Mhambi has been redeployed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ek is verlief op die kind

Mhambi is in Geneva. For those travellers feeling nostalgic and missing home, an nice old song from South Africa: Ek is verlief op die kind. Thanks for Nerina aka Locura from NY for sending it to me.

Actually, on second thoughts - perhaps me liking this song is proof that expat nostalgia is detrimental to your music taste? Mmmmm...

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Reflecting on my Ascendency

Reflecting on my Ascendency - SA350106
Originally uploaded by Dlamini.

Here's an interesting pic from Dlamini, a South African living in Tokyo.

He captioned it with:

"In my dream I see myself staying awake and overseeing my corporate empire...yes, It's all there doctor. Just not enough time in the day."

Dlamini says beneath another pic:

"I am starting an NGO (called Shut Eye International) to help people get enough sleep at night, or make the train seats more comfortable for them to sleep in. Either way, I think this will promote world peace. Sleeping people don't fight, right? "

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Annan says Africa must guard against racism

Mhambi was impressed with former UN chief Kofi Annan's speach at the annual Nelson Mandela lecture, held yesterday in Johannesburg.

Annan says Africa must guard against tyrants : Mail & Guardian Online: "'Africans must guard against a pernicious, self-destructive form of racism that unites citizens to rise up and expel tyrannical rulers who are white, but to excuse tyrannical rulers who are black,' he said.

Annan said more than 300-million people south of the Sahara lived on less than $1 a day, and others were ravaged by disease, 'betrayed by their leaders, starved not only of food, but of opportunity and hope'.

Cautious optimism

But, he said, there is reason for cautious optimism on the continent, with inflation at historic lows in many countries, and 27 African economies projected to grow by more than 5% this year. Direct investment in Africa has risen more than 200% in the past five years, he said.

Exports are rising, and there are advances on debt relief such as in Nigeria, which used part of its windfall oil earnings to pay back $12-billion in debt and arrears to the Paris Club of sovereign lenders in a deal concluded last year, he said.

South Africa is also experiencing a 'virtuous cycle', where, despite setbacks, much has been achieved in economic growth and social integration after decades of apartheid white rule."

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

African night swimming

Originally uploaded by Christo Doherty.

Mhambi wanted to post this pic sometime back. Taken by Christo Doherty, a Photographer who has taken some great pictures all over South Africa, Namibia and Angola.

This rather exotic steamy looking one, is of Badplaas (Afrikaans: bath farm), South Africa.

Christo comments:

Badplaas, Mapumalanga, South Africa. Late summer and the evenings are getting cooler so the steam rises evocatively from these hot pools where Boer and muslim families float in the sulpherous waters.

See a larger version.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

This farm is cursed

The band NUL

For your week-end enjoyment Nul - the avant guard Afrikaans electronic /industrial band - has a new single out. It called Vloek, or curse.

Vloek is a song about a cursed farm.

Listen to Vloek by Nul.

And here is Nul's English website.

A cursed land - South African land reform

Talking of cursed farms. This week Mhambi listened to the BBC's Thinking allowed program which Mhambi cant recommend highly enough.

In this program Dr Deborah James, Reader in the Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics outlined the current status of South Africa land reform. She has just written a new book called Gaining Ground?: ‘Rights’ and ‘property’ in South African Land Reform.

Powerful symbol but reality different
In the program she makes some interesting assertions. Land is seen by all South Africans as a powerful symbol of belonging. However - few black South Africans actually want to go back to rural areas. According to her the whitey farmers are not that keen on the farms either.

Allot of white farmers are looking to get out of farming because agriculture has been suffering from bad weather and the Sa government has stopped all farm subsidies. And lastly that she does not think that black South Africans will easily do Zimbabwean style farm invasions.

And talking about land bound identity - here is an old Afrikaans folk favourite, Bo alles.

Bo alles

O boereplaas, geboorte grond
ek het jou lief bo alles
al dwaal ek heel die wereld rond
waar so gelukkig so gesond
O boereplaas, ek het jou lief bo alles

O Boer farm, birthplace
I love you above all
even if I travel the whole world
happy and healthy
Boer farm, I love you above all

Hear a rendition of Bo alles here.

And here is another Afrikaans song, Gazelle's Sorry Pappa where the theme of the farm figures.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Why do female Indian motorcyclists not wear helmets?

Mhambi has just spent a week in Gurgaon, a fast developing hub and an special economic zone, right outside Delhi India. Mhambi realised a few things on his visit.

There ain't such a thing as a bad curry in India.

But beware, even mild delicious curries, if eaten 3 times a day, could make for a queasy stomachs and burning toilet trips. Another epiphany - Mhambi would never want to be an Indian traffic cop, and most certainly would Mhambi never ever want to be poor in India either.

And why do female Indian motorcyclists not wear helmets?

Boom town Gurgaon

It's obvious that the country is experiencing fast economic growth. With an economy more than 9 times the size if South Africa and almost 4 times the size of Africa India, a country with over a billion people - will increasing punch its weight in the world.

But on the little I saw its infrastructure is very poor. Delhi's airport is allot smaller and lacking in facilities compared to O R Tambo (the ex Jan Smuts) in Johannesburg. It's highways badly designed and traffic a huge problem.

Inequality is - like in South Africa - endemic. Mhambi is not well placed to comment properly on it and India's discriminatory caste system. Unlike South Africa violent crime is seemingly, rather rare, and violent robberies make it to the newspaper that would not have featured in Johannesburg's The Star.

The Delhi electricity grid is straining and power cuts happen regularly a couple of times every day. All large companies operate with their own back-up power. Yet internet access is affordable compared to South African prices, with a 512 mb line a mere £20 (R280) per month.

Worrying for South African industry and workers is the pay of Indian factories. Apparently the workers in India get only about an incredible £12 per month. In South Africa a factory worker can expect between £50 to £80.

It has to be said, that the cost of metropolitan living is much lower for the Indian poor than it would be for South African poor city dwellers. It's disconcertingand uncomfortable for the Indian middle classes but here the poor live and work among the rich. There is none of the apartheid architecture and town-planning that makes South African workers travel far, eat expensively and buy expensive clothes.

Workers unite

Workers in Gurguan and Noida, the other special economic area outside Delhi are not unionised like South African labour. In a BBC program about places like Noida and Gurgaon the contributers express the hope the the new global working class will organise and unionise, and mention that South africa is one of the few developing country examples where this is the case.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Flickr is good for action...

Originally uploaded by Kaarel Nurk.

Mhambi has got caught up in the Facebook craze of late. But for quality Flickr must still rate as one of the top places to hang out in web 2.0.

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Originally uploaded by Kaarel Nurk.

See for instance Karel Nurk's gorgeous pics.

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...creativity from everywhere...

Originally uploaded by yosigo!!!.

...then there’s the massive scapes of Yoshigo. Loney and beautifull. Very unique.

Some pics can not be blogged, you will have to the Flickr page to see them. Like this playful pic by Patrick Shaw.

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...and meeting old friends...

Originally uploaded by fernandadesu.

And here’s an old friend and fellow documentary maker, Fernanda who I rediscovered through her dreamy polaroids on Flickr.

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