… Africa, Australia (+ New Zealand) and Asia

Africa, My

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Eastlands, Kenya
Eastlands, Kenya

My stay in Africa was special. Not so much because of the amount of time that I have spent there (from 3rd November to 23rd December) but mainly because of the people I met and the special “occasions” my visit was in synch with.

To begin, on my first day in Kenya, it happens to be the US election day. Barack Obama wins and a hopeful Kenya and Africa in general is looking forward to change. I heard and saw opinions and behaviours of the people in the slums (Eastlands) and the people in the city (Nairobi). This would later be compared with my visit to Tanzania and the views of people of higher status – such as my friend’s Dave and his family’s. Last but not least comes the visit to South Africa, a different world altogether compared to the rest of the continent but also different in its own context when moving from Cape Town (capital) to the smaller villages out in the country. The special “occasion” here would be the schizm in the ANC party due to Mbeki’s resignation as president in 2008. In the next elections, South Africa is facing the most historic moment since Mandela’s one and this shows on the people.

Result? Well, on some things I stay put to the image I had before my visit. On others, I can now understand the significant value of the difference of definitions of same words between Africa and Europe. Those would be “revolution”, “late” or even “friend” amongst others. Altogether though, I confirm that the social and economical problems of Africa once more come from the same “devils” who create them in Europe.

An example for the first case would be the so-called “second apartheid” period in South Africa. In Europe we know that blacks were killing blacks and that’s it. This is how they “advertise” it on the media. WRONG. To me it is just like any other immigration situation. Local people are afraid to lose their jobs because of “outsiders” who are in need of one. In other words, the same thing that happens in Greece, Spain, Italy or Germany the last decade. Money is the issue once more. Tribalism and corruption  just add an itchy flavour to it. Neo-liberal politics are those that created the problems in the first place and of course people, in their majority, are not educated enough to tackle them. Would they ever LET them be? I do not think so, even though I was told and I could see there is a steady but slow change on that front. The “first” world countries have had this “playground” for a long time now and they are not willing to give it up. The NATO presence is also a big problem and has always been. Who does not remember the Rwanda genocide of the Tutsi tribe only having taken place because of NATO forces had retreated? “Those are the orders” they said. Those are and have been neo-liberal politics ALWAYS. Why do they not kick Mugabe out then? In either cases “peace” was not kept.

An example for the second case would be the way things are done in Africa. The “rebels” are not always the rebels. They might as well be just the opposition party trying to get to power. So in Europe we would call them “running for elections”. Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) or Zuma & Mbeki from the ANC (South Africa) would sometimes call their opposers “rebels” just to illegalize them and therefore victimize them, creating a hostile atmosphere and thus violence on the streets. “Late” can also mean VERY late, but I guess I wish this was the only problem. Also the word “friend” can be used with different meanings throughout Africa. Finally the importance of how easy are guns found and sold cannot be underlined sufficiently.  South Africa especially suffers from this and taking Jo’Burg out, which would be to take a lot of violence out, even safer places will hold surprises for the visitor or the local.

All and all though, Africa has always been a rough diamond. Beautiful but rough. I have an urge to go again and learn more. To the people I met I wish them the best and thank them. If they sometime travel to Europe I will do my best to help them. If I ever go back I will sure drop them a line.


Written by csm2mk

December 28, 2008 at 8:47 AM

Posted in Africa

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. Καλά να περάσεις ρε φίλε!


    December 28, 2008 at 9:13 PM

  2. Kai si na se kala Ital!
    Pola filia kai zesta apo Oz!


    December 29, 2008 at 2:19 PM

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