Tuesday, June 30, 2009

African Spelling

Here's a piece I posted on a forum (that I belong to) not too long ago in '06. It's about the African spelling of place-names and the general rendering of spelling using African phonetics, I still believe strongly in what I wrote three years ago. After all, the Japanese do not call their country "Japan", nor do the Germans call their country "Germany".

My point is that, "Germany" and "Japan" are what outsiders render those two countries. The natives of both Germany and Japan(as well as Ireland, Greece, Holland, and a host of other nations) all use their own phonetics and spelling to render their place-names, as well as place-names that fall outside their own language areas. We Africans should do the same.

I just wanted to put this out in the open. Should we as Africans still insist on European spelling conventions in 2006? (it's now 2009). It's almost 50 years since Ghana achieved independence and yet we Africans still insist on religiously following European spelling conventions when writing. Why is this so? What's wrong with using phonetic African spelling? After all, AREN'T WE AFRICANS?

In my native language, Shona, "London" should be rendered "Randani" and "Britain" should be rendered "Bhiriteni". Shona has no "L" in its alphabet, and a hard "B" is always followed by an "H". The same rule applies for a "V"; a hard "V" is always followed by an "H". Would I be considered an uneducated fool by my African peers if I started writing "Furansi" instead of "France" and "Muputukese" instead of "Portuguese". The thought tickles my mind.

The Europeans themselves ALWAYS insist on following THEIR OWN SPELLING CONVENTIONS as a rule. This they apply to both family names and place names.
The Senegalese family name, "Njie", is spelt "N'diaye" by the French. "Jobe" is rendered "Diop", "Juuf" is rendered as "Diouf", and the place-name Wagadugu is rendered "Ouagadougou". The Portuguese are just as bad! The Shona-speaking province of "Manyika", in Mozambique, is rendered as "Manica" and "Chikwalakwala" is rendered as "Chicuala-cuala". The great Shona empire-builder from the middle ages, "Munhumutapa" is commonly (and wrongly) known as "Monomotapa".

Can't we as Africans just follow our own phonetic conventions when rendering place names and family names? Why do we use "Mozambique" when describing "Msumbuji". And why do we Africans insist on calling the country of "Mzansi" (or Azania) as "South Africa". Let others call that country, "South Africa". As for place names, doesn't "Burkina Faso" sound better than "Upper Volta", and isn't "Zimbabwe" more appropriate than "Southern Rhodesia"? And finally, who came up with the name, Central African Republic? I'll offer a 6-pack of beer to anyone who comes up with a better name for that African country


Saturday, June 27, 2009


In all true honesty, I've never been a techy, although I first started working with computers way back in 1983. It took me this long to register with "Technorati" and "Blogged". These fellows are really making me jump through the hoops. Now, I have to issue a post with some kind of code - I don't know what for. But here it is: wud5ieqsp6 &

Personal Blogs Blog Directory

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Improving Conditions in Zims

I'd say that, in general, things are picking up in Zimbabwe. The French seem to think so too. They have just invited PM Tsvangirai to the French PM's residence, L'Hotel Matignon. That must be a first for a politician from the heart of "Anglophone" Africa. You can cut-n-paste the link below and go to the French English language channel, France 24, to see another good report on Zimbabwe.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Just watched the movie, "W", on DVD. In a way I was missing that old bastard, George W. Bush, and I had to satisfy a craving. Josh Brolin is superb as George Bush, and Jeffery Wright and Thandiwe Newton are both well-cast as Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice respectively. Richard Dreyfuss really pulls off the best performance as Dick Cheney. If you are too old to watch horror movies, but enjoy seeing real-life evil up-close, then this is the movie for you. One note: Thandiwe newton was born in Zambia to a Zimbabwean mother and English father, and so we Zimbabweans claim her as one of our own.

Never in a Thousand Years

This is just a little comment in response to an article posted in "The Guardian" on June 9Th by George Monbiot, the British social commentator. The title of Mr. Monbiot's piece was entitled, "Outsourcing Unrest", and it was about how the British elites have lived off the fruits of their colonial - and post colonial - endeavours for three hundred years. This is what I had to say to that:

The extraction of wealth from India is well-documented, but the colonial powers really grew rich from their exploitation of Africa. The exploitation of Congo by the Belgians is an extreme example. Portugal became a non-entity after it lost its African colonies, and the French political elite lie awake at night wondering what would happen if the neo-colonial arrangement with their ex-colonies unravels.

Another quick point: Cecil Rhodes and other colonial thinkers thought that civil war in Britain could only be averted if the "lowly hordes" were sent to the colonies in Southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It was for this reason why these colonists were so tenacious in their refusal for black majority rule. The ex-Rhodesian Prime Minister, Ian Smith, was a product of that policy.

Ian Smith's father had been a butcher in Scotland, and there was no way that Smithy could conceive of returning back to that life. Being a butcher in Scotland would have been untenable after tasting the fruits of the good life in - what was then - Rhodesia. When he said, "Never in a thousand years", he truly meant it. Smith and his co-horts truly did mean to maintain their colonial privileges for another thousand years.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back to Normalcy

Things are beginning to look up for my beloved Zimbabwe. The website (Zimbabwe Times) reports that, "agricultural production has tripled to around 1,5 million tonnes of grain." Although, we're still about another half a million tonnes short of what we need for grain self-sufficiency. It had also been reported in the Zimbabwe Situation (another Zim website) that beer consumption was up too. That's a good economic indicator. The ordinary people are reverting to their ordinary ways.

And finally, last but not least, our belated Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, became the first African Prime Minister or President to be invited by President Obama for a tete-a-tete in the Oval Office of the White House. That was a truly historic scene on Friday - an African leader and the first black President of America in the Oval Office. Tsvangirai was eloquent as usual, and he handled himself well. I gave him top marks.

So, I can say, that Zimbabwe is now crawling its way back to normalcy. The Central African Republic we are not! We still have a way to go, but we're shifting gears and we're moving in the right direction.

Friday, June 5, 2009

One Drop

Just finished reading a book by Bliss Broyard called, "One Drop". It's about her late father, Anatole Broyard, who was a literary critic for the New York Times until his death in 1990. I couldn't use the word "passing" in the previous sentence, since "passing" is what Anatole Broyard did in adulthood in order to get ahead in the white America of the 1950s and 1960s.

Why someone as "white" as Anatole Broyard had to pass as white in the first place just beats me. He probably had more white blood than 40% of the "whites" that I know. In California you can be half Chinese, a quarter Native-American and a quarter Shepardic Jew and still be considered white. Although the rules for blacks - even light-skinned blacks - are much tougher. For them, the "one-drop" rule still applies.

In this century, those who look white and want to be seen as white, must be allowed to be white. Why force someone to be what he is not? Adding to that, there are over 900 million black people who are damn proud of being who they are. It's an insult for Africans and diaspora blacks to be mixed together with people who hate to be considered black. Let those who don't want to be black be! And let the real blacks be themselves!