Monday, July 25, 2011

DSK & The African Hotel-Maid

I just read the Newsweek expose on the DSK hotel-maid case. It got me thinking: this woman is a from a conservative, Muslim, African (Fulani) culture. To her relatives, clans-people and even countrymen, she's already guilty just by working as a hotel-maid, cleaning the rooms of strange-men (in a foreign-land). We might order take-out sushi and carry smart-phones, but we Africans are still essentially the products of very conservative cultures. And this kind of conservative thinking still holds sway.

I came of age in Harare's suburbs in the 80s. Zimbabwe's post-independence elite aped the (departed) Rhodesian colonialists down to the "T". So we had a gardener, who lived in the "Boy's Kaya" (servant's quarters), and yet none of the female members of the household would even dare enter, or even come close to, our gardener's room. It was not the done thing for women of the house to be inside (or near) a strange-man's room -- even if he was the gardener who worked for us and interacted with us daily. My point is that social mores in Zimbabwe & other African countries are still extremely conservative. In Zimbabwe -- even in this day and age -- any woman who works as a waitress, (or in any other service industry where she must serve strange-men) is seen as being off loose morals.

So, put yourself in the shoes of the hotel-maid in the DSK case. Her life will never be the same; her relatives probably already see her as a "whore"; and her children will face the stigma of being the "sons-of-a-whore". In the traditionally conservative milieu from which she hails, she will forever be looked upon with a jaundiced eye. I really feel for her. It's so sad.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ignorance Is Bliss

Quick question: name Ghana's military head? Now, quickly: who's in charge of Zimbabwe's military? Most people -- even those who are only vaguely familiar with Zimbabwe's politics -- have heard of our military head, but no-one knows who is in charge of Ghana's military, and no-one cares either. That's how it's supposed to be. Most Pan-Africanists are very familiar with the names Kotoka, Ankrah and Afrifa, since these fellows were on the scene when the Ghanaian military had their military boots on the collective necks of the Ghanaian people. But, that's all in the past now; the military has withdrawn to the barracks. Don't even bother googling the name of Ghana's military head -- that's an exercise in futility.

When will we Zimbabweans be afforded the luxury of our Ghanaian brothers, of being blissfully unaware and not even caring who our top military leaders are? When? Right now, the Zimbabwean military literally have us by the b***s. This is a very painful and unbearable situation. The sooner it ends the better. Only highly-skilled, highly-educated technocrats can take Zimbabwe (and Africa) forward. The military belongs in the barracks.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Disney-Land, South Sudan

Earlier on the week, my mind was running through possible scenarios for Africa's newest nation of South Sudan. One of the possible outcomes I imagined was for South Sudan -- within a short space of time -- to become a hellish, Banana Republic, bang in the middle of tropical Africa. This Banana Republic would also come complete with a shortage of bananas.

South Sudan would thus become a "reverse Disney-Land", a hellish "paradise" for NGOs, chancers, crooks, con-artists, and all sorts of fly-by-night "Africa Experts". For these unsavoury characters, South Sudan will be the ultimate "catch", a dream-date so to speak. Once ensconced in their Juba luxury with SUVs, servants, and gated villas, this flotsam-jetsam of mediocrity --the scum of the Earth -- will fight tooth and nail to make sure that South Sudan remains a basket-case, thus ensuring their continued, luxury existence. This is a nightmare scenario with a high probably of turning out to be true. Let's wait-and-see.