October 20, 2007

Togo / Lomé Togo-complot against the West (2)

The masses decide the direction of history. Yes it is a cliché. Thanks for observing that. At least you know your cliché’s. And also: thew image is never as bad as reality, especially if you talk about so called African countries with political tension. Examples? My first visit to Nigeria years ago, I did not get the AK47 roadblocks every 200 meters that people prepared me for. I neglected the advice of friends (who had never been to Africa), asking me if a story is worth my life. I went and I met a crazy country, but not the roadblocks. And I have had the experience before and often. Anyway: travelling to Togo is was prepared for soldiers and harassment during election time. The immigration officer in neighbouring country Ghana had already warned me when he asked my profession. Don’t
October 15, 2007

Togo / Lomé now: so far elections went well

Arrived in Togo-capital Lomé after a 24-hour trip from Capetown, South Africa. I still owe you some stories from Namibia and South Africa and Ghana among them one about some Himba milionares in the Namibian desert, and the Ghana art of living. For now: still enjoying the heat and the end of the rainy season in the Togo-capital Lomé where elections were held yesterday. First impression two days ago: it feels like Sunday morning here all day. And the heat, always the hea. And the happines that seems to come with poverty. Togolese suffer, but they know where they are coming from: they once had a thriving market that was mainly built on the economic crisis of the countries around: in Burkina Faso, in Ivory Coast and in Ghana. Now that those countries are doing well (I came through Accra,
September 29, 2007

Namibia / The Himba Millionaires

That is the name I gave to this small community of Himba people in Namibia’s Northwest where is just passed some days ago. Probabely the only Himba-community with a white female Minister of Finance. Himba’s are to Namibia what the Maasai are to Kenya and Tanzania and Bushmen to Southern Africa. The difference in Namibia is that white ‘native’ people talk about their fellow nationals the San and the Himba in a very strange way: just as if the white nationals are superior to the natives. AIt seems to be a trend among whites in Southern Africa to do something good. And that is also how a lot of these white well-do’ers behave: We are doing something GOOD. Look how GOOD I am. And i have to believe how GOOD they are of course. I ran into a white lady
September 28, 2007

Namibia / Kalahari

Sand, sun. Endless space. Sweat dripping from my chin. This the area where Bushman or San survive. High un-employment and more than average number of Aids orphans. Chinese, yes, even here in the middle of nowhere are opening their trade centers. There plans to give them agri cultural land some 200 kilometer more north east from here in Rundu. Amazing thing and quit anachronistic: gprs is working, so it did this posting with my mobile.
September 19, 2007

Zambia / human scavengers on the polluted dumpsite

Been a bit hectic the last days: Nairobi-Amsterdam-Nairobi-Lusaka-Kabwe-Lusaka. Finally some time to write a bit on my mobile. Arrived from Kabwe last night. Visited the town that according to a report is considered as one of the most polluted places in the world. Prepared for the worst, I arrived and was a bit surprised to see a happy town with a lot of activity. But generally spoken poor people in Africa are not proud to be poor: they dress up smartly. So you dont notice. Until i visited a heavily polluted dumpsite were scavengers were looking for scrap metal to sell so they can buy some food. People started talking. More van 80 percent of the population is jobless at the moment. It used to be different: almost everybody had a job. But the mines closed and all that was
September 7, 2007

Dutch writer Bas Vlugt writes Novel about Africa: Transit

For those who missed it: journalist/writer friend Bas Vlugt presented his new novel last thursday in the Dutch city of Haarlem. The story is situated in West Africa of the now. It’s about tradition, modernity and the clash between those two. It’s a story about friendship, love and betrayal and it’s about longing: where do you want to be in this world? I am reading it now and I am looking for someone who want to read it after me, as every book has a unique track and trace number. The idea is that this travel book makes her own journey over the world. People can trace where their book is on this site (click here). If you are in Nairobi shortly or you will be in Lusaka/Copperbelt within a week: please contact me. For those who are ready to
August 13, 2007

Kenya / Press conference Human Rights Watch

Just back from a Human Rights Watch press conference. Please listen to the short talk I had with Tom Porteous who asks European Union and the United States to adress the violation of Human Rights in Somalia in their policies. [MEDIA=14] Interview and picture Made on Mobile Phone.
July 6, 2007

Kenya / Visit Dutch princess for micro finance

In Holland, princess Máxima is an ambassador for micro finance. Recently she visited Kenya as member of a United Nations advisory group on Inclusive Financial Sectors. At a press conference in a small room of Kenya’s Ministry of Finance she was adressing Kenyan and Dutch press. Acccording to the princess, a lot of work has still to be done in order to give ordinary people access to financial services like loans, insurance and mobile banking. She invited (Dutch) companies to invest in Kenya. According to the princes, investing in Kenya (Africa) could be good for Africa and for the people in the streets here. Please listen to the short audiofile from the press conference. More audio available upon request. [MEDIA=13]
June 20, 2007

Tanzania / Mobile internet has the future!

Yes. A lot of people would be surprised to hear that nowadays in a lot of African countries we have mobile internet. I posted this text live from the streets of Dar es Salaam. Mobile internet brings Africa to the world! At the same moment it seems that I am walking through a world that has two speeds. On my left hand side, here and now, there is a hospital where tonight a lot of people will have died of diseases, like malaria, that could have been treated cheaply. But because of the fact that they could not afford the medicine or say health insurance, they will die. Others cant make a choice because they cant afford to use a condom. Death is always around the corner on this continent. And still: i see people surviving, the streets in Dar
June 20, 2007

Kenya / Elections comin' up: does Mungiki bring The Dream? (2)

Does Mungiki bring the dream for Africa? What is the point of a so called sect, or ‘political’ movement that believes in killing people by beheading their victims? Sorry to say, but if do you don’t make a point when you get the World’s attention, then there can only be one motivation: you want to bring chaos for the order of chaos, feeding any so-called opposition in Kenya with illustration material why things are not right in this country, bringing a general feeling of insecurity… What’s your programm, Mungiki? It just confirms the feeling that everything is politics in this country, politics to destroy.