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Category Archives: Africa

The Man Who Killed Simba

Fury Erupts After Walter Palmer Is Named As Cecil The Lion’s Killer

Outcries could be heard around the globe after a Minnesota dentist was identified as the man who killed Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the Lion.

Dr. Walter Palmer was named by the Telegraph as the man who paid $55,000 to hunt the famous 13-year-old animal, luring him out of Hwange National Park with dead meat, piercing him with a bow and arrow, and then following him for 40 hours before shooting him dead with a rifle. Cecil was ultimately skinned and beheaded.

Outrage ensued. People tweeted death threats directed at Palmer and posted contact information for his Bloomington, Minnesota, dental practice, BuzzFeed wrote. The Yelp page for his practice was flooded with over 6,000 reviews, lambasting Palmer for his actions and resulting in a one-star rating.

He closed his dental practice and shut the blinds at the office, but that did not stop people from leaving stuffed animals and notes outside the building in memory of Cecil, Fox’s Minneapolis station KMSP reported.

Cecil was wearing a GPS collar as part of an ongoing research project with the University of Oxford, according to the Guardian. After he was killed, the collar was removed.

“Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, but this shot didn’t kill him,” Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said. “They tracked him down and found him 40 hours later when they shot him with a gun. The hunters then found that the dead lion was wearing a tracking collar, which they unsuccessfully tried to hide.”

Palmer released a statement to the media, claiming he thought his hunt was legal:

I hired several professional guides, and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled. I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion.

In 2006, Palmer pleaded guilty to killing a black bear in Wisconsin outside a permitted zone, NBC noted. He was given three years’ probation and a $3,000 fine.

Almost 400,000 people have a signed a petition on Care2 demanding justice for Cecil.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Africa, American Greed

 

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President Obama Cuts a Step in Kenya

The singers are a group called Sauti Sol, and the song is Sura Yaku. Sauti Sol is a hugely popular group in Kenya, whose music is now reaching across the region into Uganda, Tanzania, and throughout eastern Africa. The dance is called the Lipala, and historically it has been a pre-wedding dance. Sauti Sol has turned it into the latest Kenyan dance craze.

Another major hit this year has been Neria, which I believe is a marvelous demonstration of these guys incredible vocal talents…

 

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2015 in Africa

 

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Senegal is Free of Ebola

The West African country of Senegal has managed to do something the US hasn’t despite all our vaunted medical facilities, science, and training…

Clear their country of Ebola.

Of course they are probably far to intelligent to have Faux News type conservatwits whimpering and wailing to the rafters getting in the way of the people who could contain the disease.

A view of the Capital City – Dakar

Senegal is free from Ebola, WHO says

The West African nation of Senegal is free of Ebola, the World Health Organization declared Friday, congratulating the country on the diligence that enabled it to repel the threat.

Senegal had only one case, a man who had entered the country by road from Guinea, where he’d had direct contact with an Ebola patient.

The government’s response included identifying and monitoring 74 close contacts made by the man for signs of infection.

It also introduced prompt testing of all suspected cases, increased surveillance at entry points to Senegal and nationwide public awareness campaigns, the WHO statement said.

The patient recovered from Ebola and tested negative for the virus on September 5, the statement said. He’s since returned to Guinea.

Since then, 42 days have passed — double the maximum known incubation period for the virus — without another case, allowing Senegal to be declared free of Ebola.

When the case was first detected, WHO treated it as a public health emergency it said, sending a team of epidemiologists to help local health officials and international partners such as Doctors Without Borders manage the situation.

“The most important lesson for the world at large is this: An immediate, broad-based, and well-coordinated response can stop the Ebola virus, carried into a country in an infected traveler, dead in its tracks,” WHO said.

WHO sounded a note of caution, however, given that Senegal shares a border with Guinea, a hotspot for the disease along with Sierra Leone and Liberia.

“While the outbreak is now officially over, Senegal’s geographical position makes the country vulnerable to additional imported cases of Ebola virus disease,” it said.

Wrestling is the National Sport of Senegal

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2014 in Africa

 

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Mandela’s Legacy

If you have been close to any News source today then you know that ailing former leader of South Africa Nelson Mandela has passed away.

A lot of people will be talking about his life and struggles, and apt comparisons to Ghandi and MLK – but one of the key things that probably won’t be discussed much is his accomplishments in modernizing and opening SOuth Africa’s economy to the formerly oppressed. That may well be his greatest accomplishment – to mold a country back together after a century or more of dysfunction …

During Apartheid the South African economy was held up by the twin mineral riches of gold and diamonds. Unfortunately those mines are pretty much played out. Besides trying to create a system wherein black Africans shared in the economy with their white counterparts the country needed to restructure the basis for i’s economy in terms of producing new goods to trade. Doing so meant breaking up the Apartheid Plantation system wherein whites owned 95% of the arable land in the country, slicing off a portion (not all) of these holdings into community corporations which could develop businesses. This launched the South African wine business into world competitiveness. It also allowed the country to develop regional trade relationships for manufactured goods and agricultural products. The result was that the income level of both white and black South African rose significantly.

The country still has a long way to go. One of the principal problems is a massive influx of immigrants from other parts of Africa who want to share in South African’s success. The formerly black Township of Soweto swelled from 3 million to nearly 20 million  people today in the last 15 years. The result of this is a 25% unemployment rate, despite a relatively healthy economy.

Rest in Peace President Mandela, and look proudly what your country has accomplished, your Long Walk is ended.

Remembering Nelson Mandela’s Unsung Economic Legacy

Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95, was the most important leader in South Africa’s history and one of the global giants of his time. What people often overlook, however, is the role Mandela played in building up Africa’s largest economy. Nearly as consequential as Mandela’s moral example was his skill in managing the transition from apartheid without widespread violence, repression, or economic collapse.

Mandela believed strongly in the link between economic and political progress. Soon after his release from prison, Mandela argued that there must be “a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed.” At the core of white minority rule had been the “homelands”: a system that kept almost half of South Africa’s population confined to semi-independent or supposedly sovereign states without the freedom to move or look for jobs in the rest of the country. The collapse of apartheid meant the end of those restrictions. The myriad legal restraints that prevented blacks and “coloreds” from gaining promotions—or access to jobs at all—were removed as well. From a state made up of 11 “countries” and three legally distinct racial groups—all with markedly different rights to move, work, and invest—South Africa became one economy. Think of it as opening borders to mass migration under the worst possible circumstances.

The dismantling of the homeland system, however, was by no means a certainty in the early days of Mandela’s presidency. The supposedly “sovereign” homeland of Bophuthatswana, home to 2.5 million, and semi-autonomous Kwazulu both threatened civil war over the dismantling of the homelands.  Relations between the African National Congress and the Zulu Inkatha Freedom party have remained tense—and sporadically violent—since the end of apartheid. But national unity and economic stability were both preserved largely through negotiation and compromise.

South Africa’s gross domestic product growth rate, meanwhile, picked up considerably under Mandela. Economic growth rose from less than 1.5 percent from 1980 to 1994 to slightly under 3 percent from 1995 to 2003. Despite the sudden influx of internal migrants with the legal right to compete equally for jobs, average personal incomes for white South Africans increased by 62 percent from 1993 to 2008, according to University of Cape Town economist Murray Leibbrandt. Average incomes for Africans themselves increased even faster—by 93 percent over that period.

As educational opportunities expanded, secondary enrollment rates increased from 50 percent to 70 percent from 1994 to 2005. The government also rolled out a range of infrastructure services: The proportion of the country that cooked using electricity from the mains climbed from 45 percent in 1993 to 73 percent by 2011, for example.

South Africa has become an increasingly important source of economic opportunity for its neighbors. South African investment accounts for around 70 percent of intra-regional investment flows. Imports from the Southern Africa Development Community—the regional trade block which South Africa joined upon its independence—climbed from $16.3 billion in 1993 to $68.7 billion in 2006. The number of migrants in South Africa—nearly all from other countries in the region—increased from 3.3 percent to 3.7 percent of the population between 1990 and 2010. There are now approximately 3.3 million SADC nationals living in South Africa; remittances from those migrants back to their home countries amount to close on $1 billion a year, according to South Africa’s FinMark Trust. The trust reports a 2005 survey of Zimbabwean remittance recipients in which more than half of respondents “agreed that they would have grown sick with hunger” in the absence of remittance payments.

Some tragic mistakes were made by President Mandela and his successors. The HIV/AIDS crisis and the government’s late and sporadic response to it shaved years off life expectancy. In 1993 4 percent of pregnant women in the country were HIV-positive. That climbed to 28 percent 10 years later, before finally leveling out. Today, a little more than one in 10 of the population is HIV-positive. Unemployment has remained stubbornly high—around 25 percent—and the gap between rich and poor is still wide. In 1993, the average white had an income more than nine times the average African. By 2008 that had dropped—but only to a little less than an eightfold income gap according to analysis by Leibbrandt.

Progress against poverty was even slower than these figures might suggest. That’s because inequality within the African population grew rapidly for the first decade of independence—a trend arrested only by the rapid expansion of social safety net programs in the last few years. (About 30 percent of South Africans benefited from social grants in 2010—up from 13 percent in 2002). Poverty in South Africa remains almost uniquely an African phenomenon. All but six percent of whites have piped water in their homes, for example, while two-thirds of Africans lacked access to it.

It’s worth considering the alternatives. At independence, South Africans looked north to Zimbabwe as a reasonably successful model of how things could work out after a difficult transition to majority rule. They’re extremely lucky that South Africa, under Mandela’s guidance, took a different path. Starting in the 1990s, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe ordered land “reforms” that took property from white farmers and awarded it to his cronies and henchmen, slashing output as a result. By the turn of the century, Zimbabwe’s inflation rate was heading over 100 percent; by 2006 it would top 1,000 percent. Zimbabwe’s economy remains in a state of punch-drunk torpor.

Some may be disappointed that Mandela failed to create an African lion to challenge the East Asian tigers in terms of growth and poverty reduction. But the nonviolent absorption of a considerable majority of the population into an economy from which they had previously been excluded, all while incomes and access to services improved and civil rights were respected, was an incredible accomplishment—one that owes much to Mandela’s leadership. Let’s hope his successors preserve that legacy.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Africa

 

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Going Out in Style in Ghana

Picking a coffin in Ghana for that deceased loved on is a bit more complex than “Do you want the wood one, or the brass handles?”

Funerals are one of the most important events in Ghanaian society. Frederick Nnoma-Addison, a D.C.-based journalist who comes from the West African country, says funerals in Ghana are considered an investment in the memory of the deceased. “Yes, there is mourning, but we also reflect his or her good life, and celebrate,” he told Seth Doane. 

And while a funeral lasts just a few hours, since eternity is, well, eternity, it’s important to spend it in style.

Style?

Check this out! For the ful set – follow the link above.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Africa

 

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Pachyderm Peppers

Sometimes a low tech solution far outperforms more high tech or direct measures. In this case red hot chili peppers serve to save farmer’s crops from elephants.

Get a whiff of this!

Elephants Now Think Twice About Midnight Snacks in Tanzania

MIKUMI VILLAGE, Tanzania—Snap. Crack. Pop.

That’s the sound of an African elephant with a dangerous case of the munchies crashing through underbrush at 25 miles per hour.

Said Longwa, a 52-year-old farmer and father of nine, used to face down crop-raiding elephants with nothing but a flashlight. Others in Mikumi village would beat tin cans or light fires; some exploded homemade pipe bombs. But the sound and fury didn’t deter the largest land mammals on Earth from staging nightly assaults on fields of corn and watermelon.

[ELEPHANT]A BULL ELEPHANT

During the worst period of crop raids several years ago, charging elephants killed three people from Mr. Longwa’s village, in the Morogoro region in central Tanzania, more than 118 miles from the coastal capital of Dar es Salaam.

When the elephants visit Mr. Longwa’s cornfield these days, they screw up their long noses and trumpet in consternation.

Mr. Longwa has treated his fence with chili mixed with engine oil—a preparation that adheres to the fence, even in heavy rain. “They will mull it over and often circle two to three times,” the farmer says of the elephants that approach his fence. “But once they get a real whiff of the chili, they snuffle and sneeze.” And leave the scene. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Africa

 

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Ugandan Kids Get Serious About Baseball

Looks like the American Pastime Sport may not die out after all. Africa may provide an entirely new market wich revitalizes the sport.

Ugandan children’s new favorite sport: Baseball

 

KAMPALA, Uganda – Unlike in most of Africa, soccer is not the top sport at the Rev. John Foundation School in Uganda’s capital. Instead, a fairly foreign American game is No. 1 and catching on quickly.

“Baseball is our main game here,” head teacher Emmanuel Bazannye said of his school. “Even the girls love it. The girls want to participate after seeing the boys doing it. We say that what the boys can do, even the girls can do.”

Baseball is not widely played in Africa, but Uganda looks poised to be the launching pad for the game’s entry into this soccer-dominated continent.

Last year a team of young Ugandan ballers made international news in heartbreaking fashion. They qualified for the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., but were denied travel visas by the U.S. State Department because of a lack of documentation.

“We cried for two good days,” said George Mukhobe, the coach who would have led the team to America. “It meant a lot for those kids.”

Augustus Owinyi was the team’s first baseman. Although now too old for Little League, he still shows up during practices, pleasing coaches who see it as a sign of his commitment.

Owinyi wants to be like Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. The 13-year-old Owinyi met Rollins when the American visited Uganda in January and that memory makes him dream of playing Major League Baseball someday. His hopes for a career in baseball made the State Department’s visa denial especially painful.

“I felt very sad,” he said. “They gave us back our passports and said we were not to go. Some of us cried. I love this game. I see my future in this game.”

Ugandan sports followers say the school’s success in international competition has contributed to baseball’s popularity among schools that once were skeptical about the American game.

The school is preparing for a national baseball competition, where the winner will travel to Poland in July. It’s the first international opportunity for Ugandan youngsters following the failure to go to the Little League World Series.

The visa refusal spawned a wave of sympathy, but also inspired a fundraising drive that raised enough money to bring to Uganda a team from Canada that the Ugandans would have faced if they had competed in South Williamsport.

In January, the Ugandans beat the Canadians 2-1. Coach Mukhobe said that the win was more proof that Uganda had baseball talent.

Baseball still lags behind soccer across Uganda. But it’s catching on among schools attracted to its relative novelty and the government now backs the game’s introduction in schools.

About 60 schools encourage baseball, Mukhobe said, and this year a national baseball league was launched after it was endorsed by sports authorities. The baseball season started in mid-March.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Africa, The Post-Racial Life

 

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