Mandela day and corporatised activism

Great article from Gillian Schutte on Thought Leader about Mandela Day:

While every other black leader in a post-1994 South Africa has been constructed as an inferior “other” by the dominant discourse, Nelson Mandela has been deified as a saintly black and is held in high esteem by whiteness. He has been hailed as a decent and rational African by the moderate liberal white discourse and thus relegated the status of “the most like a white person” worthy of becoming a signifier for white decency and humanity. He has been acknowledged as a human being while Jacob Zuma, as an example, remains a “primitive” — often depicted as oversexed, indecent and just plain stupid.

These white constructions of blackness say more about our society than we care to admit — and the religiosity afforded Madiba by well-heeled whites speaks volumes about the morally assumed and systemic supremacy whiteness still holds in South Africa. This religiosity comes to life on Mandela Day, which takes place annually and plays out like a yearly church service in which the messianic effigy of Mandela is worshiped in a type of feel good marketing frenzy with “charitable giving” at the centre of it.

By looking back in history at the construct of whiteness we will understand how Mandela Day becomes a neocolonial exercise premised on beliefs about what white and black signifies to the larger white imaginary. In fact Mandela Day has become an exercise in white missionary saviour behaviour in which whites can showcase their “good” side for the “good” of those less fortunate than themselves. It is through the Mandela construct that whites reaffirm their transcendent selves.

Read the full article here

 The article draws quite a lot of controversy in the comments. My view is, the article is not so much about Nelson Mandela himself, rather his portrayal in the media. Therefore, I would tend to agree with her analysis.

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Immunity for African leaders?

Another example of poor leadership from the African heads of state:

Complaining of bullying in the international justice arena, African leaders are forging ahead with plans to set up their own regional court — and give themselves immunity in the process.

The African Union (AU) accuses the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) of anti-African bias and even racism, and plans for a home-grown mechanism are inflaming a stand-off over who deals out justice on the continent.

In a decision last month, AU leaders unanimously agreed to grant sitting heads of state and senior government officials immunity from prosecution at the African Court for Human and Peoples’ Rights, which is not expected to get off the ground for several years. Source

 This would grant immunity to the likes of Omar al-Bashir and Uhuru Kenyatta. It would obviously be a huge step back for human rights in the continent, and prove once more that the African Union is failing to bring democracy to the continent.
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The Ebola epidemic explained

Three countries in western Africa — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — are in the midst of the planet’s worst-ever Ebola outbreak, marking the first time the disease has ever been detected in the region.

As of July 8, 2014, 539 people have died as a result of the epidemic out of a total of 888 confirmed, probable and suspected cases. But those numbers are steadily rising as health workers on the ground have described the outbreak as “out of control.”

6 Questions About Ebola, Answered, from Mashable, covers the origins, symptoms and transmission of the deadly virus.

The documentary about Ebola from Al-Jazeera explains the research for the cure.

 

 

 

 

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How to pick your World Cup team (hint: root for Nigeria)

From The New York Times: An Economist’s Guide to World Cup Rooting: The Leaders

Dean Karlan, a Yale economist, has calculated a score for each World Cup team, based on its population, poverty level and interest in soccer. He argues a Nigeria championship would bring the most aggregate happiness.

 

pick your world cup team

 

It is your moral duty to support the Super Eagles

[...]

The basic principle is simple, drawn from utilitarian principles: Root for the outcome that will produce the largest aggregate increase in happiness. So I came up with a simple index, calculated by a country’s passion for soccer multiplied by its average level of poverty multiplied by its population. It’s perhaps a bit crude, simply to multiply these factors by each other, but the exercise highlights some important truths about the world.

Why this formula? Considering soccer interest seems obvious enough — the more passionate fans are, the happier they’ll be if their team emerges victorious. I incorporate poverty into the score for several reasons. First, happiness and wealth are correlated, and all else being equal, a utilitarian would prefer to help the person who is worst off. Second, the wealthy have more outlets for dealing with sports disappointments — such as going out to a nice meal — and can bounce back faster.

worst teams to supportOn the other hand, do not go for Australia, USA or Switzerland.

 

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Another disappointing World Cup for coute d’Ivoire – 6 things we learnt in Brasil

Another tournament, another poor performance from the national team.

Not too upset this time though. Despite the dramatic end to the last game, the “Greek Tragedy”, we did not deserve anything better. In a group that looked “easy on paper”, we only produced decent football for about half an hour, in the game against Japan. Colombia and Greece were clearly better than we were. So let’s look at what we learnt over the past two weeks.

Grece cote d'Ivoire

Experience is not an excuse anymore
This is the third consecutive world cup for our players. Most of them have extensive international experience. The previous excuse “the team is young and lacks experience” does not work anymore. we just have to work harder and play better.Serge Aurier is a star player, and the only world-class player we have in defense.
Only one player impressed throughout the three group matches: Serge Aurier. The young right-back was solid in defense, and a constant attacking threat, providing a few assists. I am convinced he will be getting offers from major clubs over the summer.
The rest of the defense is too weak for the international level.

Simple as that, we cannot win games if the defense does not have the discipline against average attackers, let alone world class. The two Greek goals proved it.

Our midfield is poor as well
Other than Yaya Toure, who did not play as well as he does in Manchester, the midfielders do not pose a threat for opposing defenders, and are error prone in defense. Tiote and Die show aggressivity and motivation, but are too error prone to compete seriously at the top level. Cannot see the pair as the future of a strong international team.

Gervinho will be the attack leader for the next few years
Gervinho played much better that during the African Nation cup, and managed to have a big impact on games. He will be the spearhead for the attack in the next few years, as the influence of Drogba decreases. He does show motivation initiative, and skills provided his confidence is high. Kalou had his moments, but was a disappointment overall. Jury is still out for Bony, and the other promising players who did not participate (Doumbia, Traore?)

Sabri Lamouchi was a terrible choice from the FIF
Complete lack of tactics, terrible coaching, no leadership, bad communication. Terrible choice from the Federation Ivoirienne de Football. I wish these guys understand that we need a local coach, not another amateur from Europe.

Time to move on and start from fresh.
Let’s try to make the best of the situation. I hope the Federation Ivoirienne de Football and the technical staff finally get the lesson from the bad experience and get their act together. I might be time for a few players to retire as well.

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#bringbackourgirls – The Katie Couric / Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala interview

“This is not a Nigeria problem, this is a global problem”

 

 

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How Mo Ibrahim is changing Africa

Ibrahim made his money through Celtel, one of the first mobile phone firms to cater to the continent. After selling it in 2005 for $3.4 billion, he set out to tackle corruption through the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which awards $5 million to retired African heads of state who have left their countries economically and socially stronger.

 

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