An African Voices Telling the Story
Latest: A Country in Ruins
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Editors Note 2010
lines the world. All eyes are focused on South Africa as it hosts the first World Cup on Africa’s soil. In this inaugural edition of The Spark, we take a look at how the World Cup will affect the Rainbow nation economically.
A GLIMPSE of Somalia, a country where
EA Country in Ruins Steve Ayoo
OMALIA IS a country that always cap-
tures the headlines for all the wrong reasons. A country starved of peace, is now synonymous with Islamic extremist groups. Since the fall of Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991, this country has had no permanent national government, a 20 year long civil war has crippled its economy and efforts to bring peace to Somalia have been abortive.in a tussle as to who gains the reigns of power in Somalia. DROVES OF Somalis have been forced to flee their motherland and those that have been left behind live in constant fear of attacks and daily survival is a permanent struggle. The media in Somalia is facing insurmountable challenges to stay in business. Journalists have been forced into exile and a record 10 killed in the line of duty to date. The Insurgent groups have declared a ban on content that is considered “Un-Islamic” and simple pleasures such as listening to music or catching up with friends over a televised game of soccer can earn one up to 30 lashes in areas controlled by the Al Shabaab or Hizbul Islam movements. It is a
IS a year that Africa head-
sad state of affairs in Somalia, and it seems there is no end in sight to the violence. THE AL Shabaab has gained control of many parts of southern and central Somalia by using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against the TGF of Somalia and its allies; African Union peacekeepers, and non-governmental aid organizations. This movement has meted out atrocities on people considered to contravene the strict Sharia Law to which it adheres to. Enter the Hizbul Islam; an insurgent group that has liaisons with the extremist Al Shabaab movement, however, recent reports indicate that the two movements are seemingly embroiled in a tussle as to who gains the reigns of power in Somalia. DROVES OF Somalis have been forced to flee their motherland and those that have been left behind live in constant fear of attacks and daily survival is a permanent struggle. The media in Somalia is facing insurmountable challenges to stay in business. Journalists have been forced into exile and a record 10 killed in the line of duty to date
The Insurgent groups have declared a ban on content that is considered “Un-Islamic” and simple pleasures such as listening to music or catching up with friends over a televised game of soccer can earn one up to 30 lashes in areas controlled by the Al Shabaab or Hizbul Islam movements. It is a sad state of affairs in Somalia, and it seems there is no end in sight to the violence.
violence seems to be the order of the day will there be an end to the violence in this once jewel of beauty now marred by bullet riddled buildings and a collapsed economy. In our feature section, we take a look at Nollywood the budding Nigerian film industry. Albinos are under threat in Tanzania as witchdoctors make a fortune out of their body parts. A blast from the past as we highlight Kenya’s founding father the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. WITH A sprinkling of African culture, our
Wise sayings are bound to give you a second thought as we keep it purely African proverbs from our diverse continent. Looking to cook up a storm or just a simple African dish? Well, our section on authentic African recipes will nourish your home menu. THE SPARK assures you of a read that is infor-
mative, entertaining and educating.
AFRICA REGIONAL ROUND-UP North- Tunisia Feted in Barcelona
East – The East African Community
West- 12 Seized in Ship Attack
Africa’s Hope Shattered
The United Nations Public Service Award was presented to the government of Tunisia for its best rating in Africa in e-government. To receive the prize was the country’s Secretary of State in charge of Regional Affairs and Local Communities Mr. Mongi Chouchene. This award is aimed at lauding successes by public service institutions that contribute to improving efficiency, showcase innovations in the public sector and highlight governments that encourage confidence in public service institutions.
The East African community on 30th June 2010 took a grand leap as member states simultaneously launched the Common Market Protocol which is aimed at allowing free movement of goods, services, capital and labour in the regional bloc. Member states comprising of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi have the headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
Twelve foreign sailors were kidnapped by gunmen after they seized a cargo ship in the waters off the coast of Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta region. The vessel BBC Polonia had a crew of seven Russians, Two Germans, one Lithuanian, a Latvian and one Ukranian. So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Niger Delta Region is a volatile mineral rich region.
South- Ghana failed to cruise to the Quarter finals in the 2010 world cup following defeat by Uruguay in a penalty shoot out. The Black Stars who put on a spirited fight had a perfect chance presented in the last minute of extra time through a hand ball by Uruguay’s Luis Suarez. However, the penalty kick by prolific player Asamoah Gyan hit the post breathing life into Uruguay’s chance at a slot at the final four.
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A LUCRATIVE WORLD CUP? BUSINESS
THE EXCITEMENT is fever pitch and as
the world cup tournament descends on Africa, business owners in South Africa are looking forward to a month of minting thousands of Rand. Having parted with a hefty $4.6 million to host the tournament, what the rainbow nation needs is fans and lots of them. However, there is a sinking realization that the event will not be as lucrative as most people initially hoped. WITH THE number of foreign fans
having been reduced drastically, most small scale business are crying foul and the pop-up establishments will not reap the expected benefits. OWNERS OF small establishments in the out-
skirts of major towns that had spent a fortune in refurbishment and upgrading their buildings have to contend with the prospect of missing out on the world cup pot of gold. Many reasons have been fronted to explain the turn of events but of main concern is the recent global economic crisis that rocked most economies particularly in Africa. IN COMPARISON to the World Cup in Germa-
ny, connectivity in terms of infrastructure acted as a huge boost to the turn up of fans as one could book a cheap flight or the train and travel comfortably to Germany. FOR THE die hard football fans, it is go South
Africa go as they prepare for a month long of the best foot ball action and vagaries associated with it. THE EXCITEMENT is fever pitch and as the
world cup tournament descends on Africa, business owners in South Africa are looking forward to a month of minting thousands of Rand. Having parted with a hefty $4.6 million to host the tournament, what the rainbow nation needs is fans and lots of them. However, there is a sinking realization that the event will not be as lucrative as most people initially hoped. WITH THE number of foreign fans having been reduced drastically, most small scale business are crying foul and the pop-up establishments will not reap the expected benefits.
SOUTHERN SUDAN Woos Ugandan Investors Goodluck Lucky on Facebook Southern Sudan leaders have agreed to support Ugandan investors wishing to invest in the region’s growing economy. Speaking at a forum; Uganda and Southern Sudan Business Forum in Gulu town, Augustine Kenyi the director for domestic trade in the trade ministry intimated that Southern Sudan is committed to support Ugandan investors wishing to invest in the country.
Double Treat From Leo Namibia’s second mobile operator Leo has rolled out two new pre-paid products for its subscribers. The two: Leo 10 and Leo 20 are designed to provide clients with the benefits of post-paid services without the hussle of contracts and credit checks The Leo 10 is a pre-paid card for airtime amounting to N$10 while Leo 20 N$20 worth of airtime.
HEALTH & Environment
Organizations such as Under the Same Sun are helping advocate the rights of people living with albinism but their efforts are curtailed by the deep rooted cultural beliefs in the country. This year, 57 albinos have been brutally murdered in various regions. The legal system is dragging its feet having convicted only 2 out of 63 cases reported so far.
Appetite for Albino Parts Continues In Tanzania
ppetite for Albino Parts Continues In Tanzania( video- albino body parts) They live amongst us and characteristically possess a fair complexion. People living with albinism have little or no pigmentation in their eyes, skin or hair. It is a genetically inherited condition where one has altered genes that do not make the usual amounts of the pigment called melanin. The condition is not limited to human beings alone as both animals and plants suffer from albinism. Discrimination of albinos is a serious problem through out SubSaharan Africa and people suffering from the condition are deemed to possess magical powers. In Tanzania a country where 1 in 3000 people suffers from albinism, reports of albino killings have been broadcast in the past.
Nigeria’s president Jonathan Goodluck has expressed his joy over the overwhelming response to his Facebook page. Jonathan had promised to set up a page on the social networking site and he has registered over 50,000 fans topping all Nigerian politicians on the network. The president set up the page to enable him interact with Nigerian youth in order to seek their opinion on how to improve the country.
Witchdoctors are said to be marketing albino body parts such as skin, bones and hair as ingredients in potions that are supposedly aimed at making people rich. The price tag to albino body parts is quite high with an arm said to be going for up to $3000 and a limb $7,500. More saddening is the fact that most children born with albinism are thought to be cursed and are usually abandoned and left to die. The lack of dermatological testing facilities for albinism suffers to enable early detection of cancer compounds the
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Interesting Facts 1. In a study of 200,000 ostriches over a period of 80 years, no one reported a single case where an ostrich buried its head in the sand. 2. Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times. 3. Africa is home to the world’s largest living land animal, the African elephant, which can weigh between 6 and 7 tons. 4. A pregnant goldfish is called a twit. 5. A shrimp’s heart is in its head.
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Extra Play in Word Cup 2010
“The first World Cup on African soil”, “An Africa World cup”, such are the titles that have been bestowed upon the FIFA World Cup 2010. Indeed, it is an event that has generated much excitement in the whole of Africa as the world’s finest in football scripture head down south for a full month of soccer galore. All quarters of the South African economy are expecting a major boost due to the number of people set to visit the nation. As the main excitement is focused on the host stadiums, off pitch, it is expected to be equally busy. Tourism will see a major boost and synonymous with it comes commercial sex trade. The issue of legalizing prostitution in South Africa ahead of the world cup has generated a lot of heat and it was South Africa’s police commissioner Jackie Selebi who first proposed the idea. Subsequently supported by ANC MP George Lekgetho, who is quoted to have said, “It is one of the things that would make it [the tournament] a success…” during a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture in Parliament. Prostitutes from neighbouring countries have been southward bound in a bid to make extra pennies during the tournament and from the look of things it is reported that female sex workers could exceed 40,000 in numbers. With such an influx of prostitutes, fears are rife that this could increase the spread of HIV/AIDS virus and separately encourage human trafficking. In a country where it is estimated that 1000 people die of HIV/AIDS daily, and with one of the highest rate of the virus, legalizing prostitution could portend more gloom to South Africa beyond the World Cup. In retrospect, Germany’s success in holding the 2006 World Cup was a combination of many factors including legalizing of public drinking and prostitution but
economically, it is a country that is way ahead the rainbow nation. South Africa’s reference to the success of the 2006 World Cup is not misplaced. However, looking beyond 2010 is fundamental as its future reputation will not be solely defined by this year’s World Cup. It is a matter of great demand, greater supply and as play goes beyond the pitch, caution should headline the party and making the right choice will definitely go along way in ensuring a more healthy economy.
His career spanning over 15 years has seen Eto’o play for legendary football clubs. Major triumphs of this foot ball great include; three time African footballer of the year, three La Liga titles, two UEFA champions league titles, two Copa del Rey, two Spanish Super cups and he is the first ever player to win three trophies in back to back seasons with two different clubs in two different leagues.
Eto’o the Great Born in a corner of Africa in a little known village known as Nkongomondo in Cameroon, Samuel Eto’o Fils defied the odds and today he is one of the greatest footballers in the world. The 29 year old who is a striker for Italian Serie A club Internazionale (Inter Milan) has come a long way from his days as a young boy playing football in the dusty streets of Cameroon to the great icon of football he is. In search for better living, his parents migrated to Europe when he was a young boy and his prowess in football enabled him join Real Madrid at 16 years but was only able to train with the club’s team b as he was underage.
His accolades go beyond the pitch as he was recently declared the patron of World Child Cancer, a charity organization that seeks to create awareness and advocate for funding to help children who suffer from cancer globally. Though his national team the Indomitable Lions bowed out of the world cup early, Samuel Eto’o had this to say about the first Word Cup on Africa’s soil, “Like most Africans I had to work much harder and show much deeper belief than others. I started with nothing and reached the level I’m at today. All I had was football and God’s help. But I made it and now I’m going home, to Africa, where we can show a different face to the world.”
Features 100% Nigerian It is an industry that has witnessed phenomenal growth over the last 18 years and the star continues to rise. Welcome to the Nigerian film industry famously known as Nollywood. Nigerian movies centre on love, money, religion, and all the intricacies that revolve around life in Nigeria. The release of
“The movies are made on shoe-string budgets”
the box-office movie Living in Bondage in 1992, set precedence for the movie industry which according to UNESCO, it is second largest in the world based on the number of films produced. Nollywood is estimated to be a $500million a year industry making it one of the largest employers in Nigeria. In a country that faces frequent power blackouts, decaying infrastructure and where half of its people live in poverty despite it being
the leading oil producer in Africa, Nollywood’s progress is astounding. The movies are made on shoe-string budgets and an average production takes about 10days and costs around $15,000. Shooting is done mostly on location and producers churn an average of 1200 movies annually. With such high figures, quality tends to be overlooked but this does not deter the producers who have struck a highly lucrative market. The industry has its own stars and red carpets and even its own version of the Oscars - the African Movie Academy Awards. Nollywood movies are greatly received in African markets and the European market is gradually catching up. These are movies that most identify with as they portray moral dilemmas that Africans face. The industry has attracted more film makers due to cheap labour costs and a competitive distribution network. In the words of director Bond Emeruwa, “We are telling our own stories in our own way, our Nigerian way, African way. I cannot tell the white man’s story. I don’t know what his story is all about. He tells
me his story in his movies. I want him to see my stories too.” economically, it is a country that is way ahead the rainbow nation. South Africa’s reference to the success of the 2006 World Cup is not misplaced. However, looking beyond 2010 is fundamental as its future reputation will not be solely defined by this year’s World Cup. It is a matter of great demand, greater supply and as play goes beyond the pitch, caution should headline the party and making the right choice will definitely go along way in ensuring a more healthy economy.
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Wise Sayings On this section we feature numerous proverbs that are a heritage of our African culture. The deeds of a Man are greater than the details of his birth. – Maasai, Kenya. A man with sweet food before him can not understand the bitterness of famine. – Yoruba, Nigeria. The sun never sets without fresh news. - Xhosa, South Africa
This day in History
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Kenya’s Founding Father Born Kamau wa Muigai in Ngenda village Gatundu divison in mid 1890’s to Muigai and Wambui, Kenyatta attended mission schools and his political interests saw him join the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA) in 1924. He was elected as president of Kenya Africa Union (KAU) having undergone studies in the University College London and London School of Economics and remained relentless in the fight against colonialism which led to the Mau Mau Rebellion which began in 1951. KAU was banned in 1951 and a state of emergency declared in October 20 1952. Kenyatta was arrested in 1952 and indicted with five others namely; Kungu Karumba, Fred Kubai, Paul Ngei, Bildad Kaggia and Achieng Oneko- the “Kapenguria Six” for being members of the Mau Mau rebellion. He remained in prison until 1959 and was later detained in Lodwar and in May 1960 he was elected in absentia as the president of Kenya Africa National Union (KANU). He was released from Lodwar in August 14 1961. On June 1st 1963, Kenyatta became the first prime minister of self governing Kenya and one year later on December 12 1964; Kenya became a republic within the Commonwealth with Kenyatta as president. Kenyatta ruled Kenya with the true vision of an African statesman and although ruled by critics as a man who used tribal allegiances to keep power within his inner circle, Jomo was a respected ruler who met his demise on the 22nd of August 1978.