Visioning Africa B Khumalo

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Information about Visioning Africa B Khumalo

Published on February 5, 2008

Author: Vincenza


Visioning Africa : Visioning Africa Highway Africa 2006 Bheki Khumalo Journalistic truth-telling: Journalistic truth-telling Between 1990 and 1994, more people were killed in political violence in our country than in the entire prior history of apartheid taken together. You may recall the NPKF led by General Ramushwana. They panicked and killed a photographer, Ken Oesterbrook. The “Bang-Bang Club”: those jounalists who gave even their lives in telling the story of freedom from the front line. Al-jazeera continues the tradition of the “Bang-Bang Club” in new and extremely challenging conditions The war on terror: The war on terror December 2005: The Nation Magazine reported that a powerful world leader had proposed in April 2004 that the global head office of Al-jazeera in Qatar ought to be bombed. His own invading armies had already: Bombed the newspaper’s offices in Afghanistan in 2001 Shelled the Basra hotel where Al-jazeera journalists were the only guests in April 2003 Allegedly killed Al-jazeera’s Iraq correspondent, Tareq Ayoub a few days later in Baghdad and had also imprisoned several Al-jazeera reporters (some at Guantànamo). Afro-pessimism: Afro-pessimism VS Naipaul in his book “In a free state”: All over Africa there are these long empty highways. You drive on them. And then, when you get to the end of them, when you arrive at your destination, there is nothing there. The town is always an anti-climax. Such scathing attitudes were a part of Naipaul’s well-known Afro- pessism, in which Africa was merely and always a land of bush, chaos and emptiness. We must counter all forms of dehumanizing Afro-pessimism – we cannot simply ignore it. The war on poverty: The war on poverty In fighting the war on poverty through our information infrastructure, the first priority is the pedestrians. The deaths on our roads rival the death tolls in Iraq. Most of these deaths are pedestrians. On the information highway, how do we avoid reproducing and entrenching these dreaded inequalities? It is not good enough to adopt the familiar colonial posture of charity. It is not enough to slow down and stop time to time, to pick up a hitch- hiker here or there. We need to see the hitch-hiker behind his/her own steering wheel, steering his/her own course. There has to be a radical democratization of information. Some see promises of that in the internet boom. Pacts between private companies like Google and public authorities in certain parts of the world. Voting rights: Voting rights Some parliamentarians tried to give our people voting rights called “qualified votes”, restricted to “civilized” black people. Under these proposals, it was not enough to be an adult if you were black and wished to vote, you also had to show that you had money or education. Cultural revolution: Cultural revolution Digital citizenship must become accessible to all people. This means a battle against poverty as well as a positive fight for education. It means nothing less than another cultural revolution, a gentle one this time, unlike the original one in China. For 67 years, a Buddhist woman has lived close to nature, close to the spiritual – and also dangerously close to starvation. And yet, in this remote corner of China, despite the poverty, the sheer beauty of the place has led many locals to believe that they are in an earthy heaven. Cultural revolution (continued): Cultural revolution (continued) “In terms of UK history”, the Observer summed up, the people of this heavenly valley have “traveled from the medieval period to the 20th century in a decade, pulled aboard China’s economic express which is powering through to the most isolated places on earth.” “RDP of the Soul”: “RDP of the Soul” In his recent Nelson Mandela lecture, President Thabo Mbeki recalled the call made by his predecessor, Nelson Mandela, for an “RDP of the Soul”. The changing world: The changing world John Kennedy famously urged Americans not to ask what their country could do for them, but instead what they could do for their country. We need to globalize the question: we need to ask not what the world can do for us, but rather how we can join together and do some little service for the world. The pitfalls of new technologies: The pitfalls of new technologies A company is urging consumers to buy “secret” mobile phone software so they can read their partner’s text messages. It denies encouraging infringement of privacy laws FlexiSpy is billed as the ‘world’s most powerful spy software for mobile phones’, which enables a buyer to ‘secretly record every SMS, view their call history, and more!’ Its website even has a ‘testimony’ from a customer: “Thanks to FlexiSpy, I finally figured out my wife was cheating on me with my brother. My life is so much better now.” Asked why the company’s website promotes spying on a spouse, the MD replied: “It’s to make people smile. People have their own reasons for buying all sorts of things – they don’t all buy cars to rob banks.” E.g. the famous slogan of the gun lobby: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” The pitfalls of new technologies (continued): The pitfalls of new technologies (continued) E.g. the renaming of Johannesburg International Airport to OR Tambo International. The media in SA sustained complaints of all sorts. Slide 13: Who decides what debates live and which ones die within this wonderful new information economy? How are we to move on, as indigenous Africans, from the status of the overlooked and trampled upon pedestrians in the media economy? How do all of us contribute to adjust a false apartheid humanism, so that it does not any longer shut out whole numbers of us from the dominant currency of humanity? “Diversity Tsar”: “Diversity Tsar” A month ago, a newspaper headline read: “BBC correspondents abroad too white.” The BBC’s team of foreign correspondents should come from the same ethnic background as the country they are reporting from, according to the corporation’s new diversity tsar. Speaking in her first interview in the newly-created role, BBC ‘editorial executive of diversity’, Mary Fitzpatrick …” Slide 15: Thank you.

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