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Blogging Africa

Review of African blogs

Sokari Ekine

2007-05-09, Issue 303

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Tambour D'Afrique by Guy Angrand interviews Raoul Peck the director of Lumumba: The death of a Prophet. Like Guy, Raoul is Haitan but grew up in the DRC.

(Raoul Peck) His family was displaced to Kinshasa by the Duvalier regime in the early 1960s where his family, among 600 others, sought asylum. He went to school in Kinshasa, Brooklyn, France, and then finally Germany where he got his degree in engineering. He then came to New York where he became a cab driver as he awaited acceptance into film school in Germany in 1984.

Following the recent crash of Kenyan Airlines, Kenyan blogger MentalAcrobtics asks 'how safe are African skies and how safe are African airlines'. He presents some facts about both Kenyan airways and the plane that crashed.

The airline
IOSA is the global benchmark for airline safety management. It is designed to assess airline operational management and control systems based on internationally recognised standards. Any airline wishing to join IATA must be IOSA registered. By the end of 2007, all IATA members must successfully undergo the IOSA audit in order to retain IATA membership. Carriers must achieve registration by the end of 2008. IOSA is open to all airlines. Four African airlines already have IOSA registration; South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Comair, Royal Air Maroc and Egyptair. Kenya Airways is a safe airline.

The plane
The plane involved in the incident today was a brand new Boeing 737-800. The plane was collected from Boeing in October 2006 and went into service in November 2006. No ramshackle plane this.
On African skies in general – the continenet has the second worse accident record in the world – second only to the CIS.

Thinkers Room also comments on the crash in particular the way it was reported in some sections of the international media.

'They were energetic enough to say five Brits, one Swiss and one Swede, but could not be bothered to break down the African casulaties, settling for “The remainder were Africans”. Why then did they not say some Europeans as well? Are we second class human beings? I guess I should not be surprised to expect a myopic news organization is unable to live up to its “International” tag.
Granted, there is no formula as to how to handle such tragic events, but I’m sure if we followed the simple parameters of treating them with the seriousness they deserve and utmost respect to the affected family and friends, we should be OK………But that’s just me.'

For Nigeria Politricks he is glad Obasanjo is leaving but for the people the 'struggle continues'.

'We are glad OBJ is going to retire in ignominy back to Otta farm come 29 May – good riddance! For the rest of the ordinary Nigerians, the struggle continues! We strongly believe there was no election and the so-called president-elect Yar’Adua was borne out of illegality and his regime will be a charade; the continued entrenchment of the wanton destruction of the Nigerian social, economic and political lives!'

He goes on to write about the silence around the rape of Nigerian women in the country which is according to Amnesty International, epidemic. Definitely a need to write more about this issue.

New South African blogger, Loudrastress posts a comment one the anniversary of the Zuma rape trial decision.

'I do know that the rape case of the former national vice president turned the volume up on gender based violence, not just in relation to the case itself, but also generally why we live in the siege we do as women. I have been called melodramatic when I’ve used “siege” to describe the state in which women live within the borders of the South African nation state. I stand by my words. Anybody with a cursory appreciation of how likely each woman is to be subjected to different forms of gender based violence (sexual harassment, physical abuse, psychological battery, financial abuse, forced subjection to the witness of degradation and violence metted out to others, etc) knows that I am being far from melodramatic.

The case brought us face to face to the widespread nature of South African hypocrisy on the subject of gender anything. On the one hand, it is about as hard to find someone who supports violence against women in SA as it is to find a white person who voted for apartheid. Yet, we did not imagine apartheid and we are not imagining the rampant abuse of women today. Just as systems of institutionalised violence like apartheid need complicit Blacks to assist with the deepening of with white supremacist work, patriarchy needs violent women. And we saw many of them outside the court a year ago: burning pictures of the complainant and acting out similar intimidation of her supporters. Many more were apologists for a whole range of other linked forms of misogyny.'

Sudanese Thinker is furious with a report that the US State Dept report that stated the Sudanese Government was “strong partner in the War on Terror”. ST comments:

'Interesting, so now Darfur is both genocide and terrorism but that’s not the main point... Maybe it is a reason, maybe not, I don’t know, but I do know one thing for sure. Bush has been very patient. And no, unlike previously I don’t think it’s because he’s too busy with Iraq. After all we did witness the United States assisting the Ethiopian army in the bombing raids conducted against suspected al-Qaeda fighters in Somalia recently. It didn’t require much effort or resources and surely conducting one in Darfur won’t be different. So why didn’t it happen until now? The “he’s too busy with Iraq” idea doesn’t make much sense to me now. I guess the janjaweed and suspected al-Qaeda fighters are classified very differently from one another. At least he thinks so too.'

So what is going on here – clearly as ST states there are two forces at work. Those that believe Sudan is a partner against the war on terror and those that believe they are committing genocide in Darfur. Either way they need to make their minds up as you cannot have the President on one side and the State Dept on the other and expect anything meaningful to happen in the near future.

Somali blog, explains some of what is happening in Mogadishu – the installation of two American backed new warlords of the city, Mohammed Dheere and Chief Awale. Quoting McClatchy Newspapers he writes:

'Mohamed Dheere is very much in the classic "strongman" mode so beloved by America's dispensers of liberation and democracy over the past century. He comes to his new post from his former gangland turf in the northern town of Jowhar, "where he presided over a famously ruthless extortion network.'

White African reports on a new web2 development by Kenyan’s called Jahazi that incorporates sms, chat, browsing etc.

'It’s a client-side application that you have to download, which means it will be housed on your computer. However, the data is all stored on their servers though, not on your computer - which means as long as you find a computer with Jahazi on it - or you carry it on a USB stick/drive - then you can access your information…… Jahazi works off of a simple “channels” system. You add the channels you are interested in having as a part of your account, be it email, SMS, chat, a web browser or an address book. They’re building the service to be extendable so that other developers can add channels and make new services available to the Jahazi userbase.'

Freedom for Egyptians is one of the few non Francophone bloggers to report on the French elections.

'Sarkozy’s victory will signal a new balance of powers in Europe and worldwide. Following the war on Iraq, most of the European governments that took over were leftists or center left as the case with Spain and Italy. Sarkozy who made it clear that he is against the war on Iraq, is a right wing pro-American French politician however. Sarkozy's victory in a world charged against right wing governments that supported the war in Iraq, says something about France’s domestic affairs and the French people’s new orientation.'

Mzalendo: Eye on Kenyan Parliament have created yet another brilliant idea - they are in the process of building a searchable database of 'parliamentary aspirants'.

'Why? So you can know them:
• Who they are
• Where they are standing
• Their background and history
• What they stand for: their vision
We’re still iroing out rough edges but we think it is stable enough for you to use.'

This site is something other African blogging communities should build on and create for their own respective countries which along with Pambazuka’s African Union Monitor will keep an eye on what are leaders and parliamentarians are up to and hopefully make them more accountable and us as citizens more able to call them to account.

Finally, Egyptian blogger, Rantings of a Sandmonkey lays down his blogger tools and says goodbye to the blogosphere. Well he had already said goodbye and received over 500 farewell messages and then decided he needed to further clarify his reasons for leaving – which are still unclear to me. Apparently he feels insecure about blogging from Egypt but has since left Egypt for the US. He feels the Egyptian blogosphere has been largely uncritical and insufficiently active against the government and finally he wants to see a community of activists bloggers from around the Middle East come together to fight freedom of press in general and the blogosphere in particular. So why are you leaving?

'Pursuing such an organization this would be the logical next step, for me, for us, to take. This will be my focus in the few remaining days I have here in DC: How to make such an organization real. If you are interested, if you think this is a good idea and would like to help, or have suggestions or ideas or input to help improve or facilitate this, please contact me and let me know. I am all ears, and open to all suggestions……….To risk sounding cliché and trite, let's light and candle instead of cursing the darkness………We can do this!....The Sandmonkey.'

I never did like the name 'Sandmonkey'!

* Sokari Ekine is online editor of Pambazuka News and blogs at

Readers' Comments

Let your voice be heard. Comment on this article.

PEACE...i'm a little bit late but i just saw that our blog was reviewed here through a comment left on Tambour d'Afrique. We are extremely grateful for the exposure. I have added this site to our links section. this is a great website. Thank you very much.


ms bazu of Tambour d'Afrique

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