Letters Readers' views [New African]
(New African Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) 100 most influential Africans
I only recently discovered your magazine New African. I am glad to affirm that I always look forward to purchasing a new issue at the beginning of every month. The December cover on "100 Most Influential Africans" somehow got me thinking. Little or no mention was made of the criteria used to select the individuals mentioned. Nevertheless, I agree with the calibre of people chosen. Each and every one of them has in one way or the other impacted on the lives of people in their respective countries and even beyond their national borders.
However, I specifically have concern for three individuals who did not make it into the Top 100. These are Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa; Mo Ibrahim, the Anglo-Sudanese telecoms giant, as well as Samuel Eto'o Fils, the highest paid footballer of all time, from Cameroon. Thabo Mbeki played an enormous role as facilitator in the Sudan-South Sudan conflict. The Thabo Mbeki Leadership Academy continues to train young and aspiring Africans on the very difficult issue of leadership.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is doing everything to promote good governance in Africa. The very lofty reward that his Foundation gives out to reward excellence in leadership cannot be undermined.
Then there is Samuel Eto'o. Do we say that he has past his prime He has achieved everything there is in football except the World Cup, which of course remains the holy grail of African soccer. There is no African football player who is as decorated as Samuel Eto'o Fils. One cannot also overlook the fact that he is the highest paid soccer player of his generation.
To my opinion, these three individuals deserve the honour of being in the Top 100 influential Africans.
Elvis Agbor Etta Mthatha, South Africa
Too harsh on Archbishop Sentamu
I read with keen interest and awe your Editor's 'beef ' on the Ugandan-born Archbishop of York John Sentamu, in a magazine that is a must-read every month. The column (Baffour's Beefs, NA, December 2012) which started beautifully by bringing out some of the subterranean issues that underline and influence our behaviour in subtle ways, Baffour Ankomah instead came out hitting the good Bishop so hard, almost as if he has something personal against the man of God.
One is left wondering: Who is playing to which gallery, is it Baffour or the Archbishop
Dominic W. Makawiti, Kisumu, Kenya.
Reflections on Nollywood movies
It is arguable that the continent of Africa has too many problems for one to be concerned with what has been lately dubbed "Nollywood" movies. But if we are going to tell our own stories (which is a very laudable endeavour), let us do it in a way that goes beyond "showcasing" mansions and luxury cars on the one hand, and the Africa of Tarzan movies on the other. While these stories, in terms of plot, setting, and themes, need revisiting, given the history of representation of the continent by Euro-American writers and filmmakers, my concern here, however, has to do with what I would call in layman terms, audio engineering which makes some of these movies less than enjoyable or even "substandard".
More often than not, in these films the background music and sound effects are more audible than the dialogue. Taking into consideration the enormous output of movies in this industry, as well as my own interest, as a teacher of African literature, in matters of representation, I would like to appeal to the filmmakers/editors and those in the business to pay attention to this crucial technicality.
Undoubtedly these movies have come of age, if one considers what obtained in the early days of the industry. They provided and still provide an alternative (a different angle to the African story) to African films by established and renowned artists such as Ousmane Sembène.
I am thrilled that one could actually teach an African film course and include these Nollywood movies without compromising the objectives and quality of the course; but how does one discuss a film whose sound effects drown dialogue, for instance
This medium might not be the appropriate platform to address those who have chosen to narrate the continent via the visual arts, but New African, given its balanced and no-nonsense approach (in my view) to informing the public, has a wide and respected readership; hence I can only hope that these comments reach the interested parties/audiences, and come across as constructive criticism.
Please, Nollywood producers, turn down the background music and sound effects, in order to foreground and nuance the message, no matter how low your budget! As Chinua Achebe once wrote: "It is the story that outlives the sound of war-drums and the exploits of brave fighters... The story is our escort; without it, we are blind."
M. K Logan Kingston, Jamaica
Kofi Annan should rethink on Africa
I genuinely believe it's time to put the former UN chief in his place. As UN secretary-general, the man did nothing for Africa or to support African issues. Now he wants to pretend to be an expert on African Politics! Africa has moved on, we neither believe in the UN system nor believe that the so-called international community has our interests at heart. We understand that in all that they do, they are merely motivated by a deep desire to maintain and sustain the status quo in the world order. The order that says them on top, us at the bottom! They exploit our resources, we provide the labour. But we are dismantling this world order, brick by brick. Through education, through a developmental paradigm that emphasises resource control and ownership through a leadership that is not afraid to tell the so-called international community, "go to hell!".
Perhaps Mr Annan would like to tell us how he stood watch whilst the so-called international community imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, how in Kenya he failed to find guilt in the two biggest protagonists in the post-election violence of 2007, settling instead to implicate second row actors.
Or more recently what happened in Syria where he quit in a huff He owes it to the world to tell us. Who is behind the rebels in Syria and why were they so determined to ensure that the ceasefire did not hold It's not enough to quit, tell the world sir, this is one area you are most qualified to comment on.
On Kenya, Mr Annan should know that Kenyans have a right to choose leaders of their liking and that choice will be determined not by the interest of the socalled international community but by the interests of the children of the Mau Mau!
Unisa Kanu Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
What about Mozambique
Because I am not an African, I rely for my news of African events on publications such as yours, and I am always thrilled by the steady progress of all African people out of the morass of the colonial times. However recently, before spending a few weeks in the rural area of Mozambique, I looked through my back issues for any news of its political or economic developments. I was surprised to find no coverage, almost as if Mozambique is not a part of Africa now! I can understand that the barrier of Portuguese language makes coverage a little more challenging, but it seems not to have prevented Angola having an occasional mention. Perhaps it is perceived as not sufficiently resource rich But its progress out of the hell of the foreign-backed civil war toward a stable and safe society has parallels with Angola, and the strong Chinese inflow of capital and aid to both might lead one to think that developments in the former colonies of what are now weak European nations are under the radar of anglophones.
Mel Chong Waverton, Australia
Slave Trade: The Jewish connection
I agree that we must not give a free pass to the Arabs as far as the African slave trade is concerned (NA, October 2012). However, the same should be said of the Jews who,
100 Most Influential Africans
The 100 Most Influential Africans published in our December edition, had some errors. Of course, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche is from Nigeria; Abdelwahab Ben Ayed is from Tunisia. Dr Edna Adan Ismail is not from Somalia but rather Somaliland. We also printed a wrong photo of Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch (correctly pictured here).
We apologise to all parties for any inconvenience and embarrassment this technical glitch may have caused. according to professor Tony Martin in his excellent book, The Jewish Onslaught, reminds us that some of the ships that were involved in the abominable trade were supplied by Jews, one of such a ship was named The Jesus.
Dr Yosef Ben-Jochannan also reminds us that Spanish, Portuguese or Oriental Jews were instrumental in the early colonial slave and triangular trade. For example a Sephardic Jew by the name of Luis de Santangelo, advanced a sum of 17,000 ducats (about $5,000) to finance one such voyage in 1492.
Name withheld London, UK
The Malian conundrum
The latest episode of the Malian crisis looks like a quasi-coup carried out by the former -but still influential- military junta and its allies. The objective is most likely to prevent a direct ECOWAS military deployment in Mali, which would undermine the power base of Captain Sanogo and his associates.
The ex-junta and the political forces backing it have requested logistical and financial external help to fight the hardcore Islamist groups occupying the North, but are opposed to a full-scale foreign military intervention, an option preferred by deposed Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra.
While ECOWAS will not even be ready to confront the Islamists in the north before second quarter of this year, an optimistic scenario, the potential presence of foreign troops in southern Mali would probably change the balance of power on the ground. It is also possible that Prime Minister Diarra's alleged personal ambitions may have frustrated some segments of the security forces and civilian elite. In any case, this development suggests that a solution to the political and military impasse in Mali is unlikely to materialise in the short-term, especially given ECOWAS' lacklustre (effective) reaction to the continued turmoil in the West African country.
Samir Gadio, London, UK
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