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Let us solve our problems by ourselves

“The Gaddafi regime resorted to brute force to suppress the uprising.”

In Libya, the West has marginalized African concerns – By Thabo Mbeki

The popular uprising in North Africa affecting Tunisia, Egypt and Libya took the whole of Africa by surprise. Stunned by the events we watched unfolding on television, and unable to decide how we should respond, instinctively, as Africans, we resolved that we had no choice but to stand and wait.

We hoped that events in this part of our continent would evolve in a manner which would give us the possibility to pronounce ourselves publicly and correctly. The stark choice we faced was – should we side with the demonstrators or with the governments they demanded should resign?

Our challenge was not made easier by the political interventions of various Western countries that offered unsolicited opinions and made unilateral interventions to influence the outcome of the uprisings.

Read more: Let us solve our problems by ourselves


Crossing the digital frontier

“The revolution in information technology is only just starting.” Even in undeveloped parts of South Africa, ever more people like this Zulu in his traditional garb not only want to use mobile phones – they want to go online. But the Internet connections remain highly instable.

Plugging rural South Africa into the Internet – By Dietrich von Richthofen

When Sibukele Gumbo travels to her lab, she has to cross a border – but there is no barrier blocking the road. The frontier doesn’t run between countries, and it follows no clearly defined line. But near Idutywa, the road gets bumpier and heads deeper into the undulating grasslands of the Wild Coast, a part of the former Trans­kei homeland stretching along the edge of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. “Welcome to information-locked country,” Gumbo says, as we leave the asphalted main route and turn onto a rutted dirt and gravel road. Welcome to a country shut off from the modern flow of information. The computer specialist’s aim is to eliminate this invisible border, the boundary separating the Wild Coast from the information society.

The next rise reveals a vista of hills covered in silver-green grass, dotted with rondavel stone houses in light-blue, mint-green, and striking violet. Between them, cows and goats trot on narrow dirt tracks. Idyllic though the countryside is, its social and economic reality is riven.

Read more: Crossing the digital frontier


Berlin meets Nairobi

Musical exchange: The band and the rapper Jahcoozi Nazizi BLNRB were part of the project.

A musical city partnership bridges the gap between two continents – By Jonathan Fischer

It began with a misunderstanding: When the German electro producer Andi Teichmann threw on some techno records at an exhibition opening at the Goethe Institute in Nairobi, the young Kenyans present tried their best to absorb the strange rhythm – but after 30 minutes of perplexity they fled the dance floor. Obviously, the local audience was overwhelmed with the music ambassador’s hard beats from the world-renowned techno capital Berlin.

John Hossack, director of the Goethe Institute in Nairobi, recognized that the local scenes in Berlin and Nairobi, despite both having a global club culture, tick quite differently. The idea of bridging that gap appealed to him: What would happen if representatives of Berlin’s electronic dance music collaborated with the best musicians from Nairobi’s lively club scene to bring together two music genres and two continents?

Read more: Berlin meets Nairobi