New African Review May 2012

African Update – 16/05/12

This month's New African review was written by Stephen Atalebe, an African students of Economics, Mendel University Brno, Czech Republic.

Algeria’s Charismatic Freedom Fighter

New African’s tribute this month is for Ahmed Ben Bella who was put to rest on 11 April. He was the continent’s most revered anti-colonialism heroes who, until his death, was the only remaining founding father of the Organisation for African Unity, which ushered in the current African Union. Many will remember him as the fiery speaker that told the OAU’s inaugural session in Addis Ababa on May 1963 that Africa’s liberation was something that we should all “die a little or even completely” to achieve.

He fought for the French during the Second World War but Europeans celebrated victory, an anti-colonial protest march in Setif, 200 miles east of Algiers, turned violent leading to the death of French settlers, French soldiers and vigilante groups exacted revenge killing as many as 10,000 Algerians. There and then ben Bella ended his army career and pledged himself to a new cause-independence of his homeland.

After being arrested and rearrested by the French, he eventually became the Prime Minister after the independence agreement with France.

Ripe for Change, why a new breed of African Leadership beckons

The cover story of New African this month is about new breeds of African Leadership and why the time is ripe for such leadership in the “new world order”. Last year 2011 was a crucial year for the continent with special focus on North Africa and the so called “Arab Spring” which saw the collapse of the governments in Tunisia, Egypt and in Libya with trickling effects in Mali most recently. In 2012, the fall of Abdul Wade of Senegal was phenomenal. There are also planned elections to be held this year in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana, Angola and Egypt. Africa is expected to become the second fastest growing continent and this definitely calls for new and innovative leaders with the political will and strength to face the coming challenges of the continent.  “With an estimated 60% of African population aged under 30, Africa is not only the youngest continent in the world, these demographics also call for a new dispensation in African leadership.”

Quoting from the book of journalist Richard Dowden, Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles, it was written, “Leaders do not emerge from nowhere…could it really be coincidence that all of Africa’s forty-odd leaders who came to power at independence were bad rulers who took bad decisions?” The answer he found was when he wrote, “many were decent men who believed that what they were doing was the best….The new presidents inherited total power from colonial rulers, but the states they ruled were made up of old African societies, once self-governing and still held together by their own networks of power and influence. Trying to use the tools of a western-style state to control these rooted societies was like trying to herd cats with a dog-training manual.”

Kenya: after Kibaki

After 50 years at the centre of Kenyan politics, president Mwai kibaki will end his 8 years presidency of Kenya this year, as he hands over the presidency to a newly elected president. He goes to retirement not only with mixed memories but as Wanjohi Kabukuru writes in New African, “for many Kenyans, Kibaki leaves them with many memories, including ‘Kibakinomics’. He transformed Kenya’s economy and revamped its infrastructure.”  The former US President Bill Clinton had this to say about Kibaki in 2004, “I would like to meet the new president of Kenya because he abolished school fees for the poor children and a million extra children turned up at school His retirement package stipulated by the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act of 2003 will ensure he leaves a comfortable life after the presidency. The nagging question however is who takes his place after he is gone? Will he/she be that kind of “new breed of African leaders” that New African discussed about this month?

Nkrumah’s Lost Diary going Home

This month’s issue features Ghana’s First President Kwame Nkrumah’s lost diary which was with him when he died in Romania in 1972. On 10th April, a US judge ruled that the said diary be returned back to Ghana. The diary which is said to offer a fascinating portrait of Kwame Nkrumah’s political and personal life was in the possession of a group of American businessmen among them Robert Shulman (a financial consultant) for more than 20 years until a tug of war broke out between him and Vincent Mbirika, a Kenyan expatriate who lives in New York. This led to a legal battle as the case was sent to the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania. Finally the document can now go back to Ghana where it rightly belongs. In Ghana the document will be handed over to the Nkrumah family among them his daughter Honourable Samia Nkrumah who is an MP in Ghana’s parliament.

Zimbabwe: Why Robert Mugabe “never dies”

There were a lot of rumours and speculations about the death of President Robert Mugabe while he was away on a private visit to Singapore. While this is not the first time such rumours have made their way into the ever ready media who are so eager to see the death of Mugabe, this time however, it went way beyond even to international media houses who are keen on seeing the demise of Robert Mugabe. For Chofamba Sithole, former editor of Zimbabwe Mirror, “the global media’s morbid interest in the mortality of one Robert Mugabe supersedes all journalistic ethos. It seems all the big media outlets shamelessly rested their claims on the frail shoulders of a pathetic citizen news site bereft of all credibility quoting a faceless source.”

President Robert Mugabe in response to his death news mockingly said, “I have died many times – that’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once…life is what you make it, they say, but it’s not always what you make have a part of it which is inherited.”

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Book of the month

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya Kwasekhaya

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya KwasekhayaTastes from Nelson Mandela’s kitchen

A collection of recipes by Nelson Mandela's personal chef, this book contains the food served to visiting heads of state, celebrities, politicians for more than 20 years. Featuring some of the favourite former South African president's favourite meals including samp and beans, farm chicken, tripe, this book also features paella, peri-peri chicken, prawn curry, and myriad of other delights. With simple, delicious and nourishing recipes, it will interest those who wish to prepare meals that are both elegant and healthy.More

New arrivals

New titles in our library 12/2016

Our library has aquired a number of new and interesting books. Here is the list of the latest titles.

  • Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith
  • Fashion Cities Africa by Hannah Azieb Pool
  • Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanismby Christopher Lee
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Robinson, James A., Acemoglu, Daron
  • Shakespeare in Swahililand: Adventures With the Ever-Living Poet by Edward Wilson-Lee
  • A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present by Richard J. Reid
  • Authentically African: Arts and the Transnational Politics of Congolese Culture by Sarah Van Beurden
  • Children in Slavery through the Ages by by Gwyn CampbellSuzanne MiersJoseph C. Miller
  • Global Health in Africa: Historical Perspectives on Disease Control by Tamara Giles-Vernick
  • Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos by Gary  Stewart
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 1: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 2: The Modern Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Cahier d'un Retour Au Pays Natal by Aimé Cesaire
  • Healing Traditions: African Medicine, Cultural Exchange and Competition in South Africa, 1820-1948 by Karen Elizabeth  Flint
  • Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies by Antoni Verger
  • Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry by Matthew M. Heaton

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