African leaders meet like ‘Africans’

Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma proves that thinking like an African is not so bad if done in moderation

Pretoria –

African leaders on Tuesday opened talks in South Africa to discuss the formation of a panel that will consult on the creation of a committee that will confer to set up a forum that will moot the idea of different representatives meeting to exchange views on the possibility of the use of a rapid-deployment emergency force to swiftly intervene in crises on the continent.

The proposed new force will assist the continent pending the operation of the long-planned AU African Standby Force.

Jacob Zuma, the South African president , stated that the aim of the summit is to let leaders know that when it comes to security, “thinking like Africans in Africa in general” is not such a bad thing.  He added that the meeting would “enable Africa to act swiftly and independently in response to the urgent security challenges this continent faces”, except in Malawi where the dire state of the national road there makes it hard for anyone to act at all let alone act swiftly.

Apparently this decision came about due to the perceptive  and revolutionary realisation that 10 years was a long time to wait for “swift African responses to crises that arise on our continent..while the building blocks of the African Standby Force are carefully being put in place”.

The AU’s standby brigade has made little progress since its inception. A decade ago it was proposed that the force would be made up of 32 500 troops and civilians drawn from the continent’s five regions. Of the 32 500, only one has turned up. It’s not clear whether this lone ranger is actually part of the force or if he is the security guard of the site where the proposed base of the proposed force would have been built.

Name change expert, Diddy, formerly known as Puff Daddy, commented that “it probably has a lot to do with the use of the word brigade instead of force. I remember that when I was still called Puff Daddy the Puff got between the fans and I hence it was dropped in favour of Diddy. Now that the African standby brigade has a new name we should see it become more effective”. Other experts echo this view even stating that since the Organization of African Unity became the African Union things have been happening a lot faster in this body because of dropping the word “organization” from its name.

The meeting is being attended by countries that have said they are willing, in principle, holding all factors constant and provided the AU provides their soldiers with sunscreen that has SPF 15 or higher, to contribute to the force. It was not immediately clear how many countries have so far pledged troops to the new force.

The new force will be known simply as the African Capacity for Immediate & Swift Response to Crises in the Greater Africa bar Malawi (ACISRCGAM). – norushinafrica

photo credit: Embassy of Equatorial Guinea via photopin cc

Steve Biko 1946 – 1977

The cover of "I write what I like"
The cover of “I write what I like”

September 11 is a date that will forever live in infamy in the United States and around the world as the day terrorism showed its ugly face. September 12 is a date that will forever live in infamy around the world as the day after the day that terrorism showed its ugly face.

For South Africans and all involved in the black consciousness movement September 12 has a different significance. It is remembered as the day that Steve Biko died. He was one of the founders of the black consciousness movement in South Africa.

If one relied solely on television for news, one could be forgiven for letting this date slip past without much pomp. Even for a struggle hero it’s tough when your memorial has to compete with the memorial of two jumbo jets crashing into two very iconic buildings as far the New York skyline is concerned.

I watch TV a lot and I must say during that week, I saw planes, I saw explosions, I saw aliens, I saw Ben 10 but I didn’t see Steve Biko much.

Steve Biko’s question to the world at the time was very simple: ‘what is the state of the black world?’ Today my question is just as simple: what is the state of the African world?

Well, where do I start? We are held to ransom by politicians who were born in an age where having your picture in black and white was just the way you had to have it and not a choice. In between burps that smell of foie gras and caviar, they go on and on in their speeches about how the youth of today have lost focus and how they died for this freedom that we take for granted.

We have a leader in South Africa who has 5 wives, goes on record as saying he took a shower to reduce the risk of contracting HIV and reads slower than the cookie monster on Sesame Street. We have a leader in Zimbabwe trying to be president and yet he ignores a court order to marry a second wife.

Still in South Africa, we have a situation were black people and other groups are still massively under represented in decision making roles especially in upper management roles in business.

We have a police commissioner who presides over the killing of 34 miners who were protesting (carrying weapons) for better wages. This commisioner replaced the commissioner who replaced the commissioner who was put in jail for corruption.

Plan A is not working. Come election time, what do we say to ourselves? Let’s try plan A again! We vote these same people into power then spend the next five or however years complaining about how corrupt they are.

Steve Biko died attempting to put together a united black front. I wonder what he would say were he alive today about the state of the black world. What is abundantly clear is that at the rate we are going, the black world and the Trade centre Towers might have more in common than we think. Just like the people on those American Airlines planes, we are on our way to crash but unlike them we are in a position to do something about it.

To quote Ben Okri, who spoke at Biko’s memorial lecture “there are three Africas. The one we see every day. The one they write about. And the real magical Africa we don’t see unfolding through all the difficulties of our time, like a quiet miracle.”

In years to come the Africa we become will depend on each and every one of us.