"I receive at least 20 abusive and threatening mails on my life daily," Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo told reporters yesterday. "As I speak now, I have seen about 11 mails on my email address waiting for me to read."
Friday, June 29, 2007
"I receive at least 20 abusive and threatening mails on my life daily," Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo told reporters yesterday. "As I speak now, I have seen about 11 mails on my email address waiting for me to read."
According to this article, 2007 is setting the record for dead journalists, with the 100th just recently killed. And of those 100, apparently 72 or more were murdered.
Makes the nasty comments on my blog seem like a breezy day.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
This is post number 100. I have been in
I’ve changed. Indescribably, but incredibly. And, as a Ugandan would say, It’s there.
How could I not? I’ve spent the past eight months with my eyes open to a different landscape, my body located on a different hemisphere, my self undergoing experiential fluctuations extreme as the Ugandan climate is temperate.
I’ve seen things I would never see back in the states: I would never interview a head of state, or hang out with a street kid, or be the intrepid person I’ve become. And I love being here for all these reasons. And I appreciate it for all its complexity.
Which leads me to you, 27th, my most faithful reader (after you Mom, okay, and you David…Grant you’re up there too… and if Dad learned how to use a computer he’d be on the list also).
We’ve been arguing about poverty and representations of
There’s journalism out there that serves to contrast those vibrancies with poverty that exists side by side.
In the LATimes, Robyn Dixon writes about
Lagosis one of the planet's fastest-growing mega-cities, with people drawn not only from rural Nigeriabut also from all over West Africato hack out a living. Depending on your point of view, it's either a center of irrepressible entrepreneurialism or a nightmarish city of unplanned chaos, a cautionary tale on what not to do.
Bono’s new Vanity Fair issue about
There are other highlights: the man building the windmill to create electricity, rural schools getting internet, etc etc etc. It’s good. Some things are getting better. If I had to choose between the 1950s and now, I would choose now.
But that doesn’t mean there can’t be a backslide.
Some people are working to stop that. This widely circulated article, Women Lawyers Force Big Rights Gains in
I read a lot of news about
Not just do I read about the good, bad, and ugly, I live it, and navigate the complexities of privilege and visibility within that system, the weights and lightness that ensue.
I try and write in a way that’s true to that. I don’t always see a pretty picture, and sometimes the nice colors aren’t the most memorable part of the scene so they aren’t what I write about.
27, you think, and others agree, that there’s some kind of conspiracy to report an overly simplistic version of
When I open my eyes, I can take a lot in (not all of it, of course, otherwise what would be the point of continuing?), but I can only tell one story at a time. I try to tell it carefully, to trod lightly, but somethings need to be stamped out. And some stories are more powerful when they stand alone. Everyone needs a complete picture, but not everyone wants one. And not all the media houses are ready to give people something they don’t want.
But remember, 27, deep down, I’m a bleeding heart too. I actually read most of the collected Marx-Engels Reader in college (along with a lot of other books that remain, highly annotated, in storage in
And until they do, I’ll stand alone, with my pen, writing about the ones who don’t.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
My newspaper just got a new managing director, and this morning we had a meeting to introduce him. The old MD said, "We are friends, but this is a peaceful transition of leadership." Everyone laughed.
They also said the door was open to management for any complaints.
How about some toilet seats? I didn't even take much note of the fact that there weren't seats on the toilet at my office until Davey came by and pointed it out, but now, coming back from Israel, where the toilets are so nice, it seems like a worthy complaint...Well, that, and all the other problems at the paper that will go unmentioned here....
Monday, June 25, 2007
African dream of a better life
This BBC article documents a refugee who didn't make it.
When we next meet, she says she is desperate to go home and, as I am travelling south, I offer to give her a lift part of the way.
At the Nigerian border, she tells police about the woman who trafficked her into prostitution and they say they will investigate.
They promise to put her on a bus to Lagos. From there she tells me she will go straight to her parents' village and beg their forgiveness.
I think about this kind of story every time someone meets me on a taxi or at a bar and asks me to take them to my country. What really awaits African immigrants in other countries?
I can’t imagine what a month it has been for William Kamkwamba. A few years ago he showcased his innate willingness to learn and overcome life’s challenges by teaching himself how to build a windmill from scratch. Using only local materials, he created electricity for his home, in a village that had none.I wonder what will happen to a village not used to electricity that suddenly has it. Will they benefit from the newfound power supply or fight over the limited commodity? Make sure to read his blog and keep abreast of developments.
LRA accept responsibility for war crimes
The technical adviser of the rebels on ICC matters, David Matsanga, said yesterday Ugandans and the peace talks process would decide the punishment for the rebels, who are accused of brutal and savage acts such as cutting off the limbs of their victims, rape, murder and sexual slavery. “There is a general consensus in Uganda that the ICC’s is more of a retributive justice than a restorative justice. We want the justice that will give us long-lasting peace so that our people don’t hear of any rebellion and war again,” he explained.I'm wondering what the punishment will be and how local justice will be incorporated...
According to a study by Ugandan Bureau of Statistics mentioned in this Daily Monitor article, poverty in Uganda has dropped from 38.4% in 2002/2003 to 31.3% in 2005/2006.
The report does mention, however, that there's still huge inequality, unemployment, and poverty in the North caused by the war. Not sure where this drop in poverty is, in that case...
Today's article in the Daily Monitor. (By the way, I have a staff meeting tomorrow at 7.45 am... what will I do???)
WHEN Hajarah Namayanja arrives at the small herb shop in Katwe, she takes breakfast then gets down to work. She mixes herbs in a big saucepan with boiling water and fills empty plastic water bottles with the solution. The sediment sinks to the bottom and the upper portion of the container fills with discoloured water. She places labels on each bottle: 'Syphilis', 'Malaria', 'Diarrhoea' and the like. "I don't know the name of the herbs but I've been trained that this one is for this and that one is for that," says the shy young lady, who sits behind a counter painted yellow amidst shelf after shelf of labelled bottles. The smallest bottle sells for as little as Shs2,000 but prices go to as high as 15,000. The best selling bottles, says Ms Namayanja are for malaria, coughs and ulcers."And syphilis too," she adds.Although there are prescription drugs available at pharmacies, many Ugandans still prefer traditional herbalists. It's impossible to say how many herbalists there are in Uganda, as they are as frequent and innumerable as potholes or takeaways at the corner. There is an umbrella association for herbalists but it is riddled with leadership wrangles.The National Drug Authority recently banned advertisements by herbalists in the press without authority from the body. Of late, herbalists and healers have come under attack. In the past month, at least 12 have been identified by police as tricksters who have made off with millions of shillings from their customers. "It's a form of conning people. They con millions and millions of shillings," says Kampala Extra Regional Police publicist Simeo Nsubuga.
Weak lawsHowever, he added, "When they are arrested and taken to court, it's a minor offence - just obtaining money by false pretence." The maximum sentence for conning is just five years in prison, despite the fact that many have destroyed people's lives. Herbalists - who sell potions, cures and mixes - are quick to disassociate themselves from the 'healers' who claim they can obtain visas, jobs, recover lost property and other such pretences. "I'm proud because I know I'm a good doctor," says Hawandi Bawaki, who operates a kind of wholesale outlet for herbs tucked in a corner of St. Balikuddembe Market. Bag upon bag of concoctions in every shade of brown and tan lay underneath strands of seeds and bat carcasses in her stall. She takes a pinch of one of the herbs and explains that it's for tumours, claiming that sitting near the steam of water boiled with the herbs can even cure such sickness.
Fresh curesHer herbs, Ms Bawaki says, are better than pharmacies because they are fresh. "The only thing doctors do that we can't is operations. The rest, we are better," says Ms Bawaki, who claims that even medical doctors come to her stall when their cures fail. Once her customers are treated with the remedies she offers, Ms Bawaki says, "They never get sick again."She acknowledges though that there are healers and herbalists out there who take advantage of people. "Fakes are there and they are very many," she says. Many of the healers whose cures don't work, says Ms Bawaki, are those who come to her to buy herbs in bulk and then dilute them so heavily that they can't cure as intended. "I personally take these herbs and they cure," says Ms Namayanja, the herbalist in Katwe. She adds that the only time clients have trouble with the cures is when they take half of the recommended dose or don't complete the treatment. Often, she says, customers can't afford the full dose and so buy half dose against her recommendation. Ms Namayanja's boss, Muhammad Rwegaba, says he doesn't know why the cures work. "It works because God created it," he says. Most herbalists in Kampala say they get their raw supplies from villages, and even from other countries. Diana Nalukenge, another herbalist in Katwe advises that when the cures don't work on the first try, the customer returns and she offers them a different herbal remedy. "It's not possible that it doesn't work the second time," she says. All the herbalists say the money they make is decent; enough to live on and even save a bit. Ms Bawaki claims to make as much as Shs50,000 per day, and on a good day, up to Shs100,000. Given that most Ugandans make a dollar a day, this profit margin, Ms Bawaki says, is why some people target healers and herbalists. "But I don't sell fake things," she says."I only give people what they ask for." However, it helps to remember that one proven cure for syphilis is a recommended dose of the anti-biotic penicillin.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
....But Uganda isn't as big as any of the States....
Visit this link to check it out.
By the way, one of the next post will be number 100. Expect it soon. Expect some reflections. Maybe something bordering profound, but maybe jetlag from my trip to Israel ending (which equals Oregon) will obscure any potential... though I've been in Uganda for quite some time now, so maybe it's about time to do some reflecting....
Posted by Scarlett Lion at 3:07 PM
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
According to the lovely Simeo Nsubuga, who I've had the pleasure of meeting several times, the police hotlines get calls only from "drunkards, loose women and people seeking to chat to dead relatives."
Not even really sure what to say about this...
(By the way... all of my posts are short/other news related because I'm actually out of the country and on vacation, but addicted to blogging, so still posting something)
According to this article, the Ministry of Health will be spraying all over certain districts with heavy Chogm traffic to avoid visitors getting mosquito bites and malaria.
Are all of these chemicals necessary?
I take prophylactics, but then again, as someone pointed out to me, that's putting chemicals inside my body instead of outside of it...
Monday, June 18, 2007
In an interesting move, Finance Minister Ezra Suruma is banning the import of thin plastic bags and increasing the tax on thick ones by 120%. The ban will begin July 1 but traders have until September to get rid of their existing stock.
Enforcement? Hmm.... I'm curious how this one will happen...
Of all the interesting things donated to Uganda, this one has got to be one of the best: the World Emergency Relief is sending 800,000 surgical gloves from Mombasa to Lira.
I'm picturing a bunch of kids in IDP camps who don't have pants wearing surgical gloves...
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Mwesigye Gumisiriza said...
This is my comment to your story (When the Ivory Tower crumbles: searching for a job after Makerere). It is good that I stumbled onto your blog, so I may as well post my response.When I called you that day, what you described as a "rant", I was definitely angry not because you misquoted me but you definitely misrepresented the context of what I told you.I am surprised that on your blog, you confess the actual motive of your article yet when you interviewed me for it you mentioned something different. Just to bring you up to speed; when I answered your call..you explained that you were working on a story arising out of a report by the Bureau of Statistics. That this report had highlighted the problem of high unemployment among university graduates [Note that there over 15 universities in Uganda]. Initially I had directed you to talk someone from the Institute of Social Research who had some tracer studies on the Mak graduates in the field. But you seemed reluctant to do do [which I find very strange for a journalist...it seemed what was just a comment to put your story]. However, if you were to act professional and in relation to the story, I feel you would be interested in actual findings about the graduates in the field after their studies!The comment that you attributed to me was said in this context: I said that some have complained that graduates are theoritical and not practical but that this was a generalisation which should not be taken at face value.My explanation was that there are internships and industrial trainings at Makerere University that expose the students to real-world situations. I also added that the University through the Makerere University Private Sector Forum (MUPSF) that reached Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Uganda Investment Authority and Uganda Manufacturers Association. These MoUs would enable things like job placement, staff attachment in the different firms/organisations that unite these umbrellas. This is aimed at improving the marketability of Mak graduates. You were indeed unfair to Makerere graduates or alumni [and I'm one of them]. Now let me comment on your article as someone who studied communication/journalism.Apart from the sensational headline, it was disjointed and hardly covered the point as you had claimed. Some of the quotes were just generalisations [I doubt if some of those people actually said that]. From the way you wrote, it was easy to tell that you definitely did not read the report from UBOS...if you did, you did not understand it. How could you compare 30 something percent to 3 or so percent?? Many graduates from Mak write much better than that..does that mean that the University of California Berkely [your university] products are poor quality and being shunned by potential employers?I have read some of your other articles, but this time it seems you were so blinded by a bias that you did not think through it.The University rankings you referred to are about Internet publication and not connected to quality of graduates. By the way, your university is not in the top 100 ranked in USA & Canada on that website??I did not write that letter to the editor because I would appear to be defensive over what is supposed to genuine discourse over some findings by UBOS study. But that was messed up...One alumni wrote a response but was not published!!May be you have not been to Mak!! I take this opportunity to invite you for a guided tour...you will see that what you called the "crumbling Ivory Tower" is just as comparable to some universities in USA and Europe.My invitation is open-minded, contact me any time.
Ah, Mr. Mwesigye, I'm not even sure where to begin... though first of all, I will say that it's a pretty low blow to attack my alma mater, that's low man.
So, I will respond to your points one by one:
1. "It is good that I stumbled onto your blog," you say. Well, Google Analytics says that you "stumbled" upon my blog by googling yourself. So not really stumbling, if we're going to be nit-picking. I doubt someone else googled Mwesigye Gumisiriza...
2. "I am surprised that on your blog, you confess the actual motive of your article yet when you interviewed me for it you mentioned something different." I'm not sure where you see this "confession" of my actual motive that I dubiously hid from you. Maybe you can be more clear about your reference to where I confess said motive? Additionally, when I called you, I mentioned the report on which I was basing my article as well as my topic - unemployment among Makerere graduate. What did you think I would be writing about???
3. "The comment that you attributed to me was said in this context: I said that some have complained that graduates are theoritical and not practical but that this was a generalisation which should not be taken at face value." I'm sorry, I didn't know you weren't saying what you actually meant... I took your comment as something said ON THE RECORD, as are all comments said to journalists that aren't preceeded by "off the record." Don't say things you don't want quoted. As I mentioned in my blog post, I cannot quote entire interviews verbatim. You say you have a background in communications, so surely, you should know this as well.
4. "But because [as you admit] your target was Mak...Imagine the word used "target"!!!! probably synymous with shooting, attack, among others???. Why not "subject" or "topic" in the journalistic sense of the word." Wow, don't you think this is taking it a little too far? I certainly am no Virginia Tech shooter, as you seem to imply. Perhaps the definition of "target" escapes you, but it also means to focus on, narrow down, and examine.
5. "Now let me comment on your article as someone who studied communication/journalism.Apart from the sensational headline, it was disjointed and hardly covered the point as you had claimed. Some of the quotes were just generalisations [I doubt if some of those people actually said that]." Just how do you think it was disjointed or didn't cover the topic? If you're going to make such accusations, then you should support them. Please point to the places wehre you see this "disjoint" and point out how id didn't "cover the topic claimed." As far as I can see, the topic and the headline were directly related. As for your accusation that some of the quotes are generalizations, which you doubt people said, I'm happy to pass on my source list to you and you can call everyone quoted and verify whether or not they said what they said. I'm also happy to make copies of my notebook, where ALL of the quotes are transcribed. Your "doubt" that people said these things is a fundamental questioning of my journalistic standards; I ask you to back up this accusation with some actual foot work. Source list happily provided if you'd like to verify....
6. "From the way you wrote, it was easy to tell that you definitely did not read the report from UBOS...if you did, you did not understand it. How could you compare 30 something percent to 3 or so percent??" Just which part of the report are you claiming I don't understand/didn't read? I'm not sure what you gleaned from it, but maybe you could share your insight with me. As for the second part of this statement about 30/3, I'm really not sure what you're getting at. How can you not compare these percentages?
7. "Many graduates from Mak write much better than that..does that mean that the University of California Berkely [your university] products are poor quality and being shunned by potential employers? (...) One alumni wrote a response but was not published!!" How many Mak graduates write for Huffington Post and Reuters AlertNet? I think my training did me well, and I'm satisfied with what I write. As for Mak graduates being able to write better than this, and the unpublished letter, the letter went unpublished because it was incomprehensible and grammatically incorrect. The letter was a mess. Futhermore, I am NOT in charge of which letters do and do not get published. This is most definitely not my department. I told YOU that if you'd like to write a letter, I would personally gaurentee it was published because I wanted you to have a chance to give your say. But, as a rule, I do not receive, filter, or choose the letters that are published. Just not my job. Take this beef up with a different department at Monitor.
Finally, I have been to Mak's campus - multiple times. (By the way, it could use a map of departments, something your American university counterparts have placed periodically around campus to help people find their way around.) I've not said anything about specifics of Makerere, but I do want you to know that I'm not the only one writing about this issue. Take, for instance, this article from New York Times (I'm sure these writers will meet your standards... if not, maybe you can call up Gail Abramson and recommend some Mak graduates for her):
Whew, long post. That's enough for me. Feel free to reply. Hope I didn't take any comments at "face value" that were intended to convey some other connotation...
I will continue to write stories, and continue to write stories that anger people, because it's not my job to make people happy. If it were, I'd be in, well, Public Relations, like you, Mr. Mwesigye.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Read it on the Monitor website, or below...
Currency traders insist that the only reason they don't operate fully within the law is because it's very expensive to open an official Forex Bureau
Just a few meters before barbed wire and fence demarcates the no-man's-land between Kenya and Uganda, half a dozen men mill about with stacks of Kenyan and Ugandan shillings - all claiming they offer Malaba's best exchange rate. Since there is no official foreign exchange bureau in the small but bustling town of Malaba, just ten kilometers from the industrial center of Tororo, these men fill the vacuum for all those who need to change money.
Of course, money could be changed in town, or across the border, but for people changing small sums of money, these semi-legal outposts are the best option. Small sums of money still incur some of the fees that larger sums of money incur in official forex bureaus, leading some to prefer illegal currency traders. "
We do our services very well. Our customers are happy and they come back. If they are not happy, they wouldn't come back," said Mr John Muhanuzi, a currency trader. While any bank notice or guidebook will tell someone in need of exchanging money to avoid these traders, they insist that their work is honorable and upright, and that is why their customers return.
"We know fake money. We never give fake money. We never take money home," says Hussein Mugisha, another currency trader, fanning out his wad of bills and pointing to a few of them to show their authenticity. Both Mugisha and Muhanuzi insist that the only reason they don't operate fully within the law is because it's very expensive to open an official Forex.
However, they register with the local chairman of the area and even pay some taxes to him, though not to the national government. This is part of why the police give them no trouble, despite the fact that their activities are conducted within full visibility of the officers."The police, they know me. They give no trouble because my work is good," says Mr Muhanuzi.
According to Mr Herbert Wamala, the Chairperson for the Uganda Forex Bureau Association, however, "The trade should be regulated to avoid a situation where people have no recourse when they are given fake notes." Wamala also thinks an official forex should be opened in the area, even if the trade is small, because there is an opportunity for growth. "We encourage anyone to open a bureau at the border," he says.
However, the unofficial currency traders hope this doesn't happen anytime soon since it would be an end to their lucrative business. Though their end of the day pay isn't too much (between Shs3,000 to Shs10,000, depending on how busy it is), says Mr Mugisha, "Our business is okay, it's good, we can survive."
State Minister for Elderly Sulaiman Madada advised journalists last week, “you must diversify your income because if you are poor many people will use you for their selfish interests which willl compromise your objectivity.”
Also mentioned in the article (New Vision, 7.06.07) that at the same meeting Kayunga town major James Katumba asked LCs and residents to enforce the bye-law banning miniskirts. “I still see women wearing mini-skirts here,” Katumba said.
Both things were mentioned in the space of two hundred words - as if there's a direct link between journalistic ethics and miniskirts.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Okay, so the post doesn't have my name on it, but here it is - my inaugural I've-made-contact-with-Reuters post.
Uganda Dispatch: Karamojong attack begs tough questions
On May 29, Richard Achuka drove a United Nations World Food Programme truck across the arid and impoverished landscape of Uganda's northeastern Karamoja region. His car sped ahead of three others in a convoy that included a Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) army escort. It was already dark out. The day had been a long one - filled with delivering food to schools, homes and various organisations. The caravan had many stops, which is hardly surprising given that 70 percent of the population of Karamoja benefits from WFP programmes. While the Karamoja, a minority group of semi-nomadic pastoralists, are accustomed to arid conditions, their already precarious food security has been shaken by the uncommon frequency and severity of recent droughts. Three droughts in six years mean that few people have enough to eat and malnutrition is the leading cause of death, according to the WFP. The road Achuka drove down was known for ambushes in a region where banditry and insecurity are widespread. But no WFP trucks had been ambushed in Karamoja since 2003, and no WFP drivers had been killed since an attack in a different corner of the north, Arua, in 1998. That all changed on May 29. Achuka's truck was ambushed by three or possibly more Karamojong men who shot him in the neck and shoulder. The Karamojong have traditionally made a living from cattle, and attacks on neighbouring tribes to acquire more steer have long been common. What has changed is the means of attack. Automatic weapons are rife in Karamoja, and some experts estimate there are upwards of 30,000 guns in the region. Cattle rustlers tote AK-47s that are smuggled over the porous border with neighbouring Kenya and bought on the cheap. (An AK-47 used to change hands for about $210, although the price has recently risen to around $570.) Since May 2006, the UPDF has been trying to disarm the cattle-rustlers, but critics say the disarmament programme has sparked more violence than it has stopped by creating animosity and conflict between the Karamoja and the UPDF. More than 20 people were killed, including 16 UPDF soldiers, during a clash in October. There's also said to be a connection between disarmament and road ambushes because of the increased tension and hostility. It was dark at the time of this most recent ambush, but the logos of the WFP are easily recognised, says James Feeney, WFP head for the Karamoja region. The consequences of the attack were immediate and severe. A life was lost and other officials feared for their own safety. The food distribution programme was halted immediately. Within days, 30 Karamojong died of malnutrition. That may not be surprising when you consider that Karamoja has the highest rate of people eating only once per day, if that often. The Ugandan media covered the story, as did international news wires like the United Nations' IRIN news service and Reuters. With the exception of IRIN, no media outlets mentioned possible motivations, catalysts or causes of the attack. The IRIN story quoted a Uganda army captain, Henry Obbo, as saying: "We can attribute (the ambush) to the reopening of schools because some children have not returned to school for lack of school fees so they engage in lawlessness in a belief that they will rob some money and pay school fees." But he now says the ambush was unrelated to school fees. "We still have to investigate to find the motive," Obbo said. Asked about a possible motive for the attack, the WFP's Feeney said: "They were probably looking for the food or to steal the driver's phone. That's the motive for all ambushes in Karamoja. Normally they ambush trucks carrying goods. There's no other motivation." This explanation is logical because Achuka's mobile phone was not found on his body. Police are now searching for the phone near the residences of three apprehended suspects. But even this explanation begs questions: Why would the Karamojong bite the hand that feeds them? For a phone? Feeney says police are now investigating possible motives but have yet to release information. Every story on the attack ignores causal questions, as if "ambush" and "Karamoja" are explanation enough. There is no mention of the possibility of precipitating events or inquiries into motives for the first such occurrences in years. "The warriors have the mentality of being violent to innocent people," said Obbo in a recent phone interview, offering his explanation of the incident. "The warriors even abuse the human rights of soldiers." But just blaming this event on the mentality of the Karamojong ignores the structural problems plaguing the region and eliminates the possibility of finding a catalyst before the search has even begun. Perhaps a better question than "Why did the Karamoja bite the hand that feeds them?" is "Why isn't the media looking at the impetus behind the bite?" It's easy to write this off as "another ambush". However, doing so ignores the possibility of causal factors that, with identification, could be addressed to avoid future ambushes.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
...in my last post on the topic I mentioned that the TC officials called my editor, who told them it wasn't being run. He just fibbed to get them off the phone. It did run.
And I'm glad. A Member of Parliament went to Tororo to investigate and all the workers seem grateful for its publication and the subsequent action being taken.
I haven't gotten *too much* hate mail for the article. Surprisingly, I get more about the Makerere article. And yesterday in my office there was an envelope with information stating it was presenting the "other side" to my textile article, but with absolutely no return address or identification of who sent the package. It also included a bunch of xeroxed pictures of used clothing for sale, as if I hadn't seen it before...
One of the most popular Broadway musicals ever, the Lion King, is coming to South Africa, says BBC. I'm having trouble imagining how an African country will respond to the watered-down re-presentation of culture, complete with a heavy dose of Disney and Americana. The BBC article says the show will be changed a bit, but it seems like the basic allegory will still be present, and perhaps, offensive in its simplification and diluting of its sources.
Or maybe they'll do a really good job, with lots of cultural sensitivity and an interest in the message the show promotes. (Or maybe not.)
What do you think?
Monday, June 4, 2007
Today's contribution to DM, see full article here.
"How about this hill? Who is the owner of this hill?" asked Jimmy Kisara, a member of Nilefos Minerals team surveying Sukulu Valley residents. The team was assessing the value of the residents’ assets before the company starts mining phosphates from the mineral rich area, displacing between 8,000 and 10,000 people.
"It's mine, from this side," Abdu Kakande replied, pointing in the distance to the rising slope behind the cluster of houses and patch of banana trees. "Where is madam? Sometimes she knows things as well," interjected Local Chairman David Okurut, present at the survey to make sure everything goes smoothly and his constituents' property is duly accounted for.
|AT WORK: Ms Akello breaks stones in Tororo recently: Photo by Glenna Gordon|
Mr Kisara ignored the comment and continued with the survey. " Your address?" he asked. "This very place," said Mr Kakande, motioning towards the ground that would soon no longer be his. Mr Kisara soon asked Mr Kakande to produce a land title, but he had none."I am born here, and my grandparents left this land for us," he said. "But what will I leave for my children?"
Friday, June 1, 2007
Somehow, Tororo Cement officials got news that the story would be run in today's Monitor and called my editor, who told them, thankfully, that he wasn't running the story.
Hmm.... this issue runs deep.
Here is the story, and a bit below too.
GABRIEL Okolong's problems began when he was injured on the job on May 2.
But his problems didn't end at the edges of the charred skin around his arm,
burnt by hot cement from malfunctioning motor in the compressor room of the
Tororo Cement factory, some 350 kilometres east of Kampala.
Instead, his injury was a catalyst for a much bigger set of problems that
would soon affect him and several of his coworkers. Mr Okolong now considers
himself out of the job because of the same problems.After Daily Monitor
published the article "Tororo Cement workers bitter over maltreatment," on May
24, which detailed how Tororo Cement refused to pay the medical bills incurred
by Mr Okolong as a result of the accident, he and several of his co-workers
found their problems burgeoning.