Topic: Africa

Workers burning harmful waste at the Agobogbloshie dump in Ghana.

Electronic Waste: Intoxicating Agbogbloshie


At breathtaking speed, our world is being inundated with ever more sophisticated electronic equipment. Used devices hardly a year or two old, are replaced with increasing frequency, to be cashed in or be thoughtlessly dumped for the next much fancier gadget. Most “outdated” models are added to a recycling bubble already stressed at the seams. Considering that resources are scarce and thus valuable, this sort of rotation system is still unrivaled. Yet, have you ever wondered how – and above all – where, your discarded cell phone, laptop or PC may have ended up eventually? It is estimated that more than half of the electronic waste from, e.g., the United States, is shipped to countries fairly ignorant of environmental issues - and there it is successfully buried in oblivion. Like for instance in China, India or Ghana in West Africa. A young company in Boston, Mass., sets an example of how fruitful sensible recycling can be.

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The New Tree House at Luxury Safari Lodge Tongabezi in Zambia.

A global trend: Glamorous Camping = Glamping


No tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll

In the history of man’s evolution, „up the tree – and quickly!“ seemed a splendid option when it came to escaping from all sorts of bloodthirsty evil inadvertently popping up from nowhere. In order not to be devoured, predominantly benign early humans, hunting and gathering relentlessly, just followed their instinct. Enabled by helpful tools shaped from stone, hammered from bronze or cast from iron in later ages, the long-hatched dream of a safe permanent dwelling high up a tree did come true. Second best to the cosiness of easily defendable caves, the properly fastened tree-house offered lofty shelter, an ideal lookout for invaders and food protection from voracious scavengers – whereby the odd poisonous snake or spider moving in unasked had to be tolerated.

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Epidemics like Ebola must be conquered.

TED Talk. Bill Gates: The next outbreak? We’re not ready


It is owing to thousands of selfless health workers, that a pandemic spreading of last year’s Ebola outbreak could be averted. There was some fairly good luck involved as well! The greater part of the world community seemed paralysed toward the enormous challenge executed by the deadly disease, unable to act or react in the most efficient fashion. “There’s no need to panic … but we need to get going“, warns Bill Gates and suggests to quickly start turning the many good ideas that have been provoked by the recent outbreak, into serious practice.

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The Nelson Mandela Museum in Howick: Freedom is a basic human right.

South Africa: The ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ has ended


Nelson Mandela is dead

August 05, 1962 in KwaZulu Natal: Coming from Groutville in the Midlands Meander, an Austin Westminster was rolling along the R103 country road, chauffeured by Nelson Mandela, who acted as a driver in disguise for his comrade Cecil Williams. They were heading back from a visit they had just paid to Albert Luthuli, then president of the African National Congress ANC. Near Howick, the car was stopped by armed police and Mandela captured. 27 long years of incarceration followed, 18 of which Mandela served at the high-security jail on Robben Island off Cape Town’s coast.

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Bad Taste

South African Shanty Hotel: Human Dignity for Sale?


A “long drop” from propriety

A hotel resort in South Africa insists that this is ‘an experience of a lifetime’: staying at their imitated Shanty Town! This offer is cynical, tactless, disrespectful and simply outrageous and it mocks the destitute population living at the margins of native society. The related website shows more than 2000 likes! draws two equally disconcerting scenarios for phoney-poverty seeking guests, whose contorted assessment of the actual conditions inside a Shanty Town seems to be light-years away from reality:

1. Poverty – the fake: ‘Becoming poor’ as a pastime

Yippee! Isn’t that exciting?! Contain yourselves, please! Not really poor, of course, just pretending to be poor for the „fun“ of it, inside a hotel Shanty Town established especially for those hopelessly saturated by affluence. Those now craving to sample the gourmet side of poverty for the ultimate kick. With invisible floor-heating, running water and wireless internet access for the comfort they would not miss for anything in the world – not even when voluntarily poor, albeit mercifully temporary! After all, this is ‘the only Shanty Town in the world equipped with such luxury’! They also provide you with a ‘long drop effect toilet’. Emphasis on effect. It’s not the genuine thing, but then again: genuine is not what you are looking for. Moreover, you are probably being given some candles and old-fashioned paraffin lamps to help you douse your hut in a romantic light and – just like in any truly desolate slum – you can kindle a crackling fire in a rusted old barrel drum and leisurely ‘braai’ yourselves senseless open-air every day in any weather…
(quote hotel)… within the safe environment of a private game reserve that is ideal for team building, braais and fancy theme parties. (Quote ends)

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Reading time: about 6 minutes