Tag Archives: politics

#data will fall

In a ground-breaking move, South African mobile operators have announced a deal whereby people who cannot afford data would be able to barter their goods in exchange for data bundles. The new deal is set to come into effect in 2017 as some ground work needs to be done to design a structure of how this system will work practically.

Speaking to reporters, Vodacom’s Jal nied ta jus Pay said, “we are tired of the FOMO that is going on out there because people cannot afford data and as one of the biggest networks in the country we have taken it upon ourselves to bring data to the people.”

 

The system will see collection centres being set up across the country to collect goods and other items in exchange for airtime/recharge vouchers. Although it is still unclear what goods will be exchanged for which amounts of airtime, unconfirmed reports also suggest that those who have nothing to exchange will even be offered the chance to get contract deals as long they can work it off in 24 months.

 

The deals on offer range from getting a Huawei p9 with 1G of data per month in exchange for doing the Vodacom CEO’s gardening for 2 years to getting an S7 with 5G of data per month for doing lap dances at Teasers on the outskirts of Johannesburg. The latter deal would see the club covering your contract costs.

 

Experts around the world are hailing this new cost model as the way most mobile network providers will go especially in developing countries where data costs are so prohibitive that some people are even unable to respond to friend requests from as far back as 2 years ago.

 

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Communication said, “hopefully this brings down the cost of airtime and who knows people could free up more money to afford university fees making the feesmustfall hashtag obsolete and in turn all the (insertproblemhere)mustfall hashtags”

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How to steal an election

Ballot paper, specimen ballot paper
Spoilt for choice.

Being a dictator is not easy. In addition to ruling the country there are stresses that come with the job. You have to worry about the economy, international relations, making opposition members ‘disappear’ and deciding which wine to drink with your caviar. Of course all these things come with the territory. As a dictator you will quickly find that for you to stay in power there is one skill that is an absolute must have i.e how to steal an election.

One must never feel guilty for resorting to this method of letting the people ‘express their will’. Think of it this way: Superman flies, Spiderman spins webs, Batman fights, Hulk has unlimited strength, rapid tissue regeneration powers, and inexhaustible stamina and what’s your superpower? You can rig… oops sorry hold elections to affirm the people’s unwavering support of your policies. It will involve a lot of hard work on your part.

Firstly, you need to secure the media and by secure I mean literally. If you can find all the media people in your country and tie them up somewhere that would be ideal. For those you can’t tie up gentle persuasion is advised. Since you control the media already, if you’re the incumbent, the former wouldn’t be necessary because the latter would be easier. Starve the opposition of airtime on the mass media so that for most of your voters the very first time they even hear about the other candidates is in the voting booth. With your name the only one in their sub conscience in the run up to elections, it’s obvious who they will choose.

You’ve heard it said that too much of a good thing can be bad? Well, when it comes to ballot papers with an X next to your name this is not necessarily true. Extra ballot papers are inexpensive to print as they are part of the election budget. Just don’t end up winning by 100% or something crazy like that. Unlike American Idols you want to make it look like it was a competition from the get go.

To aid the facade of your honest victory resist the urge to use violence… at least on camera. When the results are declared, act surprised but state you were always very confident that the people would vote for you. You must add that the will of the people has prevailed and focus should now shift to bettering the country as a whole regardless of political affiliation.

Myths about Africa

map of Africa
We really don’t like being called the ‘dark continent’

It amazes me that in 2012 certain stereotypes about Africa still exist and some are even embraced by people one would think are open minded. There are many such misconceptions out there but this week I will focus on a few that I’ve encountered personally in my reading, in the media and in conversation with Africans and people from other parts of the world.

  • Firstly, contrary to some beliefs we actually have airports. Some of these airports rank quite highly due to their world class facilities. So no worries, when you visit you will actually land. You won’t have to parachute off your plane while it circles the country to allow for everyone to jump off.
  • Secondly, Africa is a continent and not a country. It is the 2nd largest continent and is made up of +/- 60 countries (depending on your politics and whether you count a peck on the cheek as a kiss). So before you ask, No! I don’t know that guy you met in Ghana this one time. I’m from Malawi which is a separate country very far away from Ghana.
  • Although we have wild animals that live in the wild, we don’t have pet lions. Instead, we have these weird creatures called dogs, cats and birds amongst other things that we like to keep as pets. I know a guy who used to have a Lion though (psssh! giving us all a bad name).
  • In addition to this, we have computers, broadband, Blackberries, iPhones, Tablet PCs, the internet and in fact most technologies that people in the 1st world (whatever that means) are used to . We don’t have a soothsayer who posts Facebook status updates on our behalf using smoke signals. In case you need to send a text message, make a call or send an email via your phone we also have 3G connectivity in most areas.
  • Most of the major media companies would have you believe that it’s all doom and gloom here. What with all the stories of corruption, hunger, war and disease. Yes, like Britney Spears, Joe the plumber and Homer Simpson we have our problems (like running out of beer on a weekend) but despite this we go to movies, we have comedians, we gossip about celebrities doing what most people can’t imagine their parents doing, we have parties (where we actually eat), we worry about health insurance (yes we have that too) and we go to the park on weekends with our families.
  • Though Nelson Mandela is an icon he is not the only icon to come out of Africa. In as much as we appreciate the work that Mr Mandela did for his country and the rest of the continent we have a large number of Africans working hard to effect change in their countries today. Off the top of my head names that come up are Kofi Annan, Nwanko Kanu, Roger Milla, Desmond Tutu and many more.
  • Furthermore, we don’t need your help (I am of course referring to Tarzan, Superman and whoever feels that we need to be saved from something). We have the intellect and the human resources to come up with solutions to our problems. Don’t get me wrong everyone needs a little assistance when they are facing difficulties however giving us 22 million pounds or dollars and then lecturing us about ‘good governance’ doesn’t really sit well with most Africans especially if you are involved in a myriad of dodgy wars across the world and your airport security policies regard toothpaste as a potential weapon. That said, Oprah we love the school you opened and we hope you come here and do another one of ’em shows where you give away cars.
  • Finally, most of our clean water is provided to us via the tap and not Matt Damon.*

*Matt Damon funds projects in Zambia to bring clean water to communities in some areas that do not have access to it.

Of Chickens and diversity

I thought the Nando’s Diversity campaign, where the flame-grilled chicken brand forces South Africans to question xenophobia and intolerance was wonderful.

As a foreigner living in South Africa it struck a chord with me. I agree with the assertion that, if we go back far enough in time, many people who now exclusively regard themselves as South Africans were all once foreigners in South Africa. A bit like how many Americans who now regard themselves as ‘true’ or ‘real’ Americans were foreigners in the USA. This applies to many other countries across the world. Good work Nandos!

African dictatorship for dummies.

If you majored in English at university and you are now wondering what to do with your life then this is for you. I’m assuming that like many BA English majors you’re still unemployed three years after varsity and the little experience that you have, if any, is not entirely related to your degree because you were so desperate to get a job that you were willing to do almost anything but… my apologies I digress. If you have a BA in English and you were wondering what to do with yourself becoming an African dictator isn’t such a bad or far fetched option.

I was going to say that first you will need good communication skills but after years of countless assignments for your English major and constant arguments with your friends and family defending your degree choice I am sure you would have, by now, sharpened your communication skills enough to, as Jay-Z once said, “sell water to a well or sell fire in hell.” When you become President this skill will be invaluable as you will have to B.S yourself out of many sticky situations.

Secondly, you are going to need a good Christian name, and when I say Christian, Thabo, Barack or Kwame just won’t cut it here (I’m sorry just telling it like it is). For this you will need something that’s English or ‘neutral’ enough to be pronounced easily by everyone around the world and yet sweet enough to make everyone in your country believe that you could never be a dictator. Think Robert,Hastings, Teodoro, Jose, Dennis, Joseph, Paul (of which there are two at the moment), Yoweri (Joel), Omar or for the more romantically inclined there’s Laurent.

If however by some twist of fate you don’t end up with a name like the ones I mentioned or if you feel that your current name doesn’t really suit your ambitions then it’s not a train smash. In such a situation it is a good idea to give your self a name.  If your name is one that is self proclaimed then it has to be scary or worth remembering. For example, Mobutu Sese Seko, president (you never refer to yourself or others as dictator) of Zaire from 1965-1997 who was born Joseph Desire Mobutu, changed his name to Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga which translates to ‘the all powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake’. In case you were wondering, no! I did not make that up, you can wikipedia it. So it is clear as far as names are concerned you can’t go lukewarm. If it’s not sweet it must be scary.

Thirdly, you need a right hand man. Whatever you do he must never be your vice president. He must have a role that keeps him close enough to you to be clued up yet far away enough to prevent him from quickly having ambitions of his own. A good idea is to make this guy your Minister of Information. What people think of you is important. If you can control that then you are halfway there. This guy is like ‘the bagman’ that most Mafias have. If you don’t know what a bagman is then you obviously studied engineering or some other ‘proper’ degree so don’t worry I will explain.

If you were a Don in the Mafia and you ran a protection racket then you would need a bagman to collect all the dirty money because as Don you can’t be doing that yourself for obvious reasons. If you don’t know what a protection racket is then you’re on your own. In politics your ‘bagman’ does and says all the things you wouldn’t be caught dead doing or saying and denies all the things you are caught saying and doing with a straight face. He also B.Ses some more because your B.S alone will not take you very far.  If he starts getting too ambitious you can always make him…how they say…swim with the fishes…kapeesh?

No dictator is complete without struggle credentials or as they say in rap circles… street cred. In this democratic and peaceful age that we live in that might be hard to come by. There are not that many liberation wars going around and the few that are there will probably not end without some international intervention. You don’t want these kinds of wars. You want the kind where you can ride in on a white horse and kill all the bad guys yourself because you don’t want to be the punk that wouldn’t be in power if it wasn’t for the States, Britain, France or someone else. This is an easier route to your objective but it may come back and bite you, again I site Mobutu Sese Seko as an example.

Admittedly, it is harder to be a war hero nowadays. While previous dictators on this continent have relied on struggle credentials to gain a following and hold everyone to ransom through constant reminders of how they brought everyone freedom, you would have to do something really big to garner a large and loyal following. Unmasking the Stig and revealing his true identity at a public and televised event counts as something big. Revealing who killed JFK doesn’t count unless people in your country are really obsessed about that kind of stuff.

If you do as I have outlined you are well on your way to becoming an African dictator and finally putting that English degree of yours to good use but before you do all of that…you have to become President first.