For Your Daily Dose of MbA

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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Friday, 30 July 2010

"Welcome To Lagos" Concluded

The last episode of the BBC's Welcome To Lagos looks to the future, while focusing on a slum under constant threat of demolition.  It is located on a beachy patch right across from Victoria Island, where everyone aspires to live in its big houses one day.  You can't help but like Esther, she had me at "Chelsea for Life"! Anyone who bleeds blue is good with me he he he...

As we watch Esther keep house at the beach, her hair changes from weave, to braids, to gelled with a hair piece to unkempt and in equal measure we witness the twists and turns in her tale.  She is there to dig a ditch to protect the homestead when the rains come and the sea swells up and takes up more of the slums space, destroying anything in its path.  She dreams of a better life without needing a man to help her get there.  She tries the best she can with the circumstances she has been dealt with the pride, dignity and resourcefulness of a strong African woman.  And with a little silliness too :). All with a smile and an unfazed optimism, even though she lives with constant uncertainty.

We also see a traffic cop turned beautification squad leader and traditional dance instructor (! ;}) romp through the streets tearing down any illegal construction.  He is a Lagos native whose pride in his roots has led him to clean up his city during the day and teach they young their culture in his free time.  Although his tactics may be a rather crude and rough, ultimately he is carrying out his orders.  However, one cannot help but wonder about how there is no care for people's belongings and goods as this "beautification" is being carried out, and where they are to go as the better places the Government are planning to build have not been created yet.  Progress is a double-edged sword.  While it is clear that chasing away the area boys to clean up the patches they trolled is creating Green spaces that both benefit the people and the environment, the guerrilla-style slum destruction seems a little too chaotic and callous.

Either way it is clear that Lagos is moving forward and there is nothing to stop the city from thriving and becoming a megacity rivaling any around the world.  We will have wait to see the social costs borne from all of Lagos' economic development.

All in all this was a well crafted docu-series that I felt gave me insight into a part of Lagos life.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

"Welcome To Lagos" Continued

The second episode contains more of the first, except the setting is the Makoko slum.  Likened to Venice (hmmmmm really?!), it is a place where people have taken matters into their own hands and have built their own houses in the lagoon that surrounds Lagos and get from here to there in boats.  Their story is linked to the sawmills, as that is where the timber that is the primary material for slum houses is processed.

Once again the resourcefulness and entrepreneurial spirit is displayed.  However, with the man we follow this episode, there is something more.  You can really see a pride in this man.  A pride bourne from being able to retain his customs while moving into the future by being a part of the megacity.  A pride of thinking of innovative ways to make sure that his children and grandchildren are able to go to school and university.  A pride that allows him to gather all his family for a meal every day to teach them his ways. A pride from knowing that even if the Government seeks to destroy rather than help to build his community, he and his neighbours have found ways to reclaim land, erect their houses and make their own expansion plans.  Combining the old with the new.  That is Africa in a nutshell really.

This sense of community is also shown when the workers at the sawmills gather money together to pay for a fellow worker's funeral and for his family to be taken back to the village.  People are not waiting around for someone to take care of them, they are finding ways to take care of each other. It was also nice to see a woman running one of the sawmills. With many a story about how women are subjugated on the continent, I thought it was refreshing to see the other side being told.  There are many a businesswoman and entrepreneuress about too.  However the two children who had run away from home and lied about their age and were fighting to work at the woman's sawmill is disturbing.  But which society in the world has never profitted from child labour at some point in its transition to being fully modern?  At least it didn't look like they were being worked to the bone.  And they did have time to be able to be children and make kites and fly them.  With modernity come its ills unfortunately.

Here are links to Episode 2:

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

"Welcome To Lagos"

Finally started watching the BBC Docu-miniseries Welcome to Lagos that BIMBO had told me about a coupla months back. Was a little apprehensive going in, wondering how the Western Eye was going to interpret the images and the lives of the people in the slums.  I was pleasantly surprised though.  They really highlighted the ingenuity, resourcefulness, entrepreneurial spirit, camaraderie and optimism of the Nigerians who are moving from the rural areas at a rate of 600,000 a year, to one of the world's megacities, Lagos.  Felt that the documentary kept riding the comparisons to the Western world a little - we get it, there is more that meets the eye, these people are diamonds in the rough once you get over the superficial.

I was happy to see that even though the focus was on the slums, images of the developed areas of the city were interspersed throughout the episode so as not to make Lagos seem like one big ghetto, as was done with Lusaka in the RED documentary. I also like how everything wasn't romanticised - we witnessed the daily city-wide power cuts and the lawlessness that happens in the dumps.  I also liked how the man with the family found a way to give his wife and children what they needed either by fixing things or finding a way to refurbish what the rich threw away.  It also shed light on how wasteful people get once they are not living from day to day and how many things that still have use get thrown away.  It showed how recycling is already a way of life in Lagos.  "Living Green" sometimes starts out of necessity.

I was really impressed with the cattle market. It showed how people apply their knowledge and are able to use every part of the cow, bar the hair, for something - horns for plastic, the contents of the cows digestive tract for fertiliser, blood for chicken feed and who knew you could eat the skin?! That and the fact that even in the slums there already is an transnational network with cattle herders travelling from Mali, Cameroun and Chad to come an trade.  The awareness of the world around them shows how the people realise we are all interconnected, like the man said as the dollar goes up and down, life in the slum is affected. When cattle were not able to come in from Chad prices skyrocketed.

Here are links to the first episode:

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

"Merchants of Hope": The Disillusionment In The African Football Dream

Finally watched the Current TV documentary Soccer's Lost Boys. I am glad I waited till after the World Cup as it was depressing to see what happens to these boys who are sold hope by sketchy Africans and Europeans alike.

First and foremost I agree with a comment made that comparing this situation with those of the Lost Boys of Sudan is not equal.  I know that documentaries like to be incendiary, but that was a bit much.  I liked how one of the men who had been tricked into going to Morocco by an agent said that the people who deal in the African Dream are "Sellers of hope".  When asked why people still fall for it, even though it is clear that nothing comes of it, he continued to say that that is what they do they are "Merchants of hope" that deal with "total disillusionment."  These people prey of the hopes and dreams of young children who want to emulate their heroes Drogba, Essien and Eto'o and their families who are easily led to believe that their investment will be return exponentially.  So "Sellers" or "Merchants of hope" I think would have been a better title.

Africans have to take responsibility for the inception of the disillusionment.  Our stars need to not only come back and set up schools, football camps and better the communities they came from, they also need to speak up regularly about how they are the exception not the rule.  They also need to talk about how they got to where they are, because when recruited, payment to an agent is not required, the club pays for the expenses.  And even if things more often that not don't pan out, at least families are not left destitute. I happened to sit next to a young Zambian football player off to Germany and France to try his luck.  I flew with him to South Africa and made sure he got on his connecting flight as he had never flown before. He had all his documents in an envelope and who to call if anything went wrong. That is how it is supposed to be done. These realities need to be revealed.

This reminds me of the article in Time's June World Cup Issue about Samuel Eto'o. During his conversation with the Time's reporter Eto'o made use of the word dream a total 14 times including when he said  "My whole life is a dream, a dream come true, a dream I'll only wake up from the day I stop playing football." However this is the exception not the rule. Most of the time, the boys end up realising they are actually in a nightmare that they can't wake up from. The ones who are manage to make it to Europe are still likely to be met with disappointment. Eto'o went through a reputable sports academies in Cameroun: L'Ecole de Football des Brassieries du Cameroun and the Kadji Sport Academy, played for his country at the U-16 level and was recruited by Real Madrid. And the people who are read the article are not the people who are going to be bamboozled.  This story needs to be told through channels that will reach those vulnerable to these get-rich-quick-through-football schemes as well.

Essien's journey is similiar, taking him to France first after representing Ghana at Youth level.  Drogba was lucky to have family in France.  Essien finished high school and Drogba was banned from football when he had to repeat a year of school.  Unlike what Mr. Smith, the dubious Ghanaian Youth Coach said, these guys did not abandon their education to become the stars they we know and love. He should not be encouraging kids to do so in the name of their idols.

The exploitation continues in Europe, where those interested profiting from football and those interested in exploiting the precarious situation these boys find themselves in once they are no longer legal take advantage. Continuing the illusion of hope by making these boys play games hoping that they will be spotted by an agent, or locals taking advantage of the boys need to survive at whatever cost is just as despicable as the coaches and agents in Africa who pluck them from their families.

What I liked most about the documentary is that it showed that there are Africans and Europeans who have seen this problem and are doing something about it.  You can find more information about the initiatives mentioned in the documentary below.  There are also links to other initiatives going on and what Drogba and Essien are doing (Eto'o site is temporarily down btw):

The Right To Dream, The Craig Bellamy FoundationFoot Solidaire, FIFA and Foot Solidaire, Win in Africa With Africa, 1Goal, Essien's Foundation, Drogba's Foundation, Eto'o's Foundation.

Monday, 26 July 2010

African Union Announces Advisory Council and Peace Ambassadors

The AU has taken inspiration from the UN and has announced Advisory Councillors and Peace Ambassadors to help bring about stability around the continent.  The list is impressive and diverse, from former presidents and powerful businessmen appointed as Councillors to sports personalities and musicians named Ambassadors, including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, President F. W. De Klerk, Mo Ibrahim, Graca Machel and Professor Wangari Maathai, as well as Micheal Essien, Maria Mutola, Angelique Kidjo and Youssou N'Dour.

The BBC's Africa Have Your Say  has started a debate about it. People are predictably skeptical.  It always irritates me when people provide diatribes, lamenting the state of Africa that completely ignore any positivity in the situation, instead of insight and ideas for change.

Without hope there is no way for progress.

Instead of shutting every idea down and being skeptical, try a little faith my fellow Africans and be proactive to to find a way to a better tomorrow.  Passive aggressiveness, anger and spite are not helpful really: They are debilitating - they poison the mind and dishearten the soul. I think it is great that we are taking the initiative to use Peace Day as a way of reinvigorating dedication to bettering Africa, using our own accomplished and prominent figures, both on the continent and globally, to lead the way.  Homophily is a powerful thing.  As much I am a fan of the Angelina Jolies and Bonos in the world, them turning up to a village to help perpetuates the notion that an outsider has to come for us Africans to be saved.  Having someone African coming to our aid sends a profoundly potent message - that we too have the initiative to change our fates for the better :)

What will you be doing on the 21st of September?

Friday, 23 July 2010

Desmond Tutu Announces His Imminent Retirement

Archbishop Tutu, one of Africa's most prized ambassadors has announced that he will be withdrawing from public life, set to retire by February 2011.  His presence in local and global affairs will be greatly missed.  However, we will not forget his great deeds that have superceded his physical presence.  When his name is invoked, we will remember the humanity, compassion, peace, love, courage, community, unity and humility that he stood for, as well as the passion that he had for South African, African and global affairs, seeking to emulate him however and whenever we can.

His most notable accomplishments are receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his efforts championing the anti-Apartheid cause in South Africa and around the world, leading him to create his own organisation - The Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, to continue the legacy he created.  He also headed the Truth and Reconcillation Committee set up by South Africa's first ANC government to help South Africa soothe and heal the wounds Apartheid inflicted.  He is also among the select group of accomplished global leaders that compose The Elders, congregated by Nelson Mandela to tackle global issues such as the situation in Zimbabwe, and equality for women and girls. Eminent Africans Koffi Annan and Graca Machel are included in the ranks too.  

It is only fitting include some wise words from the man himself.  Here are his thoughts on leadership, which reminded me of a Nelson Mandela quote: "It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur.  You take the front line when there is danger.  Then people will appreciate leadership."

I just have a bit of advice for Archbishop Tutu (I know really what can I offer to such a man?!).  If he has to drink Rooibos tea during his retirement, can he make it into iced tea because really that tea tastes like the devil unless its taste is masked by lemon and lots of sugar (As you can see not much to offer at all)!! And I hope all you dudes took note of how he wants to make hot chocolate for his wife and actually wants to spend time with her because he believes she is the best decision he ever made.  He is inspirational in every way!

How can you not adore this man! He believed that the World Cup was the most notable event in South Africa since the end of Apartheid. I too believe it will have positive ramifications in both South Africa and the rest of the continent.  Here is a video of  him demonstrating World Cup and Nelson Mandela fever.  It also shows how even though he deals with serious issues on a daily basis, he is also a little bit silly! Further proof to support my belief:

You have to have a bit of youthful silliness in your life in order to be a positive instrument of change in this world ;}.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Inception: Even Better Than I Imagined!!

In case you have been living in a cave here is the trailer:

What you think you know, you really don't!!!! This trailer harks back to the old days when you were given enough to be excited, but the best bits hadn't already been revealed.  Unless you go around looking for movie reviews and spoilers now that the film has come out, PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN AND MESSED WITH!!!! Christopher Nolan has outdone himself once again.  Absolutely loved the Dark Knight, notably due to Nolan's brilliant direction of Heath Ledger.  But this is a definitely ensemble piece that coupled with awesome CGI, killer action scenes and plot with many layers, echoing the events in the movie as they unfold, culminates into a thoughtful, mind boggling, thrill ride of a movie.  This is how summer blockbusters are done man!!!!

Leonardo DiCaprio has done it again.  He never makes a wrong move.  He is a picky actor and he always picks right. He knows his strengths and he plays to them once again, playing flawed character with a lick of evil that really should get you to dislike him but somehow even though you know there is something fundamentally wrong with him, you still root for him. Reminiscent of his character in Blood Diamond actually. Ellen Page is coming into her own, although it annoys me how a strong female character always ends up being a little bit annoying. Why can't women be strong and loveable at the same time pray tell me?! This movie also made me fall in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose mawkish character in 500 Days of Summer did nothing to warm me up to him again after his teenage acting days in 3rd Rock from the Sun and 10 Things I Hate About You.  Although his turn as the baddy in G.I. Joe was not bad even though the movie sucked.  Loved his dapper dressing and fighting skills in a world of altered physics in Inception.  He has won me over.

Only pet peeves were that it was clear that the scenes in Mombasa were not in Mombasa.  The place looked more like it could be Zanzibar, but in actual fact it was shot in Morocco. Go figure! At least the people were African for the most part and were actually speaking Swahili.  That, and LAX was not LAX.  This is why it is not good to travel and see the world, you can't be fooled by creative liberties taken.  Reminds me of the car chase scene in the second Matrix that was supposedly on the 101 towards SFO and they rebuilt it but changed stuff and it was quite clearly not the 101.  I should not notice such details but I do.

This movie completely lived up to my expectations and beyond!!! It has been a long time since that happened.  Yes I have watched movies that have satisfied my anticipation, but this movie took me to a place I have not been since the Matrix (not the sequels). This definitely my favourite for the summer!!! JUST AWESOME POSSUM!! The movies is long, running way over 2 hours but you do not notice, that is how involving it is visually and mentally. I don't think anything else is going to top this really.  The plot is so intricate and the Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels/ X-Men: The Last Stand ending still has me reeling as I will  never know the answer with certainty!!!! If you happen to figure it out please let me know, already have a coupla theories with the information we are presented with.

YOU HAVE TO GO SEE IT!!!! RIGHT NOW!!!!!! Forget your job, leave your kids, jilt your significant other, food is not important, postpone that shower, in fact take a hiatus from life all together: this your only mission in life.  SERIOUSLY!!!!

African Fashion: Green, Ethical, Trendy, Not For Africans?

Fashion model Liya Kebede, who has acted in The Lord of War and The Good Shepherd, is not only a UN Goodwill Ambassador, but also an African businesswoman.  In an effort to help local artisans, she created her fashion line Lemlem in 2007 "to inspire economic independence in her native country, [Ethiopia], and to preserve the art of weaving." Here are some lovely photos of the weaving process.  However, most of the clothes are for kids and all of the items are rather pricey. It is clear that this venture is not meant for African consumption, but to appeal to elite Western consumers.

This seems to be a trend - eco-chic and/ or ethical style.  Dressing is one of the easiest ways we can express who we are and what we stand for, and it seems fashion has no intention of not jumping on the green and ethical bandwagon.

Lauren Pierce is a line by designer Lauren Bush, that boasts one-of-a-kind pieces made from sustainable textiles dyed by DRC women with ten percent of the profits going to Women for Women International to help women in post-conflict areas. The targeted demographic is the natural, confident, vanguard, humanitarian, activist woman.  She also has to have deep pockets.

Yodit Eklund, an Ethiopian-American, created the line Bantu, that offers swimwear that intends to get Africa to be thought of as producing finished products, rather than the raw materials that are of less economic value. Vanity Fair sold it to the consumers Bantu was trying to reach as a way to save Africa.   Hmmmmm  :* (that is me kissing my teeth at the simplification of how to make a difference in Africa).  However, this sentiment sort of encapsulates the novel ways a certain conscious, proactive and ethical class of Westerners are got into helping our continent nowadays.

What makes me sad is that upwardly mobile Africans are not targeted too.  There are people in the diaspora and indeed even people across Africa who can afford to help their own.  And yet they are not marketed to.  They are not encouraged to take pride in dressing in fine garb designed and created by their own.  They are not at the forefront, being the trendsetters.  At the same time, why aren't we seeking out these avenues to contribute and to show what Africa has to offer with pride? Instead we will be the ones to ask our Western friend where they got their clothing from and they get to tell this great story of how fashion is doing its part to to move Africa in a positive direction both economically and culturally.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Happy Belated Birthday Madiba!

Haven't been on the ball lately.  Nelson Mandela celebrated his 92nd birthday on the 18th.  It is a blessing that he is still with us, and true inspiration!

Here are some pictures of the celebrations in South Africa.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Life In A Day

This seems like an interesting piece of filmmaking...Clicked on this by mistake when trying to get my music fix on YouTube.  On the 24th of July Kevin MacDonald and Ridley Scott are trying some experimental documentary film making by calling upon all of us, the people of the world, to shoot video of our lives that they will then edit to create a film of life on earth in a day that they are quite literally calling "Life In A Day".

Can't wait to see how things work out and how different places end up being represented as ultimately in the end it is out of the people's hands.  How will they select what is worthy? Are they looking for equal and unbiased representation across continents, countries, social and economic class, race, gender, the list goes on...Either way, really tapping into the power of social media and the free production and access to content.  And even though they claim all clips used will be rewarded with a co-director credit, if this thing wins acclaim and awards, who will be going up to the podium....exactly! Not the people who provided the raw materials but the ones who present the finished product.  Genius and yet rather exploitative.  Very much like life really so I guess it all makes sense in the end.

Very interesting...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

This Is Ridiculous!

The Christiano Ronaldo baby mama daddy story just gets stranger by the minute.  Why does he have black toenails? I think my sister and I should stop digging for clues because we just find nonsense instead!

Another bit of ridiculousness!! Nadal passed by the Victoria Falls on his way to watch La Furia Roja!!! Of course he would have to visit my country while I am stuck overseas! I am not a happy puppy bob, not a happy puppy.

And all of you who know my love for Nadal please stop telling me about this.  This coupled with not being able to be in SA for the World Cup has completely ruined my summer.  Je suis tres upset.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

HIV Rates Are Falling Amongst The Young in Africa!

Yay! Glad to see Africa at the forefront of an African and global problem in a positive fashion.  HIV rates amongst us young folk is declining according to this recent UNAIDS report.  Unfortunately the BBC reports that it has been on the rise in Uganda due to "complacency".  Uganda seems to be falling short of late...

I am just glad that we are making progress.  However the UNAIDS report does say more does have to do more with diagnosis and treatment.  Which makes me feel better about my remarks about the RED documentary.  Though I did say that we just can't plug holes by providing money for treatment, I didn't say we shouldn't donate either, so of course if you can find a way to help with your services, time and/ or money, find a way :).  Both are clearly both prevention and treatment assistance are needed at this juncture. I think I am mad that everything was portrayed in such a futile manner, that we Africans are going to get AIDS and the only thing to be done is to swoop in a save the day when it happens.  Hiding positive information I think makes the task seem Sisyphean and denies people the hope to be able to fight and win.  Knowing that having to provide help with treatment is a short term plan because people are taking the trouble to be safe is a lot more comforting than thinking that our lot in life is to suffer with this disease forever or until a cure is found.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

World Cup Lessons

So sad...we have to wait another 4 years to experience World Cup fever again :(.  But have no fear, a little nostalgia will prolong the feeling just that little bit longer...Well just two days longer, the Final was only on Sunday...

So what have we learned over the last month? Have no fear I am here to tell you :)

World Cup fever does have an antidote. His name is Suarez. And he got what he deserved.

Karma is something not to take lightly.  If you trifle with it, there will be vengeance. Uruguay learned this. And if you think about it Algeria did too after their equally dodgy qualification to the Finals.

The Hand of God is alive and well and still wielding its power in football, albeit it in a twisted form, as demonstrated by the Green and Suarez.

Africans are not very good at using their own juju.  It seems to have helped the Europeans more. Sure Cote D'Ivoire were in the group of death and South Africa really didn't have a chance but what was Cameroun's excuse? And Algeria should have played better after denying Egypt, the African champions the chance to shine.

The next time we have a World Cup in Africa it should not be held in one of the coldest countries on the continent during "winter".  We need to take advantage of the heat like South America do to stop European teams from winning!

Do not underestimate the power that Mr. Boateng's loins has had on football and will have in the future.  Watch out the English Premier League!

The Black Stars are the light in African skies!

It is easy to pick what team you are on sometimes.  When it comes to Twilight (I know, my love of film takes me to very strange places) it's easy - Team Jacob. However when your fever has been mollified it can be hard to think logically when your mind is clear. I know, what an oxymoron.

The more you listen to Waka Waka, the more you realise how cartoonish and stereotypically useless the song is and wonder more and more why Wavin' Flag was not the official song...

Footballers are hot! ;} See here, here, here and here for proof he he he...

Nike and Coca Cola know how to market and create great adverts.

Paul the Octopus is amazing! Is it terrible to wonder whether his football prophesising is also an indicator of how tasty he is?

Footballers know how to cry appropriately - either due to the emotionality of losing quite terribly ala Gyan, of winning ala Iker Casillas or when appreciating the importance of the Word Cup ala "The People's Rooney".  Federer crying after losing the Australian Open because he couldn't tie Sampras' all-time Grand Slam record not so much.  His scant of tears of joy when he later won the French for the first time to equal Sampras and that fact that when he actually became the all-time great a month later at Wimbledon he didn't even cry wasn't good either!

Spain have something in their water. In the last two months Pau Gasol won the NBA Championships, Nadal has won the French and Wimbledon back to back for the second time and La Roja have won the World Cup!!!!

Whatever anyone may say i.e. the constant referral to how even though South Africa, a proxy for Africa, may be developing there are still problems - cue pictures of slums and little boys playing football in raggedy clothes, South Africa should be proud of the World Cup they hosted.  Having travelled the world some, this is true everywhere.  It may manifest itself differently, but whether you are in the West or the East, the North or the South of this planet, there are always disparities between the rich and the poor, but for some reason Africa is constantly being berated for this difference and in other places, the media is perfectly happy to hide them.  Which by the way makes it all the more shocking when you stumble upon these things, especially in the West.

South Africa 2010 will be remembered as the World Cup of firsts.

FOOTBALL IS THE BEST GAME ON EARTH!!!!!! And even though the Americans are to be commended for continuing to learn to appreciate the game, they have a long way to go in the media.  Even Paul who is an octopus gets it! Come on! I do have to say having watched a coupla matches at bars, it is clear that the public are getting into it.  However, this article REALLY annoyed me.  What kind of nonsense is this???!!! And to make it worse its written by a woman who is perpetuating the stereotypical view that women do not understand sport and couldn't care less. Silly silly woman! Which leads me to my next point...

It is a myth that women do not understand nor care for sport.  This is because a. sport is full of men in their prime flexing their muscles and being men which is thoroughly entertaining when coupled with the highs and lows of playing whatever game they are playing and b. you just need to be patient if the woman has been denied the opportunity to love sport and teach.  This is proven by the video below, which contains a lovely woman I know, but shall remain nameless, showing what World Cup fever can do to ESPN viewers and also by the fact that I have officially turned one of my roommates into a Nadal, basketball and football loving woman over the past year! Oh an the fact that my blog has been dominated by sports commentary for most of its short life ;)

We are ready for Brasil 2014 already he he he...

Sunday, 11 July 2010

La Roja Gana La Copa Mundial!

My roommate is very pleased that Spain reigned supreme! She bet months ago they would take home the gold and has won 3 times what she put in.  I am glad someone got something out of the Final.  I was completely out of it emotionally.  The game was absolutely horrendous! Terrible many unexploited chances and a whole load of ridiculously dangerous and petulant play.  And it took the Dutch being handicapped, going down to ten men for Spain to be able to convert.

I am happy for Casillas, he's really one of the best goalies ever.  His good looks have nothing to do with it.  And I am a sucker for men who cry with pure emotion at at least this time it was not painful like when Gyan was reduced to tears. The Spanish did have more convincing shots on goal. I particularly Sergio Ramos's two header attempts (again focusing more on the looks of the person to try and get my temperature rise to fever pitch) and having Paul the Octopus on their side didn't seem to hurt either.

However I have been left unsatisfied.  What a anticlimactic end!!!!!  I feel really bad for the Dutch.  They didn't handle themselves well, they let themselves be sucked into into Spain's play.  This game was very reminiscent of the '06 Final, with Spain using dodgy psych tactics, though not as dirty as Italy's and with the Dutch getting red carded as did France, although not in as dramatic a fashion, leading them to lose the game, though thankfully not in penalties!

In the end the team who wanted it more won.  Will recap the World Cup when I have let this marinate and I am in a more reflective mood...And I am also giving interneters enough time to update so I can find me some photos or possibly footage of Nadal watching the match he he he he...

Colourful Final So Far...

Oranje and La Roja need to settle down...too many yellows are making the game too colourful and not in a beautiful painting sort of way, but in a sort of Jackson Pollock gone wrong sort of way.  NO PENALTIES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!!

Speaking of colours, Casillas is wearing green and we know how that colour has featured in the tournament so far - maybe it's just an African thing...He almost had a Green moment a minute ago with a really weird misjudgment of the ball and he wasn't even being pressured by Dutch players!

Paul the Octopus says the Spanish will conquer and get the gold.  He predicted Germany's run well. We shall see, its anyone's game right now...

Vengeance Is Ours!

Some may say that we have villified Uruguay above and beyond what was necessary.  This sentiment was certainly expressed by the ESPN commentators who found the crowds booing of Suarez abhorrent.  This makes me think that even though one of them was English (really he should be ashamed of himself), they clearly were reflecting a lack of understanding of what football means to the world and to Africa at this particular historic moment!!!!!  Dude saying that we are hanging onto something we should let go off is quite funny coming from you.  Aren't the English still hanging on to their 1966 glory?!  Do we tell you to move on - no because we understand how important such things are! Ghana's plight is only a week old, it's still a fresh wound, it hasn't even scarred yet like yours!!!!

Uruguay pissed off (excuse my French) the wrong group of people.  You don't go and annoy Africans on African soil!!! If that hand ball was instinctual, Suarez would have apologised and we would still have been mad that Africa's hopes had been dashed, but we would have comported ourselves a lot different.  Maybe a coulpa boos here and there, not the loud booing on cue everytime he got a touch of the ball.  However, Suarez invited the virtiol that killed his striker mojo when he started pontificating and gloating at The Black Stars expense.  I was onto the fool earlier in the tournament.  He deserved everything he got.  And I am a nice person, usually able to weigh both sides and agree to disagree. Suarez mollified my World Cup Fever, he is lucky he didn't suffer worse in the land of the Sangoma!

Germany continued our crusade to deny Uruguay any sort of kudos at this World Cup.  The English ESPN commentator did talk some sense though - he did say that Uruguay would do well to win so as to rid quell the talk circulating about their dubious advancement. The results showed that obviously they had usurped their glory and were swiftly punished for their petulance. Plus I hated the way they played throughout the tournament...I think they had a 4-4-2-1 formation or a 4-5-2?  Either way they had at least 8 or 9 people at the back at any given point which just clogged up the game and did not allow for flowing and creative play.  Waiting for people to make a mistake is not a way to win a World Cup, its an opportunistic way to get ahead.  Kind of like the way Djokovic being No. 2 in the world right now is not because he has improved in anyway, but is due to the fact that Federer has lost his way a little bit. I will give it to Forlan though, he is clearly a gifted striker.  You see I told you I am a nice person, I can appreciate brilliance when I see it, why do you think I called him a slippery eel?

Germany  brought on more African players funnily enough for this game.  Augo is of Nigerian descent.  Unfortunately he was a little too flamboyant and commited a very careless foul that could have broken someone's leg.  However he is forgiven, good looks will have us overlook his indiscretion he he he.  When the Germans went down 1-2, Africans stepped in to right the deficit.  Jerome Boateng, despite not being on good terms with his brother, choreographed the second goal, feeding in a nice ball for Jansen to head past the goalie.  (I don't care if in reality Boateng was probably not thinking of his brother, that's how it played out in my mind ;}).  The third goal was headed in by Khedira, sealing Germany's consecutive 3rd place finish at the World Cup.  He is of Tunisian descent.

All is well, all is well.  We can now finally bury the hatchet, enjoy tomorrow's game, and look to 2012 for all African teams to get serious, with Ghana leading the way! :)

Friday, 9 July 2010

Mostly Nonsense...

I have not watched this much tv in a long time.  Was going to watch a new Current TV doc about exploitation of West African boys eager to join European club football but didn't feel like being depressed.  Decided to wait until the end of the World Cup to deal with that.  So I just watched tv.  First I decided to watch All About Steve and now am wondering why I did.  My love of all things film trumps all sense.  But in my defence I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about and whether Sandra Bullock really deserved her Razzie.  My God do she and Bradley Cooper have some explaining to do.  You star in The Proposal and The Hangover respectively and follow it up with All About Steve????!!!!  Supposedly my roommate says that the original script was better, having interned at the place who represent the writer but I don't believe her quite frankly.  There was nothing in that film that proved that there was a great base that was smashed to smithereens by the big bad Studio.

It is always better to learn from others, than to make the mistake yourself and wonder why...

Then to my chagrin they have changed the Orbit Gum Lady.  The new woman may be blonde too but she looks weird and its not the same.  They should just change their advert style altogether if they no longer can get the woman they had before.

Channel surfing led me to Lopez tonight and the cast of the A-Team were on the show.  Sharlto Copley talked about how he had a Mr. T cake for his birthday and how even though it was surrounded by the old Apartheid flag, he had a cake with a Big Black Man on it.  The show was able to transcend racial and cultural backgrounds.  That's what I love about the media.  That power.  Even the most trivial things can have the most profound effect.  Entertainment is the one of the best ways to bridge gaps I think :)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

A World Cup of Firsts

So now that Spain has ousted Germany, we await the final on Sunday.  Even though an African team did not make it past the Quarter Finals once again, this will still be a historic Cup that will be remembered for years to come.

This is Spain's first trip to the finals, this will be the first time that a European side will win the World Cup beyond the shores of Europe, either side will win the Cup for the first time and I think this may be the first time these two teams have met at the World Cup too! I think that South African winter weather was not enough of a factor, which I think has affected European teams before. In fact I think it played right into European hands.  We need a West African World Cup to really take advantage of being at home...

I must apologise for my useless support of Germany.  Possessing fruit from Mr. Boateng's loins on your team is really not a compelling reason for support.  When I had my senses before World Cup fever seized my body and subsequently my mind, I was all for La Roja - thought I should keep an eye on them and have been impressed with their play ever since Euro 2008. And Nadal loves them.  Okay that is also not a compelling reason either ;}.

But I do hope that Germany at least continue in the vengeance mandate that has unofficially been effected on Uruguay by winning 3rd place.

And I continue to figure out the whole Ronaldo baby mama daddy drama.  My sister and I have decided that until proof of baby-making is produced in the form of a picture, DNA test or other compelling evidence, this whole thing is all rather dodgy.

Rape in Africa

This article on Kenyan women living in fear in the slums reminded me of something passed on to me about a new female condom that was to be passed out during the World Cup.

A South African woman has invented a female condom, called Rape-aXe, which latches onto the male assailant during process of him violating his female victim.  Some people think this is barbaric.  Others think what is the point, what is done is done, the man effectively has succeeded in raping the woman.  I think it is a way for women to at least feel confident in the fact that even if they cannot stop the act from occurring completely, when it does happen, the man does not derive any pleasure from it because of the pain that ensues once he penetrates.  Also more importantly, this means that there is concrete evidence, as he is inextricably fused to the device until he seeks medical help. Doctors can collect evidence, and they can report the incident to the appropriate authorities and this information can corroborate the woman's statement. I think more women would report their rape if they knew they had backing from at least the evidence.   A lot of the time such cases play out as a 'he said she said' fighting match. It also protects from STDs.  Its uses in high rape location such as the slums of Nairobi and the war zone in DRC cannot be denied.

This condom has the potential to empower women.  I do not think it reinforces fear.  Being able to have some control over what happens to your body is potent to me.  It reminds me of a conversation I had with BIMBO a long time ago while walking in the dark and I mentioned how it was nice to be able to walk with someone on campus after hearing about the man who was going around sexually assaulting women on his bike.  Her and her twin sister LOLZ are over 6ft.  She said to me that she never has that fear of being overpowered, she  is confident she can fight toe to toe with most dudes.  I am a pygmy not an amazon and constantly have that fear when I find myself alone at night.  I know that even though I am feisty, really if faced with such a situation, my fight would be futile, knowing that inevitably I would lose. So this device makes sense to me. Even if you cannot completely protect yourself physically, being able to stop someone from violating you and others in the process through the justice system is a huge step to deterring others who may be thinking about doing the same.  Which man wants to be marked for life with the little scars the teeth leave?! This will make them think twice before trying to get away with such abuse.  Every woman after the incident will know what he has done.  The only con I see is if a woman forgets she has the condom in and a poor dude suffers from her lapse during a consensual encounter!

Of course there will be abuse of the condom from scorned lovers and the unhinged, vengeful type.  But there are always two sides to a story.  Isn't sex supposed to be an expression of your love for someone, a way to deeply connect with another human being, and if you are lucky to be able to create the miracle of life, or a bit of fun (of course so long as you are SAFE) and yet is is used as a weapon to manipulate, to control and to traumatise just as often too?

Thanks HAYLEY for sending me the article about this.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Ghana Avenged...

The Dutch utilised some serious Afrikaaner juju and did not let Forlan, the slippery fish that he is, and Uruguay get to the Finals.  After Forlan scored that equaliser I was out of my skin, damned slimy eel that he is.  Thank God his partner in crime Suarez was not on the pitch.  Can't believe that the Uruguay coach did not think that Suarez's actions were deplorable, especially after his remarks. All is well now though, all is well.

I would post more but right now I am completely mesmerised by the fact that Christiano Ronaldo is a father! There is a link here hence discussing this nonsense in the same post...the Dutch wear orange, and the baby was born 2 days after the Cote D'Ivoire (who also wear orange) drew with Portugal.  See! ;} Anyhoo, there is not much information, the baby mama is being kept under wraps...So right now me and my sister are hypothesising and trying to figure out what exactly went on.  Will let you know when we have made headway...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Nadal And Serena Sitting In a Tree...

Ok they aren't sitting in a tree, but they are the 2010 Wimbledon Champions! Yay!!! That's all I have to say really.  Both Finals weren't the most riveting, but all that matters is who won.  I am glad Nadal has bounced back, and I'm glad a Williams sister kept the dish in the family.

All the upsets will make for a great US hard court season.  I always thought Berdych had the chops and he is finally coming through.  Will Gulbis and Del Potro be back? Del Potro came through last year by winning the US but Gulbis has yet to prove whether he can stand the pressure.  Enough of the Djokovics and Murrays who lead us to believe that they are more than what they are.  Don't even get me started on the women's game - Jankovic, Ivanovic, Safina, Sharapova...

Now maybe I can reenter the world and think about things other than sport for a while ;}


It has taken me this long to write a post about the unfortunate events that led to Ghana's exit from the World Cup.   Tears have been shed, heartbroken to comatose to reflective we have been, and now all that is to  be said is that we are proud, and we are grateful for the ride that Ghana was able to give to the African continent.

 African skies may be dark, but the Black Stars will shine again :)

I will not rehash the game, nor will I find YouTube videos of the rollercoaster events.  They do not need to be relived.  I would like to remember the euphoria that came from the Black Stars' journey to the Quarter Finals.  Seeing them battle through against all odds was a privilege and as FOOLISH FOOL has said, let us look to build on this experience at the 2012 Africa Cup and in Brasil in 2014.  This is a young team, they can learn from this and grow into a global powerhouse.

Gyan showed a fortitude that is admirable by taking the first penalty after missing moments before.  Though I may never understand why Prince Boateng never got to take a penalty, the boys fought like champions and even if they didn't win the World Cup, Africa will always remember how the Black Stars were the ones to step up to the challenge when the motherland called.

Unfortunately my World Cup Fever has been tempered...I am emotionally drained.  I HATE PENALTIES. At this point we might as well go with Germany to win, at least they have a bit of Ghana on their team ha ha ha ha!

Friday, 2 July 2010

The Hope of Africa - The Black Stars

Africa kicks off the Quarter Finals with Ghana playing Uruguay.  Tieing Senegal and Cameroun, they are the third African team that has been able to go this far in the World Cup.  I think they can go the distance.  Not because of sentimentality, although that is definitely a factor, but because the boys want it.  They realise the importance of this and have taken to the World Stage with such aplomb.  People have been saying they are young, and this has shown in their unnecessarily flourished play and unwise choices, but I think they have been learning as the tournament has progressed and have learned to check their egos.  At this level it is no longer about talent and tactics.  It's about desire and passion. I just hope they are able to overcome their injuries that have been plaguing them since the Africa Cup earlier this year.

I think the game with the USA showed this.  I personally think that the US underestimated the Black Stars, even though they had beaten them in the group stages of '06.  My roommate disagrees, but I think that the starting line-up reflected this.  I don't think that the US coach really thought about who they were playing.  The commentators on ESPN were going on about how Ghana hadn't scored in regular play and had only advanced on penalties and so this proved that they couldn't go the distance.  The USA had been wronged in the group stages but were able to come through, but you can't win the World Cup by drawing, you have to find the win, no matter how.  And that is what Ghana did.  They came out guns ablazing and within minutes were up 1-0.  I know there was the controversial penalty that gave Ghana the win in 2006 but the one given to the US in 2010 was bogus, there was not enough contact there what was that???!!!

The USA are almost there when it comes to competing in the World's favourite game, but to really be a force in world football you have to play for the love of the game first, and to win second, not the other way around.  There is too much pressure put on results in American culture, instead of finding joy in the process.  You need to enjoy football because it is the most heart wrenching game played.  You have to be able to get past the bad calls, the divots on the pitch, and the amount of work it takes to get the ball in the net.  And the only way to do that is to enjoy playing for the sake of playing.  It's not about how much money that you throw at it, how many training camps for young players you have, it's about understanding what football means and loving it.  It's not something that can be learned, you need to have it coursing through your veins.  I do not remember ever not loving football.  It is just the way.  You see it and you love it.  No one has to convince you.  

I have come to the conclusion that the reason that Ghana has come this far is because they are young, full of passion, have nothing to lose and have a player that is the fruit of Mr. Boateng's loins.  This theory is made all the more credible by the fact that the other team I am impressed with that is in the Quarter Finals is Germany.  And they are young, full of passion, have also made a coupla silly mistakes and also have a player that is the fruit of Mr. Boateng's loins.  Prince and Jerome are brothers! I rest my case ;}! Unfortunately the boys are feuding over the injury that caused Ballack to miss the World Cup.

The Black Stars have to win tomorrow not only because my heart can't take any more drama, but also because innocent people may suffer the consequences.  When the score was 1 all at full time I called one of my best friends, R4L and she knew why I was calling and purposefully sent me to voicemail. So I left her an awful message berating the Black Stars and threatened to abstain from all things Ghanaian, meaning I would not speak to her again if they lost.  Luckily they got it together and Gyan scored within minutes of extra time and all was well.  We later buried the hatchet.  Got a call from Ghana from OXFORD SHIRT and told her to slap about a coupla Ghanaian boys to let them know that even though the Black Stars got through, I was not impressed by the need to go into extra time to get the job done.  Now it is at the point where if there are any more shenanigans, R4L, OXFORD SHIRT and COMBINE (who is in South Africa and could have direct contact with the team if she wanted because she is one of the most resourceful people I know) will suffer the consequences.  And my little one FOOLISH FOOL, who always tells me that the Black Stars will make it will be demoted to village idiot status! There is no more room for error.  I want an African team in the Final and if my sangoma who is on probation at the mo manages to get it together we hopefully get the first African win to boot.  

The only way is to dream big.  By stifling our potential in order to make small triumphs and self-protect we ultimately only limit ourselves and deny the world progress.  Yes it is a risk, but when you dare to achieve success at a greater level, the impact is infinite when you succeed.

We should not underestimate what this game will do for Africans not only in football, but in our lives in general.


Here is a video R4L found of the Black Stars celebrating after their Round of 16 win.  Hopefully we will all be like this again soon!

Nadal and Serena

So the Men's Semi Finals are on tomorrow.  Was I surprised that Fed was Exed? Yes and No.  Not for the same reason as Venus's, but I am not too shocked that he bowed out.  He did so at the French.  He has not won a tournament since the Australian.  He says he has back and leg injuries that stopped him from playing his best.  If that is the case he should rest and get better.  It is a pity that he will drop out of the Top 2 for the first time since the dark ages. Once again we ask if he has the motivation to play through injuries and setbacks...Only time will tell.

Nadal has been under the radar, despite having won the French and being No. 1 in the world.  Being seeded 2 has not affected him. Early round 5 set matches were just what he needed I think.  I am glad he was able to beat Soderling.  He has finally gotten his number.  Nadal's interview afterwards shows that he is not really bothered by what he is going on about him - all the speculation and rediscovery of his talent.  I always find it funny how they keep talking about how aggressive he is on grass and how his game changes like it is something new.  He's done this for years and that is how he was able to win the French-Wimbledon double in 2008 and has appeared in the Wimbledon Final multiple times.  I wonder why people still underestimate him?!  Thank god he has a good head on his shoulders.  Great interview after the match.  I hope he wins and shuts up all the people who keep talking nonsense about him.

His match tomorrow is big, playing against Murray who now cannot escape the media by hiding behind the World Cup.  I don't think Murray is  mentally fit enough to handle the pressure personally if he cannot handle the expectation that comes with greatness.  Murray has had ample chances to move up to the next level of tennis and hasn't done so. I think it will be a great match but Nadal has more passion and motivation.  Nadal wants to defend the title he couldn't last year.
And he is less likely to buy into the hype too I think.

Congrats to Tsonga for making it to the Quarter Finals.  Hopefully he will take this success through to the US hard courts and position himself as a real threat.

Serena is through to the final and is to play the woman who ended Venus's run.  As it should be so she can avenge her sister. I am very into avenging at the moment...