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Autism: The Waster of Children
By Max Ese Anderson

Sports . Sports . Sports
Edited by K. Jemael Mohamed

The Honourables: They are a blessing to the world and the pride of all Africans
By Barbara Gwanmesia*

Street Children of Africa
By Jacqueline Lampe, Director AMREF Flying Doctors

Financial Ratios, Part 1 (Earnings per share)
By Dauda Daramy

U.S. Foreign Policy & African Union: Way Forward
By Stanley Nwaimo

Human Needs
By Edith Ahajumobi

Before the Apocalpse
By Rodney A. Eshiemoghie Irene


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Who Is A Real Lawyer?


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The Worlds speak to man
By A. G. Badmus

Who will win the battle for your mind
By Pastor Sunny Emmanuel


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May 2007 Edition

 

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We need partners, not donor assistance!

Mr. Vasu Gounden is the founder and Executive Director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) - www.accord.org.za  Mr. Gounden, a co-author of the book Shaping a new Africa (on alternative perspective for a viable Africa) held a workshop on African solutions for African conflicts in this year's AFRIKADAG, the biggest Dutch event on development cooperation held on 14 April in Den Haag.

 

It was at this unique event, attended by such luminaries as Jerry Rawlings (former President of Ghana), Bert Koenders (Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation and Dr. Mo Ibrahim (founder of Celtel) among others, that two Editors of The African Bulletin had an opportunity to chat with Mr. Gounden. Please read the exciting excerpt from the interview:

 

The African Bulletin: You have a long and intimidating resume as a mediator, trainer and researcher in the field of conflict resolution. How did you end up in this field?

Vasu Gounden: In my previous life, I was a lawyer representing people in conflicts and before that, I was a student leader creating conflicts and you can say for the better part of my life I have been in conflicts. For now, I am in the field assisting to resolve conflicts. I use to practice as a Human Right lawyer in South Africa. In 1989, I took the Fulbright scholarship to go to the US to master in law, specializing in labour law, and then I discovered that there is a whole field of conflict management. It was there that I decided that this could be something very useful, particularly, in my own country, South Africa. I then chose to do a masters programme in conflict management before returning home to set up an institute dealing in conflicts.

*Vasu Gounden 

 

TAB: What is the central message of the book Shaping a new Africa?

Gounden: The authors are all Africans. We are writing about our continent, not just about the problems but how to resolve them. The conventional wisdom in the world is that the Africans are always in conflict but few people understand or really look back at history and see that Europe was in conflict for 500 years, the Asians for 100 years and the Americans have fought a war that lasted for many years. Africa has been in conflict for the last 40 or 60 years. So we are saying in this book, let us take responsibilities as Africans and not just sit around getting involved in conflicts. There are now new generation of Africans that have the intellectual capacities to look at their own situation and begin to resolve them. We are not waiting for intellectuals to come from other parts of the world to resolve our problems. We are saying to the rest of the world that we want partners and not donor assistance because we do not want that kind of relationship anymore.

 

TAB: Why is this book different from other books on mediation and conflict resolutions in Africa?

Gounden: Many books written about Africa are written by people outside Africa. We are now entering into relationship as an accord with universities in Europe. We are saying to them, we don't want you to come and theorize about what we are doing. We want you to come as partners. So the book is different because it is the Africans that are theorizing about African problems. 

 

TAB: Some blame conflicts in Africa such as Darfur, Congo etc on the West. What do you say to this?

Gounden: Yes, colonialism had impact on Africa, so was the cold war. In the April issue of New Africa, I read an interesting piece about a former CIA agent who operated in the Congo during the days of Patrice Lumumba and was connected with the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. So one can not deny that the West have been involved in distorting developments in Africa. Africa's development has been impacted by colonialism, cold war, and today by a certain scramble for resources in Africa. At the same time as Africans we should not allow our kleptocratic leaders get away by blaming everything on the West but also hold them responsible. We cannot absolve Mobutu from what he did in Congo and the numerous leaders in Nigeria that stole billions of public money. How can Nigeria with all its oil be in such a chaotic state today with bad infrastructures. We talk about billions of resources of Africa being plundered by our leaders and yet blame that on everybody else. While we hold our leaders responsible, we must also say to the West that our leaders are corrupted by your multinational corporations. It takes two to tango! If you talk about corruption in Africa, then who are the ones corrupting them?

 

TAB: Most analysts say peace in Africa will remain shaky as long as our leaders are corrupt. Is corruption a major underlining factor to instability in Africa?

Gounden: Yes. Why are these people fighting wars to take over the governments and control resources? It would have been different if they are controlling resources that benefit the people, but they are controlling resources that ends up in their own pockets; buy houses in Europe etc. That kind of corruption is leading to the stagnation of the continent and we want to root that out, but we can't do it by ourselves. We cannot talk about peer review mechanism of NEPAD if we do not have peer review mechanism in Europe. We should tell the European governments to have peer review mechanism that will have their multinational corporations to be accountable. They should review track records of their companies. Ask a Canadian company for instance to see their track record and see what kind of activities they undertake in Congo.

 

TAB: How genuine is the intention of the West to help Africa or is a progressive Africa detrimental to their interest?

Gounden: If you look at statistics, donor aid is a tiny percentage of money that goes to Africa. Also, only tiny percentage of trading takes place in Africa and it is not developmental trading but commodity trading which takes raw materials out of Africa without any value added. It neither builds the capacity development nor beneficial trade with Africa. How many African countries have the capacities to mine their own resources? Only South Africa! Does Nigeria or Angola drill their own oil? Or does Congo run her own mine? Where does the cutting and polishing of African diamonds take place? In Belgium! Diamond in its raw state is not expensive until when cut and polished. If they truly want to help Africa, why can't they setup diamond cutting and polishing facilities in Congo that will truly benefit the country? Are Congolese so stupid that they cannot cut and polish diamonds? Can it only be the West that have the capacities?

 

*Vasu Gounden

 

TAB: Does the West have more to gain from the poor state of infrastructures in Africa?

Gounden: As long as the new generation of Africans collude with African governments and elites that extort the resources for themselves, the continent will get nowhere. What do we innovate in Africa? America keeps coming out with new technology; see where India that was colonized stands today in terms of technology. Same goes with China, Thailand and Malaysia. They are making computers and computer accessories. We must look inward and ask if something is wrong with us. Why can't Ethiopia produce or manufacture computers, because they have intellectuals in technology. Rwanda has intellectuals in IT technology and Nigerians are huge in entrepreneurship and may have the highest numbers of intellectuals in the world. What is wrong with us? It is not about running small businesses. We are talking about setting up our own multinational corporations.

 

TAB: The African Union is often criticized as too bureaucratic and ineffective in preventing or settling conflicts. How do you advocate African solutions for African conflicts?

Gounden: The African Union have capacity problem and we have to look at how to beef up its capacity. They also have the political will. Our leaders have to move away from a situation where they are turning blind eyes to things that are happening. They have to begin to move this continent collectively now.  Yes, they made a positive change from OAU to AU, but it requires a lot more capacities to do that. We have to think of the kind of leaders we want in Africa. By voting for someone because he is popular means voting in the wrong person to office.

 

TAB: How big is literacy a factor in moving Africa beyond conflicts?

Gounden: I am a firm believer that education is a great equalizer. In Africa, 50 percent of the people are under the age of 18. Europe and Japan have the opposite problem. They actually have few young people with high literacy rate while we have many young people with high unemployment. We are suffering HIV/AIDS pandemic and education is what we need. Looking at the Swedish model, they made huge investment in education which made the country prosperous in 2000. The success of Asia depends on the improvement in the rise of its literacy. How does India with so many problems become a leader in technology? It is because right after independence in 1947 the then prime minister Nehru invested huge resources in technical education. They built technical colleges all over the place and today, they are reaping the benefits. I am carefully watching Rwanda as I think President Kigami has a vision. Many have criticized him for many things in the country, but they cannot fault him for putting lot of resources into education. I think Rwanda is a country to watch as a role model for giving people hope and vision.

 

TAB: You once spoke of unlocking Africa’s potential through peace. How easy is this?

Gounden: Peace is the big factor that we need that gives the pace for development. You can't have development in the middle of a war as the entire development factor is broken. Peace creates the climate for development to take place. What we have to ensure is unlocking Africa potential by first unlocking the human potential. This will create an environment that will allow intellectuals to flourish. We need leaders that can unlock those potentials. The second is we have huge agricultural output and could supply the world with food because we have the right climate. In terms of natural resources, we have it all. Matching the human potential with the natural resources is what I mean by unlocking Africa.

 

*Vasu Gounden

 

TAB: ACCORD is considered one of few successful organisations in Africa with dedicated members and trustees extending across the continent. What is the secret?

Gounden: Dedication and passion about the continent. We have deep belief that this continent can make it and we continuously reinforce that belief among ourselves. After 15 years, ACCORD is a highly developed institution. We have a very clear line of accountability in the organization which is important. People have to trust you if they have to put resources into your organization. We have created that and the second thing is to liberate minds. We allow our staff to come up with their own problems and solutions. We ensure that they are driven by a vision that can change this continent. The third thing is to have dedicated board of trustees.

 

TAB: ACCORD instituted an Africa Peace Award in Africa. Is the award achieving its goal?

Gounden: I think basically what the award does is to recognize those who have committed themselves to peace, good governess and the protection for human rights. Look at a country like Burundi that has succeeded with democratic elections. It is important that we recognize the positive things happening there. The award is one way of recognizing the positive things.  I think efforts of people like Dr. Mo Ibrahim of Celtel is commendable. Successful African entrepreneurs should follow his examples by putting the resources back into the continent. We need to recognize many positive things that are happening in the continent.

 

TAB: Do you foresee permanent peace coming to Africa and if so, what will become of the role of ACCORD?

Gounden: I sincerely hope that there will be no need for ACCORD in Africa.  We have not resolved all of our problems in Africa and I don’t think that will happen in the near future. If you look at other continents of the world, many of them have had deep conflicts for hundreds of years, but have evolved into something different today. It is very strange that when the Vikings and the Barbarians were fighting across the plains of Europe, we were building libraries in Timbuktu, Mali; organizing the Igbo kingdom in Nigeria etc. We had formation of organized society. Today, Europe is building an organized society while we are busy fighting each other. I am optimistic that we might be going through a stage in Africa and education is going to play an important role. There are younger Africans today who don’t need the government to get money. They are skilled and can build their own lives. Increasing, destructive leaders will get isolated and we will see people with new vision. I think the days of Mobutu and leaders living lavish lives at the expense of the people are coming to a close.

 

TAB: Sir, we thank you for your time.

Gounden: I thank you too. Your newspaper is doing a great job and it is vital that we work together to move Africa forward.

Career Spotlight: The Promising Hair Stylist

Seray Kakay is 32-years old and hails from Freetown in Sierra Leone. She came to the Netherlands in 1995 and studied for a year at the Nederland Visagister Academy in Rotterdam, specialising in hair styling. She opened her first boutique hair saloon business (Guys & Dolls) in 2002. She is married to Alfred Kanu from whom she has a three year old boy. Her story may inspire someone out there:

 

TAB: What really attracted you into this profession?

Seray: I got attracted to hair salon business because I wanted to satisfy the need of hair care for black people living in the city of Eindhoven where I live. The growing black and immigrant population in the city created a niche market and we responded to the need.

 

TAB: Who are your customers?

Seray: In the beginning, we had the vision of creating a comfortable salon for only black people, but over time it changed to multicultural salon. We have Asian and Caucasian customers and we can give professional hair to people of all background.

 

TAB: What challenges do you face as an immigrant woman in this profession?

 Seray: It is sometimes difficult to get recognition from non-blacks. This is because we are stereotyped as people with no business discipline and poor management skills. People are surprised to see us running a professional business with high standard.

 

*Seray Kakay

 

TAB: What other problems do you face as an ethnic hair stylist? 

Seray: Not a major problem. In the business of managing hair salon, recruiting and retaining staff could be a challenge. But we manage to make our staff feel at home. On the other hand, building a loyal customer base among non-blacks takes time.

 

TAB: What are some of the qualities required to run this business?

Seray: Patience is the key word. You have to be prepared to deal with many customers with different behaviours. It is important to give equal treatment to all customers no matter the age or skin colour. Treat all customers with respect and expect the same in return.

 

TAB: What makes a successful ethnic hair stylist?

Seray: Know your customers’ needs and satisfy them. You can make a customer come back for your services if you take your time to know how to satisfy his or her needs. We work as a team to make sure our customers get the best services.

 

TAB: You just opened a second salon; business must be going good? 

Seray: Business is not going bad. At our first location, we were running out of space with our customers queuing outside for a long time during weekends. Therefore, we decided to get another location to reduce pressure and meet the needs of our customers

 

TAB: From where do you get your motivation and inspiration?

Seray: I believe in myself with positive attitude that I can get better once I remain focus and committed. I am grateful to my husband Alfred Kanu. He has been a partner with all the support and inspiration. Oprah Winfrey is another angel who also inspires me. She says; “you can be better if you want to”. I get up in the morning and remind myself of that powerful statement. Sometimes we hear people complaining that Holland is a difficult place to live with regards to socio-economic system. Yes, that may be true but I believe nowhere is easy and I think it depends mainly on you as individual. Life is with hurdles and we must be prepared to deal with them. I also admire Elisa Carter a prominent black business woman here in the Netherlands. She is one of my loyal customers and a mentor.

 

*Seray Kakay

 

TAB: When not working, how do you spend your day?

Seray: Actually for the last couple of years, I have not had a typical day out of work. I work six days a week and use the weekend to do some shopping for the salons.

 

TAB: What is your advice for an aspiring ethnic entrepreneur?

Seray: Every aspiring entrepreneur must have self-confidence that he or she can make it despite the hurdles. One must be self-motivated before undertaking any endeavour. Things may not go your way, but remain committed and consistent to achieve your goals. All undertakings must be seen as a challenge and promise not to fail.

Africa through Western Eyes!

What the Western say...

 

Africa means so many things to so many people, especially the Westerners. Many Africans see these people as having warped views of their continent - views perpetuated by Western media. Two of our Editors went to town to ask some Westerners about "What they think of Africa?" Below are few samples of what they say:

 

Guy Wauters (Herk-de-Stad Donk, Belgium)

 

 

I think Africa is a beautiful place and the people believe much in themselves. They can be happy with the little they have. This is what we have forgotten in Europe. We have so many things here (Europe) which makes us take things for granted and not appreciate any more. The pressure of getting more is contributing to our stress and depression.

 

---

 

Nancy Peeters (Heerhugowaard)

 

 

I have never been to Africa, but I think it must be a very beautiful continent despite the problems.  I can't say much of a place that I have never visited. But I think Africa is a beautiful continent.

 

-----

 

Esther Slangen-Nijkrake (Apeldoorn)

 

 

I think Africa is good a continent, but it is very hard to work there. The people have lots of work to do. The level of insecurity in Africa is a huge challenge. As a foreigner in South Africa, I have to live behind the fence with armed guards. My freedom of movement was kind of seized.

 

----

 

R.C. Hoogenberk (Arhnem)

 

 

I first think of Africa as a land of nature and beautiful animals. Despite the numerous problems in the continent, it has wonderful diverse traditions and cultures. Being someone with Asian background, I love Africa and want to live there in the future.

 

---

 

Erik Kunst (Almere)

 

 

I think Africa is the future of the world. The continent seems to be the future provider of our foods and human necessities.

 

---

 

Elli de Rijk (Leiderdorp)

 

 

I think Africa is a fascinating continent. I also think Africa needs to do much more by developing its strengths and capacities in order to avoid solely depending on others. Discovering her strengths should come through its peoples and activities; it would be wonderful if the continent can develop through the fertility of its people.

 

----

 

Gina Gelderblom (Leiden)

 

 

I think Africa is a beautiful continent but it has lots of problems, which I think is partly our (Westerners) fault. The legacy of colonialism still hunts the continent. This can be repaired by working with Africa not only giving handouts but to help make the continent self-sustaining. 

 

---

 

Angelique Medenblik (Haarlem)

 

 

I think is a big continent with many different countries, group of peoples, animals and religions.  I also think it has good nature and seem to have more possibilities for the future. We have to work together with African countries.

 

----

 

J. Varkevisser (Amsterdam)

 

 

Africa differs regionally. It has different countries and lots of styles. But when I think about Africa, I am a little bit afraid of diseases and problems that have taken its toll on the people. However, I am ashamed by looking at the past. I am really ashamed of what we (Westerners) did in Africa. It is also a mixed feeling.

 

---

 

R.J. Driesprong (Zaandam)

 

 

I think Africa is very far away and is a land of nature. I also think it is difficult to have a clear opinion about Africa because we in the Netherlands look at the continent with western eyes. In my opinion, they think things are not right in Africa. Therefore, it is difficult to get an objective picture of the continent from this end.

 

----

 

Paul de Jonge (Heemstede)

 

 

I think of Africa as a place of violence. There is abject poverty in the continent which I pity but can't do anything about.  Therefore, I have no plans to visit Africa as a tourist with such appalling situations.

 

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Legal matters

By A. G. Kleijweg
 

Note: This article first appeared in this column in May 2005. It is being repeated because of its relevance today. Please note that the much anticipated general pardon for asylum seekers is not here yet and might take few more months. Most of those affected are getting excited and believing everyone telling them what they want to hear. Warning: Be very careful and do not get cheated! For free information on the general pardon, you may check www.pardonnu.nl

 

Who Is A Real Lawyer?

 

It is my intention to inform the readers about possible sources of legal aid, their costs and some of my personal experiences with people who are not very satisfied with services received through legal aid.

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Other articles in this edition

 Read full text in hard copy

 Africa News

 

 Dutch News

    • Controversial presidential elections in Nigeria

    • Strong labour management systems for Africa

    • Andorra yearns to up ties with Africa

    • Zimbabwe stock market rated best in world

    • World's internet giant, CISCO moves to Liberia

      Climate change poses more risks to Africa – Report

    • African intellectuals on globalisation

      • Breathalyzer ignition lock in 2008

      • Popular refugee destinations

      • Action against illegal workers

      • No deportation for Guinea asylum seekers

      • Leeuwarden is a poor city

      • Move to ban animal pornography

      • Gas companies overcharge households

      • Prison boats for illegal immigrants

       Spanish News

       

       Sports News 

        • Guarda Civil members arrested for drug smuggling

        • Four Prostitution “Madams” arrested in Torremolinos

        • No deportation for Illegal immigrants - Supreme Court

        • Poverty in Madrid

        • Man jailed for raping daughter

        • Nigerian TV programmes in Spain

              Edited by

                 K.  Jemael Mohamed

      • Four teams in Ghana demoted

      • Sierra Leone ban alcoholic beverages

      • Madagascar fire Coach

      • Demba Toure goes east on loan

      • Morocco FA punished two clubs

      • Eric Addo may leave PSV

      • South Africans are hopeful

      • Kenya soccer in trouble again

      • Algerian club faces disciplinary Action

      • Professional league starts in Nigeria

      • Liverpool coach rejects Real Madrid offer

      • Arsene Wenger fined and warned

      • Former British star retires

      • Mike Tyson in Bollywood

      • Jonathan Edwards elected to European AA Council

      • World Championships in Daegu and Moscow

      • Jason Gardener is Europe fastest

      • A unified heavyweight title

      • Australian wins cycling race

       

       Other News  

        • African Books
        • TAB Quiz
        • 65 nations settle UN dues

        • EU language skills under scrutiny

        • Rampant corruption in U.S.

        • Turkey angry over EU-accession talks

           Business

        • Personal Financial Planning: 

          Financial Ratios 1 (Earnings per share) by Dauda Daramy

        • Royal Air Maroc infuses fresh capital into Air Senegal

        • Islamic bank invests $5bn in Africa

        • Ghana targests $2 bn from one million tourists

        • Diamond deposit discovered in Togo 


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