that medicine,” she said. Aleta said those who have sleepless nights because of the tokoloshe, curse, can come to her, and she will chase it away. Those who are unemployed can also come to her because she will help them to find a job. Being a sangoma doesn’t mean Aleta does not love God; she was a member of the Zion church. She said she prays before she cures everyone. She doesn’t go to church though, because her ancestors won’t allow her. “If I go to church, I will get sick. The Christians pray and sangomas worship ancestral spirits,” she said. However, Aleta does not worship ancestors everyday. She does it when she has patients. Before curing anyone, she reports MAY / JUN 2008

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Photo by Constance Rahlane

The only thing on Florence’s mind now is to return home and start her new career. Her face shines with a smile when she talks about how she can bring back loved ones. “I can even help when you don’t want him,” she said proudly. “He will just pack his bags without a word.” While Florence is fantasizing about her new career, Mandla Phala, 33, living in Thulamahashe, was once a sangoma but quit to return to the church. He was a traditional healer for three years. He has been Christian, again, for four. Mandla is the firstborn of three children, and he grew up in a family of devoted Christians. He was taught to obey God at an early age. “The only life I knew was Christianity. I always sang in the church choir, and did everything I was told to do in the church,” he said. Mandla was a Christian even during his teenage years. “I used to fast and go to the mountain to pray, going without food for the whole week,” he recalls.

Sangoma Aleta Chabangu and her trainee divine bones on mat. everything to her ancestors. One of Aleta’s trainees, Florence Malamule, 45, explained how she ended up in the sangoma’s arms. Florence is a single mother of seven children from Edinburg. She has been training since March 2007. She was brought to the sangoma when she became ill after giving birth to her last child in February 2007. Even though she was a member of Zion Christian Church (ZCC), she decided to consult a sangoma for help. “ I was very sick, I couldn’t walk; I could have died by now if I hadn’t come here,” she said. The sangoma told her she has a calling. Her ancestors want her to become a traditional healer. Although she said she didn’t like it, because of the illness, she accepted the calling. Florence’s daughter-in-law at Edinburg is caring for children. 18

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Although Florence said she enjoyed going to church before coming to train, when she returns home, she will continue to work as a sangoma, and she has already started working in Aleta’s home. “ I can’t mix ancestors and church. Even if I go to a clinic and find the Morning Prayer I get sick,” she said. Florence graduated in the first week of March. The reason it took her so long is because she didn’t have the R2650 for her whole training program. Her second born son, a gospel singer, has rescued her by paying the fees. Florence said his son was very disappointed by her mother’s decision. “He used to cry when he visit me, it was not easy for him to accept it,” he said. Now she is waiting for her children to come and take her home. Her parents have passed away and her husband has abandoned her.

Things changed when Mandla went to work in Johannesburg at the age of 24. He started to socialize with friends who drank and smoked. He never thought he would join them because he was still attending church, and had a girlfriend whom he loved so much. After a year of working in Johannesburg, Mandla was retrenched at work because the company was not doing well, and wanted to reduce its number of employees. To make matters worse, his girlfriend also dumped him for another man. “I was very shattered; I loved her so much and had planned to marry her,” he recalls with a sad face. “She was my first girlfriend.” Mandla said he started to ask himself questions, and lost faith in God. “I started to ask myself, Why me? Why has God rejected me? I started to question God’s power.”

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He didn’t want to return home, so he stayed in Johannesburg to find another job. The fact that his friends who didn’t go to church were still working frustrated him more. He joined them and started to drink and smoke. “I was a hawker in the street. All my money was used on alcohol and cigarettes,” he said. His situation went from bad to worse when he got sick. When he went to the hospital, the doctors told him he had malaria, but one of Mandla’s friends advised him to consult a traditional healer because his ancestors might have abandoned him. He went to the healer, and he threw the bones to tell him about his future. The healer assured him that his ancestors had indeed abandoned him. He told Mandla that the ancestors wanted him to become a sangoma, otherwise he would die. Fearing for his life, he went home and explained his situation to his uncle, who is also a drinker, because he knew his parents would not allow him to become a sangoma. He went in to training without their knowledge, but his parents found out while he was still there. He trained for one year and three months. His uncle paid for all his training expenses, and Mandla promised to refund him when he started working. “I was very hurt because my parents didn’t visit even for a single day to see how I was coping,” he said. “I doubted their love.” After completing his training, he went and lived with his uncle. He built a ndumba quickly and started working as a sangoma. He used to have more customers, especially those who wanted to remove bad luck. However, he did not make any progress because when he had paid his uncle back he spent the rest of the money on drinks. Because he was living with his uncle and not the sangoma, his parents came to visit. “I never visited my parents for even a single day. They used to visit me and ask me to return home, but I refused because I knew they wouldn’t allow me to work as a sangoma,” he said. His change of heart came after he met his longtime Christian friends in Bushbuckridge. “I was wearing my sangoma clothes, and they were wearing formal clothes. I felt ashamed for the first time in my years of being a sangoma. We sat down. They begged me to come back to church,” he said. Mandla said from that day he began to miss the church, and he no longer enjoyed his work. He said he always thought about his friends, and he missed the way they were dressed. One night he dreamed of being in the church, TO SUBSCRIBE VISIT

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spiritual that I couldn’t believe he was once a sangoma.

“I will never ever loose faith in God no matter what challenge I face. I know that life has challenges sometimes” singing the song Sendzi Vonga Ngati Yakwe, Yi Hlatswile Mbilu Yanga (I thank his blood for cleaning my heart). He said the song kept coming in his mind. One day, he just packed his clothes and returned home to his parents. He attended church with his friends and parents. He burned his ndumba with all his traditional stuff. “People used to say I will die or go crazy for burning the traditional stuff, but I prayed and fasted,” he said. It has been four years now since Mandla left his ancestral beliefs. He also quit smoking and drinking. He said he is not looking back, and life couldn’t be better. Now he has a fiancée and a great job in Johannesburg. “I will never ever loose faith in God no matter what challenge I face. I know that life has challenges sometimes,” he said. When we ended the interview, Mandla said, “ Let me pray with you sister; your job is very tough, it needs strength.” He kneeled and started praying for minutes. The prayer was so powerfully

Pastor Eliot Khoza of International Faith Healing Church Ministries in Acornhoek village agrees with Mandla that despite challenges, it is always necessary to have faith in God. Pastor Khoza has been a Christian since 1985 when he was seventeen. Since becoming a Christian, he has never looked back to his old ways. “I won’t ever pray to ancestors or go to a sangoma. The day I became a Christian, I broke all the relationships that I had with my ancestors,” said Mr. Khoza. The pastor is the founder, director, and gospel singer of his church. He also records gospel songs. Pastor Khosa said he was born to be a pastor because when he worked in other jobs he did not enjoy them. “If I didn’t follow God’s calling, I wouldn’t be free now. My spirit was not free while I was working,” he said. Now his job is to make sure his communities understand God’s words and to see people free from bad spirits. Pastor Khoza said people should not give up their faith in God. “It doesn’t matter how many years a person served God, but the day that person commits a sin or dies in a sangoma’s arms, the person will go to hell,” he said. Pastor Khoza concluded by saying, “There is nothing that can separate anyone from God’s spirit; it is written in the Bible Roman 8, verse 35 to 39.” He also said that according to the Bible in Ecclesiastics 9, if a person dies, he or she has no power to control living people. Only living people have that power. It seems that sangoma’s and Christian’s religion will never agree with their spirits preference. Only the creator knows who is right. Is it Aleta and Florence or Mandla and Pastor Eliot?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16, NIV Article published in collaboration with The Amazwi Villager. For more information, contact us at info@adunagow.net. Please submit all Questions and Feedback regarding this article to forum@ adunagow.net or via our web blog at: http://blogspot.adunagow.net

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: AMAZWI Amazwi, a volunteer-driven arts organization, utilizes vehicles of storytelling to build upon and strengthen its founding pillars of empowerment, preservation, and education. Amazwi is a South African nonprofit organization supported by an American 501(c)(3), The Amazwi Foundation. www.amazwivillager.org MAY / JUN 2008

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FIVE Reasons

5

To FALL in LOVE WITH AFRICA

A

S I SAT DOWN TO WRITE THIS ARTICLE, I realized that it was not going to be an easy task as I thought it would. Africa is a continent blessed with unimaginable wealth. Picking five top reasons one may fall in love with Africa is not an easy task. On top of it all, we have to keep in mind that each African country alone carries quite a few traits that one may enjoy while visiting Africa. Therefore, I have decided to write about the top five reasons why I personally love Africa; and this is not in any particular order.

by Eric Adunagow

NATURAL BEAUTY

1

I love Africa because of its Natural beauty. The

African land holds many natural wonders that can easily take your breath away as you gaze upon them. From the north to the south, from east to west, Africa is a continent that displays the beauty of our planet Earth. The stunning Victoria Falls along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe is so impressive; it feels like you are in the middle of a raging rainstorm. The tallest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, is located in Tanzania. It rises 19, 336 feet and is capped with snow on its peak. Other Natural Wonders of Africa includes: the Nile River, the Great Rift Valley, the Serengeti Plains, the Sahara Desert, Table Mountain, and many more.

Victorial Falls

SONGS / MUSIC

2

I love Africa because of its Songs. Songs are part of who we

are. It is encoded in our DNA for sure. When a child is born we sing chants and dance. When someone dies, we sing, dance, and mourn. African songs, especially the chants sung in the villages, have great meanings that communicate the full emotion of the persons singing them. When you listen to African songs, you cannot help yourself but appreciate its richness and the talents behind its magic. The powerful voices that propel these piercing words are yet to be seen anywhere else in the world. We are born with songs in our mind, body, and soul. Want to Sample African Music ? Visit Amazon.com at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/God-Bless-Africa-African-Gospel/dp/B00004U02T and judge for yourself. This is just a sample of the very best of South CD: God Bless Africa: Very Best of African Gospel Music. The whole continent has much more to offer.

South African Gospel (Jul 2000)

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I love Africa because of its Food. Africa is a very diverse

FOOD / CUISINE

continent and so is African food. This great variety of food never cease to amaze me; a very natural and wonderful taste. You can find many different and very tasteful dishes that will leave your taste buds wanting for some more actions. African dishes are composed mainly of meat, fish, and also a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. The use of many different marinades and spices give that little extra to the vegetables which are mostly steamed to perfection. Chicken or some other poultry is usually main ingredient in stews. Keep in mind that every African region has its own specific food and agriculture. Many African villages use a lot of curd, whey, cereals, yams and milk. The coastal regions tend to use a lot of fish. Expect chilies, cayenne Various African dishes pepper and ginger in most of the dishes, as a way of spicing up the food. Fish is marinated in this spicy mix and it’s very popular. West Africans are also known by creating tasteful stews and soups. They add okra or black eyed peas into the soup.

4

I love Africa because of its People. Africans are very

PEOPLE / CULTURE

welcoming and respectful of its guests. No matter where they’re coming from, there is a place for them in Africa. Many visitors always end up extending their stays because Africans are very welcoming. Africa is blessed with many beautiful people. Stuning definitions, curves that are well defined, ovrall: very exotic. The vast continent of Africa is so rich and diverse in its culture with it not only changing from one country to another but within an individual country many different cultures can be found.

Egyptian Family - Cairo, Egypt.

5

I love Africa because of its Potential. Africa has the

GREAT POTENTIAL

5

3

potential of becoming the greatest continent of the world, only if it could surpass the many unnecessary and involuntary troubles that its leaders are allowing to happen within their respective lands. The vast natural resources found in Africa can easily allow a debt free development of the entire continent if they are channeled properly. The potential is there. Plenty of Africans are well educated enough to provide the brainpower needed for the development; Many have returned to Africa to contribute to the development support, but only to find an non-welcoming mentality from the people in control. It will demand a great deal of mentality change from Africans in order for Africa to enjoy a successful development. At some point, we need to realize that the time of searching for whom to blame for our problems has long past. Its time to look forward and seek tangible solutions to our many crises. One thing for sure, it’s never too late to join the development ball game.

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Capital Gain Exclusion

As long as you have lived in your home for two of the past five years, you can exclude up to $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a married couple of profit from capital gains. You do not have to buy a replacement home or move up. There is no age restriction, and the “over-55” rule does not apply. You can exclude the above thresholds from taxes every 24 months, which means you could sell every two years and pocket your profit--subject to limitation--free from taxation.

Preferential Tax Treatment

Eight Reasons to Buy A House The American Dream Morgage Reduction Builds Equity

If you receive more profit than the allowable exclusion upon sale of your home, that profit will be considered a capital asset as long as you owned your home for more than one year. Capital assets receive preferential tax treatment.

I

F YOU’RE LIKE MOST FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS, you’ve probably listened to friends’, family’s and coworkers’ advice, many of whom are encouraging you to buy a home. However, you may still wonder if buying a home is the right thing to do. Relax. Having reservations is normal. The more you know about why you should buy a home, the less scary the entire process will appear to you. Here are eight good reasons why you should buy a home.

Each month, part of your monthly payment is applied to the principal balance of your loan, which reduces your obligation. The way amortization works, the principal portion of your principal and interest payment increases slightly every month. It is lowest on your first payment and highest on your last payment. On average, each $100,000 of a mortgage will reduce in balance the first year by about $500 in principal, bringing that balance at the end of your first 12 months to $99,500.

Pride of Ownership

Pride of ownership is the number one reason why people yearn to own their home. It means you can paint the walls any color you desire, turn up the volume on your CD player, attach permanent fixtures and decorate your home according to your own taste. Home ownership gives you and your family a sense of stability and security. It’s making an investment in your future.

Appreciation

Although real estate moves in cycles, sometimes up, sometimes down, over the years, real estate has consistently appreciated. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight tracks the movements of single family home values across the country. Its House Price Index breaks down the changes by region and metropolitan area. Many people view their home investment as a hedge against inflation.

Equity Loans

Mortgage Interest Deductions

Consumers who carry credit card balances cannot deduct the interest paid, which can cost as much as 18% to 22%. Equity loan interest is often much less and it is deductible. For many home owners, it makes sense to pay off this kind of debt with a home equity loan. Consumers can borrow against a home’s equity for a variety of reasons such as home improvement, college, medical or starting a new business. Some state laws restrict home equity loans.

Property Tax Deductions

Live The American Dream

Home ownership is a superb tax shelter and our tax rates favor homeowners. As long as your mortgage balance is smaller than the price of your home, mortgage interest is fully deductible on your tax return. Interest is the largest component of your mortgage payment.

IRS Publication 530 contains tax information for first-time home buyers. Real estate property taxes paid for a first home and a vacation home are fully deductible for income tax purposes. In California, the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 established the amount of assessed value after property changes hands and limited property tax increases to 2% per year or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

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OKAY, so I have listed nine reasons. This last one is inevitable. You can consider yourself really “living” in America after you have purchased a home. It’s everyone’s dream - including the citizens of the free world themselves - to own a piece of land in the American soil. So, before you go ahead and spend more money pimping your ride - while living in an apartment - consider upgrading to a house instead.

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Motherhood in full circle A Mother’s Day Tribute Poem I still remember that day like it was yesterday. The day my mother was starring at me with tears in her eyes. That day, I did not understand why. Why was she so emotional when I was the one in pain? I was sick and too weak to even move my little frail body. I did not eat for many days and everything I drank came right back out. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. When my mother finally said. “Can you at least try to eat something? I went trough all this trouble to make your favorite dish and you didn’t even taste it”. Then she hurriedly walked away. I didn’t understand why. Was she mad at me for not eating? Did she think that I was doing it on purpose? How inconsiderate of her. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. The day it all started to finally make sense. I was now a mother myself and my son was sick. While I sat by his hospital bed side, starring at him with tubes and middles all over his little frail body, I thought about my own mother. I was feeling exactly what she felt that faithful day. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. And just like that, I understood why my mother had tears in her eyes. I understood that she walked away to avoid crying in front of me. I understood that she was hurting for me, her child. She wished she could take the sickness and pain from my little body and put it in hers She wished she was the one in pain while I run around with other children. She simply wished she was the one sick instead of me. And just like that, I understood, because I was feeling exactly what she felt. Motherhood in full circle. I had to be one to understand. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. And it all makes sense now. Like my mother, I hurt when my children are very ill. Like my mother, I am a mother who loves her children unconditionally. Motherhood in full circle. by Salimata Barro

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SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE

Joelle K. Allen Fashion Clothing Designer

H

er dream started at an early age, 13 exactly. With the inspiration from her mother, Joelle K. Allen left the Congo in pursuit of her education in Europe. But her journey as a fashion designer bloomed when she moved to New York after getting married to former NFL player Ian Allen. Joelle then founded IJO. Design: Inspiration by Joelle, with the dot at the end of the logo representing a beauty mark. Indeed, IJO. is a true beauty mark in the fashion world. What makes Joelle’s works stand out is more than just the magnificent collections she produces; it’s the fact that she is able

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Interview by Eric Adunagow Photo courtesy of IJO Design - Photographer : Benoit Lamathe Model : Nöella Coursaris

to satisfy the desires of the numerous irritated women out there that are having trouble finding shirts that can fit them properly and stay “à la mode.” On top of that, she provides a customer service beyond measures for the price paid. Definitely, IJO Design is not just another fine clothing line, it’s a revolution. It’s a revolution that deserves to be talked about. In this exclusive ADUNAGOW Magazine interview, Joelle K. Allen talks about her journey to success, her life, and much more. If you thought her clothing line is the only best thing she has accomplished, then you don’t know Joelle. Her products are outstanding, but she is amazing.

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Photo courtesy of IJO Design - Photographer: Benoit Lamathe. Hairstyle by Deneuville Salon. Gallerie d’Anjou Montreal.

AM: How did you get started in the Clothing Design business? Joelle: I was 22 years old when I got married. He was a player for the New York Giants for the NFL. When we met, I was in fashion school in the UK and he always knew that this is what I have always wanted to do. So, after we got engaged, I had to leave the UK and move to New York. This was a great opportunity that any young designer would love to have, especially with New York being one of the biggest fashion depots of the world. AM: So, once in NY, how did you start? Joelle: At first we didn’t have a clue on how to start in NY, let alone the fashion industry. So we turned to one of my husband’s teammates Michael Strahan, and he had a lot of recommendations as far as who to see in order to move in the right direction in the fashion industry. He was kind enough to give us his support, which in turn allowed us to meet some great people. AM: Anyone in particular? Joelle: One in particular is an outstanding designer, Dana Smith (CEO of Finn Creations) that was a blessing for us. He spent countless hours mentoring us about fashion and entrepreneurial things. He basically gave us a Master’s Degree on business…that is how much we spoke. I also met other instrumental people, a gentleman by the name of Portus Raymond a former designer for the Gap and Banana Republic. AM: Was this what you dreamt for when growing up? Joelle: Well my mother always said that she has seen something in me at a very early age. She was always trying to keep me out of messing the house up by cutting bunch of small papers and giving them shapes and drawing hair face and dressing them. But there is something that I remember loving to do as a child: I would cut small peaces of her fabric (She is a designer as well, so she always had fabric and patterns at home), and I would fill them with a bunch of cottons and saw them with a needle to give them girls shape. I would then use some hair extensions and saw them in their heads. After that, I would create different little outfits for them to wear; these were

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my dolls. I still remember the joy I felt making them. Back then, in my country kids toys were pretty expensive. I had toys, but not as many as I would have loved to have. So this was truly a satisfaction for me. AM: So, that’s when your love of designing started? Joelle: Yes. I actually realized that I had a great passion for it and that what I wanted to

do. At age 13, I remember there was this girl in my class that used to draw amazing girl figures with cool clothes, shoes, and hair style. I remember saying to myself: “I really want to be able to draw like this.” I remember my first drawing. Everybody in my class, my brothers, and sisters laughed at it. But, that pushed me really hard to draw more and before the end of that year, I was proud of my drawing and

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everybody loved what I was showing them. And that is then that I decided to do some type of art. It was either going in Academy of Art or the fashion school. But the idea of me being able to draw clothes that I can actually wear was very exciting for me. AM: So, which one did you pick? My parents decided to send me in the same fashion school as the one my mom attended: ISAM (Institut superieur des arts et métiers). It is a High school and fashion college for girls only; the biggest fashion school in Congo and one of the biggest in central Africa. After High school, I pursued my education in a UK Fashion school, where I got even better at drawing, making sketches and designing collections. AM: So, you were born in Congo (former Zaire), and at what age did you leave Africa? Joelle: I left Africa for the first time when I was nineteen years old. That’s when I went to pursue my education in The UK, which was a great experience for me. I really love and enjoy traveling. Living in the UK actually gave me the opportunity to visit other part of Europe like Paris (where I got engaged), Belgium, The Netherlands and Others. I really loved Europe, and I enjoy it every time I go back. AM: Who are your role models in the fashion design world? Joelle: My mom. She is a very creative and hard working designer. She design clothes for very important personalities in Congo and has dressed numerous politician wives and ministers in Africa, as well as great regular women. I watched her tailoring to them. I used to dream to do the same and she has never given up on pursuing her dream. It wasn’t easy for her to get to that point, but she is a strong woman and an amazing person. She still amazes me until these days. Also, Alphadi he is a wonderful African designer. The fact that he gives back to the community by giving other young designers a chance to expose their works along side with his great collections gives me a big level of respect for him. AM: Tell us about your first project as a designer. Joelle: I remember my first biggest project as a young designer. I was about 18 years old and I was working along with a great stylist from the Congo: Bibiche Nzolatima. We were invited to expose our work at 30

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Alphadi’s “La caravane d’Alphadi” show collection. We were very excited and I remember the first day checking into our hotel; we couldn’t wait to meet him. We got in the elevator and stopped in one level. A group of people got in and Alphadi was one of them. We wanted autographs and everything. He was just one of the most down to earth people and was actually happy to see us being so excited about being part of his work. AM: So, how did you do? Joelle: Our collection was presented in front of Congo Brazzaville’s president and his wife and other great politicians were there. That raised my confidence as a young TO SUBSCRIBE VISIT

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the fashion industry. AM: Do you travel a lot? Joelle: Yes, I do a lot of traveling between NY City and Montreal as I have a team set in both cities for my fabric, photo shoot, and sample etc… work. Also my husband and I spend a lot of quality time with our two year old daughter teaching her the best things that we can. I actually teach her French. AM: So, you speak French? It is my first language. I would like for my daughter to be able to communicate with my side of the family back home. But, she speaks both English and French. AM: It looks like you do get quality time with your family. Joelle: I am very grateful to be able to spend a lot time with my husband especially. We are both business owners, but we still manage to do quite a lot together. I don’t take that for granted. AM: When you’re not working, what are your favorite things to do? Joelle: Traveling. I travel a lot with my little family. My daughter is fortunate she has been in more country than I was at age 19. But, as a child and growing up, I always traveled a lot with my parents. We made a lot of “Safari trips” in Africa, which just means a trip in Swahili. Other than traveling, I also love News, especially Politics, whether it’s American or African. I love watching TV5 for the French. I grew up in a house where at 8 p.m, everybody would sit in front of the TV and watch the news. So I still do it, I guess by habit. Plus, it keeps you cultivated. AM: Currently, where is home? Joelle: Right now, home is New York. I totally love NY and I really enjoy living there. AM: Tell us a little about your family. Joelle: I have a lovely husband. He really is what I’ve always wished for. He is very supportive at everything that I do, very loving and caring. He is also an inspiration to me, a strong personality and very funny. He’s also very successful at what he does. AM: What is his profession? designer just coming out of High school. It made me feel like “anything is possible. I can achieve my dream and I can do anything.” I will always stay grateful to him for that amazing experience. AM: What’s a typical day for you? Joelle: Well, I have three jobs that I do not take lightly: I am a wife, a mom, and an Entrepreneur. Lots of my regular days are spent in what I do: Fashion designs. I often have new designs in my mind that I put in sketches. I always try to stay creative, either by the clothes I wear or getting updated on what’s going on in

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Joelle: He recently retired from football (NFL) and he is focusing on his entrepreneurship. He is dealing with a numbers of hotel chains, having his music album “Nova53 Record.” He is also involved with NFL media and does analysis for Sky Sport NFL only football game in London and he has recently became owner of a football team in England. AM: And you do have a daughter as you said earlier on? Joelle: Yes. We have a 2 year old daughter. She is

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Photo courtesy of IJO Design - Photographer: Benoit Lamathe. Hairstyle by Deneuville Salon. Gallerie d’Anjou Montreal.

very energetic and alert. I am fortunate to still have both my mom and dad, and they have been together for 33 year now and still together. I have one brother in Canada, one sister who lives in England and 2 sisters and one brother who lives and study in South Africa. So all together, we are 6 kids all over the world (laughs). It’s good because I get to visit each one in different parts of the world. AM: Tell us, how can someone get into the Clothing Design business? How do you become designer? Joelle: First of all, you have to be passionate about it. I meet so many people in the fashion industry that are in there just for the money and the glamour. They become what I call “fashion groupies.” They should not just go for what other designers are doing out there. I strongly believe that there is something special and particular in every single one of us that others may not have. And that is what the focus should be on. I encourage every one that is interested on becoming a fashion designer to get a type of education about it. I will never trade my education for anything in the world. It taught me so much patience and skills. I used to be very clumsy, and that changed a lot when I attended fashion school. Perseverance is a must. Always finish what you start. You can not sale a piece of clothe half made, can you? (laughs) AM: I guess not. Joelle: Get as many information as u can about it and never stop getting informed. I don’t know how many times I walked down New York fashion district trying to get specific information and still didn’t get an answer at the end of the day. So, determination and perseverance will get you the answer. Last but not least, never give up your vision. Complete your vision. You are the only one who knows what your vision is. AM: Do you have a special market target? Joelle: Many women that come to see me are so frustrating trying to get a nice shirt that fits properly to buy, at the same time they don’t want to look like everybody else. They love classic, not boring, but fun at the same time. They also want a shirt that they can wear next year around this time and will not feel like they’re out of style. I make sure that when a woman finally finds IJO and buy a shirt, she becomes part of this dream we offer her: an IJO membership at her first purchase. 32

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Photo courtesy of IJO Design - Photographer: Benoit Lamathe. Hairstyle by Deneuville Salon. Gallerie d’Anjou Montreal.

AM: Can you elaborate more on this? Joelle: Let’s say she is taking a trip in London; she can stop by in one of our IJO sponsor lounge and restaurant and have a free glass of wine as a thank you for your business. That’s how IJO shows appreciation to its customers. I don’t know how many times I have purchased a $280 shirt and didn’t hear anything back from the seller a year after I bought it. That is kind of my inspiration behind this. IJO is a new revolution. We are not just selling clothing; you become part of IJO culture. It is a realization of a dream. AM: Tell us more about your design: where can we purchase your clothing line? Joelle: it is currently available in Chicago. It will soon be available to buy now online on my website at www.ijo.ca . We also have different events where we present the collection and people get to touch and feel it for themselves. They also get to meet me and get my fashion prospective. AM: How and where do you get your inspiration from? Joelle: There are lots of things that inspire me, from Congolese and African fashion. We have amazing details, especially on the fit. The Congolese woman wears a lot of what we call in Lingala “Mabaya” . It is very curvy and shows what women are proud to show, and men appreciate looking at it (laughs). As you can see, my shirts are very detailed and curved. In Congo, we also have a lot of unbelievable gorgeous embroidery and fabrics that truly are an inspiration to me. I would love to use them for my future collections. Also, designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Michael Kors, Alphadi, and Ungaro are the fabulous designers that I have always loved to watch. We actually had to learn about some of their works back in school, and reading their stories and biographies, seeing how they began and that they also had to go through the same struggle that I had. It wasn’t always easy but they made it. That is truly an inspiration to me. AM: How do you promote yourself? Joelle: Right now, I have people working for me on the aspect of advertisement. I also like to do some on my own, because I love learning new things. I am fortunate to have some good friends that also help promote my products. For example, Noella Coursaris, the model portrayed on the photos, is beautiful from the inside and out. She has TO SUBSCRIBE VISIT

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Photo courtesy of IJO Design - Photographer: Benoit Lamathe. Hairstyle by Deneuville Salon. Gallerie d’Anjou Montreal.

been very supportive of what I do. AM: Tell us about your upcoming collection. Also where can we preview your past and present collection? Joelle: My new collection is called the “chocolate factory.” The theme of each clothe is based on different flavors of chocolate. It is a really an amazing collection, which really gives you bubbles. It will soon be sold on my official website at www.ijo.ca AM: Let’s talk about Africa. In your opinion, what’s the number one issue to deal with in Africa? Joelle: Political instability and the lack of great leadership AM: What’s your take (solution) on it? Joelle: We need more leaders that are ready to serve their population in a very unselfish way and who are willing to fight through to rebuild what we have lost, maintain the positive things we have and build what we need to have in order to give everyone a chance to live a safe and decent life. AM: About Africa: what will you keep? Joelle: Its natural beauty, the great variety of food, the strong culture of respect of others, the warmness, welcoming and Kindness to all man kinds. AM: What will you change? Joelle: The wars, the fight, the poverty, Instability, the diseases that are not controlled, killing thousand of people everyday. I went through wars in the nineties in Congo and I know what it is like to hide under the bed or a sofa when there are shootings and bombings all around town. All you wish for is that everyone in your family to still be alive the next day. If I can give anyone a chance to never worry about these things, I would do so. AM: What’s the best food you always crave for when you visit Africa? Joelle: Well, it is too hard for me to live without my Congolese food. So I always find a way to get it. Also, I love to cook it; that is what I eat almost every day. I introduced it to my husband and it looks like he loves it more than me sometimes (laughs). But there are a lot of fishes that I miss from Congo. We have a big variety of fishes there 34

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and the best part is how we cook it. I really miss that. Also, there are some great fruits and type of foods that I can’t even name in English that I can only get in Congo; and I miss all that.

discussed enough about. In my country, a lot of it is “taboo.” But yet, a lot of people are suffering from that. This is something that I would love to change at least at the best of my ability.

AM: What do you see in the future for Africa?

AM: How do you stay in touch with Africa (Congo)?

Joelle: Africa is already a very natural beautiful continent. I mean, you can not even explain the natural beauty of it; you have to see it for yourself to believe it. You can actually walk in some parts of Africa where its beauty makes you think “this is heaven.”

Joelle: With the news on TV or in the internet. I frequently speak with my family and friends back there. They are all very supportive of what I do. I try to go back when the time allows me to.

I see a great number of brilliant, intelligent, wise and talented people in there. So, I see all of us putting our pride, selfishness, division and fight against each others aside and being more united. First, we have to start being happy and supportive of each other at a very small level. We can not all make big differences, but the small difference that me makes for the better can really make Africa a better and brighter place to be. AM: Tell us, what is the craziest thing you ever done? Joelle: Getting a tattoo on my back. It’s crazy because of the pain. I don’t think I will be having more tattoos. And to think this is just a very small tattoo that says love in Chinese. Now when I walk around and see these people with giant tattoos on their back, I wonder how did they do that?!? The pain was greater than I ever expected (laughs) AM: Other than the Fashion Design world, what other projects are you involved in at the present? Joelle: I was involved in a project for prevention of domestic violence in NY. I did this because I think it is a subject that is not

AM: Can you tell us some places where you’ve been and what is your favorite vacation location? Joelle: I have been quite around. I can list some: Congo Brazzaville, Ndola in Zambi, Harare, bulawayo, Victoria Falls

too. Miami, USA: I totally love it. It’s a different feeling that I can’t even explain. I just love being In Miami. Glasgow Scotland: I feel like home every time I go back. It is a type of place that a lot of people know little about. It is an amazing place. The people are amazing, most kinds and helpful outgoing people that I have been around. You don’t feel as a stranger in Glasgow. That is actually where I went to college. I just love all Scotland; everywhere you go, the castle, the country side, the people are truly amazing. AM: How can someone contact you for more information about IJO Design? Joelle: They can e-mail me at info@ijo.ca AM: Any words of wisdom for all our aspiring fashion designers out there? Joelle: Do not follow the crowd. Follow your heart.

“First, we have to start being happy and supportive of each other at a very small level.” (Zimbabwe), cape town, Johannesburg SA, Edinburgh and Glasgow Scotland, almost all England, Paris, Brussels and Anvers Belgium, Netherlands, Montreal Canada... I have been in about 16 states in the U.S.A. so far. Favorite place of course Cape Town, South Africa: it is a breathtaking place and that is why I decided to get married there. Paris, France: I love almost everything about it; the food, the City, and I get to speak French

AM: Any last words? Joelle: It was a wonderful interview. It allowed me to go back in the past and pull out some great memories of my journey and to appreciate every aspect of them. I do not take anything for granted. For all my readers from all walk of lives, I just want to say if you have a dream- it doesn’t matter how big or small - if they told you, you can’t make it…You have a dream, it’s already a start. Now you have got to Start, It doesn’t matter where or how you start it, just make sure you finish what you have started. Do not just dream but complete your dream. Thank you Joelle for your time. We wish you success in all your endeavors and we will keep you in our radar.

For more information, contact us at info@adunagow.net. Please submit all Questions and Feedback regarding this article to forum@adunagow.net or via our web blog at: http://blogspot.adunagow.net

ABOUT IJO. IJO was started for women who are tall and have a hard time finding clothing that fits properly, something the thin, 5-foot-11 founder, Joelle K. Allen is familiar with. For more information, visit the Clothing line website at: www.ijo.ca

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—Joelle K. Allen.

Photo courtesy of IJO Design

“Do not follow the crowd. Follow your heart. ”


Signs of Recession How to Stay Afloat Story by Staff Writer

O

NE THING YOU SHOULD KNOW about recession, you don’t know you’re in one until you’re actually in it. Recession is somehow unpredictable. Nevertheless, there are signs that can be easily identified when recession hits an economy. The U.S. economy has really slowed down; there is no question about that. Consumers are now carefully watching their spending. So, can we really say that we are in recession? According to the experts, recession can be defined as two quarters of shrinking growth. So, it takes quite a while for economists to analyze all the number and see if really the economy is taking a dive for a full six months. Usually when they reach their decisions, it may already be the end of it. In that said, we do not need to wait for the experts to tell us if we’re officially in recession; we feel it already. And this is because we can observe signs that can attest that indeed we are in recession. Oil Price – The price of oil is at record levels and its keep on going up. We have surpassed $120 a barrel and economists fear that if oil price stays around $100 a barrel for the next year, consumers are going to spend an extra $100 billion through the end of the next year.

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Unemployment – According to the Labor Department report this month, the number of US workers filling new claims of unemployment is rising. Some companies are starting to layoff employees in order to stay in business. The weak economy has triggered a consecutive four months of job losses. Consumer Spending – Consumer spending is continuing to decline. People are shopping less, taking less extended vacation trip, and living cautiously. How can one make sure that recessions do not destroy my finances? The simple answer is to spend less money. This is the time to save money in case of a financial emergency – losing a job, car breaks down, etc. The funny part is that by spending less money, we enable recession to last longer since consumer spending plays a major role in recession. What signs indicate we are coming out of a recession? It’s not possible to predict exactly when a recession has ended, but there are three clear signs that we are on the way out. First, we will need to see an increase in consumer spending on everything from electronics to plane tickets to clothes. Consumer spending drives our economy.

It accounts for two/thirds of it, and without strong spending, everything else is weak. Second, there will be a decrease in the number of unemployment claims. As we said, Friday we saw a major increase in job cuts -- 63,000 total. When this number reverses, we know we are on the right track. Employers will start to hire when they once again have sound footing. Third, the stock market will need to rebound. The market is incredibly efficient and always sees the future. So, when all those things happen, we know the economy is on the way up again. In the meantime, what we need to do is give the economy a quick burst. That is the idea behind the government stimulus checks. It’s pretty much taking the money and pumping it back in the economy to restart a positive spending flow. Thus, don’t save your stimulus check for rainy days. Rather, put it in use so that we may help raise consumer spending and start turning away from recession.

For more information, contact us at info@adunagow.net. Please submit all Questions and Feedback regarding this article to forum@adunagow.net or via our web blog at: http://blogspot.adunagow.net

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TRAVEL

10 Ways To Save on Airline Ticket

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INDING THE BEST PRICE on airfare can be a daunting task. The rise of travel Web sites and deals on airline sites themselves have given travelers a multitude of ways to search for inexpensive fares. But what tricks do you need to know to ensure you get the best possible price? And where, exactly, should you look? Here are some steps that you can take to find the best fares and some issues to consider that may help you to find a better deal:

Be Flexible

Flexibility in your travel plans will go a long way in helping you find a better price on airline tickets. Here’s a look at some of the considerations: 1. Departure times: Most people don’t like to fly in the very early morning or on “red eye” overnight flights, but sometimes airlines need to schedule these times to get their planes to a different destination. If you are willing to fly at odd hours, you may be able to save some money on your ticket. 2. Days: If you don’t have to arrive or return on specific days, then you can usually get a better rate flying on a day that is less crowded (usually Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays). Many of the top travel sites allow you to factor in a window of a few days into the travel dates you search. If you do find a better deal on one day over another, be sure to take all factors into account. If you save $50 by flying in on a Wednesday instead of a Thursday, but then 42

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have to pay an extra $100 for a hotel room and have to rent a car for an extra day, you can actually end up losing money. 3. Booking windows: The earlier that you know you will need a ticket, the better chance you’ll have of getting the best price. Airlines have booking windows of 21 days, 14 days and seven days in advance of a travel day. Ticket prices usually increase when these windows come and go. In addition, if you want to use frequent flier miles to get your ticket, you must reserve as far ahead as possible, since getting these seats is quite competitive. 4. Alternate airports: Smaller airports on the outskirts of cities often are less expensive to fly into and out of than the main airport. This is the concept the new airline Skybus, which offers ten $10 tickets on every flight, uses. Check prices at all the airports near your departure city and arrival destination to find the best fare. Again, be sure to do the cumulative calculations. If you save $50 on the ticket, but the extra travel costs to and from the smaller airport exceed this, then you really aren’t saving money. 5. Time: If you’re not on a tight schedule, sometimes flights with stopovers will be less expensive than direct flights. This will mean you’ll have to spend more time traveling to your destination, in exchange for a less expensive fare. Be sure to calculate what your time is worth. If you’re saving $25, but spending five extra

Story by Staff Writer hours getting to your destination, it probably doesn’t make sense to get the lower fare. Also be aware that stopovers will increase the chances that your luggage gets lost or delayed, possibly costing you more time and money.

Let’s Make a Deal

Once you have determined how flexible you can be, it’s time to start hunting for the best ticket prices. Unfortunately, this will take some digging. It is worthwhile doing each of the following steps in order to find the best price. 6. Comparison Web sites: Your first step should be to head to the main airline comparison sites, such as Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity. They do a good job keeping up with the latest fares, but they don’t list all the airlines. Prices may even vary between these sites.

“If you’re not on a tight schedule, sometimes flights with stopovers will be less expensive than direct flights”

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7. Airline aggregators: These sites look for the best deals from among all the travel sites. Some of the ones you may want to try are Booking Buddy, Cheap Flights, Fare Chase, Kayak and Mobissomo. 8. Airline Web sites: Once you have found the best deal from the main comparison sites and the aggregators, visit that airline’s Web site directly. Since the comparison sites charge booking fees to make their money, you can often find the same ticket on the airline’s site at a cheaper price. Also check the Web sites of discount airlines like Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, which are not available on the comparison sites. As mentioned above, Skybus is the newest player in the discount airline business. All flights must be booked through its Web site. 9. Travel agent: Once you have found what you believe to be the best ticket price, contact a travel agency to see if they can come up with an even better one. If you find a good travel agent, it’s surprising the number of times they can find something that you missed in your own searches.

10. Travel packages: If you are going to need a hotel and rental car once you reach your destination, be sure to compare the cost of bundling them with airfare in a travel package. Such packages often will offer a price less than you can get by securing all of these needs individually, even at the best prices.

By understanding that there is no one place that will get you the best price on a ticket and taking time to search various options, depending on your flexibility, you will greatly increase your chance of securing the best price on your airline tickets in the future.

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Did You African Advocates Against AIDS wants to decrease the risk of HIV/AIDS and its stigma in the local African community. We are doing this by increasing knowledge of HIV/AIDS, encouraging HIV testing, and linking people to HIV/AIDS and other needed services. But we can’t do it alone!

Know? In 2003, 2.9 million people died from AIDS or AIDS related illnesses. Almost half a million were children under the age of 15. Over 38 million people are currently living with HIV or AIDS. Approximately 11 out of every 1,000 adults are infected with HIV. In 2003, 4.8 million people were newly infected with the HIV virus. That rounds out to 14,000 a day.

Support Us African Advocates Against AIDS (USA office) 1027 US Hwy. 70 East Garner, N. Carolinia 27529 919-771-0601 or 1-866-456-AIDS Fax: 919-771-0942 csiltz@africanadvocates.com www.wenze.com/africanadvocates

African Advocates Against AIDS (Africa/Congo-DRC)

Avenue Makanza, #N/44 Paroisse Catholic St, Vincent De Paul Bp. 1800, Kinshasa 1 Tel: 00243.999921831 or 00243.815181786 aaaakinrdc@yahoo.fr

Over 20 million people have died since the first case of AIDS back in 1980. By 2010, over 25 million children will be orphaned due to AIDS. An estimated 70 million more people will die from AIDS over the next 20 years. African Americans account for more than a third of the reported AIDS cases since the beginning of the epidemic. African Americans account for more than half of the new HIV infections occurring in the U.S. each year. African Americans account for 42% of people living with AIDS in the U.S. In the year 2000, HIV was the leading cause of death in African Americans ages 25-44, compared to the 5th leading cause of death for whites and 4th leading cause of death for Latinos.

African Advocates coordinates community outreach projects for prevention and education of HIV/AIDS within African communities in the United States of America. Our goal is to create awareness and educate the African community about HIV/AIDS as well as help people access prevention and treatment services.


1 0 1 A C I R

AF

BOTSWANA

Geography

8%, Sekgalagadi 3%, other (2001)

Twice the size of Arizona, Botswana is in south-central Africa, bounded by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Most of the country is near-desert, with the Kalahari occupying the western part of the country. The eastern part is hilly, with salt lakes in the north. Land area: 226,012 sq mi (585,371 sq km); Total area: 231,803 sq mi (600,370 sq km) Terrain: Desert and savanna. Climate: Mostly subtropical. Population (2007 est.): 1,639,131 (growth rate: 0.0%); birth rate: 22.9/1000; infant mortality rate: 53.0/1000; life expectancy: 33.7; density per sq mi: 7 Cities Capital--Gaborone (pronounced ha-bo-roneh), pop. 195,000 (2003 est.). Other towns--Francistown (83,023), SelebiPhikwe (49,849), Molepolole (54,561), Kanye (40,628), Serowe (42,444), Mahalapye (39,719), Lobatse (29,689), Maun (43,776), Mochudi (36,962). Monetary unit Pula Languages English 2% (official), Setswana 78%, Kalanga 46

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Ethnicity/race Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other (including Kgalagadi and white) 7% Religions Christian 72%, Badimo 6%, none 21% (2001) Literacy rate 80% (2003 est.)

History

The earliest inhabitants of the region were the San, who were followed by the Tswana. About half the country today is ethnic Tswana. The term for the country’s people, Batswana, refers to national rather than ethnic origin. Encroachment by the Zulu in the 1820s and by Boers from Transvaal in the 1870s and 1880s threatened the peace of the region. In 1885, Britain established the area as a protectorate, then known as Bechuanaland. In 1961, Britain granted a constitution to the country. Self-government began in 1965, and on Sept. 30, 1966, the country became independent. Botswana is Africa’s oldest democracy. The new country maintained good relations

with its white-ruled neighbors but gradually changed its policies, harboring rebel groups from South Rhodesia as well as some from South Africa. Although Botswana is rich in diamonds, it has high unemployment and stratified socioeconomic classes. In 1999 it suffered its first budget deficit in 16 years because of a slump in the international diamond market. Yet it remains one of the wealthiest as well as most stable countries on the continent. After 17 years in power, President Ketumile Masire retired in 1997, and Festus Mogae, an Oxford-educated economist, became the new president. Mogae has won high marks from the international financial community for continuing to privatize Botswana’s mining and industrial operations. Although Botswana’s economic outlook remains strong, the devastation that AIDS has caused threatens to destroy the country’s future. In 2001, Botswana had the highest rate of HIV infection in the world (350,000 of its 1.6 million people). With the help of international donors, however, it launched an ambitious national campaign that provided free antiviral drugs to anyone who needed them, and by March 2004, Botswana’s infection rate had dropped significantly. But with 37.5% of the population infected, the country remains on the brink of catastrophe. President Mogae won a second and final fourTO SUBSCRIBE VISIT

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year term in Oct. 2004. After serving 10 years as deputy president, Ian Khama, the son of Botswana’s first president, Seretse Khama, was inaugurated as president in April 2008. Festus Mogae stepped aside after 10 years in office.

Government & Politics

Botswana has a flourishing multiparty constitutional democracy. Each of the elections since independence has been freely and fairly contested and has been held on schedule. The country’s minority groups participate freely in the political process. There are three main parties and a number of smaller parties. The openness of the country’s political system has been a significant factor in Botswana’s stability and economic growth. General elections are held every 5 years. The next general election will be held in October 2009. Defence At the time of independence Botswana had no armed forces. It was only after attacks from the Rhodesian army that Botswana formed a Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in self-defence in 1977. The president is commander in chief and a defence council is appointed by the president. The BDF now has approximately 12,000 members. The BDF is a capable and well-disciplined military force. Following positive political changes in South Africa and the region, the BDF’s missions have increasingly focused on anti-poaching activities, disasterpreparedness, and foreign peacekeeping. The United States has been the largest single foreign contributor to the development of the BDF, and a large segment of its officer corps has received U.S. training. It is considered an apolitical and professional institution.

Economy

Since independence, Botswana has had the fastest growth in per capita income in the world. Economic growth averaged over 9% per year from 1967-97. The government has maintained a sound fiscal policy, despite three consecutive budget deficits in 2002-2004, and a negligible level of foreign debt. Foreign exchange reserves were $5 billion at the end of December 2005, equivalent to 22 months of imports of goods and services. Botswana’s impressive economic record has been built on the foundation of wisely using revenue generated from diamond mining TO SUBSCRIBE VISIT

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to fuel economic development through prudent fiscal policies and a cautious foreign policy. However, economic development spending was cut by 10% in 2002/2003 as a result of recurring budget deficits and rising expenditure on healthcare services. While development spending was budgeted to increase by 12.3% in the 2005/2006 fiscal year, the bulk of the money was to be spent on ongoing projects and maintenance rather than new infrastructure. Real GDP growth was expected to slow in 2005 to between 3% and 4% from its 5.7% growth rate in 2004. The government recognizes that HIV/AIDS will continue to affect the economy and is providing leadership and programs to combat the epidemic, including free anti-retroviral treatment and a nationwide Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission program. Mining Two large mining companies, Debswana (formed by the government and South Africa’s DeBeers in equal partnership) and Bamangwato Concessions, Ltd. (BCL, also with substantial government equity participation) operate in the country. Coal bed methane gas has been discovered in the northeastern part of the country, estimated by the developers at a commercially viable quantity of 12 trillion cubic feet. Development of the gas field, financed by the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, began in mid-2004. Tourism Tourism is an increasingly important industry in Botswana, accounting for almost 12% of GDP, despite only modest growth of 2.9% in 2003/2004. One of the world’s unique ecosystems, the Okavango Delta, is located in Botswana. The country offers excellent game viewing and birding both in the Delta and in the Chobe Game Reserve--home to one of the largest herds of free-ranging elephants in the world. Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve also offers good game viewing and some of the most remote and unspoiled wilderness in southern Africa.

Agriculture meets only a small portion of food needs and contributes a very small amount to GDP--primarily through beef exports--but it remains a social and cultural touchstone. Cattle raising in particular dominated Botswana’s social and economic life before independence. The national herd is estimated between 2 and 3 million head, but the cattle industry is experiencing a protracted decline. Transportation and Communications A sparsely populated, semi-arid country about the size of Texas, Botswana has nonetheless managed to incorporate much of its interior into the national economy. An “inner circle” highway connecting all major towns and district capitals is completely paved, and the allweather Trans-Kalahari Highway connects the country (and, through it, South Africa’s commercially dominant Gauteng Province) to Walvis Bay in Namibia. A fiber-optic telecommunications network has been completed in Botswana connecting all major population centers. In November 2003, representatives of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa signed an MOU to simplify documentation to move cargoes to and from the Port of Walvis Bay in Namibia. In addition to the government-owned newspaper and national radio network, there is an active, independent press (one daily and seven weekly newspapers). Two privately owned radio stations began operations in 1999. In 2000, the government-owned Botswana Television (BTV) was launched, which is Botswana’s first national television station. GBC is a commercially owned television station that broadcast programs to the Gaborone area only. Foreign publications are sold without restriction in Botswana, and there are 22 commercial Internet service providers. Two cellular phone providers cover most of the country.

Agriculture More than one-half of the population lives in rural areas and is largely dependent on subsistence crop and livestock farming.

Research Sources: The World Factbook; Center for International Research, U.S. Bureau of the Census; The Columbia Encyclopedia; The World Book Encyclopedia; Encyclopædia Britannica; U.S. State Dept., and various newspapers. Population figures are supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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