Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zambia Election Rejects Chinese Involvement

The following article was in today's issue of The Atlantic:

Zambians have voted out president seen as closely aligned with China, which has sent thousands of workers and managers here and to other Sub-Saharan countries.

Michael Sata, President of Zambia
On the eve of Zambia's presidential elections last week, one of the most common tropes about the vote was to describe it as a referendum on China. For a long time now, Zambia has been at the leading edge of China's drive to expand its relations with the continent. Chinese have migrated to Zambia by the thousands, setting themselves up in mining, farming, commerce and small industry.

Although China is a latecomer to Zambia's decades-old copper industry, it has quickly established itself as an ambitious rival to "traditional" mining partners like Australia and South Africa. As almost everywhere in Africa these days, Chinese contractors are building highways, dams, and other large infrastructure projects. Zambia even boasts two Chinese-built special economic zones, and has recently allowed banking in the Chinese renminbi instead of the kwacha, dollar, or euro to facilitate trade with China.

But these are not the only developments that have set Zambia apart, or at least placed it ahead of the pack in terms of observable trends in its relations with China. Zambia was one of the first African countries where the role of China and of Chinese people in the country became an explicit and potent political issue. During the campaigning for elections in 2006 and 2008, the newly elected leader, Michael Sata, made a sport of baiting China, calling its businesspeople in the country "profiteers," not investors, and denouncing Chinese for "bringing in their own people to push wheelbarrows instead of hiring local people."

"Zambia has become a province of China," Sata thundered in one campaign rally back then. "The Chinese are the most unpopular people in the country because no one trusts them. The Chinaman is coming just to invade and exploit Africa."

Read the entire article here:

About Zambia:
The Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north,Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana andNamibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is Lusaka, located in the south-central part of the country. The population is concentrated mainly around the capital Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt to the northwest.

Originally inhabited by Khoisan peoples, the region of what is now Zambia was reached by the Bantu expansion by ca. the 12th century. After visits by European explorers starting in the 18th century, Zambia became the British colony of Northern Rhodesia towards the end of the nineteenth century. For most of the colonial period, the country was governed by an administration appointed from London with the advice of the British South Africa Company.

On 24 October 1964, the country declared independence from the United Kingdom and prime minister Kenneth Kaunda became the first head of state. Zambia was governed by Kenneth Kaunda of the socialist United National Independence Party (UNIP) from 1964 until 1991. From 1972 to 1991 Zambia was a one-party state with UNIP the sole legal political party. From 1991 to 2002, Zambia was governed by president Frederick Chiluba of the social-democraticMovement for Multi-Party Democracy during which the country saw a rise in social-economic growth and increased decentralisation of government. Levy Mwanawasa was the third President of Zambia. He presided over the country from January 2002 until his death in August 2008. He is credited with having initiated a campaign to rid the country of corruption, and increasing standards of living from the levels left by Frederick T.J. Chiluba.

The World Bank in 2010 named Zambia as one of the world's fastest economically reforming countries. The headquarters of COMESA are in the capital Lusaka.

Motto: One Zambia, One Nation

Anthem: "Stand and Sing of Zambia, Proud and Free"

Read more about Zambia:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Colorless Night at the Emmy's

Andre Braugher
Last night was my first time watching the Emmy's award show for several years.  One thing that was shockingly apparent was the total lack of color throughout the night.

Out of all the African-American, Latino, and other minority actors and actresses on television, there were maybe 3 to 5 non-white presenters all night and the same if not fewer number of non-white actors and actresses were even just nominated.  Not to take away from any of the winners this year, but is the academy really saying that the there was nooo more talent worthy of even being recognized???

Idris Elba had two nominations this year.  Also nominated were Taraji P. Henson, Andre Braugher and Laurence Fishburne.      

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Help was a GREAT movie!

I saw The Help with Viola Davis and it was great!  What on earth was all the criticism about?

Viola Davis gave an amazing performance as Abileen and Octavia Spencer's portrayal of Minnie was just brilliant.  Cicely Tyson's role as Constatine was beyond that woman can act just through her eyes makes you feel like you were right there in the movie.

Beyond the excellent performances of these actresses was the content of the story itself.  These women were in impossible situations and while white and black people both try to glorify the times back then, some people were just as ugly and even worse than what was portrayed in The Help.  To address some of the criticism by the Black community, yes there were many strong black women who did not need some white woman "coming to their rescue" and telling their story.  There were also many black women who like Abileen, Minnie and Constatine that faced more than just being without work if they spoke out.

My maternal grandmother did housework in the South back in the 60's. She had a good friend, Miriam, that stopped by the her house one day after work.  Apparently her boss, Miss Lilly, had some other white friends over and she went out of her way to impress them by talking horribly down to Miriam and talking about how bad the coloreds were to her friends in the presence of Miriam, while she was serving them.  When Miss Lilly barked at Miriam to bring lemonade out for her guests....yep, you guessed it...Miriam added "a little extra" to it and enjoyed watching all those white women scoff at her as she served their lemonade and gulp it down like it was the best tasting drink ever.

So even though Miriam's spit in that lemonade was not as bad as what Minnie put in that chocolate cake...those black women back then had similar stories.  Miriam had a household to feed and kids to raise and put through school.  In the town she lived in, she could not afford to "sass back" at her boss and lose her job.  But some of these same women would walk down to the jail in protest of some blacks that were imprisoned without cause.  They would all walk down to the jails and pray and go back home.  Or they would participate in sit-ins or rallies.  Everyone found their own way of getting their story out.

In The Help, this was a portrayal of just one part of the story.

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